Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/120

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they this year set up their household in a new spot, selecting the letter-box. One of the boards of the frame of the box having become detached, an opening was made in it large enough to allow them to pass back and forth. This box is fixed to a little footgate connected with the large wagon-gate, which is opened and shut more than a hundred times a day; about twenty inches above it is a bell that sounds loudly enough to be heard within the house, two hundred and fifty feet distant, which is rung every time the little gate is opened. I should say that, as soon as I saw my birds take the box for their house, I asked the postman to put nothing more in it; but when I perceived that the nest was in building, it was nearly done, and the letter-box had been used as such for nearly two days without the birds being troubled by it; and I should add that during those two days the box was emptied by a groom too small to see to the bottom of it, and the nest being in a corner, he had not seen or disturbed it. There are now four eggs in the nest, and the birds have begun to sit upon it.

It is therefore evident that these redstarts as well as the red-throats had formed a correct idea of the kindliness of their host, that it had taken deep root in their little brains, and that the confidence they showed in us was the result of very attentive, precise, and just observations which they had been able to make upon the inhabitants of my house.—Translated for The Popular Science Monthly from La Nature.


THE arts of marine engineering and naval construction have been revolutionized through the inventions of Captain Ericsson. As is remarked in a passage cited by Mr. F. C. Church, in his biography of him, “in the closing years of his life he could look back upon ‘a change in the physical relations of man to the planet on which he dwells, greater than any which can be distinctly measured in any known period of historic time,’ and this he had no small part in creating.”

John Ericsson was born at Langbanshyttan, in the province of Wermland, Sweden, July 31, 1803, and died in the city of New York, March 8, 1889. His ancestry is traced back to the family of Leif Ericsson, the son of Eric the Red, the Norse discoverer of America. He was also related to Thorwaldsen, the sculptor, who was descended, according to Mr. John Fiske, from the son of Thorfinn Karlsefne, the first white child born on American soil. His father, Olaf Ericsson, was a proprietor of mines; his mother was a daughter of an ironmaster, who was possessed of gifts which,