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Title: Birds and all Nature, Vol. VII, No. 4, April 1900
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 all Nature, Vol. VII, No. 4, April 1900" ***

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  VOL. VII.          APRIL, 1900.            NO. 4.


  APRIL.                                           145
  THE PROCESSION OF SPRING.                        145
  THE AMERICAN BITTERN.                            146
  OUR LITTLE MARTYRS.                              146
  LITTLE GUESTS IN FEATHERS.                       149
  PLANTING THE TREES.                              150
  ORIGIN OF THE EASTER EGG.                        151
  MORAL VALUE OF FORESTS.                          152
  EASTER LILIES.                                   152
  THE SCARLET IBIS.                                155
  CHIPPY--A BABY MOCKING BIRD.                     155
  BIRDLAND SECRETS.                                157
  THE MASSENA QUAIL.                               158
  IN THE OLD LOG HOUSE.                            158
  ANIMALS AS PATIENTS.                             162
  THE TRIPLET TREE.                                163
  COUNTRIES DEVOID OF TREES.                       163
  SNOW PRISONS OF GAME BIRDS.                      164
  THE RING-BILLED DUCK.                            167
  A STRANGE BIRD HOUSE.                            167
  THE CHICKADEE.                                   168
  REFLECTIONS.                                     169
  FOXGLOVE.                                        170
  FRUIT BATS OF THE PHILIPPINES.                   173
  MONKEYS AS GOLD FINDERS.                         173
  A PLEA FOR THE TREES.                            174
  "THAT I MAY HELP."                               175
  A TRAGEDY IN THREE PARTS.                        175
  STRANGE PLANTS.                                  175
  A BRIGAND BIRD.                                  176
  THE BROOK.                                       176
  THE BLOOD-ROOT.                                  179
  TANSY CAKES.                                     180
  THE PARTRIDGE CALL.                              180
  OUR FEATHERED NEIGHBORS.                         181
  THE BLUE GROSBEAK.                               182
  ODD PLACES CHOSEN.                               182
  THE YOUNG NATURALIST.                            185
  BIRD LIFE IN INDIA.                              187
  IRELAND'S LOST GLORY.                            188
  BIRDS AND REPTILES RELATED.                      188
  THE ROCK SHELLS.                                 191
  SPRING HAS COME.                                 192


    These rugged, wintry days I scarce could bear,
    Did I not know, that, in the early spring,
    When wild March winds upon their errands sing,
    Thou wouldst return, bursting on this still air
    Like those same winds, when, startled from their lair,
    They hunt up violets, and free swift brooks
    From icy cares, even as thy clear looks
    Bid my heart bloom, and sing, and break all care:
    When drops with welcome rain the April day,
    My flowers shall find their April in thine eyes,
    Save there the rain in dreamy clouds doth stay,
    As loath to fall out of those happy skies;
    Yet sure, my love, thou art most like to May,
    That comes with steady sun when April dies.


    A morning of radiant lids
    O'er the dance of the earth opened wide;
    The bees chose their flowers, the snub kids
    Upon hind legs went sportive, or plied,
    Nosing, hard at the dugs to be filled;
    There was milk, honey, music to make;
    Up their branches the little birds billed;
    Chirrup, drone, bleat, and buzz ringed the lake.
    O shining in sunlight, chief
    After water and water's caress,
    Was the young bronze orange leaf,
    That clung to the trees as a tress,
    Shooting lucid tendrils to wed
    With the vine hook tree or pole,
    Like Arachne launched out on her thread.
    Then the maiden her dusky stole,
    In the span of the black-starred zone,
    Gathered up for her footing fleet.
    As one that had toil of her own
    She followed the lines of wheat
    Tripping straight through the field, green blades,
    To the groves of olive gray,
    Downy gray, golden-tinged; and to glades
    Where the pear blossom thickens the spray
    In a night, like the snow-packed storm;
    Pear, apple, almond, plum;
    Not wintry now; pushing warm.
    And she touched them with finger and thumb,
    As the vine hook closes; she smiled,
    Recounting again and again,
    Corn, wine, fruit, oil! like a child,
    With the meaning known to men.
                                        --_George Meredith._

  [Illustration: AMERICAN BITTERN.
                 1/3 Life-size.
                 From COL. F. NUSSBAUMER & SON
                 A. M. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]


(_Botaurus lentiginosus._)

This curious bird has several local names. It is called the
"stake-driver," "booming bittern," and "thunder-pumper," in consequence
of its peculiar cry. It was once thought that this noise was made by
using a hollow reed, but the peculiar tone is possibly due to the odd
shaped neck of the bird. Gibson says you hear of the stake-driver but
can not find his "stake."

We have never seen a bittern except along water courses. He is a
solitary bird. When alarmed by the approach of someone the bird
sometimes escapes recognition by standing on its short tail motionless
with its bill pointing skyward, in which position, aided by its dull
coloring, it personates a small snag or stump or some other growth
about it.

This bird has long legs, yellow green in color, which trail awkwardly
behind it and serve as a sort of rudder when it flies. It has a long,
crooked neck, and lengthy yellow bill edged with black. The body is
variable as to size, but sometimes is said to measure thirty-four
inches. The tail is short and rounded. In color this peculiar bird is
yellowish brown mottled with various shades of brown above, and below
buff, white and brown.

It is not a skillful architect, but places its rude nest on the ground,
in which may be found three to five grayish brown eggs.

The habitat of the American bittern covers the whole of temperate and
tropical North America, north to latitude about 60 degrees, south to
Guatemala, Cuba, Jamaica and the Bermudas. It is occasionally found in

Frank Forrester included the bittern among the list of his game birds,
and it is asked what higher authority we can have than his. The flesh
is regarded as excellent food.



    Do we care, you and I,
    For the song-birds winging by,
    Ruffled throat and bosom's sheen,
    Thrill of wing of gold or green,
    Sapphire, crimson--gorgeous dye
    Lost or found across the sky,
    Midst the glory of the air;
    Birds who tenderer colors wear?

    What to us the free-bird's song,
    Breath of passion, breath of wrong;
    Wood-heart's orchestra, her life;
    Breath of love and breath of strife;
    Joy's fantasies; anguish breath;
    Cries of doubt, and cries of death?

    Shall we care when nesting-time
    Brings no birds from any clime;
    Not a voice or ruby wing,
    Not a single nest to swing

    Midst the reeds, or, higher up,
    Like a dainty fairy-cup;
    Not a single little friend,
    All the way, as footsteps wend
    Here and there through every clime,
    Not a bird at any time?

    Does it matter? Do we care
    What the feathers women wear
    Cost the world? Must all birds die?
    May they never, never fly
    Safely through their native air?
    Slaughter meets them everywhere.

    Scorned be the hands that touch such spoil!
    Let women pity and recoil
    From traffic barbarous and grave,
    And quickly strive the birds to save.



A Brooklyn naturalist who gives much time to bird-study told me that as
his rooms became overfull of birds he decided to thin them out before
the approach of winter. Accordingly he selected two song sparrows
and turned one of them adrift, thinking to let the other go the next

The little captive was very happy for a few hours, flying about the
"wild garden" in the rear of the house--a few square rods where more
than 400 varieties of native plants were growing. It was not long,
however, before a homesick longing replaced the new happiness and the
bird returned to the cage which was left upon the piazza roof.

The next morning the second sparrow was given his freedom. Nothing was
seen of him for a week, when he came to the window, beat his tired
wings against the pane, and sank down upon the window sill so overjoyed
at finding himself at home that he was fairly bursting with song. His
throat trembled with the ecstasy; the feathers ruffling as the melody
rose from his heart and deluged the air with sweetness. His joy was too
complete for further experiment.

The first sparrow was again released only to return at nightfall and go
promptly to bed at the general retiring hour.

This hour, by the way, varied indefinitely; the whole aviary
accommodating their hours to those of their master, rising with him
and settling for the night as he turned off the gas. After this same
bird was repeatedly sent out, like Noah's dove, coming home at evening,
till after many days it came no more--an implicit confidence in the
rightness of all intention doubtless making it an easy prey to some
evil design.

A handsome hermit thrush from the same aviary, domesticated in my room,
after an hour or two "abroad" is as homesick for his cage as is a
child for its mother.

When this bird came into my possession his open and discourteous
disapproval of women was humiliating. His attitude was not simply
endurance but open revolt, a deep-rooted hatred for the entire sex.
When, after long weeks of acquaintance, this hostility was overcome he
followed me about the room, stood beside me at my work, and has since
been unchanging in a pathetic devotion.

He plants his tiny feet in my pen-tray and throws the pens upon the
floor. He stands on tiptoe before the mirror, staring with curious
eyes at the strange rival till awe is replaced by anger and the brown
wings beat in unavailing effort to reach the insolent mimic. When shown
a worm he trembles in excited anticipation, his little feet dancing
upon the floor, his wings moving rapidly, while he utters a coaxing,
entreating syllable. The song is sweetest when raindrops fall or when
the room is noisy and confused. I notice, too, that he is more tuneful
before a rain.

I must confess that he keeps late hours, that he is often busy getting
breakfast when orthodox birds should be dreaming, his active periods
being liable to fall at any hour of the night, more especially if there
be a moon. An intensely sentimental nature may be unable to sleep when
the beauty of the world is so strongly emphasized.

His last frolic was with a frog the children smuggled into the house,
chasing it around the room, darting at it with wide-open beak,
advancing and retreating in a frenzied merriment.

As the cage door is often left open he is sometimes "lost" briefly.
At one of these times I decided that he had gone to sleep under the
bed and would be quite safe till morning. Before day-light my mother
called to me from the next room that there was "something in her bed,"
and, sure enough, the truant stood upon her pillow, his wings almost
brushing her face.

The song of an indigo bird, kept in my room, is often followed by from
two to four subdued notes of exceeding richness and sweetness. Aside
from the ordinary song, sometimes reduced to the syllables, "meet,
meet, I'll meet you," words unheard save by aid of a vivid imagination,
the bird has an exquisite warble, loud and exhilarating, as rounded and
velvety as the bluebird's.

When the bird became familiar with the room, its occupants and the
sunshine streaming in through the window, his happiness crystallized
in song, a rarely beautiful strain unheard before. The feathers on his
throat would ruffle as a wave of song ran upward filling the room with
a delicious music.

Unlike the hermit thrush, which has silent, preoccupied hours and is
given to meditation, the indigo has no indolent days and is a happy,
sunny-hearted creature.

His attitudes are like the catbird's--erecting crest, flirting body
and tail, or drooping the latter in the precise manner of the catbird.
Judged by indigo dress-standards, this bird is in an undress uniform,
quite as undress as it is uniform; as somebody says, a result of the
late moult.

For all this his changeable suit is not only becoming, but decidedly
modern--warp of blue and woof of green that change with changing
light from indigo to intense emerald. Then there are browns and
drabs in striking contrasts--colors worn by indigoes while young and
inexperienced, the confused shades of the upper breast replaced by
sparrowy stripes beneath.

My bird is a night singer, pouring out his tuneful plaint as freely in
the "wee, sma' hours," as when the sun is shining; its notes as sweet
as if he knew that if we _must_ sing a night song it should be sweet
that some heart may hear and be the better for our singing. Later in
the day a purple finch in the cedar tangle challenged the vocalist in
notes so entrancing that one's breath was hushed involuntarily.

The same finch sang freely during the entire season in notes replete
with personality, a distinct translation of the heart language. Others
might sing and sing, but this superb voice rose easily above them all,
a warbling, gurgling, effervescing strain, finished and polished in
notes of infinite tenderness. Short conversations preceded and followed
the musical ecstasy, a love song intended for one ear only, while
wings twinkled and fluttered in rhythm with the pulsing heart of the
melodist. No doubt he was telling of a future castle in the air beside
which castles in Spain are of little value.


    What do we plant when we plant the trees?
    We plant the ships which will cross the seas.
    We plant the mast to carry the sails,
    We plant the planks to withstand the gales--
    The keel, the keelson, and beams and knee;
    We plant the ship when we plant the tree.

    What do we plant when we plant the tree?
    We plant the homes for you and me.
    We plant the rafters, the shingles, the floors,
    We plant the studding, the laths, the doors,
    The beams, the sidings, all parts that be;
    We plant the home when we plant the tree.

    What do we plant when we plant the tree?
    A thousand things that we daily see.
    We plant the spires that outtower the crag,
    We plant the staff for our country's flag,
    We plant the shade, from the hot sun free;
    We plant all these when we plant the tree.



Now is the time of year when we feel called upon to inform our readers
that the peacock does not lay the pretty colored Easter eggs.

This valuable bit of information the great American humorist feels
called upon to make year after year, and though we elder folk smile,
and the young query, how many of us are familiar with the history of
the custom of observing the closing of Lent with the egg feast?

One must go back to the Persians for the first observance of the egg
day. According to one of the ancient cosmogonies, all things were
produced from an egg, hence called the mundane egg. This cosmogony
was received in Persia, and on this account there obtained, among the
people of that country, a custom of presenting each other with an egg,
the symbol of a new beginning of time on every New Year's day; that
is, on the day when the sun enters Aries, the Persians reckoning the
beginning of the new year from that day, which occurred in March. The
doctrine of the mundane egg was not confined to the limits of Persia,
but was spread, together with the practice of presenting New Year's
eggs, through various other countries. But the New Year was not kept on
the day when the sun enters Aries, or at least it ceased, in process
of time, to be so kept. In Persia itself the introduction of the
Mohammedan faith brought with it the removal of New Year's day.

Among the Jews the season of the ancient New Year became that of the
Passover, and among the Christians the season of the Passover has
become that of Easter. Among all these changes the custom of giving
an egg at the sun's entrance into Aries still prevails. The egg has
also continued to be held as a symbol, and the sole alteration is the
prototype. At first it was said to be the beginning of time and now it
is called the symbol of the resurrection. One sees, therefore, what
was the real origin of the Easter egg of the Greek and Roman churches.

From a book entitled "An Extract from the Ritual of Pope Paul V.," made
for Great Britain, it appears that the paschal egg is held by the Roman
church to be an emblem of the resurrection, and that it is made holy by
a special blessing of a priest.

In Russia Easter day is set apart for paying visits. The men go to each
other's house in the morning and introduce themselves by saying "Christ
is arisen." The answer is "Yes, he is risen!" Then they embrace,
exchange eggs, and sad to relate, drink a great deal of brandy.

An account of far older date says, "Every year against Easter day, the
Russians color or dye red with Brazil wood a great number of eggs, of
which every man and woman giveth one unto the priest of the parish
upon Easter day in the morning. And, moreover, the common people carry
in their hands one of these red eggs, not only upon Easter day but
also three or four days after. And gentlewomen and gentlemen have
eggs gilded, which they carry in like manner. They use the eggs, as
they say, for a great love and in token of the resurrection whereof
they rejoice. For when two friends meet during the Easter holidays,
they come and take one another by the hand; the one of them saith,
'The Lord, our Christ, is risen!' The other answereth, 'It is so of
a truth!' Then they kiss and exchange their eggs, both men and women
continuing in kissing four days together."

There is an old English proverb on the subject of Easter eggs, namely:
"I'll warrant you an egg for Easter." In some parts of England, notably
in the north, the eggs are colored by means of dyeing drugs, in which
the eggs are boiled. These eggs are called "paste" eggs, also "pace"
and "pasche," all derived from "pascha"--Easter.


A comparatively untouched phase of the question of forest destruction
is brought out in a book called "North American Forests and Forestry,"
by Ernest Bruncken, a prominent western forester. The author
incidentally discusses the part which our forests have had in shaping
American character and our national history. This phase of the matter
is interesting both as a historical study and as a suggestion of the
moral as well as economic loss which must come with the denudation of
our forest areas.

All thinking Americans know that the forests are an important factor
in our commercial life, and Mr. Bruncken makes an impressive statement
of the way in which the lumber industry permeates all the nation's
activities. But the part played by the vast primeval forests in
creating American character is not so generally realized. From the
earliest colonial times the forests have had a moral and political
effect in shaping our history. In the seventeenth century England was
dependent upon Norway and the Baltic provinces for its timber for
ships. This was in various ways disadvantageous for England, so the
American colonists were encouraged with bounties to cut ship timbers,
masts and other lumber for European export. This trade, however, was
found to be unprofitable on account of the long ocean voyage, so the
American lumbermen began to develop a profitable market in the West
Indies. This was straightway interdicted by the short-sighted British
government, and the bitter and violent opposition of the colonists
against this tyrannical policy ceased only with the end of British

From that time to the present the forests of America have exercised
a most important influence upon the nation, especially in creating
the self-reliance which is the chief trait of the American character.
The trappers, hunters, explorers and backwoods settlers who went forth
alone into the dense forests received a schooling such as nothing else
could give. As the forest closed behind the settler he knew his future
and that of his family must henceforth depend upon himself, his ax,
his rifle, and the few simple utensils he had brought with him. It was
a school that did not teach the graces, but it made men past masters
in courage, pertinacity, and resourcefulness. It bred a new, simple,
and forceful type of man. Out of the midst of that backwoods life came
Abraham Lincoln, the greatest example of American statesmanship the
nation has produced. In him was embodied all the inherent greatness of
his early wilderness surroundings, with scarcely a trace of its coarser

As Mr. Bruncken says, mere remembrance of what the forests have given
us in the past should be enough to inspire a wish to preserve them as
long as possible, to stop wanton waste by forest fires, and even to
repair our losses by planting new forests, as they do in Europe. The
time has gone when the silence and dangers of the forest were our chief
molders of sturdy character, but it is undeniable that the pioneer
blood that still runs so richly in American veins has much to do with
causing the idea of Philippine expansion to appeal so powerfully to the
popular imagination. The prophets who see in the expansion idea the
downfall of the nation forget that the same spirit subdued the American
wilderness and created the freest government and some of the finest
specimens of manhood the world has ever seen.


    Though long in wintry sleep ye lay,
    The powers of darkness could not stay
    Your coming at the call of day,
          Proclaiming spring.

    Nay, like the faithful virgins wise,
    With lamps replenished ye arise
    Ere dawn the death-anointed eyes
          Of Christ, the king.
                                        --_John B. Tabb._

  [Illustration: SCARLET IBIS.
                 1/3 Life-size.
                 FROM COL. F. KAEMPFER,
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 CHICAGO COLORTYPE CO.,
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]


(_Guara rubra._)

Ibises are distributed throughout the warmer parts of the globe and
number, according to the best authorities, about thirty species, of
which four occur in North America. The scarlet ibis is a South American
species, though it has been recorded from Florida, Louisiana, and New
Mexico. The ibises are silent birds, and live in flocks during the
entire year. They feed along the shores of lakes, bays, and salt-water
lagoons, and on mud flats, over which the tide rises and falls. Their
food consists of crustaceans, frogs, and small fish.

Colonies of ibises build nests in reedy marshes, or in low trees and
bushes not far from good feeding-grounds. Three to five pale greenish
eggs, marked with chocolate, are found in the coarse, bulky nest of
reeds and weed stalks.

These birds are not so numerous as they once were. They have been
wantonly destroyed for their plumage alone, the flesh being unfit for



One bright day early in August I sat by my window writing. My attention
was soon attracted by a pair of mocking birds which were flying back
and forth between a peach-tree and a plum-tree near by.

These birds having been near neighbors of mine for some time, I had
named them Jack and Jill.

A family quarrel seemed brewing, for Jack evidently found more good
points in the plum-tree and scolded Jill for spending any time in the
peach-tree, while Jill was equally impressed with the favorable aspect
of the peach-tree. I thought they were trying to decide upon a location
for a nest and was soon convinced that I was right, for Jack ended
the family disagreement by taking a twig in his bill and carrying it
to the plum-tree, where he began balancing it among some of the small
branches. His mate continued to scold from her place in the peach-tree,
but when he paid no attention to her and went on with his work she soon
relented and flew down to offer her assistance.

With very little difficulty these birds could carry a twig six or eight
inches long and a quarter of an inch in diameter. Several of these
large twigs were laid loosely among the forks of three small branches
and then a more compact structure was placed upon this foundation.
This was made of smaller twigs, with roots and stems of Bermuda grass
twisted among them. A lining composed of horse hair, grass, cotton, a
piece of satin ribbon some three inches long, bits of paper, string and
rag completed the home.

There was very little weaving in the construction of the nest and the
most wonderful as well as the most curious thing about it was how it
could be made so loosely and not fall apart during the very high winds
which we have in central Texas.

While the eggs were being hatched there was a violent storm which
lasted all day, and several times I saw the tree bend nearly to the
ground. Each time I was afraid I should see the destruction of this
home, which had become so interesting to me. As I watched the tree
writhe in the storm I began to appreciate the wisdom shown by the bird
in the selection of the place for his nest, for it was in the part of
the tree least disturbed by the wind and most thoroughly protected from
the rain.

During the long nights the mocking bird often sang to his mate as she
patiently sat on the nest.

Nothing can be more delightful than the song of our mocking birds,
heard when the moonlight makes the night almost as light as the day
and the south wind is ladened with the delicious odors of roses and

At last the eggs were hatched and five baby birds demanded food. The
parent birds worked constantly from dawn till dark, but, from the loud
"_ce-ce-ce_" which greeted them each time they neared the nest, one
might suppose the supply of food never equaled the demand.

A young mocking bird seems all mouth and legs. He is a comical little
creature with his scant covering of gray down, long legs, large feet
and ever-open mouth, with its lining of bright orange.

As the old bird approaches the little ones squat flat in the nest,
throw back their heads and open their enormous mouths, which must seem
like so many bottomless pits to the parent birds when they are tired.

If my favorite cat, Mephistopheles, tried to take his nap anywhere in
the vicinity of their nest Jack and Jill would fly at him, screaming,
and, boldly lighting upon his head, try to peck at his eyes. He would
strike at them and spit, but they would only fly upon the fence or
rose-trellis and in a moment dart at him again. The battle would
continue until Mephistopheles retired to a safer place.

I have seen many such battles, but never one where the bird was not

One morning, when the birds were still quite small, one of them tumbled
from the nest. At first I thought the mother-bird might have pushed it
out that it might learn to fly, but after seeing the feathers of its
wings had only reached the tiny pin-feather stage, I knew it was too
young for such efforts and concluded that the nest was overcrowded. I
tried to put it in the nest for it was drenched with the dew from the

Jack and Jill objected so seriously to my assistance that I had to give
up this plan, for they flew at me just as they did at Mephistopheles.
Fearing the cat would hurt it I was compelled to take it into the

Then my troubles began. It seemed to take all of my time to feed this
one bird, and I could not imagine how Jack and Jill could take care of
it and four others.

For awhile it seemed very much frightened, but at length began to
chirp. The old birds answered at once and soon came to the screen on
the window and called to it. Knowing they would feed it if they could
reach it I had to keep it away from them, for, should they discover it
was a prisoner, they would give it poison.

We named it Chippy and it soon became a great pet. Whenever anyone
entered the room where it was its mouth flew open, and from its shrill
"_chee-chee-chee_," one might easily imagine it was on the verge of

When I had had it a week it would try to fly from the floor to the
lower rounds of a chair. When it had learned to fly, if left alone it
would call until someone answered, and then follow the sound until it
found them. I have known it to fly through two rooms, a downstairs
hall, up the stair-steps, through the upper hall, and into my room in
response to my whistle.

When it first made this journey it could fly only two or three feet at
a time and had to fly from step to step up the stairway.

Soon after this I took Chippy out of doors. He was very much delighted
when placed in a young hackberry tree, where he could fly from branch
to branch. When he reached the top of the tree Jill flew into a tree
near by and tried to coax him to come to her. I saw Chippy spread his
wings and supposed I had lost my pet. Imagine my surprise when he gave
a shrill scream and flew straight to me, lighting on my shoulder and
nestling against my face.

Jill followed him, resting in a vine some three or four feet from me.
When coaxing failed she flew away but soon returned with a grasshopper
in her bill.

I drove Chippy away from me, hoping he would return to his own family,
where his education could be carried on according to their ideas.

He flew into a tree, ate the grasshopper which Jill fed to him, and
then flew on the roof of the porch outside my window, where he sat
calling me. Going to my room I opened the screen to let him in, but
this startled him and he flew away.

The sun had gone down by this time and I supposed he had at last
returned to the nest. As I sat at the supper table I heard him calling
to me and went outside.

He was in a tree in a neighbor's yard, but when he saw me he at once
flew down on my head, and it was comical to see him try to express his

After that he spent his days among the trees, but at sunset always came
to the house and slept in a box in my room.

Whenever he was hungry he would come to the window and call for food.

His favorite resting-place was on my shoulder or head and he seemed to
be very fond of company.

One morning I saw Jack and Jill flying from tree to tree with him and
that is the last I ever saw of any of them.



    Tell me what the bluebird sings
    When from Southland up he springs
    Into March's frosty skies
    And to our New England flies,
    Where, upon some sunny morn
    Hear we first his note lovelorn.

    Now he 'mong the maple flits,
    Now upon a fencepost sits,
    Lifting wings of heaven's own blue
    As he warbles, clear and true,
    Song so plaintive, soft and sweet,
    All our hearts with welcome beat.

    What the message full he brings
    When in March's ear he sings?
    Tell me what our robins think
    When our April airs they drink,
    Following close in Bluebird's train
    With their blither, bolder strain.

    Sit they high on maple tall
    Chirping loud their earnest call,
    Redbreasts glowing in the sun,
    Then across the sward they run
    Scampering briskly, then upright,
    Flirt their tails and spring to flight.

    Or, when drops the light of day
    Down the westward golden way,
    Robin mounts the tallest branch
    Touched by sunset's quivering lance;
    Carols forth his evening tune
    Blithe as Earth were in her June.

    Tell me what the sparrow says
    In those first glad springtime days,
    When the maples yield their sweet,
    When Earth's waking pulses beat,
    When the swollen streams and rills
    Frolic down the pasture hills.

    Winter birds and squirrels then
    Grow more lively in the glen,
    And, when warmer airs arise,
    Sparrow sings her sweet surprise
    From the lilac bushes near,
    Song of faith and hope and cheer.

    Tell me, when the longer train
    Up from Southland sweeps again,
    Filling fields and glens and woods--
    Wildest, deepest solitudes--
    With more brilliant life and song,
    Golden lyre and silver tongue,
    Bells that ring their morning chimes
    Wood nymphs voicing soothing rhymes
    Stirring all the sun-filled air
    With hymns of praise and love and prayer.

    Tell me whence their motive power,
    Tell me whence so rich a dower,
    Tell me why are _birds_ so gifted;
    Whence their imprisoned spirits drifted;
    Whither swells this tide of love
    Flooding all the air above?
    Whither these enchantments tend?
    A brief bird life--is this its end?

  [Illustration: MASSENA PARTRIDGE.
                 5/7 Life-size.
                 FROM COL. F. KAEMPFER.
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]


(_Cyrtonyx Massena._)

This beautiful species is said to be by far the most gentle and
unsuspicious of our quails, and will permit a very close approach by
man, showing little or no fear of what most animals know so well to be
their most deadly enemy. While feeding they keep close together, and
constantly utter a soft clucking note, as though talking to one another.

This species is about the size of the eastern variety. Its head is
ornamented with a beautifully full, soft occipital crest. The head of
the male is singularly striped with black and white. The female is
smaller and is quite different in color, but may be recognized by the
generic characters. The tail is short and full, and the claws very

The quail makes a simple nest on the ground, under the edge of some
old log, or in the thick grass on the prairie, lined with soft and
well-dried grass and a few feathers. From fifteen to twenty-four white
eggs are laid. The female sits three weeks. The young brood, as soon as
they are fairly out of the shell, leave the nest and seem abundantly
strong to follow the parent, though they are no bigger than the end of
one's thumb--covered with down. The massena quail is an inhabitant of
the western and southwestern states.



The big orchard on the Triggs place was also the old orchard. Grandpa
Triggs had planted it long ago in his young days when the country was
new. The year before he had hauled logs from yonder forest with his
ox-team and built the strong little house that still stands at the foot
of the orchard.

He brought young crab trees, too, and set them all about the house and
though, after the orchard was started, he often threatened to cut them
down, he never did it and they grew into a tangle of friendship and
protection until the little one-roomed house was nearly hidden.

The house was desolate now. The catbirds built their nests in the
crotches of the crabs and the jays came over from the woods across the
river and quarreled with them. An old zigzag rail fence separated the
orchard from the hay-field at one end and a tall uncared-for osage
hedge did scant duty at two sides. Once in a great while a sheep would
leave the aftermath and step through the wide spaces of the hedge
and, entering the doorless house, would walk curiously about and then
return. But that was all--no, not quite all. The children built fires
in the great fireplace and roasted potatoes or experimented at cooking
carrots, artichokes, apples and occasionally a pair of kidneys rolled
each in several thicknesses of brown paper and slowly cooked under
the hot ashes and coals. To be sure, the smoke came out into the room
and got into the children's eyes and passed out at the door--for the
chimney had crumbled to half its old time height--but the playtimes
went on in spite of that and the birds shouted and sang outside.

One would expect that all this activity above board to be happily
interested without looking for new and startling circumstances under
ground. But, withal, life went on among the "underground lights,"
with its busy unconcern of affairs which it could not share or even
comprehend. Rarely when the fire warmed the bricks about the fireplace
did comely, plump Mrs. Acre Tidae fail to raise her song. She had a
way of building a home had Mrs. House Cricket. She tossed out a few
grains of earth from under the brick tiling of the hearth and presto!
she entered in backward and sat down waving her long slender antennæ
with a happy content that would shame many a one who, having more, is
not satisfied. Mr. Field Cricket, who happens also to be named Acre
Tidae, had built his home at the edge of the path in the sandy loam
just without the door. Two bodies of the same name and family would be
expected to live in the same house, but they couldn't quite come to do
that on account of tastes. For one thing they differed in the matter
of dress, though that was the least objection one to the other. Mrs.
House Cricket wore a grayish yellow dress, marked a little with brown
and Mr. Field Cricket wore darker colors. He built his home deeper,
too, which would never suit Mrs. Acre Tidae at all. Sometimes his home
is twelve inches deep, and six it is sure to be. And then, big fellow
that he is, quite a bit larger than she, he does not mind the cold. He
snuggles down in the deep darkness as soon as he sees the dew frozen
in the tiny crystals all over the long grass blades, and sleeps the
time away, however long and cold the winter may be; and such a life is
scorned by bright Mrs. House Cricket, who chooses the hearth on account
of the warmth and who chirps joyfully throughout the year, except when
the fire goes out, as it often does in the little old log house; for
there were days and days when the children did not come to play. At
such times Mrs. House Cricket was forced unwillingly to fall asleep.
"Shameful!" she would mutter, as the last flicker of feeling departed.
"Such a waste of time. If I had built in a bakery or by a brick oven
how much busier I might be--and happier. I'm no better than those
cousins of mine who make it a business to sleep half the year around."
These last words were so soft as she scraped them off on the ridges of
her wing covers that the children, who were just going home, stopped
and Linsey said, "Do hear the cricket--it says, 'Good night; good

"By-by, Crick!" called Harry, as he leaped through the hedge and ran
to the brook to stamp on the thin ice with his heel. "I shall move
out," moaned Mrs. Cricket with her faintest note. But moving day did
not arrive for many weeks and Mrs. Cricket awoke and went to sleep as
many times; and finally the long hot days found her contentedly basking
in the field among the warm grasses, having forgotten the troubles of
the winter. "Dear me," she was softly drumming with her wing covers as
she stopped in her evening search for food. "Dear, dear! how that big
cousin of mine does scream! Perhaps he calls it music, but I don't."

She crept along slowly and hid in a fold of rain-worn paper near the
home of her much criticized relative. He was sitting in his doorway
singing his evening song as loud as he could, for he was singing with a
purpose. The source of his music lay within his wing covers. Nearly one
hundred and thirty fine ridges were on the under side of one wing cover
(which is hard and horny), and these are hastily scraped over a smooth
nervure which projects from the under side of the other wing cover.
And that is how he sings. His song is bound to be a love-song and
Mrs. House Cricket finding a few crumbs within the paper and deciding
to stay all night suddenly heard the loud, harsh tones softened and,
looking out, she saw her big cousin standing close to another dark
form like his own. He was crooning softly as he caressed her with his
slender, delicate antennæ--his mate, whom he had won to himself with
his song. Mrs. House Cricket looked on for a moment and changed her
mind about staying all night. "I'll creep under a leaf," she said, "and
leave the lovers to themselves." So she slipped away and saw them no
more until, some weeks later, she passed and, seeing her cousin in his
door, stopped:

"I have all my eggs laid," she said, "and I'm going up toward the big
house to stay until the weather gets cold."

"Mrs. Field Cricket has two hundred eggs right here under this long
grass," he answered with great pride. "She is welcome," returned his
cousin; "for my part I prefer quality to quantity." And she turned away
to take a peep at the nursery which was warmed and nourished only by
the sun.

"They will soon hatch out and dig homes each for himself like my own
little ones," she said as she left them and began her long journey
toward the farmhouse. "But mine will be wise enough to get near to
a barn or house when they are grown up," she mused, "so that they
need not sleep all winter, and they can be busy and useful to the
world--busy, useful, cheerful, hopeful." She stopped to say one or the
other of these good words often as she traveled on and sometimes she
said them all at one time, as she pruned her wings which when folded,
extended beyond her body into long, slender filaments like the antennæ.

At length, just as the maple leaves, all brown and dry, were blowing
into heaps against the rosebushes and the lilacs, Mrs. Acre Tidae
reached the farmhouse and slipped unobserved into the warm, clean

She found a wide crack in the floor near the big chimney and squeezed
in, digging it out to suit her body.

"The babies are all safe in their little holes by this time," she said,
"safe for the winter. Perhaps by next fall they will be with me and
we will all go out at night to eat crumbs," and she began singing,
"Useful, cheerful--busy, hopeful." "Do hear the cricket," said Linsey,
"It sounds like the one in the old log house."

"They are all alike, I guess," returned Harry, who was eating apples.
"They are always jolly sad, I reckon." "Use-ful, cheer-ful, hope-ful,"
sang Mrs. Cricket.


M. Lepinay, the presiding genius of the bird hospital in Paris, has
found by experience that his feathered patients chiefly exhibit
a tendency toward apoplexy--the dove is particularly addicted to
this complaint; consumption follows in order of unpopularity, with
internal complaints occupying the third place. In the case of
apoplexy, blood-letting--so popular a remedy in the days of our
great-grandparents--is resorted to by means of a diminutive lancet
inserted in a fleshy portion of the bird, and this is followed by small
doses of such drugs as quinine, bromide of camphor, etc.

Apropos of dog's teeth, about a year ago there was exhibited at a
certain show a very interesting and aged schipperke, who was at that
time the only dog in the world boasting a complete set of false teeth.
His owner, Mr. Moseley, is a dentist as well as a lover of animals, and
it is entirely due to his skill that the little dog is able to eat with
perfect comfort by the aid of the artificial molars provided for him
by his master, who, on another occasion, provided a dog who had lost a
limb in an accident with an artificial leg. The only horse possessing
a full set of false teeth was the property of Mr. Henry Lloyd of
Louisville, Ky., who had its diseased teeth extracted and replaced by a
set of false ones.

A swan that had had a leg run over by a cart-wheel, causing a compound
fracture, was recently successfully treated at Otley, England, while
yet another swan had an operation performed at Darlington some little
time ago that was very much out of the ordinary. In this instance, the
unlucky bird had the principal bone in its right wing fractured in
several places, the fracture presumably being caused by a brutal blow
dealt by some unknown ruffian. A veterinary surgeon was asked to give
his advice, and on his recommendation an amputation was decided upon,
and this he successfully performed. The bird, sans a wing, was, when
last heard of, well on the road to recovery.



Matter _per se_ is an evidence of mind. Every material thing enshrines
a thought. Essential nature has no superfluities. To the thinker
everything means something. In nature nothing happens. Everything is
ordered. There can be no portrait of a landscape without a painter.
There can be no landscape without a maker.

The visible forms that nature takes may be changed. Her invisible
forms are changeless. The search for the changeless is the great and
delightful task of art, literature, science, philosophy and religion.
The ultimate in nature and in art is divine. The permanent principle
survives the fleeting form. Nature's principles are relatively few. Her
forms are multifarious. Tree life is true life. It is natural. It is
therefore true. Nature's garb may be odd. It may even be deformed. But
her inner self is never false. Sap, fiber, leaf, blossom, fruit; this
is nature's apocalypse. It is Queen Beauty's progressive revelation.

Trees usually grow singly. Under certain conditions they may as
naturally grow otherwise. The unusual is not necessarily the unnatural.
Nature's resources are vast. She may at any time manifest herself in an
unfamiliar form.

A triplet tree grows on what is known as "Green's Ranch" in Cowley
County, Kansas. The ranch is located five miles northeast of Arkansas
City. The trees are about three hundred yards from the west bank of
the Walnut River. They range in a line running north and south. They
are between forty-five and fifty feet high. The first two on the north
are eighteen inches apart. The third tree standing at the south end
of the row is fifteen feet from the middle one. They are water elms,
and average about three and one-half feet in girth. The tree standing
at the north end of the row is hollow at the base and, leaning over
southward intersects the central tree two feet from the ground; thence
it extends to the one at the south end of the row, and intersects it
with a limb from either side twelve feet above the ground. The segment
of the circle described by the leaning tree is about twenty feet. At
the points where the cross tree intersects the other two, it is not
merely a case of contiguity, but of actual identification.

Another feature of the leaning tree is that half way between its base
and the trunk of the second, and on the lower side is an unsightly knot
about as large as a half bushel measure. Half way between the center
tree and the one on the south, and on the under side of the leaning
tree is another lump similar to the first, about half the size. These
unsightly warts appear to have been produced by a congestion of sap in
the tissue of the intersecting tree. This triplet tree is a curiosity.
It presents a strange phenomenon in tree formation. But nature is
everywhere full of mystery and surprises.


Anyone who has traveled through the comparatively treeless countries
around the Mediterranean, such as Spain, Sicily, Greece, northern
Africa, and large portions of Italy, must fervently pray that our own
country may be preserved from so dismal a fate, says President Charles
W. Eliot. It is not the loss of the forests only that is to be dreaded,
but the loss of agricultural regions now fertile and populous, which
may be desolated by the floods that rush down from the bare hills and
mountains, bringing with them vast quantities of sand and gravel to be
spread over the lowlands.

Traveling a few years ago through Tunisie, I came suddenly upon a fine
Roman bridge of stone over a wide, bare, dry river bed. It stood some
thirty feet above the bed of the river and had once served the needs
of a prosperous population. Marveling at the height of the bridge
above the ground, I asked the French station master if the river
ever rose to the arches which carried the roadway of the bridge. His
answer testified to the flooding capacity of the river and to the
strength of the bridge. He said: "I have been here four years, and
three times I have seen the river running over the parapets of that
bridge. That country was once one of the richest granaries of the Roman
empire. It now yields a scanty support for a sparse and semi-barbarous
population." The whole region round-about is treeless. The care of
the national forests is a provision for future generations, for the
permanence over vast areas of our country of the great industries
of agriculture and mining upon which the prosperity of the country
ultimately depends. A good forest administration would soon support
itself.--_From January Atlantic._


A late season snowstorm, with the heavy precipitation that marked the
storm of Feb. 28, gives the heart of the sportsman as well as that
of the bird protector a touch of anxiety on the score of the ruffed
grouse and quail. A downfall of that kind, followed by a thaw and then
by a freeze at night, means the death of hundreds of game birds. The
quail simply get starved and cold killed, while the ruffed grouse, or
partridges, get locked up by Jack Frost and die of hunger in their

There is a patch of woods not far from Delavan, Wis., where there was
until recently an abundance of these game birds. There was a local
snowstorm there late in February last year, which was followed by a
day of sunshine and then by a frost which covered the snow with a heavy
crust. Grouse have a habit of escaping from the cold and blustering
winds by burying themselves in the big snow drifts at the edges of the
woods. There they lie snug and warm and are perhaps loath to leave
their comfortable quarters. They sometimes stay in the drift until the
delay costs them their lives, the crust forming and walling them in. It
so happened to sixteen partridges in the woodland patch near Delavan.
With the melting of the season's snows the bodies of the birds were
found. They were separated from one another by only a few feet. It was
a veritable grouse graveyard.--_Tribune._

    Warm grows the wind, and the rain hammers daily,
      Making small doorways to let in the sun;
    Flowers spring up, and new leaves flutter gaily;
      Back fly the birdlings for winter is done.
                                        --_Justine Sterns._

  [Illustration: RING-BILLED DUCK.
                 5/11 Life-size.
                 FROM COL. F. NUSSBAUMER & SON.
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]


(_Aythya collaris._)

This duck has many popular synonyms, among others ring-necked,
ring-billed shuffler, ring-necked scaup duck, or blue-bill fall duck
(Minnesota), black jack (Illinois), moon-bill (South Carolina). It is
found throughout the whole of North America, south to Guatemala and the
West Indies; breeding from Iowa, southern Wisconsin, Minnesota and
Maine northward. It is accidental in Europe.

The chief variation in the plumage of this species consists in the
distinctness of the chestnut collar in the male, which is usually well
defined, particularly in front. There is very little in its habits to
distinguish it from the other "black-heads." Like them, it usually
associates in small flocks. Its flesh is excellent, being fat, tender
and juicy.



Wrens are famous for choosing queer places for nesting-sites. They
will nest in almost any situation about the house or yard that can
be entered through any semblance of a hole. I place all kinds of odd
receptacles about the yard for them every spring, which they seldom
fail to occupy. These friendly and interesting little creatures
appreciate such thoughtfulness, and repay it by fairly bubbling over
with grateful song.

But the pair that afforded me the most amusement pre-empted a homestead
that was not intended for them.

Our acquaintance began when preparing to remove the cook stove to the
summer kitchen in May. In winter this kitchen is used as a sort of
lumber room, and when clearing it of various odd and ends it was found
that a pair of wrens had taken possession of an overshoe and laid the
foundation of a home. The pair of overshoes had been tied together and
hung on a nail in the wall, about five feet from the floor.

Needless to say they were left undisturbed, though not without many
doubts of the feasibility of the enterprise, on account of the
proximity of the stove. The shoes were the ordinary kind, fleece-lined
rubber, and were only a few feet from where the stove would be set.
These conditions warranted the expectation of disastrous results from
extreme heat--at least so it seemed to me, but my little neighbors
thought otherwise, and nest-building progressed rapidly. Being
remarkably industrious midgets, the nest of sticks was soon finished
and lined with soft feathers from the poultry yard.

Wrens are noted for their industry; unless in a very restricted
situation the outside dimensions of the nest are enormous when compared
with the interior, or cavity. And the twigs that compose the structure
are out of all proportion to the size of the architects. I have seen
twigs a foot long and half the size of a lead pencil, used in the
construction of their nests. That birds so diminutive could carry
such burdens in their tiny bills is indeed wonderful. It is said that
a single pair have been known to fill a barrel, but no nest quite so
mammoth as this has ever come under my observation.

To return to the home in the shoes. After the completion of the nest
five wee eggs were deposited therein, and incubation began. And in
spite of the heat everything went on happily in this unique domicile.

We soon became the most sociable friends. Their quaint and charming
ways made them very amusing pets. They became so tame that they would
approach me fearlessly, even alighting on my head, and would let me
examine their nest without being frightened.

The wren is a very lively and active bird, and sings incessantly
throughout the breeding-season, and these were not an exception, but
were forever darting in and out, their actions accompanied by a sweet
warble. Mr. Wren would positively quiver all over with delight, while
regaling Mrs. Wren and me with his exuberant melody. They were the
cheeriest little companions imaginable. Every morning as I entered the
kitchen I was greeted heartily by my small neighbors, who bustled about
in the preparation of the morning meal as busily as I. Meanwhile Mr.
Wren merrily sang his innocent matin song, and spontaneously I would
find myself singing too, as I went about my work.

One day there was great excitement in the shoe and, when I looked in,
five featherless mites with huge mouths were to be seen. Mrs. Wren was
now a veritable "old woman who lived in a shoe." But she did not treat
her children as did the old woman of nursery fame, though she was kept
very busy in supplying their wants, even with the assistance of Mr.

These birds subsist on small insects and consume a considerable
quantity. With much satisfaction I watched them slay a host of ants
that were invading the kitchen; running up and down the wall with much
agility, they picked the ants off.

Real warm weather had set in by the time the nestlings were ready to
try their wings, and I thought, of course, my friends would desert me
for a cooler resort out of doors, in which to pass the heated term.
But O, no, they were too loyal for that, so to make their house more
commodious, another room was added by building a nest in the other
shoe. And the family raised in the second shoe was not a whit less
interesting than the first.



    "Were it not for me,"
        Said a chickadee,
    "Not a single flower on earth would be;
    For under the ground they soundly sleep
    And never venture an upward peep,
        Till they hear from me,

    "I tell Jack Frost when 'tis time to go
    And carry away the ice and snow;
    And then I hint to the jolly old sun,
    'A little spring work, sir, should be done.'
        And he smiles around
        On the frozen ground,
    And I keep up my cheery, cheery sound,
    Till echo declares in glee, in glee,
        'Tis he! 'tis he!
        The chickadee-dee!"

    "And then I waken the birds of spring--
    'Ho, ho! 'tis time to be on the wing.'
    They trill and twitter and soar aloft,
    And I send the winds to whisper soft,
    Down by the little flower-beds,
    Saying, 'Come show your pretty heads!
    The spring is coming, you see, you see!'
        For so sings he,
        The chickadee-dee!"

    The sun he smiled; and the early flowers
    Bloomed to brighten the blithesome hours,
    And song-birds gathered in bush and tree;
    But the wind he laughed right merrily,
    As the saucy mite of a snowbird he
    Chirped away, "Do you see, see, see?
        I did it all!



Vice often epitomizes ancestry.

The wisest are not so wise as silence.

Experience is the grave of enthusiasm.

Experience is the enemy of dogmatism.

Our faith is often nothing more than our hope.

Should we despise anything that God has made?

In bestowing benefits we imperil friendship.

Innocence and guilt are alike suffused with blushes.

If vice did not exist wisdom could not predicate itself.

Disappointment leaves a scar which hope cannot remove.

Success is an excellent proof of the wisdom which achieved it.

The vices of some men are more endurable than the virtues of others.

Beauty is a reproach without virtue, while virtue is itself the highest

The sun at noon gives no more light than at morn, but its glow has more
warmth and power.

Without the accessories life were of little worth, and hope gives it
its permanence and serenity.

Marriage should be in harmony with nature, in which what is seemingly
discordant but illuminates and purifies it.

Our conduct toward one another should be based upon a conception of the
infinite mischances of life and the exquisite poignancy of regret.

Misfortune seeks consolation in communicating itself. But when it
no longer needs sympathy it is silent, and ashamed of its former

We can overcome even our prejudices where some interest is subserved
by it. So much stronger is self-interest than color, social status, or

The poet should know, better than another, his limitations. Parnassus
is always higher than our dreams, and his summit more radiant than the
vision of any mortal.

The lily of the valley, which hides its chaste head in dewy leaflets,
is a thousand times less modest than the maiden whose conscious blush
reveals the innocence of reason.

If we were to judge all men by what they seem to have achieved, we
would be harsh and unjust. We cannot always see the scar left by a
heroic deed, and modesty conceals it.

Complete benevolence implies simplicity of living. The Christian cannot
have if he knows that others have not. Thoreau was perhaps the wisest
man of his time; he practiced what he preached; and there are few
examples of simplicity to compare with his.

Nothing, perhaps, is more humiliating than to observe the precocious
development of the negative virtues, especially prudence. There is
a subtle suspiciousness in early prudence which is at war with all
generous impulses. Think of the pinched heart of a little miser.

There is a selfishness which deals generously with its own: my wife, my
child shall be arrayed in the richest, shall feed upon the daintiest;
my servant, my handmaid they are naught to me. Nature hath made nothing
better than my desert; she hath made nothing poor enough for thee and

In an old man conceit may be so comprehensive as to include the
race. Has he been reasonably successful with the fair sex, all are
the subjects of his whim or desire; and he will sententiously and
confidently repel any claim of virtue or purity. So blind is he to the
centuries made splendid by her virtue and self-sacrifice, and so little
is his judgment affected by objects unconnected with self.


(_Digitalis purpurea L._)


Northwestern University School of Pharmacy.

    Pan through the pastures often times hath runne
    To plucke the speckled fox-gloves from their stems.
                             --_W. Browne, Britannias Pastorals, II. 4._

The fox-glove is a biennial herb from two to seven feet in height
with a solitary, sparingly branched stem. The basal leaves are very
large and broad, gradually becoming narrower and smaller toward the
apex of the stem and its branches, dark green in color, pubescent,
margin dentate, venation very prominent. The inflorescence is very
characteristic. The large, numerous flowers are closely crowded and
pendulous from one side of the arched stalk. The corolla is purple and
spotted on the inside. It is a very handsome plant, widely distributed,
preferring a sandy or gravelly soil in open woods. When abundant and
in full bloom it makes a beautiful exhibit. It is a garden favorite in
many lands.

This plant is apparently not mentioned in the works of older authors.
It was not known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. It was, however,
used medicinally in the northern countries of Europe since very remote
times. The Anglo-Saxon word fox-glove is derived from the Welsh (11th
century), _foxes-glew_, meaning fox music in allusion to an ancient
musical instrument consisting of bells hung on an arched support. In
the Scandinavian idioms the plant bears the name of foxes' bells. The
German name _Fingerhut_, meaning finger hat, hence thimble, is derived
from the resemblance of the flower to a thimble. Still more poetical is
the name _Wald-glöcklein_, meaning little forest bells, in reference to
the inflorescence. In England the flowers are known as foxes' fingers,
ladies' fingers and dead men's bells.

According to an old English work on medicine the early physicians of
Wales and England applied this drug externally only. It was not until
1775 when the English physician Withering began to use it internally,
especially in the treatment of hydrophobia. Modern physicians consider
digitalis one of the most important medicinal plants. It is a very
powerful, hence very poisonous drug, its action being due to an active
principle known as _digitalin_. Its principal use is in the treatment
of deficient heart action due to various causes but especially when due
to valvular lesions. The physician must, however, observe great care in
its administration, not only because of its powerful action but also
because of its "cumulative action;" that is, the effect of the drug
increases although only normal medicinal doses are given at regular
intervals, so that fatal poisoning may result, especially if the
patient should attempt to rise suddenly. The physician guards against
this by gradually decreasing the dose or by discontinuing it for a time
and by requiring the patient to remain in a recumbent position while
under the influence of the drug.

For medicinal use the leaves from the wild-growing plants are preferred
because they contain more of the active principle. The leaves are
collected when about half of the flowers are expanded and, since it is
a biennial, that would be during the second year. The first year leaves
are, however, often used or added. Like all valuable drugs it is often
adulterated, the leaves of _Inula Conyza_ (ploughman's spikenard),
_Symphytum officinale_ (comfrey), and _Verbascum Thapsus_ (mullein)
being used for that purpose. The odor of the bruised green leaves
is heavy or nauseous, while that of the dried leaves is fragrant,
resembling the odor of tea. The taste is quite bitter. Formerly the
roots, flowers and seeds were also used medicinally.

  [Illustration: DIGITALIS.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 A. W. MUMFORD. CHICAGO.]

     DESCRIPTION OF PLATE.--_A_, _B_, plant somewhat reduced. 1,
     flower; 2, 3, 4, stamens; 5, pollen; 6, 7, style and stigma; 8, 9,
     ovary; 10, fruit; 11, 12, 13, seed.


The Agricultural Department at Washington is taking precautions to
prevent the importation into the United States of any of the animal
pests which are found in Porto Rico, the Philippines, and the other new
colonies. Among these none is more feared than the great fruit bats
which abound in the Philippines. A full grown specimen of the fruit
bat measures five feet from tip to tip of its wings. The fruit bats
live together in immense communities and feed almost altogether on
tropical and subtropical fruits. They crowd together so thickly on the
trees that sometimes large branches are broken down by their weight. In
Australia they have increased so rapidly that great sums of money have
been spent in their destruction, one organized movement of the fruit
growers of New South Wales recently resulting in the killing of 100,000
bats at a cost of 30 cents each. Another possible immigrant which is
much dreaded is the mongoose, which abounds in Cuba, Porto Rico, and
the other West Indian Islands. The mongoose was first brought to the
islands for the purpose of destroying the rats and mice, which it did
so thoroughly that it was soon forced to adapt itself to another diet.
It was found that the mongoose thrived on young poultry, birds, and
even young pigs and lambs, while it also consumed great quantities of
pineapples, bananas, corn and other vegetable products.


Captain E. Moss of the Transvaal tells the following story of the
monkeys who work for him in the mines: "I have twenty-four monkeys,"
said he, "employed about my mines. They do the work of seven
able-bodied men. In many instances they lend valuable aid where a man
is useless. They gather up the small pieces of quartz that would be
passed unnoticed by the workingmen, and pile them up in little heaps
that can easily be gathered up in a shovel and thrown into a mill. They
work just as they please, sometimes going down into the mines when
they have cleared up all the débris on the outside. They live and
work together without quarreling any more than men do. They are quite
methodical in their habits, and go to work and finish up in the same
manner as human beings would do under similar circumstances. It is very
interesting to watch them at their labor, and see how carefully they
look after every detail of the work they attempt. They clean up about
the mines, follow the wheelbarrows and carts used in mining and pick up
everything that falls off on the way."--_Tit Bits._



Much has been written, and more has been said, in regard to the
"prevention of cruelty to children," and the "prevention of cruelty to
animals;" but has anyone ever urged upon the public the prevention of
cruelty to _trees_?

It is time someone did, for people nowadays seem to have no regard
whatever for a tree's feelings, but saw and hack a limb off here or
there at any season of the year the notion happens to seize them, and
leave the poor thing maimed and disfigured, and perhaps pouring out its
life-blood from the ugly wound.

If you are insensible to the beauty, the blessing and benignity of
trees, there is no use in appealing to you. But surely you are not!
Surely you can call to mind some old tree that brings up memories of
the past, and appeals to you with almost human tenderness!

Then, for the sake of these old, tried, and well-beloved friends, look
with compassion upon all trees, and discourage those who would spoil
and disfigure them.

Have you ever thought how sad a tree must feel when it is transplanted
from the forest to the city or town? How it must miss its tall and
stalwart companions the shy woodland birds, and the flowers that spring
up around it each year! The parting from them all is bad enough, but
there is worse to come. It little dreams of the hideous and deforming
"trimming" that will begin as soon as it commences to spread its tiny
branches! Poor little tree! I wonder it does not die of grief and pain!

Doubtless, it sighs and sobs out its longing for the old free home, in
the ears of the passing wind, though we are too dull to understand its
murmuring voice.

If the wind is in a good humor, he caresses it gently, and tries to
comfort it; but sometimes he is angry, and then he shakes the poor tree
fiercely. But it loves him always, whether he is gentle or rough.

I suppose it is sometimes necessary to trim trees. I hear people say
so. But I think a tree of beautiful and perfect shape is more desirable
than the little patch of lawn that might be gained by "trimming it up."

Ought not one to consider, and carefully study the tree, as a whole,
before venturing to remove any of its branches? To examine it from
every point of view? Above all, if your trees _must_ be trimmed, see
about it _yourself_, and don't trust them to the ruthless hands of
people insensible to beauty--those to whom a tree is only so much wood!
And be very sure your "cause" is "justifiable" before you allow them to
be touched.

Remember that the finest trees are of slow growth; and if ever you are
tempted to cut down a really fine one, just stop a moment and reflect
that it may take half a lifetime to replace it.

If these people who have a mania for cutting down trees could but be
persuaded to plant a new one for every old one they sacrifice, what a
blessing it would be to future generations!

    Then as a little helpless, innocent bird,
    That has but one plain passage of few notes,
    Will sing the simple passage o'er and o'er
    For all an April morning, till ear
    Wearies to hear it.

The sycophant succeeds where the self-respecting man fails, yet the
former is despised and the latter revered. The first is happy if he
secure the favor of the great; the latter is content if he can secure
that of himself.--_Charles Churchill Marble._


    The depth and dream of my desire,
      The bitter paths wherein I stray,
    Thou knowest, Who hast made the fire,
      Thou knowest, Who hast made the clay.

    One stone the more swings to her place
      In that dread temple of Thy Worth,
    It is enough that through Thy grace
      I saw naught common on Thy earth.

    Take not that vision from my ken;
      O, whatsoe'er may spoil or speed,
    Help me to need no aid from men
      That I may help such men as need.
                                        --_Rudyard Kipling._


PART I.--_The Bonnet._

    A bit of foundation as big as your hand;
      Bows of ribbon and lace;
    Wire sufficient to make them stand;
    A handful of roses, a velvet band--
      It lacks but one crowning grace.

PART II.--_The Bird._

    A chirp, a twitter, a flash of wings,
      Four wide-open mouths in a nest;
    From morning till night she brings and brings
    For growing birds, they are hungry things--
      Aye! hungry things at the best.

    The crack of a rifle, a shot well sped;
      A crimson stain on the grass;
    Four hungry birds in a nest unfed--
    Ah! well, we will leave the rest unsaid;
      Some things it were better to pass.

PART III.--_The Wearer._

    The lady has surely a beautiful face,
      She has surely a queenly air;
    The bonnet had flowers and ribbon and lace;
    But the bird had added the crowning grace--
      It is really a charming affair.

    Is the love of a bonnet supreme over all,
      In a lady so faultlessly fair?
    The Father takes heed when the sparrows fall,
    He hears when the starving nestlings call--
      Can a tender woman _not care_?


One of the most remarkable growths in the government botanical gardens
is the so-called barber plant, the leaves of which are used in some
parts of the East by rubbing on the face to keep the beard from
growing. It is not supposed to have any effect on a beard that is
already rooted, but merely to act as a preventive, boys employing it to
keep the hair from getting a start on their faces. It is also employed
by some Oriental people who desire to keep a part of their heads free
from hair, as a matter of fashion. A curious looking tree from the
Isthmus of Panama bears a round red fruit as big as an apple, which
has this remarkable faculty, that its juice rubbed on tough beef or
chicken makes the meat tender by the chemical power it possesses to
separate the flesh fiber. One is interested to observe in the botanical
green houses three kinds of plants that have real consumption of the
lungs--the leaves, of course, being the lungs of a plant. The disease
is manifested by the turning of the leaves from green to white, the
affection gradually spreading from one spot until, when a leaf is all
white, it is just about to die. Cruelly enough, as it would seem, the
gardeners only try to perpetuate the disease for the sake of beauty and
curiosity, all plants of those varieties that are too healthy being
thrown away.


The kea is an outlaw bird of New Zealand for each of whose bills the
government offers a reward of a shilling. The kea is a gourmand. It
prefers the kidney of a sheep to any other part of the beast.

Coming down out of the mountains in winter, it attacks the sheep,
alighting on their backs, and tearing away the hide and flesh until it
reaches the titbits which it seeks.

How the birds learned to tear away the skin to get at the flesh forms
a curious story of the development of bird knowledge. The birds had
been feeding on the refuse of cattle and sheep killed for human
consumption. They learned to associate the idea of meat with the living
animal, and now they kill the sheep for the meat without waiting for
human aid or consent.

The Maoris have a legend about this bird to the effect that it used
to be a strict vegetarian, building its nest on the ground. The sheep
came and trampled on the nests, and the birds attacked them furiously,
drawing blood.

They liked the flavor of flesh, and have ever since been eating it.
The bird builds its nest in trees now, out of the reach of the sheep's


    Little brook, little brook,
    You have such a happy look,
    Such a very merry manner as you swerve and curve and crook;
    And your ripples, one by one,
    Reach each other's hands and run
    Like laughing little children in the sun!

    Little brook, sing to me,
    Sing about a bumble-bee
    That tumbled from a lily-bell and mumbled grumblingly
    Because he wet the film
    Of his wings and had to swim,
    While the water bugs raced round and laughed at him.

    Little brook, sing a song
    Of a leaf that sailed along
    Down the golden braided center of your current swift and strong,
    And the dragon-fly that lit
    On the tilting rim of it,
    And sailed away, and wasn't scared a bit!

    And sing how oft in glee
    Came a truant boy like me
    Who loved to lean and listen to your lilting melody,
    Till the gurgle and refrain
    Of your music in his brain
    Caused a happiness as deep to him as pain!

    Little brook, laugh and leap!
    Do not let the dreamer weep;
    Sing him all the songs of summer till he sink in softest sleep;
    And then sing soft and low
    Through his dreams of long ago,
    Sing back to him the rest he used to know.

  [Illustration: BLOOD-ROOT.
                 BY PER. HARRIET E. HIGLEY.
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]


WILLIAM KERR HIGLEY, Secretary of the Chicago Academy of Sciences.

    Thou first-born of the year's delight,
      Pride of the dewy glade,
    In vernal green and virgin white,
      Thy vestal robes arrayed.

The true lover of flowers, though he may be enraptured by those under
cultivation, finds a greater satisfaction in the study and observation
of those that are developed only under the influence of Nature's laws.
In the field, the forest, and even in the sea there are plants not only
pleasing to the eye, but that are doubly interesting because of the
wonderful provision made for them to assure their survival. Plants,
like animals, have their enemies, and sometimes it seems that, with
thoughtful care for its own protection, a species will gradually change
its habits, thus conveying a sense of danger to its descendants.

Many of the peculiarities of plants, that fit them for existence, may
be readily studied by the novice in botany as he tramps the fields in
search of recreation. There is nothing more delightful and charming to
the botanist than to seek the reasons for the beauties in Nature and to
find why plants live and exist as they do.

Many delicate plants seek the shelter and protection of the borders
of the forest. They do not penetrate far within, but remain near the
open, where the sunlight can reach them. The blood-root (_Sanguinaria
Canadensis_) is of this character. Beautiful and delicate, it seems to
shun the storm and wind and to retire from the gaze of man.

The blood-root belongs to the poppy family (_Papaveraceæ_), which
includes about twenty-five genera and over two hundred species. These,
though widely distributed, are chiefly found in the temperate regions
of the North. To this family also belong the valuable opium-producing
plant (_Papaver somniferum_), the Mexican or prickly poppy (_Argemone
Mexicana_), the Dutchman's breeches (_Bicuculla Cucullaria_), the
bleeding-heart (_Bicuculla eximia_) and the beautiful mountain fringe
(_Adlumia fungosa_). A large number of the species are cultivated for
ornamental purposes. The poppy is also cultivated for the commercial
value of the opium it produces. All the species produce a milky or
colored juice. Here, indeed, we may say that behind beauty there lurks
a deadly foe, for the juice of nearly all the species has active
narcotic properties. This property is a means of protection to the
plant under consideration, for its acrid taste is distasteful to

The red juice that exudes from all parts of the plant of the
blood-root gives it both its common and its generic names, the latter,
_Sanguinaria_, is derived from the Latin word _sanguis_, or blood.

This interesting plant is a native of Eastern North America, deriving
its specific name from the fact that it is found in Canada. It blossoms
in April or May. Usually but a single flower is borne by the naked
stalk that rises from the underground stem to the height of about
eight inches. The flowers are white, very rarely pinkish, about one
and one-half of an inch in diameter. The number of petals varies from
eight to twelve, and they fall very soon after expansion. The sepals
disappear before the bud opens.

A single leaf is produced from each bud of the underground stem. It is
wrapped around the flower-bud as the latter rises from the soil and
does not develop to full size till after the period of blossoming is
over. The necessary food material for the production of the flower was
stored in the underground stem during the preceding season. Thus the
green leaf is not needed early in the growth of the plant.

The adult leaf is kidney-shaped, smooth, and five to nine lobed. When
fully grown they are often more than six inches in diameter. The
leaf-stalk, which may be over one foot in length, and the radiating
veins vary in color from yellowish to orange. Few leaves are more
beautiful and graceful than these, both during their development and
when fully mature.

It is said that the Indians formerly used the juice of this plant as a
dye, and thus it is sometimes called red Indian paint and red puccoon.


Many of our garden herbs still in common use for purposes of seasoning
are in reality British plants, says Longman's Magazine. Among them may
be mentioned mint and marjoram and thyme and calamint, all of which
may be found in their native haunts. Fennel is abundant on sea cliffs
in many places in the south of England. Wild hyssop is perfectly
naturalized on the picturesque ruins of Beaulieu Abbey and wild balm
used to be found within the ancient walls of Portchester castle. The
garden parsley was formerly abundant on the shingly beach at Hurst
castle, where it used to be gathered for domestic purposes. One native
herb, however, much in use among our fore-fathers is now seldom seen
in kitchen gardens--we mean _Tanacetum vulgare_, the common tansy,
the dull yellow flowers of which are often conspicuous by the side
of streams. The young leaves and juice of this plant were formerly
employed to give color and flavor to puddings, which were known as
tansy cakes, or tansy puddings.

In mediæval times the use of these cakes was specially associated
with the season of Easter and it is interesting to notice that in the
diet rolls of St. Swithin's monastery at Winchester, which belong to
the end of the fifteenth century, we come across the entry "tansey
tarte." It has been said that the use of tansy cakes at this season
was to strengthen the digestion after what an old writer calls "the
idle conceit of eating fish and pulse for forty days in Lent," and it
is certain that this was the virtue attributed to the plant by the
old herbalists. "The herb fried with eggs which is called a 'tansy,'"
says Culpepper, "helps to digest and carry away those bad humors that
trouble the stomach." It seems more probable that the custom of eating
tansy cakes at Easter time was associated with the teaching of that
festival, the name "tansy" being a corruption of a Greek word meaning


    Shrill and shy from the dusk they cry,
      Faintly from over the hill;
    Out of the gray where shadows lie,
    Out of the gold where sheaves are high,
    Covey to covey, call and reply,
      Plaintively, shy and shrill.

    Dies the day, and from far away
      Under the evening star
    Dies the echo as dies the day,
    Droops with the dew in the new-mown hay,
    Sinks and sleeps in the scent of May,
      Dreamily, faint and far.
                            --_Frank Saville in the Pall Mall Magazine._



Some few years ago, while living in the village of West Grove, Chester
County, Pennsylvania, I observed an unusual number of different birds
in our own immediate yard and garden, nearly all of which built their
homes within the narrow limits of our property.

Being deeply interested in the bird kingdom, and appreciating their
friendship and confidence, I carefully watched the progress of their
daily labors and their respective traits and individual habits. Our
buildings consisted of a house, small stable and a carpenter shop, and
I was much gratified to observe so many pretty birds nesting at our
very doors.

In the front yard stood three tall pine trees. In one of these a
pair of black birds made their nest and reared two broods of young.
A goldfinch also chose one of the lower branches of the same tree,
in the forks of which the clever little fellow hung a most beautiful
cup-shape nest. It appeared to be made of various mosses, lichens, and
soft materials, closely woven and cemented together, and the lining
inside consisted of thistle-down. Four pretty eggs were deposited in
due course and, as far as I know, the young were safely raised and
departed with their parents in the fall. I had the pleasure of seeing
the entire family frequently perched on the seed salad stalks in our
garden feeding in fearless content.

On both sides of the front porch was a lattice covered with woodbine.
In the top of one of these a robin chose to build her home, and showed
remarkable tameness during the entire nesting period. On the back
porch, also covered with woodbine, a pair of chipping sparrows built
their nest, a beautiful little piece of workmanship, displaying skill
and good taste. A happy little family was raised here in safety. Not
ten feet from the chipping sparrow's nest, we nailed up a little
wooden box which was tenanted for several years by a pair of house
wrens, in all probability the same two. These little birds afforded us
many hours of pleasure watching their cunning ways and listening to
their cheery song.

In another box raised on a high pole in the garden, we had a pair of
purple martins for two seasons and they helped to swell the population
of our bird community. Placed in a hedge row bordering the yard, I
observed the nest and eggs of a song sparrow, and their happy notes
were to be heard all day long. In a small briar patch in the corner of
the garden a cat bird made her home, and became quite tame, raising
four little ones successfully. In the eaves of the shop (although not
wanted or cherished) the English sparrows held sway and we destroyed
their nests on two or three occasions, as they repeatedly tried to
drive away some of our other pets.

Summing up we have a total of nine different birds which nested within
our small domain, and in each instance they seemed to feel a sense of
security and protection from all harm. In addition to those nesting on
our premises, we were favored with frequent visits from many more, such
as vireos, orioles, cardinals, indigo birds, chickadees, nuthatches,
snow birds, sparrow hawks, flickers, etc., according to the time of

Prior to the summer in question, my father had been very ill, and
as he was then getting better he spent many days on the porch. This
afforded ample opportunity for him to study our birds, and they in
like manner became so accustomed to his presence that they were quite
fearless. Especially was this the case with the chipping sparrows above
mentioned. They became unusually tame during the season and the mother
bird finally ate out of father's hand or would sit on the toe of his
boot and pick crumbs from his fingers.

                 5/6 Life-size.
                 FROM COL. F. KAEMPFER.
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]


(_Guiraca cærulea._)

This beautiful specimen of the finch family is found in the southern
United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific, although very local
and irregularly distributed. It is occasionally found north to Kansas,
Illinois, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. The male is brilliant blue,
darker across the middle of the back. The female is yellowish brown
above, brownish yellow beneath, darkest across the breast, wings
broadly edged with brownish yellow. Sometimes there is a faint trace of
blue on the tail. The young resemble the female. Males from the Pacific
coast region have tails considerably longer than eastern specimens,
while those from California are of a much lighter and less purplish

The blue grosbeak is a very inconspicuous bird. Unless seen under the
most favorable circumstances the adult male does not appear to be blue,
but of a dusky color, and Ridgway says may easily be mistaken for a
cow blackbird, unless carefully watched; besides they usually sit
motionless, in a watchful attitude, for a considerable time, and thus
easily escape observation.

The blue grosbeak frequents the thickets of shrubs, briars and tall
weeds lining a stream flowing across a meadow or bordering a field, or
the similar growth which has sprung up in an old clearing. The usual
note is a strong harsh _ptchick_, and the song of the male is a very
beautiful, though rather feeble, warble. At least two broods are raised
during a season.



It would seem that nature had provided enough space and a sufficient
variety of nooks and corners for birds to choose from and build their
nests in; yet it is a strange fact that many of them often prefer to
follow man, and select, for their homes, some spot he has planned and

In the fields one often sees the nests of robins and blackbirds built
between the rails of pole fences, and sometimes catbirds choose this
situation for a home. Around the barns will be found the swallows and
their curious nests of mud. Then there are those cheerful and always
friendly little birds, the wrens, which think that our houses are
just the homes they would like, too; and any box or can, or what is
prettiest of all, a miniature cottage placed on a fence, will rarely
ever remain unoccupied during the summer. Even the shy bluebirds, whose
sheen of feathers seems to be borrowed from the sky, like to peep into

Of all the wild birds, I believe I love the wrens the best. They are
always so busy and yet so companionable. Last spring, when the days
began to get warm, I left the window of my room open to admit the fresh
free air; and on going in there one day I spied one of these spry
little fellows peeping and hopping around the curtains, which were
looped up, forming a cozy recess. He did not seem to be alarmed at my
presence, but calmly went on with his inspection; and would you believe
it, the next morning the pair of them were busy constructing their nest
in this nook. I let the window remain open all summer, and they raised
their family there.

But the strangest of all strange sites in which I ever found a nest was
nearly at the bottom of a deep well! This well was walled up with rock
and a couple of brown field birds carried twigs and grass down it and
formed their nest on a projecting spur of stone. Why they should choose
such a location as this it is hard to tell.


There are other armies in South Africa besides the Boers and the
British; armies of very little folk, which go out on foraging
expeditions when their colonies stand in need of supplies--forays
planned and executed with military precision, and, as a general thing,
uniformly successful.

I speak of an army of ants.

A close observer, residing in South Africa, describes one of these
forays in the following way:

"The army, which I estimated to number about fifteen thousand ants,
started from their home in the mud walls of a hut and marched in the
direction of a small mound of fresh earth, but a few yards distant. The
head of the column halted on reaching the foot of the mound and waited
for the rest of the force to arrive at the place of operations, which
evidently was to be the mound of fresh earth. When the remainder had
arrived and halted so that the entire army was assembled, a number of
ants detached themselves from the main body and began to ascend to the
top of the mound, while the others began moving so as to encircle the
base of the mound.

"Very soon a number from the detachment which had ascended the mound,
or lilliputian kopje, evidently the attacking party, entered the
loose earth and speedily returned, each bearing a cricket or a young
grasshopper, dead, which he deposited upon the ground and then returned
for a fresh load. Those who had remained on the outside of the mound,
took up the crickets and grasshoppers as they were brought out and bore
them down to the base of the hill, returning at once for fresh victims.
Soon the contents of the mound seemed to be exhausted, and then the
whole force returned home, each ant carrying his burden of food for the

       *       *       *       *       *

My very young readers will be surprised, no doubt, to hear me speak of
wasps as cement-makers, or paper-makers, but such, in truth, they are.
You can form no idea of the industry and toil these little folk expend
upon the structure they call home. Nothing pleases them better than to
find an old fence rail covered with a light gray fuzz of woody fiber
loosened from decaying wood by excessive soakings of rain. Dozens of
these little pulp-gatherers will descend upon the rail, and as fast as
each of them obtains a load away he flies to the place where the home
building is already going on.

This may be in a clump of bushes near a stream, and as fast as they
deposit their load of fiber down they fly to the stream, and having
secured a mouthful of water back they go to the nest to beat the
fiber into a thin sheet, which they deftly join to the main body,
the jointure being imperceptible. Such a throng of workers coming
and going, some to the fence, some to the nest, some to the brook,
each addition to the structure being the tiniest mite, yet growing
perceptibly under the united efforts of the little builders.

TAR.--One of the commonest substances met with in city or town is tar.
A paper roof covered with tar makes a very good protection against
sun and rain provided a suitable amount of gravel covers the tar. The
kind of tar most used is called coal-tar or gas-tar. This is made at
the gas factory from the distilling of soft coal. Tar that comes from
different varieties of pine and spruce is used to cover ropes and hulls
of ships. It is from his having some of it usually clinging to his
hands and clothes that the sailor boy came to be called "Jack Tar,"
and from his fondness for the sea one of the royal family of England
got the pet name of "Royal Tarry Breeks." It is strange that there has
been no change in the work of getting this kind of tar from the wood
for over twenty-three hundred years. The wood is placed in holes dug
in the ground and covered carefully with turf so as to keep out the
air and prevent too much burning. Some of the wood is left free so the
air may get at it and burn it enough to make heat enough to distil the
pitch from the rest of it. This is gathered into barrels and is black
because of the smoke that gets into it. It was this sort of tar that
Benjamin Franklin had his experience with one time in Philadelphia.
He was running along on the tops of tar barrels on the wharf one fine
day with his Sunday clothes on. The head of one barrel was not in good
condition, and so Benjamin went down into it. The next issue of his
paper had a very amusing account of the accident in which Franklin used
his powers to make puns to great advantage in making fun at his own

ANTS.--Would you like to get a clean skeleton of any small animal?
Place the body near or upon an ant hill and the little workers will
clean it off for you perfectly, picking every bone as clean as if they
were under contract with a forfeit for every scrap of flesh, skin,
or sinew left upon any bone. They like meat so well that they will
attack animals that are many times larger than themselves and carry
the work to a successful end. There are three kinds of ants in an ant
hill--males, females, and neuters. The males and females have wings and
do no work to speak of. They are always waited upon very carefully by
the neuters who have no wings, but are noted for their industry, skill,
and strength. It has been said that the ant stores up large quantities
of grain in the summer for winter use. Whoever said that was not well
acquainted with his subject. In winter the ants neither eat nor work.
Some of the neuters have their jaws, or mandibles, made much larger
than the rest. These are the soldiers, and they fight with greater
fierceness than any other creatures. Huber, the blind naturalist who
told the world so many astonishing things about bees, describes a great
fight he once saw between two colonies of these little warriors. "I
shall not say what lighted up discord between these two republics,
the one as populous as the other. The two armies met midway between
their respective residences. Their serried columns reached from the
field of battle to the nest, and were two feet in width. The field of
battle, which extended over a space of two or three square feet, was
strewn with dead bodies and wounded; it was also covered with venom,
and exhaled a penetrating odor. The struggle began between two ants,
which locked themselves together with their mandibles, while they
raised themselves upon their legs. They quickly grasped each other so
tightly that they rolled one over the other in the dust. When night
came they stopped fighting, but the next morning they went at it again
and piled the ground with slain and wounded." Their stings hurt because
they carry a liquid that is like that found in nettles and in the hairs
and other parts of certain caterpillars. This is called formic acid,
and is made by chemists for certain purposes. The red ant dislikes to
work if he can get slaves to do it for him. Perhaps we should say if
_she_ can get it done for _her_, because these neuters are rather more
like females than like male ants. They make war purposely to get into
the homes of other colonies to carry away their eggs and baby ants.
They bring these up to wait upon them. When they go on a journey the
slaves have to carry their owners, and sometimes they even feed them
until they refuse to feed themselves. They have been known to die of
hunger with plenty of food within easy reach, but with no slave at
hand to place it before them. In going out to fight for the offspring
of other ants they go in regular columns, and those that are left
after the slaughter return home in the same order, their solid trains
sometimes extending more than a hundred feet. Some ants keep cows.
Plant lice have honeydew in their bodies, and when well fed they give
out a great deal of it. Ants are fond of it. They sometimes confine the
plant lice, feed them, and milk the honeydew from the bodies of their
captors. A German scientist named Simon, has recently returned from
Australia with some great stories about ants. He says he suffered much
from their attacks. In trying to get rid of them in many ways he at
last hit upon the idea of spreading a poison where they would have to
pass across it. He used prussiate of potash which is sometimes used
in photography. Another name for it is cyanide of potassium. He says,
"How astonished was I when I saw the whole surface of the heap strewn
with dead ants like a battle-field. The piece of cyanide, however, had
totally disappeared. More than one-half of the community had met death
in this desperate struggle, but still the death-defying courage of the
heroic little creatures had succeeded in removing the fatal poison, the
touch of which must have been just as disagreeable to them as it was
dangerous. Recklessly neglecting their own safety, they had carried it
off little by little, covering every step with a corpse. Once removed
from the heap, the poison had been well covered with leaves and pieces
of wood, and thus prevented from doing further damage. The heroism of
these insects, which far surpasses what any other creature, including
even man, has ever shown in the way of self-sacrifice and loyalty,
had made such an impression on me that I gave up my campaign, and
henceforth I bore with many an outrage from my neighbors rather than
destroy the valiant beings whose courage I had not been able to crush."
In the extreme southwest of the United States are colonies of ants that
have a peculiar custom of setting apart some of their number to give up
their lives for their fellows in a strange way. They feed upon honey
until they are unable to walk. Then their fellows take the greatest
care of them and feed them so their bodies are distended enormously. A
number of these ants when fed so highly look very much like a bunch of
little grapes, they are so round and translucent. When food is scarce
later the other ants come to their heavy mates and eat them with great

AIR.--The wear and tear in our bodies is replaced by new material
carried to the spot by the blood. The heart forces the blood out along
the arteries in a bright red current. It comes back blackened with the
refuse material. It passes to the lungs, where it comes into contact
with the air we breathe. It does not quite touch the air, but is acted
upon by the air through very thin partitions much as the cash business
is carried on in some houses and banks with the cashiers all placed
behind screens, where they may be seen and talked to but not reached.
Purified in the lungs by contact with fresh air, the blood goes back
to continue the good work of making the body sound. But if the air
has been used before by someone in breathing it has become bad and
the blood does not get the benefit from contact with it in the lungs
that nature intended. Ordinarily a man breathes in about four thousand
gallons of air in a day if he is taking things easily, but when he is
hard at mental or physical work he needs much more than this. Air that
has been hurt by being breathed is restored to the right condition
by the leaves of trees and plants. In large cities where people are
crowded together there is a lack of good air. But nature is continually
rushing the air about so that new may take the place of what has been
used, rain washes it out, and the storm brings in from the country just
the kind of air the city man needs in his lungs.


In India bird-life abounds everywhere absolutely unmolested, and the
birds are as tame as the fowls in a poultry yard. Ring-doves, minas,
hoopoes, jays and parrots hardly trouble themselves to hop out of the
way of the heavy bull-carts, and every wayside pond and lake is alive
with ducks, geese, pelicans, and flamingoes and waders of every size
and sort, from dainty beauties, the size of pigeons, up to the great
unwieldy cranes and adjutants, five feet high.


There is perhaps no feature of Irish scenery more characteristic and
depressing than the almost universal absence of those tracts of woods
which in other countries soften the outlines of hills and valleys. The
traveler gazing on its bald mountains and treeless glens can hardly
believe that Ireland was at one time covered from shore to shore with
magnificent forests. One of the ancient names of the country was "The
Isle of Woods" and so numerous are its place-names derived from the
growth of woods, shrubs, groves, oaks, etc., that (as Dr. Joyce says)
"if a wood were now to spring up in every place bearing a name of this
kind the country would become clothed with an almost uninterrupted
succession of forests." On the tops of the barest hills and buried in
the deepest bogs are to be found the roots, stems and other remains of
these ancient woods, mostly of oak and pine, some of the bogs being
literally full of stems, the splinters of which burn like matches.

The destruction of these woods is of comparatively recent date.
Cambrensis, who accompanied Henry II. into Ireland in the twelfth
century, notices the enormous quantities of woods everywhere existing.
But their extirpation soon began with the gradual rise of English
supremacy in the land, the object in view being mainly to increase
the amount or arable land, to deprive the natives of shelter, to
provide fuel, and to open out the country for military purposes. So
anxious were the new landlords to destroy the forests that many old
leases contain clauses coercing tenants to use no other fuel. Many
old trees were cut down and sold for twelve cents. On a single estate
in Kerry, after the revolution of 1688, trees were cut down of the
value of $100,000. A paper laid before the Irish houses of parliament
describes the immense quantity of timber that in the last years of the
seventeenth century was shipped from ports in Ulster, and how the great
woods in that province (290,000 trees in all) were almost destroyed.

The houses passed an act for the planting of 250,000 trees, but it
was of no avail, and so denuded of timber had the country become that
large works started in Elizabeth's reign for the smelting of iron were
obliged to be stopped at last for want of charcoal. The present century
has continued the deplorable story of destruction. In forty years, from
1841 to 1881, 45,000 acres of timber were cut down and sold. Every
landlord cut down, scarcely anyone planted, so that at the present day
there is hardly an eightieth part of Ireland's surface under timber.


Fossil remains have been found of birds with teeth and long bony
tails, and also of reptiles, with wings; great monsters they must have
been--veritable flying dragons.

In 1861, in the lithographic slates of Solenhofen, Bavaria, a fossil
feather was found which was the subject of considerable discussion
among naturalists. Again, in 1862, a curious skeleton was disinterred
from the same place, in which most of the bones exhibited the marks of
a true bird, but the skeleton had a most remarkable tail, containing
twenty distinct bones. From each of these bones proceeded a pair of
well-developed feathers, similar to the single feather which had been
previously found. Here was an animal which could be called a birdlike
reptile or a lizardlike bird, with equal propriety. Its twenty caudal
segments or vertebræ were a bar to its entrance to every existing
family of birds, while it was equally out of place among reptiles.

  [Illustration: SHELLS
                 Reduced 1/10.
                 FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO

                 Root Murex
                 Burnt Murex
                 Purple Murex
                 Venus Comb
                 Apple Murex
                 Branched Murex
                 Horned Murex
                 Two-colored Murex]



Curator of the Chicago Academy of Sciences.

The rock shells or murices are among the most beautiful and interesting
of all the mollusks or shell fish, and are a favorite among collectors.
Their peculiar spiny shells and brilliant colors caused them to be
among the first mollusks studied by naturalists and we find them,
therefore, described in the earliest works on natural history.

There are about two hundred different kinds of rock shells, mostly
confined to the tropical and subtropical seas, although a few are found
in temperate climes. The greatest number of these are found about rocks
at low water but not a few are inhabitants of waters as deep as fifty
fathoms or more. In our own country they are abundant along the coast
of Panama, the Gulf of California, Florida and the islands of the West
Indies, but the largest number of varieties comes from the Indian
Ocean, Japan, the Philippines and Australia. The more brightly colored
varieties are from tropical seas, while the dull, plain species are
from subtropical or temperate climes.

The murices are peculiar in having their shells ornamented by numerous
projections, which vary from long, needle-like spines to simple fluted
frills. What these spines and frills are for would probably puzzle
the ordinary observer, as they would seem at first sight to be in the
way. In some cases they are simply ornamental, but in the main they
are protective and enable the animal to escape being eaten by some
voracious fish. This is known as protective adaptation and was probably
brought about in this manner: the murices, or their ancestors, did
not at first have spiny shells, and they fell an easy prey to the
fishes. As time went on a few individuals, through some modification
of environment, developed small spines or prominences. The animals
having these were not eaten by fishes as the knobs and spines caused
the fishes pain when swallowed, therefore they preferred the animals
with smoother shells. In time this modification caused a weeding-out
process, the animals with smoother shells being exterminated and those
with spiny shells increasing in numbers and becoming more spiny as one
generation succeeded another. This continued until the present time and
is going on even now.

Another interesting fact concerning the development of this
ornamentation is that the smoother shells inhabit rocky shores where
the waves are constantly beating in with greater or lesser violence,
while the more spiny individuals live in protected and comparatively
still water. This adds additional weight to the theory expressed in the
last paragraph, for the fish which feed upon these shells do not, as
a rule, inhabit localities where the water is rough, as along a rocky
shore, but live abundantly in protected bays and lagoons in which the
spiny murices are found.

There are shown on the plate eight species of rock shells, all more
or less common. The first one for us to consider may be called Venus'
Comb, (_Murex tribulus_) and is found in China, Japan and the Indian
Ocean. It belongs to a group of shells which is characterized by a long
snout or canal, and long, pointed spines. The color is yellowish; in
one variety the spines are tipped with black.

A shell which is found on the mantel in every household is known as the
Branched Rock Shell (_Murex ramosus_), which is widely distributed,
being found in the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, New Zealand, Australia
and the Central Pacific Ocean, and attains a large size, some specimens
reaching the length of a foot and weighing several pounds. The aperture
is frequently tinged with a deep, beautiful pink. In many households
the large shells of this species are used for flower pots, suspended
from a hook over the window by a set of chains, and for this purpose
they are certainly very ornamental.

The Apple Murex (_Murex pomum_) is of home production, being found on
the shores of Florida and throughout the West Indies. It is not as
attractive as the shells just mentioned, but is very common, every
collector possessing several specimens in his cabinet.

In the aperture of this species will be noticed a dark brown object
which is known as an operculum or door, and its use is to close the
aperture when the animal withdraws into its shell, so that the latter
may be safe from its enemies. All of the rock shells possess this
organ, which is attached to the back part of the animal's foot.

A peculiar and somewhat rare shell is the Horned Murex (_Murex
axicornis_), found in the Indian Archipelago, whose shell is made up
of many curiously fluted spines. The Burnt Murex (_Murex adustus_), is
an inhabitant of the Indian Ocean, Japan and the Philippines, and its
name, which signifies burned, is well chosen, for all its spines and
frills and most of the shell are black in color and look just as though
the shell had been scorched. The aperature is often beautifully tinged
with pink or dark red.

A common rock shell found in the Mediterranean Sea as well as on the
Atlantic coast of France and Portugal and the Canary Islands, is the
Purple Murex (_Murex trunculus_). This is a light brown, three-banded
shell about two inches in length and is famous as having been used by
the ancients to obtain their beautiful and rich purple dye. On the
Tyrian shore these shells were pounded in caldron-shaped holes in the
rocks, and the animals were taken out and squeezed for the dye which
they secrete. If the animal of one of our common purpuras, a small
shell found along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, be squeezed, it will
exude a purple fluid which will stain fabrics a reddish purple. It is
probable that much or most of the royal purple of the ancients was
obtained from these lowly creatures.

Although the most beautiful shells of this family are supposed to live
in the warm, tropical seas of the Indian Ocean, it is nevertheless true
that many of the most brightly colored rock shells live in the warm
waters of Panama and Mazatlan. The Root Murex (_Murex radix_) is one of
these shells, which attains a length of five inches and weighs several
pounds. The shell is white or yellowish-white and the spines and frills
are jet black, the two colors producing a peculiar effect. Another
beautiful shell from the same locality (Panama) is the Two-colored
Murex (_Murex bicolor_), a shell attaining somewhat larger dimensions
than the last. The spines are reduced to mere knobs in this species,
there are but a few frills, and only two colors, the shell being
greenish-white and the aperture a deep red or pink, plainly showing
whence the name, bicolor, two-colored. This shell is collected by
thousands at Panama and shipped all over the United States to curiosity
stores at summer watering places and other vacation resorts, where they
are sold at from a few cents to a dollar each, according to quality.


    Would you think it? Spring has come;
      Winter's paid his passage home;
    Packed his ice-box--gone--half way
      To the Arctic pole, they say.

  +----------------------------------------------------------------- +
  | Transcriber's Note:                                              |
  |                                                                  |
  | Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.     |
  |                                                                  |
  | Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant |
  | form was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.    |
  |                                                                  |
  | Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.            |
  |                                                                  |
  | Mid-paragraph illustrations have been moved between paragraphs   |
  | and some illustrations have been moved closer to the text that   |
  | references them.                                                 |
  |                                                                  |
  | Italicized words are surrounded by underline characters,         |
  | _like this_.                                                     |
  |                                                                  |
  | The Contents table was added by the transcriber.                 |

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