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armilar circumstances, stronger than on land ; but actual com of them. Yet this bird was the largest and handsomest of its parisons, such as the author has undertaken, are not frequently tribe. So says Mr. Stejneger in an interesting paper-just issued de He has chosen two stations on the coast-viz. Cherbourg by the Smithsonian Institution-in which he records how the zad Hurst Castle-having a different position with regard to the bones referred to were found by him in 1882 near the north-ca, but at which the observations are made under nearly similar western extremity of Behring Island. In an appendix to this nditions. The results of careful comparisons under eight paper Mr. Stejneger's “find” is fully and exactly described by points of the compass, for a period of several years, plainly Mr. Frederic A. Lucas. show that in all months the northerly and north-easterly winds u Cherbourg are considerably stronger than at Hurst Castle,
We have received the first two numbers of the Scottish Journal sind that the southerly winds at Cherbourg fall considerably
of Natural History. This monthly periodical is intended to be short in strength of those at Hurst Castle. The tables show mainly a chronicle of the work done by the different Natural that the strong winds coming from the sea are on an average connected with Natural History will also be given, and we notice
History Societies in Scotland ; but short papers on subjects one degree of Beaufort's scale (1-12) heavier than those coming from the land, while, with lighter or local winds, the difference
that articles have been promised by well known men of science, often amounts to two degrees of the above scale. Information including Profs. James Geikie, G. J. Romanes, and many others. I this kind should be of use to fishermen and others when At present very few of the Scottish Natural History Societies atting to sen.
print Transactions ; so there is ample room for the new venture,
and we wish it all success. Communications are to be addressed M. PLANTAMOUR gives, in a recent number of the Archives to the Editors, care of the publisher, Mr. W. B. Robinson, # Srences, the results of his eleventh year's observations of 194 Sauchiehall Street, and 105 New City Road, Glasgow. periodic movements of the ground, as shown by spirit-levels. | appears that, while in general the east side sinks with lower The first part of the Memoirs and Proceedings of the Man125 of temperature, and rises with a rise, these movements do chester Literary and Philosophical Society for the current session not always follow with the same rapidity. A sudden change of has been issued. It contains a paper by Mr. Charles Bailey, on temperature produces at once a rise or sinking of the east side; the discovery near Ribblehead of Arenaria gothica, a plant new Isut the maxima of the ground-positions rarely coincide with the to Britain, the typical form of which has so far been recorded only maximum or minimum of temperature. This eleventh year is ex- for two Swedish localities. The Ribblehead specimens are stated sptional in that the extremes of temperature are but one or two to be more robust than those from Sweden. The issue also inLays in advance of those of the movements, whereas in previous cludes a paper by Mr. Charles H. Lees on the law of cooling and years the retardation has been a fortnight to four months behind its bearing on the theory of heat in bars; and the first part of mnimum temperature, and a fortnight to three months behind Mr. Faraday's “ Selections from the (unpublished) Corresponmaximum. In two years (1881 and 1885) the maximum of dence of Colonel John Leigh Philips, of Mayfield, Manchester” nise was even four days before the maximum of temperature. (1761-1814). The latter includes letters from Dr. Henry Clarke Thus, while temperature seems to be the chief cause of the (the mathematician), James Sowerby, and a number of other scillations, some other opposing cause must be at work. M. persons of local eminence during the latter half of the last Plantamour compared the eleven years' mean effects with the century. variations in solar intensity, but failed to detect any relation.
PROF. Weismann requests us to state that in his article on CARL Hess, the German naturalist, has proved by minute Heredity, printed in NATURE on February 6, the sentence sucroscopical investigation that the eye of the mole is perfectly beginning on p. 319, line 38, should have read—“Sir William capable of seeing, and that it is not short-sighted, as another Thomson, in endeavouring to make clear the dispersion of rays baturalist (Kadyi) would have us believe. Hess maintains that, of light by conceiving of a molecule as consisting of hollow in spite of its minute dimensions, --1 millimetre by o'9 milli. spheres enclosed one within the other and in contact with one thetre—the eye of this little creature possesses all the necessary another through springs, never believed," &c. properties for seeing that the most highly-developed eye does ; that it is indeed, as well suited for seeing as the eye of any
Two gaseous fluorides of carbon, the tetrafluoride, CF,, and the other mammal, and that in the matter of refraction it does not difluoride, C.F., have been isolated, and form the subject of differ from the normal eye. In order to bear out the theory of two simultaneous papers contributed to the current number of short-sightedness, the physiological reason was adduced that in
the Comptes rendus. One of these communications is from M. 2 subterranean runs the mole is accustomed to see things at Moissan, whose energy in this domain of chemistry appears unEhese distances, and that its eye had become gradually suited to tiring. Unlike chlorine, Aluorine directly attacks carbon with tear objects. But to this Hess objects that the mole when under varying degrees of energy, according to the form in which the graund most probably makes no use of his eyes at all, as it carbon is presented. When a current of pure fluorine is passed would be impossible to see anything owing to the absence of over the purest form of lamp-black, which has previously been byht , but that when he comes to the surface
, and especially freed from hydrocarbons by digestion with petroleum and boiling when he is swimming, he does use his eyes. In order to alcohol, combination occurs with such energy that the whole of accomplish this, he only has to alter the erect position of the lighter varieties of wood charcoal also take fire spontaneously in
the finely divided carbon becomes instantly incandescent. The buits which surround and cover his eyes, and which prevent the satry of dirt when he is under ground, and at the same time to fuorine, the gas appearing to be first condensed for a few protrude his eyes forward.
moments, and then the mass becomes suddenly incandescent and
throws off brilliant scintillations. If the density of the charcoal It seems rather strange that, while skins and eggs of the Great is greater, and there is no loose dust upon its surface, it is necesAuk are so highly valued, the public rarely hear of Pallas's sary to warm it to 50°-100°C. in order to bring about combinal'umorant, the extinction of which in the North Pacific corretion and its accompanying incandescence. When once the pounds to that of the Great Auk in the North Atlantic. Only incandescence is started at any spot it rapidly extends throughliser specimens of Pallas's Cormorant are known to exist in out the entire mass. Ferruginous graphite requires to be RESCUMA : no one possesses its eggs ; and no bones were found heated to a temperature just below dull redness, and gas " preserved until Mr. Leonhard Stejneger, of the Smithsonian retort carbon to full redness, in order to effect combination, Invitation, was so fortunate some years ago as to rescue a few while the diamond may be heated for any length of time over a
Bunsen lamp without any alteration in weight being noticeable. tion for observations, it may still be observed soon after zares The products of combination are generally gaseous mixtures of The variable, S Cygni, has not yet had its spectrum recorded CF, and probably C.F.. When the most readily attacked varieties and the approaching maximum (February 28) may therefore of carbon are employed, and only in small quantities so as to avoid taken advantage of Gore states the period as 323 days
, a. excess, the gas is almost pure CF, Carbon tetrafluoride is a If it has a banded spectrum, as may be expected from colourless gas, which liquefies under a pressure of five atmo colour, the type of spectrum will probably not be difficult spheres at 10° C. It is completely absorbed and decomposed determine, notwithstanding the faintness of the star. by an alcoholic solution of potash with production of potassium
A. FOWLLR fluoride and carbonate. On decomposing the latter salt with an PROGRESS OF ASTRONOMY IN 1886.-Ao account of the acid the volume of carbon dioxide liberated is the same as that progress of astronomy in the year 1886, by Prof. Winlock, bo of the carbon tetrafluoride used. CF, is slightly soluble in been issued from the Smithsonian Institution. Although the water, more readily in carbon tetrachloride, alcohol, or benzene. those who have not access to a large astronomical library, ib
record is primarily intended to serve as a series of notes : Determinations of its density gave numbers which agreed with bibliography will be found useful to the professional astronourer the formula CF . If excess of carbon is heated to redness in a as a reference list of technical papers. "A considerable amour platinum tube, and fluorine allowed to slowly stream through, of useful information is given in this extract from the smith another gas is obtained on collecting over water which is not sonian Report for 1886-87, the section devoted to reports en capable of being absorbed by alcoholic potash. This gas review has been effected by inserting the necessary page refe".
Observatories being very complete. A subject-index to the liquefies at 10° under a pressure of 19-20 atmospheres. M. ences to the bibliography. Moissan does not seem to have yet determined its composition,
THE MAXIMUM LIGHT INTENSITY OF THE SOLAR Srae but it appears likely to be the C.F. described in the second com- TRUM. -We have received from Dr. Mengarini his paper 5 munication by M. Chabrié. M. Moissan also states that CF, the above subject (Untersuchungen car Naturlehre des Mens" may likewise be prepared by passing vapour of carbon tetra- und der Thiere, xiv. Band, 2 Hest). After reviewing the prechloride over silver fluoride heated to a temperature of 300°C. vious work that has been done on the varying intensity of differ in a glass or metal tube. M. Chabrié shows that both CF, and he used in his researches.' The observations led him to onucutC.F. may be obtained by heating the corresponding chlorides of that the maximum of light-intensity is subject to variability : carbon with silver fluoride in a sealed tube to 220°C. In an position from day to day and hour to hour, just as the marms actual experiment 5'1 grams of AgF were heated with 1.55 of thermal and chemical effects of the spectrum, although the grams of CCI, for two hours, at the end of which time the tube, sky be clear and the atmosphere steady. Using a prisman which itself was but little attacked, was opened, and an
spectrum, it was found that the maximum light-intensiiy fucs
ated between about a 564 and D, and, generally speaking, ** almost theoretical yield of CF, obtained ; the gas was totally more pronounced in the morning than in the afternoon. Some absorbed by alcoholic potash in accordance with the equation observations made at Rome in July 1881, on clear or slight CF. + 6KOH = K,CO2 + 4KF + 3H,0. When C,Cl, was clouded days, showed that the maximum shifted from A 564** used instead of Cci,, a gas whose density corresponded to the to 584 3. formula C.F. was obtained. The experimental density was 3'43; SPECTRUM OF BORELLY's Comer, 1889.-Mr. Facithe calculated value for C,F, is 3-46. The spectra of the two house, in a letter to the Observatory, noles that he ol fluorides, according to M. Moissan, exhibit the lines of fluorine served the spectrum of this comet with a Browning ministar very clearly, together with several broad bands, resembling the bands were very vividly seen, but no other line ; on the forme
spectroscope on the 15th and 19th ultimo. The three CO flutings of carbon.
date there was a very faint continuous spectrum, but on the latter only a suspicion of such.
Spectra OF ; AND CENTAURI.-Prof. Pickering, in : OUR ASTRONOMICAL COLUMN. communication to Astronomische Nachrichten, No. 2951, recnn. OBJECTS FOR THE SPECTROSCOPE.
that an examination of the photographs of stellar spectra take*
by Mr. S. J. Baily at the Harvard Observatory station, Dear Sidereal Time at Greenwich at 10 p.m. on February 20 = Closica, Peru, shows that the F line due to hydrogen is bright Sh. 3m. 78.
in the spectra of the stars 8 and u Centauri.
ON THE STAR SYSTEM SCORPI.--Some elaborate teName. Mag. Colour. RA. 1890. Decl. 1890. searches into the orbits of the components of this system wek:
given by Dr. Schorr in an inaugural dissertation at Manich lo
versity last year. All available measures of position angle (1) G.C. 1565
and distance have been brought together and compared (2) 27 Cancri Yellowish-red.
with those derivable from the new elements found, making tuz (3) B (ancri
Yellow. (4) Canis Min. White.
computation of great value.
7.46 0 (5) 26 Pickering
h. m. s. 7 36 25 8 20 39 8 10 36
- 14 29 +13 1 + 9 32 + 12
Reddish-yellow. (6) S Cygni...
On Tuesday, Dr. Nansen lectured in Christiania on luis plus (1) “ Planetery nebula ; pretty bright, pretty small ; extremely a ship built with a special view to strength, having its sidan
for a North Pole Expedition. He advocates the employment little elongated." The spectrum has not yet been recorded. (2) A star of Group II. Dunér states that the bands are very ice, the vessel would be raised by it. The Expedition, bu
structed at such an angle that, instead of being crushed by the wide and dark in the red, but weaker in the green and blue. He does not, however, state what bands are present. Observations
thinks, should advance through the Behring Straits, where tha
: similar to those already suggested for other stars of the group the New Siberian Island the vessel would enter the ice-floes !
vessel would be carried northward by a favourable current A are required.
(3) This is stated to have a fine spectrum of the solar type by would then proceed towards the North Pole, in which dire: Vogel. The usual differential observations are required.
tion the current would probably carry it." 4) A star of Group IV. (Vogel). Usual observations The Colonies and India gives the last news from Cooktors required.
relating to Sir William Macgregor's explorations in New Guinea (5) This star has a very feeble spectrum of the Group VI. His project was to ascend the Fly River on another voyage ! type, which has not yet been fully described.
discovery. It seems that Sir William and his party, in a strar (6) Although Cygnus is not now in the most convenient posi- | launch, dropped anchor in the river on December 14 TES
lunch stranded, and fifteen canoes, carrying about 150 natives, if he does not thankfully welcome anecdotes of the creatures he Te dawn upon the explorers and commenced a savage attack. wishes to study, when these anecdotes are the result of patient The Governor's party opened fire, and the natives promptly and accurate observation. For it is precisely such information, el a retreat. After about half an hour, however, they re that is conspicuously absent from many scientific memoirs and arned, bringing a pig as a peace offering. Sir William conse- monographs ; the author generally spending his main space and Kently went 180 miles further up the river, and on his return strength in examining the shape and structure of his animals, stated the same people again, to find them quite peaceably in- and in comparing one with another, but giving the most meagre linel. The Governor started again on December 26 to explore details of their lives and habits. higher up the Fly River.
Which, then, is the more scientific treatment of a group of THE Survey Department of Burmah has in preparation a new
animals—that which catalogues, classifies, measures, weighs, rap containing all the latest information derived from the counts, and dissects, or that which simply observes and relates ? marties sent out by the Department. A preliminary issue Or, to put it in another way, which is the better thing to domiting all the mountain ranges has recently been published.
to treat the animal as a dead specimen, or as a living one?
Merely to state the question is to answer it. It is the living SIGNOR G. B. SACCHIERO, Italian Consul at Rangoon, sends animal that is so intensely interesting, and the main use of in the Balidtino of the Italian Geographical Society for the indexing, classifying, measuring, and counting is to enable December an interesting notice of the savage Chin tribes who us to recognize it when alive, and to help us to understand its lccupy the hilly region in the north of Burma about the head- perplexing actions. wsters of the Trawady. The collective tribal name is variously But, it may be objected, that because the study of the living written Chin, kyen, Kiyin, Kachin, Kakyen, &c.; but they call animal is the more interesting, it is not necessarily the more hemselves Sihu, and according to Signor Sacchiero they evi- scientific; indeed, that the amount of entertainment, which we dently belong to the Burmese branch of the Mongol stock. may get out of the pursuit of natural history, has nothing to do lu the districts brought under British rule many have already with the question at all; that by science we mean accurate plopted the Burmese dress, and these can with difficulty be knowledge presented in the most suitable form ; that shape, Hamnguished from the Burmese themselves. But the language structure, number, weight, comparison are the fundamental be more allted to that of the widespread Karen race, and the notions, with wnich sciences of every kind have to deal ; and Karen alphabet composed by the American missionaries in that scientific natural history is more properly that which takes Lumer Barma is well suited for expressing the sounds of the cognizance of a creature's size, form, bodily organs, and relaChin iliom. The Chins themselves have no knowledge of tion to other creatures, than that which concerns itself with the velfers; nor have they made any progress beyond the rudest state animal's disposition and habits. A social culture. They still go nearly naked, and the women on I can fancy that I already hear some of my audience say : arriving at the age of puberty are tattooed all over the face with “But why set up any antagonism between these two ways of u black pigment, being thus disfigured for life, either to prevent studying a creature? 'Both are necessary to its thorough comthe Burmese or the neighbouring tribes from kidnapping them, prehension, and our text-books should contain information of is else to distinguish them from the women captured by the both kinds'; we should be told how an animal is made, where sans from the surrounding peoples. They marry early, the it ought to be placed among others of the same group, and Hole requiring the consent, not of her parents, but of an elder also how it lives, and what are its ways." mother, and the husband promising not to beat her too much, Precisely; that is just what memoirs and text-books ought to her to cut her hair if she behaves well. The family yields do; but what, too often, they do not. We read much of the "bedience to the father alone, who recognizes no authority animal's organs; we see plates showing that its bristles have stiept that of the village chief, this authority passing in both been counted, and its musculır fibres traced to the last thread ; se to the youngest son. The men always carry firearms, and we have the structure of its tissues analyzed to their very elemake their own gunpowder, using instead of sulphur a seed ments; we have long discussins on its title to rank with this alled muuzlak, first roasted, and then pounded up with charcoal group or that; and sometimes even disquisitions on the probable i saltperre, three parts of the two first to twenty of the form and habits of some extremely remote, but quite hypotheE, and mixing the whole with alcohol, or tobacco juice. Both tical ancestor-some "archirotator" (to take an instance from es smoke little Indian hookahs, and their favourite drink is my own subject) who is made to degrade in this way, or to adRang a kind of beer extracted from fermented rice. They vance in that, or who is credited with one organ, or deprived of 'tre mainly by the chase, and when a boar, stag, or other big another, just as the ever-varying necessities of a desperate . ime is captured, there are great rejoicings in the village. The hypothesis require :--but of the living creature itself, of the Jury is covered from neck to tail in a red cloth, and pre-way it lives, of the craft with which it secures its prey or out" tited to the "temple," or abode of the nat (spirit); then the wits its enemies, of the home that it constructs, of its charming ** fr.eml of the nat" (priest) pronounces a blessing on the success- confidence or its diabolical temper, of its curious courtship, its lal kanter, after which all join in the feast, with much tam- droll tricks, its games of play, its fun and spite, of its perplexing
ming, shouting, drinking, and dancing through the village. stupidity coupled with actions of almost human sagacity-of ail When they descend to the plains, the Chins are Buddhists, but this, this which is the real natural history of the animal, we, too in their villages spirit-worshippers. Not only every village and often, hear little or nothing. And the reason is obvious, for prery district, but every person has his special nat, mostly a in many cases the writer has no such information to give ; and, malevolent being who requires to be pacified by propitiatory even when he has, he is compelled by fashion to give so much iezings. The vendetta is a universal institution, feuds being space to that which is considered to be the more scientific portion inherited from family to family, from tribe to tribe, and thus of his subject
, that he has scant room for the more interesting. Irailing to constant bloodshed. If a man is drowned, his son Neither ought we to be surprised if a writer is " gravelled for treia vengeance on the water where he perished by piercing it the lack of matter," when he comes to speak of an animal's with spears or slashing it about with long knives. Many of the life ; for the study of the lives of a large majority is a difficult i hins have already tendered their submission to the British one. It requires not only abundant leisure, but superabundant sthorities, and arrangements are now in progress for extending patience, a residence favourably situated for the pursuit, and an Sedly government over the whole territory.
equally favourable condition of things at home. The student, too, must be ready to adopt the inconvenient hours of the crea
tures that he watches, and be indifferent to the criticisms of ON SOJE VEEDLESS DIFFICULTIES IN
those that watch him. If his enthusiasm will not carry him, THE STUDY OF NATURAL HISTORY.'
without concern, through dark nights, early mornings, vile
weather, fatiguing distances, and caustic chaff, the root of the A LITTLE while ago I read, in the preface to a work on matter is not in him. Besides, he ought to have a natural apti
natural history, that the book was of little value to the tude for the pursuit, and know how to look for what he wants sientific realer, but that its various anecdotes, and its minute to see ; or if he does not know, to be able to make a shrewd Ietail of observation would be found useful and entertaining." What, tben, may the scientific reader” be expected to to have wit enough to invent some means of making them so.
guess : and, above all, when circumstances are not favourable, leszre?' He must be, in my opinion, a most unreasonable man, And yet when the place, the man, the animals, and the circum"real meeting, on February 12, i figo, by Dr. C. T. Hudson, F.R. S. The Presidential Address to the Royal Microscopical Society, at the stances all seem to promise a rich harvest of observations, how
often it happens that some luckless accident, a snapt twig, a
lost glass, a hovering kestrel, a sudden gust of wind, a roving water we fear to drink, teem with forms more amazing than an dog, or a summer shower, robs the unlucky naturalist of his with which our fancy has peopled the distant stars, and that the due ; nay, it sometimes happens that, startled by some rare actions of some of the humblest arouse in as the bewildering sight, or lost in admiration of it, he himself lets the happy suspicion, that, even in these invisible specks, there is a fais moment slip, and is obliged to be contented with a sketch from foreboding of our own dual nature. memory, when he might have had one from life.
If, then, we make some few exceptions, we are entitled tog But I have not yet got to the bottom of my budget-the that the study of natural history depends for its existence on the heaviest trouble still remains; and that is, that the result of a pleasure that it gives, and the curiosity that it excite day's watching will often go into a few lines, or even into a few gratifies : and yet, if this be so, see how cruelly we often tres words; and so it happens, that the writer of the history of a it. Round its fair domain we try to draw a triple rampan natural group of animals is too frequently driven to fill up his uncouth words, elaborate, yet ever-changing classifications, so space with minute analysis of structure, discussions on classifica- exasperatingly minute subdivisions; and we place these dis tion, disputes on the use of obscure organs, or descriptions of culties in the path of those whose advantages are the least, thus trifling varieties ; which, exalted to the rank of species, fill his who have neither the vigorous tastes that enable them to de pages with wearisome repetitions ; for were he, before he writes such obstacles at a bound, nor the homes whose fortunate positius his book, to endeavour to make himself acquainted with the enables them to slip round them. For modern town life fors i habits of all the creatures he describes, his own life-time might constantly increasing number of students to take their natani be spent in the pursuit.
history from books, and too often these are either espelun We will now take a different case, and suppose that many volumes beyond their reach, or disinal abridgments, which here years have been spent in the constant and successful study of the shrunk, under examination pressure, till they are little else thus animals themselves ; and that the time has come, when the a stony compound of the newest classification and the oldes naturalist may write his book, with the hope of treating, with woodcuts. due consideration, the most interesting portion of his subject. He But the happier country lad wanders among fields is now beset with a new class of difficulties, and finds that pub- hedges, by moor and river, sea-washed cliff and shore, len lishers and scientific fashion alike, combine to drive him into the ing zoology as he learnt his native tongue, not in paradiga old groove : for the former limit his space, by naturally demur- and rules, but from Mother Nature's own lips. He knows ite ring to a constantly increasing number of plates and an ever birds by their flight, and (still rarer accomplishment) by the lengthening text ; while the latter insists so strongly on having a cries. He has never heard of the Edirnemus crepitani, ito complete record of the structure, and points of difference, of Charadrius pluvialis, or the Squatarola cinerea, but he can be every species, however insignificant, that it is hardly possible to a plover's nest, and has seen the young brown peewits pernia do much more than give that record -a mere dry shuck, emptied at him from behind their protecting clods. He has watched. of nearly all that makes natural history delightful.
cunning flycatcher leaving her obvious, and yet invisible your And so we come round again to the point that I have already in a hole in an old wall, while it carried of the pellets that muel: glanced at, viz. “Ought natural history to be delightful ?” have betrayed their presence; and has stood so still to see it
Ought it to be delightful! Say, rather, ought it to exist ? male redstart, that a field-mouse has curled itself up og 2 What title has the greater part of natural history to any existence warm foot and gone to sleep. He gathers the delicate buds of but that it charms us? It is true that this study may help-does the wild rose, happily ignorant of the forty-odd names under help many—to worthier conceptions of the unseen, to loftier which that luckless plant has been smothered, and if, perchaps, hopes, to higher praise; that it gives us broader and sounder his last birthday has been made memorable by the gift of a notions of the possible relation of animals, not only to one microscope, before long he will be glorying in the transparer another, but also to ourselves ; that it provides us with the beauties of Asplanchna, unaware that he ought to crusta la material for fascinating speculations on the embryology of our living prize, in order to find out which of some half-dozen equal passions and mental powers; and that it may even serve to sug- barbarous names he ought to give it. gest theories of the commencement and end of things, of matter, The faults, indeed, of scientific names are sa glaring, and the of life, of mind, and of consciousness—grave questions, scarcely subject is altogether so hopeless, that I will not waste eithe to be dealt with successfully by human faculties, but in a condi- your time or my patience by dilating on it. But, while adauti tion to be discussed with infinite relish.
that distinct creatures must have different names, and very When I speak, then, of the pleasure we derive from the study luctantly admitting that it seems almost impossible to alter the of natural history, I include these graver and higher pleasures present fashion of giving them, I see no reason why these. in the word.
well as the technical names of parts and organs, should not be Here and there, too, no doubt, the knowledge of the powers kept as much as possible in the background, and not suffered! and habits of animals is materially useful to us; and, indeed, bristle so in every page, that we might almost ay with in in the case of some of the minuter organisms, may be of terrible "There are thistles growing instead of wheat, and cockle instes importance ; but, in that of the large majority of creatures, we of barley.". might go out of the world unconscious of their existence (as, We laughed at the droll parody in which the word changu indeed, very many people do), and yet, unlike the little jackdaw, defined as “a perichoretical synechy of pamparallagmatic al not be "a penny the worse. For what is a man the better for porroteroporeumatical differentiations and integrations," ye ! studying butterflies, unless he is delighted with their beauty, their would not be a difficult matter to point out sentences, in recen structure, and their transformations? Why should he learn any works on our favourite pursuits, that would suggest a simils thing about wasps and ants, unless their ways give him a thrill travesty. No doubt, new notions must often be clothed in Dee of pleasure? What can the living plumes of the rock-zoophytes language, and the severer studies of embryology and develop do for us, but ’witch our eyes with their loveliness, or entrance ment require a minute precision of statement that leads to the us with the sight of their tiny fleets of medusa- huds, watery invention of a multitude of new terms. Moreover, the idea tha ghostlets, fitting away, laden with the fate of future generations? the meaning of these terms should be contained in the man
When, at dusk, we steal into the woods to hear the nightin- themselves is excellent; but I cannot say that the result is happygale, or watch the night-jar, what more do we hope for than to I might almost say that it is repulsive; and if we suffer this langer delight our ears with the notes of the one, or our eyes with the to invade the more popular side of natural history, I fear that Aight of the other? When the microscope dazzles us with the we shall only write for one another, and that our scientit sight of a world, whose inhabitants and their doings surpass the treatises will run the risk of being looked at only for their wildest flights of nightmare or fairy tale, do we speculate on plates, and of being then bound up with the Russian anal what possible service this strange creation may render us? Do Hungarian memoirs. we give a thought to the ponderous polysyllables that these mites The multiplication of species, too, is a crying evil, and the bear in our upper world, or to their formal marshalling into exasperating alterations of their names, in consequene el ranks and companies, which are ever being pulled to pieces, to changing classifications, is another. The former, of course, be again re-arranged? No! it is the living creature itself which mainly due to the difficulty, no doubt a very great one of deachains us to the magic tube. For there we see that the mining what shall be a species, and what a variety: Hor dream of worlds peopled with unimagined forms of life-with widely experts may differ on this question, Darwin has show. sentient beings whose ways are a mystery, and whose thoughts by pointing out that, excluding several polymorphic genera und we cannot even guess at—is a reality that lies at our very feet; many trifling varieties, nearly two hundred British series, which that the air we breathe, the dust that plagues our nostrils, the are generally considered varieties, have all been rankel by
mists as species; and that one expert has made no fewer already known in points, whose importance is due solely to thirty-seren species of one set of forms, which another arbitrary rules of classification. ge in three. Besides, even in the cases where successive This eagerness, to find something new, errs not only in mirsts have agreed in separating certain forms, and in con- wasting time and thought on matters essentially trivial and dull, ing them true species, it happens now and then, as it did but in neglecting things of the greatest interest, which are always pell, that a chance discovery throws down the barriers, and and everywhere within reach." Take, for instance, the case of half-a-dozen species into one.
Melicerta ringens. What is more common, what more lovely, nder these circumstances one would have expected that the than this well-known creature?. And yet how much there ency would have been to be chary of making new species, remains to be found out about it. No one, for example, has
so doubt this is the practice of the more experienced ever had the patience to watch the animal from its birth to its raksts ; but, among the less experienced, there is a bias in death; to find out its ordinary length of life, the time that it pposite direction, and all of us, I fear, are liable to this takes to reach its full growth, the period that elapses between when we have found something new ; for, even if it is its full growth and death, or, indeed, if there be such a period. wat msignificant, we are inclined to say with Touchstone, And yet even these are points which are well worth the settling. For thing, sir, but mine own!" Now, were this fault For, if Melicerta reaches its full growth any considerable time Lai, much would be avoided that tends to make monographs before the termination of its lise, it would seem
probable that, epensive and dull; for, though the needs of science , owing to the constant action of its cilia, it would either raise its ure å minute record of the varieties of form, which are tube far above the level of its head, or else be constantly aumes of high importance from their bearing on scientific ' engaged in the absurd performance of making its pellets and De, yet the description of them, as varieties, may often be then throwing them away. Who has ever found it in such a "ssed in a line or two, when nothing further
is set forth condition, or seen it so engaged? yet the uninterrupted action of • their points of difference; whereas, if these forms are the pellet cup would turn out the six thousand pellets, which
to the rank of species, they are treated with all the spaced form the largest tube that I am acquainted with, in about eight aguities of titles, lists of synonyms, specific characters, &c., days, and those of an average tube in less than three ; while the
and so take up a great deal of valuable room, weary the animal will live (according to Mr. J. Hood)? nearly three ent with repetitions, and divert his attention from the typical months in a zoophyte trough, and no doubt much longer in its
natural condition. It is true that the creature's industry in It when everything has been done that seems desirable, tube-making is not continuous. It is often shut up inside its tube, a cames and classincation have been made both simple and when all ciliary action ceases; and, moreover, when expanded,
, and the number of species reduced to a minimum, there it may be seen at times to allow the formed pellet to drift away, sul remain the difficulty that monographs must, from the instead of depositing it; but, allowing for this, there is no little use of the case, generally be grave, as well as expensive difficulty in understanding how it is that, with so vigorous a 19 of reference, rather than pleasant, readable books, within piece of mechanism as the pellet-cup, the tube at all ages, reach of the majority. I would suggest then, that, if it be except the earliest, so exactly fits the animal
. I am aware that 1!, each group of animals should be described not only by it has been stated that the whole of the cilia (including those of al embracing monograph, to be kept for reference on the the pellet-cup) are under the animal's control, and that their soul cielles like our own, but by a book that would deal action can be stopped, or even reversed, at pleasure. But this, with a moderate number of typical, or very striking forms; I think, is an error. Illusory appearances, like those of a turning would describe them fally, illustrate them liberally from cog-wheel, may be produced by viewing the ciliary wreath from and give an ample account of their lives and habits.
certain points, and under certain conditions of illumination; and a book should give as little of the classification as these apparent motions are often reversed, or even stopped, by a 1.68 ; I should avoid the use of technical terms, and above slight alteration either in the position of the animal, in the direction a bould be written with the earnest desire of so interesting of the light, or in the focussing of the objective. When, how1 suder in the subject, that he should Aing it aside, and rush ever, under any circumstances, the cilia themselves are distinctly u bod the animals themselves. By this means we should seen, they are invariably found to be simply moving up and aly get that active army of out-of-door observers, which down ; now turning sharply towards their base, and now > 30 greuly needs; but, by bringing the account of each recovering their erect position. Even the undoubtedly real into a reasonable compass, we should enable students of reversal of the revolution of the pellet in its cup, which is
basy to get a fair knowledge of many subjects, and so constantly taking place, can be easily explained by purely aly waten their ideas and multiply their pleasures.
mechanical considerations, and consistently with the continuous Hos why should we be content to read only one or two up and down motion of the cilia. Moreover, of the actual
se ai Nature's book? To be interested in many things— stoppage of the cilia, in the expanded Rotiferon, I have As almost said in everything-and thus to have unfailing never seen a single instance. In all cases, on the slightest
able ocupation for our leisure hours, is no bad receipt for opening of the corona, the cilia begin to quiver, and they are genesBur hfe is short, and its duties leave
scant time for always in full action, even before the disk is quite expanded ; La pauraits ; so that to acquire a specialist's knowledge of one while, should a portion of the coronal disk chance to be torn away, el would often be to exchange the choice things of many its cilia will continue to beat for some time after its severance : is lor the uninteresting things of one. And how uninter so that there is good reason for believing, that the ciliary action w many of them are! How is it possible for any human, is beyond the animal's control. La v take pleasure in being able to distinguish between a It is possible, indeed, that Melicerta may continue to grow (as. Hand simuar creatures, that differ from one another in some / Mr. Hood says that the Floscules appear to do) as long as it 1o Bg malier; that have a spike or two more or less on their lives; or it may adopt the plan of some species of Ecistes, lax or a varying number of undulations in the curve of their which, to prevent themselves from being hampered by their 1. differently set clumps of bristles on their foreheads ?' ever-growing tubes, quit their original station at the bottom of big shuald we waste our time, and our thoughts, on such the tube, and attach themselves to it above, creeping gradually en The specialist, unfortunately, must know these things, upwards as the tabe lengthens. At any rate it would be sell a a hundred others equally painful to acquire and to interesting and instructive to watch the growth of a Melicerta, 1, and no doubt he has his reward; but that reward is not the and the building of its tube, from the animal's birth to its death. ir lengot that is to be found in the varied study of the humbler An aquarium, in which Melicerta would live healthily and breed balsh;
of those beings "whom we do but see, and as little freely, could easily be contrived, and a little ingenuity would be their skate, or can describe their interests or their destiny, enable the observer to remove any selected individual to a We can lell of the inhabitants of the sun and moon; .. crea- zoophyte trough and back again, without injury; and his trouble m. who are as much strangers to us, as mysterious, as if they perhaps would be further repaid by such a sight as once delighted e une falalous, unearthly beings, more powerful than man, my eyes at Clifton, where I picked, from one of the tanks of aus alaves, which Eastern superstitions have invented.”. the Zoological Gardens, some Vallisneria, whose ribbon-like Bue, then, who are blest with a love of natural history leaves were literally furred with the yellow-brown tubes of IQ sever call their keen appreciation of the wonders and was of living things, by studying minute specific differences ;
" Mr. Hood, of Dundee, has kept in his troughs Melicerta ringens for 79 y undertaking the uninteresting office of finding and record days, Limnias ceratophylli for 83 days, Cephalosiphon limnias for 89 days
the Floscularice usually lived ab jut 50 days; but F. Hoodii died, before | mimah, that may indeed be rare, but which differ from those maturity, in 16 days.