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PREFACE. This book has been prepared with the idea that teachers generally would be glad to introduce into their classes work dealing with the real objects of nature, provided the work chosen were of a character that would admit of its being studied at all seasons and in all localities, and that the subject were one of general interest, and one that could be taught successfully by those who have had no regular scientific instruction. The trees... more...

PREFACE Ever since my camping life with the aborigines of Queensland, many years ago, it has been my desire to explore New Guinea, the promised land of all who are fond of nature and ambitious to discover fresh secrets. In furtherance of this purpose their Majesties, the King and Queen of Norway, the Norwegian Geographical Society, the Royal Geographical Society of London, and Koninklijk Nederlandsch Aardrijkskundig Genootschap, generously... more...

CHAPTER 1. THE HARMAS. This is what I wished for, hoc erat in votis: a bit of land, oh, not so very large, but fenced in, to avoid the drawbacks of a public way; an abandoned, barren, sun-scorched bit of land, favoured by thistles and by Wasps and Bees. Here, without fear of being troubled by the passers-by, I could consult the Ammophila and the Sphex (two species of Digger-or Hunting-wasps.—Translator's Note.) and engage in that difficult... more...

JOHN BURROUGHS John Burroughs was born April 3, 1837, in a little farmhouse among the Catskill Mountains. He was, like most other country boys, acquainted with all the hard work of farm life and enjoyed all the pleasures of the woods and streams. His family was poor, and he was forced at an early date to earn his own living, which he did by teaching school. At the age of twenty-five he chanced to read a volume of Audubon, and this proved the... more...

Preface. In the following pages I have endeavoured to give, in a series of picturesque sketches, a general view of the natural history as well as of the physical appearance of North and South America. I have first described the features of the country; then its vegetation; and next the wild men and the brute creatures which inhabit it. However, I have not been bound by any strict rule in that respect, as my object has been to produce a work... more...


I GULO THE INDOMITABLE If his father had been a brown bear and his mother a badger, the result in outward appearance would have been Gulo, or something very much like him. But not all the crossing in the world could have accounted for his character; that came straight from the Devil, his master. Gulo, however, was not a cross. He was himself, Gulo, the wolverine, alias glutton, alias carcajou, alias quick-hatch, alias fjeldfras in the... more...

The Freedom of the Black-faced Ram   n the top of Ringwaak Hill the black-faced ram stood motionless, looking off with mild, yellow eyes across the wooded level, across the scattered farmsteads of the settlement, and across the bright, retreating spirals of the distant river, to that streak of scarlet light on the horizon which indicated the beginning of sunrise. A few paces below him, half-hidden by a gray stump, a green juniper bush, and... more...

The Tinochorus is closely related to some other South American birds. Two species of the genus Attagis are in almost every respect ptarmigans in their habits; one lives in Tierra del Fuego, above the limits of the forest land; and the other just beneath the snow-line on the Cordillera of Central Chile. A bird of another closely allied genus, Chionis alba, is an inhabitant of the antarctic regions; it feeds on sea-weed and shells on the tidal... more...

The subject of inheritance is an immense one, and has been treated by many authors. One work alone, 'De l'Hérédité Naturelle,' by Dr. Prosper Lucas, runs to the length of 1562 pages. We must confine ourselves to certain points which have an important bearing on the general subject of variation, both with domestic and natural productions. It is obvious that a variation which is not inherited throws no light on the derivation... more...

CHAPTER I The Greatest Cataclysm in American History THE UNCONTROLLABLE FORCES OF NATURE—THE DEVASTATION OF OMAHA—THE TERROR OF THE FLOOD—A VIVID PICTURE OF THE FLOOD—THE TRAGEDY OF DEATH AND SUFFERING—THE SYMPATHY OF NATIONS—THE COURAGE OF THE STRICKEN—MEN THAT SHOWED THEMSELVES HEROES. Man is still the plaything of Nature. He boasts loudly of conquering it; the earth gives a little shiver and his... more...