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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/696

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

guish as clearly as do many men between meum and tuum. When trespassing they plainly know that their quarrel is not just, and conscience makes cowards of many if not of all.

"You are aware," says a writer in the Zoölogist (vol. v, p. 1635), "that in Rome the inhabitants are accustomed to throw out the garbage and refuse of their houses, which is deposited generally in some blind corner appointed for that purpose by the police. Though several hundreds of these depots exist in Rome, not one is unappropriated, but has become the fee-simple of some particular dog, who will not suffer his claim to be invaded. Some cases of co-partnership in a corner have been observed, but with brothers on the death of a parent, and desperate battles occur occasionally about 'fixity of tenure,' as in Tipperary."

The homeless dogs of Constantinople have their particular quarters of the city, into which no dog save its regularly established canine inmates can intrude without the risk of being torn to pieces.

A spider, unless greatly superior in size, hesitates to invade the web of another spider for marauding purposes. Ants consider themselves rightfully entitled not merely to the city they have built, and the roads they have laid out, but to the whole neighboring territory, and they will brave any odds in its defense.

I do not assert that among the lower animals right is the only might. Like the "lords of creation" they often covet what is not their own, and, like them, they sometimes overcome the feeling of respect for their neighbor's landmark. There are feathered and four-footed Romanoffs—Nachbarfresser—who, without scruple, seek to absorb whatsoever lies in their vicinity. Nor does righteous indignation always lend the assailed party strength enough to defend his Plevna.

We may go yet further: not only do animals feel a right to such possessions as they have acquired by custom, by first discovery, or by labor. Such right, among social species, is recognized by public opinion, and is enforced by positive law. In support of this statement let us turn to the rookery. It has been observed, not once only but repeatedly, that a particular couple of rooks, too lazy to fetch building materials for themselves, and given to plundering their more industrious neighbors, have been formally punished by the community. The penalty inflicted varies greatly. Sometimes it consists simply in a sound beating. Sometimes the ill-gotten nest is summarily demolished, and the materials are given back to their rightful owners. Sometimes, again—perhaps when sundry former convictions are on record—the offenders, after a severe cuffing, are forever banished from the rookery and left to seek out for themselves a new settlement. On one occasion I saw a rook stealthily approach the bottom of a