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Title: Birds and Nature, Vol. 10 No. 4 [November 1901]
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Birds and Nature, Vol. 10 No. 4 [November 1901]" ***

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                           BIRDS AND NATURE.
                   ILLUSTRATED BY COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY.
  Vol. X.                    NOVEMBER, 1901.                      No. 4



                               CONTENTS.


    AN AUTUMN EVENING.                                               145
    THE PINE GROSBEAK. (_Pinicola enucleator._)                      146
    THE ANNUAL NOVEMBER CONFERENCE.                                  149
    THE FIELD SPARROW. (_Spizella pusilla._)                         155
    DISHRAG VINES.                                                   156
    A SNOW-FLAKE.                                                    156
    NEIGHBORING WITH NATURE.                                         157
        Gaunt shadows stretch along the hill                         157
    THE CAROLINA WREN. (_Thryothorus ludovicianus._)                 158
    THANKSGIVING BY THE NINNESCAH.                                   161
        Wildly round our woodland quarters                           164
    THE BLACK-POLL WARBLER. (_Dendroica striata._)                   167
    TRAGEDY OF THE AIR.                                              168
    OFF FOR THE SOUTHLAND.                                           169
    TURQUOIS.                                                        170
    TO THE MEADOW LARK.                                              174
    THE OUTRAGED BIRD.                                               175
    NICODEMUS.                                                       175
    A WEED PICTURE.                                                  176
        The air is full of hints of grief                            176
    THE STRIPED HYENA. (_Hyaena striata._)                           179
    A BIRD INCIDENT.                                                 181
    GROUSE.                                                          181
    THE GIRAFFE. (_Camelopardalis giraffa._)                         182
    THE FLAG.                                                        186
    IN THE HOLLOW OF HIS HAND. (From an Ornithologist’s Year Book.)  187
    SONG OF THE STORMY PETREL.                                       188
    THE SPIDER MONKEY. (_Ateles hypoxanthus._)                       191
    NOVEMBER.                                                        192



                           AN AUTUMN EVENING.


  In scattered plumes the floating clouds
    Went drifting down the west,
  Like barks that in their haven soon
    Would moor and be at rest.
  The Day sank down, a monarch tired,
    Upon Night’s sable breast.

  The wind was all but hushed to sleep,
    Yet now and then it stirred
  A great tree’s top, and whispering,
    Awoke a slumbering bird,
  Who half aroused, but only chirped
    A song of just a word.

  And in the west the rosy light
    Spread out a thousand arms,
  Each with a torch, whose crimson flame
    Stretched o’er the peaceful farms,
  And o’er the yellow corn, that lay
    Unconscious of all harms.

  Then changed into a waste of blue
    A desert tract of air,
  Where no rich clouds, like Indian flowers
    Bore blossoms bright and fair;
  And over all, a sense of want
    And something lost was there.
                                                      —Walter Thornbury.



                           THE PINE GROSBEAK.
                        (_Pinicola enucleator._)


  Ere the crossbills leave the pine woods,
  Ere the grosbeaks seek the ash seeds.
                                          —Frank Bolles, “The Log-Cock.”

The name grosbeak, or great beak, is a common name for a number of birds
that possess large, thick and strong bills which are adapted to crushing
fruits and seeds. Unfortunately this name has been indiscriminately
applied to the representatives of several bird families.

The true grosbeaks are related to the goldfinch, the finches, the
sparrows, the buntings and the crossbills. In fact they have some of the
marked characteristics of the latter birds, as neither develop the fully
adult plumage for several years.

The Pine Grosbeak must be sought in the northern regions of the northern
hemisphere, where the vast forests of cone bearing trees are found, or
among the coniferous trees of the high altitudes of the western mountain
regions of the United States. In the latter place they are not abundant.
It seems to be at home and contented only in the cold, crisp air of the
far north and seldom seeks a more temperate climate except when the
winters are unusually severe or there is a scarcity of food in its
native haunts. It is a frequent winter visitor to the northern tier of
the United States and is quite abundant, at this season, in some
portions of New England. Except during the nesting season the Pine
Grosbeaks are gregarious and are frequently seen in flocks of fifteen or
more individuals. In the winter climate of the northern United States
these flocks contain many more immature than adult birds, the younger
ones seeming to be less able to withstand the severer cold of more
arctic regions. Thus in this district the more brilliant plumage of the
fully adult male is rarely seen, and becomes a valuable acquisition to
the naturalist, for the younger birds and the females are less showy.
Speaking of the beautiful male bird, some one has said, “Scarcely can
the southern climes send us a more brilliant migrant than this casual
visitor from the north.” There is a slight variation in the plumage
coloration and in the shape of the bills of the Pine Grosbeaks of widely
separated regions. These variations have led ornithologists to group
these birds under geographical races giving each race a varietal name.

Speaking of the Pine Grosbeaks of Siberia Mr. Seebohm says, “Almost all
the forest districts are hilly and in the north, as the trees become
smaller, they are also more thinly scattered over the ground and the
interminable extent of wood is broken by occasional flat, open spaces
and open marshes which become gray with flowers as soon as the snow
melts. The scenery is much more park-like than further south and these
birds are much more plentiful and more easily seen. In the large pine
forests they prefer the banks of the rivers or the outskirts of some
open place and may often escape detection because of their habit of
frequenting the tops of trees. Within the Arctic circle many of the
trees are small and on the hilly ground they are scattered in small
clumps. In places like these the Pine Grosbeaks may often be seen
perched conspicuously on the top of a spruce fir, twenty or thirty feet
from the ground but looking so much like the last spike of the tree as
frequently to escape notice.”

The Pine Grosbeak is a retiring bird and would seem to be somewhat shy
as it does not frequent the roadside or inhabited places except when
forced to do so by the lack of food. This, however, is not the case, for
in the forests where it makes its home it is not difficult to approach
it. It will frequently alight and begin feeding within a few feet of an
observer.

                     [Illustration: PINE GROSBEAK.
                         (Pinicola enucleator.)
                              ⅔ Life-size.
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]

The song of the European form of this species is said to be “exceedingly
agreeable, varied, melodious, sonorous—sometimes strong, sometimes
soft.” It is also a mocker and to a limited extent will imitate the
voices of other birds. Dr. Coues likens its song to that of the purple
finch and says that during the late summer and winter it is “clear,
sweet and flowing.” Its call note is single, sweet and plaintive not
unlike that of the well known bullfinch.

Pine seeds seem to form the principal food of the Pine Grosbeak though
it also feeds extensively on those of the birch, alder and related
trees. At times it will descend to the ground and gather the seeds of
herbaceous plants and may eat a few insects. Dr. Dall writing of the
Pine Grosbeak as he found it in Alaska, says: “I have opened the crops
of a great many and always found them filled with what I for a long time
supposed to be spruce buds, but on closer examination I found that they
were the hearts of the poplar buds, with the scales and other external
coverings carefully rejected. I have never found anything else in their
crops.” In those regions where the mountain ash abounds the berries of
this beautiful tree form a very important part of their diet whenever it
frequents such a district.

The outer wall of the home of this denizen of the forest is constructed
of a framework of slender fir or pine twigs. Inside of this wall and
projecting above it is placed a lining of fine roots and grass woven
with a fine hairlike lichen.

The Pine Grosbeak seems to bear confinement, but when caged it is said
that after the first moulting the crimson color of the plumage is
replaced by a bright yellow. Mr. E. W. Nelson observed these birds in
Alaska and says, “During winter, while traveling along the frozen
surfaces of the water courses of the interior it is common to note a
party of these birds busy among the cottonwood tops, uttering their
cheerful lisping notes as they move from tree to tree. I have frequently
passed a pleasant half hour on the wintry banks of the Yukon, while
making a midday halt and waiting for the natives to melt the snow for
our tea, listening to the chirping and fluttering of these birds as they
came trooping along the edges of the snow-laden woods in small parties.
They rarely paid any attention to us, but kept on their way and were,
ere long, lost to sight in the midst of the bending tree tops and
silence again pervaded the dim vistas of the low woods. Beyond the
faint, soft call note uttered as the birds trooped along through the
forests, I never heard them make any sound.”



                    THE ANNUAL NOVEMBER CONFERENCE.


October had gone. In north central Illinois many trees had lost all
their gaily colored leaves; others were fast becoming bare. With the
exception of a few goldenrod and aster blooms, the splendid autumn
flowers were buried in banks of dead leaves. The sun cast daily smaller
shadows. Only once in a while could the tree sparrow capture a belated
beetle. The quiet of the woods was broken by the busy little Mr.
Squirrel gathering his winter’s nuts.

The pecking of Woodpecker Brothers & Company was busily kept up; but
most of the sweet-voiced birds had gone south.

The merry voices of gay nutting parties were drowned in the rustling of
dry leaves. Even Mrs. Chipmunk was startled if she heard before she saw
her own Mr. Chipmunk coming toward her. The woods seemed almost
lifeless.

Missing the bustling, restless life of their active summer neighbors,
the birds still in the forest were beginning to feel lonesome. Some were
loth to leave their homes and familiar places. Others who were touched
with a desire to join the rovers were unwilling to forsake their old
friends when skies were so dark and days so dreary.

Finally they agreed to call a mass meeting to see if they could agree to
all go or to all stay together.

Then arose the question of how to get word to all the birds. Although he
knew that he was out of tune, cheerful yellow-breasted Mr. Meadowlark
said that he would do his best at whistling through the meadows for the
purpose of letting his neighbors know of the meeting. Mr. Bob White
agreed that instead of always calling his own name, he would go through
the fields and along the edges of the timber where he was best known,
calling his comrades.

Mr. Blue Jay, Mr. Black Crow and Mr. Black-Capped Chickadee, who are
always in voice, were urged to help. Mr. Crow was asked if he could not
call “come” as easily as “caw.” Upon making a trial he found that he
could. Since he has no fear either in the fields or near the towns, he
was sent to scour the country roundabout. Mr. Chickadee, who keeps a
summer cottage in the thick woods, was asked to see that all the timber
birds were called.

As the season was daily growing more cheerless, and as it was feared
that some birds might not promptly obey the summons, the fearless,
fighting Mr. Jay was told to arrest all heedless or laggard birds. As
this command just suited Officer Jay, he started off in high spirits.
Having no patrol wagon at his call, he took along Mr. Chickenhawk to
help him manage those who must be brought by force.

Although they said that they were anxious to have all the birds present,
the Woodpecker Brothers and their partner, Mr. Nuthatch, said that they
could not drop their work to roam over the state, but that they would
help by pecking and pounding as noisily as they could so that the
gathering birds might know in just which timber to alight.

At last the day for the meeting came. The sky was sunny, but the air was
chill. It was about the middle of November and the days were growing
shorter and shorter. You would be surprised to know how many different
birds were present.

The great strong Mr. Bald Eagle was chosen to conduct the meeting. This
he did in good style. He told the object of the meeting in a little
speech: “Neighbors, friends and relations,” he said, “we have come
together to discuss a very important matter. Spring came with all its
beauties, fresh promises of life and new chances. Warmed with renewed
vigor, we began our year’s work with great vim. You all know how hard
every one of us has worked in building a home and rearing a family.
Summer, with its plenty, has passed and our children are grown. Shall we
join those of our old neighbors who have already left for other homes in
the sunny southland? Or, shall we face the winter’s storm and cold here?
Let us hear from every one present. Which shall we do?”

As everyone waited for someone else to speak first, it was as quiet as
Quaker meeting. After waiting a while, as jolly Mr. Robin is so well
known and liked, Chairman Eagle called upon him. Robin replied: “My
summer in Illinois has been a pleasant one. Here are many fond ties.
Wife and I have had a cosy home in which we have raised four of our five
children. They are now happily flying about. We have but one sorrow. A
cruel stone from a sling-shot killed our other baby.” Here Mrs. Robin
cried so that he could not go on until he had pulled out his
handkerchief and wiped his eyes. Her cousins, Mrs. Thrush and Mrs.
Bluebird, tried to quiet Mrs. Robin by fanning her and holding some
smelling salts to her nose. Choking back a lump in his throat, Mr. Robin
went on talking. “We have found strawberries, mulberries, cherries and
other fruits in plenty, and have never lacked for insects that are our
reliance for food. But winter with ice and snow is coming. Jack Frost
has already been here and has driven away most of our bugs and worms.
Our bills are not strong enough to crack nuts. Wild berries which we can
eat are almost gone. Unless the kind children scatter us plenty of
crumbs, if it freezes so hard that we can get no more insects, sorry as
we are to leave, we must go to a warmer country. But we will go no
farther than we must, and will return as soon as we can. We remember
that last year in December there was a spell warm enough for bugs to
creep out and we came back for a five days’ visit. We prefer to remain
if we can get a living.”

This started them all to talking, and they had to be called to order.
Singer Bluebird said that he, like the Robins, cannot do without his
bugs and worms, and must go where he can get them or starve.

Mr. Quail, who likes to be called Bob White, said: “My dear plain little
wife and my children very much prefer bugs. We are all so fond of them
that we relish even potato beetles. Yet, in winter time—unless they are
covered by a deep snow, we can find grains, weed seed and other things
which will keep us from starving. In that case, we can go to the poultry
yard and eat with the chickens. We fear freezing most. After all the
good work which we do for the farmer, he might well afford to provide us
a shelter. But it is to be supposed that he does not think of it.
However, we will risk staying here.”

Two chums, Mr. Crow Blackbird and Mr. Red-Winged Blackbird, who had been
driven from a marshy place by Blue Jay, sat side by side on the same
limb and were having fine sport making faces and winking at each other
while the speeches were being made. Both can help the farmer. Mr. C.
Blackbird can eat mice and the scattered corn kernels. Mr. R. W.
Blackbird can pick smartweed, ragweed and other weed seeds. Yet both
declared that they could not get along without insects and they did not
mean to try. “Down south,” said Mr. R. W., “if insects are scarce, there
are plump rice kernels which taste better than old weed seed.”

Up spoke Mr. Common Crow: “I would not be so particular. I teach my
children to eat corn and mice and we can find both around the corn-crib.
And we can always find a frozen apple in the orchard, or some potatoes
or turnips in the garden, or a forgotten pumpkin in the field. These
taste very good. If we are very hungry, we can pick up dead rabbits and
birds. We will stay so as to be here when the farmer begins his spring
work. We are not afraid of his scarecrows. They never hurt us. We help
the farmer so much that he will surely let us get a living around the
farm. He will never miss what we eat.”

A pair of Turtle Doves on a limb of a neighboring tree softly sang,
“Coo, coo, we will stay, too.”

There were several of the Woodpeckers present. The little
black-and-white one with red patches on the sides of his neck, who is
called Downy Woodpecker, tried to speak for the whole family. “We all
must have our insects. God has given us long, strong bills so that we
can peck holes into the wood in which bugs and grubs are hidden.
Sometimes merely our tapping charms them so that they crawl out for us.
If they do not, we can run out our long tongues and catch those beyond
the reach of our bills.”

His big red-headed brother went on: “Oh, yes! we can find enough to eat.
I can leave the trees for hunting places for the rest of the family.
There is plenty of food good enough for me in fence posts and telegraph
poles. Besides, I can eat cedar berries, nuts and other things. No need
for me to go off on a tramp in search of food. Ha, ha!” chuckled he, “I
have already begun to lay aside for winter. You’ll not catch me starving
here. I know just where to find knot holes, cracks in railroad ties,
loose pieces of bark and loose shingles on houses which hold a good
supply of beech nuts and acorns. If I find an apple on the tree, I can
bore into it for the seeds. Then there are choice bits to be found
around the cow sheds and barns. We have no thought of going away.”

The pair of Turtle Doves nestled closer together and again sang, “Coo,
coo—we will stay, too.” Everybody smiled at their loving peace of mind.

“I have already begun to hollow out a hole in a high tree for my winter
home,” said Downy Woodpecker.

“So have I,” said the pretty Golden Winged Woodpecker, who is nicknamed
High Hole; “and it is in a place that just suits me in the tip top of a
very tall tree.”

Mr. Nut Hatch rose to his feet. “I too hammer into cracks and holes such
things as sunflower seeds, corn and nuts for winter use. Mr. Chickadee
and I have agreed to work together. I hunt only on the trunks and larger
limbs, leaving the smaller branches for friend Chickadee. If he can not
find quite enough he knows how to hunt around houses. Children who see
him only when snow is on the ground call him Snowbird and sometimes
kindly throw him crumbs.”

“I can eat buds of some trees and seeds, too,” added Mr. Chickadee.

Just then a Northern Shrike alighted in their midst. In an instant there
was a flutter of great alarm. The cool headed chairman bade everybody to
sit still and he would see to it that nobody was hurt. Because of his
cruelty, you know, the Shrike is often called Mr. Butcher Bird. He
catches other birds which he hangs on great thorns while he tears and
eats their flesh. Even the English Sparrows are afraid of him.

Chairman Eagle explained the purpose of their meeting and Mr. Shrike
promised to hurt no one. Looking around he said, “I have just come from
my summer home in the north to spend the winter with you. I see gay
little Winter Wren hopping around. As soon as there comes a northern
snowfall heavy enough to cover the weed seeds there Mr. and Mrs. Snow
Bunting will join us.”

“How glad we will be to see them; glad to see them!” chattered happy
Chickadee. “We will have a jolly game of snowball. Chick-a-dee-dee-dee!
Da-da-day!” And he hopped along and around a branch one of the most
lighthearted creatures living.

Mr. English Sparrow wished to say something. “Our flock can always find
a warm place and something—”

Just then a hoarse voice was heard calling, “Who, who, who, who,
ar-r-r-re you?” As the feathered people must ever be on the alert to
protect their lives, in a second all was as quiet as the grave. Thinking
that some better dressed bird only meant to make fun of him and his many
wives Mr. English Sparrow flew into a passion and began to pull off his
coat.

Mr. Eagle told the crowd that there was no need of a scare. “That,” said
he, “is only Mr. Barred Owl in yon tree. He has been roused by our
talking. Put on your coat, foolish Mr. Sparrow.”

Mr. Jay could not let slip the chance to twit his neighbor. “Ha, ha!”
said he; “you had better get enough more wives to teach you how to
behave yourself.”

Everyone looked around laughing. Thinking that night had come and that
his friends from the next timber had come to make a call, Mr. Owl again
broke out: “He-he-he-he, hi-hi-hi-hi, ha-ha-ha-ha!”

Mr. English Sparrow was vexed and ashamed, but being afraid to get into
a fight he flew off.

As it was getting late in the day the chairman said that the meeting
must close. “It is useless to talk longer,” said he. “It is plain that
our pretty Meadow Larks and other insect eating birds must move or
starve. We shall be very sorry to see them leave and hope to meet them
again on their return next spring. They are needed at the south. May God
speed their journey.

“But some of us must remain or shirk our duty. The Turkey Buzzards and
their helpers must be here to clean up the fields and groves and to
clear away dead things washed ashore. If these things are not done the
foul air next spring may make much sickness. Woodpeckers must keep at
their work or plants will suffer next summer. Those who can eat seeds
must be active or the farmers will not be able to keep down the weeds.
Grouse, Jay, Wax Wing and others who can manage berries and nuts must
not leave or in a few years trees and underbrush will be so thick that
there will not be room for them to branch out. Even our hated Mr.
English Sparrow is needed to pick up droppings in the street and waste
around houses. We are all needed—each to do his own bit of work in his
own place and way. Although that may not be just what we prefer, may we
all do our duty just as cheerfully as man’s friend, Mr. Turkey Buzzard,
does his unpleasant tasks.”

                                                  Loveday Almira Nelson.

                     [Illustration: FIELD SPARROW.
                          (Spizella pusilla.)
                              ⅘ Life-size.
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]



                           THE FIELD SPARROW.
                         (_Spizella pusilla._)


  A bubble of music floats
    The slope of the hillside over;
  A little wandering sparrow’s notes;
    And the bloom of yarrow and clover,
  And the smell of sweet-fern and the bayberry leaf,
    On his ripple of song are stealing;
  For he is a chartered thief,
    The wealth of the fields revealing.
                                      —Lucy Larcom, “The Field Sparrow.”

The Field Sparrow is the smallest of our sparrows and is quite easily
distinguished from the other species by its reddish bill. The common
name is misleading, and perhaps it would be more appropriate to call
this bird the Bush Sparrow, a name by which it is frequently known.
Instead of the field it seems to prefer the pasture, with its weeds and
bushes. It will also frequent the shrubby thickets that follow the
removal of a forest. This shy bird has a somewhat extensive range, which
includes the eastern United States and Southern Canada. It passes the
winter months chiefly in those states south of the Ohio river.

The Field Sparrow when frightened does not retreat to the cover of
foliage, as does the Song Sparrow, but flies to an exposed position on
top of bush or low tree, where it can watch and await developments. In
the fall they frequently gather in small flocks. If disturbed all will
fly to the nearest bushes, and in perching will cluster close together.

The Field Sparrow is all the more interesting because of its shyness.
Mr. Keyser speaks of it as “a captivating little bird, graceful of form
and sweet of voice, singing his cheerful trills from early spring until
far past midsummer. The song makes me think of a silver thread running
through a woof of golden sunshine, carried forward by a swinging shuttle
of pearl.” Mr. Chapman says: “There is something winning in his
appearance; he seems such a gentle, innocent, dove-like little bird. His
song is in keeping with his character, being an unusually clear,
plaintive whistle, sweeter to the lover of birds’ songs than the voice
of the most gifted songstress.” It is not possible to describe the song
in words, for it varies greatly. No two birds seem to have the same song
and the same bird may vary its song. Locality also seems to affect its
character. It is the sweetest at the going down of the sun and in the
early twilight. To hear it then, in the absence of all other sounds, is
indeed soul inspiring.

Its delicate nest, too, becomes the lovely character of this little
bird. This small house is usually placed near the ground in a low shrub,
or on the ground where it is well protected by tall grasses. The nests
are not usually found near fence rows, but rather in less public places,
on hillsides and nearer the center of the field. When possible, a thorny
bush is chosen. The nest is constructed of fine grasses and very fine
roots loosely woven together and lined with finer grasses, hair and the
delicate bark fibers.

Writing of the finding of a Field Sparrow’s nest near the top of a hill,
some one has said: “How ‘beautiful for situation’ is this tiny cottage
on the hill! Here the feathered poets may sit on their leafy verandas,
look down into the green valleys and compose verses on the pastoral
attractions of Nature. One is almost tempted to spin a romance about the
happy couple.”



                             DISHRAG VINES.


Margie was cross. It was a rainy day, and she was having to sew; two
things she hated.

“I think it might rain on school days. And I wish dish-cloths had never
been invented,” she exclaimed, jerking her thread into a tangle.

“You ought to move down south,” quietly said her aunt.

“Why? Don’t they have rain and dish-cloths there?”

“Yes, of course they do; and I will tell you a true story, if you will
promise not to complain the least bit for the rest of the day.”

Margie promised; and, after threading a needle, her aunt began:

“When I was in Georgia, last October, I saw a queer vine growing over
the porch of an old negro’s cabin. It looked like a pumpkin vine, with
its great coarse leaves, and it had green, gourd-like seed pods, or
fruit, hanging all over it. I asked the old colored man, who was hoeing
near by, about it, and he said, in surprise: ‘Lawsy me! Didn’ you neber
heerd tell ob a dishrag vine afore?’

“‘Dishrag!’ I echoed.

“‘Yes, they grows dishrags on ’em,’ he answered. Then, pulling off one
of the funny gourds, he cut it in two and showed me the matted fibers
inside. It seems when these halves are dried in the sun, that they
become something like a tough sponge.

“He seemed very proud of the fact that his wife had used one for a whole
year, and asked, in a tone half of pity and half of disgust, ‘Does you
all hab ter use er rag?’ He was pitying me just as I was sorry for him!
It was too funny to see him hobble off, shaking his head and laughing at
a white woman who ‘neber knowed nothin’ ’bout dishrag vines!’”

“Will you bring me one next winter, aunt?” Margie asked.

“Do you want to wash my dishes with it?”

“N-no. I’d rather hem cloths, I b’lieve: but I’d like to try it on my
doll dishes.”

                                                             Lee McCrae.



                             A SNOW-FLAKE.


  Once he sang of summer,
  Nothing but the summer;
  Now he sings of winter,
  Of winter bleak and drear:
  Just because there’s fallen
  A snow-flake on his forehead,
  He must go and fancy
  ’Tis winter all the year!
                                                 —Thomas Bailey Aldrich.



                        NEIGHBORING WITH NATURE.


We were at breakfast one morning, when a loitering breeze from the woods
filled the room with delicious aroma. The graceful spring flowers and
the wild fruit trees were just beginning a life of promise.

“There’s sweet smelling fern in that,” exclaimed Charley, sniffing
critically.

“I think it’s from the crab-apple trees by the chalybeate spring,” said
grandma.

“No, it’s the chicksaw plums by the creek,” cried Margaret.

“It ’mells ’ike ’bacco moss to me,” murmured Pearl, touching the tip of
her nose with her dainty forefinger.

“I know what it is,” asserted Grace; “it’s the wild cherry tree; it’s
full of blossoms.”

“There’s Ginseng in it somewhere,” laughingly commented papa.

“Ginseng?” cried the children. “What’s that?”

“The name of a plant in the wood. The word is supposed to be of Chinese
origin. The Iroquois called the root garentoqucu, literally, legs and
thighs separated. The plant belongs to the genus Pauax, and it is a
great medicine with the Chinese. We export it in large quantities, but
northern Asia grows it as well as we.”

“And there is some in our wood?”

“Yes, I saw some yesterday near the tobacco-plant bed.”

“Can we go for some as soon as we have finished breakfast?”

“Yes, and I will go with you. A walk through the wood will be good for
us; I feel like I had slept a hundred years and been one of Tennyson’s
characters in The Day Dream.”

“And I,” said the artist, “will take my pencil and sketching block.”

Six plants were found, all having good long roots.

“What you have now would cost you a quarter of a dollar if you were
buying it,” said papa.

“One could live very well then, by gathering Ginseng to sell,” commented
practical Charley.

“Why, yes, you remember old Uncle Baskett, the colored doctor?”

“Yes,” said Margaret. “He cured toothache by hanging a rabbit’s foot
about your neck.”

“And fits with a four-leafed clover,” cried Gracie.

“He made his living,” went on papa, “after he was freed, by collecting
the roots of Ginseng, Calamus and other medicinal plants, and it was
then, too, he gained his almost marvelous knowledge of herbs, becoming
famous, even among the white people, for his success in curing certain
diseases.”

“I think this leaf and root are accurate,” said the artist presenting
the sketch.

“To a ‘T,’” cried the children. “You must go with us every walk we
take.”

                                               Sallie Margaret O’Malley.


  Gaunt shadows stretch along the hill;
    Cold clouds drift slowly west;
  Soft flocks of vagrant snow flakes fill
    The redwing’s empty nest.
                                    —Thomas Bailey Aldrich, “Landscape.”



                           THE CAROLINA WREN.
                     (_Thryothorus ludovicianus._)


This little brown bird is sufficiently hardy to remain throughout the
year a resident of the localities which it frequents. This is true
except in the northern part of its range, which covers the eastern
United States as far north as the states of Wisconsin and Connecticut.

The Carolina Wren does not enjoy the society of men and unlike its
relative, the house wren, does not seek “the cozy nooks and corners
about the house of man,” but rather the distant shrubbery and the
forest. Here it hides and is more often heard than seen. In spite of
this show of timidity it is not so shy and retiring as it would seem. It
loves the privacy and seclusion of the forest yet it will frequently
visit the garden and explore outhouses. “If we attempt to penetrate its
hidden resorts” it hurries away into deeper recesses with a low
fluttering near the ground, or scrambling and hopping from one bush to
another, very likely mocking us with its rollicking song as soon as it
feels perfectly secure.

It is restless and curious like the other wrens. Perhaps it is even more
inquisitive than its sister species, for it is certainly more active.
Frightened from a favorite perch the Carolina Wren will return and, from
a safe cover of foliage, slyly examine the cause that disturbed it,
“peering from among the leaves with an inquisitive air, all the while
teetering its body and performing odd nervous antics as if it were
possessed with the very spirit of unrest.” When disturbed it seems to
challenge the intruder with a chattering note that has a harsh and
decidedly querulous tone.

It seems almost incredible that such a delicate and sprightly being
should exhibit so much temper and resentment. Intrusion of its chosen
territory by its own kind is resented even more vehemently.

The Carolina Wren possesses a wonderful vocabulary with appropriate
notes for all occasions. It is highly musical. Its song is rich and
sweet, voluble and melodious, loud and clear and seemingly as happily
delivered in one season as in another. Mr. Chapman says: “He is
sometimes called Mocking Wren, but the hundreds of birds I have heard
were all too original to borrow from others. In addition to his peculiar
calls he possesses a variety of loud, ringing whistles somewhat similar
in tone to those of the tufted titmouse or cardinal and fully as loud,
if not louder, than the notes of the latter.”

It is difficult to state its preference in regard to its choice of
nesting sites, for it will select any place that suits its fancy. The
hollow of a tree or a stump, a thickly branching shrub or a secluded
nook in some unfrequented outhouse, perhaps with a knothole for a
doorway—all these places are equally suitable and some one of them will
meet the taste of this positive little bird.

The materials used in the construction of the bulky nests are any
fibrous substance, sticks, leaves, fine grasses and “in fact trash of
any kind.” The lining of the ball-like nest, which has a side entrance,
is made of finer fibers, hair and grasses. In this cozy home are laid
from four to six creamy white eggs which are “variously marked with
reddish brown and lilac, in a wreath or cluster at the larger end.”

                     [Illustration: CAROLINA WREN.
                      (Thryothorus ludovicianus.)
                            About Life-size.
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]



                     THANKSGIVING BY THE NINNESCAH.


It was Thanksgiving Day in Kansas. The sun still shone warm over the
yellow cornfields and the brown prairies, tho’ there was a hint of frost
in the air, and the nearly bare trees stood as ominous tokens of the
coming winter. The autumn wind blew a perfect gale from the southwest.
Down in the valley by the river the sand was flying in stinging clouds,
jerking the few remaining yellow leaves from the cottonwoods, ruffling
the waters of the Ninnescah, beating the purple veil from the hedges
where the autumn sun had tangled it, bending the long reeds, and
drifting in little mounds beneath the wild-plum bushes.

On the uplands where the curly buffalo-grass spread its thick brown
carpet, the whitened heads of the golden-rods bent before the wind, the
sage-grass waved its long yellow stalks, and the sunflowers rattled
their bare stems and brown heads together.

Behind the shelter of one of the sandhills beside the Ninnescah river a
strange assembly of birds and beasts and creeping things had gathered.

A couple of rough-coated, sharp-eared gray coyotes were rolling and
tumbling over one another in a good-natured scuffle.

A bunch of quails were picking up the seeds which the wind shook from
the sunflower pods above them, while a few brown prairie chickens lay
sunning themselves upon the sand.

A long-eared jackrabbit sat erect upon his haunches in solemn dignity,
acting as umpire to the coyotes’ prize-fight; while his cousin, the
little cotton-tail rabbit, nibbled at some tender twigs that grew near
by.

A rattlesnake was curled up in the sunniest place to be found, and his
companions, the cunning brown prairie dog and the little grey owl, sat
near by.

Sand lizards flashed here and there beneath the plum bushes, and the
guest of honor—a huge mountain lion—lay dozing within the shelter of the
thicket.

Blue jays, blackbirds, brown thrushes, scarlet-coated redbirds, sparrows
and yellowhammers flitted from bush to tree; meadow larks trilled their
cheerful song; while up on the topmost twig of a tall cottonwood tree a
mockingbird swung in the wind and poured his whole soul through his
little throat in a wonderful stream of melody.

All the delegates of the animal world being at last assembled, the
jackrabbit—in consideration of his dignity—was made master of
ceremonies, and called the assembly to order in the following words:

“My honorable friends, the birds and beasts and reptiles of Kansas: We
have assembled here today to hold a sort of Thanksgiving service.

“Once every year men gather themselves together to count over the good
things that have come to them, and to congratulate one another over the
evils they have missed.

“It may occur to some of you that we birds and beasts have little for
which to be thankful in these days when dogs and men are so numerous,
and when life is attended with so many privations and dangers. But, upon
careful thought, I think each one present will be able to add an item to
our list of blessings of the past year that will encourage us through
the winter days so near at hand.

“Our friend and guest, the mountain lion, will please to address us.”

The mountain lion opened his fierce eyes, stretched his huge paws, rose
slowly to his feet, and shook the sand from his rough coat.

In spite of the truce of the occasion, the smaller animals eyed him with
evident terror, and the prairie chickens fluttered their wings as if
ready to fly away from so dangerous a neighbor.

“What have I to be thankful for?” the lion asked in harsh tones. “I am
thankful that I have come through the year with a whole hide in spite of
dogs and guns and men. I am thankful that dogs are afraid of me, and
that men dare not attack me single-handed. I am thankful that after all
my wanderings from the solitudes of the Indian Territory mountains, I
have found this comparatively safe retreat among these sandhills and
plum thickets. Calves, and pigs, and chickens—and rabbits—have been
abundant; so I have no cause to complain of poor living. Kansas would be
paradise if it contained neither dogs nor men.” He ground out the last
sentence with a growl which would have caused both dogs and men to
tremble if they had heard it, then lay down and resumed his nap beneath
the bushes.

A respectful silence had fallen over the assembly; for “Who shall follow
the king?”

As soon as the jackrabbit had gotten over that terrible reference to
rabbits enough to steady his voice, he called upon the coyotes for
remarks. Both sprang briskly to their feet, and as neither one would
give way to the other, they addressed the assembly in alternate barks:

“I am thankful that I am so swift a runner that no dog can catch me.”

“And I am thankful because I can scare almost any dog that tries to
catch me. How they do run and howl when I turn on them!”

“Chickens and ducks and geese are plentiful; and though the chickens
learn to fear us and roost high, ducks and geese are always on the
ground and can neither fly nor run.”

“This has been a fine season for young pigs, and I also caught several
lambs that made tender eating.”

“There are such delightful thickets along the rivers and streams, that
coyotes have plenty of safe hiding places. I have made good burrows
beside the Ninnescah and Arkansas rivers, the Cowskin and Honey creeks,
and I go back and forth at pleasure. Yes, Kansas is a pretty good
country for coyotes—barring the dogs and men.”

“Yes, barring the dogs and men.”

Both coyotes sat down and the little cotton-tail spoke:

“Life is hard and dangerous for a rabbit at best. There are so many
enemies to fear, and even our swift flight often fails to save us. I
have fared well this year. I found a place where the farmer keeps no
dogs and owns no gun. To be sure, he had woven-wire fences around his
garden and his young orchard, but I found a cunning little hole in the
fence behind one of the grapevines that was just made for a door for a
poor little rabbit, and I tell you I have lived high. Such peas and
lettuce and cabbage as that man did have! Enough for twenty rabbits like
me. Then for a change I nibbled the tender shoots on the grapevines, and
now am expecting to get my living this winter by gnawing the bark from
several hundred young fruit trees which he has set out. I have already
found a hole under the fence. So I have cause to be thankful to-day.”

The little prairie dog sat up stiffly and tried to look dignified as he
addressed the assembly.

“Life has been full of ups and downs for me and for my friends, the
rattlesnakes and owls. We had made a fine burrow in a broad pasture, and
all last year we lived there in peace. This year the man who owned it
concluded to plow it up for a cornfield; and the first thing he did, he
turned the water from a slough right into our beautiful prairie dog town
and flooded all our carefully dug homes. Many of my brothers and cousins
were drowned or rushed out of their holes only to be slain by the
dreadful dogs and men.

“I was more fortunate, because I had run one of my tunnels in an uphill
direction for fear that water might some time trouble us. When the flood
came I retreated to this high point and saved myself, altho the water
almost reached me, and I was obliged to stay there for several days
before I could make my way out.

“Now I have a pleasant home here among the sandhills, and I have been
careful to dig a good upper story with an opening through which I can
escape in time of need. The rattlesnake and the owl share my humble
home, and we live in peace together.”

The owl nodded his wise head, and the snake shook his rattles in
approval of this address which included themselves, and made it
unnecessary for them to add their voices to the speechmaking.

A little green lizard roused himself from his warm place in the sun and
added his squeaky voice to the general conference:

“I know nothing about dogs and men. My brothers and I live here upon the
sandhills where insects are plenty and enemies are few. We spend hours
in basking in the delightfully hot sun, and if any noise alarms us dart
to our hiding places beneath the roots of the bushes or under some
rotten log or tree. We are of several colors, gray, green, yellow or
brown, and when we lie still upon the sand or on logs or under leaves it
is hard for any beast or bird or man to see us. We may have few
blessings, as the world goes, but we at least have nothing of which to
complain.”

The prairie chickens were next called upon for an account of themselves,
and answered:

“We are the sole representatives of the great coveys of birds of our
kind that used to make their homes upon these prairies. Their drumming
could be heard within the thickets, and the swift whirring of their
brown wings as they beat the air in their diagonal flight. Life was a
pleasure to prairie chickens in those good old days before we were born.

“Now it is different. Men learned to consider our flesh a delicacy and
hunted us down. They even grudged us the grain that we gathered from
their broad wheat and corn fields and treated us as common robbers. Now
only a few of us are left, and we dare not call our lives our own. We
have learned to be very shy and to hide in the most solitary places.
Still, life is not all trouble. The winters in Kansas are short and
usually mild, there are plenty of good warm thickets and hedges, and
there is always plenty for birds to eat, unless the snow is uncommonly
heavy. So we manage to be happy and take each day as it comes.”

The quails trooped forward as the prairie-chickens ceased speaking.

“We are the farmer’s friends,” said they, “and therefore the farmer is
friendly to us. We eat the bugs and worms that would destroy his crop.
We take a little of his grain now and then, but we more than repay the
damage by our warfare upon the bugs.

“We have been so fortunate as to find a farmer who appreciates us, and
will allow no one to shoot us. So our year has been peaceful, and we
have been bountifully fed.”

An ungainly toad hopped forward as the quails ceased speaking:

“I do not look much like a quail, and can neither fly nor run nor sing;
but I also am the farmer’s friend, and am always ready to seize my
opportunities when they come in the shape of flies and bugs. I may not
be beautiful, to some unappreciative eyes, but I am at least useful.”

The birds having selected the chattering jay to speak for them, he
raised his voice as follows:

“My friends desire me to say that our lives are lived above most of the
things that annoy the rest of you. Floods and dogs and fences do not
trouble us: still, we have dangers enough of our own. There are snakes
that climb to our nests and destroy our young. There are prowling cats,
and pouncing hawks, and boys with bean-shooters, and men with guns, all
of whom are lying in wait for our lives. We are so common and so
numerous that men fail to appreciate what we do for them. We make their
groves bright by our brilliant plumage, and gay with our cheerful songs.
We eat millions of caterpillars and bugs and worms. To be sure, we eat
some of the grain and peck the ripest fruit, but then that should be
looked upon as our just reward for our labors in men’s behalf. Some of
us will soon be taking our flight to southern climes, but many of us
will remain here in the friendly shelter of the thickets until spring
comes again.”

What more the blue jay might have said was cut short by a great
crackling of the bushes, which startled all the birds and smaller
animals, and caused even the mountain lion to raise his head and sniff
suspiciously.

Their alarm was quieted by the appearance of an old white horse who
looked around upon the assembly and asked:

“What is all this? How does it come that coyotes and rabbits, birds and
lizards and insects and lions”—very respectfully—“are associating in
peace together?”

The object of the meeting was explained to him, and he was asked to add
his word to the Thanksgiving service.

“What have I to be thankful for? Look at my bones almost sticking
through my skin, my knees strained and my eyes almost blinded by pulling
too heavy loads, my wind broken by hard driving, my skin scarred by
cruel blows. Life has been all hard work, with scanty food and little
rest. What have I to be thankful for? I do not know, unless it is that
my cruel master died last night, and can never beat and curse and starve
me any more. This is scanty pasture here among the sandhills, but it is
better than a full manger, and curses and abuse therewith. Often the
best thing that can happen to a horse is to have his master die. And so
I am duly thankful.”

As all had now been represented, the jackrabbit said:

“My friends, the reports have now all been made. We have heard many
pleasant things, and many things which make us sad. I think, however,
that each one has found some cause for thanksgiving, even though his
life is hard and filled with danger. All of us have learned that there
are troubles and difficulties in the lives of others, many of which do
not afflict us, and for this we should be duly thankful. From lions to
lizards is a long step in the animal world, but there is a chain of
common experience all the way through, binding us together.

“Let us remember through all the year to come, that there is no life
without trial and privation, without hope and blessing, without cause
for thanksgiving. Let us sympathize more with one another, think less of
our own trials, and look oftener at the bright spots that come into our
lives.

“The Thanksgiving Assembly for the year Nineteen Hundred and One is now
adjourned.”

                                                     Mary McCrae Culter.


  Wildly round our woodland quarters,
    Sad-voiced Autumn grieves;
  Thickly down these swelling waters
    Float his fallen leaves.
  Through the tall and naked timber,
    Column-like and old,
  Gleam the sunsets of November,
    From their skies of gold.

  O’er us, to the southland heading,
    Screams the gray wild-goose;
  On the night-frost sounds the treading
    Of the brindled moose.
  Noiseless creeping, while we’re sleeping,
    Frost his task-work plies;
  Soon, his icy bridges heaping,
    Shall our log-piles rise.
                              —John Greenleaf Whittier, “The Lumberman.”

                   [Illustration: BLACK-POLL WARBLER.
                          (Dendroica striata.)
                               Life-size.
                     FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.
                         CHICAGO COLORTYPE CO.]



                        THE BLACK-POLL WARBLER.
                         (_Dendroica striata._)


  Warbler, why speed thy southern flight? Ah, why,
    Thou, too, whose song first told us of the spring,
                Whither away?
                                               —Edmund Clarence Stedman.

Few birds have a wider and more extended range than the Black-poll
Warbler. Wintering in the southern United States, Central America and
the northern part of South America, they move northward in the spring,
reaching Greenland and Alaska in June. Their range extends to the
westward as far as the Rocky Mountains. Their breeding range is nearly
confined to the regions north of the United States.

This little bird which travels so extensively is a little later than
many of the warblers in arriving at its summer home, but it seems to
waste little time on the journey, as it flies rapidly and stops but
little to search for food. These words of the poet,

  “And warblers, full of life and song—
    All moving swiftly on their way,”

truthfully illustrate the flight of the Black-poll in its spring
migration.

This species exhibits habits similar to those of the flycatchers and
“may be considered as occupying an intermediate station between the
flycatchers and warblers, having the manner of the former and the bill
partially of the latter.” There is no better illustration of the saying
that “The nice gradations by which nature passes from one species to
another, even in this department of the great chain of beings, will
forever baffle all the artificial rules and systems of man.”

The Black-polls are at home not only in the woods but also in the tops
of the tallest trees. They prefer those forests that border on water
courses or swamps where, flying from branch to branch they quickly catch
the winged insects with a snap of their bills not unlike that of the
flycatchers. Like the flycatchers, too, the color of their plumage is
beautifully adapted to obscuring them in their dark green foliage
retreats.

Standing on the very tip of some evergreen tree, “the chaste little
figure striped in half mourning and capped in jet-black,” will burst out
in a happy song and then quickly fly into the dark recesses of the
forest.

The female shows a strong attachment for her nest and exhibits great
anxiety on the approach of any being, “beating her wings along the
branches in the utmost distress, or one may still hear her sharp
chipping note of alarm as she disappears in the almost impenetrable
growth of small black spruce.”

The nest is interesting. It is usually placed on a large branch at its
junction with the trunk of the tree. A cone-bearing tree is selected and
the spruce is preferred, as in it the nest is more perfectly obscured.
The Black-poll’s house is not the delicate structure that one would
expect to find as the home of so dainty a bird. This bulky structure is
usually placed not higher than six or eight feet from the ground. It is
constructed from the fine twigs and sprays of the evergreen trees and
fine roots woven with weeds, moss, lichens and vegetable and animal
hairs. The lining consists of fine grass and feathers. Though the
external diameter of the nest is fully five inches, the internal
diameter seldom measures over two inches.

Mr. Langille has beautifully described the song of the Black-poll. He
says, “That song, though one of the most slender and wiry in all our
forests, is as distinguishable as the hum of the cicada or the shrilling
of the katydid. Tree-tree-tree-tree-tree-tree-tree-tree, rapidly
uttered, the monotonous notes of equal length, beginning very softly,
gradually increasing to the middle of the strain and then as gradually
diminishing, thus forming a fine musical swell—may convey a fair idea of
the song. There is a peculiar soft and tinkling sweetness in this
melody, suggestive of the quiet mysteries of the forest and sedative as
an anodyne to the nerves.”



                          TRAGEDY OF THE AIR.


  Sweet voices midst the blossoms;
    Amidst the meadow-blooms;
  Midst mallow-buds and sedges;
    Midst flower-hearts by their looms;
  Through vistas of the forests,
    Round minaret and dome,
  The mists of mountain torrents;
    Through rainbows of the foam;
  Above the rush of waters;
    Above the swirl of seas;
  Through labyrinths of maremma—
    Ah yes, and more than these—
  Yet flashes out a remnant
    Of bird-wings on the air,
  Or floats the song-birds’ rhythms
    Midst slaughter and despair.
  Is there no human pity?
    In all the world so wide
  Can nothing stay the slaughter,
    Can nothing stem the tide
  Before, from Nature’s pageant,
    All bird-life joy is crushed;
  Before the wings lie broken
    Before the songs are hushed?
                                                        —George Klingle.



                         OFF FOR THE SOUTHLAND.


The first frosts of autumn are a warning to the summer songsters that it
is time to prepare for their long trip to the southland. From pine and
beech and shrub they come, lingering to catch a stray insect or to feast
on the seeds so plentiful at this season of the year, steadily
collecting until dozens and fifties and hundreds of a kind are grouped
together.

Whether the smaller birds, such as the robins, blue birds and ground
birds, select a leader for the trip south, it is difficult to say. Some
birds do so, and follow their leaders, as the sheep of olden time
followed their shepherd. However this may be, these fine-feathered
travelers are careful to remain in a squad as compact as possible, and a
note of alarm from one puts the whole legion to flight.

All birds of short flight travel by night only, perhaps because it is a
time less beset with dangers from the enemy; perhaps instinct is more in
control at night, when there is naught but dreams of the southland to
claim their attention. Some authorities have surmised that the birds,
like the mariner, are familiar with the heavens and, taking some star or
constellation as their guide, fly straight to the summerland of the
world. But this last is not a safe conclusion, for the blue birds and
robins have been known to err in their choice of a wintering place, some
stopping in northern Georgia and perishing there because of their
blunder. Others have remained in the Middle States throughout the
winter, which grave error the best students of bird-nature have been
unable to explain.

But we must not infer from this that birds, as a rule, travel at random
and trust to what man calls “luck.” These little perching birds are the
ones most liable to mistakes, and a sudden change in the weather or an
unusually tempting food supply may lure them to pause too long in these
more northern regions, delaying them until it is impossible for them to
finish their trip. They have a very short flight, compared to other
birds, and it is no slight task for them to accomplish a journey of a
thousand miles or more. Yet they go and come with remarkable precision,
and there are many instances of a pair nesting in the same tree or
crevice or broken limb for several years in succession. When spring
returns, some happy experience of the year before brings them back to
the loved spot, and there they linger till time for the fall migration.

The birds which are most unerring in their time and course of flight are
the water birds. The wild geese are first in this particular, flying
high in the air and with the leader ever in full view of the flock,
remaining on the wing for from twenty-four to forty-eight hours. To be
classed next to these are the herons, the wild ducks and the bittern,
the long-legged waders, and the little sand-pipers. All these follow the
water courses, the Mississippi and its tributaries being their principal
highways.

The ground birds usually follow the prairie countries, though the
clearing away of forests has induced them to frequent eastern Indiana
and Ohio in recent years. But the western prairie states are their
acknowledged summer homes, from whence they gather in companies when
autumn comes and, like their fellows, flee to a warmer clime till their
favorite dunes and marshes are again habitable.

                                                     Claudia May Ferrin.



                               TURQUOIS.


This mineral differs from nearly all others held in favor as gems, in
not being transparent and never occurring in the form of well defined
crystals. The opal is perhaps the only other gem of which the same may
be said. In composition Turquois is a hydrous phosphate of aluminum, the
percentages being: Of water, 20.6 per centum; of alumina, 46.8 per
centum, and of phosphoric oxide, 32.6 per centum. Thus in composition as
well as opacity Turquois differs from most other gems, they being
usually silicates or some form of silica. Besides the above ingredients
Turquois always contains a small percentage of copper oxide and usually
iron, calcium and manganese oxides in small amount. It is the copper
compound which undoubtedly gives Turquois its inimitable color, that
color to which it owes its chief charm as a gem. The color varies from
sky-blue through bluish-green and apple-green to greenish-gray.

Of these colors the pure sky-blue or robin’s-egg blue is by far the most
highly prized and is in fact the only standard color for the gem. Green
is, however, the most common and the most lasting color of the mineral,
and it is one of the faults of the gem that the blue shades often fade
to green after being exposed to the light for a time. In a stone of
first quality, however, especially a Persian Turquois, such fading of
color is exceptional. A good Turquois also maintains its color in
artificial light. The hardness of Turquois is 6, in the scale of which
quartz is 7. It is therefore somewhat more easily scratched than other
gems. Its specific gravity varies from 2.6 to 2.8, being about that of
quartz. It does not fuse before the blowpipe, but turns brown and
assumes a glossy appearance. By the copper of the Turquois the blowpipe
flame is usually colored green. When heated in a closed glass tube the
mineral turns brown or black and gives off water. Almost any of these
tests will serve to distinguish true Turquois from stones used to
imitate it. It has a conchoidal fracture and waxy lustre. On account of
its opacity it is almost never cut with facets like most other gems, but
in a round or oval form with convex surface. The pieces desirable for
cutting rarely reach a large size so that big gems of Turquois are
comparatively unknown.

Much of the so-called Turquois used in former times was bone-turquois,
or odontolite, made from fossil bone colored by a phosphate of iron. It
is obtained mostly from the vicinity of the town of Simor, Lower
Languedoc, France. It is sometimes known as Western or Occidental
turquois, in distinction from the Oriental turquois, most of which came
originally from Persia. It does not retain its color by artificial light
as does true Turquois and may be further distinguished by giving off an
offensive odor when heated, owing to decomposition of animal matter.
Further, it is lighter than true Turquois and does not give a blue color
with ammonia when dissolved in hydrochloric acid, as does true turquois.

The finest Turquoises have long come from Persia, from a locality not
far from Nishapur, in the province of Khorassan. Here the mineral occurs
in narrow seams in the brecciated portions of a porphyritic trachyte and
the surrounding clay slate. There are several hundred mines in the
region and the entire population of the town of Maaden derives its
livelihood from mining and cutting the stones. It is said that $40,000
worth of stones are taken from these mines annually. A pound of stones
of the first quality sells at the mines for about $400 and is worth more
than double that price in Europe. There are other Turquois mines in
Persia, but their product is comparatively small. “Persian Turquoises”
have, however, the highest value of all. Other Oriental localities from
which the gem Turquoises are obtained are Sinai, in Arabia, the Kirgeshi
Steppes, in Siberia, and the Kara-Tube Mountains, in Turkestan. Egypt
also furnishes large quantities of Turquois, which does not as a rule
retain its color well.

                        [Illustration: TURQUOIS.
                             (New Mexico.)
                 SPECIMENS LOANED BY FOOTE MINERAL CO.]

  Left column:
    Indian Amulet.
    Artificially polished.
    Natural.
  Center column:
    Waterworn.
    Waterworn.
  Right column:
    Artificially polished.
    Artificially polished.
    Natural.

Turquois is not an uncommon mineral in the United States and many gems
of fine quality have been obtained from mines within our borders. The
oldest and best known mines are those at Los Cerrillos, New Mexico. This
locality was long worked by Indians and Spaniards, as shown by the great
extent of the excavations. There are pits two hundred feet in depth and
piles showing that thousands of tons of rock have been broken out.
Fragments of Aztec pottery, vases, cooking utensils, stone hammers,
etc., are found at the mines, and trees of considerable size have grown
over the once worked portions. Hence the beginning of the mine workings
must at least date back prior to the discovery of America. The mines
were worked more or less by Spaniards in the early part of the
seventeenth century with the consent of the Indians, or at least without
hindrance from them. In 1680, however, a large landslide occurred on the
mountain at the mine, and many of the Indian miners were overwhelmed.
Believing the Spaniards to be in some way responsible for the accident,
and perhaps fearing that their gods were displeased, the Indians rose in
their might and expelled the Spaniards from the region. It is one of the
few instances in the history of Spanish conquest in America in which the
Indians came off victorious. The Indians seem to have prized the
Turquois highly as an ornament, rudely polishing it and using perforated
pieces like the one shown in the plate for necklaces. They also
decorated their idols and other objects of worship with pieces of
Turquois. The mountain at which the Los Cerrillos Turquois mines occur
is called Mount Chalchihuitl, in allusion to an Indian name that is
supposed to have been applied to Turquois. The mountain is evidently of
volcanic origin. The color of most of the Turquois from this locality is
apple-green rather than the highly prized blue, but some gems of a good
blue have been obtained. Mr. Geo. F. Kunz, writing in 1890 of the sale
of gems from this locality, says that the Indians usually dispose of
them at the rate of twenty-five cents for the contents of a mouth, which
is where they usually carry them. Several other localities in New Mexico
are worked for Turquois. In Cochise County, Arizona, is a locality known
as Turquois Mountain, where considerable mining is carried on. Turquois
is also mined in Gila County, Arizona; Lincoln County, Nevada, and San
Bernardino County, California. Several of these localities have been
opened up recently, the present popularity of the gem perhaps having
stimulated its output.

The much higher price commanded by Turquois of a blue color has led to a
counterfeiting of this color by staining green Turquois or other stones
with Prussian blue.

Mr. Geo. F. Kunz in his “Gems and Precious Stones of North America”
describes a method of detecting this stain. It consists in washing the
stone with alcohol and, after wiping it, to remove any grease, laying it
for a moment in a solution of ammonia, when the blue color, if
artificial, will largely disappear.

At how early a date Turquois began to be prized as a gem is not known.
The word Turquois is a French word meaning Turkish, or a Turkish gem,
and came to be applied because the gem was introduced into Europe by way
of Turkey. It is probable that the gem has been in use from the remotest
past among Oriental peoples and it is certainly still highly prized by
them. Not the least of the reasons for which it is held in high esteem
by them as well as by many Occidental individuals is the good fortune it
is supposed to bring to its possessor. One of the proverbs of the
Orientals is, “A Turquois given by a loving hand carries with it
happiness and good fortune,” and another, “The Turquois pales when the
well-being of the giver is in danger.” Numerous other superstitions
cling around the Turquois. One of these, due probably to slight changes
of color which the stone may undergo under certain climatic influences,
is that if the owner of a Turquois sickens it will grow pale, and at his
death lose its color entirely, but it will regain its color if placed on
the finger of a new and healthy master.

In Germany the Turquois is said to be in much favor for engagement
rings, owing to the belief that if either party prove inconstant the
stone will make the fickleness known by weakening in color. It is
curious that of the two non-crystallized gems, Turquois and Opal, one
should be considered lucky and the other unlucky. Both are more liable
to changes of color than other gems, and this fact has probably led to
the ascription of good or ill fortune to them. In the folk lore of the
months Turquois is connected with the month of December, as the
following rhyme bears witness:

  If cold December gave you birth,
  The month of snow and ice and mirth,
  Place on your hand a turquois blue,
  Success will bless whate’er you do.
                                             Oliver Cummings Farrington.



                          TO THE MEADOW LARK.


  Up from dewy grass, while yet ’tis dark—
  On trembling pinions, soars the meadow lark;
  His brilliant vest like ruddy orange glows;
  From slender throat, the liquid music flows.
  Dear flute-like warbler of the wood and field,
  Before him all his rivals bow and yield!
  The ambient air, with fluttering wing he beats;
  With song ecstatic, early morn he greets.
  High, high he rises; and his peans float,—
  While listening Nature revels in his note.
                                                    —J. Mayne Baltimore.



                           THE OUTRAGED BIRD.


Once upon a time, nearly seventy years ago, a little boy in a New
England town was given a gun on the condition that he must not shoot any
birds except those that robbed the corn fields. In those days farmers
thought that the crow, brown thrasher and crow-black-bird stole so much
grain that it was right to kill them and therefore a bounty, large for
that time, of twenty-five cents was offered for every crow destroyed.
Nowadays we are wiser and this very boy who has grown into a tall, gray
haired, tender-hearted man, says that there is not a bird living that is
not more of a blessing than a curse.

But to go on with my story. The little gunner went out one day to see
what he could hit with his new gun. About a quarter of a mile from the
house he spied a little bird in a tree on the edge of the woods. He took
aim and fired. He did not kill the bird, did not even seriously wound
it, only injured one of its wings. The bird dropped down at his feet and
began chirping and scolding as if to demand an explanation.

The boy tried to get away but every time he moved aside the poor little
outraged creature hopped in his path, never ceasing his vehement,
indignant protest against the unwarrantable deed.

Finally the conscience-smitten boy, seeing that there was no escape for
him and pitying the wounded condition of the bird, killed it outright,
carrying away in his throat a great lump and in his heart a sharp pain
that will never die out. Although he is now over eighty years of age he
says that he would gladly give all the money he owns if he could undo
that one thoughtless act.

When a bird can say so plainly that his life is his own and no one has a
right to wantonly take it from him, what must have been the thought of
that bird’s loving Creator, without whose knowledge and pity not even a
sparrow falls to the ground!

                                                 Fannie Skelton Bissell.



                               NICODEMUS.


Nicodemus was a pet blackbird. A sleet storm broke the bough on which
the nest was built, and all the birds, save one, were killed in the
fall. This one, Nicodemus, was placed in an old hat lined with wool, and
kept near the fire until he was ready to fly about the room. He was an
apt scholar, and soon knew his name, responding readily to every call.
When the weather became warm he was allowed the freedom of the yard.
Whenever his mistress saw a stray cat about she would go out on the
porch to his cage, strike upon it, and call: “Nicodemus!” “Nicodemus!”
whereupon the bird would fly into his cage for safety.

One day an aged gentleman called at the house. Nicodemus came into the
parlor. At first he nestled upon his mistress’ shoulder, but his
curiosity seemed much excited, and he soon flew to the old gentleman,
alighted upon his bald head, when he began a vigorous scratching.

“For shame, Nicodemus! Come here at once,” cried the lady. He obeyed,
but with a really abashed look.

                                                     Belle Paxson Drury.



                            A WEED PICTURE.


To one who cares little for natural objects a bit of bottom land in
autumn has few attractions, but to the botanist of experience or to a
student of nature, from late July till the first frost comes, such a
place is a continuous delight.

Perhaps you have seen this very picture. If so, have you studied its
details?

A half acre of swamp, which in the springtime presented a dainty
background of yellowish green willows and a foreground of green pasture
dotted with dandelions and blue violets, has now transformed itself into
a Persian effect of gorgeous color. Blue, pink, brown, green, red,
purple, white, lavender, yellow, orange brown, and these through
tintings and shadings that a modern Titian would never produce, even
should he wear his brush to a stub, for the very simple reason that he
couldn’t.

Plant life has here run riot and because of their dense growth the
varieties are almost unaccountable.

Among the showier members of this very mixed growing effect, in color,
brightest is purple iron weed and the helianthus.

But joe-pye weed tosses up his woolly pink head and flauntingly asks,
“With that big yellow and black butterfly on my crown am I not more
showy than they?” He has to be gently reminded that all his brothers are
not wearing butterflies, which fact leads to a negative decision—still
he is a beauty.

Then the corners festooned with clematis, hop bindweed and even dodder
give to the raw edges a finish that cannot be excelled. Little dots of
cardinal, here and there, show a belated cardinal flower and bitter
sweet just ready to open hangs over the elder bushes, which form one
edge of this picture.

The paler asters in eight or ten shadings, with the exception of the New
England variety, begin to fill in the neutral patches, and golden rod is
waving yellow plumes here and there. It is a beautiful color, but looks
rather pale compared to the later sunflowers. Bone-set and yarrow and
spurge each have a place, and great bunches of bedstraw fill up the
crannies till not a square inch of earth is visible.

Some of the plants which help complete the perfect whole but which are
less numerous and showy, are the tall dead stalks of angelica, parsnips
in seed, milkweed, ragweed, mallow, nettles, vervain, blackberry, and
wild rose with scarlet bolls; and this flanked on another side by the
densest of willow and thorn.

Some of the finishing touches to this composite picture are the huge
green dragon flies, the brilliantly colored butterflies and moths, and
the catbirds and bird kindred which live in the heart of all this
magnificence, but manage to keep well on the wing, especially when the
sun shines bright and the air is soft and cool, and on days when a deep
blue sky with great white clouds is the canopy.

                                                            Mary Noland.


  The air is full of hints of grief,
    Strange voices touched with pain—
  The pathos of the falling leaf
    And rustling of the rain.
                                    —Thomas Bailey Aldrich, “Landscape.”

                     [Illustration: STRIPED HYENA.
                           (Hyaena striata.)]



                           THE STRIPED HYENA.
                          (_Hyaena striata._)


The first Hyena in which I became interested lived in a zoölogical
garden connected with a well known park.

I cannot claim that she was a beautiful creature for, if all must be
told, she had the same ugly appearance of every other Striped Hyena. And
yet her very ugliness made her somewhat interesting. She would look at
me from her slanting eyes with an unsteady, uncanny expression. Her
thick head and neck, her stout body, her shorter hind legs and longer
front ones, causing her back to slope from shoulder to tail like a small
toboggan slide, gave her an extremely awkward look, I admit; and then
she had but four toes on each foot as is the case of all members of the
hyena family. Her body was covered with rather long coarse hair of a
yellowish gray color striped with black, her tail was short and bushy,
and along the spine the hair grew long and stiff, making a sort of mane.
Her ears were large, erect and devoid of hair, and her voice—well! it
was something to startle the uninitiated. There were shrieks, murmurs
and growls, sometimes hoarse and sometimes shrill, and yet I am told
that it is mild and musical compared with the ghostly laughter of her
cousin, the spotted hyena, and yet her voice is not pleasant to hear.

In spite of all these characteristics I was interested in Mrs. Hyena,
perhaps on account of her unhappy lot, for she was not loved as were
other animals around her. There was Duchess, the elephant, Major, the
lion, and other favored ones whose personality was recognized, as they
all had names and they received much attention. But Mrs. Hyena had no
name, for the keeper declared that she was such a miserably cowardly
mean creature that she was not worth one. She was only the “Hyena” to
him, though he had cared for her for many years and sometimes had been
obliged to put her in the hospital because her mate had mauled and
punished her so badly.

And was she not to be pitied because she was so far from those of her
own kind? for hyenas are not native in the new hemisphere and to seek
her own, she would be obliged to cross the ocean to the coast of Africa.
There she would find many of her own kind and should she cross into
southern Asia as far as the Bay of Bengal she would still find many
friends, while in central and southern Africa her cousin, the spotted
hyena, would be plentiful, and at the south, along the western coast,
her other cousin, the brown hyena, would be found.

In spite of the large area in which the various members of the family
may be found a traveler may be in the country some time without seeing
one, for they are nocturnal in their habits, hiding by day in their
haunts among the rock-cut tombs in Syria and Palestine or among holes
and caves in the rocks in other countries, sometime lurking among ruins,
but more often inhabiting a den made by digging a hole in the side of a
cliff or ravine.

But at night it is heard, if not seen, as it goes forth to seek its
food. It prefers food already killed and only attacks a living animal
when driven to it by lack of carrion. Its powerful jaws enable it to
crush the bones which other animals leave. As the cleaning up of the
world must be done in some way for the good of all, can we not believe
that the hyena has an important mission to fulfil in spite of the strong
feeling against it? It takes what other animals leave and is the vulture
among beasts.

There seems to be little known about the brown hyena. It is found in a
comparatively small region and is in some respects like the spotted
hyena though it is smaller, being about the size of the Striped Hyena.

The spotted hyena is the largest of the three, the most ferocious,
stupid and cruel. Owing to the legs being nearly of the same length it
is less awkward than the striped species.

There are no animals about whom there are so many superstitions. Even
Pliny, writing in the first century, tells us that it “imitates the
human voice among the stalls of the shepherds; and while there learns
the name of some one of them, and then calls him away and devours him.”
It is also said that coming in contact with its shadow, dogs will lose
their voice, and that, by certain magical influence “it can render any
animal immovable round which it has walked three times.” The Arabs
“believe that people who partake of the brain of the hyena become
insane, and the head of a hyena is always buried lest it should be used
by wicked sorcerers for their diabolical charms.”

They also believe that the hyena “are sorcerers in disguise, who assume
human shape by day and prowl around as hyenas by night, working
destruction upon good people.”

The stories of the body snatching propensities of the Striped Hyena are
much exaggerated. If this occurs at all it is when the body is very
lightly covered with sand and when other food is lacking.

The dislike for the hyena seems to exist wherever the animal is found.
In many parts of India, when killed, the body is treated with every mark
of indignity and then burned.

And yet the striped species is capable of great attachment. Colonel
Sykes states that “in certain districts in central India it is as
susceptible of domestication as ordinary dogs.” And Dr. Brehm, who found
every created animal interesting, once had two young hyenas for pets;
but I will give the narration in his own words. “A few days after our
first arrival in Khartoum we purchased two young hyenas for a price
equal to twenty-five cents in American money. The animals were about the
size of a half-grown terrier, clothed in a very soft, fine woolly fur of
dark gray hue and they were very spiteful, notwithstanding they had
enjoyed human society for some time. We put them in a stable and I
visited them daily. At first they were addicted to vicious biting, but
repeated sound blows overawed their resistance, and three months after
the day of purchase I could play with them as I would with a dog,
without having to fear any mischief on their part. Their affection for
me increased every day and they were overjoyed when I visited them. When
they were more than half grown they signified their pleasure in a very
strange manner. As soon as I entered the room they rushed at me with a
joyous howl, put their fore paws on my shoulder and sniffed my face.

“Later on I led them by a single string through the streets of Cairo, to
the horror of all good citizens.

“They were so affectionate that they often paid me a call without being
invited and it made a surprising as well as uncanny impression on
strangers to see us at the tea table. Each of us had a hyena at his side
and the animal sat on his haunches as quietly and sensibly as a well
behaved dog who pleads for a few scraps at the table. The hyena did that
also, and their gentle request consisted of a low but very hoarse cry.
They expressed their gratitude either by the same sounds and actions
they used in greeting me as above described, or by sniffing my hands.

“They were passionately fond of sugar, but also had a great liking for
bread, especially if it was soaked in tea. Their usual food was Pariah
dogs, which we shot for the purpose. My pets were on good terms with
each other. If one were absent for any considerable length of time there
was great joy when the two met again; in short, they proved to me quite
conclusively that even hyenas are capable of warm attachment.”

                                                           John Ainslie.



                            A BIRD INCIDENT.


A common bird with us is the pheasant and one of the most interesting
incidents of my life was in connection with a family of pheasants.

Crossing a woodland one summer evening, making the dead leaves rustle
beneath my feet, I looked down, I hardly know why, but it must have been
in order to save the little innocents. For the brown leaves seemed to me
to be alive, very much alive, indeed.

I stopped, dropped to a sitting posture, and reached forth my hand, and
to my surprise they never tried to get away, but cuddled up in a little
frightened flock right to my feet. I gathered them all into my dress,
twelve of them, cunning little midgets, not larger than the end of a
man’s thumb, and awaited developments.

The parent birds were near and soon the mother began crying with a
pitiful call. I couldn’t imitate it in any way, but it expressed
tenderness, concern and fear. Soon an angry frightened bird whirred over
my head, again and again, each time nearer until she almost knocked off
my hat; she passed and getting just in front of me, made feint of a
broken wing, and lay apparently helpless a little ahead. I never saw
anything more expressive of anxiety than the actions of this bird. I
could not bear to tease her, so setting the birdlings on the ground I
withdrew to a position where I could see the united family and watched
the mother love as it went out to the helpless brood. The words of the
Master, “Oh, Jerusalem! Jerusalem! how often would I have gathered thy
children together even as a hen gathereth her chickens and ye would
not,” never before came to me with such force. Truly the maternal
instinct, next to love of the Divine, is the most sacred thing in the
world.

                                                            Mary Noland.



                                GROUSE.


The name Grouse is supposed to come from gorse—furze or heath—and is
applied to many game birds in the family Tetraonidae.

The great majority of Grouse belong to the northern part of America, but
in England the Grouse may be said to have had an effect upon history, as
parliament used always to rise when the season for shooting Grouse
arrived!

The red Grouse is indigenous to Great Britain, but is represented in
other northern countries by the Willow Grouse, which assumes a
protective white color in winter, except that the tail remains black.

The Ruffled Grouse, or pheasant, has caused much dispute in reference to
how it produces the drumming sound which can be heard at a long
distance, and which musical exercise is no doubt intended as a noisy
courtship in wooing his mate.

The distinctive name, “Ruffled,” comes from the ruff of dark feathers,
with iridescent green and purple tints which surrounds the neck. This
bird has a slight crest and a beautifully barred tail. Its note is a
hen-like cluck. No bird has handsomer eyes, with their deep expanding
pupils and golden brown iris.

In a beautiful ravine—which was carpeted with green moss a foot deep and
shaded by evergreen trees hung in soft gray mosses—on an uninhabited
island in northern Lake Superior, I once saw some Canada Grouse so tame
that it appeared as if they might easily be taken in one’s hands. The
parent birds were on one side of the trail, the young ones in a tree on
the other side. All kept quite still for me to look at them, only the
young ones lifted their wings slightly, as if wishing to fly across to
their parents, who seemed to have an expression as of astonishment at
seeing so strange a sight as a human being in their unfrequented
solitudes. The gentlemen of our camping party declared that these Grouse
were so tame it would seem a crime to shoot them.



                              THE GIRAFFE.
                      (_Camelopardalis giraffa._)


Should a traveler returning from a far country describe a wonderful
animal, with the head and body of a horse, neck and shoulders of a
camel, ears of an ox, the tail of an ass, the legs of an antelope, and
the coloring and marking of a panther, he would be believed with
difficulty, and yet this combination very fairly describes the curious
and interesting animal known to us as the Giraffe.

This name is a corruption of the Arabian serafe, the lovely one, and
while a single animal, away from its natural surroundings, may not seem
to merit the appellation, in its native woods it produces a very
different impression.

The Giraffe is found in a wide curve, extending over the eastern half of
Africa from Ethiopia as far south as the confines of Cape Colony. Within
this area it frequents the sandy, desert-like portions where small trees
and shrubs abound.

Hunters and explorers describe with enthusiasm the appearance of the
herds of Giraffe, which are sometimes in groups of six or eight, but
more frequently found in larger numbers, often as many as thirty or
forty being together, while one traveler in the Soudan counted on one
occasion seventy-three, and at other times one hundred and three and
over one hundred and fifty in one herd.

Gordon Cumming tells us that “when a herd of Giraffes is seen dispersed
in a grove of the picturesque, umbrella-shaped mimosas, which adorn
their native plains, and on the topmost branches of which their immense
height enables them to browse, the observer would really be deficient in
appreciation of natural beauty if he failed to find the sight a very
attractive one.”

The Giraffe is curiously like the natural objects of the locality in
which he lives. He is found in stretches of country where half decayed,
weather beaten, moss covered trees resemble the long necks of the
animal; so much so that Cumming says he was often in doubt as to the
presence of a whole troop of Giraffe until he had used his spyglass, and
he adds: “Even my half-savage companions had to acknowledge that their
keen, experienced eyes were deceived sometimes; either they mistook
those weather beaten trunks for Giraffes, or else they confounded the
real Giraffes with the old trees.”

Though found in wooded sand belts which are waterless a portion of the
year, the animal of necessity avoids the tall, dense forests, for its
food is chiefly the tender leaves and buds of low-growing trees,
especially the leaves of the mimosa and of the prickly acacia.

These trees are seldom more than twelve or fifteen feet in height, and
with its long legs and neck the Giraffe can easily reach the appetizing
twigs and leaves on the broad flat top of the tree. Moving from one side
to another, as if the tree were a table spread for its use, it throws
out its long snake-like tongue, which it can manipulate with great
dexterity and which it uses as an elephant does its trunk. When we
remember that the largest animals are sometimes eighteen feet in height,
and that the tongue is seventeen or eighteen inches in length, we can
see how easily the Giraffe can take its breakfast, while the tree that
furnishes it serves also as a screen or shield to conceal it from its
enemies.

From the fact that the giraffe will abide in localities which are
waterless for months at a time, it has been supposed that water was not
necessary for its comfort. This is far from the truth, and it has
frequently been seen to drink; its appearance when drinking is most
peculiar, and one who has witnessed the curious operation tells us that
although the animal’s neck is so long, it can not reach the water
without straddling its legs wide apart. This it does by placing one foot
forward and the other as far back as possible, increasing the distance
between them by a series of little jerks, and sometimes they sprawl
their legs out sideways in a similar manner.

                        [Illustration: GIRAFFE.
                       (Camelopardalis giraffa.)]

It is at the watering place that the lion lies in concealment waiting
for the Giraffe to appear. Should it remain unconscious of the lion’s
presence, the victory is to the lion, but in the open the Giraffe has an
equal chance with the “king of beasts,” for it can defend itself
valiantly and successfully with vigorous blows from its powerful limbs.
The small horns are not used as a means of defense; they are covered
with skin, and at birth the bones are separate, becoming attached to the
skull at a later period, while the third small horn, especially
observable in the male, is really no horn at all but only a thickening
of the bone at that point.

The head of a Giraffe is really a thing of beauty. On account of the
delicate contour of the muzzle the head appears longer than it really
is. The nostrils can be opened and closed at will, making it possible to
avoid injury from the sand storms which sometimes prevail. The eyes are
the largest for the size of the head of any animal and are wonderfully
gentle, lustrous and beautiful. They are also capable of some lateral
projection so that to a degree the animal can see behind it without
turning its head.

Notwithstanding the extreme length of the neck of the Giraffe it
contains but seven bones, the same number as man.

Its sloping back has led some people to suppose that the legs were
uneven in length; this is an error, as the legs are about the same
length and the feet have delicate, beautifully shaped, divided hoofs.

The tail of the animal is long and finished with a generous tuft of hair
with which it relieves itself of the seroot flies and other stinging
insects which otherwise would become unbearable.

Like the American bison the Giraffe is in danger of extermination. It
originally had a larger range but has been killed in great numbers. The
temptation to hunt the animal is not to be resisted, as the hide of the
bull brings from twenty to twenty-five dollars, the flesh is very fine
eating and the other parts of the body can be put to various uses; the
Arabs use the tendons of the legs for sewing leather, the tail-tufts are
used for fly brushes and the solid leg bones are in England made into
buttons and other bone articles.

The Giraffe is difficult to approach for it is extremely wary, and will
place sentinels to give the herd warning of approaching danger. It is a
rapid runner, although its gait is shambling and peculiar owing to the
fact that it moves like a pacing horse, the fore and hind legs of the
same side moving together.

It is usually hunted on horseback and the animal must be pressed from
the moment he starts; “it is the speed that tells against him, and the
spurs must be at work at the commencement of the hunt and the horse
pressed along at his best pace; it must be a race at top speed from the
very start, for should the Giraffe be allowed the slightest advantage
for the first five minutes the race will be against the horse.”

Europeans and natives alike are fascinated with Giraffe hunting, though
few fail to be struck with the pathetic and half-reproachful expression
of a fallen animal and few hearts are so hardened as to feel no
compunction at “destroying one of the noblest specimens of nature’s
handiwork.”

Mr. Selous, after hunting one day, in recounting his experiences says:
“Even in the ardor of the chase it struck me as a glorious sight to see
those huge beasts dashing along in front, clattering over the stones or
bursting a passage through opposing bushes, their long, graceful necks
stretched forward, sometimes bent almost to the earth to avoid
horizontal branches, and their bushy black tails twisted over their
backs. And how easily and with what little exertion they seemed to get
over the ground, with that long, sweeping stride of theirs!”

The skin of the Giraffe is in many parts so thick that a bullet will not
pierce it, and the surest method of hunting it is that pursued by some
of the Arabs of Abyssinia who run it down while galloping at full speed
and with their broadswords cut the tendons of its legs, thus completely
disabling it. Although the natives love to hunt the animal they love
still more to own a living one and their heads may often be seen peering
over the inclosure in the native villages.

In 1836 four Giraffes were successfully taken to the zoölogical gardens
at Regent’s Park, London. From this time they became somewhat common in
menageries so that many people have seen the living animal, but all view
it with curiosity as did the old Romans in the time of Julius Cæsar,
when individuals were brought to Rome on the occasion of the games. And
it is not strange that at a later date the picture of this curious and
then unknown animal, found on Egyptian monuments, were pronounced “a
dream fancy of an unbridled artistic imagination.”

                                                           John Ainslie.



                               THE FLAG.


  I plucked a flag, half open
  To the sunlight it waved and blew,
  And bent o’er the water beside it
  Where the sweet pond-lilies grew.
  The stem broke short in my fingers,
  The bloom remained in my grasp,
  But the life of the swaying pretty thing
  I tried in vain to clasp.

  The breezes were floating gently by
  The calm, peaceful waters reflected the sky;
  The flag-stalk nodded its flowerless head,
  In my hand lay the blossom withering, dead.

  I stood for a moment longing
  As I seldom had longed before,
  Longing for even the life that was gone
  To return to that flower no more.
  But the breezes bent over me softly
  And whispered, the lost is found,
  For whatever you pluck from the surface
  Is restored once more in the ground;

  For the gardens of earth hold blossoms more fair
  Than the one you have plucked and are holding there.
                                                       —Ella Van Fossen.



                       IN THE HOLLOW OF HIS HAND.
                  (From an Ornithologist’s Year Book.)


So tiny that a child’s small palm can cover its whole body, inaudible at
a few paces’ distance, invisible till it rises at your very feet, such
is our yellow-winged sparrow. Yet he is a marvel; his plumage shows an
exquisite mimicry of the earth tints, “the upper parts mixed black,
rufous-brown, ashy and cream-buff,” with a touch of “yellowish
olive-green” for the herbage, and here and there an orange or yellow
shade, and a dusky whiteness beneath, to give the effect of light. What
could be more perfect? No wonder the wee householders, with a nest of
fine-woven grasses, low upon the ground, sits unseen on her “clutch” of
wee speckled eggs within reach of your fingers. She knows this well, and
will not rise until you are almost upon her retreat. Nor will she fly
far. A fence post, a low shrub will serve as her watchtower until danger
is over.

Our yellow-tinted sparrow has another name, the “Grasshopper Sparrow,”
from its insect-like tremolo and chirp. Its song is a chord or two and a
long trill on the insect letter, z. It is sung, to the eye, with a
hearty abandon of joy, the head thrown back and mouth open, in a fine
pose of ecstasy; yet, unless all around is still, and you listen with
attention, not a sound will you hear, so small and fine are the
vibrating tones. It is said, in a story of the Highlands, that on
certain nights, if a man will but lay a couchant ear close to the breast
of the earth, he may hear the fine, fine piping of the fairy tunes
played in the underworld. Our bird’s song is one of these faint, sweet
voices of the earth, like the music that breathes from every clod or
leaf when the old world lies dreaming and dozing in a bit of holiday
after work is done on a warm, sunny afternoon in autumn, a musical,
tremulous, sweet piping everywhere.

Yet not one of these small creatures is forgotten before its Father.
When the frost is in the air, and winter is near, the Divine impulse
stirs in its breast, and its little wings will bear it far, far away in
the long, mysterious journey over sea to the warm islands of the
Atlantic. There it will sing for joy with its fellows in the sun, but
when April returns, look well. Is there not a stir in the short grass?
And listen. The faint, dream-like thrill throbs again in the throat of
the sparrow, and our ground-dweller has returned. It is a parable of
God’s care for His little ones.

                                                          Ella F. Mosby.



                       SONG OF THE STORMY PETREL.


  When in the hollow of His hand
    All calm doth lie the deep,
  Alone and out of sight of land,
    Upon the wave I sleep;
  Above, the sun resplendent shines;
    Beneath, old ocean heaves;
  I feel alike the smile of heaven
    And some great heart that grieves.

  I drift afar by sun and star;
    I care not where I be
  So long as throbs the giant flood
    Of ocean under me.
  The ancient sea my brother is
    And well I know his moods;
  For everywhere with him I fare
    Throughout his solitudes.

  I lay my heart unto his heart,
    I soothe him with my wing;
  I kiss the tide as I were bride,
    And to him low I sing.
  He speaks to me of mystery,
    Of days when he was young,
  Of sorrows old, of tales untold
    By any other tongue.

  I listen, yearn, and much I learn
    Of nations now no more,
  Of wrecks that sleep down in the deep
    Or strew the rocky shore;
  Of how grim Time makes him to mar
    Whatever coast he laves.
  Of how the sea he makes to be
    So full of nameless graves.

  Since goaded long by lashing winds,
    He rushes forth in ire,
  And welds as one the ships of Clyde
    With those of crumbled Tyre;
  And swallows down the king and clown
    With equal appetite,
  And hides them all, both great and small,
    In his wide tombs of night.

  Then screaming I above him fly
    And hasten where he roars,
  Within my breast the same unrest
    As his proud bosom gores.
  A thousand leagues I go with him
    And glory in his power,
  A thousand leagues I herald him
    Through many a sleepless hour.

  Then, calmer grown, we dream again,
    And in some distant zone
  A little season are as one,
    Untroubled and alone.
  For I am brother to the sea
    And where he goes go I,
  And when at last my days are past,
    Within his breast I lie.

  And I shall ever haunt his paths
    About this aging earth,
  And he to me, and I to him,
    Shall sing of woe and mirth
  Until gray Time shall be no more,
    And every wave that weeps
  Has learned to laugh and laughing, thrills
    The bosom of the deeps.
                                    —_C. G. B. in “The Chicago Record.”_

                  [Illustration: MIRIKI SPIDER MONKEY.
                         (Ateles hypoxanthus.)]



                           THE SPIDER MONKEY.
                        (_Ateles hypoxanthus._)


With his native guides a gentleman was traveling one day through one of
the wonderfully luxuriant tropical forests of eastern Brazil. They had
left the Amazon river and had come southeast to the province of
Maranhao, where the roots, grasses and plants sometimes weave themselves
into vegetable bridges so solid that a man may go some distance without
discovering that he has left the firm earth.

They had just passed over one of these natural bridges and had evidently
reached the edge of the hidden pool, as they came to a dense growth of
rosewood trees, and there they saw a most unique and peculiar sight. The
gentleman, being a stranger in Brazil, exclaimed with astonishment, for
hanging from the branches by their tails only, were a whole troop of
monkeys.

They were of slender build, with long, thin, sprawling limbs and small
heads, and they were indeed a most laughable and comical sight.

As soon as the gentleman recovered from his surprise he fired upon the
troop and succeeded in slightly wounding one which so maimed it that,
uttering a loud yell, it fell to the ground and he was able to secure
it. The others, frightened, quickly vanished, for their movements were
of surprising agility; they threw their long limbs about in the queerest
sort of a manner, using their tails in climbing more than their limbs,
seeming to feel their way with the tip of the tail and finding a place
for support, they swung themselves rapidly to the extreme tree tops and
were out of sight in less time than it takes to describe their flight.

When the troop could no longer be seen the gentleman examined his
wounded captive and from what he knew of the characteristics of the ape
family, to which all monkeys belong, he decided that without question he
had secured a specimen of the Spider Monkey.

It was a young mother and the baby monkey was clinging to her with its
little arms around her neck and legs around her hips in a way not to
impede her motions.

She was carefully examined by her captor and he soon decided that the
wound was not dangerous and that with care he might be able to take her
with her baby back with him to the United States.

So she now received the best of care. She was secured with a rope
attached to a bit of silken handkerchief which was carefully fitted to
her leg and soon recovering (for her captor was a skillful surgeon) she
became the pet of the company.

In length she was about four feet four inches and she was covered with a
dull yellowish woolly fur. Her face was quite brown, which proved that
she was still young, for the face grows dark gray in old age. In
examining the forepaw, in order to find a thumb, nothing was there
except a short stub devoid of a nail; her nose was broad and flat and
she had thirty-six teeth.

Surely she was a Miriki Spider Monkey and a fine specimen at that, but
as this variety is usually found only farther south in Brazil, her
captor was especially pleased to secure her.

It would take a long time to narrate all the interesting things which
one could say about her, but I must tell you what a devoted and lovely
mother she was to her helpless little baby. It was as funny a little
thing as you can imagine, ugly as possible, with proportionately long
arms and legs and a face so old looking and wrinkled that it reminded
one of an antiquated grandfather rather than of an infant monkey. She
would continually pet this little monster, lick its body, hug it and
fondle it; she would hold it in both hands as if admiring it and then
would rock it to sleep in her arms. The children of royalty could not
have more tender care and attention than the little Brazilian monkey
gave her offspring.

As it grew she allowed it a little freedom, and usually it was very
docile, obeying her every call; but when disobedient she would slap it
and give it a box on the ear; but this seldom happened, for a monkey
child is a model child and might serve as an example to many human
children.

But I think you would have found it extremely odd could you have seen
her eat. She would frequently take fruit, or anything offered, with her
long, prehensile tail, and curling the end around the object, would
convey it to her mouth. She would eat almost everything eaten by her
captors, but would not reject an occasional insect, spider, or even a
young bird.

Happiest when permitted to hang on the tree boughs, she would drink from
the overhanging branches without touching the ground. In fact she was
only perfectly at home when climbing around the trees, as she was
comparatively awkward when on the ground, walking on all fours in a
somewhat clumsy manner. Like all Spider Monkeys, she was of a gentle,
teachable disposition, for all South American monkeys lack many of the
mischievous and disagreeable traits of their African cousins, though as
a rule they are not as bright and vivid in color and are duller and more
indolent in their nature.

On the other hand the American monkeys do little damage to man, for the
vast forests which form their home (they are found in the warm countries
of Mexico, Central and South America, and never in a very high altitude)
provide for them so fully that they have no need of man’s help. The
natives depend very much on monkey meat as a food and hunt them with bow
and arrows, while travelers are often obliged to subsist upon monkey
roasts for weeks together and do not find them very bad fare.

Aside from the Miriki Spider Monkey, of which our little mother was so
interesting a specimen, the traveling party from time to time
encountered other species of the Spider Monkey, of which there are many.
All have similar characteristics but vary somewhat in size and color.

You will be interested to know that the monkey mother and her funny baby
were finally brought in safety to the United States, where as far as I
know, they are still living and are happy and much treasured pets.

                                                           John Ainslie.



                               NOVEMBER.


  Though I sorrow it to say,
  November is a churl alway,
  Miserly, beside the fire,
  Just outside the echoing choir,
  Sits he peevishly, and ponders
  On this life and all its wonders,
  Hearing through the grudging screen
  Organ notes, that slip between
  Prayers for dead men and dead hopes,
  While the priests, in ’broidered copes,
  Sing to heaven; yet not for him
  Goes up the incense or the hymn.
                  Fie, November!
                               —Walter Thornbury, “The Twelve Brothers.”



                          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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