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Title: Birds and Nature, Vol. 10 No. 1 [June 1901]
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                            BIRDS and NATURE
                           IN NATURAL COLORS


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


                         Two Volumes Each Year
                                VOLUME X
                     June, 1901, to December, 1901


                     EDITED BY WILLIAM KERR HIGLEY

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

                           Copyright 1901 by
                             A. W. Mumford



                           BIRDS AND NATURE.
                   ILLUSTRATED BY COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY.
  Vol. X                       JUNE, 1901.                        No. 1



                               CONTENTS.


    JUNE.                                                              1
    BULLOCK’S ORIOLE. (_Icterus bullocki._)                            2
    AN AFTERNOON IN THE CORNFIELD.                                     5
    THE RETURN OF THE BIRDS.                                           7
    HOUSE-HUNTING IN ORCHARD TOWN.                                     8
    THE SANDERLING. (_Calidris arenaria._)                            11
    PARTNERS.                                                         12
        O violets tender                                              13
    THE GREAT NORTHERN SHRIKE. (_Lanius borealis._)                   14
    ORIOLE.                                                           19
    THE FIRE-BIRD.                                                    20
    BRANDT’S CORMORANT. (_Phalacrocorax penicillatus._)               23
    MATE, OR PARAGUAY TEA.                                            24
        Behind the cloud the starlight lurks                          25
    THE AMERICAN BUFFALO. (_Bison americanus._)                       26
    MR. CHAT, THE PUNCHINELLO. A TRUE STORY.                          31
    AGATE.                                                            35
    MARTYRS OF THE WOODS.                                             36
    A PANSY BED.                                                      37
    THE MULLEN.                                                       38
    THE CALL OF THE PARTRIDGE.                                        41
    JIM CROW AND HIS COUSINS.                                         42
    COCOA. (_Theobroma cacao_, L.)                                    44
    THE CANOE-BIRCH.                                                  48



                                 JUNE.


  No price is set on the lavish summer;
  June may be had by the poorest comer.

  And what is so rare as a day in June?
    Then, if ever, come perfect days;
  Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,
    And over it softly her warm ear lays:
  Whether we look, or whether we listen,
  We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
  Every clod feels a stir of might,
    An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
  And, groping blindly above it for light,
    Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
  The flush of life may well be seen
    Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
  The cowslip startles in meadows green,
    The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
  And there’s never a leaf nor a blade too mean
    To be some happy creature’s palace;
  The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
    Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
  And lets his illumined being o’errun
    With the deluge of summer it receives;
  His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
  And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
  He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,
  In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?
                     —James Russell Lowell, “The Vision of Sir Launfal.”



                           BULLOCK’S ORIOLE.
                         (_Icterus bullocki._)


Bullock’s Oriole, a species as handsome and conspicuous as the Baltimore
Oriole, replaces it in the western portions of the United States and is
likewise widely distributed. Its breeding range within our borders
corresponds to its distribution. It is only a summer resident with us,
arriving usually from its winter haunts in Mexico during the last half
of March and, moving slowly northward, reaches the more northern parts
of its breeding range from a month to six weeks later. It appears to be
much rarer in the immediate vicinity of the seacoast than in the Great
Basin regions, where it is common nearly everywhere, especially if
sufficient water is found to support a few stunted cottonwoods and
willows. During my extensive wanderings through nearly all the states
west of the Rocky Mountains and extending from the Mexican to the
British borders, I have met with this species almost everywhere in the
lowlands and in some localities have found it very abundant. Like the
Baltimore Oriole, it avoids densely wooded regions and the higher
mountains. It is especially abundant in the rolling prairie country
traversed here and there by small streams having their sources in some
of the many minor mountain ranges which are such prominent features of
the landscape in portions of Idaho, Washington and Oregon. These streams
are fringed with groves of cottonwood, mixed with birch, willow and
alder bushes, which are the favorite resorts of this Oriole during the
breeding season. The immediate vicinity of water is, however, not
considered absolutely necessary, as I have found it nesting fully a mile
or more away from it on hillsides, the edges of table-lands and in
isolated trees, or even in bushes. In Colorado it is said to be found at
altitudes of over eight thousand feet, but as a rule it prefers much
lower elevations.

The call notes of Bullock’s Oriole are very similar to those of the
Baltimore, but its song is neither as pleasing to the ear nor as clear
and melodious as that of the latter. Its food is similar and consists
principally of insects and a few wild berries.

The nest resembles that of the Baltimore Oriole, but as a rule it is not
quite as pensile and many are more or less securely fastened by the
sides as well as by the rim to some of the adjoining twigs. The general
make-up is similar. As many of the sections where Bullock’s Oriole
breeds are still rather sparsely settled, less twine and such other
material as may be picked up about human habitations enter into its
composition. Shreds of wild flax and other fiber-bearing plants and the
inner bark of the juniper and willow are more extensively utilized;
these with horsehair and the down of plants, wool and fine moss furnish
the inner lining of the nests. According to my observations, the birch,
alder, cottonwood, eucalyptus, willow, sycamore, oak, pine and juniper
furnish the favorite nesting sites; and in Southern Arizona and Western
Texas it builds frequently in bunches of mistletoe growing on cottonwood
and mesquite trees.

The nests are usually placed in low situation, from six to fifteen feet
from the ground, but occasionally one is found fully fifty feet up. A
very handsome nest, now before me, is placed among six twigs of
mistletoe, several of these being incorporated in the sides of the nest,
which is woven entirely of horsehair and white cotton thread, making a
very pretty combination. The bottom of the nest is lined with wool.

                    [Illustration: BULLOCK’S ORIOLE.
                          (Icterus bullocki).
                              ⅔ Life-size.
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]

The sexes are extremely devoted to each other and valiantly defend their
eggs and young. I once saw a pair vigorously attack a Richardson’s
squirrel, which evidently was intent on mischief, and drive it out of
the tree in which they had their nest. Both birds acted with the
greatest courage and dashed at it repeatedly with fury, the squirrel
beating a hasty retreat from the combined attack. The young are large
enough to leave the nest in about two weeks and are diligently guarded
and cared for by both parents until able to provide for themselves.

                                                        Charles Bendire.

From “Life Histories of North American Birds.”



                     AN AFTERNOON IN THE CORNFIELD.


Uncle Philip was 16 years old, tall and strong, with merry dark eyes,
red cheeks and thick, soft, wavy, brown hair. Every day except Saturday
he was in school. Sometimes on Saturdays he went in the woods botanizing
or he rowed his pretty boat, “The Lorelei,” upon the lake. But, often he
went to his sister’s, Mamma Bryant’s, to spend the day and work upon the
farm. His little nephew, Leicester, was always glad when he came, for
Uncle Philip took him with him to the field or barn, told him funny
stories and taught him to take notice of all the things he saw or heard.
One beautiful day in October, after the corn had been all cut and was
standing in big yellow stooks, making long rows through the stubble,
Uncle Philip arrived early in the morning at Leicester’s home. Leicester
was still in bed when Uncle Philip came, and Mamma Bryant said to
herself, “I must go and see if he is awake.” But just as she was about
to open the door, out came Leicester in his white pajamas, rubbing his
eyes and looking a little bit sleepy.

“Come, Leicester,” said his mamma, “I will help you dress and then you
can have your breakfast. Uncle Philip has been here and he has gone to
the cornfield south of the meadow. He hitched up Blotter and Little Gray
on the new wagon and will drive back to dinner. Come with me and get
ready for breakfast. After breakfast I want you to take little sister
Keren with you and hunt for the eggs. If you are a good, pleasant boy
this morning you may go this afternoon with uncle, and I will make some
cookies for you to take in your lunch basket.”

Leicester, who was generally a very good boy, promised to do as his
mother desired.

Before dinner time Aunt Dorothy came, and it was decided that she, too,
should go to the cornfield and take Keren with her.

By one o’clock dinner was over. Mamma Bryant had decided that
Leicester’s lunch basket was too small, so she had taken a peach basket,
into which she put, among other good things to eat, some large red
apples and ever so many fresh baked cookies.

Uncle Philip had driven up the roadway and was standing in the new wagon
waiting for his passengers. Corn huskers never take a seat on their
wagons, but Uncle Philip had laid a board across the wagon-box and on
that Aunt Dorothy seated herself.

It was a warm, bright day and the wagon ride to the cornfield was
delightful. Blotter and Little Gray were not a very handsome team, but
they were good gentle horses and the children loved them. Blotter was a
white horse with black spots on him, which made him look as if he had
been used for a pen-wiper.

On the way to the cornfield a little rabbit ran out of the bushes by the
roadside, but quickly hid himself again. The chipmunks stood on their
hind feet in the tall, withered grass and watched the new wagon coming
down the road and popped into their holes when they thought it had come
too near. The plumy pappus of the golden rod, with great bunches of
scarlet rose seeds, bursting pods of the satin plant and clusters of
large red and chocolate oak leaves growing on year-old sprouts which had
sprung up from the stumps of trees cut down the fall before made huge
bouquets in the fence corners. While driving through the meadow the
horses, which were pastured there, came up to neigh a good-day to their
friends in the harness and trotted along for some time on both sides of
the wagon and behind it. At last the cornfield was reached and Uncle
Philip drove up to a corn stook.

“Look at that bird sitting on the wire fence,” said Aunt Dorothy. “Isn’t
that a butcher bird?”

“Yes,” said Uncle Philip, “that is a shrike, or butcher bird. I should
not wonder if it were the same bird that followed me around this
morning. I won’t tell you what he did, but if you will watch him maybe
you’ll see something very interesting yourself.”

Uncle Philip put on his husking gloves and began his work, taking the
ears of corn from the stalks in the stook without disturbing it any more
than he could help.

Aunt Dorothy remained sitting on her board in the wagon.

Leicester and Keren went to play in the meadow through which they had
just driven, and they frightened the butcher bird so that he flew away
from the fence and perched near the top of a tall cornstalk in a
neighboring stook. Keren found a dandelion blossom and Leicester a wild
rose, a bit of pale, pink beauty that had blossomed late and alone on a
bush whose leaves were dusty and faded. The children went to a hickory
tree expecting to find some nuts on the ground, but the squirrels had
been there already and nothing was left except some nut-shells. Yes,
there were three or four nuts, but when, by the aid of two stones, the
children had cracked them, they found the meat inside all dried up and
unfit to eat. The squirrels must have known this without cracking the
nuts, otherwise they would not have left them as they did.

Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Philip were talking about the butcher bird.

“The butcher bird is found all over the world,” said Aunt Dorothy, “and
has different names in different countries.”

“And it has been written about by men who lived a long, long time ago,”
said Uncle Philip, and he told Aunt Dorothy some of those men’s names.
But they are so long and hard to say I will not tell them here.

“The shrike is a cousin to the crow. Nearly all the crows have black
feathers, but the butcher bird wears a different dress in France from
the one he wears in England, and in India he has still another garb,”
said Aunt Dorothy.

“Yes,” said Uncle Philip, “but all the shrikes everywhere have toothed
bills.”

By this time two more shrikes or butcher birds had joined the first one
and all three were flying about impatiently from place to place.

“Just as if they were waiting for something to happen,” said Aunt
Dorothy.

“So they are,” said Uncle Philip, who had finished husking the corn in
his stook. “Call the children now; or I will,” he said, and whistled and
beckoned till Leicester and Keren came running to where he was.

“Now,” he said, “look at that stunted old tree over there, children. Do
you see the three butcher birds in it?”

Yes, every one saw the birds.

“Well, then,” he said, “get into the wagon and keep watch of them. I am
going to drive to the next corn stook,” and away they went. After Uncle
Philip had stopped the horses he told Aunt Dorothy and the children to
sit together on the board with their backs to the horses and keep very
still.

“I am going behind the corn stook and will pull it away as best I can
from where it now stands. Watch the birds and the ground near the
stook.”

As soon as he had pulled away the cornstalks he stooped down and walked
away some distance as quickly and quietly as he could. Then Aunt Dorothy
and the children saw the butcher birds alight on the ground on which the
cornstalks had been and catch young mice and moles. One of the birds
took a mole to the wire fence near by and stuck it on a barb. Then he
flew away, leaving it hanging there. He was going to catch some young
mice to eat just then and save the mole for luncheon.

His claws were not strong enough to hold the mole while he could kill
and eat it, but if he hung it on the wire fence he could use all his
strength in tearing it to pieces with his strong toothed bill. Every one
felt sorry for the poor mole, but all were glad to be able to see how
the butcher bird gets his dinner.

Time went by and soon Uncle Philip was ready to move another bunch of
cornstalks. Aunt Dorothy and the children prepared to watch again, for
the butcher birds were still in the neighborhood and waiting anxiously
for a chance to secure some more prey. This time there was a rat under
the cornstalks and a bold butcher bird flew at him and tried to kill
him. The rat, however, got away from his enemy in feathers. One of the
butcher birds caught a mole and stuck it on a long thorn on a hawthorn
tree.

“Let us have something to eat as well as the birds,” said Uncle Philip.
So he left Blotter and Little Gray standing in the field—they were never
known to run away—and all went to a pleasant spot in the meadow and ate
the luncheon which Mama Bryant had sent in the peach basket. Oh, how
good those cookies tasted to Leicester and Keren!

Those were happy passengers who rode home that evening on the yellow
ears of corn. Keren had found one red ear and she took it home and gave
it a place by the side of her pet playthings.

At supper time Leicester told his papa what they had seen the butcher
birds do, and Aunt Dorothy said: “You must tell about it in school,
Leicester; it will make a good Monday morning story.”

That evening after Uncle Philip and Aunt Dorothy had gone home and the
children had said their little evening prayer Leicester kissed his
mother and told her he would try to be a good boy every day for a whole
week. “And I hope I will have as good a time next Saturday as I have had
to-day,” said he.

And all night long the little stars peeping through the windows saw two
happy little faces asleep upon their pillows.

                                                  Mary Grant O’Sheridan.



                        THE RETURN OF THE BIRDS.


  I hear from many a little throat
    A warble interrupted long;
  I hear the robin’s flute-like note,
    The bluebird’s slenderer song.

  Brown meadows and the russet hill,
    Not yet the haunt of grazing herds,
  And thickets by the glimmering rill
    Are all alive with birds.
                                                 —William Cullen Bryant.



                     HOUSE-HUNTING IN ORCHARD TOWN.


      ’Tis up and down
      In Orchard town,
  When airs with bloom are scented,
      You’ll hardly find
      To suit your mind
  A nook that is not rented.

      The old sweet-bough,
      They all allow,
  The robin first selected.
      “Our home is here,
      Good cheer, good cheer,
  All other claims rejected.”

      “Chick-a-dee-dee,
      Don’t come to me!”
  The titmouse is refusing,
      “We’ve leased this tree,
      We’ll friendly be,
  But say you’re late in choosing.”

      “Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet,”
      Across the street
  The yellow-birds are moving.
      “Chip-chip-a-chee;
      So dear is she!”
  He scarce can work for loving.

      On lower floor,
      Beside her door,
  The wren is surely scolding.
      If one but glance
      She cries, “No chance
  To rent the flat I’m holding.”

      To hear her scold,
      The sparrow bold
  And jay, beside her dwelling,
      Cry, “Tschip, tschip, chee!”
      “Tease! tease! say we!”
  The noise and chatter swelling.

      On orchard wall,
      To quip and call,
  A stranger gay is listening;
      His mate can hear
      In meadow near,
  Where daisy-birds are glistening.

      Oh, Lady-link!
      Ho, ho! just think!
  To nest in trees what folly,
      When they might be,
      Like you and me,
  In Daisy-land so jolly!

      Down Pipin-way
      Where branches sway,
  An oriole hammock swings.
      Mistress starling
      And kingbird’s darling.
  Rest near with brooding wings.

      If you should go
      Down Blossom-row,
  Which runs right through the center,
      At each day,
      In morning gray,
  You’d hear from every renter.

      For handed down
      In Orchard town,
  ’Tis quite an ancient notion,
      To wake the earth
      With song and mirth,
  Such joy is their devotion.
                                                        —Isabel Goodhue.

                       [Illustration: SANDERLING.
                          (Calidris arenaria).
                              ⅔ Life-size.
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]



                            THE SANDERLING.
                         (_Calidris arenaria._)


  By the beach border, where the breeze
  Comes freighted from the briny seas,
  By sandy bar and weedy rock
  I frequent meet thy roving flock;
  Now hovering o’er the bending sedge,
  Nor gather’d at the ocean edge;
  Probing the sand for shrimps and shells,
  Or worms marine in hidden cells.
                                                       —Isaac McClellan.

This little shore or beach bird is sometimes called the White or Surf
Snipe, and the Ruddy Plover. It breeds only in the colder portions of
the northern hemisphere and migrates southward, even beyond the equator
where it makes its home during the winter months. It frequents chiefly
those regions near the surf-beaten shores of the oceans. It is also a
common visitor to the beaches of larger inland waters. On these shores
its beautiful form and habits are very noticeable. It walks and runs in
a dignified and graceful manner as it chases the receding water
searching for its food.

The pure white of the plumage of the under parts of the bird is a
striking characteristic as they reflect the sunlight during flight. It
is a silent bird and it sometimes appears alone, though it is usually
seen in flocks and is frequently associated with other species of the
snipe family. Regarding its habits, some one has said: “When feeding
along the extreme verge of the ocean it is pleasant to watch its active
movements when advancing or retreating with the influx of the sea. It is
naturally very unwary and regards man with less suspicion than most of
our snipes. When a flock is fired into, those which survive rise with a
low whistling note, perform a few evolutions and presently resume their
occupation with as much confidence as previously exhibited.”

The feet of the Sanderling are unlike the other members of its family,
being without a fourth toe, entirely divided and without a membrane.
This indicates that it frequents firm surfaces and that it is fitted for
running and walking upon the long, shelving beaches over which the tides
and surf roll, leaving an abundance of its particular food.

The nest of the Sanderling, rudely constructed of dried grass and
decayed leaves, is placed in a depression in the ground so situated as
to be protected by the natural vegetation of the region. The eggs,
usually three or four in number, have an ashy or greenish brown ground
color and are finely spotted with different shades of brown.

The food of the Sanderling consists mainly of sea worms, small bivalve
shells and crustaceans, though it will also eat buds and insects. It
would seem as if its hunger was never satiated—always busy, always
moving. These expressions describe its habits, as with its fellows and
the other snipes with which it associates, it seeks its food in the wake
of the retreating wave and turning, runs before the incoming water which
seldom engulfs it.

For those who are so fortunate as to be located near the feeding grounds
there can be no more interesting recreation than to sit on the beach and
watch the peculiar antics of these delicate creatures. Frequently,
without an apparent reason an entire flock will rise as if in answer to
a signal and, after executing a few turns alight, again resume the
occupation it had left.



                               PARTNERS.


No doubt every one knows the Lichens, the greenish gray growths,
sometimes like rosettes or clusters of leaves or of fruit, on tree
trunks or the gray rocks by the water, and even on the ground and old
wood. Their forms are various and often graceful, and mingled with their
greenish gray are many brighter colors, giving a rich tone to the rough
surfaces they cover and adorn. But I dare say that most of us have
thought of a Lichen as a single plant. It is not so, though it looks so
exactly like one in its close union. It is a partnership, indeed;
generally what looks like a single Lichen is a colony of partners
keeping house together, or a manufacturing firm, if you like that
expression of their business better. The partners are also kindred, or
were so, in the past.

For there was a time long ago when there was only one big family of
plants, the Algae; the brown Algae or seaweeds known as kelps often form
the “wrack” or tangle of weeds like long leaves or branching stems, with
berry or fruit-like bladders, thrown on the coast in great masses by a
storm; and the red Algae, or the beautiful fern-like and coral-like
seaweeds that grow far down in the deep sea. There are also the green
Algae, found in fresh water, or even on damp tree trunks and rocks. They
have many odd forms. One kind, called a pond scum, is a frothy, slippery
mass of spirally wound bands, floating in ponds or still water; another,
called “green felt,” is found in water also, and has egg-like things
from which spores or seed-like bodies escape to form new plants. They
have filaments at the bottom, like roots, that are called “holdfasts.”
Lastly, there are blue-green Algae, jelly-like masses found on trees,
rocks, damp earth or floating as green slimes in fresh water. Most water
plants are active and independent. They are on the upward road, for
though they have not distinct stems, roots, leaves or fruit, their
different parts, as I have already said, show a decided likeness to
these, especially their “holdfasts” to roots and their air-bladders to
fruit. The exquisite red seaweeds are as graceful in form and vivid in
color as many flowers.

There is a remarkable foreshadowing of the moral law even among these
early growths. Some have shirked their work, which was to absorb waste
substances, and manufacture these into organized plant food. They tried
to live on other growths, to the injury of the latter, and even sank to
feeding on dead substances. They lost the green chlorophyll, which is
necessary for manufacturing, though the red and brown Algae do not show
its presence because their other coloring is more vivid. But it is
present all the same with every busy, self-respecting plant. The lazy,
pauper growths deteriorated more and more and at last were no longer
Algae at all, but Fungi. They could not live by themselves; their only
chance was to get active or well-stocked partners. As the Alga developed
more and more into a likeness of a perfect plant, so the Fungus grew
less like one. The white furry “mould” on bread or preserved fruit, the
“mildew” on grapes and lilac leaves, the “black knot” of cherry and
plum, the “ergot” of rye, the “rust” of wheat, do not look like plants
unless you study them through a magnifying glass. Nor do the “slime
moulds” or the mushrooms, toadstools, puff-balls and truffles bear much
resemblance to flowers. Some of these, however, are both pretty and
useful.

In the case of a Lichen the partners really seem to be of use to each
other. The Fungus is not a mere pauper living on his more active
kinsman. If you examine a Lichen you will find a large number of
transparent threads, and in their meshes lie the green Algae, giving the
whole a greenish tint. The little cups or discs of the Fungus that
appear on the surface are lined with vivid colors, and have delicate
little bags or sacs, with seed-like spores inside. The Fungus supplies a
shelter from extreme cold, and also holds water in which the Algae finds
raw material. It is like a man and wife housekeeping, the man providing
the house and the raw stuff—flour, eggs, sugar, etc.—and the wife makes
these materials into food. Plants, by aid of their green stuff, work
over the carbon and other materials they get from air and water and make
sugar and starch, or organized food. This is their manufacture and they
must have an abundance of light to do it well, so when the sea Algae
grow to be immense kelps or seaweed, hundreds of feet long, they are
kept afloat by their air bladders. Now, it is true the Fungus in our
Lichen could not live at all without its busy Algae, which it holds in
its transparent filaments, but it is not a useless partner, so we will
not call it evil names. I think you will be surprised to hear, after all
the warning given by these dependent and generally worthless idlers in
the plant world, some of the beautiful and blooming flowers have fallen
into their bad habits and are regular underground thieves.

For the Gerardia or false foxglove has established no partnership; it is
plain stealing. It still works, so it has not lost its green of the
leaf, or the purple and gold of its flower, but it steals the materials
for its work. When it becomes utterly idle and useless it will lose all
its color and be like the ghostly white Indian pipes that grow in the
shadowy pine woods.

It is interesting to know how it steals. In the dark basement chambers
underground the root servants of the plant move slowly in a certain
circle that corresponds to the circle of light that the branches
describe overhead. Within this space they gather chemicals from the soil
and store up moisture, sending these by the sap up their elevators to
the well-lighted leaves, where the manufacturing of starch and sugar
goes busily on. Now, the Gerardia, being too trifling to collect its own
stuff, sends suckers into the roots of other plants and greedily absorbs
their contents. That is the reason it is so hard to transplant the
Gerardia—its roots are enmeshed and entangled so in other roots below
ground. A very odd thing sometimes happens to it. In the dark the roots
occasionally blunder and tap other roots of the same Gerardia, just as
if a pickpocket in the dark were by mistake to put his hand slyly into
his own pocket and steal his own purse.

                                                          Ella F. Mosby.


        O violets tender,
        Your shy tribute render!
  Tie round your wet faces your soft hoods of blue;
        And carry your sweetness,
        Your dainty completeness,
  To some tired hand that is longing for you.
                                                       —May Riley Smith.



                       THE GREAT NORTHERN SHRIKE.
                          (_Lanius borealis._)


Of the great family Laniidae, the shrikes, of the order Passeres, we
have in America only two species, the Great Northern Shrike, Lanius
borealis, and the loggerhead shrike, which has been dealt with in a
previous article. The name of the Great Northern Shrike is much more
than a mouthful, and is all out of proportion to the size and importance
of the bird, though when I intimate it lacks in importance I by no means
wish to say that it lacks in interest.

There are two hundred species of shrikes altogether, nearly all of them
being confined to the Old World. When one comes to know fully the
characteristics of the creatures he feels that the birds would not have
been out of place if they had been classed in the order Raptores,
because they possess the distinguishing traits of the bird of prey. The
shrikes, however, do not have talons, and they are singers of no mean
order, facts which perhaps disqualify them for association with their
larger rapacious brethren.

The Great Northern Shrike, more commonly perhaps called Butcher Bird,
comes from northern British-American territory to the latitude of
Chicago in the fall and stays through the winter, when it leaves for the
vicinity of Fort Anderson in the crown territories, to build its nest.
This is placed in a low tree or bush and is composed of twigs and
grasses. The eggs number four or five. During the winter the shrike’s
food consists almost entirely of small birds, with an occasional mouse
to add variety. In the summer its diet is made up chiefly of the larger
insects, though at times a small snake is caught and eaten with apparent
relish.

The Great Northern Shrike has the habit of impaling the bodies of its
victims upon thorns or of hanging them by the neck in the crotch of two
small limbs. The bird has a peculiar flight, hard to describe, but
which, when seen a few times, impresses itself so upon the memory vision
that it can never afterward be mistaken, even though seen at a long
distance. The Great Northern’s favorite perch is the very tiptop of a
tree, from which it can survey the surrounding country and mark out its
victims with its keen eye. In taking its perch the shrike flies until
one gets the impression that it is to light in the very heart of the
tree. Then it suddenly changes direction and shoots upward almost
perpendicularly to its favorite watch tower.

The Great Northern Shrike is larger and darker than its brother, the
loggerhead. It is also a much better singer, its notes being varied and
almost entirely musical, though occasionally it perpetrates a sort of a
harsh half croak that ruins the performance. In general appearance at
some little distance the shrike is not unlike a mocking bird. The
description here given for the adult answers for both male and female:
Upper parts gray; wings and tail black; primaries white at the base,
secondaries tipped with white or grayish; outer, sometimes all the tail
feathers, tipped with white, the outer feathers mostly white; forehead
whitish; lores grayish black; ear coverts black; under parts white,
generally finely barred with black; bill hooked and hawk-like. Immature
bird similar, but entire plumage more or less heavily barred or washed
with grayish brown.

One has to have something of the savage in him to enjoy thoroughly the
study of the shrike. As a matter of fact, the close daily observance of
the bird involves some little sacrifice for the person whose nature is
tempered with mercy. The shrike is essentially cruel. It is a butcher
pure and simple and a butcher that knows no merciful methods in plying
its trade. More than this, the shrike is the most arrant hypocrite in
the whole bird calendar. Its appearance as it sits apparently sunning
itself, but in reality keeping sharp lookout for prey, is the perfect
counterfeit of innocence. The Great Northern Shrike is no mean vocalist.
Its notes are alluringly gentle, and, to paraphrase a somewhat famous
quotation, “It sings and sings and is a villain still.”

                 [Illustration: GREAT NORTHERN SHRIKE.
                           (Lanius borealis).
                           About ¾ Life size.
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]

There is one compensation beyond the general interest of the thing for
the student who has to endure the sight of the sufferings of the
shrike’s victims in order to get an adequate idea of its conduct of
life. The redeeming thing is found in the fact that in the winter time
the great majority of the shrike’s victims are the pestilential English
sparrows, whom every bird lover would be willing to see sacrificed to
make a shrike’s supper, though he might regret the attending pain pangs.

My own observations of the shrike have been limited to the city of
Chicago and to the fields immediately beyond its walls. For those
unfamiliar with the subject it may be best to say that in the winter
season the shrike is abundant in the parks of the great smoky city by
the lake, and not infrequently it invades the pulsing business heart of
the town. No one ever saw the placidity of the shrike disturbed in the
least. It will perch on the top of a small tree and never move so much
as a feather, barring its tail, which is in well nigh constant motion,
when the clanging electric cars rush by or when the passing wagons shake
its perch to the foundation.

The Great Northern Shrike reaches the city from its habitat beyond the
Canada line about the first of November. For four years in succession I
saw my first Northern Shrike of the season on November first, a day set
down in the Church Calendar for the commemoration of “All Saints.” It is
eminently in keeping with the hypocritical character of Mr. Shrike,
sinner that he is, to put in an appearance on so holy a day. From the
time of his coming until late March and sometimes well into April, the
shrike remains an urban resident and harries the sparrow tribe to its
heart’s content.

As far as my own observation goes the Great Northern Shrike in winter
does not put very much food in cold storage. I have never seen many
victims of the bird’s rapacity impaled upon thorns. Perhaps I should
qualify this statement a bit by saying that I have never seen many
victims hanging up in one place. I have watched carefully something like
a score of the birds, and while every one occasionally hung up one of
its victims, there was nothing approaching the “general storehouse” of
food, so often described. It is my belief that this habit of impaling
its prey upon thorns or of hanging it by the neck in a crotch is one
that is confined largely to the summer season, and especially to the
nesting period.

The Great Northern Shrike has been said by some writers to be a bully as
well as a butcher. I have never seen any evidence of this trait in his
character. He does not seem to care for what some small human souls
consider the delight of cowing weaker vessels. When the shrike gives
chase to its feathered quarry it gives chase for the sole purpose of
obtaining food. While the bird is not a bully in the sense in which I
have written, it displays at times the cruelty of a fiend. It has
apparently something of the cat in its nature. It delights to play with
its prey after it has been seized, and by one swift stroke reduce it to
a state of helplessness.

Every morning during the month of February, 1898, a shrike came to a
tree directly in front of my window on Pearson street, in Chicago. The
locality abounded in sparrows and it was for that reason the shrike was
such a constant visitor. The bird paid no attention to the faces at the
window, and made its excursions for victims in plain view. The shrike is
not the most skilled hunter in the world. About three out of four of his
quests are bootless, but as he makes many of them he never lacks for a
meal. The Pearson street shrike one day rounded the corner of the
building on its way to its favorite perch, and encountering a sparrow
midway struck it down in full flight. The shrike carried its struggling
victim to the usual tree. There it drilled a hole in the sparrow’s skull
and then allowed the suffering, quivering creature to fall toward the
ground. The butcher followed with a swoop much like that of a hawk and,
catching its prey once more, bore it aloft and then dropped it again as
it seemed for the very enjoyment of witnessing suffering. Finally when
the sparrow had fallen for the third time it reached the ground before
the shrike could reseize it. The victim had strength enough to flutter
into a small hole in a snow bank, where it was hidden from sight. The
shrike made no attempt to recapture the sparrow. It seemingly was a pure
case of “out of sight, out of mind.” In a few moments it flew away in
search of another victim. The sparrow was picked up from the snow bank
and put out of its misery, for it was still living. There was a hole in
its skull as round as though it had been punched with a conductor’s
ticket clip.

It has been my experience that the Great Northern Shrike hunts most
successfully when he, so to speak, flies down his prey. If he gets a
small bird well started out into the open and with cover at a long
distance ahead, the shrike generally manages to overtake and overpower
his victim. If the quarry, however, is sought in the underbrush or in
the close twined branches of the treetop, it generally succeeds in
eluding the butcher. One of the most interesting incidents of all my
bird observations was that of the attempted capture by a Great Northern
Shrike of a small brown creeper. The scene of the action was near the
south end of the Lincoln Park lagoon in Chicago. The creeper was nimbly
climbing a tree hole, industriously picking out insects, as is his
custom, when a shrike dropped down after him from its high perch on a
tree which stood close and overshadowed the one from whose bark the
creeper was gleaning its breakfast. The shrike was seen coming. The
creeper, for the fraction of a second, flattened itself and clung
convulsively to the tree trunk. Then, recovering, it darted to the other
side of the hole, while the shrike brought up abruptly and clumsily just
at the spot where the creeper had been. The discomfited bird went back
to its perch. The creeper rounded the tree once more and down went the
shrike. The tactics of a moment before were repeated, the shrike going
back to its perch chagrined and empty clawed. Five times it made the
attempt to capture the creeper, and every time the little bird eluded
its enemy by a quick retreat. It was a veritable game of hide and seek,
amusing and interesting for the spectator, but to the birds a game of
life and death. Life won. I ever have believed thoroughly that the
creeper thought out the problem of escape for itself. The last time the
shrike went back to its perch the creeper did not show round the trunk
again, but instead flew away, keeping the hole of the tree between
itself and its foe. It reached a place of safety unseen. The shrike
watched for the quarry to reappear. In a few moments it grew impatient
and flew down and completely circled the tree. Then, seemingly knowing
that it had been fooled, it left the place in disgust.

Of the boldness of the Great Northern Shrike there can be no question.
It allows man to approach within a few feet and looks him in the eye
with a certain haughty defiance, showing no trace of nervousness, save
the flirting of his tail, which is a characteristic of the bird and in
no way attributable to fear or uneasiness. One morning early in March,
when the migration had just started, I saw two shrikes on the grass in
the very center of the ball ground at the south end of Lincoln Park.
They were engaged in a pitched battle, and went for each other much
after the manner of game cocks. The feathers literally flew. I looked at
them through a powerful field glass and saw a small dark object on the
grass at the very point of their fighting. Then I knew that the battle
was being waged for the possession of an unfortunate bird victim. The
birds kept up the fight for fully two minutes. Then, being anxious to
find out just what the dead bird was which had given rise to the row, I
walked rapidly toward the combatants. They paid no heed to me until I
was within twenty feet of the scene of their encounter. Then they flew
away. I kept my eyes on the much ruffled body of the little victim lying
on the grass and, walking toward it, I stooped over to pick it up. At
that instant, as quick as the passing of light, one of the shrikes
darted under my hand, seized the quarry and made off with it. It was an
exhibition of boldness that did not fail to win admiration. I did not
have the chance to learn what bird it was that had fallen a victim to
the shrikes’ rapacity and had been the cause of that battle royal.

The Great Northern Shrike when it is attempting to capture a mouse, or a
small bird that has taken refuge in a bush, hovers over the quarry
almost precisely after the manner of the sparrow hawk. There are few
more fascinating sights in nature than that of the bird with its body
absolutely motionless, but with its wings moving with the rapidity of
the blades of an electric fan. Sharply outlined against the sky, it
fixes the attention and rouses an interest that leaves little room for
sympathy with the intended victim that one knows is cowering below. A
mouse in the open has little chance for escape from the clutches of the
hovering shrike. Birds, however, which have wisdom enough to stay in the
bush and trust to its shelter rather than to launch out into open
flight, are more than apt to escape with their lives. In February last I
saw two shrike-pursued English sparrows take to the cover of a
vine-covered lilac shrub. They sought a place well near the roots. While
flying they had shown every symptom of fear and were making a better
pace than I had ever seen one of their tribe make before. The shrike
brought itself up sharply in midair directly over the lilac, and there
it hovered on light wing and looked longingly downward through the
interlacing stems at the sparrows. It paid no heed to its human
observer, who was standing within a few feet and who, to his amazement,
saw an utter absence of any appearance of fear on the part of the
sparrows. They apparently knew that; the shrike could not strike them
down because of the intervening branches. They must have known also that
owing to the comparative clumsiness of their pursuer when making its way
on foot through and along twigs and limbs, that they could easily elude
him if he made an attempt at capture after that manner. Finally the
shrike forsook the tip of the lilac bush and began working its way
downward along the outer edge of the shrub. When it had approached to a
point as near as the sparrows thought was comfortable, they shifted
their position in the bush. The shrike saw that the quest was useless
unless he could start them to flight. He tried it, but they were too
cunning for him, and he at last gave up the chase, the progress of which
actually seemed to humiliate him. He flew afar off, where, perhaps, the
prospects of dinner were better.

I once saw a goldfinch in winter plumage escape a Great Northern Shrike
by taking a flight directly at the zenith. The shrike followed the
dainty little tidbit far up, until the larger bird was only a speck and
the little one had disappeared entirely. The shrike apparently could
neither stand the pace nor the altitude, and the watchers, with whom the
goldfinch was the favorite in the race, rejoiced with the winner.

                                                   Edward Brayton Clark.



                                ORIOLE.


                  Hush! ’Tis he!
  My oriole, my glance of summer fire,
  Is come at last, and, ever on the watch,
  Twitches the pack-thread I had lightly wound
  About the bough to help his housekeeping—
  Twitches and scouts by turns, blessing his luck,
  Yet fearing me who laid it in his way,
  Nor, more than wiser we in our affairs,
  Divines the providence that hides and helps.
                             —James Russell Lowell, “Under the Willows.”



                             THE FIRE-BIRD.


This Oriole is one of the most brilliantly colored of our common birds.
The name oriole is from “aureolus,” meaning, little bird in gold. Ruskin
says that on the plumes of birds the gold of the cloud is put, that
cannot be gathered of any covetousness.

There is a story to the effect that when, in 1628, Lord Baltimore was
exploring the Chesapeake, worn out and discouraged, he was so much
cheered by the sight and sound of the oriole that he adopted its colors
as his own, hence the name, “Baltimore Oriole.”

This bird, however, rejoices in several other cognomens, such as English
Robin, Golden Robin, Hang-nest Bird, Fire-Finch, and Golden Oriole. He
is both esthetic and utilitarian, being beautiful, musical, social and
also useful in that he feeds upon insects most injurious to vegetation;
especially the harmful small kinds passed over unnoticed by the birds of
other species.

The Baltimore Oriole is fond of sweets. He has been seen to snip off the
heads of white-headed or stingless bees and draw out the viscera through
the ring-like opening, for the sake of the honey sack. How did he know
it was there? How did he learn that he could get at it in this way? The
poet naturalist, Thompson, well says of him:

  “You whisk wild splendors through the trees,
    And send keen fervors down the wind;
  You singe the jackets of the bees,
    And trail an opal mist behind.

  “When flowery hints foresay the berry,
    On spray of haw and tuft of briar,
  Then wandering incendiary,
    You set the maple swamps afire.”

While the Oriole’s song is not especially melodious to me, it is fresh
and cheerful, with something of a human element in its child-like
whistle. Young birds in the nest cry “cree-te-te-te-te-te.”

This bird is fond of building near the habitations of men, selecting
sites in door-yards, orchards, and lawns. He weaves an artistic
habitation at airy heights, choosing strong, flexible material for the
pendant, bag-like nest. In California, the Arizona hooded oriole weaves
nests of the beautiful Spanish moss; but one occasionally uses the
love-vine or yellow dodder to construct a gaudy, pocket-like nest. The
Fire-bird would not do this, for it always selects for its nest grayish,
bleached material in harmony with the limbs of the trees. An experiment
was tried of placing a bunch of colored yarns near its nesting-place, in
order to see what, if it used them, the choice of colors would be. It
selected all the gray threads, and, when nearly done, a few blue and
purple, but not a single red, or green or yellow strand. The strongest
and best material is used for the part by which the whole is supported.

The Baltimore Oriole is sometimes on intimate terms with his relative,
the Orchard Oriole. Last summer the latter had hung its pretty
cup-shaped nest on a branch of weeping willow near my window. The tedium
of her sitting was relieved several times by a morning call from Sir
Baltimore. He would seat himself on a twig near her nest and utter a
soft, clear note, which no doubt meant a greeting in bird language. When
he went away a few moments later, his two notes sounded strangely like
“A—dieu”—a translation for which Olive Thorn Miller is authority.

But his song and his speech were less heeded than the spectacle of his
brilliant flight—

  “For look! The flash of flaming wings
      The fire plumed oriole.”
                                                     Belle Paxson Drury.

                   [Illustration: BRANDT’S CORMORANT.
                     (Phalacrocorax penicillatus).
                           About ¼ Life-size.
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]



                          BRANDT’S CORMORANT.
                    (_Phalacrocorax penicillatus._)


There are about thirty species of Cormorants which are distributed
throughout the world. Ten of these are known to inhabit North America.
They are ocean birds, yet they are also occasionally seen on the larger
bodies of fresh water. The Pacific coast of North America and the shores
of New Zealand are rich in species and their plumage is more beautiful
than that of those found in other parts of the world.

The name Cormorant is derived from the Latin words Corvus Marinus,
meaning marine crow or raven. This name may have been suggested by the
fact that these birds are fond of sitting on an elevated perch,
especially after a hearty meal. In this habit of seeking high perches,
and because of their dark color, they resemble the raven or crow. The
generic name Phalacrocorax is derived from the Greek words, meaning bald
crow.

One of the species that frequents the coast of Europe is easily tamed
and in early times was trained to fish for its master. There was even an
appointment in the royal household known as the “Master of the
Cormorants.” When used in fishing “a strap is fastened around the bird’s
neck so as, without impeding its breath, to hinder it from swallowing
its captures. Arrived at the waterside, it is cast off. It at once dives
and darts along the bottom as swiftly as an arrow in quest of its prey,
rapidly scanning every hole or pool. A fish is generally seized within a
few seconds of its being sighted and as each is taken the bird rises to
the surface with its capture in its bill. It does not take much longer
to dispose of the prize in the dilatable skin of its throat so far as
the strap will allow and the pursuit is recommenced until the bird’s
gular pouch, capacious as it is, will hold no more. It then returns to
its keeper, who has been anxiously watching and encouraging its
movements, and a little manipulation of its neck effects the delivery of
the booty.”

The Cormorants are voracious eaters. They catch the fish, which is their
usual food, under water by rapid swimming and with the aid of their
hooked bills. On account of this habit of the bird the word Cormorant
has been used synonymously with the word glutton, rapacious or
avaricious when applied to a person who exhibits these traits.

Brandt’s Cormorant, the bird of our illustration, is found on the
Pacific coast from the state of Washington southward to Cape St. Lucas
at the southern extremity of Lower California. In its habits it is
gregarious and collects in great numbers wherever its natural food of
fish is plentiful. These flocks present a very odd appearance and their
long necks appear as numerous black sticks on the watery background.

Mr. Leverett M. Loomis well illustrates the habits of these birds in a
report on the California Water birds. He says of a rookery “which is
situated on a rock, or little islet, in the ocean at the extremity of
Point Carmel, about fifteen yards from the mainland. This rock rises
perpendicularly some forty or more feet above the water. At first sight
it does not seem that it can be scaled, but closer inspection reveals
that a foothold may be had in the seams and protuberances on its
water-worn sides. Only on days when the sea is very calm can the rock be
landed upon and then only from the sheltered channel separating it from
the mainland. We first took a view of the rookery from the mainland. The
Cormorants were very tame, remaining on their nests while we clambered
down the sloping rocks and while we stood watching them on the same
level, only a few yards away. They were equally tame when our boat drew
nearer as we approached from the water. The clefts in the sides of the
rock were occupied by Baird’s Cormorant and the top by Brandt’s. There
were comparatively few of the former, but of the Brandt’s Cormorant
there were upwards of two hundred pairs. Their nests covered the top of
the rock, every available situation being occupied. Standing in one
place I counted one hundred and eighteen.”

He also states that the Cormorants remained on the nests till he fired
his gun and they lingered on the edge of the rock while he walked among
the nests a few yards away. On the rock were many piles of sardines,
evidently placed near the nests for the use of the sitting bird.

The nests are nearly circular when placed on top of the rocks, and are
usually constructed of eel grass. They are generally placed in the most
inaccessible places and at various heights above the surface of the
water. The Cormorants frequent the same locality from year to year and
experience considerable difficulty in constructing their nests because
of the gulls which frequently carry away the material as fast as it can
be gathered. The young, when first hatched, are entirely devoid of
plumage and their skin resembles a “greasy, black kid glove.” It is said
that the gulls feed upon these young birds.

Mr. Frank M. Woodruff relates the following observations, made during a
recent trip to California. He says:

“The Brandt’s Cormorant is the common species wintering in Southern
California. Like the California brown pelican and the surf ducks, only
the juvenile birds are found in the bay close to the city of San Diego.
As one rows about the harbor close to the shipping docks and by the old
deserted fishermen’s huts along the slips, large numbers of Brandt’s
Cormorants and pelicans can be seen perched on and almost covering the
sunny sides of the roof tops. They sit in rows like sentinels with the
head well down upon the shoulders, undisturbed by the noise of traffic
and only by continued rapping on the building with an oar can they be
induced to take to flight. They will usually circle for a short time in
a lazy manner and then return to their old position. The older birds are
rather more wary and usually feed a mile or so from the shore, in flocks
of from three to ten. The loose kelp floating in the bay attracts the
smaller fish. Such places form their feeding grounds. After they become
gorged with fish, they fly to the rocks along the jetties and to the
cross bars of the buoys, which mark the deep water channels. The birds
are perfect gluttons, and as I lifted it into the boat there dropped
from the gular sack of one specimen that I shot, over twenty small fish.
The beautiful iridescence of the dark copper-green plumage of the adult
Cormorant can only be appreciated when the freshly killed bird is seen.”

                                                          Seth Mindwell.



                         MATE, OR PARAGUAY TEA.


It is a trite saying, but a very true one, that one-half the world does
not know how the other half lives. This will apply to food and drink, as
well as to other things, so widely do customs vary in different regions.

While tea, coffee and chocolate, all products of warm climates, have
come into general use as table drinks over the greater portion of the
globe, so as to be universally known, there is a beverage of similar
use, the favorite of millions, which is practically unknown to the world
at large.

Mate (two syllables) is the name of the prepared leaves of a shrub or
tree belonging to the Rhamses family, and has the scientific name of
Cassine gonhonha, but is more generally known as Ilex paraguayensis, as
it was first used by the Indians of Paraguay. It belongs to the natural
order of the holly, to which it bears much resemblance. Its leaves are
six to eight inches long, short stalked, oblong, wedge-shaped, and
finely toothed at the margin. The small white flowers are borne in
clusters at the axils of the leaves. It bears a four-seeded berry, but
the leaves are used for decoction, except for a very fine quality, which
is made from the dried flower buds.

It abounds in the forests of Paraguay and Brazil, where it is a tree of
considerable size. It is cultivated to some extent, but in this state
remains a shrub, and the quality is finer. It may be gathered at any
season of the year, and the leaves must become dry enough to pulverize
before they are fit for use.

Where it is cultivated it is dried in metal pans, after the manner of
Chinese tea, but far greater quantities are gathered in the forests and
dried in the primitive method adopted from the Indians.

A drying floor is prepared by clearing a space of ground and pounding it
hard with a mallet. On this a fire is built, and after the ground is
well heated, it is swept off clean and branches from the neighboring
forests spread upon it. Afterwards they are placed upon a rude arbor
made of hurdles and a slow fire beneath completes the drying process.

When quite brittle the leaves are pounded in a mortar and reduced to
small particles, but not to a powder. The preparation of it consists in
placing a small quantity of it in a vessel, with sugar if desired, and
adding a little cold water. After a little while boiling water is poured
on and it is then ready for use. As the leaf particles do not settle
well, it must be sipped through a tube. The natives for steeping it used
a calabash gourd called mate, whence its common name, mate yerba, or
calabash plant. These gourds are still often used, and are convenient,
as they have a handle. Cocoa-nut shells, with handles of silver or other
metal, are also popular. A reed or a metal tube, with a small perforated
bowl at the bottom is used to sip it through. This is called a bombilla.

It is customary with the Spaniards and Portuguese to offer mate to
visitors.

In the gardens of that sunny region vineclad arbors are furnished with
seats, where the family with their visitors will sit in the cool of the
evening, each one supplied with a bombilla and a cocoa-nut or calabash
bowl of mate. Through a small opening in the top of the vessel the tube
is inserted and the grateful infusion is enjoyed while matters of
interest are discussed.

Great virtues are ascribed to this drink. Its properties appear to be
chiefly due to theine and caffeine.

In Chili and Peru it is in universal use, and is considered more
necessary than meat. On the plains of Argentina the gaucho or cowboy
washes down his dried beef with copious draughts of mate and is content
with his meal. To northerners the taste is not agreeable. It seems weedy
and slightly bitter. For shipment the leaves, when dried, are packed in
oblong cases or bags made of rawhide carefully sewed. These packages
contain 120 pounds each. Since the beginning of the seventeenth century
this drink has been used in Paraguay, and its use now extends all over
South America. It is estimated that the amount used annually exceeds
60,000,000 pounds.

It is being introduced into other countries and the time may come when
the bombilla and the bowl of mate may become a rival of five o’clock tea
in English and American parlors.

                                                 Anna Rosalie Henderson.


  Behind the cloud the starlight lurks,
    Through showers the sunbeams fall;
  For God, who loveth all his works,
    Has left his Hope with all!
                                               —John Greenleaf Whittier.



                         THE AMERICAN BUFFALO.
                         (_Bison americanus._)


The supremacy of man over the lower forms of animal life has no better
illustration than that furnished by the rapid extermination of the
American Buffalo (Bison or Bos americanus.)

Much less than a century ago, in immense herds, this animal swarmed over
the prairies of the United States, unmolested except by the Indians who
sought it for food and for the economic value of its hide. It was free
to seek those localities which would furnish it the best and most
abundant food supply. Even as late as the sixties of the last century
the American Buffalo was represented by thousands upon thousands of
individuals, whose numerous paths leading from the feeding grounds to a
supply of fresh water were known to the frontiersman as “Buffalo
trails.” “In 1889 Mr. William T. Hornaday estimated the number of
survivors to be eight hundred and thirty-five, inclusive of the two
hundred then living in the Yellowstone Park under the protection of the
government.”

The passing from the face of the earth of this, the largest of the
native animals of North America, has taken place within the last thirty
years and this extermination may be laid at the door of the zealous
hunter and trapper who systematically shot and destroyed them in order
to obtain the small profit that their skins would bring. It is said that
one of the railroads crossing the continent from the Mississippi river
to the Pacific coast carried about two hundred thousand skins within a
year after it was opened to traffic. One writer records the reception of
over forty thousand pelts by a single firm in the year 1875. Many
instances of the wanton butchery of this noble and useful animal might
be mentioned, but it is much better illustrated by the absence of the
Buffalo at the present time, from all localities, except where it is
protected by the same hand which has brought about its destruction. In
1858, when a party was traversing the country by wagon train from the
state of Missouri to Mexico, they were continually surrounded by large
herds of Buffaloes. An eye witness said, “In bands, in masses, in hosts,
the shaggy, black creatures thundered along in front of us, sometimes
from north to south, sometimes from south to north; for forty
consecutive hours we had them in sight, thousands upon thousands, tens
of thousands upon tens of thousands, an innumerable mass of untamed
animals, the flesh of which, as we believed, was sufficient to provide
the wigwams of the Indians unto all eternity.”

The American Buffalo belongs to the ox tribe of the family of horned
animals (Bovidæ). Among its immediate relatives are the musk ox of the
Arctic regions of America, the yak of the mountainous regions of Tibet,
the zebu, an East Indian species, the Cape buffalo, a ferocious animal
of the central and southern portions of Africa, the Indian buffalo
living in southern Asia and the European bison.

The European bison, like its American relative, has suffered from the
hunter and the advance of civilization and is practically exterminated.
It now exists only in a few forests on the Caucasus and in the famous
forest and game preserve of the Czars of Russia called Lithuania. Here,
protected by stringent laws through several centuries, the European
bison has been saved from absolute extermination. “In former times this
was different, for the bison ranged all over Europe and a large portion
of Asia.” In the time of Cæsar, according to his own record, they
abounded in Germany and Belgium.

So it is with the American Buffalo. Were it not for government and
private preserves this, one of the largest of living quadrupeds, would
be unknown to future generations except by museum specimens. Correctly
speaking, the American species should be called Bison. So universal,
however, is the use of the term Buffalo that the word Bison would puzzle
many people. Strictly speaking, the name buffalo should be applied only
to designate the Cape and Indian species.

               [Illustration: AMERICAN BISON OR BUFFALO.
                          (Bison americanus).]

The original range of the American Buffalo extended from but little west
of the Atlantic coast westward to the Rocky Mountains and from Mexico on
the south northward to about the sixty-fifth degree of north latitude.
By the trappers the Buffaloes were placed in two classes. Those that
frequented the mountain ranges were called Bison. They were seldom seen
on the plains, the home of the other class. Their limbs were shorter and
stouter and better fitted for a rough country. There existed in former
ages two other species entirely distinct from the animal with which we
are familiar. They were much larger, possibly as large as an elephant,
and were probably associates of the mastodon and the mammoth.

A fully adult male Buffalo will measure about nine or ten feet in length
from the muzzle to the tail. Its height at the fore quarters is from
five to six and one-half feet. The female is much smaller and weighs
from seven to eight hundred pounds less than the male, the weight of
which averages eighteen hundred pounds.

The Buffalo’s massive head, with its short, curved horns which are set
far apart on the broad forehead, is connected with the body by a short
deep and narrow neck. From the neck the body rises, forming a large hump
on the back over the forelegs, which gives the animal an odd and
unwieldy appearance. This hump consists of fat and strong muscles which
control the movements of the massive head. From the hump the body tapers
downward so that the hind quarters are low and narrow. The anterior
portion of the body, the forelegs and the head are covered with long
hair. On the forehead and back the hair is curly and matted. In the
early spring most of the long hair is shed, resulting in a modification
of the color of the Buffalo. The new coat is a uniform grayish brown,
deepening into black-brown in the mane, which covers the top part of the
head, forehead, neck and under surface of the throat.

Captain Doyle in an article published in the American Naturalist says,
“White Buffaloes have frequently been seen and killed. All the Indian
tribes regard them as ‘big medicine,’ but they have different
superstitions regarding them. For instance Catlin, the painter, while
among the Mandans in 1832, saw a white buffalo robe erected on a pole in
their village as a sacrifice to the Great Spirit. It had been purchased
from the Blackfeet, who killed the Buffalo, for eight horses and a
quantity of goods. On the other hand, the Comanches believe it very
dangerous to see a white Buffalo. In 1869 I saw a young Comanche, who
had seen a white Buffalo, return to his camp almost dead with fear. He
was taken into his tent, the medicine man was sent for and they smoked
him and kept up incantations over him day and night for a week. When he
came out he believed that he had had a very narrow escape from death. In
1859 a white Buffalo was killed by a white man on the north fork of the
Red river. He desired to have it dressed to preserve it, but failed to
get any Indian to undertake the task for a long time. At last he
prevailed on a Comanche chief, named ‘Horseback’ to have the operation
performed. ‘Horseback’ selected one of his squaws, had the medicine man
of his band go through various ceremonies over her to preserve her life
and then placed her in a tepee some distance from his camp, where the
hide was taken to her by a soldier and brought away by him when dressed.
No other Indian would look at the hide, much less touch it. Her food was
left for her at some distance from the tepee and when the robe was
dressed, medicine ceremonies were held over her before she was allowed
to join the camp.”

These gregarious animals, during the period of their supremacy, rarely
remained for any great length of time in any given locality. Frequently,
as if moved by a sudden and general impulse, the whole herd, made up of
many smaller companies, each with its leader, would start, all the
individuals moving in the same direction. No barriers seemed too great
to overcome. Moving in a straight line they would swim or ford rivers,
find some means of crossing chasms, but still move on as if led by some
irresistible impulse.

These migrations, in many instances, may have been due to the necessity
of seeking a more plentiful supply of food, especially when the pastures
in the more northern regions became covered with snow. This caused them
to move southward. The northern tribes of Indians did not believe that
the same individuals returned, as the climatic conditions permitted, but
that the Buffaloes were produced in immense numbers under ground and
that in the spring they came forth from a great mountain far to the
south, a herd of new individuals coming north each season. Since the
Buffaloes have disappeared from the plains, some Indians claim that the
holes in the southern mountains, in which the Buffaloes were formed,
have been closed by some evil spirit.

Dr. Brehm tells us that “among the Buffalo’s perceptive senses those of
smell and hearing rank first. In its mental qualities it does not differ
from its other relatives. It is little gifted, good-natured and timid,
incapable of rapid excitement, but when it is irritated it is apt to
forget all considerations which generally influence it and it will then
oppose an enemy with courage.”

It would seem that the Buffalo depends upon the sense of smell rather
than that of sight, for when running from danger it holds the muzzle
near the ground and rushes with incredible swiftness in the opposite
direction. Obstinacy is one of the most marked characteristics of the
Buffalo. When once moved to a certain action nothing seemed to sway a
herd from its decision. Boats on rivers have been known to stop and wait
for the passing of a herd that was swimming across the stream. Railroad
trains have also been brought to a standstill by the herds crossing the
tracks.

The American Buffalo was in reality an inoffensive beast and its
ferocious appearance was due to its great bulk. “They are not
intractable to domestication, readily entering into friendly relations
with individuals who treat them kindly; at least they learn to recognize
their keeper and to love him to a certain degree.”

Years ago the Buffalo was the friend of the American Indian. It
furnished him not only with food but its skin served him as a blanket
and as a covering for his tepees. Its skin also provided the leather
from which he made his clothing and footwear. At this time, as
Moellhausen has said, “The Buffalo could, in a certain sense, be
considered a domestic animal of the Indians, no diminution of the
innumerable herds could be noticed; on the contrary, they throve and
multiplied on the rich pastures.” Ever content if all their wants were
satisfied, the American Indians killed only those that were required for
their present needs. It was not till the white man visited them with his
stock of glittering trinkets, so attractive to the red man, that he
began to kill indiscriminately. He learned that the white man was
pleased with their robes and that the flesh of the Buffalo delighted his
taste; that he was willing to trade his trinkets for robes and flesh. It
was then that the Indian’s whole demeanor toward the Buffalo changed and
he became the weak servant of the trader, bartering the lives of
thousands of noble animals for valueless things which pleased his eye or
caught his fancy.

The value of the Buffalo to the Indian’s welfare can be shown in no
better way than by quoting the words of Captain Butler. “‘What shall we
do?’ said a young Sioux warrior to an American officer on the Upper
Missouri. ‘What shall we do? The Buffalo is our only friend. When he
goes, all is over with the red man. I speak thus to you because, like
me, you are a brave.’ It was little wonder that he called the Buffalo
his only friend. Its skin gave him a house, its robe a blanket and a
bed, its undressed hide a boat, its short, curved horn a powder-flask,
its meat his daily food, its sinew a string for his bow, its leather a
lariat for his horse, a saddle, bridle, rein and bit. Its tail formed an
ornament for his tent, its inner skin a book on which to sketch the
brave deeds of his life, the medicine robe of his history. House, boat,
food, bed and covering, every want from infancy to age and after life
had passed; wrapped in his Buffalo robe the red man waited for the
dawn.”



                       MR. CHAT, THE PUNCHINELLO.
                             A TRUE STORY.


If Mr. Chat were an ordinary performer he would doubtless select a spot
in the center of the village square; he would put up his little stage
and his drop-curtain and would send small boys all through the village
with his flaming posters:

                         ATTENTION, EVERY ONE!
                  This Afternoon—in the Village Square
                            At Two O’clock,
             Mr. Yellow-Breasted Chat will give one of his
                        REMARKABLE PERFORMANCES

Mr. Chat is acknowledged by all to be the best imitator, the most gifted
singer, the finest elocutionist, the cleverest ventriloquist, the
greatest athlete in all bird-dom.

                                MR. CHAT
                Orator, Singer, Gymnast and Punchinello!
                         Don’t fail to see him!

and by two o’clock the village square would be alive with people, and
after the show the dimes would rattle into the hat and no one would go
away disappointed, as Mr. Chat’s poster would be nearer the truth than
most posters of its kind.

All this if Mr. Chat were an ordinary performer, but he is not. His
performance is so far ahead of anything that was ever advertised on a
poster, that there are not dimes enough in all the world to buy it. You
may set a day for him and invite all your friends, or you may take your
friends and go seek him in his own haunts; you may try to coax, hire,
threaten; you may do everything in your power; but Mr. Chat is a happy
creature of inspiration, and makes dates with nobody.

  When he will, he will—
    You may depend on’t;
  And when he won’t, he won’t—
    And there’s an end on’t!

His only tent is the blue sky; his stage-setting a jungle of trees near
a swamp; his stage a thick bough near the top of a tree; his curtain the
leaves of a white birch, or willow, or butternut; his orchestra and
curtain-raiser the wind, and his audience his wife sitting patiently on
the eggs in her nest, and—you, if you belong to Nature’s elect and
happen to be near the swamp at that moment and have the kind of eyes
that really see and the kind of ears that really hear. Mrs. Chat can
command the performance with one little bird sigh. You could not buy it
with the wealth of the world. After the entertainment is over, Mr. Chat
drives his wife from the nest and takes her place on the eggs while she
flies out over the tree-tops for a little outing. Not many bird husbands
are so considerate.

Once upon a time (you see the story is just beginning now) I happened to
find myself in a pasture; not a tame, every-day, green pasture tacked on
one end of a nice smooth farm—not at all! but a pasture on top of a high
hill, with beautiful fields stretching out below it, and all pink and
white with laurel. The cows, who, they say, do not care either for
laurel or scenery, may not have liked this pasture, but I did. So when I
had climbed the bars and seated myself on the top one to view the
country, I saw at the far edge of the pasture, a jungle of trees, and I
liked it still more, and determined to explore it. On the way I flushed
a brown thrasher in a laurel bush, and he flew into the jungle. There
seemed to be but one bird singing in all the neighborhood, and this song
which was a peculiar one, lured me into the thicket. On I went very
cautiously till the sound seemed to be directly overhead. I paused and
listened and peered into the tree tops.

“Caw-caw!” cried the bird harshly.

“Nothing but an old crow,” said I in disgust.

I started to go, when from the same spot overhead came a loud, clear
double note, and again I waited.

“Meow! meow!” remarked my new friend.

“How stupid of me!” said I. “I might have known it was Mr. Catbird.” But
immediately there came a glorious trill—first over my head, then almost
under my feet, then at my right hand, then at my left; though there was
no flutter of wings or other sound in all the jungle. At last the fallen
branch upon which I had been sitting gave way and I went into the swamp
with a splash of mud. “Look out, look out!” came a sarcastic voice from
the tree top.

“It is an escaped Poll-parrot,” said I, to reassure myself, but I took
out my handkerchief and mopped my heated brow. The unknown then
proceeded to bark like a dog, quack like a duck, and squeal like a pig,
with occasionally a measure of song in between. At last in desperation I
seized a young sapling near at hand and shook it with all my might,
thinking to frighten him into showing himself.

“Haw-haw-haw!” rang out clearly from the top of the very sapling itself.

“That is no bird,” I announced to the swamp; “it is an imp of the forest
trying to lure me to destruction in the jungle,” and I turned and fled.

I felt better when I met a cotton-tail rabbit, though he did not stop to
be greeted; and still better when I reached the sunlight and the pink
and white laurel pasture; and when I neared the bars and saw my horse
grazing patiently on the other side, I was quite myself again. On an
upright stake at the side of the bars sat a strange, yellowish bird. I
did not know him, for I had not so many bird friends then as I have now.
Suddenly he rose in the air with a shriek, his legs dangling helplessly.
“Is this a magical pasture,” I said to myself, “where birds are shot
without the report of a gun?” and then with legs still dangling, he made
a beautiful gyration in the air, and calling out: “That’s it—that’s
it—tut—tut—tut!” disappeared in the direction of the thicket. This was
my first attendance upon one of the remarkable performances of Mr.
Yellow-Breasted Chat, and I can without hesitation pronounce it the most
wonderful in all bird-dom.

The next day I invited some skeptical friends to prove the truth of my
story. So at the same time of day we drove up the long hills till we
spied the pink and white of the laurel, and halted at the gray bars. The
pasture which had been deserted the day before, was now spotted with
cows, the laurel had begun to fade, and though we waited one long, weary
hour, not a sight or sound of a bird of any description did we see. The
towhee and the shore lark whom I had seen the day before, seemed to have
dropped out of existence, and those disagreeable people hinted that even
the brown thrasher was a myth. But as I ventured alone into the dark
swamp, hoping still to stir up Mr. Chat, I came face to face with the
beautiful purple-fringed orchis—the large, early variety—blooming alone
in the damp thicket, so straight and stately, and of such a delicate,
refined beauty, I fell on my knees beside it, and felt it to be ample
compensation for any disappointments. So you see it is true that there
is not wealth enough in all the world to force a bird-song at the moment
when you want it, but at the same time and in the same swamp the purple
orchis may be blooming for you.

                                                 Nell Kimberly McElhone.

                         [Illustration: AGATES
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]

  Center Column
    BANDED AGATE (Lake Superior).
    MOSS AGATE.
  Bottom Row
    BANDED AGATE (Brazil).
    CLOUDED AGATE.



                                 AGATE.


Agate is a form of the common mineral quartz. From other forms of that
mineral it differs in being made up of minute layers and in being
variegated in color. The colors may appear in the form of bands or
clouds. The banded agates appear to be made up of parallel layers,
sometimes straight, but more often wavy or curved in outline. These
layers or bands differ in color from one another, exhibiting shades of
white, gray, blue, yellow, red, brown or black. To the naked eye they
appear to vary in width from the finest lines to a width of a quarter of
an inch or more. In reality, all the bands visible to the naked eye are
made up of finer ones, to be seen only with the microscope. Thus in a
single inch of thickness of agate Sir David Brewster, using the
microscope, counted seventeen thousand and fifty layers. Besides
differing in color, the layers differ in transparency and porosity, and
these properties add to the variegated appearance of the agate.

On account of their beauties of color and outline, agates have been
known and prized from the earliest times. They are mentioned by many of
the ancient Greek writers, and the name agate is a corruption of the
name Achates, a river in Sicily, whence the first stones of this kind
used by the Greeks were obtained. This and neighboring localities
continued to be the source of supply until the fifteenth century, when
agates were found to occur in large quantities near Oberstein and Idar
on the banks of the river Nahe, in the duchy of Oldenburg.

The industry of cutting and polishing the agates on a large scale was
soon established there, and these places are to this day the center of
the agate industry. The agates used most extensively at the present time
are not, however, those found about Oberstein, but come from a region
about one hundred miles in length extending from the Province of Rio
Grande do Sul, of Southern Brazil, into Northern Uruguay.

The agates in this region, first discovered in 1827, so surpass in size
and beauty those from any other known locality, that they form at the
present time almost the only source of supply. They are shipped in large
quantities as ballast to Oberstein and Idar, and here the work of
cutting, polishing and coloring them is performed. The discovery that
the attractiveness of agates could be enhanced by artificial coloring
was made about the beginning of the nineteenth century. The natural
colors are rarely of a high order, being often only variations of white
and gray or dull yellows and reds. Through the difference of porosity of
the different layers, however, and the consequent different absorption
of coloring ingredients, methods of artificial coloring can be employed,
which produce lasting and pleasing effects. Most agate used for
ornamental purposes at the present time is therefore artificially
colored.

Agates of considerable beauty, though not of great size, are found in
many places in the United States. Those of Agate Bay, Lake Superior,
have rich colors and make attractive charms and other ornaments. Agates
are found in the beds of many streams in Colorado, Montana and other
regions of the Rocky Mountains. They occur all along the Mississippi
River, especially in Minnesota, also along the Fox River, Illinois, in
the trap rocks along the Connecticut River, and on the coast of
California. While many of these agates are of great beauty, their use
and sale is not likely to be anything more than local, since the
Brazilian agates can be supplied so cheaply from Germany. The moss
agates of Colorado and other localities in the Rocky Mountains are,
however, equal to anything in the world.

The layered structure of agates is due to successive depositions of
silica by water flowing through cavities in rocks. Rising and falling
alternately through the rocks the water leaves a mark of each advance or
retreat in the form of an additional layer deposited upon the interior
walls of the cavity. Agates, therefore, grow from the outside inward.
The process may go on until the cavity is entirely filled or may cease
at any time. If water remains in the cavity for some time crystals, such
as are sometimes seen, will be formed. The nodule of silica or agate
formed by the percolating waters is harder and more resistant than the
surrounding rock. Hence it remains after the surrounding rock has been
worn away. We can thus understand why agates should be found, as they
usually are, on sea or lake beaches, or in the beds of streams.

The different colors seen in the natural agates are produced by traces
of organic matter or of oxides of iron, manganese or titanium contained
in the waters which formed them.

The beautiful moss-like inclusions seen in the moss agates are due to a
partial crystallization of oxide of manganese or iron contained in the
waters. The particles of oxide in these cases arrange themselves in
arborescent forms, just as do the particles of frost crystallizing on a
window pane.

Agates are not used as extensively as they once were for ornamental
purposes. In the years of 1848-50 agate jewelry was very fashionable and
was extensively worn. At the present time, however, the principal use of
agate in jewelry is for breastpins and watch charms. For ornamental
purposes it is used in pen-holders, knife handles, and vases. Its use
for large marbles was once quite common, but glass marbles of the same
size and still called “agates” are now generally substituted. In fine
mechanical work, such as bearings for delicate instruments and in tools
for polishing and grinding, agate is still extensively used.

                                             Oliver Cummings Farrington.



                         MARTYRS OF THE WOODS.


  Would we miss them, you and I,
  Would we care if soon should die
  Every single singing bird
  You and I have ever heard?
  Would we miss them from the grass,
  Through the tangled, deep morass;
  From the bushes and the trees—
  Robin, wren and chickadees—
  Birds of blue and crimson wing;
  Would we miss the notes they sing;
  Would we miss the call and cry;
  Chattering talk as we go by;
  Nests amid the reeds and grass,
  Nests swung high above the pass?
  Do we care that birds must die,
  Slaughtered daily as they fly?
  Men will kill while people choose
  Wings of birds to buy and use;
  Soon the woods must quiet be;
  Scarce a bird for minstrelsy.
                                                        —George Klingle.



                              A PANSY BED.


There is ever so much fun in a pansy bed. If you have never had one, ask
your papa or mamma to let you have one this summer. A few dozen plants
will give you much pleasure.

There are so many little faces to know among them, and so many little
family groups. Some grin at you like monkeys, others scowl, some seem to
wink, some smile shyly, while others are curious and open-eyed. There is
a white family delicately blue-veined—Colonial Dames, I call them. There
are negroes of the darkest hue, Indians, and those that the sun seems to
have bronzed. There are groups of Chinamen with their little “yellow
kids.” Some are tattooed, and some have striped skin. Many wear ruffled
bonnets, and some have beards. The little clusters are so erect and
alert on a morning after a heavy dew that they seem like families off
for an outing or school children waiting for a snap shot. There are
lovely grandmothers wearing purple caps with white frills, and with
faces though crinkled and wrinkled yet full of smiles and wisdom. There
are sweethearts too, their little heads close together, and they
whisper, whisper when the wind goes by.

What do you think? One day from out of my bowl of pansies which I had
placed on the lunch table skipped two frisky “yellow kids.” I discovered
them hand in hand skipping away. Their little figures were reflected in
the polished surface of the table, and they seemed partners out of a
Virginia reel. As I put them back in the bowl among their elders, I felt
that I had wantonly interrupted a runaway.

Watch how the pansies love the rain! As they seem praying for it with
bent heads in dry weather, so they seem a-quiver with thanksgiving after
a shower.

There are many things you can do with your pansies. First, though, you
must love them. You must teach pussy and the dog not to tramp over them.
Every day you must take off all the faded flowers. You must water them
and weed them. You will enjoy gathering a bouquet daily for the house,
and if anybody is ill, papa or mamma or some one else you love, by all
means carry them a bunch of your pansies.

In midsummer, when the fairies have pitched their tents about the
sweet-scented bed, the blossoms will have become so many that if grandpa
or grandma has a birthday, you can gather seventy or eighty (possibly
ninety if you need so many) for a birthday gift. You will not see the
fairies about the bed, for they come at midnight, but the dew-sprinkled
tents are there, and the cluster of toadstools that the brownies like so
well.

Do not forget to give some flowers to the poor children who stand
outside your gate, and who wish for some for their very own. The
children who have no garden love to look at yours.

Perhaps you have an older sister or brother who paints. If so, they may
like some of your pansies to sketch, and to keep in the house in the
winter when your real ones are tucked under the earth and snow.

You will find several live things in your flower bed; the bees, the
butterflies, and once in a while a humming-bird. Sir Bumble, the bee who
looks so heavy and clumsy, touches lightly the pansies, and the pansies
like to have him about, for he is so lively and cheery, so do not drive
him away. The light yellow and the deep yellow butterflies seem like the
pansies themselves, flying off from their stems for a journey about the
country. Who knows what the butterflies and the bees tell the flowers,
or what messages the flowers send by the flying creatures that pay them
visits? When you have pansy beds of your own perhaps you will be able to
write me some stories, and then perhaps you can tell me what the
butterflies, bees and pansies talk about.

                                                    Grace Marion Bryant.



                              THE MULLEN.


Most of the familiar or useful plants have had their origin or
characteristics accounted for by myths or legends, whereby the ignorant
and superstitious have attempted to explain such features as attracted
their attention. Some of these ideas were creditable to the plant, while
others were quite the contrary. The Mullen appears to have led a dual
existence, seeking an alliance with the spiritual world and at the same
time aiding and abetting the witches in their nefarious undertakings.

A very pretty story concerning the Mullen is attributed to the American
Indian, but in some regards it seems to be a variant of the Scandinavian
Tree of Life myth. It appears that the Great Spirit of the red men lived
at the top of a high tree whose branches reached to the heavens; as no
mortal could attain to this high attitude, a spirit of the woods, in the
guise of a beautiful maiden, took pity upon the people and so fashioning
a ladder from the stems of the wild grape vine, she fastened it to a
star. In order that the Great Father might not be disturbed, the fair
sylvan carpeted the steps of the ladder with the velvet leaves of the
Mullen, upon which she noiselessly ascended and descended, bearing the
petitions of the red men or bringing to them advice or admonitions.

Of the one hundred and twenty-five species of Mullen that are native to
the old world, five have become naturalized in the United States. The
Great Mullen (Verbascum thapsus), so familiar in dry, open fields, was
originally christened by Pliny and has since received over forty English
names of a less classical origin and significance. The name Verbascum is
supposed to be derived from Berbascum, meaning a beard. Pliny doubtless
selected this name, either because of the hairs on the stems of the
plants or on account of the silky character of the leaves. The specific
name, thapsus, is said to have been added, as the plants grew in
considerable numbers in the vicinity of Thapsus.

One of the significant but impracticable common names of the Great
Mullen is Hag-taper. The plant gained this unpleasant appellation by
reason of the fact that if any one steps on a young Mullen plant after
sundown, the witches will ride him as a horse until morning, lighting
the way with Mullen stalks used for torches. These torches were also
employed at the meetings of the hags and witches, when the leaves of the
plant were an important element in the concoctions prepared in their
cauldrons. Another name is Hare’s Beard, illustrating a class of plants
that have weird names because of some fancied likeness to animals. The
name Cow’s Lungwort, arose from the resemblance between the leaf and the
dewlap of a cow, from which it was argued that the plant must be a
specific for lung diseases. In England, where the Mullen is known as
Blanket Leaf, the dried leaf is tied around the throat in cases of
colds. It is believed that the leaf sets up a mild irritation which will
be beneficial. The dried stalks of the plants were often used for
torches at funerals which gave rise to the names High or Hedge Torch.
The Great Mullen varies in height from two to seven feet. The stem is
stout, very woolly, with branching hairs. The oblong, pale green,
velvety leaves form a rosette on the ground or alternately clasp the
stem. The flowers, which are about an inch in diameter, are clustered
around a thick, dense spike, and have two long and three short stamens,
so arranged as to materially assist the process of cross fertilization
which is largely carried on by bees. It is interesting to note in
connection with the thick woolly covering of the plant that many
vegetable forms are so protected when exposed to intense heat or cold.
This is true of most alpine and desert forms and the value of such a
protection to the Mullen will be seen when it is remembered that the
plants are always found in open, dry, stony fields exposed to the fierce
heat of the sun, and afforded no protection for the rosettes of year-old
plants which must survive the winter in order to send up the flower
stalk the second spring.

              [Illustration: GREAT MULLEN OR VELVET DOCK.
                         (Verbascum thapsus).]

                      [Illustration: MOTH MULLEN.
                         (Verbascum blattaria).
                        FROM “NATURE’S GARDEN”]

The Moth Mullen (Verbascum blattaria) is a far more attractive and
graceful plant than the form previously described. The specific name was
derived from the idea that the plant would kill the cockroach (Blatta).
It was supposed that moths would not go near the plant, and it was quite
a general custom in New England to pack these plants or flowers with
clothing or furs in order to keep out moths. The stamens are similar to
those of the Great Mullen, except the filaments are tufted with violet
hairs. The flowers are yellow or white on long, loose racemes. The
erect, slender stem is usually about two feet in height, and as a rule
there are no leaves present at the flowering time.

                                                      Charles S. Raddin.



                       THE CALL OF THE PARTRIDGE.


  The fields are wet, the fields are green,
  All things are glad and growing,
  And fresh and cool across the pool
  The gentle wind is blowing.
  Tho’ humid clouds yet fill the sky,
  The rain has ceased its falling,
  And from his rail across the swale,
  I hear the partridge calling,
  The spotted partridge calling.

  Through the silence not a note
  His listening ear is greeting.
  But hear! O hear—how loud and clear
  His call he is repeating,
  What pleading lingers in his tone,
  What tenderness revealing.
  O, soft and sweet across the wheat,
  A timid answer’s stealing,
  The timid answer’s stealing.
                                                       —Belle Hitchcock.



                       JIM CROW AND HIS COUSINS.


While much can be said about the beauty and grace of birds of brilliant
plumage and those of soul-stirring song, there is as much to be written
concerning those noted for their sagacity and cunning. Some have
selected the parrot as the model in this particular and the choice is
not a mistake.

There is, however, a tribe which all may observe more or less, while a
story relating to their habits or pranks will ever find willing
listeners. The Crow is the best known of this genus, and grouped with
him are the chough, the raven, the rook and the jackdaw. All of these
may be tamed, and afterward may be taught to use the language of man.

The plumage of the Crow in the northern parts of the world is black, and
we are so accustomed to that color that to speak of a white or of a
spotted Crow might subject one to ridicule, yet in many parts of the
world such Crows are found. Some are gray and black, and some species
are larger than others. They are characterized by a comparatively short
tail, long wings, and a strong, rather conical beak.

Crows are distinguished from ravens by their smaller size, and by the
feathers of the neck blending with those of the body, while on the
ravens, the neck feathers are pointed and distinct. The Crow family is
widely distributed, but Crows, as properly understood, are mainly
inhabitants of the north temperate zone. They are intelligent, wary
birds (when persecuted), and are practically omnivorous, feeding upon
fish, fowl, eggs, snakes, frogs, crabs, shell-fish, grubs, fruits, seeds
and berries. The common Crow of North America is particularly abundant
in the Eastern United States, and is looked upon as the inveterate foe
of the farmer on account of the amount of injury he inflicts on growing
crops, and especially upon corn. There is, however, a credit side to the
account in the destruction of grubs; but as the Crow is by nature such a
pilferer, he must be regarded as harmful in many ways.

In the fall and winter these glossy birds assemble by thousands in great
roosts, or rookeries; one of these roosts on the Potomac above
Washington has been estimated to harbor 40,000 Crows, while others are
still larger. In the gray of the morning the birds leave in clamorous
crowds for their feeding-grounds, often many miles away, and in the
afternoon may be seen winging their way homeward in long lines, high
above the earth in fair weather, low down in foul. The eastern fish
crow, frequently found in company with the others, is a smaller bird,
and can readily be distinguished by its hoarse caw.

The Carrion Crow of Europe and Asia closely resembles the North American
Crow in form, size and habits, but is perhaps a little more destructive,
attacking and killing lambs, or even weakly sheep. The Hooded Crow,
found in northern and eastern Europe and in many parts of Asia, is gray,
with black head, throat, wings and tail. The Gray-necked Crow of India
is a small but bold and mischievous species, often stealing the very
food from the table. On the other hand, it does much good as a
scavenger, forming an able adjunct to the vultures in this respect.

An interesting story is told of a Crow of this species which had been
tamed and petted until it behaved much as would a spoiled child. “Old
Crusty,” as he was called, would actually take the food away from the
dog while he was eating, not by open encounter, for that would have
deprived him of his fun. But he would tease the poor canine until he
barked from vexation, then snatch up the prey and triumphantly bear it
off to a neighboring tree, where he ate it at his leisure, while the dog
stood looking at him and uselessly venting his rage in loud, threatening
barks.

The annual “muster” of the Crows, like that of blackbirds, is a scene
very amusing, as well as mysterious. It has been my privilege to witness
a few such gatherings, but to me there seemed more noise than meaning.
It is said by naturalists, however, that the most extraordinary meetings
of the Crows occur in northern Scotland. There they collect in great
numbers, as if they had all been summoned for the occasion; a few of the
flock sit with drooping heads, and others seem grave as judges, while
others again are exceedingly active and noisy. One authority says:
“These meetings will sometimes continue for a day or so before the
object, whatever it may be, is completed. Crows continue to arrive from
all quarters during the session. As soon as all have arrived a very
general noise ensues, and shortly after the whole fall upon one or two
individuals and put them to death. When the execution has been performed
they quietly disperse.”

The Chough is a red-legged Crow and is one of the most mischievous birds
of his genus. He carefully examines everything he finds, then carries it
away if he can. And if there be a collection of anything to which he has
access, he is sure to scatter it in all directions. Those which have
been converted into pets have proven very affectionate, but they are
easily offended and will often vent their spite in a most annoying yet
very amusing manner.

The Raven is very much like the Crow in his habits, but is more given to
fighting and to burglary than his shy cousin. He is a great tease, also,
and will often attack children and even grown up people just for fun. By
this it can be seen that the Raven is more susceptible to taming than
the Crow, while no old Crow can steal so many articles or hide them as
completely as the Raven. They are quick to make friends with dog or man,
but, like the Chough, are very troublesome foes when once offended.

The Rook is a European bird, and though the farmer recognizes in him a
destroyer of his young crops, he must admit that without the Rook he
would save little or none of his crop. Worms constitute the favorite
food of this bird, wherefore many a husbandman has learned that it is
best to endure the disadvantages of a rookery merely for the sake of his
harvests. For one queer habit of Rooks is that they will frequent the
same spot all their lives, and it is next to impossible to dislodge them
from their abode.

The Jackdaws are the boldest of the genus, and have a very remarkable
“don’t care” look. They frequent high towers, hollow trees, and even
appropriate to their own use the loftiest parts of the English castles.
They choose their mates for life, and do not live in communities. They
assemble in flocks, however, when cherries begin to ripen and will soon
rob a tree if the owner is not on guard.

An amusing story is told of a tame Jackdaw. While pilfering one day he
found a half-glass of whisky which had been left upon a table, and on
tasting it, he liked it so much that he drank a quantity. In a few
moments symptoms of intoxication began to appear; his wings dropped and
his eyes were half-closed. He staggered towards the edge of the table,
probably intending to fly to the floor, but he had either lost the power
of his wings or he was afraid to trust them. He stood, seemingly
meditating what he should do, all the while reeling like a drunken man
about to lose his balance. Presently his eyes were shut and he fell over
on his back with his legs in the air, exhibiting every sign of death.

An attempt was made to put some water down his throat, but he could not
swallow it. He was then rolled in a piece of flannel, laid in a box and
locked away in a closet. All the family, with whom he was a great pet,
never expected to see him on his legs again. Next morning about six
o’clock the door was opened, with the expectation of finding Jackie
dead, but he had freed himself from the flannel and as soon as the door
was open he flew out and hurried away to a basin-shaped stone, out of
which the fowls drank, and copiously allayed his thirst. He repeated
this several times that day and was none the worse for his exploit, but,
with more forbearance than those who are endowed with reason, he never
again would touch whisky.

                                                     Claudia May Ferrin.



                                 COCOA.
                        (_Theobroma cacao_, L.)


                  The wretch shall feel
  The giddy motion of the whirling mill,
  In fumes of burning chocolate shall glow,
  And tremble at the sea that froths below!
                                     —Pope, “Rape of the Lock,” ii, 135.

The cocoa-yielding plant is a tree varying from fifteen to forty feet in
height. The main stem or trunk is much twisted and knotty, from which
the branches stand out almost horizontally. The bark is thick, rough and
of a cinnamon brown color. The leaves are alternate, large, smooth,
entire, and of a deep green color. Flowers occur singly, more usually in
clusters, from those parts of the branches and trunk formerly
corresponding to the axils of leaves. Calyx deeply five-cleft, pale red.
Petals pink. Fruit solitary or several together, pendulous, large,
pear-shaped; each pericarp enclosing numerous brown seeds about the size
of a hickory nut or almond, from which the chocolate and cocoa are made.

The chocolate tree is a native of Mexico, Central America, Brazil and
other South American countries. It is now extensively cultivated in most
tropical countries of both hemispheres. The West Indian islands have
numerous large plantations. It is also found in botanic gardens and
greenhouses. There are several cultivation varieties.

The cocoa or cacao yielding plant must not be confounded with the
coco-nut palm or the coca-yielding plant which has already been
described.

The natives of Mexico used cocoa before the discovery of America by
Columbus. The Toltecs cultivated the plant centuries before they were
finally conquered by the more powerful and more progressive Aztecs in
1325. Cortez and Fernandez in their letters to Charles V. of Spain
referred to the cultivation of cocoa by the Mexicans who used the seeds
not only as a food but also as a medium of barter and exchange. It was
apparently the only medium accepted in the payment of provincial taxes.
Humboldt states that cocoa was similarly employed in Costa Rica and
other Central American countries.

In remote times cocoa was somewhat differently prepared from what it is
at the present time. The roasted and hulled seeds were coarsely
pulverized in a stone mortar, strongly spiced by means of vanilla and
other spices, boiled in water and when cold stirred to a frothy
semi-liquid in cold water and eaten cold. The word chocolate is said to
be derived from the Aztec _chocolatl_ (_choca_, frothy and _atl_,
water). Through Cortez and others who lauded very highly the value of
cocoa as a nourishing food for those going on long journeys, it soon
became widely known. In 1520 considerable quantities of it, pressed into
cakes, were shipped to Spain. Remarkable as it may seem, it is stated
that the Brazilians learned the use of cocoa from the Spaniards. The
noted Italian traveler Carletti (1597-1606) introduced the use and
preparation of cocoa into his native city, Florence. Not all Europeans
gave favorable reports concerning the use of cocoa. Clusius stated that
it was more suited to hogs than human beings. Acosta stated that the
drink had “a nauseous aspect and caused heart troubles.” Cocoa was
introduced into France about 1615, England about 1667, Germany about
1679. Somewhat later chocolate houses were established in various cities
of Europe. William Homburg, a chemist, of Paris, extracted the fat from
cocoa as early as 1695, and Quelus (1719) recommended its use as a salve
and as an article of diet.

                      [Illustration: COCOA FRUIT.
                            Fruit and seeds.
                   FROM KŒHLER’S MEDICINAL-PFLANZEN.]

The fruit of the wild growing plants is small and the seeds exceedingly
bitter, hence the cultivated cocoa is preferred. The seeds are prepared
in two ways, fermented and unfermented. In the former the seeds are
placed in heaps in holes in the earth, in boxes or barrels, covered with
leaves. In the course of four or five days they begin to “sweat” or
undergo a mild form of fermentation. During this time the seeds must be
stirred about occasionally. At the close of the sweating process most of
the bitterness is gone and they have lost about one-half in weight.
Afterwards the seeds are rapidly dried in the sun or in ovens. The fully
dried seeds have a rich brown color. The following are the more
important market varieties of fermented cocoa:

1. Mexican or Soconusco Cocoa.—Seeds rather small, delicate flavor and
of a golden yellow color. Since Mexico does not produce sufficient cocoa
for home consumption this variety is rarely exported. This and the
following varieties are said to be derived from Theobroma bicolor, Th.
angustifolium and Th. ovalifolium.

2. Esmeralda Cocoa.—Similar to the Mexican; somewhat darker in color.

3. Guatemala Cocoa.—Seeds large, with mild flavor.

4. Caracas Cocoa.—From Venezuela. Color pale brown, with a mild,
agreeable flavor. Usually coated with a film of soil due to their being
buried in the earth during the sweating process. A very highly priced
variety.

5. Guayaquil Cocoa.—From Ecuador. Seeds flattened, somewhat
wedge-shaped, wrinkled, reddish brown. An excellent variety.

6. Berbice Cocoa.—From British Guiana. Seeds small, externally gray,
internally reddish brown.

7. Surinam and Essequibo Cocoa.—Seeds rather large and more firm;
externally a loamy gray, internally deep reddish brown. Taste somewhat
bitter.

The unfermented cocoa, also known as sun cocoa and island cocoa, is
dried rapidly without fermenting. It is of a beautiful reddish brown
color and a bitter astringent taste. The following are the principal
varieties:

1. Brazilian (Para, Bahia) Cocoa.—Seeds smooth, wedge-shaped, flattened.
One edge nearly straight, the other convex.

2. Cayenne Cocoa.—Quite hard, externally grayish brown, internally
purplish red.

3. Antilles Cocoa (Island Cocoa).—Of this there are the following
varieties: a, Trinidad cocoa, with large, flat, almost black brown
seeds; b, Martinique cocoa, with elongated, flattened, reddish brown
seeds; c, St. Domingo cocoa, with small, flattened, dark purplish brown
seeds.

Cocoa requires considerable care in cultivation. A moist atmosphere and
uniform temperature of about 24 to 28 degrees C., with considerable
shade, is best suited. The tall variety of banana and the tree-like
Erythrina Corallodendron are the more common shade plants. The plants
are grown from seeds which begin to germinate in eight days. The trees
begin to bear fruit in about four years. More usually eight to ten years
elapse before any considerable fruit is borne. Two crops are collected
annually. It is stated that there is on an average only one fruit to
every 3,000 flowers.

Chocolate and cocoa are prepared by roasting the seeds, removing the
husks and crushing between hot rollers, which liquefies the solid fat
and forms a paste. To make chocolate sugar is added and flavored with
vanilla and cinnamon. Sometimes a coloring substance is added. The paste
is finally moulded into cakes varying in size and form. Chocolate is
frequently adulterated with lard, starches, rice flour and other
substances. Cheap grades are usually flavored with sassafras nuts,
cloves and other spices. In the manufacture of cocoa the husks are
usually included and mixed with a variable quantity of sugar, starch,
flavoring substances, etc. The roasted, hulled and coarsely broken seeds
are known as cocoa nibs, and this is the purest kind of cocoa. The
powder made from the seeds after the oil has been thoroughly expressed
is known as broma.

The seeds contain about 50 per cent of fat. In the manufacture of broma
and common cocoa most of this is removed and is placed upon the market
as cocoa butter. The more or less broken hulls are sold as cocoa shells,
from which a chocolate-like drink is made by boiling in water and
sweetening with sugar.

There is perhaps no food substance which is more universally liked than
chocolate. Mothers have no small amount of trouble in hiding the
household chocolate from the children. With the omnipresent
penny-in-the-slot machine more pennies are credited to it than to the
chewing gum. The housewife and baker use it very extensively with
chocolate cake. The confectioner uses it very freely, to the great
delight of children.

The principal use to which cocoa is put is in the preparation of a
beverage. For this purpose enormous quantities of chocolate, cocoa,
broma and hulls are consumed annually. The word “Theobroma” is derived
from the Greek, meaning drink for the gods. The drink is prepared by
thoroughly triturating the desired amount of chocolate, cocoa or broma
with a small quantity of water, then stirring this into the necessary
quantity of boiling milk or water and boiling for a few minutes with
constant stirring. The oil present gives the drink great nutritive
value. It is also slightly stimulating, owing to the presence of an
alkaloid theobromine which is closely similar in its properties to
theine and caffeine, the active constituents of tea and coffee. The
drink does not agree with some individuals, because the large amount of
oil present causes indigestion. It is also highly probable that the
indigestion or dyspepsia is due to the minute fragments of roasted
cell-walls of the seeds, which are not only indigestible, but irritate
the secreting mucous cells lining the inner surface of the stomach.

Cocoa butter, which resembles tallow in consistency and appearance, is
used in medical and pharmaceutical practice as a salve, or pomade, for
external application in eruptive diseases, as scarlet fever, etc., etc.
Cocoa also finds extensive use in medical practice, though it has no
marked curative properties. Cocoa from which the oil has been thoroughly
expressed (broma) makes an excellent drink for convalescents. It is used
to disguise the taste of disagreeable medicines, etc.

                                                       Albert Schneider.



                            THE CANOE-BIRCH.


  Like polished marble their tall shafts gleam
    Beside some beautiful inland stream,
  And their heart-shaped leaves in autumn’s prime
    Wear the golden tints of a fairer clime.
  As I touch the bark, white as driven snow,
    I dream of the seasons long ago,
  When the Red Man paddled his light canoe
    Where the canopied birches pierced the blue!
                                              —George Bancroft Griffith.



                          Transcriber’s Notes


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

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

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

--Silently corrected a few palpable typos.





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