Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/93

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PECULIAR SOUND EFFECTS.

spect. It is pretty well known that the mule does not wait to turn his head to see if he has correctly located the sound, but will let his heels fly first and look around afterward. The rabbit, by reason of his long ears in proportion to his size, has probably the most correct sense of locating sound of all animals.

We mortals, however, not having long ears or the ability to move those that we have, often make sad mistakes in our attempts to correctly determine the source of various sounds. In other words, the hearing facilities coupled with instinct in animals are far superior to the hearing facilities coupled even with reason in human beings.

Among human beings, however, the Indian is probably the most correct in his interpretation and location of sound, whether in ascertaining the presence of a foe or in search of game his sense of hearing in this respect through long practice attains a much higher state of perfection than that of people in various commercial or professional occupations. From my observations I should say that such animals as I have mentioned would come first on the list as the most correct locators of sound, men next, and women last. I have already shown to some extent the difficulty ladies have in this respect, and by way of illustrating further will relate an incident which occurred in Brooklyn some years ago, which will show how easily they can be mistaken should they depend upon their first impressions. Soon after the introduction of that very useful invention the pneumatic door check, designed to prevent doors from slamming, one was fixed on the entrance door of the general post office on the inside near the top. When the door closes, as every one knows, the check emits a slight hissing sound, due to the air in the cylinder escaping through a small hole. (Some later designs are without this feature.) This hiss, which is very similar to the sound often made by boys and men through their teeth in attracting attention, but considered rather insulting if applied to ladies, was the cause of a good deal of trouble one day.

A lady called at the office, and no sooner had the door closed behind her, when citt. Immediately fastening her flashing eyes upon a clerk at the stamp window, she exclaimed: "So, you are the one; I have found you at last!" and then bolted into the presence of the postmaster, where she lodged a serious complaint, viz., that she had been insulted by the aforesaid young man, and this was not his first offense, for every time she had come into the office lately "that man would go citt with his teeth." The astonished postmaster immediately sent for the accused, who heard the charge against him, but of course indignantly denied having made any such sound through his teeth, never saw the lady before, etc., etc. Finally, after the rumpus had quieted somewhat,