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PREFACE. The Editor of this work, by Her Majesty's Artiste, Mrs. Peachey, fairly entitled the Royal Guide to Wax Flower Modelling, would fain leave the introduction, written by the same hand which rivals nature in her varying adornments, to unfold its historic, its poetic, its moral, and its suggestive graces—for it combines these; but having accepted the part, without which, since the days of Plato, no book is deemed complete, he essays a... more...

AUTHOR'S PREFACE. I have long regretted my inability to issue a revised edition of 'Nests and Eggs.' For many years after the first Rough Draft appeared, I went on laboriously accumulating materials for a re-issue, but subsequently circumstances prevented my undertaking the work. Now, fortunately, my friend Mr. Eugene Gates has taken the matter up, and much as I may personally regret having to hand over to another a task, the performance of... more...

Among the manifold operations of living creatures few have more strongly impressed the casual observer or more deeply interested the thoughtful student than the transformations of insects. The schoolboy watches the tiny green caterpillars hatched from eggs laid on a cabbage leaf by the common white butterfly, or maybe rears successfully a batch of silkworms through the changes and chances of their lives, while the naturalist questions yet again... more...

CHAPTER I: THE BLACK-BELLIED TARANTULA The Spider has a bad name: to most of us, she represents an odious, noxious animal, which every one hastens to crush under foot.  Against this summary verdict the observer sets the beast’s industry, its talent as a weaver, its wiliness in the chase, its tragic nuptials and other characteristics of great interest.  Yes, the Spider is well worth studying, apart from any scientific reasons; but... more...

LET us now, in order to form a clearer conception of the bees' intellectual power, proceed to consider their methods of inter-communication. There can be no doubting that they understand each other; and indeed it were surely impossible for a republic so considerable, wherein the labours are so varied and so marvellously combined, to subsist amid the silence and spiritual isolation of so many thousand creatures. They must be able, therefore, to... more...


THE DISOBEDIENT WOODPECKER ONG, long ago, at the beginning of things, they say that the Lord made the world smooth and round like an apple. There were no hills nor mountains: nor were there any hollows or valleys to hold the seas and rivers, fountains and pools, which the world of men would need. It must, indeed, have been a stupid and ugly earth in those days, with no chance for swimming or sailing, rowing or fishing. But as yet there was no... more...

Founded on the Leading Characteristics of the Horse. FIRST.—That he is so constituted by nature that he will not offer resistance to any demand made of him which he fully comprehends, if made in a way consistent with the laws of his nature. SECOND.—That he has no consciousness of his strength beyond his experience, and can be handled according to our will, without force. THIRD.—That we can, in compliance with the laws of his... more...

Preface. I have been called upon to write illustrative sketches to a series of engravings, designed by an eminent artist. In performing my part of the work I have thrown the Mammalia into twenty-four groups—corresponding more or less to the picture designs—and have dwelt chiefly on the geographical distribution of the animals. The Cetaceae and Vespertilionidae are properly omitted. In the groups given there is no attempt made at... more...

MY ROBIN There came to me among the letters I received last spring one which touched me very closely. It was a letter full of delightful things but the delightful thing which so reached my soul was a question. The writer had been reading "The Secret Garden" and her question was this: "Did you own the original of the robin? He could not have been a mere creature of fantasy. I feel sure you owned him." I was thrilled to the centre of my being.... more...

PREFACE To gather stones and fallen boughs is soon to ask, what may be done with them, can they be piled and fastened together for shelter? So begins architecture, with the hut as its first step, with the Alhambra, St. Peter's, the capitol at Washington, as its last. In like fashion the amassing of fact suggests the ordering of fact: when observation is sufficiently full and varied it comes to the reasons for what it sees. The geologist delves... more...