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Title: Birds and Nature, Vol. 12 No. 3 [August 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. 3 [August 1902] - Illustrated by Color Photography" ***

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                           BIRDS AND NATURE.
                   ILLUSTRATED BY COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY.
  Vol. XII.                  OCTOBER, 1902.                      No. 3.



                               CONTENTS.


    AUTUMN WOODS.                                                     97
    THE PHILIPPINE SUN-BIRD. (_Cinnyris jugularis_.)                  98
        Fly, white butterflies, out to sea                            98
    THE ANIMALS’ FAIR. PART II—THE FAIR.                             101
    A DAY.                                                           104
    THE GREAT GRAY OWL. (_Scotiaptex cinerea_.)                      107
    MY SUMMER ACQUAINTANCES.                                         108
    THE BIRD OF PEACE.                                               109
    THE GREEN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER. (_Empidonax virescens_.)           110
    CHARACTER IN BIRDS.                                              113
        Frowning, the owl in the oak complained him                  116
    THE LOUISIANA WATER-THRUSH. (_Seiurus motacilla_.)               119
    SOME DOGS.                                                       120
    PECULIAR MEXICAN BREAD.                                          121
    NATURE’S GLORY.                                                  121
    LAPIS LAZULI, AMBER AND MALICHITE.                               122
    THE LEAF BUTTERFLY. (_Kallima paralekta_.)                       131
    IN AUTUMN.                                                       132
    BEAUTIFUL VINES TO BE FOUND IN OUR WILD WOODS.                   133
    SOME SNAILS OF THE OCEAN.                                        134
    JOIN A SUNRISE CLUB.                                             140
    THE TOMATO. (_Lycopersicum esculentum_.)                         143
    THE BROOK.                                                       144



                             AUTUMN WOODS.


      Ere, in the northern gale,
  The summer tresses of the trees are gone,
  The woods of Autumn, all around our vale,
      Have put their glory on.

      The mountains that infold,
  In their wide sweep, the colored landscape round,
  Seem groups of giant kings, in purple and gold,
      That guard the enchanted ground.

      I roam the woods that crown
  The uplands, where the mingled splendors glow,
  Where the gay company of trees look down
      On the green fields below.

      My steps are not alone
  In these bright walks; the sweet southwest, at play,
  Flies, rustling, where the painted leaves are strown
      Along the winding way.

      And far in heaven, the while,
  The sun, that sends that gale to wander here,
  Pours out on the fair earth his quiet smile—
      The sweetest of the year.
                                                 —William Cullen Bryant.



                        THE PHILIPPINE SUN-BIRD.
                        (_Cinnyris jugularis_.)


  Darlings of children and of bard,
  Perfect kinds by vice unmarred,
  All of worth and beauty set
  Gems in Nature’s cabinet:
  These the fables she esteems
  Reality most like to dreams.
                                         —Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature.”

The sun-birds bear a similar relation to the oriental tropics that the
humming birds do to the warmer regions of the Western hemisphere. Both
have a remarkably brilliant plumage which is in harmony with the
gorgeous flowers that grow in the tropical fields. It is probable that
natives of Asia first gave the name sun-birds to these bright creatures
because of their splendid and shining plumage. By the Anglo-Indians they
have been called hummingbirds, but they are perching birds while the
hummingbirds are not. There are over one hundred species of these birds.
They are graceful in all their motions and very active in their habits.
Like the hummingbirds, they flit from flower to flower, feeding on the
minute insects which are attracted by the nectar, and probably to some
extent on the honey, for their tongues are fitted for gathering it.
However, their habit while gathering food is unlike that of the
hummingbird, for they do not hover over the flower, but perch upon it
while feeding. The plumage of the males nearly always differs very
strongly from that of the females. The brilliantly colored patches are
unlike those of the hummingbirds for they blend gradually and are not
sharply contrasted, though the iridescent character is just as marked.
The bills are long and slender, finely pointed and curved. The edges of
the mandibles are finely serrated.

The nests are beautiful structures suspended from the end of a bough or
even from the underside of a leaf. The entrance is near the top and
usually on the side. Over the entrance a projecting portico is often
constructed. The outside of the nest is usually covered with coarse
materials, apparently to give the effect of a pile of rubbish. Two eggs
are usually laid in these cozy homes, but in rare instances three have
been found. The Philippine Sun-bird of our illustration is a native of
the Philippines and is found on nearly all the islands from Luzon to
Mindanao. The throat of the male has a beautiful iridescence shaded with
green, while that of the female, shown on the nest, is yellow.


  Fly, white butterflies, out to sea,
  Frail pale wings for the winds to try;
  Small white wings that we scarce can see
  Here and there may a chance-caught eye
        Fly.
  Note, in a score of you, twain or three
  Brighter or darker of tinge or dye;
  Some fly light as a laugh of glee,
  Some fly soft as a long, low sigh:
  All to the haven where each would be—
        Fly.
                                                             —Swinburne.

          [Illustration: PHILIPPINE YELLOW-BREASTED SUN-BIRD.
                         (Cinnyris jugularis).
                               Life-size.
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]



                           THE ANIMALS’ FAIR.
                           PART II—THE FAIR.


Days and weeks of busy preparation rolled around and promptly at the
appointed time the Animals’ Fair opened in splendor.

A large football field had been secured for the show, and a striking
sight met the eyes of curious men, women and children, who crowded
through the gates on the opening day.

Two immense St. Bernard dogs had been appointed gatekeepers, and the
human crowd were uncommonly respectful and subdued as they paid their
entrance fee of a handful of grain or a juicy bone and passed these
representatives of animal law.

The first thing to attract the eye as one entered the Fair was a large
band stand which was occupied by a band of monkeys in red coats and
caps, who made up in quantity what their music lacked in quality, and
went through their performance with a decorum unexcelled by more musical
organizations.

The monkeys found themselves more at home in their booth, which, was
near the grand stand, the entrance fee to which was a small sack of
peanuts. Here the delighted human audience watched an unequaled show of
daring rope and trapeze performances, of acrobatic feats which none but
“four-handed” artists were able to accomplish, and of comical antics
such as only monkeys can go through. The excited children screamed with
laughter and showered peanuts upon the performers, who, following their
instincts, forgot their scheduled program and joined in a wild rush and
squabble over the unexpected treat. Such little episodes were soon over,
however, and the entertainment and forgotten dignity were resumed
together.

Next to the monkeys’ booth was one occupied by geese, ducks and
peacocks, and was one which deserves especial mention. It was
elaborately decorated with garlands of feather flowers dyed in all the
colors of the rainbow, hung against a background of snowy white
feathers. On each side stood a peacock with gorgeous tail outspread,
showing to lovely effect against the white walls behind them. Pillows
and cushions of softest feathers, festoons of snowy down trimmings,
quills and wings and breasts for millinery purposes, feather boas,
feather brushes and dusters, quill pens and quill toothpicks were
displayed to greatest advantage and offered for sale for a small sum of
wheat or corn.

The hogs came next with a large and elaborate display, which included
strings of sausages and Dewey hams, huge glass jars of snowy lard, hams
and bacon put up in fancy ways, and piles of canned pork and deviled
ham. In another part of the booth were brushes of all kinds made from
hog bristles, soaps manufactured from otherwise unsalable parts of hog
anatomy, saddles and other leather goods made from the hides, and—in a
conspicuous position—a great pile of inflated pigskin footballs, which
caught the eye of every schoolboy who came near the booth.

“Young man,” grunted one of the boothkeepers to a boy who was examining
this pile of balls, “young man, never despise a hog nor deride him for
his slowness. There is nothing more lively than a pigskin when properly
inflated. It is a thing for the possession of which the representatives
of the largest colleges are proud to contend, and he is the hero of the
day who carries the pigskin to a winning touchdown. Why, college
students will leave their books behind them, will cast aside the
cultivation of their brains for the glory of chasing the pigskin over a
muddy field. They will sacrifice life itself in its pursuit and count
broken limbs and bloody noses as badges of honor. Take my advice. Buy a
pigskin football and enter at once upon the path of glory.”

It is hardly necessary to add that this sale, and many like it, were
made during the progress of the Fair.

The booth of the wild birds was the most beautiful one in the whole
display. It was gotten up to represent a forest glade, with shadowy
aisles and leafy retreats. Its carpet was made of grasses and moss and
ferns and flowers. A little fountain cast its waters into a tiny pool,
where birds dipped their wings or quenched their thirst. Dainty nests
were built in many curious ways, some hanging from the branches, others
hiding beneath the grasses or sheltered by the leaves. A myriad of
brilliant birds flitted through this miniature paradise, the bluebird,
the redbird, the orange and black oriole, the scarlet tanager, golden
canaries and many others, making up a flashing bouquet of color.

Then there were solos, and duets, and grand concerts, when thrush and
lark and canary and redbird and warbler joined their voices in a great
gush of melody through which ran the liquid trills and cadenzas of
mocking-bird and nightingale. The quail piped his “Bob White” from the
ferns and grasses; and the parrot—as clown of the occasion—imitated the
human voice in comically jerky efforts.

Along the front of the booth were displayed rows of bottles filled with
every imaginable kind of bug and worm which the industrious birds had
gathered from orchards and fields, and which were exhibited as proof of
the invaluable aid which the birds give to man.

The cattle display was next on the list—a notable one, and attractive to
every man and woman. There were noble representatives from every breed
of cattle, with the most beautiful, gentle-eyed calves that were ever
seen. There was a tempting display of great glass jars of rich milk and
yellow cream, huge cheeses and golden butter balls, daintily molded
curds and glasses of whey. There was a free tank of delicious iced
buttermilk, which was continually surrounded by a thirsty crowd who
drank as if they had never tasted buttermilk before.

Then there were countless varieties of fancy articles made from horn and
bone, pots of glue, cans of neatsfoot oil, and leather goods of every
possible description.

There was dressed beef, and jerked beef, and dried beef, and potted and
canned and corned and deviled and roasted. There was oxtail soup, and
blood pudding, and cakes of suet, and stacks of tallow candles. There
were hides tanned into soft carriage robes and rugs; there were bottles
of rennet tablets; there were fancy colored bladders, and bunches of
shoestrings. In short, the articles contained in this display were
beyond enumeration in a short account like this.

The dogs came next with a wonderful display of fancy breeds, of trick
dogs and trained dogs, of dogs little and big, varying from the shaggy
Eskimo to the skinny little hairless Mexican, and from the huge St.
Bernard to the tiny terrier. The Newfoundlands gave a life-saving
exhibition every day, wherein monkeys dressed as people were rescued
from the water or from buildings supposed to be on fire.

The St. Bernards dragged frozen traveler monkeys from snowbanks of
cotton and carried them on their backs to places of safety.

Cute puppies and clumsy puppies went through their antics for the
amusement of the children and rolled unconcernedly over beautiful
carriage rugs which were labeled “Japanese Wolfskin.”

The sheep and goats had a booth together, wherein was a marvelous
display of wools and woolen goods, yarns, pelts, angora furs, kid
gloves, kid shoes, rugs, carpets and blankets.

There were ropes of goats’ hair which water could not destroy, and wigs
which were destined to cover the heads of learned judges and barristers.

There was a wonderful red tally-ho coach, drawn by four snow-white goats
driven by a monkey dressed as a coachman, which made the circuit of the
Fair grounds every afternoon, while monkey passengers made the air
lively and cleared the way by the loud notes of their tin horns. This
exhibition set the children wild, and parents were daily teased to buy
the charming turnout for the use of their little human monkeys.

The cats had a display which met with the highest favor from their
little girl visitors. Here were beautiful pussies of every kind and
color, with coats as soft and shiny as silk. There were numbers of the
cunningest kittens, which rolled and tumbled and went through their most
graceful motions to the unending delight of the little spectators.

This booth was gaily festooned with strings of mice and rats, caught up
here and there by small rabbits, gophers and moles.

There was a string band that played in this booth every afternoon to
demonstrate the superiority of cat-gut strings over those made of silk
or wire, as used on violins, mandolins, guitars and all other stringed
instruments. They never failed to announce that their bows were strung
with the finest of horsehair which had been supplied by the horses whose
booth was farther down the grounds.

The horses attracted every eye and aroused much discussion among the
visitors as to whether horses would ever be entirely superseded by
automobiles and electric engines.

The children went into ecstacies over the Shetland ponies, and the
ladies declared the Arabian horses “too lovely for anything.”

Every boy who visited this booth was presented with a baseball covered
with the best of horsehide leather.

But time fails me to tell of all the wonderful things which this Fair
presented to the eyes of admiring men. On one point only was
dissatisfaction expressed by the visitors—there was no Midway. President
Monkey, when interviewed by a representative of the Associated Press in
regard to the omission, made the following remarkable statement:

“No, it was not a matter of oversight. The camel volunteered to bring
some of his Arabs to establish the Streets of Cairo, and some of the
monkeys were anxious to put in a Gay Paris display. The lions wished to
bring some trained Wild Men of Borneo for a Hagenbeck show, and the
snakes wanted to do jugglery. You can see that there was no lack of what
misguided people call ‘attractions.’

“The management discussed the Midway from every point of view, and
decided that it was entirely too low grade for a first-class
entertainment such as we desired to make. We felt that it would only
attract a rough class of visitors, whose presence we did not desire. And
so the unanimous decision was, ‘We will have a good, clean, respectable
show or we will have no show at all.’

“No, sir. Say emphatically in your dispatches that the Midway was
intentionally omitted. Such things may do for men, but beasts will have
none of them.”

The Fair was in every way a success, being carried through without
disturbance of any kind and coming out free of debt and with much legal
tender in the treasury.

Men were so much impressed by the obligations which they owed to the
animal world that there was a decided improvement in their treatment of
its various representatives. While this state of affairs cannot be
expected to last long, the animals have learned how to arouse such
respect and have decided to make the Animal Fair an annual attraction.

                                                     Mary McCrae Culter.



                                 A DAY.


  In the morning the path by the river
    Sent me a messenger bird,—
  “I’m all by myself and lonely,
    Come,” as I waked I heard.

  I walked the path by the water,
    Till a daisy spoke and said,
  “I am so tired of shining;
    Why don’t you pat my head?”

  So I kissed and fondled the daisy,
    Till the clover upon the lea
  Said, “It is time for eating,
    Spread your luncheon on me.”

  But first I went to the orchard,
    And gathered the fruit that hung,
  Before I answered the green-sward,
    Where the clovery grasses swung.

  Then the rocks on the hill-side called me,
    And the flowers beside the way,
  And I talked with the oaks and maples
    Till Night was threatening Day.

  Then I knelt at the foot of the sunset,
    And laid thereon my prayer,
  And the angels, star-crowned, hurried
    To carry it up the stair.

  And this was the plea I put there:
    Make me so pure and good
  That I shall be worthy the friendship
    Of river, and field, and wood.
                                                       Lucia Belle Cook.

                     [Illustration: GREAT GRAY OWL.
                         (Scotiaptex cinerea).
                              ⅓ Life-size.
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]



                          THE GREAT GRAY OWL.
                        (_Scotiaptex cinerea_.)


  Through Mossy and viny vistas
    Soaked ever with deepest shade,
  Dimly the dull owl stared and stared
    From his bosky ambuscade.
                            —James Whitcomb Riley, “A Vision of Summer.”

The Great Gray or Cinereous Owl is the largest of the American owls. The
appearance of great size, however, is due to its thick and fluffy
plumage. Its body is very small being only slightly larger than those of
the barred or hoot owl. The eggs are also said to be small when compared
with the size of the bird.

The range of this handsome Owl is practically confined to the most
northern regions of North America, where it breeds from the latitude of
Hudson Bay northward as far as forests extend. In the winter it is more
or less migratory, the distance that it travels southward seeming to
depend solely on the severity of the season. It has been captured in
several of the northern United States, from the Atlantic to the Pacific
Oceans. It is related in “The Hawks and Owls of the United States,” that
“Dr. Dall considers it a stupid bird and states that sometimes it may be
caught in the hands. Its great predilection for thick woods, in which it
dwells doubtless to the very limit of trees, prevents it from being an
inhabitant of the barren grounds or other open country in the north. It
is crepuscular or slightly nocturnal in the southern parts of its range,
but in the high north it pursues its prey in the daytime. In the latter
region, where the sun never passes below the horizon in summer, it is
undoubtedly necessity and not choice that prompts it to be abroad in the
daylight.” Its yellow eyes are very small and would indicate day-hunting
proclivities.

Dr. A. K. Fisher states that its “food seems to consist principally of
hares, mice and others of the smaller mammals as well as small birds.”
Dr. W. H. Dall has taken “no less than thirteen skulls and other remains
of red-poll linnets from the crop of a single bird.” Specimens in
captivity are reported to have relished a diet of fish.

Its nest is described as a coarse structure built in the taller trees
and composed of twigs and lined with moss and feathers. The note of this
great bird is said to be “a tremulous, vibrating sound, somewhat
resembling that of the screech owl.”

The Great Gray Owl is also known as the Great Sooty Owl and the Spectral
Owl. Its generic title, Scotiaptex, is from two Greek words, one meaning
darkness and the other to frighten.

The dignified mien of this great bird may well have been the inspiration
that caused the poet to say,

  Art thou, grave bird! so wondrous wise indeed?
    Speak freely, without fear of jest or gibe—
  What is thy moral and religious creed?
    And what the metaphysics of thy tribe?



                        MY SUMMER ACQUAINTANCES.


I spent last summer in a quiet, old country place where my only near
neighbors were the birds, rabbits and squirrels, but I formed many
pleasant acquaintances among these, and the dearest among them was a
pair of little goldfinches that built their nest in the topmost bough of
a young pear tree that overshadowed the porch where I spent a great part
of my time.

I did not discover the nest until the little ones were already hatched.
The early June days had been cloudy and cool and had kept me shut in, so
I did not have the pleasure of watching my little neighbors build their
home. The nest was so carefully hidden among the leafy boughs that no
one would have suspected it was there. My attention was first arrested
to it one morning by the faint cries of young birds, and on looking up I
saw a little goldfinch perched on the topmost bough of the pear tree,
bending fondly over what I knew must be the nest. She lingered but a
moment and then darted away to an apple tree near by, where I discovered
her mate. He was a tiny little fellow, not much larger than she, but his
jacket seemed a brighter yellow and his head and the tips of his wings a
glossier black. They rested a moment, seemingly in earnest conversation,
then both darted away to a thicket of tall grass and weeds that grew
along the banks of a creek that ran near by.

It was but a few moments until the little mother was back again and in
her tiny yellow beak I saw the dainty morsel she was carrying to the
hungry little family.

All day long, back and forth, from the nest to the thicket she flew, but
the hungry little ones never seemed to be satisfied. The father bird did
not come very often, and I wondered if he was spending his time in
idleness or seeking pleasure for himself, while the poor, little mother
was working so arduously for the support of the family. But I hardly
think this was the case, for he always came from this same thicket and
they always seemed confidential and happy. He would rest himself
daintily on some branch overlooking the nest, and with many quips and
turns watch the mother as she fed the hungry little ones. Sometimes he
would bring food himself and then they would fly away together. I think
he was searching for the food and probably gathering it, for sometimes
Mistress Goldfinch would be gone but a moment until she would return
with the food.

Every day the same scenes were repeated, only the cries of the little
ones grew more clamorous, and I could see their gaping mouths as they
stretched their necks, each one trying to convince the mother that he
was the hungriest bird in the nest. The little mother was always patient
and loving—what a lesson to us who so often chafe and fret under the
petty trials of every day life! As the days went by the young birds grew
bolder and I could see their little yellow bodies as they fluttered and
pushed themselves near the edge of the nest, and I knew that there would
soon be an empty nest in the pear tree.

It was one afternoon, about ten days after I discovered the nest, that
the lessons in flying began. The father and mother would fly from the
nest to some twig a few feet from the nest and then back again, then
from twig to twig with many little chirps as if saying, “Don’t you see
how easy it is? All you have to do is to try.” Then the boldest little
fellow would perch himself on the edge of the nest, flutter his little
wings, sit still for a minute, and then roll back into the nest as if it
was too much for him. Then the father and mother would repeat the
lesson, but all in vain that afternoon, so they finally gave up and went
in search of food. The next morning the lessons began in earnest, and
then the bold little youngster, who had made so many pretentions the
afternoon before, grew bolder and with a nervous little flutter and a
sidewise plunge landed on a twig some few feet below the nest. He rested
a few moments and then, with a few encouraging chirps from his parents,
tried it again with better results. One by one the other timid
fledglings were induced to follow him. There were many tumbles and
falls, but the little mother was always there to encourage and help, and
by afternoon the little home was deserted. They staid a few days in the
trees near by and then flew away to seek new homes, and all that was
left to remind me of the happy family was the empty nest in the leafy
bough.

                                                     Ellen Hampton Dick.



                           THE BIRD OF PEACE.


The dove, bearing an olive branch, is, in Christian art, an emblem of
peace. The early churches used vessels of precious metal fashioned in
the shape of a dove in which to place the holy sacrament, no doubt
because the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ in the form of a dove.

Noah’s dove, of still older fame, was immortalized as a constellation in
the sky.

The plaintive “coo” of the dove has also added to the sentiment about
it. The poets delight to refer to it as a sorrowful bird. One of them
says:

  “Oft I heard the tender dove
  In fiery woodlands making moan.”

The dove, “most musical, most melancholy,” is the singer whom the
mocking bird does not attempt to imitate.

There is a Philippine legend that of all birds only the dove understands
the human tongue. The pigeon tribe is noted for its friendliness to man—

  “Of all the feathered race
  Alone it looks unscared on the human face.”

The word dove means “diver” and refers to the way this bird ducks its
head.

It has purposely designed “wing whistles” and often strikes the wings
together when beginning to fly.

The broken wing dodge it often practices tends to prove that its
ancestors built on the ground.

The nest of the dove has no architectural beauty and it is not a good
housekeeper, and is something of a gad-about. Indeed, doves are not so
gentle in character as they are usually portrayed. They are sometimes
impolite to each other and occasionally indulge in a family “scrap.” But
as nothing in this world is quite perfect, the dove with its fine form,
and beautiful quaker-like garb, may be accepted as one of the most
interesting of our birds.

                                                     Belle Paxson Drury.



                     THE GREEN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER.
                        (_Empidonax virescens_.)


The Green-crested or Acadian Flycatcher is a frequent summer resident in
the eastern United States, and through the valley of the Mississippi
river it migrates as far northward as Manitoba, where it is said to be
quite common.

This bird exhibits no haste in its northward spring journey, for it is
one of the latest species to arrive on its breeding grounds in the
higher latitudes and as winter approaches, it leaves the United States
entirely and winters in Mexico, Central America and northern South
America.

If we would make the acquaintance of the Green-crested Flycatcher, we
must seek it in woodlands in the vicinity of some stream or other body
of water. Its favorite haunts are “deep, shady, second-growth hardwood
forests, on rather elevated ground, especially beech woods with little
undergrowth, or bottom lands not subject to periodical overflow.” It is
not an over shy bird, yet it is rather difficult to find, for its colors
are in perfect harmony with its surroundings as it passes from tree to
tree through the dark foliage of the lower limbs. So perfect is this
color-harmony that Major Charles Bendire said, “I have several times
failed to detect the bird when I was perfectly certain it was within
twenty feet of me,” and Neltje Blanchan likens its movements to “a leaf
that is being blown about, touched by the sunshine flittering through
the trees, and partly shaded by the young foliage casting its first
shadows.”

Like its sister flycatchers the Green-crested is not a good natured bird
and will even quarrel with individuals of its own species. Even its
voice is fretful, especially when from its perch it is waiting for an
insect to pass by. It seldom perches higher than from fifteen to twenty
feet from the ground, and while standing constantly twitches its tail
and frequently utters a note that Mr. Chapman describes as a single spee
or peet.

It is a beneficial bird, for its food consists of insects except in the
fall when it feeds to a limited extent on wild berries. It will
occasionally visit orchards where it has learned there may be found a
plentiful supply of food to its liking. When an insect is sighted, like
the other flycatchers, except that it chooses a low rather than a high
perch from which to watch, it flies outward and with an upward sweep
seldom fails to catch its prey in its open bill, which is suddenly
closed with a notably loud click that seems like an expression of
satisfaction over the result of its efforts.

The drooping branches of several kinds of trees and shrubs are selected
by the Green-crested Flycatchers as suitable sites for their
unpretentious homes. The nests are semipensil, being attached by the rim
to the fork of a small limb or to two parallel limbs. They are shallow
and so loosely constructed that frequently the eggs may be seen from the
underside. As this Flycatcher breeds nearly throughout its range, the
materials used in the construction of the nests varies greatly. In
southern states where Spanish moss is common it is one of the chief
constituents of the nest. In more northern district, stems of plants,
small roots and fibrous materials are used. These are loosely woven with
blades of grass, dry flowers and the catkins of the willow. Not
infrequently the hanging catkins, decayed fibres and the loose ends of
stems and blades of grass give an untidy appearance to the home of this
useful and interesting bird.

                [Illustration: GREEN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER.
                         (Empidonax virescens).
                              Life-size.]



                          CHARACTER IN BIRDS.


In a delightful article called “Character in Birds,” Mr. Torrey gives
many instances of bird traits that show distinct differences of nature
in various species, and which lead one to recall others that have fallen
under observation. Mr. Torrey does not mention, for instance, a
peculiarity of the redeyed vireo, which is as marked as its persistent
and rather tiresome note; that is, its almost intolerable curiosity and
fussiness, qualities which it carries to such an extreme that they
become absolutely comic. I think I have never seated myself to watch the
nest of any bird, that a redeyed vireo has not appeared on the scene and
scolded me; and the moment a bird utters a cry of alarm a redeyed vireo
is sure to appear with his fretful air of “Oh, dear, what is the matter
now?” ready and willing to take a hand in any rows that may be going and
quite sure to make more fuss than the really aggrieved party; and oddly
enough seeming, in one instance at least, even to resent the noise that
the troubled bird was making, for one day when an indigo bird, that I
had tormented by watching its nest, had chippered and chattered until he
had brought every bird in the neighborhood to see what was the matter, a
redeyed vireo, after prancing around for a time, flew at the distracted
indigo bird with a very cross squawk, which said as plainly as words,
“Do be quiet, can’t you?”

The vireo’s action in this case was in marked contrast to that of a
thistle bird which came up warbling and gave me a careless glance, and
then flew away still singing, but as the noise continued he came back
presently and perching on a twig above me, bent his bright head to look
at me, saying, “swee-et” in a long-drawn, inquiring way, with a little
break in his voice which was singularly endearing, as are all the ways
of these charming creatures; after inspecting me again he disappeared,
but at a renewed outcry from the indigo birds he came warbling back once
more. This time he paid little attention to me, having apparently
satisfied his curiosity on that point on his former visit; but seeming
to divine that there must be some reason why the indigo bird should make
so much fuss, he began to examine the tree which held the nest. Suddenly
he discovered the nest, and after a start which expressed surprise and
interest, he flew up and hovered over it for an instant and then flitted
away, warbling. Redeyed vireos seem to be always restless and irritable,
and perfectly sure that you mean to do them or their nests some harm,
and it is sometimes quite distracting to go into a certain piece of
woods where they are very plentiful; the moment you enter it they begin
their distressful “please, please,” uttered half pleadingly and half
crossly. One is sure they must be near a vireo’s nest, yet may pass
beneath it day after day, and though looking for it fail to find it, if
there are no young ones, so skillful are they in concealing their
beautiful nests. These are among the most fascinating of bird cradles,
particularly in this piece of woods where there are many birch trees,
from which the vireo obtains fine, silky shreds of the beautifully
tinted bark and weaves into the nest with the most exquisite effect,
giving unusual delicacy of color and texture. The redeye has also the
most remarkable habit of arranging the nest so that it shall be quite
hidden by the leaves, often with one leaf which serves as a roof and
protects the young or eggs from sun and rain; and if they would only
keep quiet they would usually be quite safe, but instead, the moment any
one appears they make so much noise that attention is attracted to them
at once, and you begin naturally to look for the cause. Even then it may
be some time before the nest is discovered, as there are usually only
one or two points from which a view of it can be obtained and a single
leaf will sometimes quite conceal it. Possibly there are circumstances
in the life of a redeyed vireo which, if known, would account for his
irritability and egotistical belief that all eyes are upon him with evil
intent; but our eyes are dull, and one could wish at times that his
trials, whatever they may be, might sweeten his temper. I do know, at
least, that redeyed vireos are much tormented by that plague of bird
life, the cowbunting, which delights in laying her eggs in the redeye’s
nest; and nowhere could they be placed where they would cause more
discomfort, for the vireo’s nest is a delicate structure and none too
large for its own nestlings. I think the cowbird often injures the nest
when she lays her egg, as she probably gets in and out of it with more
or less haste, being hurried by the aggrieved owners, for not only do
the young vireos fall out of the nest, but even the interloping cowbird
sometimes falls out before he is able to fly and meets his death by a
tumble before he is prepared to leave the nest.

One summer I was watching a hawk’s nest and was always greeted by the
angry cries of the redeyed vireos, who never ceased to scold at me and
the hawk, and so upset a nervous, but well meaning at least, flycatcher
that it, too, joined in the abuse. Sometimes when the hawk flew away the
vireos would follow him for quite a distance through the trees, scolding
in the most dismal manner and showing little fear of the great, fierce
creature, who they seemed to know could not catch them among the thick
branches of the trees. But one day I was amazed to see a redeyed vireo
actually on the lower part of the hawk’s nest. To be sure the hawk was
absent, but he had a swift and silent way of returning that made it seem
a rather dangerous bit of bravado. The redeye often has a most
uncomfortable habit not only of quarreling with any neighbor that will
quarrel but also of squabbling with each other even during the time that
they are engaged in caring for the young. One summer a pair of them,
having a nest in a tree near the house, were so quarrelsome and kept up
such a persistent clatter that they became really tiresome. It must be
admitted, however, that in this particular case they had cause for being
irritable, for they were trying to bring up a cowbunting besides their
own family, and perhaps each thought the other was to blame for the
misfortune. Indeed it took little imagination to think that their
perpetual squabbles were caused by mutual recriminations in regard to
their voracious foster nestling. Poor vireos! They fought with each
other and everyone else, but particularly with a phœbe which had a nest
near by, and was also tired and fretful from overwork and perhaps fond
of a row himself, for he had an aggravating habit of coming into a
little tree just below the vireos’ nest and twitching his tail in the
rather inane manner peculiar to phœbes, and that was all that was needed
to throw the vireos into a perfect fume, and they responded instantly,
flying at him wrathfully and were promptly met by a kindred spirit. It
was a most unreasonable business, as neither wanted anything that the
other had, and seemed to prove that all they needed was an excuse to
show their ill temper. These same vireos had a very real cause for rage
and fear in the presence of the red squirrels, and they never failed to
pursue and scold one the moment it appeared. Their whole life seemed so
uncomfortable and their perpetual fussing was so wearisome that it was
difficult to feel proper sympathy for them when their affairs ended
tragically. But they were most devoted parents, and as such must have
credit, though their domestic arrangements seemed squalidly inharmonious
and were so pronounced that no one living in the vicinity could help
knowing all about them.

Thistle birds, like the vireos, are very apt to appear in response to
any call of alarm or annoyance from their neighbors, but their interest
seems to have a sweet and kindly spirit, very different to the
acidulated attitude of the redeyed vireo. In truth the most marked
characteristic of these little beauties is a peculiar loveableness and
their gentle cheeriness makes them ideal companions. They have a
delightful habit of appearing in June in flocks and congregating on the
white sandy beach of the lake, reminding one of the clouds of yellow
butterflies that come to the same place at certain times of the year. At
this time the male thistle bird sings in a perfect ecstacy of joy and
love; but of all their attractive qualities none is so endearing as a
habit they have late in the fall of singing as they fly high up, mere
specks, their exquisite ethereal notes drifting down sometimes with the
first snowflakes as they go joyfully to meet the storm and the night.

Scarlet tanagers are often hardly more agreeable in their marital
relations than the redeyed vireos, and though no doubt they vary greatly
in this respect, those that I have noticed showed a decided coldness,
occasionally varied by marked crossness. And the wooing of a scarlet
tanager is sometimes most amusing, for the female is, or pretends to be,
amazingly indifferent and it must take a courageous lover to persist in
spite of her severe manner, but male tanagers are gifted with
persistence and do not seem to go unmated, and they make most devoted
parents, though it would hardly have been expected of them after their
seeming indifference during the incubating. One pair of tanagers that
had a nest close to the house, and so could be constantly watched, were
never on really friendly terms with each other, sometimes quarreling
outright, and only seeking each other’s society when some danger seemed
to threaten their young ones. Then the female seemed glad of the
presence of her mate. Young scarlet tanagers are very confiding and
gentle in their ways, and do not seem to have much fear of man here.
There are always several of these pretty creatures flitting about in the
evergreens near the house at the season when they are old enough to
begin to take care of themselves, and they often alight on the hammock
ropes or sit on the branches quite near me, looking on with bright,
interested eyes. They have little playful ways that are rather unusual
in a young bird and remind one of kittens. Sometimes when a shred of the
arbor vitæ bark hangs down above them they will play with it, using
their beak as a kitten does its paws, and their voices have an almost
plaintive sweetness that adds greatly to their attractions.

Next perhaps in fussiness to a redeyed vireo may be counted the phœbe;
and there does not appear to be quite so much reason for the phœbe’s
unhappy frame of mind, for on the whole their nests seem rather safer
than those of most birds, built as they so often are in sheltered places
about the houses and barns. But though the nests escape the young phœbes
are very liable to come to grief, and their elders nearly wear
themselves out when the young first leave the nest, which they often
choose to do on a very stormy day. Phœbes are pugnacious, too, and carry
on feuds among themselves year after year, those on the east side of the
house always quarreling with those on the west side, and when they first
come back in the spring there are frequent conflicts, noisily carried on
in midair, which continue at intervals until both parties are too busy
with their nests and young to attend to other things, though even then,
if an idle moment occurs, they promptly take advantage of it to have a
brush with each other. There never seems to be any particular advantage
gained on either side; so dismal as they seem about it all they no doubt
rather enjoy the excitement afforded by these little interludes.

Young phœbes show none of these aggressive qualities, and have the most
gentle and attractive manners and a peculiar air of innocence that is
most captivating. If the parent phœbe brings up an insect all the
nestlings, who may be sitting in a row on a branch, wave their soft
wings and squeak. The parent inspects them for a moment and then feeds
one. The instant the old bird has decided which shall be fed the rest
subside and wait quietly until her return. There is no pushing and
crowding or following the parent.

The slate colored junco is another of the essentially cheerful spirits,
yet has a remarkable sedateness and self-possession, such as one is
sometimes surprised to find in people of particularly quiet and gentle
dispositions. And he has one habit that has made him very dear, for he
always appears in the fall and remains until quite late in the season.
During this time he haunts the evergreen trees in front of the house,
coming back there every evening to sleep or to seek shelter from a
storm, announcing his arrival with low twitterings and restless games of
play. If one goes under the evergreens after dark and gently shakes a
branch there will be a slight fluttering of wings and disturbed sleepy
notes from the juncos. They love to feed in the drive which runs in
front of the house and in the thickets of rose bushes that creep up to
the windows, coming close to the veranda and eating any crumbs that are
thrown out for them, and even on the wettest day looking trim and
contented and bringing with them a sense of companionship which can be
only appreciated by those who have lived much alone, when the different
creatures come to be better known than they can be where there are
people constantly distracting the attention.

The Kentucky cardinal, though I have known it but slightly, made a very
vivid impression because of its gentle pensiveness. I once spent a few
months in a little village in Florida and flocks of these exquisite
creatures appeared from time to time in our garden and in different
places that we visited. They were always rather tame, coming near us and
feeding on the ground, uttering plaintive notes that reminded me of the
cedar bird and which suggested a much smaller bird. The cardinal’s
manner had something so sensitive and touching about it that it appealed
to me at once and made the lovely strangers as dear as though they had
been known a lifetime. They were never hurried or excited and I never
heard a cross note or saw the slightest indication of any friction among
them; but their whole manner was colored with sadness—a quiet,
unobtrusive sadness. Even their song was tinged with it and it was
curious how these brilliant creatures left on the mind a sense of “going
quietly” and being subdued, which made them the greatest contrast to the
absurd redwinged black birds with whom they often shared the umbrella
tree.

Hundreds of other instances of bird character crowd into the mind, as
one writes, and the air seems again full of airy creatures each with his
or her small personality standing out from all the rest in bright
contrast, some grave, some gay, some cross, and others kind, but all
beautiful and full of interest.

                                                          Louise Claude.


  Frowning, the owl in the oak complained him
  Sore, that the song of the robin restrained him
  Wrongly of slumber, rudely of rest.
  “From the north, from the east, from the south and the west,
  Woodland, wheat-field, corn-field, clover,
  Over and over and over and over,
  Five o’clock, ten o’clock, twelve or seven,
  Nothing but robin-songs heard under heaven:
            How can we sleep?”
                                    —Sidney Lanier, “Owl Against Robin.”

                 [Illustration: LOUISIANA WATER-THRUSH.
                          (Seiurus motacilla).
                               Life-size.
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]



                      THE LOUISIANA WATER-THRUSH.
                         (_Seiurus motacilla._)


The Louisiana Water-thrush is a woodland bird with quite an extended
range, which includes all of the eastern United States west to the
plains and north to Massachusetts, Michigan and Minnesota. It winters in
the region of the Gulf of Mexico and southward into South America. This
bird seems to be burdened with long names, for it is also called the
Large-billed Water-thrush and Large-billed Wagtail Warbler. The last
name is quite appropriate for it, as well as the other water-thrushes,
are warblers rather than thrushes. The name Wagtail well describes one
of its most striking characteristics. It is a dignified bird, and as it
moves with stately steps along the limb of a tree, or a log upon the
ground, the tail moves up and down in rhythm with its step. It is a shy
bird and its “never-ceasing alertness suggests the watchfulness of the
savage.” When discovered and that will not be until it already knows of
the intruder’s presence, it sounds an alarm and quickly flies to some
distant perch where it watches every movement of the invader, its body
constantly teetering as if with suppressed excitement.

When seeking a nesting site the Water-thrush shows a partiality for wild
and favorable localities near a stream of water, especially “where
dashing brooks leap down wooded hillsides.” At times, however, it will
select a retired spot on the wooded banks of a lowland stream or of a
lake. The nest is built in some secure retreat among the roots of an
overturned tree, in the cavity of an old log or stump, or in the moss
under a bank. An impenetrable thicket with a rank growth of ferns and
moss, is the usual desideratum when seeking a place to locate its home.

The nests are bulky and constructed with dead leaves, often partly
decayed, which are obtained from the muddy banks and with the mud still
adhering to them. These, with twigs and rootlets, are laid together and
when the mud dries all are cemented into a compact mass which forms the
wall of the nest. This is lined with fine grasses, small roots, bark
fibers and feathers or hair. The nest is so similar in color to that of
its environment that it is not easily detected.

The Louisiana Water-thrush seldom utters its interesting song when on
the ground, but from some higher perch or when flying. Audubon thought
its song was equal to that of the European nightingale; that its notes
were as powerful and mellow and not infrequently as varied. Dr. Ridgway
says, “This may be true of the ecstatic love-song, heard on rare
occasions, and uttered as the singer floats in perfect abandon of joy,
with spread tail and fluttering wings, but it can hardly be true of the
ordinary song, which, although rich, sweet and penetrating, and almost
startling in the first impression it creates, is soon finished and the
pleasing effect is somewhat transient. It cannot be denied, however,
that its song is one of the richest to be heard in our forests.”

Another Writer speaks of its song as “a beautiful, wild, wayward
effort,” and Mr. Chapman says, “As a songster the Water-thrush is
without a rival. His song is not to be compared with the clear-voiced
carol of the rose-breasted grosbeak, the plaintive chant of the field
sparrow, or the hymnlike melody of the true thrushes; it is of a
different kind. It is the untamable spirit of the bird rendered in
music. There is an almost fierce wildness in its ringing notes. On rare
occasions he is inspired to voice his passion in a flight-song, which so
far exceeds his usual performance that even the memory of it is
thrilling.”



                               SOME DOGS.


When I was a small boy I lived with my parents in my grandfather’s home.
Here was grandfather’s large dog Rouse. He was the constant companion of
my uncle in his work on the farm. His great desire was to carry
something in his mouth when the team started for the field. He was often
given a singletree, with which he marched along, showing evident
satisfaction. One day he concluded to cut across a field instead of
going around the road. The fence was a high rail one and, burdened with
the weight of the heavy singletree, he could not jump over. After
several vain attempts he dropped his load, stood looking up and down the
road. Then looking at the singletree for a moment picked it up and put
it through between the rails. He then jumped over the fence, gathered up
the singletree and trotted on.

One thing he absolutely refused to carry was an iron wedge unless it was
put in a basket. On one occasion this same uncle lost the lash of the
whip he was using in driving a yoke of oxen. He had another at the
house, but it was nearly a mile distant. He wrote his want on a slip of
paper and giving it to Rouse said, “Take this to mother.” He was soon
scratching at the kitchen door. When the door was opened he dropped the
note on the floor, was given the whip lash and hurried away to the
field.

A certain dog belonged to a doctor. He often trotted along under the
buggy when the doctor went to call on his patients. On one occasion the
doctor rode horseback and hurriedly threw the bridle rein over a
hitching post where the visit was made. The horse threw up his head, the
bridle rein was freed from the post and the horse started down the road.
The dog saw the move and started after him. After some little difficulty
he caught the dangling rein, brought the horse back to the post and held
him there until the doctor came out.

On another occasion a horse was tied to a post of the porch at the
doctor’s house. He got restless and was soon standing with fore feet on
the porch. The dog saw it and, catching him by the tail, pulled until he
backed down and stood on the ground.

There is a big shepherd dog not far from where I live that watches for
the evening train. As soon as it appears he runs to a certain place
beside the track, where the mail clerk throws him a bundle of papers. He
never fails to be at his post or on the way.

A dog who was utilized to run a dog power churn at last grew tired and
resorted to various schemes to get out of the work. Just after the churn
had been made ready one day the lady heard the vigorous bawling of a
calf and looking out she saw the dog trying hard to get a calf into
position to do the churning. After this it was necessary to tie his
dog-ship the night before if he was to be used next day.

An Iowa dog who had suffered much from firecrackers on the Fourth always
disappeared soon after midnight of the third at the first shot of an
anvil or cannon cracker. He spent the day in the country far from town
and never returned until the noise had ceased.

A friend who was a photographer had a large Newfoundland dog who had a
great deal of curiosity about his make-up, as well as much sense. His
face was always the first to appear at the village postoffice window
when the mail was opened. The master was an oldtime photographer when
stronger water ammonia was much used in the preparation of paper. There
was an assistant in the gallery who liked to tease the dog and knowing
the trait of desiring to investigate every box or bottle that was
opened, played many tricks on him, but none of them seemed to cure him
or to lessen this desire until he got a good full whiff of stronger
ammonia, which laid him full length on the floor and made him less
anxious to look into everything with his nose.

His master had a book for the butcher and a different one for his
account with the grocer. When meat or groceries were wanted it was only
necessary to give him a book in which had been written the articles
desired and a basket and away he went. He knew where to go by the color
of the book. Often in coming home with meat he was set upon by other
dogs who tried to rob him. One day a large hound tried several times to
get the meat, but was kept away by very significant growls. Becoming
more determined he made a final dash, when Newfoundland set the basket
down and no hound ever got a sounder thrashing. Then with head and tail
held high the basket was carried home in triumph.

                                                        Alvin M. Hendee.



                        PECULIAR MEXICAN BREAD.


Among some curios lately brought from Mexico, is a cake made of the eggs
of water beetles.

This odd sort of edible resembles, outwardly, a biscuit made of coarse
brown or oatmeal flour. In taste it is not unlike the same wholesome
article of diet. As a matter of fact, water beetles hold a high place in
the domestic economy of the poorer natives of Mexico.

Their collection is, therefore, quite an industry, and one in which the
Indians, particularly, are adepts.

This is the plan of operation: Reeds are cut and placed along the
margins of lakes and ponds. Soon these reeds are covered by an
incredible number of eggs so minute that it is necessary to shake them
on a cloth to gather them.

These eggs are then put in bags and pounded.

The result is a coarse flour, which may be cooked in a great variety of
ways. All highly nutritious and stimulating. A vast number of beetles
are also collected and used as food for chickens, but notwithstanding
this immense demand, the supply suffers no appreciable diminution.

                                                         Louise Jamison.



                            NATURE’S GLORY.


  Oh, golden days with cloudless skies—
  When forests flame with gorgeous dyes;
  A touch of wine seems in the air,
  Fields are brown—pastures bare.
  Deep purple wraps the distant hills,
  Gray shadows fall upon the rills;—
  Thro’ rustling corn the zephyrs sigh,
  In grief to see fair summer die.
  These are days of Nature’s glory,
  Sung in song, and told in story.
                                                    —J. Mayne Baltimore.



                   LAPIS LAZULI, AMBER AND MALICHITE.


                             LAPIS LAZULI.

This stone was the sapphire of the Greeks, Romans and Hebrew Scriptures.
Pliny likened it to the blue sky adorned with stars. Large quantities of
worked pieces of it are found in early Egyptian tombs, and the Chinese
have long held it in high esteem. Marco Polo visited Asiatic mines of
the mineral in 1271 A. D., and these had doubtless been worked for a
long time previous. Besides its value as a stone it was in former times
used as a blue pigment, giving the ultramarine blue. In modern times not
only has the esteem in which the stone is held for ornamental purposes
declined but the mineral can be artificially made so as to give the
desired blue color for paints and thus the use of the natural lapis
lazuli has greatly diminished. It is still however carved to make vases,
small dishes, brooches and ring stones and is used to a considerable
extent for mosaic work. When, also, pieces of sufficient size and of a
uniform color can be found, large carved objects may be made which
command a high price.

The stone known as lapis lazuli as it occurs in nature is not a single
mineral but a mixture of several, among which are calcite, pyrite and
pyroxene. From these however it is possible to separate a mineral of
uniform composition sometimes crystallized in dodecahedrons which is
probably the essential ingredient of the stone. This mineral is known as
lazulite and in composition is a silicate of soda and alumina with a
small quantity of sodium sulphide. It is by making a substance of this
composition that the artificial ultramarine is produced. The artificial
is said to be as good as the natural for a pigment and can be produced
for a three-hundredth part of the cost. The natural lapis lazuli has a
hardness of 5½ and a specific gravity about like that of quartz. It is
quite opaque. In color it is blue, varying from the prized ultramarine
to paler, and at times is of a greenish shade. It is said the pale
colored portions can be turned darker by heating to a red heat. When the
variety from Chile is heated in the dark it emits a phosphorescent green
light. The stone in Nature is often flecked with white calcite. Portions
so affected are not considered as valuable as the uniform blue. Grains
of pyrite are also usually scattered through the stone giving the
“starry” effect referred to by Pliny.

Lapis lazuli usually occurs in limestone but in connection with granite
so that it seems to be a product of the eruption of the granite through
the limestone. The lapis lazuli of best quality comes from Asia, the
mines being at Badakschan in the northeastern part of Afghanistan on the
Oxus river. The mining is done by building great fires on the rocks and
throwing water on them to break them. The yield at present is small, not
over 1,500 pounds a year being obtained. The lapis lazuli from these
mines is distributed all over Asia, going chiefly to China and Russia.
The price realized is said to be from $50 to $75 per pound. Lapis lazuli
of poorer quality comes from a region at the western end of Lake Baikal
in Siberia. The only other important locality is in the Andes Mts. of
Chile near the boundary of the Argentine Republic. This material is not
much used at the present time on account of its poor quality but it was
employed by the Incas for decorative purposes. One mass 24×12×8 in.,
doubtless from this locality is now in the Field Columbian Museum, and
was found in a Peruvian grave. It is one of the largest masses of lapis
lazuli known.

The walls of a palace at Zarskoe-Selo, Russia, built by order of
Catherine II are entirely lined with slabs of lapis lazuli and amber.
Pulverized the stone was used as a tonic and purgative by the Greeks and
Romans. The name lapis lazuli means blue stone. Armenian stone is
another term by which the stone is known in trade.

       [Illustration: AMBER, MALACHITE, LAPIS-LAZULI AND AZURITE.
                      LOANED BY FOOTE MINERAL CO.]

  First row:
    Lapis-lazuli, polished (Siberia).
    Amber, rolled pebble (Coast of Baltic Sea).
  Second row:
    Amber, polished, showing insects enclosed (Coast of Baltic Sea).
  Third row:
    Malachite and Azurite, polished (Arizona).
    Malachite, polished (Ural Mountains).
  Fourth row:
    Malachite, polished (Australia).
    Malachite (Arizona).


                                 AMBER.

Few minerals have been longer in favor for ornamental purposes than
amber. Among remains of the earliest peoples such as the Egyptians and
Cave-dwellers of Switzerland it is found in carved masses indicating
that it was highly prized. The Phenicians are said to have sailed to the
Baltic for the purpose of procuring it, while the Greeks’ knowledge of
it is indelibly preserved in our word electricity derived from their
word elektron. The high favor in which the ancients regarded amber has
hardly endured however to the present time. Were it not for its use for
mouthpieces of pipes and other smokers’ articles and the occasional
amber necklace to be seen, amber would hardly be known among the present
generation in our country.

Amber is a fossil gum of trees of the genus Pinus and is thus a
vegetable rather than mineral product. In color it is yellow, varying to
reddish, brownish and whitish. Its hardness is 2 to 2.5, it being
slightly harder than gypsum and softer than calcite. It cannot be
scratched by the finger nail but easily and deeply with a knife. It is
also brittle. Its specific gravity is scarcely greater than that of
water, the exact specific weight being 1.050-1.096. It thus almost
floats in water, especially sea water. It is transparent to translucent.
On being heated it becomes soft at 150 degrees and at 250 degrees to 300
degrees melts. It also burns readily and at a low temperature, a fact
which has given rise to the name of bernstein by which the Germans know
it, and to one of the Roman names for it, lapis ardens. Rubbed with a
cloth it becomes strongly electric, attracting bits of paper, etc. As
already noted, our word electricity comes from the Greek for amber, this
seeming to be one of the first minerals in which this property was
noted. Amber being a poor conductor of heat feels warm rather than cold
in the hand, contrary to most minerals. It is attacked but slowly by
alcohol, ether and similar solvents, a property by which it may be
distinguished from most modern gums and some other fossil ones. In
composition it is an oxygenated hydrocarbon, the percentages of these
elements being in an average sample, carbon 78.94, hydrogen 10.53 and
oxygen 10.53. The mineralogical name of amber is succinite, a word
derived from the Latin succum, juice. One of its constituents is the
organic acid called succinic acid.

The present source of most of the amber of commerce is the Prussian
Coast of the Baltic Sea, between Memel and Dantzig, although it is found
as far west as Schleswig-Holstein and the Frisian Islands and even
occasionally on the shores of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. From time
immemorial pieces of amber have been cast upon the shore in these
localities and their collection and sale has afforded a livelihood to
coast dwellers. Such amber is called sea stone or sea amber and is
superior to that obtained by mining, since it is usually of uniform
quality and not discolored and altered on the surface. Owing to its
lightness the amber is often found entangled in seaweed and the
collectors are accustomed to draw in masses of seaweed and search them
for amber. Amber so obtained is called scoopstone, nets being sometimes
used to gather in the seaweed. In the marshy regions men on horse-back,
called amber riders, follow the outgoing tide and search for the yellow
gum. It is also searched for by divers to some extent. From the earliest
times the title to this amber has vested in the State and its collecting
has been done either under State control or as at present when a tax is
levied by the government upon it. This tax is levied on the amber that
is mined as well as that obtained from the sea and brings a revenue at
the present time of about $200,000.

Up to 1860 the methods of procuring amber were largely confined to
obtaining it in the manner above noted. As it was evident however that
the sea amber came from strata underneath and that if either by dredging
or mining these strata could be reached a much larger supply could be
obtained, exploration was carried on by mining methods with successful
results, and the principal amount of the amber of commerce is now so
obtained. The strata as shown in the mines of Samland, the rectangular
peninsula of East Prussia where most of the mining is carried on, are:
First, a bed of sand; below this a layer of lignite with sand and clay,
and following this a stratum of greensand, fifty or sixty feet in
thickness. While all these strata contain scattered pieces of amber, it
is at the bottom of the greensand layer that the amber chiefly occurs,
in a stratum four or five feet thick and of very dark color. It is
called the “blue earth.” This stratum is of Tertiary age and there can
be no doubt that its amber represents gum fallen from pines which grew
at this period and whose woody remains are represented to some extent in
the layer of lignite. It is probably true as Zaddach remarks that the
amber has been collected here from older deposits. One of the most
interesting proofs of the vegetable origin of amber is the occurrence in
it of insects, sometimes with a leg or wing separated a little distance
from the body, showing that it had struggled to escape. These insects
include spiders, flies, ants and beetles, while the feather of a bird
has even been found thus preserved. Indeed the amber deposits have
furnished important contributions to our knowledge of Tertiary life.
Inasmuch as the pieces bearing such remains are valued more highly than
ordinary amber, unscrupulous persons have at times found profitable
employment in boring cavities into pieces of amber, introducing flies or
lizards into them and then filling up the hole with some modern gum of
the same color. It is said that all amphibious or water animals seen in
amber have been introduced in this way.

Besides the counterfeiting of the inclusions of amber there are several
substitutes for the gum itself. These are chiefly celluloid and glass,
the substitution of the former being dangerous if used for the
embellishment of pipes, on account of its inflammatory character.
Celluloid can be distinguished from amber by the fact that when rubbed
it does not become electric and gives off an odor of camphor instead of
the somewhat aromatic one of amber. It is also quickly attacked by
alcohol or ether, and when scraped with a knife gives a shaving rather
than a powder as amber does. Glass can be distinguished by its cold
feeling and greater specific gravity.

Besides these substitutes it has been found possible by heating and
pressing the scraps of amber not large enough for carving to make them
into a homogeneous mass which is sometimes sold as amber and sometimes
as amberoid. Amber is worked to desired shapes by turning it on lathes
or by cutting by hand. By heating it in linseed oil it becomes soft so
that it can be bent and often all opaque spots can be made to disappear
by such treatment. The amber which is most highly prized of any in the
world comes from Sicily. Eight hundred dollars have been paid for pieces
of this no larger than walnuts, making their value nearly equal to that
of diamonds. The beauty of the Sicilian amber consists in the variety of
colors which it displays, blood red and chrysolite green being not
uncommon, and the fact that these often exhibit a brilliant
fluorescence, glowing within with a light of different color from the
exterior. Chemically the Sicilian amber is not the same as the Prussian
as it contains less succinic acid and is somewhat more soluble. In other
respects it is not essentially different. It occurs chiefly on the
eastern and southeastern coasts being washed up in a manner very similar
to the Prussian amber.

Amber has been found in several places in the United States, but there
is little of commercial value. It is mostly connected with the
Cretaceous glauconitic or green sand deposits of New Jersey, fragments
being frequently found there. This amber is of yellow color but not so
compact or lustrous as foreign amber. Amber has also been reported from
the marls of North Carolina, some of the coal beds of Wyoming and in
connection with lignite in Alaska. In the latter region the natives are
said to carve it into rude beads.

Amber occurs in small quantities in several countries of Europe, such as
near Basel in Switzerland, near Paris in France, and near London in
England. It is also found in many parts of Asia, these localities being
a source of supply to the Asiatic countries such as China and India.
Occasionally amber is obtained from Mexico which has the beautiful
fluorescence of the Sicilian article, though the exact locality whence
it comes is not known. Specimens of carved amber are found among the
relics of the Aztecs and it is probable that they used it for incense.
The early use of amber by European peoples has already been referred to.
There are references to it in the most ancient literature and worked
masses of it are found among human relics of the greatest antiquity. Up
to comparatively modern times it was an important article of commerce
among widely scattered peoples and had much to do with bringing about
communication between them. Together with tin it was one of the chief
objects which led the Romans to penetrate the Gallic regions to the west
and north of the Mediterranean and Pliny says that “it had been so
highly valued as an object of luxury that a very diminutive human effigy
made of amber had been known to sell at a higher price than living men,
even in stout and vigorous health.” One of the most elaborate of the
Greek myths is that which accounts for the origin of amber. It runs in
this wise:—Phaethon, undertaking to drive the chariot of his sun god
father, Helios, lost control of his steeds and approaching too near the
earth set it on fire. Jupiter to stop him launched a thunder-bolt at
Phaethon and he fell dead into the Eridanus. His sisters lamenting his
death were changed into poplars and their tears became amber.

In the Odyssey one of Penelope’s admirers gives her an amber necklace,
and Martial compares the fragrance of amber to the fragrance of a kiss.
Milton writes of amber and Shakespeare mentions it both in “Love’s Labor
Lost” and “The Taming of the Shrew.”

Necklaces of amber are popular wedding presents among the peasants of
Prussia and they form an important feature of the ornaments worn by many
African chiefs.

The properties assigned to amber both as a charm and as a medicine have
been many. From the earliest times it has been used as an amulet, being
supposed to bring good luck and to protect the wearer against the evil
eye of an enemy. Necklaces of amber beads are used to this day as
preventive or curative of sore throat and the Shah of Persia wears
around his neck a cube of amber reported to have fallen from heaven in
the time of Mohammed, which is supposed to have the power of rendering
its wearer invulnerable. Amber was also taken internally in former times
as a cure for asthma, dropsy, toothache and other diseases and to this
day is prescribed by physicians in France, Germany and Italy for
different ailments.

The use of amber for artistic and decorative purposes has declined
considerably since the Middle Ages, but magnificent illustrations of its
employment for these purposes are to be seen in many European museums,
notably the Green Vaults of Dresden.

Though so soft and easily destructible a substance it endures with
ordinary care as well as the hardest stone, and works of art formed from
amber are as well preserved as any to be found.


                               MALICHITE.

Malachite is a green opaque mineral whose color indicates a salt of
copper. It is a carbonate of copper containing water, the percentages
being in the typical mineral, cupric oxide 71.9, carbon dioxide 19.9,
and water 8.2. It is the common form which copper assumes when it or
even its ores oxidize in the air. Many of the green stains on rocks or
minerals can be correctly referred to malachite. It is only valued for
ornamental purposes however when it occurs in compact masses usually
exhibiting concentric layers. Malachite in this form takes a fine
polish. Malachite is not a hard mineral, its hardness being between 3.5
and 4. It can therefore be scratched with a knife. It is comparatively
heavy, weighing four times as much as an equal bulk of water. When
heated before the blowpipe it fuses easily, coloring the flame green. By
heating long enough on charcoal it can be made to yield a globule of
copper. It is easily attacked by common acids, causing effervescence of
carbon dioxide. This test can be used to distinguish it from the
silicate of copper, chryscolla, which has the same color.

Besides its occurrence in massive forms as noted above Malachite not
uncommonly occurs in tufts and rosettes incrusting other minerals. This
is an especially common occurrence in mines in Arizona and affords
specimens of great beauty especially when the green tufts of malachite
are seen upon brown limonite, for then the appearance of moss on wood is
closely simulated. Such material is of course too fragile to be used for
decorative purposes.

Malachite is prepared for ornamental use by sawing masses of the
character of those previously referred to into thin strips which are
then fastened as a veneer on vessels of copper, slate or other stone
previously turned to the desired shape. Putting pieces together so that
neither by their outlines nor color will it appear that they are
patchwork requires a high degree of skill and such work is done almost
exclusively in Russia. Table tops, vases and various other vessels are
manufactured in this way and form objects of great beauty. The pillars
of the Church of Isaac in St. Petersburg are of malachite prepared in
this way and there are similar pillars in the Church of St. Sophia,
Constantinople, said to have been taken from the Temple of Diana at
Ephesus.

Occasionally the desired object can be turned from a single piece of
malachite, but pieces of sufficient size for this purpose are rare.
Bauer describes one piece found in the Gumeschewsk mines which was 17½
feet long, 8 feet broad and 3½ feet high and compact throughout. This is
probably the largest single mass known.

Russia furnishes most of the malachite suitable for work of this kind
and the art of cutting and fitting the stone is possessed almost
exclusively in that country. Most of the Russian malachite has been
obtained from the mines of Nischne-Tagilsk and Bogoslowsk in the
northern Urals, or Gumeschewsk in the southern. The supply has gradually
decreased till now only the Nischne-Tagilsk mines are productive. The
malachite is said to occur there in veins in limestone.

Besides the Urals, fine malachite suitable for cutting comes from
Australia. Burra Burra in New South Wales and Peak Downs in Queensland
are localities whence good Australian malachite is obtained.

Malachite as a mineral is common in copper mines in the United States
but it is only in Arizona that it is found of a quality suitable for
cutting. A variety from Morenci, Arizona, consists of malachite and
azurite and gives a combination of green and blue that is unique and
pleasing. (See colored plate.) Less use has been made of such material
for ornamental purposes than might have been for most of it has
unfortunately been smelted as a copper ore.

Malachite is rarely used for rings or small jewels but is cut into
earrings, bracelets, inkstands and similar objects. Art objects of
malachite seem to have been in much favor with Russian emperors as gifts
to contemporaneous sovereigns, and so bestowed are to be seen in
numerous palaces in Europe. Perhaps the most famous of these gifts is
the set of center tables, mantel pieces, ewers, basins and vases
presented by the Emperor Alexander to Napoleon and still to be seen in
an apartment of the Grand Trianon at Versailles.

Malachite was well known to the ancients and like other precious stones
was worn as an amulet. It was called pseudo-emerald by Theophrastus. Its
name is from the Greek malake, the word for mallows and was given
doubtless on account of its green color.

Azurite, the blue mineral which often accompanies malachite is likewise
a hydrous carbonate of copper and occasionally occurs so that it can be
used with malachite for ornamental purposes.

                                             Oliver Cummings Farrington.

                 [Illustration: LEAF BUTTERFLY (INDIA).
                          (Kallima paralekta).
                               Life-size.
                       FROM COL. F. M. WOODRUFF.]



                          THE LEAF BUTTERFLY.
                         (_Kallima paralekta_.)


There are many instances of protective imitation or mimicry in nature,
but none are more pronounced, more perfect or more interesting than that
shown by the leaf butterflies. Briefly defined, the phenomenon of
mimicry is that relation which obtains when “a certain species of plants
or animal possesses some special means of defense from its enemies and
some other species inhabiting the same district or a part of it, and not
itself provided with the same special means of defense, closely
resembles the first species in all external points of form and color,
though often very different in structure and unrelated in the biological
order.” Many animals, such as some tree-lizards, resemble the colors of
the environment in which they live, either for protection from enemies
or in order that they may more easily catch their prey. Some arboreal
snakes hang from the boughs of trees like the drooping ends of creeping
vines.

The coloring of the under surface of the wings of the leaf butterflies
very closely resembles the color of a dried leaf. As dried leaves vary
in color and appearance, so do the butterflies vary in the color and
markings of their wings. It is said that even in the same species, the
under surface of the wings may be of various shades of brown, yellow,
ash and red. But the imitation of the dried leaf does not alone rest on
the color, for often, here and there, may be seen small groups of dark
colored spots which strikingly resemble the patches of fungi that are so
common on leaves. The mimicry of this butterfly is purely protective and
not for the purpose of deceiving its prey.

Dr. Alfred Russel Wallace in his “Malay Archipelago” writes of this
butterfly as he found it in its native element. He says, “This species
was not uncommon in dry woods and thickets, and I often endeavored to
capture it without success, for after flying a short distance it would
enter a bush among dry or dead leaves, and however carefully I crept up
to the spot, I could never discover it till it would suddenly start out
again, and then disappear in a similar place. At length I was fortunate
enough to see the exact spot where the butterfly settled, and though I
lost sight of it for some time, I at length discovered that it was close
before my eyes, but that in its position of repose it so closely
resembled a dead leaf attached to a twig as almost certain to deceive
the eye, even when gazing full upon it. I captured several specimens on
the wing, and was able fully to understand the way in which this
wonderful resemblance is produced.

“The ends of the upper wings terminate in a fine point, just as the
leaves of many tropical shrubs and trees are pointed, while the lower
wings are somewhat more obtuse, and are lengthened out into a short
thick tail. Between these two points there runs a dark curved line,
exactly representing the midrib of a leaf, and from this radiate on each
side a few oblique marks, which well imitate the lateral veins. These
marks are more clearly seen on the outer portion of the base of the
wings and on the inner side toward the middle and apex, and they are
produced by striae and markings which are very common in allied species,
but which are here modified and strengthened so as to imitate more
exactly the venation of a leaf.

“The habit of the species is always to rest on a dead twig and among
dead or dried leaves, and in this position, with the wings closely
pressed together, their outline is exactly that of a moderately sized
leaf, slightly curved or shrivelled. The tail of the hind wing forms a
perfect stalk, and touches the stick while the insect is supported by
the middle pair of legs, which are not noticed among the twigs and
fibers that surround it. The head and antennae are drawn back between
the wings, so as to be quite concealed, and there is a little notch
hollowed out at the very base of the wings, which allows the head to be
retracted sufficiently. All these varied details combine to produce a
disguise that is so complete and marvellous as to astonish everyone who
observes it; and the habits of the insects are such as to utilize all
these peculiarities, and render them available in such a manner as to
remove all doubt of the purpose of this singular case of mimicry, which
is undoubtedly a protection to the insect. Its strong, swift flight is
sufficient to save it from its enemies when on the wing, but if it were
equally conspicuous when at rest, it could not long escape extinction
owing to the attacks of the insectivorous birds and reptiles that abound
in tropical forests.”



                               IN AUTUMN.


  The waves come galloping up the shore,
    The trees are flinging their arms about.
  All night I have heard the wind’s loud roar,
    And the surf call back with angry shout.

  And after the wind a grieving rain
    Comes sighing and sobbing past my door,
  “The summer flowers I seek in vain,
    Is my work of love forever o’er?”

  One day ago and a soft sun shone,
    Butterflies flitted through quiet air,
  But now both they and the birds are gone
    And soon will the trees be stripped and bare.

  Though winds blow cold and the skies are gray,
    The sun of summer still shines for me,
  For naught can drive from my heart away,
    The memory of bird and flower and tree.
                                                   Grace Wickham Curran.



             BEAUTIFUL VINES TO BE FOUND IN OUR WILD WOODS.


As the summer closes and the trees, flowers and vines have all reached
their greatest perfection, have fulfilled their mission in life, and in
addition have beautified all the spring and summer our lawns and
verandas, and have been admired as wonderful children of the florists’
skill, how many of us know that many of them and especially most of
these beautiful vines, could be found in our wild woods just for the
looking? That we could with our own hands transplant them to our homes
and have just as beautiful vines on our little porches and verandas as
any millionaire on our boulevards?

One vine that we see covering our stateliest mansions and growing over
our most humble little cottage, is common in all the woods of the United
States from Maine to Florida, from New York to California, is the
Ampelopsis quinquefolia—or Virginia creeper—American ivy or woodbine—its
name changing with the portion of the country you happen to be when you
find it, for we see it frequently under its various names in
cultivation, and it certainly grows in great abundance and in the most
graceful ways in our woods, over trees and shrubs and old rock fences,
clinging in the most loving way to any surface with which it comes in
contact. It belongs to the order Vitaceæ or Vine family, which is a
family of climbing shrubs, and to which all of our wild grapes belong.

Its name Ampelopsis is from two Greek words, meaning vine and
appearance; quinquefolia, five leaved or fingered; its leaves being
alternate and compound, with five leaflets, long and pointed, radiating
from the center. It may be that it was meant to signify that our five
fingers may handle it recklessly and not run any risk of poisoning, as
so many people are fearful of being—they being unable to distinguish it
from the Rhus radicans or poison ivy—which belongs with the sumachs, and
has only three leaflets or divisions in its leaves. This poison ivy
could be so easily exterminated if every one who finds a plant of it
would dig it up and burn it. It surely is as much one’s duty to help
exterminate a poisonous plant as it is to cultivate and nourish an
ornamental, beautiful, harmless one. Yet there is hardly a park in our
larger cities where you will not find the Rhus radicans or poison ivy
growing.

In the Virginia creeper we will find tendrils growing from the base of
its leaves, that swell at their tips into sucker like disks, by means of
which the plant clings firmly to walls and trees in its extensive
climbing. The flowers of this beautiful vine are small, inconspicuous
and greenish in color, with five concave thick spreading petals, with a
calyx slightly five toothed, a two celled ovary or seed vessel, each
cell containing two seeds. It blooms early in June and in the early
autumn, when its leaves are turning the most exquisite shades of scarlet
and crimson, these little flowers develop into clusters of deep blue or
purple berries about the size of peas.

The whole vine is really more beautiful in the autumn than it is in the
spring, and it surely does more than its part in making our American
woodlands such great expanses of gorgeous coloring in the fall as to
attract the attention and remarks of all visiting foreigners.

                                                     Miss J. O. Cochran.



                       SOME SNAILS OF THE OCEAN.


The Marine snails outnumber all of the other mollusks and their shells
are far more beautiful, those in the tropics having the most gaudy
colors imaginable. The animals are all formed on the same plan although
each family has some peculiarity not shared by its relatives. They are
found in all parts of the world, and in all climates. While the majority
of species live either between tides on near low water, there are not a
few which live in the abysses of the ocean and have been dredged at a
depth of three thousand fathoms, a distance of over three miles. The
average depth at which mollusks are found in any number is about one
thousand fathoms. The variability of marine snails is so great that only
a few typical forms can be mentioned.

The Limpet or Patella is a familiar mollusk to many visitors at the sea
shore. This shell is a depressed, conical, oval disk, looking not unlike
a miniature shield. They live on rocks, to which they tenaciously cling.
Some experiments which were made on the English limpet several years ago
showed that they could sustain a weight of thirty pounds attached to
their shell without being pulled from the rock. The animal seems to have
a pretty clear idea of local geography, for it invariably returns to the
same place after its excursions for food and the rock in some localities
has been hollowed out to a considerable depth by the continuous dwelling
thereon of the limpet. If the surface of the rock is uneven the shell
grows in such a manner as to fit these inequalities. While grazing along
the sides of a rock covered with fine sea weed it will leave a track
like a worm and will clear off quite an area in a very short space of
time. This track is made by the radula, which is very long and is thrust
out and loaded with food which it carries to the mouth. When at rest the
radula is coiled like a watch spring. On the British coast the limpet is
used as an article of food and primitive man not only ate the mollusks
but made a necklace by stringing the shells together. There are several
hundred species of limpet-like shells and they are found in all parts of
the world, especially on rocky shores.

A family of shells closely related to the limpets is the Fissurellidæ,
or keyhole limpet, distinguished from the last family by having a slit
or foramen in the apex of the shell, through which the waste products of
digestion are discharged. This slit resembles a key-hole and for this
reason they are called key-hole limpets. The shells of Fissurella are
generally rougher than those of Patella and they live, as a rule, in
warmer seas. In habits the key-hole limpet resembles the limpet, living
in one rocky place and making excursions for food. In the young shell
the spire is without a perforation, this appearing as the shell
increases in age. There are over one hundred species of key-hole
limpets, several handsome species of which inhabit Florida and the West
Indies.

The Haliotis or abalone shells abound in many parts of the world and are
widely known for their beauty. The largest and finest shells live on the
coast of California where they attain a length of ten inches. The shells
are flat, though made in the form of a spiral and are perforated near
the edge of the last whorl, which is many times the size of all the rest
combined, and through this perforation the water from the gills,
together with the waste products of the animal, are poured out. As the
shell increases in size the old holes are filled up and new ones are
formed. The inside of the shell is resplendent with iridescent colors,
particularly about the region of the huge muscle scar, and when the
outside is polished they become objects fit for the palace of a king. A
large part of the mother-of-pearl is furnished by these shells and a
vast number are annually exported for the purpose of making pearl
buttons. In England they are called “Ormers” but the correct name, if we
translate the generic title, is “Sea-ear” or ear-shells. To the Chinese
the abalone is an object of great economic importance and they gather
them in large quantities, dry the animals and use them as food,
principally in the form of soup, which is said to be very delicious. The
abalone clings to the rocks with terrible power and many a lonely
fisherman has been drowned while gathering this mollusk, by getting his
fingers caught between the shell and the rock.

                [Illustration: SOME SNAILS OF THE OCEAN.
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]

  Top row:
    Strombus puris dianae (Philippines).
    Bulla ampulla (Philippines).
    Harpa nobilis (Philippines).
  Second row:
    Littorina angulifera (United States).
    Fissurides listeri (United States).
  Third row:
    Nerita peloronta (Florida).
    Crepidula fornicata (United States).
    Terebra lamarckii (Sandwich Islands).
    Turbo petholatus (Indian Ocean).
  Fourth row:
    Nitra politificalis (Indian Ocean).
    Haliotis assimilis (California).
    Cerithalma aluco (East Indies).

There are three families of shells which are much sought after by
conchologists, these are the top shells (Trochidæ), the turban shells
(Turbinidæ) and the pheasant shells (Phasionellidæ). Altogether they
embrace nearly five hundred species which live from the shore between
tides to the lowest depths of the ocean. The shells of the top shells
vary to a wonderful degree; some are large, others small; some are
perfectly plain and smooth while others are ornamented by impressed
lines, ribs and granules, some are very thin and delicate while others
are large and massive. Many of the species are richly colored with
brown, purple, black, green and yellowish, and all are more or less
pearly. They are all vegetable eaters.

One of the best known is Trochus niloticus, a large, massive shell
striped with brown, which is seen on the mantle of many households. One
of the prettiest top shells is the ringed top shell (Calliostoma
annulatum) found abundantly in some parts of California. The surface is
marked by several rows of delicate points and the suture is bordered by
a rich line of purple. It lives in the seaweed off shore and may be seen
in pleasant weather crawling about among the weeds. During storms or
rough weather this frail mollusk sinks to the bottom of the sea. The top
shells inhabit many parts of the world, the coasts of Florida and
California producing several very handsome and interesting species.

The Turban shells include many fine and large shells, a notable species
being Turbo marmoratus, the “green turban” of the dealers. This shell is
about seven inches in diameter, rich green outside and pearly inside. It
is largely used for mother-of-pearl work and for making pearl buttons.
It is said that the early Scandinavian monarchs used this shell as a
drinking cup. At the present time it is used for ornamental purposes,
richly mounted. In Japan the animal is used for making chop suey, being
cut in little dice-like pieces.

The Pheasant shells are beautifully variegated with red, black, white
and brown and are very interesting animals to study alive. When
crawling, the left side of the foot moves forward while the right
remains stationary, and when the right side moves the left remains
stationary. This curious mode of progression has been likened to the
canter of a horse. The larger species, with beautifully variegated
shells, inhabit Australia, while the smaller species live in the
Mediterranean Sea, South Africa, the West Indies and California.

The Neritas are very abundant in tropical and semi-tropical countries
where they live on rocks and stones near low water mark. They are said
to be nocturnal and spend the night feeding on seaweed. The shell of the
Nerita is solid and heavy and variously ornamented with ribs, pustules
and color patterns. The “bleeding tooth shell” (Nerita peloronta), so
named from the presence of a red spot near one of the columella teeth,
is a typical member of this genus. A species living in the Philippine
Islands is said to climb trees to a considerable height.

The family Cerithiidae comprises some very handsome shells which inhabit
salt, brackish and fresh water. They are found throughout the world but
the finest species live in the tropics. The spire is very long and is
composed of many whorls. Some shells are smooth and polished, while
others are marked by frills, knobs, spines and ribs. The name Cerithium
is from the Greek word ceration, meaning a small horn, and is used
because of the horn-like shape of the shell. This family has its giants
and also its pygmies, the latter being pretty, reticulated shells from
one fourth to three fourths of an inch in length, living among the eel
grass and other vegetation along the shore. There are over a hundred
species of these small shells, and some when handled discharge a bright
green fluid.

Whoever visits the seashore is bound to become intimately acquainted
with the Littorinas, or periwinkles, for they cover the rocky shores
everywhere, millions of their rounded shells clinging to the rocks when
the tide goes out. They feed on the algae which grows on the shore. They
are found in both brackish and fresh water. The common periwinkle
(Littorina littorea) is extremely abundant on the shores of southern
Europe and the northern part of the United States. In England it is used
as an article of food and it is said that nearly two thousand tons are
gathered annually and that a thousand persons are employed in capturing
it. In London and other large cities they are sold on the street, the
animal being picked out with a pin. It is used for bait in some of the
fisheries and the oystermen plant many bushels on their oyster beds
yearly to keep the seaweeds from accumulating. From these facts it will
appear that this periwinkle is of considerable economic importance. All
of the species are amphibious, living for a long time out of the water.

Of all the gastropods none excel the curious Xenophora in point of
oddity. The shell is in general form like that of the top shell, but as
it grows it attaches to itself small stones and pieces of shell, so that
when the animal is fully grown it looks like a heap of dead shells and
pebbles. This habit is in all probability to conceal the animal from its
enemies. They are called “carriers” and the individuals with shells
attached to their house are called Conchologists, while those with
stones attached are called Mineralogists. The fragments of shells are
attached with concave sides upward so as not to impede the animal during
locomotion. The carriers are not able to glide like other mollusks,
their feet being very small. They progress by lifting the front part of
the foot to an object and then drawing the hind part toward it. In this
way they jump or scramble along in a ludicrous manner.

Related to the “carriers” are the slipper-shells (Crepidula), the
horse-hoof shell (Hipponyx) and the bonnet-limpet (Capulus). The slipper
shells are found in many parts of the world and are particularly
abundant on the Atlantic and Pacific shores of the United States. The
shell is flat and somewhat limpet-like, and across one end, near the
apex, is a little shelf which gives it the appearance of a Chinese
slipper. They adhere to stones, shells, crabs and any submerged object,
and modify the form of their shell to fit the inequalities of their
resting place. Thus a Crepidula on a Pecten shell will be ribbed while
the same species on a stone will be perfectly smooth. Frequently they
may be seen piled one upon another in tiers of six or more. The animal
generally feeds on seaweed but has been known to eat other mollusks. The
bonnet limpets also belong to this family, as do the cup-and-saucer
limpets (Calyptraea).

The family Strombidae contains many large and interesting shells. The
animal is very powerful and is able to leap a considerable distance. Mr.
Arthur Adams, a celebrated conchologist, thus describes its method of
leaping: “Planting firmly its powerful, narrow operculum against any
resisting surface, it insinuates it under the edge of its shell and by a
vigorous effort, throwing itself forwards, carrying its great heavy
shell with it, the animal rolls along in a series of jumps in a most
singular and grotesque manner.” The eyes of the animal are greatly
developed. The shells of Strombus vary greatly in form and color. In
some the outer lip is simply turned over while in others it is modified
by little spines or projections. The aperture is frequently colored
pink, purple or yellowish. The large Strombus gigas is used in carving
cameos, its shell being made up of several layers of different colors.
It is also ground to powder for the manufacture of porcelain and in the
West Indies the animal is used as an article of food.

The Auger or steeple shells, belonging to the family Terebridae, have
long been objects of interest not only to the naturalist but to the
layman who places them in his house as ornaments. There are about two
hundred species which are found in many parts of the world, although
chiefly confined to tropical seas. The shells are very long and are
composed of many tightly wound whorls, which are smooth in some species
and longitudinally ribbed in others. They vary also in color, being
yellowish, grayish or brownish, and many species are spotted with red or
white.

A group of handsome mollusks live in the tropics whose shells have been
named Mitra by the naturalist Lamarck from their fancied resemblance to
the Pope’s miter. The shells are fusiform, very thick and heavy and
beautifully ornamented with various colors. The surface of the shells of
some species is smooth, others granulose and not a few spirally lined
and longitudinally ribbed, while the columella is marked by several
heavy plaits or folds. There are about two hundred species of this
genus, living in all parts of the world but being more numerous in
tropical regions. The Philippine Islands seem to be the metropolis of
this mollusk, as of others, and their shores fairly teem with the
graceful creatures. Some of them live among the coral reefs, concealing
themselves in holes or among the sea weeds or under stones. Others live
on the sandy or muddy beaches in which they bury themselves when the
tide recedes.

The earlier naturalists were fond of applying significant names to the
shells which they described and the Mitras have received their share.
Thus we have the episcopal miter, having a white shell with brilliant
red spots and flame; the papal miter, with a brown-spotted white shell;
the pontifical miter, with a red-spotted shell and a coronated spire,
and lastly the cardinal’s miter. These four species might be called the
ecclesiastical quartette.

The Harp shells, although few in species, are among the most showy of
the marine snails. The shells are large and marked by many elevated ribs
extending longitudinally, giving the effect of the strings on a harp,
hence the name of the genus. The colors are different shades of brown
which form neat festoons of dark brown lines between the ribs. The inner
lip of the shell is marked by a dark brown spot and another spot is
frequently developed near the upper part of the whorl. In one species
(Harpa rosea) the shell is marked by several rosy spots and tints, and
is very beautiful. The animal of this genus is no less interesting than
the shell, being variegated with many beautiful colors. The foot is
long, crescent shaped in front and becomes narrowed to a point behind.
The animal is said to voluntarily break off a piece of its shell when
irritated, as it is not able to retreat within the shell, being
destitute of an operculum. It is very active and crawls about with an
easy, graceful motion. Harpa lives only in the tropics and is found in
the Indian and Pacific Oceans and on the west coast of America.

The Bubble shells include within their number many curious and
interesting animals. The typical genus, Bulla, numbers some fifty
species of smooth, globular shells, frequently mottled like a bird’s
egg. The aperture is as long as the shell and the outer lip is thin and
sharp. The animal is large and fleshy and partly envelops the shell. The
bubble shells love sandy mud flats in which they bury themselves or find
concealment under masses of sea weed. Like many land shells they exude
vast quantities of mucus to moisten their skin when the tide is out.
These animals are carnivorous, living on bivalves and snails, which are
swallowed whole and reduced to fragments by the huge, calcareous
gizzard. Not all the mollusks of this order have true shells. The
so-called sea hares, have large, flabby bodies in which is lodged a
small, oblong, transparent shell. This animal lives among the sea weed,
feeding upon the weed as well as upon mollusks and other animals. It
discharges a violet liquid when handled which caused the ancients to
believe that it was poisonous. The old Greek philosophers wrote a great
deal on this subject, believing that to even touch the animal with a
stick would cause death. Though repulsive looking creatures they are
perfectly harmless and are even eaten raw by the natives of the Friendly
and the Society Islands.

                                                    Frank Collins Baker.



                          JOIN A SUNRISE CLUB.


Join a sunrise club? as is proposed in Birds and Nature for January. Of
course I will. I have for years belonged to one of two members—my
daughter and myself. Now we will transfer our membership to the new club
that is to have members all over the country.

Some of our winter sunsets here in Nebraska are glorious. I am
especially fond of looking at them through the thousand interlaced
branches of the leafless trees. One can study tree forms and sunsets in
the same picture. I wonder that every person is not a sunset observer.
But some people are sunset blind, and some rarely ever look at the
heavens on starry nights. I sometimes meet people who lament the fact
that they cannot go to Colorado and see the mountains, of which they
hear such glowing accounts. I tell them that I do not pity them at all
so long as they do not care to gaze upon the most glorious sight which
mortal man is permitted to see—the starry heavens. They who do not
appreciate the stars and the sunsets would soon tire of the mountains.

Our summer sunsets are also glorious, but I miss some of them on account
of the trees around my house. I sometimes get on my wheel and go out of
town simply to see the sunset. Trees are nice, but they often hide from
us something nicer. When the towns of Colorado were new, twenty-five
years ago, we could see the mountains from all our west doors and
windows. Now in those same towns the people must go out into the street,
or even out of town, if they would see the mountains in summer.

But, say, let us have another club—a Sunrise Club. It may be asking too
much to make it operative for the whole year, so we will call it a
sunrise club for May and June. Those are the bird months of the year,
the months when some of us are out before sunrise morning after morning,
to watch the birds and to hear their wonderful concerts. Some of the
pleasantest memories of my life are of early morning trips on my wheel
to a certain grove in the edge of town. On those trips I have seen many
a new bird—new to me—and many a glorious sunrise.

Somehow birds and the rising of the sun fit into each other beautifully.

There is something inspiring and exhilarating about sunrise that is not
found in sunsets. The air is more free from dust; one’s body and mind,
yes, and soul, too, are in better mood to enjoy the sight; one is more
pleased to welcome the sun than to bid him good night; the birds seem to
think so and they give joyous welcome to the orb of day; all nature is
awakening; a great thing is happening; a new day, fresh from the hands
of its Maker, is being born. All hail, thou new creation! Welcome, thou
glorious orb of day! Let me join with the birds in singing thy praise.
Thou dost flood my soul with joy even as thou dost flood the earth with
light. Yes, let us have a sunrise club for May and June, except perhaps
the cloudy and stormy mornings when even the birds seem to lie abed. Who
will join?

                                                 Roselle Theodore Cross.

                        [Illustration: TOMATOES.
                      (Lycopersicum esculentum).]



                              THE TOMATO.
                      (_Lycopersicum esculentum._)


The tomato is an herbaceous plant, belonging to the nightshade family
(Solanaceae), the same family to which the potato and tobacco belong. It
has numerous rather large, showy, cut leaves, which are more or less
woolly, due to numerous hair cells or trichomes. It has numerous not
attractive or pleasant smelling flowers, with numerous yellow or red
berries, which vary in size and form. It is a native of South America,
but is very extensively cultivated in nearly all countries excepting the
cold northern regions. In 1596 it was introduced into England as an
ornamental and medicinal plant. Previous to about 1840 it was little
used in the United States, but now it is very extensively grown in green
houses, gardens and as a farm crop. For an early crop the seed is
planted in a hot bed, so that the plants may be of suitable size for
transplanting as soon as the danger of frost is past. The plants are
placed three or four feet apart in fairly rich soil and the soil
frequently tilled and kept free from weeds. The plants grow about three
or four feet high, become quite spreading and rank so that it is
desirable to tie the top portions to stakes driven into the ground to
keep the plants upright; this procedure is also of advantage in ripening
the fruit.

Botanically, the fruit is a berry, and before ripening is of a bright
green color, changing to red in the red variety and to yellow in the
yellow variety. The same plant bears flowers and ripe fruits, so that
fruits may be gathered for a considerable period.

Tomatoes have a peculiar flavor and somewhat acid taste when ripe. The
pulp contains many seeds. As with other garden plants, there are
numerous culture varieties. Some are no larger than cherries. Some are
pear-shaped; others large and flattened at the ends. Some are nearly
spherical, others quite irregular. The ripe fruits must be gathered
promptly, as they decay very readily and quickly.

At the present time the tomato is very little used medicinally, but is
very extensively used as an article of diet. Picked green they are
pickled either alone or mixed with other vegetables. The ripened fruit
is prepared in a multitude of ways. Peeled and sliced raw, adding salt,
pepper, vinegar and sugar. Boiled in soups, mixed with sauces, baked or
fried entire, fried or baked, mashed, mixed with stale bread and
seasoned, etc. There is a popular superstition that eating tomatoes to
excess causes cancer. Tomato preserves are highly relished by some;
likewise tomato pies.

The general opinion prevails among scientists, as well as laymen, that
the tomato is nourishing and wholesome. It is certainly harmless when
ripe, but the green pickled preparations are not nourishing nor
particularly wholesome. The notion that pickles aid digestion is a
mistaken one. The spices added may stimulate, but the green fruit
particles are not digestible.

The word tomato is of American Indian origin. The popular name love
apples (German Liebesæpfel) is a translation of the French pomme
d’amour, which is a corruption of pomo dei Mori, a name derived from
Morocco. The Germans also designate them apples of Paradise
(Paradiesæpfel).

The entire plant, including flowers and green fruit, have a somewhat
heavy, disagreeable odor, a characteristic common to many members of the
nightshade family.

                                                       Albert Schneider.



                               THE BROOK.


  I come from haunts of coot and hern,
    I make a sudden sally,
  And sparkle out among the fern,
    To bicker down a valley.

  By thirty hills I hurry down,
    Or slip between the ridges,
  By twenty thorps, a little town,
    And half a hundred bridges.

  I chatter over stony ways,
    In little sharps and trebles,
  I bubble into eddying bays,
    I babble on the pebbles.

  I wind about, and in and out,
    With here a blossom sailing,
  And here and there a lusty trout,
    And here and there a grayling.

                               * * * * * *

  I steal by lawns and grassy plots,
    I slide by hazel covers;
  I move the sweet forget-me-nots,
    That grow for happy lovers.

  I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
    Among my skimming swallows;
  I make the netted sunbeam dance
    Against my sandy shallows.

  And out again I curve and flow
    To join the brimming river;
  For men may come and men may go,
    But I go on forever.
                                                       —Alfred Tennyson.



                          Transcriber’s Notes


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

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

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

--Silently corrected a few palpable typos.





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