Puslapio vaizdai

High up in the dead cypresses, half hidden by the swaying moss, we may see many nests-large loosely built platforms. As we approach the dismal solitudes, moccasin-snakes, blacker even than the water through which they undulate, move sluggishly away. We hear the loud reveille of a pileated woodpecker, and as we noisily splash over a hidden, sunken log, a loud flapping of wings is heard, and the woodpecker's roll is drowned in a confused clatter of beaks-the only voice of the wood-ibis. A flock of snow-white forms passes out from the cypress darkness into the bright sunlight.

And now if we retrace our steps to the pine-land prairie, we shall see the woodibis at his best. Here the moccasin gives place to the rattler, the green scum and the reeds to bright flowers, the drumming of the woodpecker to the scream of the eagle. High above all, awkwardness shaken off, neck and legs no longer clumsily apparent, the ibis looks down and shames us. His black pinions, contrasting with the snowy white of his body, are set and motionless. As gracefully as a swallow he swings round and upward; as lightly as a feather he drifts with the breeze or turns in a beautiful curve, soaring back over his aërial path. Perfect master of his art, we realize that he is one of the finest flyers among the birds.

Higher and higher he goes, circle upon circle, flapping or sailing at will, until our sight marks him as a speck against the blue. He disappears, comes into view again as the sunlight glints from his back, and vanishes from our straining eyes.




IF we should visit a collection of living

F we should visit a collection of living ibis altogether, we should visit him in his native home, some cypress-shadowed bayou in Florida.

wood-ibis, he would not be likely to occupy a high place in our estimation as regards beauty or intelligence. Poor fellow, even his names are awry or meaningless, for he is more of a stork than an ibis, and as to his scientific name (Tantalus loculator), it signifies nothing.

Few birds appear more stupid in captivity than a wood-ibis. His bald pate, his staring eyes, and his awkward motions perhaps prejudice one against him, but it gives one a feeling of irritation to see him fall over his own feet, and, through lack of wit, stand in a cement-lined pool and for hours patiently tap the bottom with his foot, trembling with eagerness the while as he watches for impossible worms to come to the surface. Even when he takes to wing, the effort is such that his head and legs rack back and forth until it seems as though they would part from his body.

Yet he is happy in captivity, for his meals of fish are regular and abundant, and to eat is his greatest joy. Simply inordinate is the bulk of fish which he can consume. Nature has been kind to him in this respect at least, for if any sharp fins or spines irritate his distended digestive system, it is no trouble at all for him to unload, and reswallow his meal, taking care this time that it is more comfortably packed. His coat of feathers often waxes dingy in confinement, his inner man, or, rather, bird, demanding so much of his attention.

But it is unfair to judge him thus. Nature did not adapt all creatures for display in a cage, even though it be of generous proportions. Before condemning the wood

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S befitting true pioneers, we had only first the news dismayed us, but our cour-

a vague idea as to how we were to age straggled back when we discovered accomplish our object of making a record that there would be roads awaiting us in motoring toward the Farthest North. miles beyond the 67th parallel of latitude. Our program was to go to Stockholm by We learned, too, that the best objective way of Denmark, and then to skirt the point into Lapland was the mining settleshores of the Gulf of Bothnia, and, having ment of Malmberget, a few kilometers penetrated Lapland as far north as possi- north of Gellivare. Thus we constructed ble, to return south through Finland. We an itinerary, and on a favorable day in had arranged for a guide familiar with the June, 1910, much refreshed in spirit, tongues of the people we should encoun- we two and our polyglot guide set out ter; the rest w to be very much a matter from Stockholm on our novel trip. of good fortune.

Happily our confidence had not been Our easy passage through the Swedish misplaced so far as the roads were concustoms tended to encourage this irrespon- cerned, because, as the sequel showed, sibility. The entrance duty amounted to we had good, hard, and comparatively fifteen per cent. on the value of the car,- level surfaces nearly all the way. Of about $650,-a deposit to be returned to course there were exceptions. The first us on leaving the country. In addition, stretch of the journey, for instance, bethere was a charge of twenty-six kroner tween the capital and Upsala, and thence (seven dollars), of which ten kroner cov- to Gefle, was none too good. The roadered the official examination of the car, way was small, flat, and very dusty, the which we were amused to find consisted deep ruts giving us no end of steering of a perfunctory inquiry as to the num- trouble, as the narrow tread of the country ber of brakes we had and whether the car carts permitted us to keep only one wheel was safe on the road. After its four years in the worn groove, while the other laof good and faithful service in out-of-the- bored through the loose sand. way parts of Europe, we were able to give We arrived in Gefle on the occasion of our car a clean bill of health. The other the great midsummer holiday of the 21st sixteen kroner were for the license proper of June, encountering the usual holiday and two number-plates - red letters on a concomitant, the maximum of inconvewhite background.

nience to the stranger. As the town was We must have tempted the fates sorely enjoying a three-days festival, it was exfrom the very first. At the Stockholm tremely difficult to procure gasolene. After Automobile Club, people looked askance rummaging about, we finally found an at us, and shook their heads dubiously obliging paint-shopkeeper who provided a when they saw the big, high-powered car supply put up in twenty-liter cans, at fifty of long wheel-base with which we in- cents a gallon. Thus fortified, we started tended to penetrate the North, and which northward along the coast. had to carry a dead weight of more than The coast was a blessing to us. two tons along roads that were not of the sight of the sea, we managed to keep reabest and over bridges and ferries that were sonably cool, but the moment we headed not likely to prove equal to the task. At inland and lost the fan of the sea-breeze





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