Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/38

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Like John Burroughs in his Atlantic Monthly paper called "Gay Plumes and Dull," Colonel Roosevelt does not even take pains enough with his data. Burroughs said: "Why does only one of our four weasels turn white in winter?" The answer is that all of the four turn white in winter! Roosevelt says: "Bears. . . have no white on them." The fact is that seven species, without counting the two all-white kinds, wear more or less white, especially in breast-crescents, collars, and foreshoulder stripes.

About war-paints and appendages, too, I tell only optical, invincible facts. On this subject I shall soon have more to say.

The possibility of wonderful demonstrations of the effacing-power even of stuffed skins of gorgeous or powerfully marked species such as a peacock, or an oryx or zebra, is unfolding itself to me at a rate that almost takes my breath away, and which can not fail to astonish all who witness my experiments.

Not yet understanding that this matter is unequivocally the artist's business, Colonel Roosevelt, like some of our other reviewers, proposes a "scientific" tribunal for our book. Science means simply knowing. What does science teach any scientific man more imperatively than that he must employ specialists in every direction? Does astronomy fit a man to practise medicine? Yet the astronomer and the doctor are both men of science. Do naturalists imagine that the arts can stand as they do, illuminating beacons through the ages, without having adamantine, crystal truth at their core? The laws of color-correlation are of course the very axis of the art of coloring, and any intellectual painter inevitably is the scientist of all that is knowable in this matter. While all painters perceive spontaneously that shadows on the snow in a sunny open field have exactly the color of the aggregate overhead sky, very few persons who are not artists can discover that they are more than "bluish." As our book's introduction explains, a colorless mirror laid in such a snow-shadow and facing upward reflects of course the overhead sky, and this reflection proves absolutely to match the snow-shadow. This knowledge of the actual color of things, and especially of transitory aspects, rests, then, wholly with painters; and, if scio means I know, it is science.

My critics say it is my theory that this or that bird's patterns pass for the background; yet every time I show them this bird against such a background, they either fail or nearly fail to detect it, and invariably admit that it was its patterns' resemblance to background-details that fooled them. Is it my theory that they are thus deceived?

Will not my critics wisely adjourn for the present the question of the validity of any deductions I may have made, and contemplate instead the array of actual facts? Whenever naturalists will take the trouble to lie down on the ground beside a stuffed flamingo, or a li