Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/268

This page has been validated.

port the eye by their forms, shows me a wave from the sea with its reflected and refracted colors harmoniously mingled with the bottom tints issuing from the deep and with the proper color of the water itself, my arms, as they say, fall from my body. And it is then hard for me to realize that the colors of water in general are composed of a multitude of factors, among which the most important are the normal blue of pure water, the mirror-colors of the surface, the refracted colors of the moving parts, the proper colors of bodies swimming in the water, and the colors of the bottom or of only very softly illuminated parts shining up through the mass.

In this, as in everything, the principle is true that there are no simple phenomena in Nature, but that all are only the result of a number of single factors, the aggregate effect of which we observe and perceive with a very imperfect instrument—our eye.—Translated for The Popular Science Monthly from Die Gartenlaube.



ONE of the most curious and unconsciously paradoxical claims ever advanced for man in his relation to animals, is that by which M. Georges Leroy, philosopher, encyclopedist, and lieutenant des chasses of the Park of Versailles, the vindicator of Buffon and Montesquieu against the criticisms of Voltaire, explains in his Lettres sur les Animaux the intellectual debt which the carnivorous animals owe to human persecution. He pictures with wonderful cleverness the development of their powers of forethought, memory, and reasoning which the interference of man, the enemy and "rival," forces upon them, and the consequent intellectual advance which distinguishes the "loup jeune et ignorant" from the loup adulte et instruit. The philosophic lieutenant des chasses had before long ample opportunities for comparing the "affinities" which he had discovered between civilized man and "instructed" wolves, in the experiences of the French Revolution; but without following his fortunes in those troublous times for game-preservers, we may perhaps return to the question of the natural relation of animals to man, which, as pictured by Rousseau to prove his a priori notions of a state of nature, so justly incurred the criticism of the practical observer and practiced writer, M. Georges Leroy.

That man is, generally speaking, from the animal's point of view, an object of fear, hostility, or rapine, is to-day most unfortunately true. But whether this is their natural relation, and not one induced, and capable perhaps of change, is by no means cer-