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Title: Birds and Nature, Vol. 12 No. 4 [September 1902] - Illustrated by Color Photography
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Birds and Nature, Vol. 12 No. 4 [September 1902] - Illustrated by Color Photography" ***

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                           BIRDS AND NATURE.
                   ILLUSTRATED BY COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY.
  Vol. XII.                  NOVEMBER, 1902.                     No. 4.



                               CONTENTS.


    NOVEMBER.                                                        145
    THE PILEATED WOODPECKER. (_Ceophloeus pileatus_.)                146
    SABBATH BY THE LAKE.                                             149
    “HAMMOCK STORIES.” MRS. FIG TREE’S FAMILY HISTORY.               150
    BUILDING FOR BIRD TENANTS.                                       152
    THE LIGHT OF THE LEAVES.                                         152
    THE STARLING. (_Sturnus vulgaris_.)                              155
    NOVEMBER.                                                        157
    THE ARKANSAS GOLDFINCH. (_Spinus psaltria_.)                     158
    TRAGEDY IN BIRD LIFE.                                            161
    THE LIFE OF AIRY WINGS.                                          162
    THE CELESTIAL BIRD.                                              164
    THE BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER. (_Charadrius squatarola_.)             167
    SOME BIRD WONDERS.                                               168
    THE DIAMOND.                                                     170
    INDIAN SUMMER.                                                   176
    THE HORNED TOADS.                                                179
    DOWN IN DIXIE-LAND.                                              180
    MY BAT.                                                          181
    THE ATLAS MOTH. (_Attacus atlas_.)                               182
    A BUTTERFLY.                                                     182
    WHEN BILLIE CAME BACK.                                           185
    BEAUTIFUL VINES TO BE FOUND IN OUR WILD WOODS. II.               186
    COMPTIE.                                                         187
    THE RIVER PATH.                                                  188
    EGG PLANT. (_Solanum esculentum_ L.)                             191
        There comes, from yonder height                              191
    A MYSTERY.                                                       192



                               NOVEMBER.


  When thistle-blows do lightly float
    About the pasture-height,
  And shrills the hawk a parting note,
    And creeps the frost at night,
  Then hilly ho! though singing so,
    And whistle as I may,
  There comes again the old heart pain
    Through all the livelong day.

  In high wind creaks the leafless tree
    And nods the fading fern:
  The knolls are dun as snow-clouds be,
    And cold the sun does burn.
  The ho, hollo! though calling so,
    I cannot keep it down;
  The tears arise unto my eyes,
    And thoughts are chill and brown.

  Far in the cedars’ dusky stoles,
    Where the sere ground-vine weaves,
  The partridge drums funereal rolls
    Above the fallen leaves.
  And hip, hip, ho! though cheering so,
    It stills no whit the pain;
  For drip, drip, drip, from bare branch-tip,
    I hear the year’s last rain.

  So drive the cold cows from the hill,
    And call the wet sheep in;
  And let their stamping clatter fill
    The barn with warming din.
  And ho, folk, ho! though it is so
    That we no more may roam,
  We still will find a cheerful mind
    Around the fire at home!
                                                      —C. L. Cleaveland.



                        THE PILEATED WOODPECKER.
                        (_Ceophloeus pileatus_.)


In years gone by, when large sections of the United States were covered
with deeply wooded virgin forests frequented only by denizens of the
wildwood, the Pileated Woodpecker was an abundant resident through
nearly all of North America. A bird citizen of the deeper and more
extensive forest regions, it has gradually retreated before the advance
of man, and it is a very rare visitant in the Eastern States and is only
found in the thickly settled and heavily timbered bottom lands which the
human intruder seldom penetrates. In the Southern States it is more
common and may be considered abundant in some sections.

Mr. Manly Hardy says: “The Pileated Woodpecker is a constant resident of
Maine, but rarely leaves the vicinity of large timber. It prefers places
where large hemlocks abound, especially those localities where a few
have been killed by camp building or small fires.” A strange feature of
its distribution is that, though it is distributed quite generally
throughout North America, there are many heavily timbered areas, well
suited to its habits, in which it is not found. If it occurs at all it
is very rare in the Southern Rocky Mountain regions, and is also rare in
Alaska.

The Pileated Woodpecker is a beautiful bird of great size and strength.
Its bill is both large and powerful. In fact, it is exceeded in size by
but one of the Woodpeckers—the ivory-billed species—which is a resident
of the Southern States. It is quite variable in its habits. In some
sections it is very shy and retiring, while in others it is quite tame
and becomes quite accustomed to man if not ruthlessly annoyed. Mr.
Hardy, writing of his experience with this bird in the woods of Maine,
says: “I once had two so tame they would allow me to sit within four
paces of them, and put my hand upon the tree when they were not ten feet
above my head.” Mr. Chapman, writing of its habits in the cypress swamps
of Florida, says: “There, contrary to the experience of Audubon, I found
it by no means a wild bird. Indeed, flickers were more difficult to
approach,” and he also writes: “I have called these birds to me by
simply clapping my slightly closed palms, making a sound in imitation of
their tapping on a resonant limb.” Another writer states that when
called in this manner, “they seem to lose their usual shyness and seem
stupefied at not finding their mate, as they had expected.”

Few birds are more useful in the preservation of the forest from
destruction by insect pests. “A workman is known by his chips.” The
energy and perseverance of the Pileated Woodpecker, as it seeks for the
destructive borers or other injurious insects, in the bark and wood of
afflicted trees, is amply attested by numerous denuded trees and by the
strips of bark and piles of chips lying on the ground. The hammering of
the more familiar species of woodpeckers is but a light tapping when
compared with the loud and resounding whacks of its powerful strokes. It
has been known to “chisel holes six or eight inches deep in cedar and
other soft-wood trees, and as large as the holes in a post-and-rail
fence,” and to “pick a large hole through two inches of frozen green
hemlock to get at the hollow interior.” It seldom, if ever, attacks
healthy trees and it is a constant resident of extensive forests that
have been swept by destructive fires and the bare tree trunks left to
decay.

                  [Illustration: PILEATED WOODPECKER.
                         (Ceophloeus pileatus).
                              ½ Life-size.
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]

Mr. Wilson, that enthusiastic student of bird life, writes in his usual
interesting manner concerning the habits of the Pileated Woodpecker. In
his “American Ornithology” he says: “Almost every old trunk in the
forest where it resides bears the marks of his chisel. Wherever it
perceives a tree beginning to decay, it examines it round and round and
with great skill and dexterity strips off the bark in sheets of five or
six feet in length, to get at the hidden cause of the disease, and
labors with a gayety and activity really surprising. I have seen it
separate the greatest part of the bark from a large, dead pine tree, for
twenty or thirty feet, in less than a quarter of an hour. Whether
engaged in flying from tree to tree, in digging, climbing or barking, he
seems perpetually in a hurry.”

During the mating season it is exceedingly noisy, not only spending much
time in drumming, but also frequently uttering its love notes which to
Mr. Nehrling sounds like “a-wuck, a-wuck.” Mr. Chapman describes their
usual call note as a “sonorous cow-cow-cow, repeated rather slowly many
times,” and when two birds come together they utter a “wichew note”
similar to that of the flicker. Its note of alarm has been likened to an
oft-repeated ha-he, ha-he, ha-he. The same observer hears in its call
note a constant repetition of a-wick, a-wick and at times
tack-tack-tack.

For its nest the Pileated Woodpecker excavates cavities in tree trunks
at heights varying from twenty to eighty feet above the ground. Both
sexes assist in the work of making the cavity which, Major Bendire
states, “vary from seven to thirty inches in depth, and is gradually
enlarged toward the bottom, where it is about six inches wide.” He also
says that it takes from seven to twelve days to complete it and when
completed it is quite an artistic piece of work, the walls of the cavity
being quite smooth and the edges of the entrance being nicely beveled.
The eggs are usually deposited on a layer of chips. Not infrequently
every chip, as soon as it is loosened, is removed to a distance in order
to remove every trace of the nesting site.

Birds as well as other animals are afflicted with parasitic worms. Mr.
Langdon found on dissecting a Pileated Woodpecker, a “slender tape-worm
about fifteen inches long and one-thirty-second of an inch wide,” and in
the tissues beneath the skin of the neck “were two thread-like, round
worms of a pale pinkish tint and about three-fourths of an inch in
length.”

Of this wonderful bird we may truthfully say with Mr. Langille, “Whether
one notes his strong flight, his elastic bounding and springing along
the trunks of the trees, the effective chiseling of his powerful bill,
or his sonorous cackling, one is particularly impressed with the spirit
and immense energy of the bird.”



                          SABBATH BY THE LAKE.


  Peace smiles above the scene. The waters lie
  As still and blue as the arched sky they love.
  No sound salutes the ear, save that, far off,
  A bird recites to his fond mate his joy;
  And silence seems but deeper for the slender sound.
  The butterflies, that frolic noiselessly,
  Think Earth is Heaven and live by loving flowers.
  The trees in social groups, link branch to branch
  And root to root and smile beneath the sun.
  In harmony with all about I rest.
  Within my soul there dwells a thought that knows
  No words, but silent, sweet, it sings to me.
  Peace smiles above the scene, ’tis Sabbath day.
                                                      Carrie B. Sanborn.



                           “HAMMOCK STORIES.”
                    MRS. FIG TREE’S FAMILY HISTORY.


It was a nice, bright, sunshiny day, and the trees were freshly washed
from a warm rain the night before, but it seemed to me when I first lay
down in my hammock that they were not in as good humor as usual. Mrs.
Pepper Tree had lost her sprightly manner, and her voice was quite
peevish when, seeing some children pass on their way from school, she
exclaimed:

“It beats me what those children do day after day, and year after year!
They can’t be very smart or they would have learned all their lessons
long ago.”

Grandma Liveoak reminded her that according to what she had heard tell,
children had a lot more to learn than trees; that they were obliged to
study about people and everything they ever did, and about stones and
birds and the sky and the flowers, and bugs and flies and the rest, and
she expected it took them some time.

“I presume they spend a great deal of their time studying my family
history,” said Mrs. Fig Tree. “It is a very old and important one, and
even grown people go to big buildings when the bells ring, and read and
learn about my family.”

Her voice was as satisfied, oh, just as satisfied as could be, and she
seemed to be quite pleased over something while she was talking. Mrs.
Pepper gave her branches a toss, as she crossly exclaimed:

“I don’t see what there is in Fig Trees to study over much! All they
have anyhow is queer awkward looking leaves in the spring, then green
figs growing right out of the branches, no flowers or anything, then by
and by all the leaves dropping off again! I wouldn’t think that would
take much time or was worth much time either, and for my part I wouldn’t
have leaves I couldn’t keep all the year round.”

Mrs. Fig answered her in a very polite tone, just as if she was talking
to company: “Excuse me, Mrs. Pepper, but probably you never heard that
it was my family that gave the first man and woman who ever lived in the
world their clothes!”

Mrs. Pepper said she never heard it, and she guessed no one else ever
did either. But you could see she was getting curious, and so were the
other trees, and they finally asked Mrs. Fig to tell them, and so she
began.

“Long, long ago there was the most beautiful garden that ever was heard
or thought of and every lovely flower that grows, and every tree that
amounts to anything, was there. But the rose bushes had no thorns, and
there were no spiders or bugs or worms to bother the trees and shrubs,
but only great butterflies as bright as the rainbow. And there were no
brambles or thistles or burrs, but only violets and clover blossoms and
other flowers, and all the birds sang more sweetly than the nightingale,
and the fountains were clear and sparkling, and the fruit was always
ripe, and everything was just as beautiful as could be, and the first
man and woman were the most beautiful of all, only they didn’t have any
clothes.”

Mr. Pine rustled his needles in an embarrassed sort of way, and Grandma
Liveoak said that didn’t seem just the right thing, somehow; but Mrs.
Fig calmly remarked: “That was what they thought too and so they made
themselves lovely clothes out of fig leaves.”

Mrs. Pepper guessed that that wouldn’t help them much; that clothes made
out of fig leaves would amount to no clothes at all. But here Mr. Pine
spoke, saying:

“If I might with propriety venture a suggestion on so delicate a
subject, I think possibly it was bathing suits the first man and woman
made of the fig leaves. My friend, the East Wind, assures me that”—

“Rubbish,” cried Mrs. Pepper, “rubbish! I don’t believe that they ever
made any clothes of her old leaves at all, so there!”

And now Mrs. Fig’s voice was so polite it made me quite nervous, and she
spoke very slowly. “The first man and woman went to all of the other
trees and looked their leaves over very carefully, but none of them were
good or pretty enough, and finally they came to the Fig tree.” Here Mrs.
Fig made a long pause, repeating, “Finally they came to the Fig tree.
And the first woman said: ‘Oh, aren’t these leaves just too lovely for
anything! The Fig tree is the best and prettiest of all. We will make
our clothes out of her leaves. And so they did, and what’s more, they
got into a whole lot of trouble just because they had something to do
with another tree besides the Fig.”

Mrs. Pepper rubbed two branches together, and it made the most sneery
sound you ever heard, as she asked: “I suppose you want me to believe
that ‘other tree’ was the pepper?”

“No,” replied Mrs. Fig, “I don’t think there were any pepper trees in
the garden at all.”

Then you should have seen how angry Mrs. Pepper grew and I did wish that
Grandma Liveoak would hurry and say something so there would be peace;
but sure as you live, when she spoke her voice sounded strange and very
dignified, and she only said:

“The other trees may have family histories too, Mrs. Fig, if they chose
to boast of them!”

“A poet once said,” began Mr. Pine.

But Mrs. Orange Tree interrupted him to ask what they were saying about
her; that she heard “best and prettiest leaves” mentioned.

Mrs. Fig told the story all over again, and I wanted to explain to her
that I had never heard it just that way; but her stubby branches were
standing very firm and determined, and I knew it wouldn’t do a bit of
good.

“Poets,” said Mr. Pine, “are the wisest people in the world, and one of
them”—

“I don’t care a twig for the first man or the first woman,” said Mrs.
Pepper crossly. “I know all the painters choose me, and they put my
leaves and my clusters of white blossoms and red berries on paper and
boards, and painters are the people of all the earth who know what is
beautiful, so that proves the first place mine.”

“This poet once said of our family,” Mr. Pine began again.

“The brides all choose me,” cried Mrs. Orange, “and who in the world is
so important as a bride? And if they choose me, I must be first and
prettiest.”

“As I remarked,” said Mr. Pine, “this poet”—

But such a noise you never heard, and even Grandma Liveoak as bad as the
rest, and Mrs. Pepper and Mrs. Fig and Mrs. Orange, all claiming so many
things for their family. And they got to saying unkind things to each
other—they really did—and you have no idea how dreadfully sarcastic
trees can be. But just as I was wondering however it would all come out
Mrs. Pepper stopped still for a minute, then leaned her graceful boughs
fringed with fine narrow leaves way over until they kissed Mrs. Fig’s
bare branches, and said gently: “I am sure it was a great honor to have
your pretty leaves chosen by the first man and woman, and I am very
sorry I was cross.”

Grandma Liveoak gave a little laugh, exclaiming, “Well, what a silly old
tree I am! Do you know, I came very near being a little put out there,
just for a second, simply because another tree mentioned her family.”
Then she praised Mrs. Fig and told her it was a good thing to think well
of one’s own sap and wood. And Mrs. Fig said she might have been
mistaken about what the first woman said, and that probably she took the
fig leaves because they were the handiest or something. And Mrs. Orange
got the wind to blow over some of her prettiest blossoms to the other
trees, while high above Mockingbird was singing and over on the hedge a
meadow lark gave its call, and it was all very sweet and pretty.

“As I was saying,” calmly remarked Mr. Pine, “a poet once said of our
family:

  Who is the king of all the wood?
  Be it distinctly understood
                It is the Pine!”

                                                            Karrie King.



                       BUILDING FOR BIRD TENANTS.


When on walking through a city park on a blustery winter day one
suddenly spies the little bird houses, built by the custodian and
perched high up among the branches of the trees, a smile invariably
creeps over the face and a thought of summer steals into the tired
brain. Would that the building of bird houses became more fashionable
among our boys!

One of the simplest and most artistic of them may be formed from a
cocoanut shell. The opening may be so made that the piece of shell cut
out can be turned up like a little porch roof over the door. If these be
fixed just at nest-building time and the architect should kindly leave
the nut inside the shell the birds will be most grateful.

Down south many of the door-yard trees seem to be growing gourd fruit.
In reality the gourds (with an opening in the side of each) are tied on
or hung there by means of their own crooked necks to make nests for the
birds.

Sometimes one may see whole rows of them upon a pole which is nailed to
a stable roof and often they are found hanging to the ragged edge of the
roof of a negro cabin. As far as I can learn, the idea originated with
the colored people, who take great pride in the number of birds they can
attract about them by this and other kindly means. The little yellow
houses seem to delight the birds so much that one is seldom put up in
vain, and the tenants pay lavishly with coins of song and many a trill
of joy.

                                                             Lee McCrae.



                        THE LIGHT OF THE LEAVES.


  Hurry, skurry through the air
  Leaves are falling everywhere.
  Gold and crimson meet or miss
  Smile or blush at the frost king’s kiss.

  Whirling, twirling, o’er the ground,
  Forced by merry winds around;
  Piled by childish hands on high,
  There, like martyred saints, to die.

  Crackle crackle, sound their knells,
  Imprisoned sunshine in them dwells
  Like tiny tongues, ’twixt earth and sky
  They whisper love to passers by.

  Falling, ever falling, they,
  Consumed to make the world more gay;
  The misty cloud of smoke o’erhead
  Seems like the veil Shakina spread.

  Down and down comes memory’s leaf,
  Bright with hopes or sere with grief;
  The brightest one in life’s huge pile
  Is that from which our bonfires smile.
                                                       —Cora May Cratty.

                        [Illustration: STARLING.
                          (Sturnus vulgaris).
                              ⅔ Life-size.
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]



                             THE STARLING.
                         (_Sturnus vulgaris_.)


The Starling belongs to an interesting family of birds, represented in
America by but one species and that one only recently introduced. In the
Old World, however, there are about two hundred species which are widely
distributed throughout Europe, Asia and Africa.

The common Starling is a native of Europe and northern Asia and is
admitted to the bird fauna of North America both because of its
accidental occurence in Greenland and of its introduction into the parks
of New York city. Regarding its introduction into this country, Mr.
Chapman says that it has been brought across the ocean on several
occasions, but only in the case of the last importation was the effort
to make it establish a home within our borders a success. “The birds
included in this lot, about sixty in number, were released in Central
Park, New York city, in 1890. They seem to have left the park and to
have established themselves in various favorable places in the upper
part of the city. They have bred for three successive years in the roof
of the Museum of Natural History and at other points in the vicinity. In
the suburbs about the northern end of the city they are frequently
observed in flocks containing as many as fifty individuals.” From the
fact that it is a resident throughout the year and has endured our most
severe winters Mr. Chapman thinks that the species may be regarded as
thoroughly naturalized.

The common Starling easily adapts itself to its environment and can
withstand quite a diversity of climatic conditions. However, while it
was introduced with difficulty in the eastern United States, efforts
made to introduce it into the State of Oregon have not met with success.
Wherever the conditions are favorable it breeds rapidly and not
uncommonly a pair will rear two broods in a season.

This engaging bird has commanded the attention of observers for
centuries. Pliny speaks of it in his Natural History, and one writer has
said that “its varied song, its sprightly gestures, its glossy plumage,
and, above all its character as an insecticide—which last makes it a
friend of the agriculturist and the grazier—render it an almost
universal favorite.” Some of the notes of the Starling’s song are harsh
but on the whole the song is pleasing and “heard as they are, at a
season when every sign of returning spring is eagerly looked for and
welcomed, are certainly one of the most cheerful sounds that greet the
ear.” Its whole energy is thrown into the song, which is uttered with
ruffled feathers. It is also a mimic of no mean order. One authority
says that it delights “in reproducing familiar sounds with the greatest
fidelity to truth. We have heard individual Starlings reproduce the call
notes of the skylark, goldfinch, wagtail, and other small birds;
sometimes we have been startled on a winter’s day to recognize the cry
of the common sandpiper or the grating call note of a fern owl in the
middle of a crowded city, and have discovered the author of our
astonishment in the person of a Starling, that is pouring forth his
rhapsodies from some neighboring chimney top.” Pliny says: “Agrippina,
the wife of Claudius Caesar, had a thrush that could imitate the human
speech, a thing that was never known before. At the moment that I am
writing this, the young Caesars have a Starling and some nightingales
that are being taught to talk in Greek and Latin; besides which, they
are studying their task the whole day, continually repeating the new
words that they have learnt, and giving utterance to phrases even of
considerable length.” The young birds are very noisy and while feeding
and training them the parents are scarcely less so. So great, in fact,
is this noisy babble that it often becomes very unpleasant.

The Starling is a gregarious bird at all times, but this habit is more
marked after the breeding season has passed. It has its favorite haunts
and, though a flock may be dispersed during the daytime while feeding,
all will congregate in the favorite locality at nightfall. Mr. William
Yarrell, in his “British Birds,” gives an interesting anecdote regarding
the abundance and social habits of the Starling. Speaking of an English
estate, he says, “This locality is an evergreen plantation covering
several acres, to which these birds repair in an evening—I was going to
say, and I believe I might truly say—by millions, from the low ground
about the Severn, where their noise is something altogether unusual. By
packing in such myriads upon the evergreens, they have stripped them of
their leaves, except just at the tops, and have driven the pheasants,
for whom the plantation was intended, quite away from the grounds.”

Regarding their nesting and mating habits Mr. Henry Seebohm says: “Early
in April, sometimes not until the beginning of May, the Starlings have
mostly mated and gone to their breeding holes. Previous to this,
however, much quarreling goes on for the choice of suitable sites. The
strong gain the best holes, while the weak seek quarters elsewhere. The
Starling will build its nest almost anywhere, and it needs but slight
encouragement to take up its quarters in any suitable hole or box placed
for its reception. It will even dislodge large tiles and burrow
considerable distances under the eaves, and its bulky nest often stops
up some spout, to the dismay of the householder. A hole in the gable or
inside the dovecot are also favorite places, while its partiality for
holes in the trees is none the less. It also commonly breeds in ruins,
churches, and old masonry of every description. In the wilder portions
of the country the Starling selects a hole either in a tree or a rock
for its purpose, and it will often breed in great numbers in caves or in
crevices of the ocean cliffs.” The nest is not a fine piece of bird
architecture. It is coarse and slovenly constructed with dry grass,
fibers, twigs, small roots, rags, twine, paper and in fact of any
substance that strikes the fancy of the bird. It is lined, though not
always, with wool, vegetable down and feathers. At times when the nest
is placed in hollow trees the bedding consists of powdered wood. The
Starling returns to the same site year after year, but always builds a
new nest.

Though the Starling will often pilfer fruit trees, especially late in
the season, it is of great service to man, for its chief food consists
of worms, larvae and various adult insects. It is a voracious feeder and
thus destroys a large number of forms of insect life, many of which are
very destructive to plant life. It “is almost as closely associated with
man as the sparrow,” but unlike the sparrow it is much more able to
adapt itself to a change of surroundings.



                               NOVEMBER.


November sits at the door of her wayside tent looking out upon the
valleys and mountain tops. She has torn from the trees their faded
banners of yellow and their worn fringes of crimson. November is an old
dame, gray-haired, somber-eyed and strong-featured. Clad in garments of
dun and dusky brown, she sits resting and smoking; and that is why we
get such smoky days toward the last of her stay.

Yes, November is an old gypsy dame, but she is not always melancholy.
She is the month of whom artists are especially fond. While she lacks
the glow of midsummer, there is compensation for the absence of bloom
and radiance in the ripening of all vegetation; there is still a touch
of splendid color on the hills, and the grass is green with the
aftermath of summer. Beautiful mists veil the mountain tops. There is an
exquisite beauty in the tints of sepia and the rich brown tones of the
landscapes and in the tender grays and clear blues of November skies.

Ah, she knows, does November, that she, too, in her old age, gives
promise of something sweet to come. All the trees are filled with next
year’s buds; the trailing things of the woods, too, are budded and wait
but a few months until the first snows are gone to blossom in fragrance
and gladden the bright wedding days of Spring.

Calmly she smokes, the dear old dame, sitting at the door of her tent.
Near by, dim and misty, are the marshy fens, in which stand the herons
like sculptured figures, where the bulrushes have turned yellow amongst
the tawny tussocks. Around her the Indian creeper weaves its still
brilliant strands of red and gold. Softly the willow bands drop their
trailing leaves. Heavy and purple still hang the berries on the elder
boughs that languidly wave in the faint breeze as if they still felt the
ghosts of summer kisses.

The nut-brown face of old November looks impassively on all the changes
of her season. She knows nothing is dying about her that shall not live
again. Her eyes, dark, liquid, somberly deep and tranquil, have seen all
the things beautiful that our eyes have missed—the wild flowers trodden
down by careless feet; moonlight on far off lakes at midnight; the first
pink flush of dawn on stately mountains. Ah, yes, she knows of Love; of
dead folded hands, and she remembers the buds of her last year’s reign.
She knows that, like the sleeping buds about her now, Love shall give
all things back again in the sweet springtime of Paradise, even as these
same buds shall waken to bloom and beauty when their winter sleep is
over.

But now the night is coming on. Deep shadows are filling the dusky
stalls of the drooping hemlocks on yonder hill. Faint spicy odors of
sweet fern and illusive witch hazel rise on the misty air. Dame November
rises slowly, knocks the ashes from her pipe, gazes broodingly for a few
moments over the fading landscape, then turns and softly closes her
door. All night the solemn winds intone the requiem of Spring and Summer
glories past, but at intervals listen and you will hear the sweet, thin
flute of the wood-frog, faintly but hopefully voicing the promise of
another Spring, with more bloom, more gladness and glory to come.

Dear old Dame November! A few more days and she will no longer be
sitting at the door of her wayside tent. We love her mists, her mellow
rains, her dull, rich tones of brown and faded gold. December shall
disturb the brooding calm that she has left with us, but we know he
cannot harm with his icy mail and glittering frost spears the tightly
folded promises which the gypsy November has prepared for next year’s
blooming.

                                                     Belle A. Hitchcock.



                        THE ARKANSAS GOLDFINCH.
                          (_Spinus psaltria_.)


  The Goldfinch, social, chirping, bright,
  Takes in those branches his delight.
  A troop like flying sunbeams pass
  And light among the vivid grass,
  Or in the end of some long branch,
  Like acrobats, in air they launch,
  And in the wild wind sway and swing,
  Intent to twitter, glance and sing.
                                     —Rose Terry Cooke, “My Apple Tree.”

These lines of the poet were inspired by the beautiful goldfinch so
familiar to all, and usually called yellow-bird and thistle-bird. They
form an appropriate introduction to a few words regarding the
thistle-bird’s sister species of the Pacific coast—the Arkansas
Goldfinch. This bright and sprightly bird enlivens the shrubby ravines
and weedy places from Oregon southward through the United States, and
from the Pacific coast eastward into Colorado. Throughout its range it
is quite common and nests on the plains and also in the mountains to a
height of nine thousand feet. Abundant in many mountainous regions, it
has been given the name Rocky Mountain Goldfinch, and the olive-green
color of the plumage of its back has given it the very appropriate name
Arkansas Green-backed Goldfinch.

Like the common thistle-bird, it has a social disposition and feeds with
its fellows in flocks of a greater or less number. Not infrequently
several individuals will alight on the same plant and immediately begin
a diligent search for their food of seeds. Active and of a seemingly
impatient temperament, it seldom remains long in any one locality, yet a
garden rich in sunflower blossoms or a field full of blooming thistles
furnished so tempting a larder that a flock may patiently labor therein
for some time, gathering an abundance of goldfinch dainties.

Its notes are similar to those of the thistle-birds. “The ordinary note
is a plaintive mellow, whistling call, impossible to describe and so
inflected as to produce a very mournful effect.” While pursuing its
undulating flight, it utters a sweet song which is in harmony with the
rise and fall of its onward motion and is indicative of its sweet
disposition. Its nest is a dainty structure built of fine bark and other
vegetable fibers, fine grasses and moss compactly bound together and
quite thickly lined with plant down.

                   [Illustration: ARKANSAS GOLDFINCH.
                           (Spinus psaltria).
                               Life-size.
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]



                         TRAGEDY IN BIRD LIFE.


For the friends of birds there are, in cold days of wind and storm,
opportunities of loving service.

In the drama of bird-life the scenes are ever shifting, and struggle for
existence is not always under sun-lighted, genial skies.

It is true that creative love has endowed the birds with facilities for
resisting the havoc of storms. The feathered tribes, nested in chosen
coverts, defy the elements and shake out their plumage in fearless
defiance of tempests before which man stands in dismay.

A little bit of feathered anatomy will sway cheerily on unprotected
twigs, disdaining the shelter close at hand, while the storm beats on
wayside.

The endurance of these creatures of the air may well astonish men, who,
with all their vitality and size, succumb, of necessity, to the warring
elements.

But, in spite of their powers of endurance, the storm-periods are for
the birds bitter intervals of life, when hunger and thirst and cold
combine to sweep them into the vortex of the lost.

It is not the cold, unaccompanied by other influences, which devastates
the ranks of the birds during extreme winter storm-periods, however; it
is, chiefly, the dearth of food.

While the harvest of seeds over the meadows is available the bleak blast
moans about our birds innoxiously; but it is when the feathery
snowflakes cover this well-stocked granary, clinging about the
seed-vessels of weed and flower, and closing it in a frozen locker, or
the ice-storm wraps it in glittering ice, that the lairds are beaten
before the winds, and perish of cold and starvation.

There are few, if any, bird lovers who have not some scene of tragedy to
recount; some memory of storm-periods when the birds flew to the
habitations of men for help, finding no hope but in the fragments cast
away by some human hand.

That more thought is not given to the needs of the birds about our
doors, at such periods, is due more to the prevailing impression that
the birds have the means of providing, even in times of emergency, for
their own needs, than to a disregard of the interests of these little
friends of the air.

Unless we have awakened to pathetic struggle of bird life under some
conditions we are not apt to be aroused to any obligation in the matter
of aiding in providing for birds in seasons of peril.

But it is true, nevertheless, that the little visitor upon our doorsill
who stays with us during the long winter suffers the anguish of cold and
hunger, frequently of starvation, during the periods of intense cold and
storm—anguish which might be prevented by a little thoughtfulness on
man’s part, in casting a trifle of food in sheltered nooks—crumbs from
the table; cracked corn or coarse meal; cracked nuts; a bit of suet, the
latter being best served by being nailed upon some neighboring tree,
high enough to be beyond the reach of any but the intended guests.

By such provision one phase of the tragedy of bird-life would be abated,
and the friendliness of the little strangers developed, to the pleasure
of many bird lovers, who would receive in return for their kindness the
gladness sure to be theirs in watching the feast of the joyous birds.

The day when earth and sky meet in one maze of blinding snow, or in the
mist of rain which freezes where it falls, is hard enough for the birds;
but while there is light there is also a hope of a scanty meal to be
caught somewhere through the swirl of the storm. But, when this hope
fails and darkness lowers into deepening night; when bleak winds rage on
every side; the forests creak and moan; the tormented air sobs and wails
like a tortured soul; when every sound is swept into the cadence of
despair and the outposts of hills are lost in the labyrinth of
tumultuous night, then how bitter is life’s tragedy for the
hunger-racked birds; how marvelous it is that so many little
storm-beaten breasts survive to meet the struggle for existence at the
dawn of a new storm-beaten day.

                                                         George Klingle.



                        THE LIFE OF AIRY WINGS.


One beautiful day last May my mother laid a tiny green egg on the under
side of a leaf on a milkweed plant. I know that its color was green and
that it was laid on the back of the leaf because Mother Milkweed
Butterfly did not want any fly or worm to eat me up, so she made its
green like the leaf and hid it away in a safe place. There I rested
quietly within the egg for about four days, when I burst open the shell
to see what was out in the world.

I shook myself and found that I could crawl. I was also very hungry. I
had come out a green caterpillar with a black head. How strange that
was! Now I expected to be a butterfly with wings to sail through the
air. Never mind, I thought, if I am a caterpillar I must do all that a
caterpillar ought to do, and not make a fuss because I am not a handsome
butterfly.

The first thing a caterpillar has to do is to eat his eggshell so that
the ichneumon fly—the fellow is an enemy to my family—will not be able
to find any traces of him on the leaf. Where did I learn that? I think
Mother B. must have folded that thought in the eggshell, for it came out
with me. After doing that duty I was so hungry that I ate the leaf on
which I found myself, all day long and far into the night. Then I curled
up and went to sleep feeling very quiet and comfortable.

When I awakened the sun was up. I was warm and hungry, so I began to eat
again. Suddenly I heard a buzzing noise overhead. Oh, dear me! I was
frightened and kept perfectly still, for I thought it was that miserable
fly after me, but it proved to be only a jolly bumble-bee, and I went on
eating.

After several days of this life—eating, and watching for
enemies—something happened. I suppose that I had eaten so much milkweed
that my skin got too tight to hold me, for it felt very uncomfortable
and then began to crack. I had spun a little silk on the leaf to get a
better foot-hold and remained very quiet for I did not feel like moving.
I stretched my head a little, after awhile, and the old head-case came
off, falling to the ground. Then I made violent exertions, or movements,
with the muscles of my body, and finally the old skin came off. I was
very much fatigued and was quiescent, not caring to stir, for several
hours. I thought of the fly too, that might sting me now while my new
jacket was soft, and that kept me still also. When it became harder I
had to eat up the old one, and then was hungry as ever.

Eat! Why I did nothing for about four weeks but devour milkweed, keep a
watch out for enemies and grow too big for my jacket. I moulted four
times in all, and at the end you should have seen me. My body was
striped yellow, black and green, and was nearly two inches long. My head
was black-banded; my face yellow with two parallel black bows, and I had
two pairs of long slender, flexible filaments, like a hair, on my body.

I had grown so large and strong that I wanted to see more of the world.
I crawled off my leaf, down the stalk of the plant onto the ground. What
a queer sensation it was, to be sure, to feel the grass and the ground!
There was a rail-fence near my old home. I began to feel very weary and
sleepy. I crept cautiously along until I reached the fence; crawled up
to next the top rail and under it to rest awhile. My, how tired I was! I
did not want anything to eat. I did not care to move, nor to speak. I
caught hold of the rail and hung there for about twelve days.

I have learned since, that I was a chrysalis and was a beautiful object
of emerald green, with gold and black dots. I was fastened to the
fence-rail by a slender shining black peduncle, or stem. Nothing
disturbed me, and on the eleventh day the bright green disappeared, the
golden spots faded, and on the twelfth day I burst open the shell of the
chrysalis, found that I had wings and sailed away through the air. How
delightful! So much easier than crawling. At last I was a butterfly.
This is what patience and perseverance does for the “ugly duckling,” at
least that is what a friend on the milkweed leaf told me one day.

I saw another butterfly a short distance ahead of me having the same
colors I had—yellow and black with white dots on the wings—and I flew
faster to catch up with her. She was very beautiful and knew more of the
world than I did, therefore I determined to keep close to her. I found
her very modest and unassuming. She made me feel as if I knew it all,
and that is the chief qualification that even a butterfly wants in a
wife. After a little hesitation I asked her to be my mate. She said she
would, and away we raced in the sunshine to a field of clover. She
showed me how to get honey out of the flowers with my tongue, which is
like a watch-spring coiled up in the lower part of my head. When I am
excited in probing to the bottom of a flower it uncoils and half coils
again, “acting like a little force-pump” to bring up the juice of the
flower.

My mate and I had a jolly time flying over the clover-field, where we
met more of our family, the milkweed butterflies, and others. The
flowers we like best are the clover, milkweed, goldenrod, thistle and
phlox.

I soon discovered that birds and insects did not trouble us much,
because we do not suit their appetites. They say that we taste bitter
and disagreeable, like the milkweed, so they seldom disturb us, and we
lead a happy-go-lucky life. We often spread our wings wide and float
along in the air with little fear of foes. They see our colors—yellow
and black, the badge of the milkweed butterfly—and off they go seeking a
choicer tidbit.

Whenever there is a heavy wind storm I fly out to battle with it. What
fun to have the angry wind hurl you back—only to get your wings
fluttering again, and flying a distance to meet another fling! It is
great sport.

I must tell you of something that happened to my mate one day. She was
flying near a piazza where there were some phlox plants. She darted down
towards them, keeping an eye out on a sparrow that had been flying after
her, when her right wing caught in a spider-web that was in the piazza
rail. She fluttered and fluttered, frightening the spider out of his
web, until she got her wing loose; but it was not so strong after that,
as a little piece was torn off.

I saw some beautiful flowers lying on a table on the same piazza soon
afterwards and, as no one was out there, winged down on them. Queer:
they had no honey in them. A little girl in the window exclaimed, “Oh,
sister! a butterfly is on our paper flowers.”

Then a boy sprang out with a hat in his hand and I flew quickly away. My
mate and I were so terrified that we did not go near that piazza again.

The lovely warm summer passed very soon and I had such a happy time that
I was sorry when our family flocked together and began to talk of going
South in September. We held our meetings on the underside of the
branches of trees and, perhaps, some of you saw us there.

Oh! the life of a butterfly is sweet, and there is just enough
excitement in keeping out of the reach of enemies to make the struggle
for existence interesting.

                                                      M. Evelyn Lincoln.



                          THE CELESTIAL BIRD.


The ancients called the eagle the celestial bird because it flies high
with its eye fixed on the sun.

According to the myths of the birds they are older than the gods and to
them mankind is deeply indebted; for the hawk created man, the wren, and
not Prometheus, brought down fire for his use, the crow taught him
marital laws, while the eagle gave him the brew from the fountain of
song. Just why the eagle—who is no musician—should have interested
himself in this way, legend does not explain, but, as he is of majestic
appearance, and imperial in character, there can be no possible
objection to his acting as cup-bearer to the poets! They all like
him—or, at least, like to describe him. Tennyson says—

  He clasps the crag with crooked hands
  Close to the sun in lonely lands
  Ring’d with the azure world he stands.
  The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls,
  He watches from his northern walls,
  And like a thunderbolt he falls.

But the eagle takes part in the affairs of birds and beasts, as well as
in those of men, for, according to an oriental legend, in ancient times
beasts and birds were at war with each other. While victory was still
uncertain the owl withdrew from the winged army quite prepared to go
over to the enemy. But the eagle fought with such valorous prowess that
the birds were finally victorious. The owl, seeing this, flew back to
join them. But the eagle observed his movements, and forbade him ever
again to mix with his subjects or show his face to the sun.

Although the eagle is a bird of prey he is used as a national emblem on
Persian, Roman and United States coins. Indeed, the eagle is often used
for heraldic emblems, standards and various emblematic devices. The
eagle is cosmopolitan. The so-called bald-eagle takes three years to
complete its plumage; it is called the “black” eagle the first year, the
“gray” the second and the “bald” the third year, when the white plumage
on neck and head, which gives it the name, is complete. After shedding
its feathers in the spring, even the old birds assume the appearance of
youth, hence David speaks of the “youth which is renewed like the
eagle’s.” An unusual fact in reference to this bird is that the female
is said to be larger and braver than the male.

A story is told of a pair of eagles in the New York Zoological Park who
made a nest in the root of a tree, in a cavity of the ground and lined
it with moss. As no eggs were yet ready the birds brought a smooth round
stone to the nest on which they sat, male and female, on alternate days.
Some such habit as this may account for the idea of the ancients that
the eagle carried stones to her nest to facilitate the laying of her
eggs.

The eagle lives to be very old. It is not especially difficult to tame.
A young one caught in the Territory could not be bought. The Indian
woman who was taming it refused all offers. She said, “Ah-cha-fa-tona
wants young eagle, she not want white man’s money!”

“Old Abe”—named for Lincoln—was caught and tamed by soldiers during the
civil war. He went through the war delighted with battles. One of his
feathers, dropped on the battlefield, was framed and now hangs in
Washington.

                                                     Belle Paxson Drury.

                  [Illustration: BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER.
                        (Charadrius squatarola).
                              ½ Life-size.
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]



                       THE BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER.
                       (_Charadrius squatarola_.)


The Black-bellied Plover is quite cosmopolitan, though its range is
practically confined to the northern hemisphere, passing southward in
the winter to the West Indies and northern South America and breeding in
the far North. Not only is its range extensive, but also its list of
common or local names. Some of the better known of these are Whistling
Field Plover, May Cock, Beetle-head, Black-breast and Bottle-head. Its
large head has given it the name Bull-head and its large, brilliant and
expressive dark colored eyes, which in summer are surrounded by a white
ring, have led some of its admirers to call it the Ox-eye.

The Black-bellied Plover is grouse-like in appearance and differs from
all the other plovers in having a rudimentary hind toe. It varies
greatly in the color of its plumage, both with age and with the seasons.
As it stands upon the beach, decked in its summer plumage, it is a
striking and beautiful bird. As winter approaches its plumage assumes a
more somber hue and becomes a mixture of dark brown and gray above,
while below the plumage is white with lines and spots of dark brown on
the neck and breast.

This bird is one of the largest of the plover species. It will run
rapidly for a few yards and suddenly stopping will elevate its head and
closely survey its environment. The older birds are shy, but the younger
ones will quite readily respond to the call of the hunter and will
usually approach his decoys. Its call notes are of two kinds. One is
loud and penetrating and may be heard at a long distance. This call
consists of a number of distinct notes, the second of which is accented.
The notes of the other call are uttered in a low and satisfied tone as
if the bird were perfectly contented. Mr. George H. Mackay found much to
admire in the life of this Plover. He says: “There is something very
aristocratic in the bearing of the adult birds as you watch them
standing on the marsh with their heads erect, their black and white
plumage strikingly defined, and their large, dark, liquid eyes ever on
the alert for danger. With the yellowish green marsh grass for a
background, they make a most interesting study in black and white,
which, coupled with that clear penetrating note of alarm when danger is
discovered, cannot fail to impress one.”

When migrating it may fly alone or in flocks. At times the flocks will
assume a wedge-shaped or a crescent-like form. The latter seems to be
the more common form, and the ends of the crescent may point either
forward or backward. The solitary birds are more frequent in the
interior, while the flocks are more common near the sea coast. The slow
and measured stroke of the long wings is well fitted to a continuous and
prolonged flight. When tired from flying at sea it will rest on masses
of seaweed or float upon the water.

The Black-bellied Plover feeds largely on minute mollusks, shrimps,
worms, sea insects and on various larvae found in the marshes. It also
eats grasshoppers and late in the season, at the North, berries form a
large part of its diet. It is at this time that its flesh is most
eagerly sought by the connoisseur of game food. Food is gathered with a
quick stroke and from the surface, for the bird cannot probe for its
food as do the sandpipers.

This Plover is a tide bird, “seeking a large portion of its food on
those extensive sand flats left by the receding waters, which may be
adjacent to marshes where the grass is short, and which are interspersed
with barren places where there is no grass, also to uplands and fields
where the grass is scanty or closely fed down by sheep or cattle. It is
to such places that they like to resort when driven from their feeding
grounds on the sand flats by the incoming tide. They also frequent, at
such times, the crest and dry sand of the beaches and shoals; here they
remain until the tide has sufficiently ebbed to permit them again to
return to feed.”

The Black-bellied Plover gives but little attention to home building.
Its nest is a mere depression in the ground lined with grass and leaves.



                           SOME BIRD WONDERS.


Geologically considered, the migration of birds had its origin in the
beginning of the Post-Tertiary period of our globe’s history. Prior to
the Glacial Epoch there was no migratory instinct among the feathered
tribes of the earth’s fauna for the simple reason that there was no
necessity for such a change of habitat.

Thus the annual recurrence of this phenomenon has been going on not
since the creation, as many suppose, but for units of ages whose lapse
can be reckoned only by millenniums of calendar years. It is not the
time and place here to discuss the means by which this length of time
can be even approximately determined, but there are certain inferences
and conclusions which are well endorsed by scientific research.

For our present purpose it is quite sufficient to say that the Glacial
Epoch wholly changed the climatic relations of the polar and middle
latitude regions of our globe. From the semitropical conditions which
once perennially existed there, these regions have since and for ages
been subject to the intense cold which now periodically prevails within
those limits.

There is a growing conviction among geologists that the intense cold of
the Glacial Epoch was caused by a change in the eccentricity of the
earth’s orbit. If this be true, then the “Great Winter” of astronomers
was reigning in all its severity 210,000 years ago.

The wild goose, his near relatives, the brant and swan, and other
aquatic feathered races, made their appearance on the fifth day of
creation. “And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the
moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in
the open firmament of heaven.”

Now this fifth day of creation very nearly corresponds to the Triassic
and Jurassic periods of Mesozoic Time in Geology.

Although “every winged fowl after his kind” is included in the bird
category of this creative act, it has been thought, and for good
reasons, that the more highly organized birds other than the aquatic
tribes, did not make their appearance till the sixth day of the Mosaic
account, which would be exactly represented by the Tertiary Period of
Cenozoic Time. According to this view, then, the wild goose is an older
denizen of our world than the smaller birds of passage which make their
home on the land only.

But Geology fills up many niches and supplies many details left blank in
the first chapter of Genesis. It is now one of the firmly established
tenets among geologists that between the Mesozoic and Cenozoic times
there came a tremendous disturbance in the earth’s crust.

In his “Story of the Earth,” Dr. J. Dorman Steele says, “The Mesozoic
time, like the Palaeozoic, was closed by mighty upheavals. The
conditions of life were changed. All the Mesozoic types disappeared;
hardly any species survived the shock.” A few individuals did survive,
however, and among them was our venerable friend, the wild goose.

Having now finished the prefatory portion of our story, the reader will
be better able to understand what may follow.

There is something wonderful, a conception, indeed, which smacks little
short of the sublime in contemplating the protracted journeyings of the
larger aquatic birds of passage. Especially is this true of the American
wild goose, the brant and the swan. The brant is the wild goose of Great
Britain and continental Europe; a much smaller bird than his American
relative; and its migrations are of comparatively short range.

The European domesticated swan, remains, of course, the year round in
the country of his adoption.

Not so, however, with the American goose and swan. Both the former,
Anseres hyperboreas, and the latter, Cygnus buccinator, rear their young
in the Arctic regions and spend the succeeding winter with their
offspring in the Gulf States and Central America.

Think of these magnificent birds, those on the Pacific coast flying from
the shores of the Arctic ocean in northern Alaska and British America,
crossing the Rocky Mountains, and, after a journey of four or five
thousand miles, complacently settling down in Texas, Mexico, Yucutan, or
Nicaragua, as the experienced leaders may determine. Then turn to those
on the Atlantic side of the continent and watch them as they leave the
Baffin’s Bay country, cross the great lakes and the Appalachian mountain
system to make a short winter sojourn among the everglades of southern
Florida.

In the tactics of these great birds while performing their immense
journeys there is something remarkable even to the casual observer. More
than two thousand years ago it was recorded by a student of natural
history that, “Olores iter facientes colla imponunt praecedentibus;
fessos duces ad terga recipiunt.”

“Swans performing a journey rest their necks upon those preceding; and
the leaders receive the weary ones upon their backs.”

And this significant remark has often been confirmed by modern
observation.

Owing to the fact that they are more sparsely distributed, that they fly
much higher and in smaller numbers than wild geese, the swans are
comparatively seldom seen during their migratory flights save in the
fastnesses of mountainous districts or at the extreme points of arrival
and departure. Hence we see why so little is known concerning the
details of their aerial movements.

On the contrary, the semi-annual passage of wild geese is not only a
folk-lore phenomenon, but a familiar spectacle to the residents of
cities and towns as well as those who spend their days in the rural
districts. Now, there is more military precision in the alignment of a
large flock of wild geese than the most careful observer ever dreamed of
or science investigated.

Here in the fastnesses of our Rocky Mountains there are many
exceptionally good opportunities for watching the marvelous evolutions
of these birds.

While their flight may be a mile high or more when spanning a level
scope of country, as in the prairie districts, they barely clear the
more elevated peaks while crossing lofty mountain ranges. Hence it will
be seen that an observer on either slope is much nearer the passing
birds than an inhabitant of the lower levels or plains.

The well known acute angled form assumed by wild geese in their annual
journeys is not a mere fortuitous conceit on the part of the birds, but
a true pattern of that diagram formulated by the anserine leaders of
long agone prehistoric ages; brave old heroes that piloted their snowy
hosts over the storm-lashed wastes of northern latitudes while frost and
fire and glacier and drift were so radically changing the topography of
our globe.

It can be shown that this particular form of alignment in the flight of
geese is just as essential to the convenience and vital interests of the
birds as the hexagonal form of honeycomb cells is to the bees that
construct and fill them with honey. Nay, it is also true that no other
form of alignment in flight could fulfill the conditions required; but
we cannot here explain the principles involved in the interesting
discussion.

                                                         L. Philo Venen.



                              THE DIAMOND.


The Diamond is generally conceded to be the most beautiful as it is the
most important of precious stones. While other stones at times exceed it
in value, weight for weight, in total importance as an article of
commerce other gems are hardly to be compared with it. Out of thirteen
and one-half millions of dollars’ worth of precious stones imported into
the United States in 1900, twelve million dollars’ worth were Diamonds.
Not all this amount was employed for jewelry, since there is a large
utilization of the stone for industrial purposes, but even for jewelry
the Diamond has a largely preponderating use. Its points of superiority
are its hardness, high refractive powers and hence play of colors, its
transparency and its luster. In all these qualities it excels any other
known mineral. Hence when in addition to these it exhibits different
body colors, as is sometimes the case, no other gem can equal it in
value.

Usually the Diamond is colorless or white, although shades of yellow are
also common. It is also known in shades of red, green and blue and in
brown and black. The two latter are rarely transparent and grade into
the varieties known as bort and carbonado, which have no value as gems
but are highly important for industrial purposes.

In composition the Diamond is pure carbon, thus not differing chemically
from graphite or such forms of carbon as lamp-black, bone-black, etc. It
is crystallized, but this can be said of graphite as well. Why carbon
should assume the form of Diamond in one case and graphite in another,
as well as being amorphous in other occurrences, is not known. Such
behavior of a substance is known as dimorphism, and numerous
illustrations of it are to be found in Nature.

Being pure carbon, Diamond can be burned in the air. The finely divided
dust can be burned in the ordinary blow-pipe flame, and for stones of
ordinary size a temperature of about 900° C is sufficient. The
possibility of consuming the Diamond by heat is said first to have been
suggested by Sir Isaac Newton, who reasoned from the high refractive
index of the stone that it was “an unctuous substance coagulated,” and
hence probably combustible. Following this suggestion two Italians,
Averani and Targioni, succeeded in 1695 in burning some Diamonds in a
furnace, and since then the experiment has been repeated many times. The
Diamond does not fuse in burning, but after becoming heated to redness
gradually grows smaller, emitting sparks, till it entirely disappears.
It leaves no ash except in the case of the impure form known as
carbonado. The gas given off has been collected and analyzed and found
to be carbon dioxide just as would result from the combustion of other
forms of carbon. If protected from the air or free oxygen, the Diamond
can be exposed to high heat without change.

Being a crystallized substance and excessively hard the Diamond is
usually found in the form of more or less perfect crystals. These have
forms such as the cube, octahedron, etc., which belong to the isometric
system, and it is in this system that the Diamond crystallizes. The
crystals do not possess, however, the highest isometric symmetry, but
belong to the class designated by Groth as hexakistetrahedral, being
tetrahedral with inclined face hemihedrism. It is very common for the
faces to be curved instead of flat and to show etching figures of
various kinds. The crystals are often considerably distorted so as to
produce pointed and rounded forms, and twin crystals are common.
Although so excessively hard the edges of the crystals as found in the
beds of streams are often rounded from the wear of the other pebbles,
probably chiefly quartz. Only the wear of centuries could produce such a
result, however, for, as is well known, it is only with its own dust
that the Diamond can be abraded to any appreciable degree by any of the
means now used for cutting it.

                  [Illustration: DIAMOND AND CORUNDUM.
                     FROM BAUER’S EDELSTEINKUNDE.]

  First row:
    Sapphire Crystal.
    Diamond in Matrix (Brazil).
    Cut Sapphire.
  Second row:
    Ruby Crystal.
    Cut Ruby.
  Third row:
    Diamond in Matrix (South Africa).
  Fourth row:
    Bort.
    Black Diamond, Carbonado (Brazil).
  Fifth row:
    Spinel Crystal, Rubicelle.
    Spinel Crystal, Balas-ruby.

One important property of crystallized Diamond is that of cleavage
parallel to the faces of the octahedron. This cleavage is of much
service in preparing the gem for cutting, as by taking advantage of it,
broad, flat surfaces can be obtained without grinding. This property
also distinguishes Diamond from quartz, for which its crystals as found
in sands are sometimes mistaken. Quartz has no cleavage. The fracture of
the two minerals is the same, however, being conchoidal.

The massive forms of the Diamond known as bort and carbonado possess
little or no cleavage, thus increasing their value as abrasives and for
setting in drills, saws, etc. The true bort occurs as rounded forms made
up of a confused aggregate of crystals and is harder than ordinary
Diamond. Fragments of crystals of no value as gems or any crude Diamond
dust are also known as bort in trade. Carbonado is a name given to black
Diamond which has more or less crystalline structure. This graduates
into the crystallized mineral. Either of these is more valuable than the
crystallized Diamond for industrial purposes, although of no value as
gems.

As already noted, Diamond occurs of various colors, about half the
stones found being tinged to some degree. If the color is but slight,
the stone is considered less valuable than if perfectly colorless, but a
Diamond of pronounced color is the most valuable gem known.

Among colors of Diamonds, blue is the rarest. The largest and most
valuable colored Diamond known is the Hope Blue, weighing 44½ carats.
This is valued at about one hundred thousand dollars. It has a brilliant
deep blue color and is without a flaw. A deep blue Diamond weighing
67-2/16 carats was long worn in the French crown, but it was stolen in
1792 and has never been recovered. Red Diamonds vary in hue from ruby
red to rose, the latter being the most common. No large red Diamonds are
known, the largest being one of 32 carats in Vienna. Another famous one
is that in the Russian treasury, for which Paul I paid one hundred
thousand roubles. It is of a ruby color. The finest green Diamond known
is the “Dresden Green” preserved in the Green Vaults of Saxony. It was
purchased by August the Strong in 1743 for sixty thousand dollars. It is
apple green in color and weighs 40 carats. Diamonds of yellow color are
comparatively common, many of the Cape Diamonds being lowered in value
by possessing a yellow tinge. It is said that this injurious yellow
tinge can be overcome by dipping the stone several times in a solution
of potassium permanganate, the violet color of the latter neutralizing
the yellow of the Diamond. The yellow tinge usually also disappears in
artificial light. Of large Diamonds possessing a yellow color the
Florentine and the Tiffany are the best known. The color of colored
Diamonds is generally permanent, but that of some is said to fade on
exposure to light. It can also be destroyed or changed by heat.

The luster of the Diamond is a peculiar one, and such as is possessed by
few other minerals. In reference to its occurrence in the Diamond it is
known as the adamantine luster. It combines the peculiarity of an oily
luster with that of glass and that of a metal. It is doubtless due to
the high refractive power of the mineral, which causes more than the
ordinary number of rays of light to come to the eye. In the impure forms
of Diamond the greasy or oily luster becomes more pronounced. Once the
eye becomes accustomed to the peculiar luster of Diamond the stone may
easily be distinguished by it from glass or minerals with a vitreous
luster, such as quartz. Certain other minerals, however, such as
cerussite, zircon, and to some extent sphene, exhibit the adamantine
luster. In the glass known as strass, used to make imitation Diamonds,
the adamantine luster is well imitated.

Diamond is usually transparent, but it may be translucent and even
opaque, especially the black varieties. Even otherwise transparent
Diamond often contains inclusions which cloud and interrupt its
clearness. These constitute the “flaws” which so often injure the value
of a Diamond and prevent it from being of the “first water.” These
inclusions may be simply small cavities, sometimes so numerous as to
make the stone nearly black, or they may be particles of other minerals,
such as chlorite, hematite or carbonaceous matter. If the latter, the
flaws can sometimes be burned out by careful heating.

As already remarked, the refractive power of the Diamond is very high.
The rays of light entering it are bent at a high angle, causing a large
degree of what is called total reflection within the stone. The effect
of this is to light the stone’s interior. Moreover, the rays of light
are concentrated on a smaller part of the surface than is the case with
less highly refracting minerals and thus also internal illumination is
produced. The most important result of the high refractive power of the
Diamond is the wide dispersion of the spectrum, causing the red rays to
be widely separated from the blue rays and strong lights of one color to
be transmitted to the eye as could not be the case were the different
rays less widely separated. It is this power of flashing different
colored lights which gives the Diamond one of its chief charms. The
index of refraction ranges from 2.40 for the red rays to 2.46 for the
violet rays. Ordinary glass has an index of refraction for the red rays
of only 1.52 and for the violet 1.54, making the spectrum only about
half as long as that produced by the Diamond.

Another pleasing property of the Diamond is the fact that it is usually
more brilliant by artificial light than by natural, although some
individual stones have a reverse behavior.

Diamond is much the hardest substance known in Nature, and as the
proverb says only the Diamond is able to “cut Diamond.” It is ranked 10
in the scale of hardness on which minerals are classified, corundum
being the next below it. It is really separated by a wide gap from the
latter mineral, however, and its hardness is as much greater than that
of corundum as that of corundum is greater than that of the first
mineral in the scale. This hardness of Diamond affords a ready means of
identifying it, as it will scratch all other substances. It is popularly
supposed that Diamond is the only mineral which will scratch glass to
any extent, and a stone found is often reported to be Diamond because it
will do this. As a matter of fact, however, all quartz will scratch
glass and the harder minerals, garnet, topaz, beryl and others will do
so easily. Minerals which will scratch glass are therefore common. The
Diamond cuts glass instead of scratching it, and is the only mineral
that will do this. Although the Diamond is so hard, it is not tough, and
can be easily broken with the blow of a hammer. It was a tradition of
the ancients that if a Diamond were put upon an anvil and struck with a
hammer, both hammer and anvil would be shattered without injuring the
Diamond in the least. One occasionally hears this statement made even at
the present day. It is entirely untrue, however, the Diamond being as
brittle as at least the average of crystallized minerals. The specific
gravity of the Diamond is about three and one-half times that of water,
determinations showing variations between 3.49 and 3.53. Carbonado is
lower, ranging between 3.14 and 3.41. Diamond is thus a comparatively
heavy mineral, the only ones among the gems which much exceed it in
specific weight being hyacinth, garnet, ruby, sapphire and chrysoberyl.

Diamond becomes strongly electric on friction so that it will pick up
pieces of paper and other light substances. It does not retain its
electricity long, however, usually not over half an hour. It is not a
conductor of electricity, differing in this respect from graphite, which
is a good conductor. Diamond becomes phosphorescent on rubbing with a
cloth, giving out a light which is visible in the dark. Some stones emit
such a light after being exposed to the sun’s rays for a time, as if
they took it up from the sun and gave it out again. This has often been
stated to be a property of all Diamond, but this is not true, only
certain stones exhibiting it. As first suggested by Mr. Geo. F. Kunz, it
is probable that this phosphorescence is due to minute quantities of
hydrocarbons which emit light on being heated by the friction given the
stone. It is curious to note that the light is in some cases given out
only from certain crystal faces of the stone. Thus Diamonds are known
which give out light from the cubic faces but not from the octahedral,
while others are reported as giving out light of different colors from
different faces.

The name Diamond comes from the Greek adamas, which means unconquerable.
This term was doubtless applied because of the great resistant power
assigned to it by the ancients. Besides the well known tradition that it
could not be broken by hammer and anvil, they believed that it could be
subdued or broken down only when dipped in warm goat’s blood. Our words
adamant and adamantine are also derived from adamas, the latter term
still being used to describe the luster of the Diamond. The change of
adamas into the word Diamond is thought by some to have come from
prefixing to it the Italian diafano, transparent, in allusion to its
possessing this property.

According to classical mythology the Diamond was first formed by
Jupiter, who turned into stone a man known as Diamond of Crete, for
refusing to forget him after he had ordered all men to do so. Many
medicinal virtues were ascribed to the Diamond, it being regarded as an
antidote for poisons and a preventive of mania.

The world’s supply of Diamonds has come almost wholly from three
countries—India, Brazil and South Africa. Up to the beginning of the
eighteenth century India was the only source of Diamonds known. The
Diamond fields of India occur chiefly in the eastern and southern
portions of the peninsula. The famed region of Golconda is in the
southern part. This is the territory whence have come the most
celebrated Indian stones, such as the Kohinoor and the Hope Blue. The
French traveler Tavernier reported when he was there in 1665, that sixty
thousand men were then employed in these mines. Now the mines have all
been given up and the region is abandoned.

The present yield of Indian Diamonds comes almost wholly from mines in a
district south of Allahabad and Benares. The Diamonds occur here, as
universally in India, in a conglomerate or sandstone made up of the
remains of older rocks.

The mines are worked almost wholly by natives of the lower caste,
attempts of Europeans to conduct the mining not having met with success.
The natives separate the Diamonds by washing, or where the rock is too
hard for such methods, break it up by heating and throwing cold water
upon it. The production of Diamonds from all of India is at the present
time very small, not reaching a million dollars a year in value. It is
likely in time to disappear altogether since most of the old mines have
been abandoned and even their location forgotten and the returns from
the present mines are not very profitable.

The Brazilian Diamond fields were the first important ones to become
known after those of India. Diamonds were first found here in 1729 in
river sands which were being worked for gold by adventurers who
penetrated into the region from the coast. The gold miners paid no
attention to the bright crystals sometimes seen in the bottoms of their
pans, but a monk who had seen Diamonds mined in India recognized them as
gems indeed. While for many years the Diamonds obtained came wholly from
the river sands, later, upland deposits were discovered which now afford
a part of the supply. Diamonds have been found in the following
provinces of Brazil: Bahia, Goyaz, Matto Grosso, Minas Geraes and
Parana. In all except Bahia and Minas Geraes the mining is desultory and
consists simply in washing river sands by means of wooden bowls. Enough
Diamonds are thus obtained to afford a precarious living to the
garimperos, as they are called, who follow this occupation. The chief
Diamond bearing region of Brazil at the present time is in the province
of Minas Geraes, centered about the city of Diamantina. The black
variety of Diamond known as carbonado comes chiefly from the province of
Bahia and is in large demand for industrial purposes. The Brazilian
Diamonds are as a rule small, but exceed all others in luster. The
largest Brazilian Diamond known is that named Star of the South, which
weighed in the rough 254.5 carats and was valued at one hundred and
seventy-five thousand dollars.

As is generally known the chief source of Diamonds at the present time
is South Africa. As in Brazil, Diamonds were first discovered here in
the river sands and these still afford a small supply. These were first
known in 1867, but in 1871 the deposits in place near Kimberley were
found and these constitute today the world’s great Diamond mines. The
mines now being worked are four in number, and all occur within an area
hardly three miles square. Geologically the formation seems to be that
of a filling of old volcanic necks by an influx of mud from below. It is
this mud which now considerably hardened contains the Diamonds. The
largest Diamonds of the world have been obtained from these mines, some
exceeding the Kohinoor in size. Their quality is also generally good,
although sometimes injured by a yellow tinge.

Besides the above countries, Diamonds have been found in Australia, the
Ural Mountains, British Guiana and the United States. The finds have
usually been in the beds of streams and are not of sufficient abundance
to make systematic mining profitable. The localities where Diamonds have
been found in the State of Wisconsin, in this country, are on the
terminus of a moraine which came from the North, somewhere in the region
of Hudson’s Bay. It is hence not improbable that the “mother lode” will
some day be found there.

Finally it is interesting to know that Diamonds occur in meteorites, and
hence doubtless exist in other worlds than ours.

                                             Oliver Cummings Farrington.



                             INDIAN SUMMER.


  With your hazy distances,
  And your fine insistences,
    Of russet, amber, brown,
  From what region dost thou journey
  Hither to our fields a-tourney,
    Flinging thy dim gauntlet down?
  Dost thou come from Southern seas?
  Or from mountain fastnesses?

  Ho, we call thee Indian Summer,
  O thou late and languid comer,
    Loitering our forest aisles;
  Idling with the sunshine dreamy,
  As with wandering a-weary,
    Chary, ever, of thy smiles.
  Thou hast come to claim the glamour
  Of the dear, departed Summer.
                                                          —M. D. Tolman.

                 [Illustration: HORNED TOADS (LIZARDS).
                      Phrynosoma cornutus (Texas).
                   Phrynosoma coronatum (California).
                               Life-size.
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]



                           THE HORNED TOADS.


The Horned Toads form an interesting group of Lizards which are related
to the iguanas of the tropical forests of America. They are, however,
terrestrial lizards, inhabiting the plains of Southwestern United States
and Mexico. Their short, broad and more or less flattened bodies,
rounded heads and short tails give these animals quite a striking
resemblance to the common toad. Hence their common name. In one respect,
however, they are not at all like the toad. The head is armed behind
with a row of quite formidable horny spines, and in some of the species
shorter ones are also present on the top of the head and on various
parts of the body. As these lizards are slow in motion, the horns
constitute one of their chief means of defense. When in the presence of
an enemy “the muzzle is depressed and the horns are elevated. The back
is also arched.” The utility of the horns as a means of defense has been
amply proven. The dead bodies of snakes have been found with the horns
protruding through the skin of the body near the head. But this is not
their only means of defense. From birds they are protected by their
coloration, which is a somber mixture of brown, black and yellowish, and
when quietly resting on sands or rocks in the open they quite closely
resemble stones covered with lichens of varying shades of color.
Abundant as they are in some arid regions of the Southwest, they
frequently escape the notice of the observer because of their
coloration. In such regions, too, they can take refuge beneath the
protecting spines of the Agaves and the branches of the prickly
Opuntias. Dr. Leonhard Stejneger considers the Horned Toads a most
striking illustration of protective mimicry. Of one species he says: “In
the cedar and pine belts of the San Francisco Mountains the dark color
of the soil and stones covering the surface is closely matched by the
ground color of the Horned Toad, while the greenish gray and
orange-colored markings which somewhat irregularly adorn their backs are
perfect imitations of the lichens covering the rocks and pebbles among
which these odd looking creatures live. Near the rim of the Grand Canyon
of the Colorado, on the other hand, the ground is covered with small
pebbles of variously colored sandstone, ranging from a clayey white to
brick red and dark brown, and the specimen which I collected there is
such a faithful reproduction of the surroundings that it would
undoubtedly have remained undetected had it not been moving. Even more
remarkable are the specimens which Dr. Merriam collected in the black
lava belt. One of these was brought to camp alive.” Dr. Stejneger made a
careful study of this specimen and found that it had very closely
imitated the color of the lava, including even its glossy appearance.

One of the most remarkable habits of at least one of the species, and
possibly of all the Horned Toads, is the power of ejecting jets of blood
from the eyes. This power is rarely exercised and seemingly only when
greatly irritated. Professor L. M. Underwood relates the following
instance, which also illustrates some of the other habits of the Horned
Toads when angered: “In 1885 a student of mine received a specimen of
Horned Toad from California. In examining the animal I took occasion to
turn him on his back, using a lead pencil for the purpose. The animal
resented this treatment and showed considerable anger, opening his mouth
and puffing up his body. Irritating the animal still more, he grew more
and more enraged, until finally blood spurted from just above his eye,
which was fired at least a foot from the animal, as several spots struck
my arm considerably above my wrist. After spurting the blood the toad
became limp and collapsed, and remained in a stupor for some time, and,
when handled, behaved as if dead. After a time, possibly not over five
or six minutes, certainly not over ten, the animal revived and commenced
to run about the table.” Irritating him again in the same manner,
Professor Underwood caused the toad to go through the operation a second
time, which was followed, as in the first instance, by collapse and
stupor. “No amount of irritation could produce a third discharge,
although the animal showed some anger.”

This habit of the Horned Toads has been observed by a number of
scientists and it is said that the Mexicans have called them Sacred
Toads, “because they wept tears of blood.” An examination with a
microscope clearly shows that the ejected liquid is blood. As to the
purpose of this habit, Dr. O. P. Hay says: “It appears to me quite
likely that it is done in order to defend itself from the attacks of its
enemies, although it would not seem likely that blood would hurt the
eyes much. Nevertheless a discharge of blood into the eyes of some
persevering bird or snake might so seriously interfere with its
clearness of vision that the lizard might make its escape while the
enemy was wiping its eyes.” One investigator, at least, has had the
experience of having the stream of blood enter his eye. It was followed
by pain which lasted for some time, but was relieved as soon as the
blood was entirely wiped from the eye. Some inflammation followed, but
soon it disappeared.

Unlike some of the other lizards, the Horned Toads are not provided with
a protrusive tongue. This fact, together with their clumsy form,
prevents them from preying on the more lively insects. They chiefly feed
upon the beetles and other slowly moving insects that inhabit the region
in which they live. The food is captured in the evening, and if
undisturbed the toads remain quite passive throughout the day. In
captivity they are interesting pets and if they will take food they bear
confinement for a long time. “They not infrequently, however, starve
themselves to death, though their capacity to live without food is
marvelous.”



                          DOWN IN DIXIE-LAND.


One never has to travel very far from home to see something new and
interesting; so I wonder if all of the readers know of the “frizzly
chicken” which is so popular among the colored people of our southern
states.

It is of ordinary size and like the rest of the chicken family, except
that its feathers stand on end like the quills of an angry porcupine. It
reminded me of a chicken perpetually blown before a March wind. Of
course, their feathers become ragged and “frizzled,” like the hair of
their proud possessors, and I imagine the motherly inclined do not find
their sittings quite so comfortable as do our meek-looking hens.

As a rule, the negroes are very humane in their treatment of domestic
animals. The dogs are treated as well as the children, and nearly every
cabin door has a hole cut in it for the entrance and exit of the family
cats. As the weather is seldom cold, these ventilators are really good
for the larger inmates.

                                                             Lee McCrae.



                                MY BAT.


When I discovered the bat he was hanging by his hind feet, head downward
between the blind and the window. I could not see him breathe and
thought he must be dead, but he was only sleeping.

We closed the shutters of the blind as softly as we could, but it awoke
him, and he began to wiggle and twist. He could not get away and we
lowered the window from the top and grabbed the little fellow.

How he did scold and snap his jaws together! His little teeth were sharp
and he tried his best to bite us.

We put him in a box and put a piece of coarse wire netting over the top.

Mr. Bat did not enjoy being made a prisoner, and did not quiet down
until he found he could hang head downward from the netting.

He was quite a pretty little animal, his body being about two inches
long, with soft, thick, reddish brown fur on its upper and under part
and on his head. His eyes were small and dark, and his head looked like
a tiny bear’s, but there was no hair on his ears.

His wings also were without hair and nearly black in color. When hanging
by his hind legs he kept his wings folded tightly against his body.

The bat’s hind feet were very small, having five tiny toes with the
smallest possible nails. By having one toe around the wire of the
netting he could hold himself suspended in the air.

The little fellow’s mode of walking on the bottom of the box was very
awkward. He would thrust forth the claw at the end of one of his wings
and hook it into the box, then advance the hind foot and tumble forward,
repeating the process with the opposite side, thus tumbling and
staggering along, falling first to one side, then to the other.

If he wanted to hang from the netting he would reach up a hind foot and
gain a foothold in the side of the box, then raise the other, thus
climbing backwards until he could clasp the netting.

In the evening the bat got out of the box and was flying about the room
before we knew he had escaped. He flew round and round in a circle,
sometimes striking the walls of the room. His wings made considerable
noise and he looked many times larger when flying.

We thought we should have to shut him up in the room until morning, but
at last succeeded in catching him by hitting and knocking him to the
floor with a coat, then throwing it over him.

The little fellow struggled and tried his best to get away, but it was
no use. We put him back into the box and put a weight on the netting. He
scratched around in the box and scolded all the evening, but he did not
get away again.

The next morning I thought he would be hungry and tried to get him to
eat and drink. He lapped a little water and a little milk out of a
teaspoon, running out his tiny red tongue and making a little hacking
noise.

He would not be tempted to eat a fly, shaking his head and spitting the
flies out as fast as I could put them into his mouth.

As he would not eat we thought the little fellow would starve if I did
not let him go. I waited until evening and took the box outdoors. He was
hanging to the netting, and I took it off and turned it over so he could
fly. He spread out his wings and away he went, glad to be at liberty
once more.

I have looked every morning to see if the bat is hanging against the
window, but have not seen him since I set him free.

                                                        Martha R. Fitch.



                            THE ATLAS MOTH.
                           (_Attacus atlas_.)


India is not only noted for its large and ferocious beasts, but also for
its gorgeous flowers and beautiful insects. Among these is the splendid
Atlas Moth, noted not alone for the extravagance of its coloring, but
also for its immense size, for it is the giant of the moths and
butterflies. The largest specimen recorded is now in the British Museum.
Expanded and measured from tip to tip of the fore wings, it is only
one-quarter of inch less than one foot. Measured in the same manner, the
specimen of our illustration is a trifle over ten inches. The average
expansion, however, is only about eight or nine inches. Its large size
influenced Linnaeus to give this moth the specific designation of Atlas,
the name of one of the Greek gods, by whom the pillars of heaven were
supposed to be supported. In later years the word has been used in a
figurative sense indicative of an ability to sustain a great burden.
Truly no other name would be more appropriate, for the large wings of
the Atlas Moth enable it to fly swiftly and to long distances, though
its flight is somewhat erratic.

The larvae or caterpillars of this regal moth are fully as interesting
and beautiful as the adult insect. They have a long, thick and fleshy
body, which bears several rows of tubercles, crowned with spiny hairs.
When young they are black with white spines, but afterwards become a
rich green color and bear bluish-green or black spines. It is said that
the larvae eat their skins after moulting and it has been suggested that
the object of this habit is to prevent the cast off skins from
indicating their presence to birds and other enemies.

The Atlas Moth varies considerably in the color of its wings and, when
compared with the expanse of its wings, its body is very short. A
peculiar and striking characteristic is the large and triangular
transparent spot near the center of each of the four wings.

Among its allies are some of the most important of the silk producing
moths of India, China and Japan, and the common emperor moth of England.
Other species of the genus Attacus inhabit Central and South America,
but they are much smaller and not as beautiful as the Atlas.



                              A BUTTERFLY.


            Lazily flying
  Over the flower-decked prairies, West;
      Basking in sunshine till daylight is dying,
  And resting all night on Asclepias’ breast;
            Joyously dancing,
            Merrily prancing,
  Chasing his lady-love high in the air,
            Fluttering gaily,
            Frolicking daily.
  Free from anxiety, sorrow, and care!
                                                           —C. V. Riley.

                   [Illustration: ATLAS MOTH (INDIA).
                            (Attacus atlas).
                           About ½ Life-size.
                   SPECIMEN LOANED BY W. E. LONGLEY.]



                         WHEN BILLIE CAME BACK.


Billie is the handsomest Flicker that comes to the grove of oaks on the
north campus of the college and that is saying a great deal. For several
years he has occupied a splendid house hollowed out with much labor in
the great oak by the power house. Just above the portico of his house
Billie has his xylophone. This remarkable instrument is just seasoned
enough and has just the correct spring in its splinters. Here every
morning, at this season, he beats a series of tunes, monotonous perhaps,
but rather pleasing to Billie and me. After beating a tune, he screams
at the top of his voice, “Get up; get up.” He is an alarm clock and a
great nuisance to those who love their morning nap, but I would not
allow him to be disturbed, he seems so business-like and earnest. My
wife was disposed to disparage his musical attainments, but when she saw
the marvelous rapidity of his strokes and the beauty of his red crest
flashing in the slanting sunlight she became a partisan.

It should be said, of course, that after the brief season of courtship
is over and Billie’s wife is busy about her housekeeping, he is less
musical and we do not have our reveille so regularly.

Early last spring a pair of English sparrows took possession of Billie’s
house and worked with a diligence worthy a better cause to fill it with
sticks and bits of straw. I was interested at once and waited eagerly to
see what Billie would do when he should return. I did not have many days
to wait. One fine day I heard Billie hammering a gay tune. I watched and
was soon rewarded. Billie seemed taken aback, but soon recovered from
his surprise and proceeded to clean house at a great rate. Meantime the
sparrows could do nothing but scold, and I confess to a degree of
satisfaction in their discomfiture. For once the speckled little
Ishmaelites were impotent.

Finally the last straw was thrown out and Billie perched upon the limb
that served as a portico for his house, screamed with defiance and
satisfaction. Soon he flew to a distant part of the grove in search of
the future Mrs. Flicker, I suppose, and was gone for perhaps an hour.
The sparrows worked desperately and had nearly all of the material
replaced when Billie, disappointed in his quest and in no very good
humor, returned. This time Billie’s patience was entirely gone and he
threw sticks right and left, stopping occasionally to scream with anger.
He seemed to know there would be little use in chasing the pesky
sparrows. He did not go far from home after that, so that the sparrows
were compelled to go house hunting elsewhere.

Billie mounted guard over his fireside and his altars for several days,
treating us to a quantity if not a variety of drum solos, and the
seductive notes of his cross cut saw of a voice were in constant
evidence. He never knew the sorrow of the human performer of like merit
when his best friends are willing for him to rest.

One fine day a demure looking female, attracted by his music, came and
critically examined the house. I knew she was already won, but Billie
did not, and it was amusing to watch his antics. Did you ever see a
Flicker desperately in love? It was evidently love at first sight with
Billie. He spread his wings, showed the jet black crescent on his vest,
displayed the crimson glory of his crest, played his most catchy tune on
the xylophone and sang his most melodious song. Meantime the coy female,
already decided, still appeared to be unable to make up her mind. She
made as if to go on, and Billie was in despair, and redoubled his
persuasion. She had never heard such a tattoo, nor seen such a
xylophone, nor yet so fine a fellow as Billie. Soon she stopped her
pretended search for larvae under the loose bark and made another
inspection of the house. She exemplified the maxim, “To hesitate is to
be lost,” and soon she and Billie were busy with their housekeeping. The
sparrows got no further chance to occupy Billie’s summer home. A happy
family was reared and educated and in the autumn disappeared.

As I write Billie has returned and is beating a merry tune, while six or
more sparrows sit around listening as if to learn how. Mrs. Flicker has
not yet returned, but I believe the sparrows have given up the idea of
taking his house. I am in doubt about Mrs. Flicker, but I know Billie.
He is larger and handsomer than ever. I have studied his every beautiful
feather. Sometimes I think he jumps behind a limb just to tease me, but
I am fond of him and I hope he may return for many years.

                                                          Rowland Watts.



             BEAUTIFUL VINES TO BE FOUND IN OUR WILD WOODS.
                                  II.


A vine of great beauty in our autumn woods, with its great masses of
scarlet berries, is the Celastrus scandens—Climbing Bittersweet or
Wax-work.

It belongs to the order Celastraceae—Staff tree family—to which family
belongs the wahoo or burning-bush, with which we are all familiar, from
seeing its abundant red berries in the autumn woods and in the parks.

The flowers of the Celastrus or Bittersweet are small, greenish and
regular, growing in clusters at the end of the branchlets, the staminate
and pistillate forms usually on separate plants, which accounts for the
fact that we often see a beautiful vine that has bloomed profusely
bearing no flowers; the flowers have five distinct spreading petals,
inserted with the alternate stamens on the edge of the disk that lines
the base of the calyx. Its five united sepals form a cup-shaped calyx.
It has five stamens, one thick style and a three-celled ovary, with
three to six seeds. It can be found in full blossom about the first of
June.

The leaves of the Bittersweet are from two to three and a half inches in
length, simple alternate, slightly fine-toothed, and are found from egg
shaped and oblong to the reversed of egg shaped, the apex always
pointed, while the base is sometimes pointed and sometimes rounded. The
fruit of the Bittersweet is about one-third of an inch in diameter,
round and a deep orange color, three-celled with two seeds in each cell;
when it is ripe, it opens into three parts, showing six bright scarlet
berries within.

The Celastrus is a strong, woody climber, twining upon itself in coils
and swirls, over fences and walls and bushes to great distances, often
to the top of immensely high trees.

It is immensely showy and beautiful in the very late fall when its
leaves are all fallen off and its woody branches are left thickly
studded with its orange and scarlet fruit. I remember especially one
Christmas eve, in Kentucky, that we gathered great bunches of it; we
found it growing over an old stone ruin in great masses and gathering
it, with large bunches of mistletoe, it made ideal decorations for our
Christmas festivities.

                                                          J. O. Cochran.



                                COMPTIE.


When winter, with its blasting, icy hand, has touched every green thing
exposed to its wantonness, and Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and
other feast days call loudly for the festive greenery with which to
adorn churches, halls and dwellings, longing eyes are turned towards the
Southland, where King Winter’s scepter is unknown and green things
flourish the year around.

A walk through the dark hummuck woods—so dark that owls overhead hoot at
one in the daytime—holds the naturalist and the florist spell-bound.

The numerous varieties of chirping and twittering birds, the many-hued
spiders, lizards, bugs and beetles, and, yes, the wriggling snakes, with
now and then the sounds of snarling ’coons or ’possums, the scream of a
wild-cat, or the dashing by of the deer suddenly aroused from his noon
siesta—all this makes the naturalist feel as though he had entered into
an enchanted land; but he who loves “the green things growing” more than
the things flying, creeping or snarling will feast his eyes on the ever
varying verdure.

Tall palmettos, wide-spreading oaks, orchids, trailing vines and
festooning mosses sweeping the greener mosses beneath, ferns,
lilies!—but, ’twould fill a volume to enumerate the many beauties which
meet the eye at even a single glance, each plant and flower in itself
being worthy of a chapter.

There is one plant which especially attracts our attention and
admiration; and this plant is one of the prettiest and most useful of
the greeneries used for decorations in the far north in winter. It is
called, variously, “Comptie,” “Coontie,” “Starch-root,” or
“Indian-bread.” The two latter names are due to its large, bulbous root,
which, when grated, makes a good starch, and which was also made, by the
primitive Indians, into ash-cake, or bread—as Indians knew bread.

It is fern-like; but, unlike most ferns, it is of a sturdy, independent
growth, bearing handling as well as cedar, yet with all the graceful
pliancy of the more tender ferns. Its stems grow two or three feet long;
the fronds on each side of the stem being three or four inches in
length, and of a glossy dark green color. From one to two dozen such
stems put out from a single stalk, growing up into the most graceful
curves.

Seeds, deep crimson in color, and of the size of a chestnut, form in the
center of the plant, and so compactly as to present one continuous
bulbous form, the size and shape of a round quart bottle with part of
its neck broken off. This crimson seed-form, surrounded by the dark
green foliage, is, of itself, a pretty curiosity, more novel than a
flower.

The reason why it is especially valued for decorations is, because it
can be had at all seasons of the year, and retains its verdure for
several weeks, even after it has been shipped long distances. Many of
these plants, cut close to the ground, have been shipped from Florida to
Canada, and have retained their fresh, glossy appearance for two months.
Even without placing the stems in water, using them for motto work, they
will last two or three weeks.

And this is but one of Florida’s novelties in plant life.

                                                          Mary Stratner.



                            THE RIVER PATH.


  There’s a path beside the river,
    Winding through the willow copse
  Where I love to walk in autumn
    Ere the season’s curtain drops.

  On far hillsides beech and maple,
    Touched by early nipping frost,
  Have their brown and crimson jackets
    To the boisterous breezes tossed.

  Still the willow leaves are clinging,
    Latest foliage of fall,
  Shading yet my river pathway
    Underneath the osiers tall.

  On the wimpling water’s surface
    Drift a million truant leaves,
  Stolen from the woodland reaches
    By the wind, the prince of thieves.

  All along the river edges
    Verdure’s turned to brown and gray,
  Rustling through the dying sedges
    Autumn’s low voiced breezes play.

  Nowhere sweeter walk or rarer
    Than my path beside the stream.
  There I love to stroll in autumn,
    There to loiter and to dream.
                                                      —Frank Farrington.

                    [Illustration: EGG PLANT FRUIT.
                         (Solanum esculentum).]



                               EGG PLANT.
                       (_Solanum esculentum_ L.)


The Egg-plant, also known as bringal, aubergine, egg-apple and
mad-apple, is an herbaceous plant belonging to the Nightshade family
(Solananæ), therefore kin to the potato and tomato. It is a tender
annual, readily killed by the early frosts. It has rather large, simple,
somewhat incised leaves. The fruits are large, egg-shaped, tomato-like
in structure, hence berries.

It is quite extensively cultivated in gardens. The seeds are sown in hot
beds early in April but transplanting is not done until about the first
of June, when all danger of frost is past. The soil should be very rich
and the plants set about three feet apart. Like most transplanted plants
they require shading and watering for a few days. Careful cultivation is
required during the entire season. Propping may be necessary to keep the
large, heavy fruits from the ground. The Colorado beetle is a very
annoying enemy of the growing plants and must be effectually fought to
insure a crop.

There are several varieties of Egg-plant. The purple variety is by long
odds the greatest favorite. There are also white and yellow varieties.

Most people consider the properly prepared fruit of the Egg-plant a
delicacy. In some tropical countries it forms an important article of
diet. The ripe fruit is prepared for the table by peeling and boiling.
After boiling the fruit is sliced, seasoned and fried until well
browned, in rolled crackers or bread crusts and a liberal supply of
butter. When well prepared it is a very palatable article of diet but
when insufficiently cooked or fried it is indigestible. It does not seem
to be prepared in other ways nor does it seem to have any noteworthy
medicinal properties.

                                                       Albert Schneider.


  There comes, from yonder height,
    A soft repining sound,
  Where forest leaves are bright,
  And fall, like flakes of light,
                To the ground.

  It is the autumn breeze,
    That, lightly floating on,
  Just skims the weedy leas,
  Just stirs the glowing trees,
                And is gone.
                          —William Cullen Bryant, “The Voice of Autumn.”



                               A MYSTERY.


  I saw the wheat in billows roll,
    A verdant ocean, stirred with joy,
  It set a-throbbing in my soul
    The madcap freedom of a boy:—
  The blue sky bended far above,
    A stagnant sea from pole to pole,
  Clouds, like aerial ice-bergs, drove
    On that still ocean, without shoal:—

  The subtle spirit of the sky,
    Alastor of my solitude,
  Thrilled all my working pulses high
    With visions of life’s magnitude—
  (The wondrous vision of the whole!)
    At once upon my startled eye,
  Stood naked the primeval law,
    Life’s noiseless currents eddied by,
  The universal heart I saw,
    Swayed by the cosmic oversoul.—

  I trembled but I did not fall,
    I ceased, and yet I did not die,
  But from my eyes there fell the pall,
    My soul no longer wondered why:
  I knew the secret of the world,
    Of night and day, of life and death,
  For one brief instant, onward whirled,
    My being breathed with godlike breath:
  The sky spun like a mighty bowl,
    I saw the wheat in billows roll.
                                                      Edward O. Jackson.



                          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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