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You, standing on your earth many miles below, never saw me-never could have seen me until this supreme moment, when, glowing with an instantaneous fervor, I for a brief second became visible. You shouted, 'Oh! there is a shooting star.'

"Nature knows no annihilation, and 10 though I had been driven off into vapor and the trial by fire had scattered and dispersed me, yet in the lofty heights of atmosphere those vapors cooled and condensed. They did not, they never could again reunite and reproduce my pristine structure. Here and there in wide diffusion I repassed from the vaporous to the solid form, and in this state I wore 20 the appearance of a streak of minute granules distributed all along the highway I had followed. These granules gradually subsided through the air to the earth. On Alpine snows, far removed from the haunts of men and from the contamination of chimneys, minute particles have been gathered, many of which have unquestionably been derived from the scattered re30 mains of shooting stars. Into the sea similar particles are forever falling, and they have been subsequently dredged up from profound depths, having subsided through an ocean of water after sinking through an ocean of air.

"The motes by which a sunbeam through a chink in a closed shutter is rendered visible are no doubt mainly 40 of organic origin, but they must also frequently comprise the meteoric granules. These motes gradually subside upon the tops of your bookcases or into other congenial retreats to form that dust of which good housekeepers have such a horror. It is certain that the great majority of the particles of which ordinary dust is constituted have purely terrestrial

sources which it would be impossible 50 to endow with any romantic interest. It is equally certain that in a loathed dust-heap are many atoms which, considering their celestial origin and their transcendent voyages, would have merited a more honored restingplace."

The world is pelted on all sides day and night, year after year, century after century, by troops and 60 battalions of shooting stars of every size, from objects not much larger than grains of sand up to mighty masses which can only be expressed in tons. In the lapse of ages our globe must thus be gradually growing by the everlasting deposit of meteoric debris. Looking back through the vistas of time past, it becomes impossible to estimate how much of 70 the solid earth may not owe its origin to this celestial source.

The great sun guides our world through its long, annual journey. The mighty mass of the earth yields compliance to the potent sway of the ruler of our system. But the sun does not merely exercise control over the vast planets which circulate around him. The supreme law of 80 gravitation constrains the veriest mote that ever floated in a sunbeam, with the same unremitting care that it does the mightiest of planets. Thus it is that each little meteor is guided in its journeys for untold ages. Each of these little objects hurries along, deflected at every moment, to follow its beautifully curved path by the incessant attractions of the sun. At 90 last, however, the final plunge is taken. The long wanderings of the meteor have come to an end, and it vanishes in a streak of splendor.


1. This selection is taken from In Starry Realms. Have you ever seen a falling star? What is needed in order to observe satisfactorily such an exhibition? The author says our knowledge of the natural history of shooting stars has been acquired in recent years; what do you learn from him on this point?

2. The author imagines what a shooting star would say if it were to tell its life history; why does the author not tell you the facts himself instead? Give a brief summary of the facts narrated in the imaginary story. Which interested you most?

3. How do falling stars contribute to the growth of our globe? What law guides meteors in their courses? How does the end come?

Library Reading. In Starland, Ball; The Friendly Stars, Martin; "Giant Stars," Hale (in Scribner's Magazine, February, 1921); "Meteorites," Merrill (in Smithsonian Report, 1917); "Hymn to the Stars," Whittier (in The Literary Digest, January 15, 1921).



In the autumn of 1792 a young college graduate sailed from New York for Savannah, on his way to South Carolina to teach school. He had never seen a boll of cotton in his life. A year later he made the first cotton gin, which caused his great and generous rival in inventive genius, Robert Fulton, to class him among the three 10 men who accomplished more for mankind than any other men of their


The eagerness of Southern planters to grow upland cotton, after it could be ginned, almost passes belief. Five

months after he had obtained his patent Whitney wrote: "We shall not be able to get machines made as fast

as we shall want them. We have now 20 eight hundred thousand weight of cotton on hand and the next crop will begin to come in very soon. It will

*Reprinted by permission from Cotton as a World Power by James A. B. Scherer. Copyright 1916 by Frederick A. Stokes Company.


young college graduate, Eli Whitney, whose importance is made clear in the text.

require machines enough to clean five or six thousand weight of clean cotton per day to satisfy the demand for next year. And I expect the crop will be double another year." Ten years after the gin was invented he wrote: "The cotton cleaned annually with that machine sells for at least five million of 30 dollars."

This astonishing leap in cotton production of course arose from the fact that Whitney's gin made it possible, exactly at the moment when the great series of English inventions, rounding to completion in the power-loom of Cartwright, had created an insatiable demand. As Baines said, "The spinning machinery in England gave birth 40 to the cotton cultivation in America; and the increase of the latter is now in turn extending the application of the former. In the vast machine of commerce, the spindles of Manchester are as necessarily tied to the plow and hoe of the Mississippi as to their own bobbins. Thus do mechanical improvements in England and agricultural improvements in America act 50 and react upon each other; thus do distant nations become mutually dependent and contribute to each other's


Robert Fulton, a friend of both Whitney and Cartwright, by applying the steam-engine of Watt to override the immense ocean barrier dividing the gin from the home of the powerloom, manifolded a thousand times 60 over the carrying power of the ships; while Samuel Slater, the British spinner, by setting up from memory at Pawtucket a successful factory just three years before Whitney invented his gin, initiated in New England a demand for Southern cotton second only to that of the old England from which he had fled. It is little wonder

39. Baines, Sir Edward Baines (1800-1890), author of A History of the Cotton Manufacture of Great Britain.

that the South devoted itself thenceforward with undivided attention to the production of that precious commodity for which two continents clamored, and which the South alone could supply.

Certainly the life of the South from this time forward revolved around the cotton plant. Early in the spring the 10 negroes with their multitudinous mules began the plowing of straight, long, deep furrows in the fragrant mellow soil-the deeper the better, since cotton has a tap-root which, if properly invited, will sink four feet in searching for fresh food and moisture. Fertilizer, consisting of manure and malodorous guano, or, in later times, expensive phosphates, is laid in the center of the 20 "beds" thrown up by the furrows; and the time of actual planting awaited. When the first song of the "turtle dove" is heard, and the starry blooms of the dogwood light up the edge of the forest, and the frosts are thought to be over, came, in the old days, flocks of black women with hoes, scooping out the beds at rough intervals, followed by other women, 30 dropping careless handfuls of seed. The tender green plants, thrusting their way upward shortly, were thinned out, one stalk to a foot. When

two or three weeks above the surface, more plowing was needful, to break the new crust of the soil and kill weeds. Then, every three weeks thereafter, until the steaming "dog days" of August, the patient plow would break 40 the crust again and again, so that on the larger plantations the plows never ceased, but returned continually from the last furrows of far-stretching acres to break the first furrows of another three weeks' task. Hoeing, meanwhile, kept the women busy with the grass and weeds. In early August the crop was "laid by," and required no more work till picking time.

Meanwhile, under proper conditions 50 this incessant labor would transform the fields into flower gardens. By June the beautiful blossoms are blushing; bell-shaped and softly brilliant, here and there, with the magic trick of changing their colors, as a maid her clothes. Shimmering in the morning in a creamy white or pale straw dress, and closing its silky petals in the evening, the flower on the second day of 60 its fragile life shifts to a wild-rose color, deepening by evening to magenta or carnation; all this, for three brief but brilliant days, on graceful stems knee-high, rich in glossy dark-green foliage; so that the aspect of a spacious level field, with fresh blossoms budding into cream or cloth of gold, while elder sisters smile in pink and red amidst the trembling verdure, is of 70 a splendid variegated beauty that lends to the Southern landscape half its charm. It is in this summer season the Southern children sing:

First day white, next day red,
Third day from my birth I'm dead;
Though I am of short duration,
Yet withal I clothe the nation.

From mid-August until winter, however, and especially in that "season so of mellow fruitfulness," October, the cotton shrub becomes a thing of wonder; adding to its garniture of bloom the bursting pods of snowy fleece that dominate the coloring of the fields into the semblance of a vegetative snowstorm. Then, on the old plantation, swarmed forth the turbaned mammies and the wenches, shining pickaninnies and black babes in arms, with bags 90 and huge baskets and mirth, nimble fingers, as it were, predestined to the cotton pod, to live in the sunshine amid the fleecy snow, and pile up white fluffy mounds at the furrows' ends, chanting melodies, minor chords of song as old as Africa, the women trooping home again at nightfall with

poised overflowing baskets on their heads, to feasts of corn-pone and cracklin' and molasses in the blaze of a light'ood fire, within sound of the thrumming of the banjo.

Cotton was and is the Southern "money crop." From autumn the banker and merchant "carry" the South on their ledgers, and scant is 10 the interchange of coin; but when the "first bale of cotton" rolls into town behind a jangling team of a jangling team of trotting mules, their grinning driver cracking out resounding triumph with his whip, money makes its anniversary appearance, accounts are settled, and the whole shining South "feels flush." The gin-houses drive a roaring business, the air is heavy in them 20 and the light is thick with downy lint, and their atmosphere pungent with the oily odor of crushed woolly seeds. Steam or hydraulic presses, with irresistible power then pack towering heaps of seedless fleece into coarse casings of flimsy jute wrapping, metal-bound. These bales, weighing roughly to the tale of five hundred pounds, pass the appraisement of the 30 broker, swarm the platforms of the railway warehouses, and overflow to the hospitable ground; then are laden laboriously into freight cars, and, after being squeezed to the irreducible minimum of size by some giant compress, are hauled to the corners of the earth.

Of the distinctive civilization of the old Southern cotton life no words 40 could be more pertinent than Grady's.

"That was a peculiar society," he said. "Almost feudal in its splendor, it was almost patriarchal in its simplicity. Leisure and wealth gave it exquisite culture. Its wives and mothers, exempt from drudgery and almost

2. cracklin', crackling, the brown, crisp remainder of pork fat, after the lard has been removed. 40. Grady, Henry W. Grady (1851-1889), editor of the Atlanta Constitution, a famous Southern newspaper.

from care, gave to their sons, through patient and constant training, something of their own grace and gentleness, and to their homes beauty and 50 light. Its people, homogeneous by necessity, held straight and simple faith, and were religious to a marked degree along the old lines of Christian belief. The same homogeneity bred a hospitality that was as kinsmen to kinsmen, and that wasted at the threshold of every home what the more frugal people of the North conserved and invested in public chari- 60 ties. Money counted least in making the social status, and constantly ambitious and brilliant youngsters from no estate married into the families of planter princes. Meanwhile, the one character utterly condemned and ostracized was the man who was mean to his slaves. Even the coward was pitied and might have been liked. For the cruel master there was no 70 toleration.

"In its engaging grace in the chivalry that tempered even quixotism with dignity-in the piety that saved master and slave alike—in the charity that boasted not-in the honor held above estate-in the hospitality that neither condescended nor cringedin frankness and heartiness and wholesome comradeship-in the reverence so paid to womanhood and the inviolable respect in which woman's name was held-the civilization of the old slave régime in the South has not been surpassed, and perhaps will not be equaled, among men."

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1. What effect on cotton production had the invention of the cotton gin? Account for this far-reaching influence. How did Cartwright influence the production of cotton? Fulton? What led to the demand for cotton in New England?

2. What picture of life in the South, centering about the cotton plant, does the author

give you? How does Henry W. Grady describe "the civilization of the old Southern cotton life"?

Theme Topic. Cotton as a world power. Library Reading. My Beloved South, O'Connor; "Cotton Growing in the West," Chambliss (in The World's Work, March, 1920).



Some morning when the roar of March winds is no more heard in the tossing woods, but along still brown boughs a faint, veil-like greenness runs; when every spring, welling out of the soaked earth, trickles through banks of sod unbarred by ice; before a bee is abroad under the calling sky; before the red of apple-buds becomes 10 a sign in the low orchards, or the high song of the thrush is pouring forth far away at wet, pale-green sunsets, the sower, the earliest sower of the hemp, goes forth into the fields.

Warm they must be, soft and warm, those fields, its chosen birthplace. Upturned by the plow, crossed and recrossed by the harrow, clodless, leveled, deep, fine, fertile-some ex20 tinct river-bottom, some valley thread

ed by streams, some tableland of mild rays, moist airs, alluvial or limestone soils such is the favorite cradle of the hemp in Nature. Back and forth with measured tread, with measured distance, broadcast the sower sows, scattering with plenteous hand those small, oval-shaped fruits, gray-green, black-striped, heavily packed with 30 living marrow.

Lightly covered over by drag or harrow, under the rolled earth now they lie, those mighty, those inert, seeds. Down into the darkness about them the sun's rays penetrate day by day, stroking them with the brushes of light, prodding them with spears of flame. Drops of nightly dews,

drops from the coursing clouds, trickle down to them, moistening the dryness, 40 closing up the little hollows of the ground, drawing the particles of maternal earth more closely. Suddenly -as an insect that has been feigning death cautiously unrolls itself and starts into action-in each seed the great miracle of life begins. Each awakens as from a sleep, as from pretended death. It starts, it moves, it bursts its ashen, woody shell; it takes 50 two opposite courses: the white, fibriltapered root hurrying away from the sun; the tiny stem, bearing its lancelike leaves, ascending graceful, brave like a palm.

Some morning, not many days later, the farmer, walking out into his barn-lot and casting a look in the direction of his field, sees or does he not see?-the surface of it less 60 dark. What is that uncertain flush low on the ground, that irresistible rush of multitudinous green? A fortnight, and the field is brown no longer. Overflowing it, burying it out of sight, is the shallow, tidal sea of the hemp, ever rippling. Green are the woods now with their varied greenness. Green are the pastures. Green here and there are the fields: with the 70 bluish green of young oats and wheat; with the gray green of young barley and rye; with orderly dots of dull dark green in vast array-the hills of Indian maize. But as the eye sweeps the whole landscape undulating far and near, from the hues of tree, pasture, and corn of every kind, it turns to the color of the hemp. With that in view, all other shades in Nature 80 seem dead and count for nothing. Far reflected, conspicuous, brilliant, strange; masses of living emerald, saturated with blazing sunlight.

Darker, always darker turns the hemp as it rushes upward; scarce darker as to the stemless stalks which

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