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raining. It is not much, to be sure; a queer to hear the few scattered survivors fine drizzle blown on a cold wind. But among them whining and whining on it is rain. It is a beginning. And the the naked floor under the flood dammed sky, rearing black ranges of thunder- high in the sky, the flood that darkens heads in the north, promises a bigger and bulges and topples—and waits and end.
waits again for the moment when the We dress and go abroad, as self dam shall break. conscious as débutantes. We expect to A little after midday the moment find people watching us with one eye seems to have come. There is a time and with the other the sky. But they do when no air stirs. There is no breath in not even raise their heads. The thin the Mzab. rain dusts over them; they have put up There is a breath. A little wind. It the hoods of their burnouses and drawn moves in slowly. But it moves in from in their turtle necks; they shiver a little the baked south. with the cold. Beyond this the outward By three o'clock the last wisp of vapor aspect of life goes on unchanged. As has fled, the black promise is gone, and always, they roam the open spaces, our sainthood with it, pushed back by empty of head and hand, awaiting the the Sahara wind to the north, the mounwill of God.
tains and the sea. I know the feeling. It runs around the That night there is music again in earth, in every craven human heart: Ghardaïa. The Mozabites are shut up “Don't look, or it won't happen! Don't and asleep in their thick houses; the breathe! Don't stir! Don't even think starved, idle Arabs beat on drums and about it too hard!"
sing. They pack together in places of One wants to shake them, all the dull delight, or, wanting the sou for
coffee, crouch by the yellow streams “But see, it rains!”
poured out of the doors and watch the “Ma-ch' yassir. Even now there is shadows passing and repassing of the the sun on Melika over there."
dancing-girls from the land of the Ouled “Yes, but look at the sky! Presently Naïl. it will rainhard!”
The drummers beat their drums. A “In-cha-'llah! In-cha-'llah! If God withered, old bright-eyed Soudanese wills!"
pipes on a quavering pipe. A girl drifts Noon arrives. The sun comes out all among the benches, rigid-torsed, shuffleover the Mzab. But still the storm bank soled, dancing only with an undulation hangs in the north. Again a drift covers of out-thrust wrists and hands. The the sky. Once in the afternoon there is . monotony of motion marches with the another spit of rain. We had meant to monotony of sound; little by little a leave to-morrow, but with saintship for hypnotic numbness creeps over the soul. the pair of us in the balance, the thing The desert moves back a little into the will bear watching another day.
dark. We couldn't have gone, anyhow. All dream. Even the daughters of the There is no diligence to take us when Children of Naïl are dreaming, I believe. morning comes. It is drizzling again, Wandering across the door lights in the and in the rifts we see the black cloud court, rustling their soiled "Mother lifting northward even higher than yes Hubbards” and rattling their jewels terday.
about the inner fondouk of dismal enAll morning the dry Mzab waits. For chantment-even in these there is some it is still as dry as ever; the passing wistful dream. drizzles are like steam drops fallen on a In these fruitless years, in this sapless stove, gone as soon as come. And it is land, their exile is long and long. Gold the wells that matter, after all. It is comes slowly, and only gold will give
both are very
them husbands and children in the tents All the roads are cut there, and in the of the Ouled Naïl. About their necks the gorge the sand is strewn (they say) with dowers of louis seem to weigh no heavier the corpses of beasts and nomads caught from month to month. The homeland in the mountains by this miracle of rain. of the past, the husband of the future, Happy lands!
away. Only the desert One diligence is mired south of TilMzab is near.
ghemt and the engine in a bad way. The There is a man in the gateway against other has managed to creep back to the the café light. But no, it is only a no edge of Laghouat. We remain in the mad in a frayed burnous of soiled Mzab. white....
How long? They dream. They dream of Djelfa. The Jew who has to do with diligences They dream of the tents of the tribe, the puts away his coffee and holds up his fires of the families, the mountains of the hands. Ouled Naïl. They dream of the moun “Two days. Two weeks. Only God tains all green.
(the God of the Christian, the MohamFor it has rained in Djelfa. It has medan, and the Jew) can say. rained everywhere everywhere but in Out of doors the moon, grown lazy in the Mzab. The winter has spent itself service, is just rising over Beni-Isguen in one last thundering blow. At Berrian, hill. Its light runs up the sky, but even only a finger width on the map to the in the light the stars burn on. There is north, all the barrages are full to break no veil. Heaven is glass. ing and all the fields in the oasis are Another dry year has come to the Mzab. ponds. Laghouat is an island in a lake. “In-cha-'llah! If God wills!"
APRIL AND I
BY VIRGINIA WATSON
WHEN April opens all the
doors of earth,
Your buds of hope, your tendrils pale of dreams.
So very small my garden seems, yet I
To April dare make boast-When Autumn's wind
Verdant my little garden still you'll find!
LIFE-SAVING ANIMAL DISGUISES
BY J. ARTHUR THOMSON, M.A., LL.D.
NE of the many ways in which leaves and twigs, and so adjusts the sur
animals have answered back to the rounding parts, sometimes killing them difficulties ever besetting them has been first, that, although the cocoon is exto take advantage of some sort of dis- posed, it has a high degree of invisibility. guise. It has often paid them to look To bring about withering artificially, on like something else, and so we find many the shoot of an orange tree, for instance, examples of "masking," or
is certainly a very remarkable device. flaging,” of protective resemblance to But one does not mean by this word to something innocent, and even of a faking suggest that the caterpillar is aware of which, whatever may be its inner aspect, what it has actually achieved. is from the outside uncommonly nearim Just as lichens grow on trees, so there personation. Just as a sniper may make are many water plants and sedentary up like a shattered tree or a dead horse, animals which anchor themselves on just as a ship may be “camouflaged ”into creatures like crabs, and cloak their real the likeness of a wreck or a rock, so, nature. Thestrikingphotograph of Fig. I many different kinds of animals are ad shows a crab with a quite extraordinary vantageously disguised, or have their real agglomeration of animals on its back. nature in some way or other concealed. To appreciate the subtlety of the dis
It is difficult to draw a strict line be- guise, however, one must see the animals tween coverings which make for physical in their natural colors and in their own protection or for comfort, and coverings rock pool. One rubs one's eyes, as they that serve for concealment. The young say, when what looks like a bunch of stages of caddis-flies which creep hun- seaweed suddenly starts on an exploring grily about among the stones in the bed excursion. Now, it must be admitted of the stream have encasements of small that it is very difficult to draw a firm pieces of stick or of tiny pebbles, and line between cases where the incrusting they look innocent enough. The leaf animals have simply settled down on eating caterpillars, called “bagworms," their bearers as they might on a stone carry about a protective "over-all”
a piece of rock, and cases made of pieces of leaf, stick, bark, and where the bearers derive real benefit debris. In many cases this bag makes from the association, and are perhaps them most elusively inconspicuous. dimly aware of the fact. This is true all When they pass into the resting chrysalis through animate nature, that different stage they often hang from the branches kinds of associations between living like cones or dry fruits. Some allied creatures grade into one another. forms make cases deceptively like the Let us take an example. Some trees shells of small snails. The cocoons or have neutral or indifferent molds about pupa cases of certain insects are like their roots; in certain cases this becomes pods; the large, substantial structure an important partnership, which may made by the caterpillar of the puss-moth indeed go too far, when the big partner is often extraordinarily like the corner begins to depend too much on the activwhich has been chosen as a retreat; the ity of the self-effacing partner underNorth American bagworm, another re ground. These things are an allegory. markable caterpillar, spins its cocoon on Many plants are attacked by parasitic
bacteria; in peas and clovers and the like crab and an orange-colored sponge called this becomes a valuable co-operation, by Suberites domuncula, which is never means of which the leguminous plants found anywhere else. The free-swimare somehow able to utilize the free ming sponge larva settles down on nitrogen in the atmosphere.
the shell which the hermit - crab, PaSimilarly, while many incrusting gurus, has borrowed; it grows into a growths on marine animals must be re thick incrusting mass and surrounds the garded as fortuitous and indifferent, every whole shell except the aperture through now and then the note of utility is struck. which the hermit protrudes and retracts Many hermit-crabs which in the course himself; it grows much bigger than the of time have come to be constantly asso mollusk shell, and this is very useful to ciated with the shells of periwinkles, the tenant because he has not to flit, as whelks, and other mollusks, in which others of his kind have, when he becomes their soft tail is protected, have this too big for his house. The sponge has a borrowed shell covered with a growth of strong odor, and its body is crammed innocent-looking sponge or zoöphyte. As with flinty needles. It is probable, therehermit-crabs are voracious and com fore, that to these qualities of its partbative, and must have something re
ner the hermit-crab may owe some promotely, but really, comparable to a bad tection. Experiments have shown, for reputation among shore animals, the use instance, that some fishes will have nothfulness of an innocent-looking cloak is ing to do with the sponge, even when obvious. In our shore pools we often they are very hungry. Whether Suberites see a hermit-crab inside a whelk shell is benefited by the association it is diffiwhich is almost quite covered by a cult to say; perhaps it reaps some adgrowth of a beautiful colony of polyps vantage from being carried about from called Hydractinia. In some Japanese place to place by its crustacean bearer. instances of this association there seems We have taken this case here because it to be no mollusk shell at all, the Hydrac seems to be on the border line between tinia by itself forming a sort of protec- protective disguise and the mutually tive basket for the crustacean. In one beneficial partnerships called commenspecies the basket is very spiny and is salism, to which we shall refer later. sold as a curiosity under the name “Ig Stiff classifications should not be aguri-dai," or “Chestnut-burr-shell.” pressed when we are dealing with habits, This association of Hydractinia and her for different devices shade into one anmit-crab is probably a very useful mask other. Take the case of the larvæ of the ing, but it must be confessed that there beautiful lacewing flies (Chrysopa) which are cases where the association is posi are of service in destroying large numtively disadvantageous to the bearer. bers of “green fly.” Some kinds cover Thus, a full-grown crab, which has themselves with the sucked bodies of ceased to molt its shell, has occasionally their victims united by waxy material. a burden of rock barnacles and other If the clothing be stripped off, the lacecreatures weighing more than itself (see wing larvæ will stick on tiny fragments Fig. 1). This must be a serious handicap of paper or lichen if they can get nothing to an active animal. We do not know else. This looks like masking, but the what to make of the rare case of a com utility of the investment is obscure. mon lobster literally festooned on body And what are we to make of the “cuckooand limbs with over a dozen long fronds spit," the frothlike, soapy material (Fig. of seaweed.
2) so familiar on wayside plants in early In the Firth of Clyde in Scotland, and summer, which is made by the larvæ of elsewhere, the dredge or trawl often froghoppers? It seems to protect them brings up numerous specimens of a very from almost all enemies; it also keeps interesting association between a hermit them moist in the heat of the day.
Deserving a place by itself is the dis that “strikes its fancy,” though it may guise seen in the shaggy tree sloths (Fig. clean up a shell whose tenant has been 3) of Brazil and Guiana, which live an half eaten by a codfish. But there is no exclusively arboreal life, moving about mistaking its keen anxiety when it has back downward, among the branches. to shift its quarters from a smaller to a The hair is rough and shaggy and on its larger house. In the case of the robbersurface there lives, strange to say, a crab (Birgus), which seems to be deminute green alga, like that which makes scended from the hermit-crab race, there tree stems green in damp weather. The is no borrowed shell, for the creature net result is to give the sloth a garment lives, except at the breeding time, far of invisibility among the green boughs. from the sea, climbing mountains and Some travelers have pointed out that the even trees, and the exposed surface of long greenish hair is quaintly like certain the tail is hard. Yet there is an interestforms of a plant called Tillandsia, be ing hint of a deeply rooted racial instinct longing to the pineapple order, which in the way this quaint animal will somegrow on South American trees and are times tuck its tail under logs or into popularly known as “vegetable horse holes about the roots of trees. It has hair.” But it has not been shown that been said to make occasional use of a the shaggy sloths and the shaggy Til broken coconut, but those that are landsia occur on the same trees, and the abundant on Christmas Island never case of the sloth's masking is striking carry any protective covering. Nearer enough without adding any doubtful home, however, there are not a few shore embellishment.
crabs which sometimes, at least, mask A deeper note is struck when an themselves, More than one naturalist animal takes an active interest in its own
a crab seize a frond of disguise. It does not seem to have been seaweed, cut off a piece, nibble the end proved that a hermit-crab ever picks out of it, and rub it against its body till it a live whelk or "buckie” from a shell gets fixed on the projecting curved bris
VOL. CXLIV.-No. 863.-82