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JOHN JAMES AUDUBON, of FrenchSpanish descent, was born in New Orleans, May 4, 1780.
While yet a child he showed an absorbing interest in birds, and the best years of his life were devoted to observing, painting, and describing them. His “ Birds of America ” is a work of unexampled elaborateness and beauty. It was received with the highest approval in this country and in Europe. He published also “The Quadrupeds of North America," and a book of “Personal Recollections."
He died in New York, Jan. 27, 1851.
On first nearing the shores, and mostly on fine calm moonlight nights, the turtle raises her head above the water, being still distant thirty or forty yards from the beach, looks around her, and attentively examines the objects on the shore. Should she observe nothing likely on the shore to disturb her intended operations, she emits a loud hissing sound, by which such of her enemies as are unaccustomed to it are startled, and so are apt to remove to another place, although unseen by her.
Should she hear any noise, or perceive indications of danger, she instantly sinks and goes off to a considerable distance; but should everything be quiet, she advances slowly towards the beach, crawls over it, her head raised to the full stretch of her neck, and when she has reached a place fitted for her purpose she gazes all round in silence.
Finding “all's well,” she proceeds to form a hole in the sand, which she effects by removing it from under her body with her hind flappers, scooping it out with so much dexterity that the sides seldom if ever fall in. The sand is raised alternately with each flapper, as with a large ladle, until it has accumulated behind her, when supporting herself with her head and forepart on the ground fronting her body, she, with a spring from each flapper, sends the sand around her, scattering it to a distance of several feet. In this manner the hole is dug to the depth of eighteen inches, or sometimes more than two feet. This labor I have seen performed in the short period of nine minutes.
The eggs are then dropped one by one, and disposed in regular layers to the number of a hundred and fifty, or sometimes two hundred. The whole time spent in this part of the operation may be about twenty minutes. She now scrapes the loose sand back over the eggs, and so levels and smooths the surface, that few persons on seeing the spot could imagine anything had been done to it. This accomplished to her mind, she retreats to the water with all possible dispatch, leaving the hatching of the eggs to the heat of the sand.
JOHN JAMES AUDUBON.
PAUL HAMILTON Hayne was born in Charleston, South Carolina, Jan. 1, 1830. He graduated from Charleston College in 1850, and then studied law; but almost immediately he turned to literary and editorial work. His first volume of poems appeared in 1855 ; it showed the high poetic standards and the delicacy of feeling that characterize his poems. He was “a genuine singer." During the Civil War his martial songs were popular. Through the latter part of his life he suffered much hardship and ill-health.
He died July 6, 1886.
Up among the dew-lit fallows
Slight but fair it took its rise,
Brightened under broadening skies.
Dipped and soared and soaring sang, And in bays and reed-bound hollows,
How earth's wild sweet voices rang! Till the strong, swift, glorious river
Seemed with mightier pulse to run,
Laughing in the sun.
Slowly crept the landscape o'er, —
Something cold o'er stream and shore; While on birds that gleamed or chanted,
Stole gray gloom and silence grim,
And the troubled wave-heart panted,
And the smiling heavens waxed dim, And from far strange spaces seaward,
Out of dreamy cloud-lands dun, Came a low gust moaning leeward,
Chilling leaf and sun.
Then, from gloom to gloom intenser,
On the laboring streamlet rolled, Where from cloud-racks gathered denser,
Hark! the ominous thunder knolled ! While like ghosts that flit and shiver,
Down the mists, from out the blast, Spectral pinions crossed the river,
Spectral voices wailing passed ! Till the fierce tides, rising starkly,
Blended, towering into one Mighty wall of blackness, darkly
Quenching sky and sun !
Thence, to softer scenes it wandered,
Scents of flowers and airs of balm, And methought the streamlet pondered,
Conscious of the blissful calm ; Slow it wound now, slow and slower,
By still stream and ripply bight, And the voice of waves sank lower,
Laden, languid with delight; In and out the cordial river
Strayed in peaceful curves that won Glory from the great Life-Giver,
Beauty from the sun!
Thence again with quaintest ranges,
On the fateful streamlet rolled
Shade and sunshine, gloom and gold,
Longed to meet the mightier main,
Mingled with his grand refrain;
Weak of pulse and soft of tune,-
Lo! the ghostly moon !
But thenceforth through moon and starlight
Sudden-swift the streamlet's sweep;
Pining for the solemn deep;
While the old voice rings sublime,
Fade the phantom shows of time, -
All its checkered journey done,
PAUL HAMILTON HAYNE.
(Used by courtesy of Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Company.]