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NEW WORLD NATURE-LOVERS.
BY THE Rev. HILDERIC FRIEND, F.L.S., Author of “Flowers and Flower-Lore," &c.
O age or clime but
has owned its spirits whose chief delight has been to coquet with fitful Nature, as the flirt dances attendance on the coy and blushing maid. With some, this love · making has been a mere passing whim, and when some more attractive object has flashed upon their vision, they have left their first or last plaything, as a child does its
toys which pleased it yesterday, for a newer,
-albeit not always a worthier thing. Not so, however, with all. As the worthy knights of yore, who had been fascinated by the beautiful form of some Beatrice or Isabelle, were prepared to plunge into the arena where insuriated beasts were goaded to madness, that they might recover her fallen glove and thus prove themselves worthy of her hand, so have some of Nature's truest knights wooed her amid dangers, endured her frown, remained faithful when her purposes were least intelligible, and pressed her for the affirmative response, when it seemed as though her favours were to be for ever withheld.
While the almond-eyed daughters of China pluck the jasmine and fairy-flower merely to adorn the hair or add a grateful perfume to their person and apartments, the poet Leen is away among the ricefields and bamboo groves listening to the song of the cicada and the call of the frog, weaving their discordant yet ever tunesully accordant syllables into
No. 321.-SEPTEMBER 1891.
intelligible sounds, and making the bird and reptile alike to speak in human strains. He praises the gold of narcissus, and the purple of cockscomb or peony; descants on the softness of the evening breeze as it moans in the cypress and pine ; or goes into raptures as he recounts the wonders to be seen from the river. boat as it follows the tortuous course through defile and valley, through the haunts of the wild fowl, and the thick-peopled abodes of his brethren. China has her nature-lovers. Nor is this less true of the fair islands of the South, where man and maid alike are ready to sing the praises of orchid-epiphytes and weeping iron-wood, stringing together the while garlands of choice blossoms, producing sweet perfumes from the Makita, Bua, or Leba, and weaving their scanty garments from the paper mulberry or bright feathers of the Kula bird.
Who shall attempt to describe with what delight the Persian drink in the fragrance of the rose to the song of his native nightingale, and becoines an impromptu native poet under their combined influences ? Or who will adequately picture the delight of the untutored, yet full-souled representative, of Asia's many tribes, when, as he sits by the Meinam and watches the glittering fireflies, or basks in the delights of Himalayan forest, and Burman plain, he surrenders himself to luxurious idleness, and sways his whole being to music of his own begetting ?
These may not be recognized as members of the fraternity by your jargon-loving scientist : the naturalist who believes in having every beetle and bug named, and cabinetted in apple-pie order, knows them not; yet they are true nature-lovers, and are more in touch with the masses of their kith and kin, than all your world-enlightening doctors of science and professors of biology. These latter, worthy souls, who have created a scientific slang for their sole behooffailing to understand which you must for ever remain outside the pale of the erudite and orthodox school cannot believe it possible for nature's secret to be unlocked, save by their patent key, and utterly refuse
to recognize the value of anything which is reported of the coy maiden, unless it be put in language which is good to swear by, and can have no duplicate interpretation
They have forgotten the father that bare them and look not to the hole of the rock whence they were digged. The divine Aristotle and learned Theophrastus, because they presumed to speak of the rose and the lily in one breath, or divided plants into natural groups according to their size and lifeduration, are cast off and treated with scorn, or "damned with faint praise.” Who does not know (they ask) that the lily belongs to the monocotyledons, and the rose to the dicotyledons, while the perianth segments are petaloid in the one case, and in the other the flower is gamosepalous and polyandrous ? How edifying such knowledge as this must be to the rustic youth! How much sweeter such harmonious sounds to the gentle maiden than the fragrance of the flower or the perfume of the attar !
Without for a moment wishing to depreciate the services which a technical terminology is calculated to render to science, who does not feel that we have too long been enslaved thereby? Some years ago I took a friend into the fields, and told him the names of the meadow florets, and the woodland earth-stars. I recalled some of the traditions relating to the wind. Power and primrose, told of the fairy favours which Shakespeare found in the cowslip, and the beauty the poets had seen in the daisy; and innocently looked into his face for some indication of pleasure. He was one of your orthodox schoolmen, who knew a daisy only as “one of the corymbiferous compositæ with conical receptacle and obtuse phyllaries." What was his amazement to find that I knew nothing of these beautisul terms, and had even presumed to study nature without first studying the scientific classification! Had I told him that I had learned to read Greek without committing the alphabet to memory, or had picked my way through Horace without having learned the whole of the irregular verbs, he would probably have thought the one equally improbable with the other ; or if he had credited me with being truthful and honest, he would in all probability have
pitied me for taking such an unauthorised course to acquire knowledge.
It is too much to say of the orthodox method of studying nature in the past-Nous avons changé tout cela—as Molière puts its; but it may with truth be asserted that the new world nature-lover is doing a great deal to bring the change about.
Is it necessary for me to make the assertion that there may be nature-lovers who are not naturalists, just as there may be theologians who are not doctors of divinity, or flirts who are not real lovers? Do I need to affirm that the poet may know just as much about a celandine, and admire its golden chalice quite as largely as the botanist, though the one knows it only as the earliest of spring flowers, while the
other can recognize it by petal or stamen, carpel or nectary, as one of the thalamifloral angiosperms, belonging to the order Ranunculacex and the class Dicotyledones ?
One might have almost believed, and we could all have devoutly wished, that such books as “The History of Selborne,” and “The Journal of a Naturalist,” whose popularity has been great, would have led our scientific observers to adopt a similar style when presenting their discoveries and observations to the world. We are, however, proverbially slow in learning to adapt ourselves to the needs of the times. The man of science has a righteous abhorrence of pandering to popular taste. He prefers that his profound discoveries should be a secret to all, save to those who can plod through his cumbersome Latinunknown of Livy and Catullus, rather than that they should be told forth in the vulgar tongue, and thus made cheap and common.
It is with no wish to ignore our new school of nature-lovers and their works that I refer to one or two American authors in the first place as types of the New World writers. My title is purposely selected to refer both to the geographical and the chronological. Where shall one begin. “Whittier," one has said, "using a humble vocabulary, exercises his gentle, though uneducated genius in finding natural beauties amid the hedgerows.” Does not the same apply to many another writer from across the big pond? Did Walt Whitman ever attempt to pronounce the shibboleth of the hcnoured Asa Gray or Louis Agassiz ? Yet who, wishing to be put at once into touch with nature, would not rather take a copy of Whitman's "Specimen Days in America,” into his pocket, than carry with him “The Popular Flora” of Gray, not. withstanding all the illustrations contained in the latter?
Such a passage as the following translates us in a trice from busy mart and crowded street to the open glade and cheerful mead. “A while since the croaking of the pond-frogs, and the first white of the dogwood blossoms. Now the golden dandelions in endless profusion, spotting the ground everywhere. The white cherry and pear, blowing the wild violets with their blue eyes looking up and saluting my feet, as I saunter the wood-edge-the rosy blush of budding apple-trees—the light clear emerald hue of the wheatfields, the darker green of the rye, a warm elasticity pervading the air—the cedar-bushes profusely decked with their little brown apples, the summer fully awakening, the convocation of blackbirds, garrulous flocks of them, gathering on some tree, and making the hour and place noisy as I sit near.”
How like old Gilbert White in many respects is the annexed reference to the welcome spring emigrant.
'Crossing the Delaware, I noticed unusual numbers of swallows in flight, circling, darting, graceful beyond description, close to the water. Thick, around the bows of the ferry-boat as she lay tied in
her slip, they flew; and as we went out I watched as he mixes rape, parsnip, and squills, with mushbeyond the pier-heads, and across the broad stream, rooms, madder, and cucumber all in one book, their swift-winding loop-ribands of motion, down fringing his curiously wrought tapestry with marvellous close to it, cutting and intersecting. Though I had facts relating to flax, and closing with instructions on seen swallows all my life, it seemed as though I never the art of watering a garden ! Your man of science before realised their peculiar beauty and character in scorns all such sublunary things as these latter, and the landscape. Some time ago, for an hour, in a huge for the former, he would have you put an impassable old country barn, watching the birds flying, I recalled gulf between the crucifers and umbelifers, the the twenty-second Book of the Odyssey, where Ulysses cryptogams and phanerogams, the acotyledons and slays the suitors, bringing them to éclaircissement ; dicotyledons--not to mention others. and Minerva, swallow-bodied, darts up through the It is pleasant to know that in our own land the spaces of the hall, sits high on a beam, looks com new-world idea is progressing. I should not like to placently on the show of slaughter, and feels in her appear invidious, but cannot forbear to remark that element, exulting, joyous.”
if America has her Burroughs, and Thoreau, as well Who would not be thankful for the gistie that as her Dawson and Gray (dead, yet speaking), we should confer the power to see things thus ? Who have our Hulme and Knight, Taylor and Worselywill not love the swift-flying birds the more when he Denison, as well as our Owen and Huxley. The has noticed the rhythmic motion of its wings and one class honourably represent our naturalists, the body, or watched it forming its graceful loop-ribands other our nature-lovers, and while we look to the over the water ?
former for discoveries, systems, skeletons, we must give Turn from Whitman to Thoreau. Do not carry a warm welcome to the latter as they come forth into with you the prejudice which the critic and reviewer the open air, divested of all professional dignity, and have together within your minds by their unapprecia begin to clothe the bare skeleton—"Can these dry tive allusions, but open Walden and turn over the bones live ? "-with flesh and beauteous form. Every pages till your come to the Pond. “ It is like molten year is bringing the public into closer sympathy with glass, cooled but not congealed, and the few notes nature, and when once the eye is opened to see, and in it are pure and beautiful, like the imperfections in the ear to understand the picture and the rhythm, but glass. From a hill-top you can see a fish leap in not till then, we may hope to find among the folk, a almost any part; for not a pickerel and shiner picks due appreciation of science and her exponents. an insect from this smooth surface, but it manifestly disturbes the equilibrium of the whole lake. It is wonderful with what elaborateness this simple fact ON THE BURROWING HABITS OF THE is advertised—this piscine murder will out-and
GENUS TESTACELLA, CUVIER. from my distant perch I distinguish the circling
By C. D. HORSMAN, B.A. undulations when they are half-a-dozen rods in
AVING been much interested in the observaa
tions of Messrs. L. E. Adams, W. E. quarter of a mile off ; for they furrow the water Collinge, F. Rhodes, and B. Tomlin, which have slightly and make a conspicuous ripple bounded by lately appeared in the SCIENCE-Gossip and “ Natutwo diverging lines, but the skaters glide over it with ralist," I venture to forward some observations of my out rippling it perceptibly . ... How peaceful the own on the above genus, which differ slightly from phenomena of the lake !"
those of the above-named writers. After all what is science for, if it be not to bring
ng In speaking of T. haliotidea, Mr. Collinge says he man and nature to embrace each other rapturously, has found it at a depth of from four to five feet, and. lovingly, responsively? And how can this be accom mentions that Mr. Quilter found T. scutulum at a plished so long as we have only one language, and depth of eighteen inches. Dr. Jeffrey's mention of that the most repugnant and repulsive to popular T. maugei not being from personal observation is open taste, the language of text-books—with which to put to question. Mr. Tomlin says he has found this the one on terms of familiarity with the other ? Our last-named species from six to twelve inches below poets can do, and have done a great deal. Long the surface. fellow's " forest primeval,” Tennyson's wild flowers, I have carefully observed these three species, but Wordsworth's nature worship, have touched more have no record of ever having found any of them hearts with a love for the beautiful and sublime than below twelve inches, and in the majority of cases all your Manuals of Botany, Popular Histories of only five or six inches below the surface. I have never Science, and other well-meaning, but utterly unpalat
clean cut hole,” as mentioned by able réchauffés of natural history.
Mr. Tomlin; all I have observed have generally Are we not after all getting back again to the days commenced to burrow by burying themselves in the of Pliny, of Theophrastus, and of Dioscorides? What loose surface soil. I should like to know if they have a delightful rusticity there is about the former writer ever been observed to use the burrows of earthworms,
diameter. You can even detect a water-bug (Gyrninus) | H
as if so, they may be able to reach a great depth, but this can hardly be termed burrowing as we understand the word in regard to the mollusca. It will be as well, perhaps, to mention that my experiments were carried out a fairly heavy soil. In future observations it would be useful to state whether the soil is clayey, sandy, compact, or loose. — The Conchologist.
cont. vesicles. Colour, pale straw-yellow. From a shaded well.
My next contribution will be on the beautisul genus Nebela, and will be illustrated by numerous drawings of the chief varieties.
J. E. LORD. Rawtenstall.
THE STANDING STONES AND DOLMENS
The following notes and figures were unavoid WHO would pass the sounding surge of Scylla
unavoid ably left out of Mr. Lord's last communication on this subject :
Fig. 170. A common brown form, front and side views of A. vulgaris.
Fig. 171. A colourless variety, with a cancellated shell, approaching A. dentata.
Fig. 172. A beautiful variety of A. vulgaris, in which the summit and sides of the shell are depressed
and Charybdis unmindful of the songs of the Syrens ? who would scorn the blandishments and rose-crowns that invite the wayfarer to the ironbound coasts of Brittany? for there lies the Amorique point and portals of the Joyeuse Gard and the headlands and islands where the dwarf palm, orange, and camellia perfume the sunless northern skies. Over Bayeux, Mans, Font Evraud, and queenly Chinon, the vagrant raven has cast a sepulchral shade ; but Castle Gaillard it has a merry note, the crickets creek it, the birds can chirp it, and the frogs will reply with a bagpipe drone, “Ha te zou Gaillard !"
Well, the bakers' strike is on, a number of the “Lanterne" and "Intransigeant ” lies at my bedside, and a dream of mystery and terror starts up before me. Suddenly a rattling explosion shakes the hotel and I rush into the passage. What has occurred and who are the victims? A heavy smoke rolls up the staircase and there is a villainous taint of powder. I look out of the window over the probable scene of the accident and notice the Breton servant who is cleaning fish at the tap. Surprised at such sagacious conduct, I eagerly inquire what has happened, and I am given to believe that the landlord is endeavouring to remove a stone in his cyder-cellar. Presently I notice that the ceiling of my room is peppered over with little moths that hold their heads erect, and that a minute beetle that has drilled the wine-corks is disporting on the muslin curtains in the sun. After the smoke came up the locusts. I sally forth grateful that these are not clothes-moths, and walk down an elm avenue where the leaves hang like lace, and their edges are fringed with brown blisters. I pass onwards between hedgerows of pollard oaks and they are fluttering with the green tortrix ; I pause beside a brown pool where the amorous dragon-flies who have knit the knot, shimmer like blue and carmine floss. It is the height of summer : come, let us stray through the meadows and visit the menhirs and dolmens of our ancestors that lie thick strewn around the Gulf of Morbihan; for see, the meadow brown butterflies have found a delight in the high and leafy hedgerows, and their hind-wings as they fit show the ermine border as though they had bleached them in the blinding dust.
Pause a moment now in this narrow lane and leaping a hedge and ditch alight like the gods of old, observe this pale small tortoise-shell butterfly, whose directly opposite a tavern where a mistletoe bough is two wing-spots are barely perceptible, for it drinks hung out. The hostess greets us but strangely, deep on the purple thistle. Here though comes the You are not of this country; and as we sip the herd-girl driving a couple of bulls with the most cognac and revivifying water a revery arises. fearful horns, short, polished, and as sharp as The traveller who crosses Brittany from north to needles. Now they are past, and we breathe as a south, passes by a bloom of orchards diversified with childish voice exclaims, “They are not naughty,” swamps and river-courses where the emerald shade of but from such terrible kine may the Lord deliver us. the oak finds a foil in graceful groups and lines of the A rustic bridge conducts us onward to a grove of white poplar ; the ear instinctively catches the sound maritime pines, in whose cool shadow there is a sound of “guy” entering into the names of certain of the of humming, we look up but no resin-bespattered villages, and he commences to notice that these pearlinsects swarm around their plumy tops. Is it the bearing bunches that spring luxuriantly on the gnarly carol of a wood-nymph or the æolian breathing of apples and smooth poplars are rarely noticed bearding the summer? for nothing is here vocal save the the oaks, walnuts, or ashes ; not indeed because the long-horned beetles that repose on the bark in the birds fail to place their germs there, but because foppery of slothfulness. Stay a moment, for from they do not strike root. Now the Romans must beneath this glow of bloom whence a canaryo surely have seen these tresses of the wood-nymphs breasted bird has this moment flown, there crawls a hanging, as we do now, but it would seem probable
Fig. 175.-*, route to the principal monuments at Carnac; vr, road from Vannes ; G, Gavrinis ; L, Locmariaquer; RA, river of
Auray, RC, river of Crach; k, stones of Kermario; M, stones of Menac; av, road to Auray; s, Mont-Saint-Michel ; , Miln's Museum; C, village of Carnac; P, village of Plouharnel; T, tavern; vr, railway to Auray and Vannes.
little dapper longicorn, whose antennæ are short and bead-like. All such have superior wits, and see how in response to the insulting straw of purple toad-flax, he opens wide his jaws and sounds his musical-box with a nid-nod of the head, just to tell us he is the chocolate-coloured Glycerhiza 4-lineatum.
But farewell to the restoring shadows, for we are now on the glaring high road, only differing from those on the banks of the Loire in being less sugary and more mustard coloured ; could we dance in ring to the sound of the poet's flute and tread it with the bagpipes going on before, we might require our seven-leagued boots, for we have far to journey. At length a considerate haymaker suggests a short cut across the meadows, and propounds a problem as to how we must make for a larger village and keep a smaller one on the left, but dazed with the silken sheen of poppies and cockles alternating with bluebottles and marigolds, we miss the stone steps and
'that arriving in the frosty season, when the whiterobed Druid, mounted on the naked boughs with his golden sickle, that they mistook the poplar groves self-planted beside the pools of Chartres, or on the green sod of Anglesea for the tall and lank oaks of Italy.
But we must now really leave this elegant repository of cyder, cognac, beer and drinks innumerable, so much in advance of our drowsy public-houses, and so we anxiously inquire the way to the Gavrinis. The hostess, however, talks but little French, and she directs us to the next village, where we inquire again and are conducted to the baker. He has indeed heard of the Gaberine, but it is not near, and thus cheered we walk on so far that we do not know where we have got to; however, the spire of the village of Baden looms bluely in the distance, and here we at length arrive weary and achungered, and on entering a tavern a dish of the Venus cardilia (?)