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INTRODUCTION The world we live in is a fairyland of exquisite beauty, our very existence is a miracle in itself, and yet few of us enjoy as we might, and none as yet appreciate fully, the beauties and wonders which surround us. The greatest traveller cannot hope even in a long life to visit more than a very small part of our earth, and even of that which is under our very eyes how little we see! What we do see depends mainly on what we look... more...

Chapter I How To Identify Trees There are many ways in which the problem of identifying trees may be approached. The majority attempt to recognize trees by their leaf characters. Leaf characters, however, do not differentiate the trees during the other half of the year when they are bare. In this chapter the characterizations are based, as far as possible, on peculiarities that are evident all year round. In almost every tree there is some one... more...

CHIRP THE FIRST. The winter of 1878 was certainly an unusually dreary one, and so thought a remarkably fine young Blackbird, as he perched one morning on the bare bough of a spreading lime-tree, whose last brown leaf had fallen to the ground some weeks before. With the exception of the Scotch firs and other fortunate evergreens, there was nothing to be seen on all sides but leafless branches standing out sharply against the cold, grey sky.... more...

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 During these days of ceaseless conflict, anxiety and unrest among men, when at times it begins to look as if "the Caucasian" really is "played out," perhaps the English-reading world will turn with a sigh of relief to the contemplation of wild animals. At all events, the author has found this diversion in his favorite field mentally agreeable and refreshing. In comparison with some of the alleged men who now are cursing this earth by... more...


Information about osteological changes in the groups of reptiles that gave rise to mammals is preserved in the fossil record, but the musculature of these reptiles has been lost forever. Nevertheless, a reasonably accurate picture of the morphology and the spatial relationships of the muscles of many of these extinct vertebrates can be inferred by studying the scars or other marks delimiting the origins and insertions of muscles on the skeletons... more...

OUR PETS. This is Pol-ly's own cat, Top-sy. She looks ve-ry prim and quiet; but if you play with her, you will find she is a ve-ry mer-ry lit-tle cat. She will jump up-on the ta-ble at break-fast, and run off with Pol-ly's toast; and if mam-ma be wri-ting a let-ter, Top-sy will steal soft-ly a-long the arm of the so-fa, and rub her paw o-ver the last word mam-ma has writ-ten, and make a great blot in the let-ter. Some-times she will sit as still... more...

Chapter I. THE AGE OF REPTILES. Its Antiquity, Duration and Significance in Geologic History. Palæontology deals with the History of Life. Its time is measured in geologic epochs and periods, in millions of years instead of centuries. Man, by this measure, is but a creature of yesterday—his "forty centuries of civilization" but a passing episode. It is by no means easy for us to adjust our perspective to the immensely long spaces... more...

CHAPTER I THE LITTLE FURRY ONES THAT SLIDE DOWN HILL In the brown, balsam-smelling log cabin on the shores of Silverwater, loveliest and loneliest of wilderness lakes, the Babe's great thirst for information seemed in a fair way to be satisfied. Young as he was, and city-born, the lure of the wild had nevertheless already caught him, and the information that he thirsted for so insatiably was all about the furred or finned or feathered kindreds... more...

INTRODUCTION. There is no island in the world, Great Britain itself not excepted, that has attracted the attention of authors in so many distant ages and so many different countries as Ceylon. There is no nation in ancient or modern times possessed of a language and a literature, the writers of which have not at some time made it their theme. Its aspect, its religion, its antiquities, and productions, have been described as well by the classic... more...