Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 55.djvu/406

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A species of nasturtium, habitually of a bright scarlet-red, has given in the cold frame late flowers of a bright yellow, a red band near the center of the petals remaining the only vestige of the normal color. In both cases the change of color began on the edges of the petals. The flower of the myosotis, normally bright blue, has become almost clear rose, without the slightest trace of blue; and a pure blue phlox has shown a tendency toward greenish-yellow.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from La Nature.


THE West Virginia mountaineer lives very close to Nature, and viewed from many standpoints the relation is characterized by pleasing amenities: juicy berries refresh him along the road; nuts drop into his path; "sang" (ginseng), which makes one of his sources of revenue, reveals itself to his eye as he follows the cows to pasture; a cool brook springs up to quench his thirst when weary of following the plow; pine knots are always within reach to make light as well as warmth; mud and stones easily combine in his hand to shape a daub chimney; and a trough dug out of an old tree furnishes a receptacle that is as good for dough at one end as for a baby at the other.

Often, however, this close relation to Nature assumes a war attitude, fierce and uncompromising. If hungry wolves no longer howl furiously at the back fence after nightfall, or gnaw at the log pens which secure the stock, and if panthers are seldom bold enough to spring at a horse's flanks as a man rides along in the daytime, bears are still numerous enough to devour a large number of sheep every year in spite of precautions, and they have a pronounced taste for sweet young corn. The living wrested from the soil in the short and changeable summer months must cover the winter's need as well; it is generally so scant and uncertain that the mountaineer feels a chronic discouragement toward agriculture as a pursuit and resource. He must depend on it, and yet as far back as he or his father can remember there has always been some reason why "a good crop" could not be made that year. The West Virginian lives in a large and thinly settled game preserve, but the fleet deer usually contrives to escape the hunter's chill wait in the autumnal dawn, the coy wild turkey is overshy of his lure, and the wary trout requires a very patient rod. In the long winter deep snows cover the fences, groups or "bunches" of cows and sheep often perish in the drifts,