Puslapio vaizdai

edge of the cliffs, or to the huge carts running on tramways for the same purpose.

The principal hill of guano is in the background, with the laborers at work on its side. This was originally sixty or seventy feet in height above the natural rock of the island. The color varies very much, in some parts being as dark as warm sepia, and in others as light as that of a Bath brick where the men are digging, the ammonia is very powerful, affecting the eyes; it is often found in nearly a pure state, in large crystallized lumps. Passing round to the westward, toward the passage between the north and middle islands (which was crowded with ships, principally American,) we came upon the southwest shoots, which I chose for the other sketch. The hut to the right is the

head-quarters of the man employed to regulate the loading and dispatch of the boats. which are seen under the shoots receiving the guano. The inclosure in the foreground, over the shoots, is to prevent waste by the wind blowing it away, and to enable the workmen to form a constant collection near the mouths of the canvas tubes, seventy feet in length. Following the cliffs to the left are seen the huts of the Chinese, and another shoot, with an embankment and tramway on it leading to the quarries. The cart is just tilted: the horse draws it back up the incline. In the background stands a machine intended for scooping out the guano; but it is in disuse, as it did not answer. Close behind it, on the north side of the hill, but not in view, are the settlement, Governor's house, etc. The cliffs are perforated in all di

[graphic][merged small]

rections, forming picturesque arches and caves. They are also working the middle island, an English ship lying under a shoot one hundred and forty feet in length, the cliffs being perpendicular. The surface of the guano is covered with skeletons of birds and bones of seals; and I brought away, as a reminiscence, the tusks of three from the skulls imbedded in the soil, which is like a rabbit warren, from the hundreds of holes running in every direction. These are made by a bird about the size of a pigeon, which remains hidden during the day, sallying forth at dusk to fish.

The south and smallest island has not yet been touched. We landed, and, with some difficulty, scrambled up the face of the rock, ascending by a steep hill to the top, which is literally covered in one part down to the sea with skeletons of sea-lions and seals, the former as large as twelve and fourteen feet in length. It is supposed that they crawl to the highest point as they feel death approaching. The guano on this island is perforated by the birds even more than on the middle one, and as we walked we were constantly breaking through the crust, and sinking half way to the knee. Two birds, with an egg, were dragged from their hidingplace.

There is much diversity of opinions respecting the formation of the guano. Considering its depth, (it being in some places one hundred and forty feet above the natural rock,) its great solidity, and the extent of its superficial area, it would appear impossible that any number of birds since the Flood could have been the cause; yet deep below the surface, and in the center of the hill, eggs and skeletons of birds are constantly found. It affords a subject for discussion, but I doubt if there will ever be a unanimous opinion respecting it. Gold and silver ornaments are discovered occasionally, having been buried by the ancient Peruvians more than three centu

ries ago.

We remained on the island nine days, on two of which, being Sundays, our chaplain's congregation was increased on one occasion by about forty, and on the last by one hundred people from the merchant vessels. It must be borne in mind that there were many more ships in the passage and also to the north than I have represented



THE common stickleback of our rivulets is a much more interesting member of the great fish family than careless observers might suppose. His strength, his courage, his capacity for enduring almost any degree of heat or cold, his ability to live either in salt or fresh water, and, lastly, the singular instinct which gifts him with the desire and power to construct a "nest" for the protection of his offspring, place him, notwithstanding his diminutive size, in the ranks of royalty among fishes.

The stickleback belongs to a class of fishes termed Acanthopterygii, from the dorsal and lateral defensive spines with which they are furnished. The generic term by which the special family Stickleback is distinguished is Gasterosteus, from the Greek word gaster, the stomach, and osteon, a bone, in allusion to the bony plates by which the sides of the stomach are defended. These little fish have also other popular names, which likewise refer to the plate-armor with which their sides are defended, or their sharp aggressive spine. These names are, Sharplin, Banstickle, Prickleback, etc. The different species are distinguished by the number of defenssive plates, or of spines. One small and very pretty kind is the ten-spined stickleback (Gasterpungitius;) while the most rare of the family, seldom, if ever, found in fresh water, is the fifteen-spined stickleback (Gasterspinachia.) This last, however, will also, like his congeners, live in fresh water. He is, indeed, of aspect sufficiently distinct to account for his difference of habit, being formed almost like a short eel, but stamped indisputably as a true stickleback by his spines, and other gasterostean characteristics, not omitting his nest-building faculty, in which he is nearly as distinguished an architect as his brethren of the brooks.

Among other interesting peculiarities of these little fish, is their chamelion-like power of assuming different colors under different influences. In the breeding season, or when agitated in the almost continual conflicts which they wage against each other, their usual dull green changes to the gayest hues of scarlet contrasted with milky white, the most vivid grassgreen with purple, and sometimes in combat becoming, in their most terrible anger, nearly jet-black. The vanquished, how


ever, soon loses his bright hues, recovering a faint reflection of them at the moment of dissolution, as though in the delirium of his last agony he saw himself the victor instead of the vanquished. Placed in a tank with others of his own size, he never ceases to combat till he remains undisputed monarch of his domain; so that it is impossible to keep a number in the same vessel. A single pair, however, under fortunate circumstances, might exhibit the interesting spectacle of the construction of the nest.

Nest-architecture has been generally thought to be confined to birds; for the few quadrupeds which have been described as making nests-such as the rabbit, the field-mouse, and the squirrel-merely prepare beds for their young. The only true nests, therefore, except those of birds, are constructed by fishes; and yet, till M.

Coste read his interesting paper on the "Nidification of Sticklebacks" at the French Academy, modern naturalists knew nothing of this peculiarity in the habits of fishes, at least they published nothing; though Aristotle had stated above two thousand years ago that a certain little fish constructed a nest like that of a bird; a statement that was either overlooked, discredited, or disregarded. Clive, it is true, among modern naturalists, stated that the black gobie deposited its spawn in a kind of nest; and it is now thought that this was the fish alluded to by Aristotle.

M. Coste was enabled by a long series of unwearied observations to describe the whole process of construction of the stickleback's nest; and the following narrative, as subsequently detailed by Orbelin, is the 1esult of his interesting discoveries.

At spawning-time the males-for they are the builders, the ladies remaining perfectly passive-may be seen busily engaged preparing for the erection of the family-nursery, evidently an arduous task for such miniature architects. Every bit of the material is carried in the tiny mouth, and often from considerable distances. His various contrivances to prevent the foundation of his structure from being carried away by the stream are exceedingly interesting; the most common being the deposit of a layer of sand on the lighter materials, which he also brings in his mouth. The floor thus formed, is cemented by means of a gluten which he obtains from his own skin by continuous rubbing; an operation from which he evidently suffers great fatigue, and sometimes appears for a time quite overcome in the effort.

His next process is to attach a row of small uprights, or twig-columns, to this base; in the performance of which he exhibits the most fastidious delicacy of taste, taking them out over and over again to refix them in a position more to his mind. Sometimes he may find a portion of the materials unsuitable; in which case he takes down a part or the whole of the structure, regardless of fatigue and trouble, and carries the useless lumber to a distance, so as not to encumber his future proceedings. As the walls rise he cements them as he had previously done the base, and then completes the roof in a similar manner. The structure when quite complete has two entrances-a front and back door, as it were-which he preserves in the desired form by frequently pressing in and out in opposite directions, so as to keep the nest in form and sufficiently open.

When the nest is finished fatal combats often ensue for its possession; and when at 'last preserved or conquered, the triumphant male invites some favorite female to come and occupy the edifice, over which he keeps guard during the whole time she is depositing her eggs; always wearing in honor of the joyful occasion his brightest hues of white and scarlet, or more regal purple. He continues to maintain his guard in full uniform until the eggs, or spawn, are all hatched, and the young fry begin to disperse; and then retires, his office over, and his gay colors faded to the usual dusky green.

THE DUTCH IN NEW YORK. ́N 1663, according to Mr. Watson, a.

presented their gable ends to the street; and all the most important buildings, as the "Stuyvesant Huys" and the "Stadt Huys," were set in the foreground, to be seen the more readily from the river. The chief part of the town then lay along the East, at that time called Salt River, the ground gradually descending from the high ridge corresponding to the line of Broadway. The three half moon forts, named the Rondeels, were built at equal distances for the defense of the place, the first at Coenties Slip, and the third at the "Water Gate," on the outer bounds of the city, being the foot of the present Wallstreet. Between Moore and Whitehall streets lay the shipyards, and where now tower stately trees on the Battery were numerous rocks forming "the Ledge.”

In our last number we gave an engraving of a group of old Dutch tenements formerly standing on the corner of Broad and Garden streets, whose places are now occupied by immense warehouses; and also a sketch of an old grocery, bearing the number 41 Broad-street. Whether it was erected by a Stuyvesant, a Hardenbrook, or a Schermerhorn, is not known. It escaped the great conflagration of 1776, and in 1830, when still occupied, as the sign on the door indicates, was known to be one hundred and thirty-two years old.

As the first settlers of New Amsterdam were from Amsterdam in Holland, they brought with them to the New World the same manners, customs, and opinions that prevailed in the land of their nativity. The fashion of their apparel and the form of their dwellings, in particular, were fac similes of such as they had been familiar with in Holland, where gable fronts, leaden windows, and sharp pointed roofs are characteristic features of both city and village-of the stadtholder's palace, the burgomaster's mansion, and the peasant's hut. Thus the young has outgrown the old; and in the native home of the Hollanders we have often lingered over those quaint old scenes for which one looks in vain among their children in the Western World.

The cottage style was usually adopted by the founders of New Amsterdam. Most of their buildings consisted of a single

story, independent of the sharp-angled roof before mentioned. It is true some of the more wealthy could boast of a second story, and a few of the higher class even of a third, but these latter were considered as palaces among the humble edifices of the commonality. The walls of the buildings were constructed of small black and yellow bricks called clinkers, imported for the purpose from Holland, and serving as ballast for the ships in which they were brought across the Atlantic. The lime used by the builders was made of oyster shells, with which the bay and the rivers at that time abounded; and this mortar was found after the lapse of two hundred years to be harder than the bricks themselves.

In some instances, however, the houses were constructed of wood, with a brick front next the street, a mode of building which prevailed a long time in the city, especially with those who wished to make some show at little expense. But in whatever manner the building was constructed its gable end always faced the street, and generally terminated in battlements that resembled two opposing flights of stairs, starting at the eaves on each side of the front, ascending with the angle of the roof, and meeting at a little brick turret which surmounted its apex.

The acute angle of the roof was well calculated to avert the danger to which buildings of a different shape would have been exposed from the heavy falls of snow prevalent at that period. On the gable front were four large iron figures, designating the year in which the building was erected, and at the same time serving the purpose of what modern builders called anchors, to secure the walls and floor timbers. In his description of New Amsterdam, the good, but somewhat facetious Knickerbocker says:

sion for cleanliness was the leading principle in domestic economy, and the universal test of an able housewife, a character which formed the utmost ambition of our unenlightened grandmothers. The front door was never open except on marriages, funerals, New Year's day, the festival of St. Nicholas, or some such great occasion. It was ornamented with a gorgeous brass knocker, curiously wrought, sometimes in the device of a dog, and sometimes of a lion's head, and was daily burnished with such religious zeal that it was oftentimes worn out by the very precautions taken for its preservation. The whole house was constantly in a state of inundation under the discipline of mops, and brooms, and scrubbing-brushes; and the good housewives were a kind of amphibious animal, delighting exceedingly to be dabbling in water

insomuch that a historian of the day gravely tells us that many of his towns women grew to have webbed fingers, like unto a duck; and some of them, he had little doubt, could the matter be examined into, would be found to have the tails of mermaids-but this I look upon to be a mere matter of fancy, or, what is worse, a willful misrepresentation.

In those happy days a well-regulated family always rose with the dawn, dined at eleven, and Dinner was invariably

went to bed at sunset.

a private meal, and the fat old burghers showed
incontestible signs of disapprobation and un-
easiness at being surprised by a visit from a
neighbor on such an occasion. But though our
worthy ancestors were thus singularly averse to
giving dinners, yet they kept up the social bonds
of intimacy by occasional banquetings called
tea parties. These fashionable parties were
generally confined to the higher class or no-
blesse, that is to say, such as kept their own
cows and drove their own wagons.
The compa-

ny commonly assembled at three o'clock and
went away about six, unless it was in winter
time, when the hours were earlier.

We should have observed that the fireplace was an object of particular regard in a Dutch family. It was surrounded by blue and white tiles, on which were rude pictures intended to illustrate some important Scripture narrative, or the most striking incidents of Æsop's fables. There "Tobit and his dog flourished at great advantage. Haman swung conspicuously on the gibbet, and Jonah appeared most manfully flouncing out of the whale, like harlequin through a barrel of fire."

The house was always supplied with an abundance of large doors and small windows on every floor, and on the top of the roof was perched a fierce little weathercock to let the family into the important secret which way the wind blew. These, like the weathercocks on the top of our steeples, pointed so many different ways that every man could have a wind to his own mind; the most staunch and loyal citizens, however, always went according to the weathercock on the top of the governor's house, which was certainly the most correct, as he had a trusty servant employed every morning to climb up and set it to the right quarter. In those good old days of simplicity and sunshine a pas-customary then, as now, in the city of

Many of the customs of our worthy Holland ancestors have become obsolete, but a few still remain, that of call-making on New-Year's day being the most important. In the good old Dutch times every family prepared in advance a supply of sugar-coated and raisin-hearted cakes, called " New Year cookies," which were given to callers on that day. It was

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