"Why, Uncle Robert!" exclaimed Susie, "what—how—"
"It's the glass that does it," declared Donald.
"But the glass doesn't touch the cork," objected his uncle.
"There's air in the glass," said Frank, who had been looking at it quietly as the others talked. "That is what presses it down."
"If it's air," said Donald, "why didn't it go down before the glass was put over it? There was just as much air about it then, and more, too."
"Let go of the glass, uncle," said Frank, "and see what it will do."
Uncle Robert did so, and the glass instantly turned over, while a big bubble of air escaped through the water.
"There," said Frank, smiling, "I told you so!"
"Then air only presses on things when there is something like the glass to hold it down. Is that so, uncle?" asked Donald.
"Let us see," was the reply.
Filling the glass with water, he placed a piece of paper over it, and quickly turned it upside down. Not a drop of water fell from the glass. The paper, now beneath the water, stayed there as though glued.
"Uncle," said Frank, "is it truly the air that holds the paper on and keeps the water in the glass? If it presses that way everywhere, why don't we feel it?"
"It is because it presses equally in every direction," replied Uncle Robert. "Put your hand in this pail of water. Do you feel it pressing on your hand?"
"No," said Frank.
"Place it lower in the water. Does it feel any heavier now?"
"Not at all," answered Frank.
"But you know that the water is heavy. Lift the pail, Donald."
"It is heavy," said Donald, setting it down. "I don't see why Frank didn't feel a little of the weight of it when his hand was under all the water."
"It is this way," explained Uncle Robert. "The water pressed on his hand from below as much as from above, and the same on both sides. When you lifted it you felt its weight pressing downward only. Now it is just so with the air. It presses with such equal pressure that we do not realize its weight. It is only when it presses harder from one direction than from another that we feel it."
"That's when the wind blows, isn't it, uncle?" asked Donald.
"Yes, my boy," was the reply. "You can see how it is out among the trees now."
"But, uncle," said Donald, "how can the air be weighed if it presses the same in all directions? It was only when I lifted the whole pail of water that I felt how heavy it was. The air can't be weighed if it presses up just as much as it does down."
"But if in some way it could be shut off so that it would only press in one direction?"
"It might be," answered Donald, "but I don't see how."
Uncle Robert told Susie to put the glass in the water so that it would all be below the surface, and, without taking it from the water, to turn it upside down. She did so, and then began to lift it slowly out of the water.
"See," cried Susie, "the water comes with it. The glass is full. Could I lift it clear out that way?"
"Try it," said Uncle Robert, smiling.
But no; when the edge of the glass came out of the water in the pail, down went the water with a splash.
"I see how it is," said Frank, who had watched it closely. "There wasn't any air in the glass to keep the water out, as there was when we turned it over the cork, so the water stayed in it."
"But what made it come up out of the pail?" asked Donald. "There wasn't any air under it to press it up."
"Would the air pressing on the water around the glass make it do so, uncle?" asked Frank, placing the glass in the water and raising it as Susie had done. "It seems as if it might be that."
"That is what it is," replied his uncle. "The air pressing on the water in the pail forces it into the glass, where there is nothing to keep it from rising."
"If the glass was longer would the water stay in it just the same?" asked Donald.
"Yes," was the reply. "If there was no air in the glass it would have to be very many times as long as this glass is to hold the water that would rise if it had a chance. But come, let us sit down on the steps again, and I will tell you about it."
When they were settled he continued:
"Over two hundred and fifty years ago there lived a man named Galileo, who learned a great many wonderful things by studying the stars and doing just such things as we have been doing. It was he who made the first thermometer. But there was one question that he could not answer. He found that in a hollow glass tube, closed at one end, water would rise thirty-four feet high, but no higher. He could not tell why. A pupil of his thought he would try the same thing with the heaviest liquid known——"
"That was mercury, wasn't it, uncle?" interrupted Donald.
"Yes; he used mercury, and found that it rose in the tube just thirty inches. He knew that the mercury was thirteen and six-tenths times as heavy as the water, so he felt sure that it was the pressure of the air that made them both rise in the tube, for thirty-four feet is just thirteen and six-tenths times thirty inches. But they wanted to see if it was really the air, so they took the tube up on a high mountain."
"What difference would that make?" asked Susie.
"Look at the woodpile out there," said her uncle. "Where do you think the weight of the wood would be the greater? On the ground or halfway to the top?"
"On the ground, of course," answered Susie.
"Well, they found it was the same with the air. As they went up the mountain the mercury in the tube fell."
"That showed that the weight on it was less, didn't it, uncle?" said Frank. "I think that was a very wonderful discovery, don't you?"
"It was, indeed," replied Uncle Robert, "and that is how the first barometer was made."
"Is that what a barometer is?" asked Donald.
"Yes," was the reply, "simply a glass tube about thirty-three or thirty-four inches long, closed at the top, and filled with mercury. It is then placed in a small open cup, called the cistern, into which the mercury flows until the air pressing on it there will let it fall no farther."
"Does it always stay at the same height in the tube?" asked Donald.
"Oh, no," his uncle answered. "Some days the air is heavier than others, and so presses harder on the mercury."
"That would make it rise, wouldn't it?" asked Susie.
"So, uncle," said Frank, taking up the Weather Report, "where it says 'High' here, it means that the air is heavier than where it says 'Low.' Is that it?"
"That's right," replied Uncle Robert; "and when the barometer is low we know there will be a storm."
"Well"—and Donald stood up and stretched himself—"I wish I could see a barometer."
"You shall," said Uncle Robert "I will send for one. You may carry the letter to the post office to-morrow when you go for the mail."
A WALK IN THE WOODS.
It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The sun had marked its shortest shadows. They were now pointing toward the northeast.
The family had returned from the little village church. Dinner was over, and they had all gone into the cool, shady piazza. Mrs. Leonard and Susie had settled themselves cozily in one corner and were reading together. Mr. Leonard was nodding over the pages of his weekly newspaper. Frank, stretched out on the settee, was absorbed in a new book, while not far away Donald lay under the spreading branches of a spruce tree with Barri by his side. Uncle Robert stood gazing at the green woods, which looked so cool and inviting.
"'The groves were God's first temples,'" he said to himself, and then, turning to the others, asked, "Who wants to go for a walk?"
"I do," said Frank, springing up. "Come on, Don. Don-ald!" he called, "we're going for a walk."
"You'd better come with us," said Uncle Robert to Mrs. Leonard.
"I'll get your hat, mother," cried Susie eagerly, running into the house.
"Shall we go to the cornfield?" asked Mr. Leonard, picking up his straw hat.
"I think it would be cooler in the woods," said Mrs. Leonard.
"Oh, yes," said Donald, "let's go up the creek to the pond."
The country was in the full glory of early summer. Just beyond the rich green of the great cornfield could be seen the peaceful river. The yellowing grain on the upland waved gently in the breeze. Under the wide-spreading oak trees in the pasture the cows were lazily chewing their cuds. A feeling of quiet pleasure filled the air.
"I planted all these trees," said Mr. Leonard as they walked under the maples that grew on either side of the road. "It is wonderful how they have grown. They were like little sticks when I set them out."
"The one at the end of the row," said Mrs. Leonard, "was planted the day Frank was born."
"It is the largest of them all," said Frank.
"That's because it was planted first," said Susie. "I have a tree, too, uncle."
"So have I," said Donald. "It is the spruce in the front yard."
"We call them our birthday trees," said Susie. "Mine is the elm by the corner of the porch."
"That is a very nice custom," said Uncle Robert. "But the trees grow faster than you do."
"They don't have anything to do but grow," said Donald.
When they reached the bridge they paused to look up and down the creek valley. Through the trees they caught glimpses of the shining river and the waving corn. The creek, a little stream, flowed between the two gentle slopes that formed its valley.
"There's a gate under this bridge, uncle," said Donald, "to keep the cows from going down the creek to the cornfield. In the fall, after the corn is cut, we open it, and let them go to the river."
"How pleasant it is in here!" said Uncle Robert as they walked farther into the wood.
"Just see how damp the ground is under these dead leaves!" said Susie as she pushed them back from a little violet that she was trying to pick with a long stem. "Poor little flowers! How do they ever get through all these leaves? It would be so much easier for them if it was just green grass."
"But then there wouldn't be any flowers," said Mr. Leonard, "or at least they would be very different."
"It's the leaves that make the soil so rich," said Frank, digging into the ground with a stick. "See how they are mixed all through it!"
"Do you know the names of all these trees?" asked Uncle Robert.
"I do," said Frank. "I can tell every tree in the wood."
"How?" asked Uncle Robert.
"By the leaves is the easiest way," said Frank, "but I know some trees by the bark."
"I can tell them by the leaves," said Donald. "Try me."
So as Uncle Robert pointed to them Donald called them all by name. There were oaks and maples, hickories, walnuts, and butternuts, and close to the creek the overhanging willows.
"Can you tell a tree by its shape when you look at it from a distance?" asked Uncle Robert.
"I can tell the willows and poplars," said Frank, "and maples, too."
"The trees in the pasture have a different shape from those in the woods," said Uncle Robert. "I mean trees of the same kind. How do you explain that?"
"Why, the trees in the pasture have a chance to spread out," said Donald. "There isn't so much room in here."
"But these trees are taller," said Frank, "and they are straighter, too."
"Can you tell the direction of the winds that blow the strongest and longest by the shape of the trees?" asked Uncle Robert.
"I never thought of that," said Frank.
"The wind doesn't blow in the woods," said Donald.
"When we get out into the pasture we'll notice the trees there," said Mr. Leonard.
"Isn't this a tiny tree?" said Susie. "I wonder what it is."
"That's an oak," said Frank. "The leaves tell that."
"Oaks grow from acorns," said Donald. "I'm going to dig this up and see if it grows like the seeds in the garden."
"What a long root it has!" said Susie as Donald dug about it. "Don't take it out, Don. Put the dirt back and let it grow to be a tree."
"How long will it be before it gets as big as these trees, uncle?" asked Frank.
"A great many years. Perhaps your father can tell about how old some of these trees are."
"I have cut some," said Mr. Leonard, "that were about a hundred years old."
"Why, father," exclaimed Susie, "how could you tell?"
"Do you know how the end of a log looks when it is sawed off straight?"
"I do," said Frank. "There are light and dark rings in it."
"Well," was the reply, "one of these rings grows every year."
"So if you count the rings you can tell how old the tree is," said Donald. "Isn't that great!"
"What time of the year do the trees grow the most?" asked Uncle Robert.
"In the spring I should think," said Frank. "That's when the sap begins to run."
"What is sap?"
"It must be the water that the trees take up from the ground," said Frank.
"We've tapped some maple trees for sap," said Donald.
"And we could see it run right out of the tree," said Susie.
"I've told the children how we used to make maple sugar in New England," said Mrs. Leonard. "Do you remember, Robert, what a quantity of sap it took to make just a little sugar?"
"Yes, and I also remember how long I thought it took to boil it down into the wax I was so fond of."
"About thirty gallons of sap can be taken from one tree each year," said Mr. Leonard.
"But I should think that would hurt the tree," said Frank.
"No," replied Uncle Robert, "for the hole they make is only about an inch across. If they were to cut all around the tree, you see, it would stop the running of the sap and kill the tree."
"That is called girdling," said Mr. Leonard. "They used to clear off hundreds of acres of land in that way when this country was first settled. Instead of cutting down the trees, they girdled them near the ground. In a very short time they died, because they could get no food from the earth. The dead trees lost their strength, and a strong wind would blow them over. Then they were piled up and burned."
"How do you know when a tree is dying?" asked Uncle Robert.
"The leaves turn yellow," said Donald.
"But the leaves turn yellow in the fall," said Frank, "and the trees do not die."
"The leaves of my spruce don't turn yellow in the fall," said Donald. "They stay green all winter."
"What makes the leaves green?" asked Uncle Robert.
No one answered.
"What is the color of the potato sprouts in the cellar?"
"Yellow," said Susie.
"When you take up a board that has lain on the grass, what is the color of the grass?"
"Yellow," said Donald.
"Why?" asked Uncle Robert.
"Because they don't get any light," said Frank.
"You know why we put our plants in the south window in winter?" said Mrs. Leonard.
"Oh, yes," said Susie, "because the sun shines in at that window."
"Warmth and water and air help trees and plants to grow," said Uncle Robert, "but without sunlight their leaves would be yellow and their stems and branches weak. The greatest forests on earth are where it is very hot and moist. The sun is a wonderful artist, and every leaf it paints makes the tree stronger."
"But what makes the leaves turn yellow and red just before they fall off?" asked Frank. "Does the sun paint them then?"
"That is a question that no one has been able to answer," replied his uncle.
"But how can the sap flow up the tree?" said Donald. "I should think it would run down."
"It would unless there was something to draw it up," said Uncle Robert.
"I suppose the sun does that, too," said Frank.
"Where does it go after it reaches the leaves?" asked Uncle Robert.
"Why, back again," said Susie.
"No, it doesn't go back—not a drop," laughed Uncle Robert.
"Does it dry up?" asked Donald.
"What do you mean by drying up?"
"It evap-o-rates," said Donald, who liked to use large words.
"Does it all go into the air?" asked Frank.
"I want you to answer these questions yourselves, children. What do you see on the corn leaves in the early morning?"
"Drops of water; but that is dew, isn't it?" asked Frank.
Uncle Robert had a way of stopping or changing the subject when he had asked certain questions. He knew that the children would think of them again and try to answer them.
"Let's sit down on this log," said Susie. "I want to fix my flowers."
As they sat there squirrels ran up the trunks of the trees and laughed at them from the branches.
"That is a good shot," said Frank, pointing to a large fox squirrel. "But he knows we won't kill him, and that's the reason he shows himself."
"Is it right to shoot the pretty squirrels, Uncle Robert?" asked Susie.
"I thought so when I was a boy. I shot a great many of them then. It was fun for me, and I felt very proud when I brought home half a dozen grays.
"Once I went home from the city for a summer's rest. I took my gun for a stroll in the oak woods where I had shot so many squirrels. I put my gun against a tree and lay down upon the leaves. Soon I was fast asleep. I dreamed of a group of merry, laughing children running, scampering, playing."
"Then my dream became real—not children, but the gray coats, five or six of them, close to me, were running up the trees, jumping from limb to limb, scampering over the ground, chasing each other, laughing as squirrels laugh, and screaming as squirrels scream. I watched the happy playmates, brim full of fun. I have never shot a squirrel since."
THE BIRDS AND THE FLOWERS
The little family party strolled on through the beautiful woods, following the windings of the creek that was now a tiny stream.
Here and there were little holes hollowed out by the spring floods. Miniature falls gurgled over dead leaves. Graceful ferns fringed the creek's banks. Mosses covered the bowlders.
Through the foliage danced the rays of the bright sun, casting wavering shadows over the leaf-covered ground.
"Here is the pond!" cried Susie.
But the pond that formed the reservoir of the creek was now nearly drained, and in place of water there was a swamp filled with reeds, rushes, and grasses. A small clear pool remained in the center.
On the tall reeds swaying to and fro piped a family of blackbirds, busily chattering to each other. Overhead in the cloudless sky floated a huge hawk.
"In the spring this ground is all covered with water; it makes quite a large lake," said Mr. Leonard.
"You thought of draining off the water and turning the pond into a cornfield, didn't you, father?" asked Mrs. Leonard.
"Yes," said Mr. Leonard; "by digging a ditch or making the channel deeper at the outlet, this would become dry land the year around. The soil is deep and rich-better even than the bottom land."
"That would spoil the creek, wouldn't it, father?" asked Frank.
"Yes, it would run in the spring only," said Mr. Leonard.
"Where would the cattle drink in the summer?" asked Donald.
"That's the difficulty. The swamp holds enough to keep the cattle in water all summer."
"Would the corn more than pay for the loss of the water?" asked Frank.
"Yes, I think so," answered his father.
"But it would spoil my beautiful creek," said Susie. "Don't do that."
"If this swamp were in New England," said Uncle Robert, "the farmers would dig out this rich mud for their poor land."
"Oh," cried Susie, "the blue flags are almost in bloom!"
"There is one all blossomed out," said Donald. "I'll get it."
The boys took an old log and threw it across the wet place, and Donald, balancing himself carefully, went out and picked the blooming flag with its buds.
"Thank you, Donald," said Susie, as he handed her the pretty flowers. "I'll put the buds in water and they will open."
"Do you know the names of all the flowers in your bouquet?" asked Uncle Robert.
"Every one of them," said Susie. "This is phlox. There is ever so much of it in the woods now. And this is a trillium. Isn't it big and white? Here is another, only it is red."
"We used to call the red ones 'wake-robin' in New England," said Uncle Robert. "I thought they came earlier than the white ones."
"They do," said Susie. "They've been here a long time."
"The violets are just as pretty as when I came, aren't they?" said Uncle Robert. "Do they stay all summer?"
"Not quite," replied Susie. "But they stay a long time in the woods."
"What is this?" asked Uncle Robert, pointing to a pale-pink flower on a hairy stem, surrounded by rough green leaves.
"That's a wild geranium," said Susie; "but do you think it looks-much like a geranium? I don't."
"No, but here is a seed pod," said Uncle Robert. "It looks like the seed of the geranium that grows in the garden. Perhaps that is what gave it the name."
"I have a flower that you haven't, Susie," said Mrs. Leonard, holding it up for them to see.
"Oh," cried Susie, "a yellow lady's slipper! I didn't know they were out yet. Where did you find it?"
"I picked it on the bank near the creek while you were talking about the trees," replied her mother.
"I wish I could find a pink one," said Susie, looking around.
"Isn't it too early for them?" asked Uncle Robert.
"They come about the same time as the yellow ones," said Donald, "but we don't find very many of them."
"I like the Indian name for that flower," said Mr. Leonard.
"Do you mean moccasin flower, father?" asked Frank. "I like that too."
"Why don't we call it that?" asked Donald.
"Lady's slipper is easier to remember," said Susie.
"Here are some bluebells, Susie," said Frank, holding up a handful of the dainty, graceful blossoms. "Give some to mother, and you may have the rest."
"How many blue flowers we have!" said Susie. "There aren't any red ones excepting the red trillium, and that's so dark it isn't really red."
"It's more purple than red," said Donald.
"This isn't the time of the year for red flowers," said Mrs. Leonard. "They come later in the summer and in the fall."
"I wonder why there are no red ones in the spring," said Susie.
"I saw painted cups along the edge of the timothy meadow yesterday," said Donald.
"Oh, did you, Don? Were they truly red, or just yellow?"
"No, they were in bloom. They were red."
"Let's go home that way," said Susie, "and get some."
"I wish all the people in New York could know how restful these woods are," said Uncle Robert, breathing a long breath of the sweet, pure air.
"It always seems to me more quiet in the woods on Sunday than on any other day," said Mrs. Leonard.
"Do the birds know when it is Sunday?" asked Susie.
"If they do," said Uncle Robert, "those blue jays must have forgotten."
"Just hear how they scream!" said Frank.
"They must be up to their usual trick," said Mr. Leonard, "of tormenting some other bird."
"Listen!" said Donald. "It's a sparrow hawk they're after. That's the sparrow hawk's cry, but it's a blue jay that made it. They always mimic them when they chase them. I've watched them lots of times."
"I wish we could see them now!" said Frank. "The hawk will turn on them soon. Then they'll change their tune."
"They are having a good time shouting and screaming to each other," said Susie. "What a horrid noise they make!"
"They scare away the other birds," said Donald.
"How many birds do you know?" asked Uncle Robert.
"I know all the birds that come around the house and the barn," said Donald. "There are the robins, sparrows, pewees, wrens, swallows, and martins. Then there are the birds in the fields—the larks and the crows. The names of some of the little birds in the woods I do not know."
"You have left out the woodpeckers," said Frank, "and the thrushes and catbirds."
"And the cherry birds, that look like canaries," said Susie.
"Get up early in the morning, just as the sun is rising, and you will hear a chorus," said Mrs. Leonard. "It is a regular morning praise meeting."
"The oriole, or golden robin, is the handsomest bird of all," said Donald.
"A great many birds come in the spring which stay only a few days," said Frank.
"Where do they come from, and where do they go?" asked Uncle Robert.
"They come from the south, I suppose, where it is warmer. I wonder how they know when it is time to start," said Frank.
"And which way to go," added Donald.
"And how they decide where to stop and build their nests," said Mrs. Leonard.
"Very interesting questions, but no one has answered them yet," said Uncle Robert. "Migrating birds are all found in the south in winter, and we see them in the spring."
"What do you mean by mi-grat-ing birds?" asked Susie.
"Birds that fly from one part of the country to another," said Uncle Robert.
"The bluebird is the first to come," said Donald.
"A patch of blue sky," said Uncle Robert.
"You forget the geese that screech over our heads in the early spring," said Frank. "They fly in flocks shaped like an arrow."
"The 'bobwhite' is the funniest little bird. One comes right up to my garden fence. It is a shame to shoot them!" said Susie.
"It is a shame to kill any bird unless you need it for food. Every time a bird is killed the farmer loses one of his best helpers. The birds work for the farmer from morning to night."
"Oh, now you are making fun, Uncle Robert," said Susie. "The birds don't work at all. They just fly around and have a good time."
"The crows don't work for the farmer when they pull up his corn," said Frank.
"Nor the hawks when they steal his chickens," added Mr. Leonard.
"The cherry birds steal the cherries, and the sparrows eat the strawberries," said Susie.
"You would soon find out how much the birds do if they should all fly away," said Uncle Robert.
"The cankerworms would eat the leaves of the apple and other trees, and insects of all kinds would destroy the crops. The crow taxes the corn in payment for all the good he does. The hawks eat a thousand mice to one chicken—in fact, very few hawks eat chickens, anyway. The cherry birds and sparrows should be allowed a little toll for all the fruit they save. I want you to read a charming book called The Great World's Farm. The author calls birds 'Nature's militia.' The morning song of the birds means 'We are going to help the farmer to-day.'"
"That's true," said Mr. Leonard. "The farmers are just learning what a help the birds are to them. We have found that they eat the grubs, the worms, and the bugs before they eat everything else."
"Would there be very many more worms than there are now," asked Susie, "if the birds should go away?"
"You don't remember, do you, Susie," said her mother, "how many caterpillars there were in the village the year they tried to drive the sparrows away?"
"I do," said Donald. "Wasn't it dreadful? Why, Uncle Robert, the leaves were all eaten off the trees, and you could hardly take a step without squashing a caterpillar."
"Ugh!" said Susie with a shudder. "I'm glad I was too little to remember it."
"But the strange part of it was," said Frank, "that out here we hardly saw a caterpillar all summer."
"And our trees were never more beautiful," said Mrs. Leonard.
"Perhaps the village sparrows came to visit you," said Uncle Robert.
"They must have," said Donald. "The woods were full of them."
"I have read," said Uncle Robert, "that some small birds eat every day as much as their own weight in worms and insects."
"Oh, my!" said Susie. "I wonder how many worms that would be."
"The appetite of the small bird," said Mr. Leonard, looking at Donald with a smile, "must be something like that of a small boy."
They had now left the woods and were going toward the timothy meadow to get the painted cups. Donald was right. One corner of the meadow was bright with the vivid red patches.
The sun was setting when they reached home. As they passed the woodpile in the back yard Donald said:
"I wonder how old that wood is! I'm going to see if I can count the rings."
"Show them to me, Donald," said Susie. "I never saw them."
Just then the clear, rich song of a bird rang out from the top of a tree on the edge of the woods.
"Hark!" said Mr. Leonard. "That is the thrush."
They listened until the song was ended.
"What a lovely walk we have had!" said Susie. "I'm not a bit tired. Are you, mother?"
"Well, a little," said Mrs. Leonard, "but we never had a more delightful afternoon. Thank you, dear," as Frank brought an easy-chair from the house to the porch for her. "Now I shall be rested in a few minutes."
"Let me put your flowers in water with mine, mother," said Susie.
"Tell Jane to bring our supper out here," said Mrs. Leonard. "It is too pleasant to go in the house."
"And tell her to be quick about it," said Donald. "I'm starving!"
"As hungry as a sparrow," said Uncle Robert, smiling.
While they were eating, the twilight came on.
"Listen!" whispered Frank, as a queer, clucking sound was heard among the bushes. Then came the cry:
"I wish I could see a whip-poor-will," said Donald. "They never let me get near enough to them to see how they look."
"Let's try this one," said Frank. "It's very near."
On tiptoe they slipped off the porch, but the shy bird heard them and flew away. Soon they heard it again:
And another one answered from the edge of the cornfield:
It had been growing warmer all day. When Susie looked at the thermometer at noon she wrote "82 degrees" in her little book. As they sat around the dinner table Uncle Robert asked:
"Do you find it hot in the meadow to-day?" "Rather warm," replied Mr. Leonard, "but it is fine haying weather. By night we shall have the hay in off that twenty acres, and it will be the finest crop of timothy I have had in years."
The haying had begun four days before. For a week Mr. Leonard had visited the field of timothy daily, and when he found the long heads of the graceful grass in full bloom he said:
"It is ready. We must begin to-morrow."
So the next morning the horses were hitched to the mowing machine, and Peter drove out to the meadow. The plumy heads of the tall timothy swayed on their slender stalks as they bowed before the breeze that swept over the meadow, making it look in the sunshine like the rippling surface of a quiet lake.
It seemed a pity to cut it down, but Peter thought only of the fine hay it would make, as he drove around the meadow again and again, each time coming nearer the center.
No sound broke the stillness but the "click, click" of the sharp knives, at the touch of which the tall grass quivered a moment and then fell.
In the afternoon Donald rode the rake, to which one of the horses, strong and steady, was hitched. The horse knew his business. He needed no direction from Donald as up and down the meadow he went, with slow and even steps.
Donald sat on the small round seat, his hand grasping the lever by which he raised and lowered the long curved teeth of the rake that gathered up the hay and dropped it in long rows called windrows.
Mr. Leonard and Frank followed with their pitchforks, and piled the windrows into big round cocks. The sun shone hot and clear. A strong, dry south wind was blowing, and the air was filled with the sweet smell of the newly mown hay.
The second day Mr. Leonard rode the machine while Peter and Frank opened the hay that had been cocked the day before, so that it would be nicely dried. By noon it was all cut.
The next day they raked it up for the last time and began to stow it away in the big haymows in the barn, where the very smell of it would make the horses hungry.
"Susie and I are coming out to help this afternoon," said Uncle Robert, as, after a short rest in the cool porch, the haymakers, started for the meadow again.
"We'll take all the help we can get," replied Mr. Leonard.
"I am afraid it is going to rain," said Uncle Robert, as he started a little later with Susie for the hayfield. "The barometer has fallen since morning."
"But, uncle," said Susie, "I don't see any clouds."
"Watch, and you'll see them before long," returned Uncle Robert. "What is that in the west now?"
"It looks like the beginning of a cloud," said Susie.
Mr. Leonard, Peter, and Frank were loading the hay into a big wagon, while Donald raked after them.
"There's a shower coming," said Uncle Robert, pointing toward the west.
All paused and looked at the bank of clouds just coming into sight along the western horizon.
The air was still and sultry. Great beads of perspiration rolled down the faces of the haymakers.
"It's going to rain, sure," shouted Mr. Leonard, "and we must hurry or this fine hay will be spoiled. Harness up the horses to the other hayrack, Frank and Donald—be quick!"
The boys did not need urging. They felt the need, and ran to the barn.
"Bring some extra pitchforks!" shouted their father after them.
Uncle Robert pulled off his coat, and the spirit of his boyhood days came back.
Susie seized a rake and began to gather the scattered hay and pile it on the cocks.
The fresh span of horses galloped into the field. Frank brought them to a stand between two long rows of haycocks.
How they all worked! The very horses seemed to understand. They started with a jump to each new cock, and stood perfectly still as one after the other was added to their load.
"It is coming!" shouted Peter, swinging his fork to spread the great bundles of hay which came flying up to him.
The clouds looked like mountains with snowy peaks as they rose rapidly in the southwest. The mass moved under the sun and the bright silver color changed to blackness. Lightning flashes followed one another quickly. The low rumbling of thunder stirred the still air.
"It is coming!" cried Donald, as he took the reins to move to another cock. "G'long!"
All was hurry and excitement. Mrs. Leonard and Jane appeared on the scene with rakes in hand. Barri bounded from horse to horse as if that was some help.
Suddenly it grew darker. The leaves began to quiver. A curious light crept over the fields.
"There is the wind," shouted Frank. "The rain will be here in a minute."
Clouds completely covered the sky. Black forms seemed to dart out of their heavy masses.
"There's a drop," cried Susie.
Then what a wind! Straw hats were whirled away, but there was no time to run after them.
"Pile up the hay!"
The great loads staggered.
"Drive for the barn!" shouted Mr. Leonard. "Some of it must spoil, I suppose. We have done our best."
The horses moved off on the run, Frank's team ahead.
A roll and a crash of thunder followed a zigzag flash.
The hay was under cover, and the rain poured down.
They reached the porch just as it began to fall thick and fast. A moment more and it came down in floods, while at the same time the darkness passed away.
"How cool it is growing!" said Mrs. Leonard.
"It is twelve degrees cooler than it was at noon," said Donald, looking at the thermometer. "See, the wind has changed. It is from the northeast now."
Frank went into the dining-room, and when he came back he said, "The barometer has risen two-tenths of an inch since we looked at it last."
It seemed to rain harder than ever. The water was driven in sheets before the strong northeast wind. A stream began to run down the garden path. A vivid flash of lightning was followed quickly by a loud crash of thunder.
"That struck somewhere near," said Frank.
"I believe it was over in the wood," said Mrs. Leonard.
"See," said Uncle Robert in a few moments, pointing to a line of light in the western sky, "it is clearing already. The shower will soon be over."
The light in the west grew rapidly. The lightning became less frequent. The thunder rolled farther and farther away. The rain fell less and less heavily. The weather vane that had pointed to the northeast began to waver, and then turned toward the southwest again. It rained steadily but more gently as the clouds rolled away eastward.
And then the sun, lower now by two hours than when it was first hidden by the cloud, shone out clear and bright. Instantly everything glistened as with millions of diamonds. Even the air seemed to be filled with them, as though each raindrop was turned into a jewel as it fell.
Uncle Robert went to the front of the house and looked toward the dark cloud that was now piled up in the eastern sky.
"Come and see the rainbow!" he called.
As they looked at the bright and perfect arch that lay against the dark mass of clouds, Susie asked, "What makes rainbows, uncle?"
"It is the sun shining on the rain," replied Uncle Robert "This beautiful sunlight is made up of many, many rays. These rays fly from the sun as straight as arrows from a bow, unless something comes in their way to stop them. It seems as though such sharp little arrows of light would go right through raindrops. But they don't. They glance off the little round balls of water and bound up again like rubber balls.
"Now you know if you throw a ball straight down at your feet it bounds back into your hands. If you throw it from you, when it strikes the ground it bounds farther away. It is just so with these little arrows of light that we call rays. If the sun is high, as it is at noon, the rays are thrown back to it again. That is why we never have rainbows at noon. But when the sun is low, as it is now, instead of going back to the place they came from, they bound up against that cloud, and so make the wonderful rainbow."
"But, uncle," asked Donald, "why do we see so many colors in the rainbow? They are not in the sunlight."
"Oh, yes, they are," was the answer. "These rays of light are of the same colors that we see in the rainbow. It takes all of them mixed together to make the clear white light which we call sunlight, and without which nothing could live or grow.
"As the raindrops throw them up against that cloud, they are separated again, because some colors are more easily bent than others. The red, you see, is the highest and the violet the lowest in the bow. The raindrops make a prism. You have seen a prism. But through the prism the colors are turned the other way; the red is lowest and the violet highest."
"How fast the rainbow is fading away!" said Susie. "I wish it would stay."
"The rain is over," announced Donald, leaving them and walking out toward the garden. "The sky is quite clear."
"It is getting warm again," said Frank, looking at the thermometer, "but it does not feel hot as it did before the rain."
"The barometer is just where it was this morning," said Susie, coming from the dining-room.
"It is drying off very fast," said Uncle Robert. "Let us walk out and see how the garden stood its drenching."
"Put on your rubbers, Susie," called Mrs. Leonard from the house.
As they crossed the yard they passed a pan in the bottom of which the water stood an inch or more deep.
"That shows how much rain fell," said Uncle Robert, pointing to the pan.
"Do you mean if it had stayed on the ground where it fell it would have been that deep all over?" asked Susie. "Would that have been very much?"
"I think it would," was the smiling reply. "You might try to find out how much fell on the garden alone if it was an inch deep all over."
Susie shook her head.
"I don't know how," she said.
"Uncle," said Frank, "in the weather reports they always tell how much rain falls, even if it is only a small part of an inch. How can they tell when it is so little?"
"They have what is called a rain gauge, by which a very small amount of rainfall can be measured. By the way, we might have a rain-gauge of our own. It would be easy to make one with the help of a tinsmith. Is there a tinsmith in the village?"
"Yes," answered Frank, "but I don't believe he has much to do."
"So much the better for us," laughed Uncle Robert. "Susie, while these other people are busy tomorrow, shall we drive to the village and see if we can get the tinsmith to help us make a rain-gauge? I have a little book somewhere that tells just how it should be done."
Susie was delighted at the thought of such a day with Uncle Robert, and the boys were so interested in the prospect of having a rain-gauge of their own that they could hardly wait for to-morrow to come.
The next morning Frank harnessed Nell for Uncle Robert and Susie to drive into the village to see the tinsmith.
It was a delightful ride through the woods and the fields washed clean by the rain. The birds were singing gayly. The air was fresh and clear. Long shadows lay along the road.
The tinsmith was sitting by his open door, tilted back in an old wooden chair. As Nell stopped, he brought his chair down on its four legs and said:
Uncle Robert lifted Susie out of the wagon and hitched Nell to a post. The tinsmith rose to his feet, smiling to Susie, who said:
"This is my Uncle Robert, Mr. Mills. We've come to have a rain-gauge made."
"Good morning," said Uncle Robert, turning to Mr. Mills, who looked as if he thought rain gauges were not exactly in his line. "Can you spare us a little time this morning? Susie must have her rain-gauge before the next shower."
"Come right in," said Mr. Mills, "and tell me what your rain-gauge looks like. I never heard of such a thing."
With Uncle Robert's careful direction he soon understood what they wanted. They saw him well started in the work, and then Uncle Robert said:
"Come, Susie, let's go to the post office.—How long before the rain-gauge will be finished?" he asked of Mr. Mills. "Shall we have time to get dinner?"
"I think I can have it ready by two o'clock," answered Mr. Mills.
"Then we'll take Nell to the hotel," said Uncle Robert.
They drove slowly under the big cottonwood trees which shaded the street.
"Isn't it nice that it takes such a long time to make a rain-gauge?" said Susie. "Here we are at the hotel now, Uncle Robert. It's such a little way."
From the hotel they strolled to the store, the center of life and interest in the village.
One corner of the store was taken up by the post office. Back from that ran long lines of shelves which reached to the ceiling. Beneath them were bins for flour and sugar. On the lower shelves were canisters of tea, coffee, and spices, and glass candy jars, which looked very inviting to Susie. Some were filled with gay-striped sticks. There were also jars of peppermint lozenges, star—and heart-shaped, with pink mottoes on their white faces.
On the upper shelves were rows upon rows of cans covered with gay pictures of fruits and vegetables.
Opposite the groceries were long shelves of dry goods. A glass case at one end of the counter was filled with bright-colored ribbons.
In the darkness at the back of the store stood the barrels of vinegar, molasses, and kerosene oil. Above them hung rows of well-cured hams and sides of bacon. Near the barrels stood an old rusty stove which bore the marks of long use.
Uncle Robert asked for the mail. Susie looked longingly at the glass jars upon the shelf, trusting that Uncle Robert would understand her even if she didn't say anything.
"We must have some candy," he said. "Tell Mr. Jenkins what you would like, Susie, while I look at my letters."
Susie carefully picked out three sticks of peppermint, three sticks of lemon, and three of cinnamon.
"If you please, I'd like some of the mottoes, too."
Mr. Jenkins handed down the jar, spread out a clean sheet of wrapping paper, and turned out the candies.
Susie selected a dozen hearts, rounds, and stars, with different mottoes, and then wondered if she ought to have lemon drops, too.
"Do you think I have enough, uncle?" she asked.
Uncle Robert knew pretty well what little girls like.
"No, Susie," he said, "you have forgotten the lemon drops, and, let me see, nut candy—we must carry home enough for mother and the boys."
Just then a little girl in a pink sunbonnet, carrying an oil can in her hand, came through the open door.
"How d' do, Susie," she said, with a shy glance at Uncle Robert.
"How d' do," said Susie. "Have some of my candy, Jennie?" holding it out to her. "Uncle Robert bought it for me. There he is," in a loud whisper.
"Good morning, Jennie," said Uncle Robert, putting his letters in his pocket. "You haven't been out to see Susie since I have been here."
"It's Jennie's mother who had the nasturtiums last year," said Susie. "Have you any now Jennie?"
"Yes, but they don't grow well this year," answered Jennie.
"Perhaps you need new seeds," said Uncle Robert. "They are apt to do better if they are raised on different soil."
"I have some nasturtiums this year, Jennie," said Susie. "They are just beginning to blossom. I'll save you some seed if you want me to."
"Come out some day and see Susie's flowers, Jennie," said Uncle Robert kindly, as they left the store.
"Good-by, Jennie," said Susie.
"Time for dinner," said Uncle Robert. "I'm hungry."
Susie's eyes danced.
They went into the dining-room and sat down at the long table. Through the window they could see the hotel garden from which the flowers on the table had been gathered.
"What shall we do now?" asked Uncle Robert as, after dinner, they stood upon the porch, looking up and down the street.
No sound was heard but the sleepy noonday song of the grasshopper and the occasional rattle of a wagon going down to the store.
"Let's go to the mill," said Susie.
"The mill wasn't running when we passed there this morning," said Uncle Robert. "Suppose we wait until some time when the boys are with us. Then we can go all through it, and see just how wheat is changed into flour."
"Oh, yes," said Susie, "that will be the nicest."
"We might go to the station and see the train come in," suggested Uncle Robert, looking at his watch.
"Oh, that's fun! Come on, uncle," cried Susie, running down the steps. "See, they are all going down now!"
"All right," said Uncle Robert, "but don't hurry; there's plenty of time."
As they looked down the track they could see the steel rails gleaming in the hot sunshine. The two shining lines stretched away until they seemed to meet in the distance.
In the other direction a faint line of smoke appeared over the trees. It grew more and more distinct, until at last an engine rounded the curve and came puffing heavily up the track, pulling a long line of cars behind it.
"That's a freight train," said Uncle Robert.
"It stops here to let the passenger go by," said the station master, who stood near. "Expecting some one to-day, sir? The train isn't due for ten minutes."
"Not to-day," replied Uncle Robert. "Do many trains stop here?"
"Not many," said the station master as he hurried away to the switch.
The great engine, drawing its heavy load after it, turned into the side track. When the small caboose at the end had passed the switch a man, who was running upon the tops of the cars, waved his arms and the long line stood still.
"The engine breathes hard—just like Barri after a long run," said Susie. "I wonder what is in all these cars, uncle."
"Here is one marked 'Furniture,' from a large factory in Grand Rapids," said Uncle Robert, reading the white card that was tacked on the side. "It is going to a town in Nebraska."
"What funny cars these open ones are!" said Susie; "the ones with the shelves in. What are they for? They're empty, too. I shouldn't think they'd want to drag empty cars about."
"These are the cars poultry is shipped in," explained Uncle Robert. "Perhaps they have been to Chicago with chickens for the market, and are on the way back to the place they came from for more."
"How many of these big yellow cars there are!" said Susie. "They all have re-frig-re-frig—"
"Refrigerator," prompted Uncle Robert.
"Oh, I know what a refrigerator is," said Susie. "It's an ice box. Are these cars ice boxes, uncle?"
"Yes; the great packing houses at the stock yards in Chicago ship beef all over the country in them. The fruit from California comes in refrigerator cars, too."
"There's the train!" cried Susie, "and here comes Mr. Jenkins with the mail."
The train came rushing on. Susie thought it was not going to stop. But suddenly it slowed up. The conductor leaped upon the platform. The train stood still. Heads were thrust out of the windows. A few passengers alighted. Brakemen ran along the platform.
"All aboard!" shouted the conductor, waving his hand to the engineer, who was leaning out of the cab window watching for the signal.
"Ding-dong, ding-dong, puff, puff, toot, toot," and the train was off.
"Now we'll go and see if there is any mail for us," said Uncle Robert. "Then we'll go to the tinsmith's."
The rain-gauge was just finished. So Susie waited in the shop while Uncle Robert went to the stable for Nell, who pricked up her ears when she saw him. She was beginning to think she had been forgotten.
It was late in the afternoon when they reached home. Mrs. Leonard and the boys were looking for them when they drove in at the gate.
It took some time to choose just the right place for the rain-gauge, but at last they decided upon a little rise of ground that lay between the house and the orchard.
There was first the funnel-shaped receiver, one and one-half inches deep and eight inches in diameter. Below this was a tube two and five-tenths inches in diameter and twenty inches long. At the top of this tube, close to the receiver, there was a small hole.
"What is that hole for?" asked Donald.
"So if it rains more than enough to fill this tube," explained Susie, who knew all about it, "it can run out of the hole."
"Then it will be lost," said Donald.
"No," replied Uncle Robert, "it is to be set inside of this cylinder, which is twenty-three and one-half inches long, but only six inches in diameter, and so is smaller than the top of the receiver.
"The water that runs from that hole falls into this. By measuring it in the small tube, and adding it to what the tube held before, we can know how much there is in all. One inch in the tube would be one-tenth of an inch in the receiver."
"Then twenty inches, or the tube full, would be two inches in the receiver," said Frank.
"Yes," said his uncle; "but how shall we make this stand up?"
"We might pile stones around it," suggested Donald.
"That will be a good way," said Uncle Robert.
There were some stones in a pile near the orchard fence. Frank and Donald picked them up and placed them about the rain-gauge until it stood firm.
"Well, these stones are of some use after all," said Frank.
"I'm glad of it," said Donald. "It seemed as though we should never get them all picked up. I believe stones grow."
"These stones tell a wonderful story," said Uncle Robert, smiling.
"Oh, uncle, when are you going to tell it to us? To-night?" asked Susie.
"Not to-night, my dear. You have had stories enough for one day," and Uncle Robert took her by the hand and started for the house.
"We have a regular weather bureau of our own now," said Donald. "I hope it will rain all day long to-morrow."
A DAY ON THE RIVER.
"Father, can't we have a picnic on the river?" asked Susie.
"Please, do let us have a picnic," said Donald.
"I think you may," said Mr. Leonard. "You might have it to-morrow. I won't need the boys."
"Hurrah!" cried Donald, and Susie skipped and danced for joy.
"We'll have to have a nice lunch," said Frank.
"What shall it be?" asked Mrs. Leonard.
"Oh, we can take some ham sandwiches—"
"And some cake and jelly," put in Susie.
"And some cold chicken and boiled eggs," added Donald.
"Oh," cried Susie, "let us take our eggs along all fresh and boil them! We can take a little pail and—"
"I'll tell you what we'll do," interrupted Frank. "We'll take some salt pork, and catch some fish, and have a fry."
Frank looked at the barometer and said it was going to be a nice day. The sun was setting clear and bright. The children went to bed happy and dreamed of the fun to-morrow.
In the morning Susie rushed out to see if it was good weather. The sun was shining brightly, and she turned and looked at her long shadow that reached clear over the barn. The direction of the shadow was southwest.
Donald took a tin can and went out into one corner of the garden, where the soil was dark, rich, and damp, and with a shovel dug up great mud worms, and almost filled his can.
Frank got out two cane poles, rigged the lines and hooks, and put on the sinkers.
"I want to catch a fish," said Susie.
"All right," said Frank; "we'll cut a pole for you when we get on the island. We shall not fish till we get there."
Uncle Robert watched the enthusiasm of the children with a pleasant smile. Mrs. Leonard and Susie put up the lunch.
"Put in a paper of salt for the fish, please," called Frank.
"Don't believe you will catch many fish," said Mr. Leonard. "You know the last time you went you didn't catch any."
"It is not a good day for fish," said Uncle Robert; "it is too bright."
"We'll get some sunfish, anyway," said Donald, "and perhaps we shall catch a perch or two and a catfish."
At last all was ready Frank took the oars from the beams of the shed, Uncle Robert carried the big basket, Donald followed with the fish poles and the can of worms, while Susie brought up the rear with a small tin bucket.
Away they went, down the slope and over the bottom land to the mouth of the creek, where the boat was moored. Soon they glided out from the shore under Frank's steady stroke.
"We will go up on this side, where it is easier to row," he said. "The current is on the other side next to the bank."
"Why do you suppose the current is over there?" asked Uncle Robert.
"I don't know," said Frank. "Last spring we had a big flood, and the current was so strong that it took away a lot of earth from that bank. The earth fell down into the river and was carried away. Mr. Davis lost a good deal of land."
"Tell me about the flood, Frank," said Uncle Robert.
"Last March the ice broke up in the river and went tearing downstream in great blocks," began Frank. "Just below the dam, between the island and that shore," pointing to the woods, "it piled up until there was a big ice jam. You could cross over to the island on foot. Then the water began to rise until it was nearly even with the top of the dam. At first it went round close to the ridge. You see the land is lower there. The part of our cornfield next to the river was an island. Then the water rose higher, and spread all over the bottom land. It made the mouth of the creek close to the slope, and the water came up around the trunks of the trees.
"On the other side, where the current is, it didn't get over the bank, but it tore away lots of earth. Three big trees fell into the water and were carried down the river. Ever so many trees came down. Peter and I caught a lot and piled them up for firewood."
"Don't you remember, Frank," said Susie, "two or three sheds came down, too?"
"The miller thought it would carry away the mill," said Donald.
"The water looks pretty clear now. How did it look then?" asked Uncle Robert.
"At first it was clear," said Frank. "Then it got just like coffee."
"That was the dirt in the water," said Donald.
"When the water went down," continued Frank, "the bottom land was all covered with the stuff the river left. Father says the dirt it brought makes the land better."
"What do you suppose made the freshet?" asked Uncle Robert.
"Oh, they said it was the snow melting, away up the river," answered Donald. "The snow was gone here, but we had lots of rain."
"Where is the deepest part of the river?" asked Uncle Robert.
"It is quite deep on the other side," said Frank, "but it is shallow over here. Farther down it is deeper in the middle."
"Where is the current down there?" asked Uncle Robert.
"In the middle of the river," said Frank.
"When we go in swimming we can wade out here a long ways before we go over our heads," said Donald.
"I wish I could swim," said Susie.
"You should learn," said Uncle Robert. "The boys could easily teach you."
They rowed steadily up the river. At last they reached the island and landed. It was long and narrow, covered with trees and green grass. Here and there low bushes grew down to the water's edge, while at the upper end there were many boulders, stones, pebbles, and clean white sand.
They brought up the basket and put it in a cool place under a tree.
"Now for the fishing!" said Frank.
Up the river they could see the dam, and on the left of the dam the flour mill.
"There is a nice big pond up above the dam," said Susie. "We ought to go up there some day."
"I think it is better fishing there," said Frank, "but we would have to drag the boat around the dam."
Uncle Robert stretched himself under the shade of an elm tree. Susie rolled up her sack and put it under his head. The boys went off to try their luck at fishing. They cut a pole for Susie, but she soon tired of sitting still, and came back to pick up sticks for the fire so that everything would be ready to fry the fish.
When the boys came back they brought three little sunfish, two perch, and one funny-looking fish with horns, which Frank said was a catfish.
Frank and Uncle Robert dressed the fish, while Donald rowed across the river to a place where he knew there was a spring, and soon returned with a pail of clear, sparkling water.
Susie spread the cloth in a nice shady place, and unpacked the basket. The eggs were boiled in the tin bucket over the fire. Frank fried the fish, and at last dinner was ready.
"Oh, isn't this fun!" said Susie.
"Grand!" said Frank.
"I'd like to be an Indian and live in the woods all the time," said Donald.
"We could make a fort," said Frank, "on that bank of the island and mount cannon, and not allow any ships to come up the river."
"Oho!" laughed Donald. "Ships don't come up this river. The water isn't deep enough."
"That doesn't matter," said Susie; "we could play they do."
After the luncheon was over and the basket packed again they sat about under the trees.
"What a good view of the dam there is from here!" said Uncle Robert.
"I know why they built the dam there," said Frank. "Just above the dam the water was quite swift."
"What makes the water swift?" asked Donald.
"Because the bed of the river slopes more there than down here," said Uncle Robert; "and in places on rivers where there are rapids they build dams in order to use the water for the mills."
"Oh, yes, I know how they use the water," said Donald. "They have a sluice, and they lift the gate, and the water comes through, and that turns the mill wheels."
"In some rivers there are ponds larger than that pond up there, where there are no dams," said Uncle Robert.
"Yes," said Frank, "there is a little lake down the river. We will go there some day. It is good fishing. How much better our corn looks than the corn on that hill over there! I tell you, it takes bottom land like ours to raise good corn."
"What makes the corn such a beautiful green?" asked Susie.
"That is quite a question," said Uncle Robert. "We will try and find out some day. But I want to know what makes the bottom land richer than the land up on the prairie?"
"Well," said Frank slowly, "I suppose that the dirt brought down by the river and spread out over it makes it richer."
"Where does that dirt come from?"
"Way up the river."
"If I should call the bottom land a flood-plain," said Uncle Robert, "would you know why?"
"Oh, I know," said Donald. "Because the water covers it when there is a flood."
"Now what made that flood-plain?"
"Wasn't it always there?"
"No," said Uncle Robert. "The river made it."
"How could the river make the flood-plain?" asked Susie.
"Why, you told me a moment ago that the river brought down great quantities of dirt and left it all along the shores," said Uncle Robert.
"But it wouldn't bring down enough to make all that field, would it?" asked Donald.
"The river is a great worker," said Uncle Robert. "It is at work now, and has been working for many, many long years. It has not only made this flood-plain, but many others. Sometimes the river carries this dirt clear out into the sea, and sometimes it piles it up at its mouth so that a delta is formed."
"Oh, yes," said Donald, "we studied about that in geography when we had school, but I didn't know a delta was made that way."
"Are there any deltas in this part of the river?" asked Susie.
"There may be," replied Uncle Robert, "wherever one stream flows into another."
"Is there one at the mouth of our creek?" asked Frank.
"We will look when we go back," replied Uncle Robert. "Shall we take a walk now?"
When they reached the upper end of the island they sat down on some large boulders that formed part of the tiny beach. Just above them was the flood of water pouring over the dam. The bright sunshine made the foam look white and glistening, lighted here and there with colors of the rainbow.
The water rumbled and roared as it rushed out of the mill pond. To the left were the flour mill and the village. They could hear the mill wheel turning. They could see a little white church half hidden among the trees.
A kingfisher swept by them with a voice like a watchman's rattle.
"He knows how to catch fish better than we do," said Donald.
Susie picked up some pebbles and put them in her apron. She tried to get a number of colors. Some were nearly red, some were blue, and some were white.
"Can you find one that is exactly round?" asked Uncle Robert.
"Here's a white one that's almost round," and Susie held up a quartz pebble.
"Where do you suppose this little white pebble came from?" asked Uncle Robert.
"Did it come from away up the river—a long way?" said Donald.
"I think so. One day this pebble was a part of some rock or quarry. How it was broken off, how it came down, how it was made round, is well worth studying."
"Oh, tell us about it, please," begged Susie.
"We'll read about it together," said Uncle Robert, "in the Big Book."
"What book?" asked Donald.
"The book that lies all around us, which was written by the Creator of the world," said Uncle Robert. "We are reading a page of it now."
"Just under the current out there," said Frank, "the bed of the river is covered with all kinds of stones. Some of them are as big as these boulders. I suppose the river brought them down."
"What do you think makes the pebbles round?" asked Uncle Robert.
"Maybe the river wears off the rough edges," suggested Frank, thoughtfully.
"Yes," said Uncle Robert, "the current of the river rolls them over and over on the river bed, and they rub and grind against each other."
"What becomes of the stuff that is worn off from them?" asked Frank.
"Don't you see it—there?" said Uncle Robert, pointing to the beach.
"Oh, you mean the sand," said Donald, taking up a handful and examining it.
"Is that the way the nice white sand is made?" asked Susie.
"That's what you meant when you said the river worked," said Frank. "Did these boulders come down the river too?"
"The story of the boulders," said Uncle Robert, "is different from the story of the pebbles. The water helped grind the pebbles, but it took ice to make the boulders."
"Ice!" the children all exclaimed.
"Yes, ice. A long, long while ago this land was covered by a great river, or sea of ice, and that was the time these boulders were made," said Uncle Robert.
"Can we read about that in the Big Book?" asked Donald.
"Some of it," said Uncle Robert. "There are many wonderful stories in this beautiful world—stories more wonderful than any fairy tale. But we must go home now, children; it's getting late."
The setting sun threw long shadows of the trees over the river as they rowed home, and the happy day was done.
A RAINY DAY.
It was raining, but no one was surprised. They had expected it.
The day before had been one of those warm, midsummer days, beginning with a clear sky and a strong south wind. By noon heavy white clouds that looked like heaps of down floated slowly overhead.
The weather vane, which in the morning had pointed to the south, turned from side to side, as though uncertain which direction it liked best. Toward afternoon it seemed to settle the question in favor of the east.
The clouds did not rise higher and become thinner and more scattered, as such clouds do if the weather is fair. They kept their white, billowy edges, and rested heavily on straight bands of dull gray.
When the sun set, the scroll—like edges of the clouds were tinged with gold and rose color, but under the glittering fringe remained the solid banks of gray and misty purple.
The thermometer had been high all day, for it was very warm. The barometer had slowly but surely fallen.
Then, too, the Weather Report, just received, told of a storm that had started in the southwestern part of the country and was moving northeast. Uncle Robert had said, at the rate it was traveling, it might reach them some time the next day.
And now it was raining in a quiet, steady way. The clouds had lost their billowy whiteness. They were one dull, heavy, unbroken mass of gray. The wind blew steadily from the southeast.
A rainy day was before them.
"The very thing we need," said Mr. Leonard. "The corn is just ready for it, and the pastures are beginning to look pretty dry."
"Let's go fishing, Don," said Frank. "I'll go and dig some worms while you get the lines ready."
"Say we do," said Donald, starting off at once.
"Do you want some company, boys?" asked Uncle Robert, smiling.
"You bet-ter believe!" said Donald, catching himself just in time.
"Hurrah for the rainy day!" cried Frank as he pulled on his rubber boots and coat and went out to dig the worms.
"Shall we take the boat?" asked Uncle Robert.
"Oh, yes," said Donald. "I'll get the oars."
"We'll have fish for dinner to-day, mother," said Frank.
"Be sure you come back in time, then," said Mrs. Leonard, smiling.
"I wish I was a boy and could go fishing in the rain," said Susie as she watched them start off.
Down the hill they went, and Susie, watching them from the front porch, saw them push the boat from the landing and throw out their lines as they drifted down the stream. Then the trees hid them from sight.
It was dinner time when they returned.
"I told you we'd have fish to-day," said Frank triumphantly, holding up a string of bass and perch.
"You boys will have to clean them," said Mrs. Leonard. "Jane is ready to cook them now."
"Come on, Don," called Frank. "My, won't they be good!"
In the afternoon it ceased to rain. It became lighter and the clouds looked higher and thinner.
"It's going to clear off," said Susie, going to the window.
"I wonder how much rain has fallen," said Uncle Robert.
"I'm going to look at the rain-gauge," said Frank.
"I'll go too," said Donald.
When they came back they said there were fifteen inches of water in the measuring tube, which, in the receiver, would be an inch and a half.
"That would just fill it," said Donald.
"Does that mean," asked Susie, "that if the rain had stayed on the ground it would be an inch and a half deep all over?"
"Yes," answered Uncle Robert.
"Would that be very much?" she asked, taking the rod by which the rain in the gauge was measured and finding the mark for an inch and a half.
"We might find out how much it would be on Susie's garden," said Uncle Robert. "Does any one know how large the garden is?"
No one knew.
"Let's get father's tapeline and measure it," said Frank.
"Oh, do," said Susie, always interested in anything about her garden.
When they came in Donald said:
"It is muddy, but it's beginning to dry off in some places already."
"How big is the garden?" asked Susie.
"It is forty feet one way," said Frank, "and twenty-five feet the other."
"Take your paper and pencil, Frank," said Uncle Robert, "and draw a plan of it. You might make one inch for every ten feet, and see how that will come out."
Frank took the paper, pencil, and ruler, and soon he said:
"It makes it four inches long and two inches and a half wide."
"But remember," said Uncle Robert, "that means forty feet long and twenty-five feet wide."
"I'll write it down," said Frank; "then we'll remember."
So he wrote "40" on the long side and "25" on the short one.
"But we must find out how many square feet there are on the whole surface," said Uncle Robert.
"Well," said Frank, "there are forty this way."
"So we might think of it as a row across the garden of forty square feet, might we not?" suggested Uncle Robert.
"Yes," said Frank; "and if we do that there will be twenty-five rows just like it, won't there?"
"Exactly," said Uncle Robert. "How many does that make in all?"
"Twenty-five forties," said Frank, pencil in hand. "Why, that's just one thousand."
"That sounds pretty big," said Susie.
"Especially when you think of the weeds," said Uncle Robert, smiling, "How many square inches would that be, Frank?"
"Well," said Frank, "a foot is twelve inches long, and if it is square it is twelve inches wide, too."
"Then," said Uncle Robert, "if you call them rows of twelve square inches, how many rows would there be?"
"Why, twelve," said Donald.
"And so it would be—"
"One hundred forty-four," said Frank.
"Then," said Uncle Robert, "if there are one hundred forty-four square inches in one foot, how many in one thousand feet?"
"One hundred forty-four thousand," said Frank, after a moment's thought.
"But the rain-gauge says that an inch and a half of rain has fallen," said Uncle Robert, "and when an inch is as deep as it is long and broad, it is called a cubic inch. How much would one and one-half cubic inches be?"
"If this is one inch," said Frank, looking at the paper, "half an inch deep would be half of this, and that, added to this, would be an inch and a half. Isn't that right?"
He went to work again, and after a few minutes' silence he said:
"It makes two hundred and sixteen thousand inches in all."
"What kind of inches did we call them, Donald?"
"Cubic inches," said Donald.
"If you were to bring a pail of water from the spring," said Uncle Robert, "would you say you had so many inches of water?"
"No," said Frank, "it would be quarts, or gallons, or something like that."
"Do you know how much a quart or gallon is, Susie?" asked Uncle Robert.
"Mother has a quart cup in the pantry," said Susie, "that she measures the milk in sometimes, but I don't know how much a gallon is."
"My new milk pail," said Mrs. Leonard, who sat beside the window sewing, "holds just two gallons."
"Let's see how many quarts it takes to fill it," said Susie.
So they went into the kitchen, and Susie dipped the water with the quart cup into the tin pail.
"Eight," she said, when the pail would hold no more.
"If the pail holds two gallons, Susie." said Uncle Robert, "how many quarts are there in one gallon?"
"Four." said Susie, counting on her fingers.
"Well," said Uncle Robert as they went back into the dining-room, "now we have found how many quarts there are in a gallon; how shall we find how many gallons two hundred and sixteen thousand cubic inches will make?"
"If I knew how many cubic inches there are in one gallon," said Frank, "I could do it."
"How shall we find out?" asked Uncle Robert.
"We might measure a gallon," said Donald, "and then if we could empty it into a flat pan couldn't we measure that?"
"We can try," said Uncle Robert, "if your mother has the pan."
"You may use one of those tins I bake biscuit in," said Mrs. Leonard.
"I'll get it," said Susie.
They measured it and found it was eleven inches long, seven inches wide, and two inches deep. The gallon of water filled it one and one half time.
"If it had been three inches deep," said Frank, "the water would have just filled it."
"Well," said Uncle Robert, "can you find out how many inches there are in all?"
It took some time and several suggestions from Uncle Robert, but at last they found it to be two hundred thirty-one cubic inches.
"Now," said Uncle Robert, "can you find how many two hundred thirty-one cubic inches there are in two hundred and sixteen thousand cubic inches?"
"I know how," said Frank, figuring rapidly.
In a short time he found that two hundred and sixteen thousand cubic inches would make over nine hundred thirty-five gallons.
"If you were going to water the garden with the new two-gallon pail," said Uncle Robert, "how many times would you have to fill it?"
"If we took two gallons at a time," said Frank, "it would be—wait a minute—it would be four hundred sixty-seven and one half."
"My," said Donald, "it makes my arms ache to think of it."
"I'm going to find out how much fell on the whole farm some time," said Frank, "but I'm just tired out now."
"Where does all the rain come from?" asked Susie. "I don't see how so much water can stay in the clouds."
"It doesn't," said Donald, laughing. "That's why it rains."
"But where does it all go to?" asked Uncle Robert.
"Oh," said Susie, "it just goes into the ground."
"Some of it runs off into the river," said Donald. "That's what makes it rise when it rains hard."
"I wonder if it has risen much to-day?" said Frank.
"We might put on our rubber boots and walk down and see," said Uncle Robert. "It is clearing off finely."
"It is almost supper time now," said Mrs. Leonard. "If you'll wait I'll help Jane get it ready, and then you can go as soon as it is over."
So they waited, and by the time they started the sun was shining brightly. It would be a whole hour before it would set.
THE WALK AFTER THE RAIN.
The sky was clear and bright as if it had been washed by the rain. The trees took on a fresher green. The corn held up its tasseled heads as if conscious of the strength the clouds had given it. The birds, too, rejoiced as they flew from tree to tree, singing their sweetest songs.
"How nice it is to get out after being in the house all day," said Susie, skipping along by Uncle Robert's side. "See that lovely blue sky. I wish I had a dress for my doll just that color."
"And when we came out this morning," said Uncle Robert, "Donald thought the clouds looked as though they were solid and could never break away."
"They're all gone now," said Donald. "I wonder where they went. Aren't the clouds lovely sometimes, uncle? I love to watch them when they look like great piles of snow."
"Yes," replied Uncle Robert, "when I was a boy I used to lie for hours under an old apple tree and watch the clouds. I fancied they had very wonderful forms, sometimes giants and dragons and all kinds of animals."
"You can see things in them," said Donald. "I often do."
"What are clouds made of, uncle?" asked Susie. "I wish I could get close to one and see what it is like."
"When people go up in balloons," said Donald, "they go through clouds sometimes."
"Have you never been in a cloud?" asked Uncle Robert, smiling.
"Oh, no," said Susie. "How could I? I've never been up in a balloon."
"I know," was the reply, "but have you never seen anything near the ground that looked at all like a cloud?"
"I don't remember," said Susie, shaking her head.
"We've seen fogs along the river," said Frank. "They look a little like clouds. You know we see them almost every morning."
"Oh, yes," exclaimed Donald. "Don't you remember that fog we had early last spring? Why, uncle, it was so thick we couldn't see the barn from the house."
"And, uncle," said Susie, "I went out to the barn with father, and in a few minutes there were little drops of water on my hair, and all over my cloak."
"Did it last all day?" asked Uncle Robert.
"Oh, no," said Frank, "only for a little while in the morning. Then it went away and the sun came out."
"How did it go away?" asked Uncle Robert.
"Why," said Donald, "at first it began to get lighter, and we could see things plainer."
"And then," chimed in Susie, "it looked as though the fog broke up into pieces that rolled up in the sky, and floated off just like clouds."
"But what is that we see over the bottom land yonder?"
"It looks like fog," said Frank.
"More like steam, I think," said Donald.
"If it was up there against that blue sky instead of on the ground—" said Uncle Robert.
"Then it would be a cloud," said Susie. "Why, I never thought of that."
They had gone through the gate in front of the house, and were following the path that led down the slope to the spring.
"See how the water has plowed through the ground," said Frank, pointing to a gully the rain had made in the path.
"It took a good many rains to make that gully," said Donald.
"There was a little creek here for a while," said Frank. "The water has all run off now, but it has spoiled the path."
"Will the gully get deeper every time it rains?" asked Susie.
"Of course," said Donald. "That's what makes it."
"Why does the water run along the path?" asked Uncle Robert.
"Because it is lower than the ground on each side," said Frank.
"How deep do you think the water will dig into the path if we do not fill it up?" asked Uncle Robert.
"Oh, way, way down. I suppose," said Donald.
"But if grass grew on the path," said Frank, "the water wouldn't wear the ground away. We will have to fill it up with stones."
"See these pebbles, uncle," said Susie. "How did they get here? They look just like those we saw on the island."
"Do you remember what I told you about the bowlders on the island?"
"Yes, you said the bowlders were made by ice," answered Susie. "Did the ice make these pebbles?"
"Perhaps so, and perhaps the river made them and left them here."
"What! that river away down there? How could it get up here?"
"That river away down there once flowed right over this ground," said Uncle Robert. "This slope," pointing just above, "was its bank, and the ground under our feet its bed."
"That must have been a hundred years ago," said Donald.
"Yes, a great many hundred years ago. You see the work this bit of a stream has done in the path? Many rivers begin just this way. They are cutting and changing the earth all the time."
They had now come to the spring nearly at the foot of the slope. On sultry summer days it was a cool, inviting spot. The low-spreading branches of a beautiful bur oak shaded the little stream where it gushed from the outcropping limestone.
"Do you want a drink?" asked Susie, taking the tin dipper which always hung by the spring.
"Thank you, dear. How cool it is! It makes me think of the old spring in the hayfield where I used to work when I was a boy."
"The rain has not made the spring run any faster," said Donald.
"Where does this water come from?" asked Uncle Robert.
"From out of the ground," said Susie. "How does it get into the ground?"
"It's always there, isn't it?" said Susie. "The spring runs all the time. I fill my pail here every day in the summer."
"Yes, don't you remember when the wells all dried up last summer," said Frank, "that the spring was all right?"
"Well, then, where has the water gone that fell to-day?" asked Uncle Robert.
"Most of it has run off into the creek and river," said Donald. "It would look just like a lake if it was an inch and a half deep all over the ground."
"Some of it has soaked into the ground," said Frank.
"How deep down into the ground?" asked Uncle Robert.
"Down to China," laughed Donald.
"How deep do you have to dig to find water—to China?"
"Our wells are about thirty feet deep," said Frank. "In a dry time there's no water in them."
"How is it when you have a long wet spell?"
"They are more than half full then."
"Have both wells the same depth?"
"I think so."
"Where does the water in the wells come from?"
"It is the rain that has soaked into the ground," said Frank.
"How far down does it go?"
"It must go down till it finds some hard clay or rock that stops it," said Frank.
"What does it do then?"
"Then," said Frank slowly, "it must go along on top of the rock or clay."
"When does it come out of the ground?"
"Oh, I see! The rain goes down until it comes to that lime rock. Then it goes along the rock, and comes out there," said Donald, pointing to the spring.
"Does it always?" asked Frank. "I have read of very deep wells that are bored down into the ground more than a thousand feet, and when the augur strikes water the water comes right up to the top of the ground."
"You are talking about artesian wells," said Uncle Robert.
"Yes, that is the name."
They had left the spring and were walking down toward the mouth of the creek. The rain had swollen the little stream, and the water was dark with dirt.
"See how muddy the water is," said Susie.
"The creek must bring down a lot of earth," said Frank.
"There are Joe and Dick Davis," said Donald, pointing across the river. "I wonder what they are doing? I'm going to see."
Donald ran along to the mouth of the creek, which he reached as the Davis boys began to scramble down the steep bank to the edge of the river.
"Hello there!" called Donald. "What are you fellows doing?"
"Sticking in the mud," replied Joe Davis, holding up first one foot and then the other, heavy with the stiff clay that hung to it.
"Why don't they go around by the path?" said Susie, coming up with Frank and Uncle Robert.
"They'll always take the short cut if there is one," laughed Frank. "Come along over here!" he shouted.
"All right," sang out Dick, scraping the mud from his shoes.
An eddy in the stream just above the steep bank made a quiet place in the current. Here their boat was moored. As they pushed out from the shore they were swept down the stream, but a few strong pulls carried them beyond the swiftest part of the current, and then they easily rowed back to the landing at the mouth of the creek, where the Leonards were waiting for them.
"I wish our bank was low like this," said Joe as he leaped from the boat. "We have to go so far downstream before we find a low bank on our side."
"I should think you'd rather walk a mile," said Susie, looking at Joe's shoes, "than come down that bank when it's so muddy."
"Humph! we don't mind a little mud," said Dick, wiping his feet on the grass.
"You've brought some of your land over to us, I see," laughed Uncle Robert. "Mr. Leonard will be obliged to you. He is always glad when the soil is left on his side."
"I don't see why it is," said Joe, "that our land is being cut away all the time and yours is getting bigger. It isn't fair."
"We can't help it, Joe," said Susie. "It's the river that does it. You ask Uncle Robert. He'll tell you all about it."
"I can tell you how it is," said Donald. "You know how strong the current is over on your side? Well, that's the reason your land is washed away. The water flows slower here, so it drops all the stuff it brings with it on our side. See?"
"My!" said Dick, with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes, "doesn't he know a lot!"
"Well, it's so," declared Donald, giving his head a nod. "You can see it yourself if you keep your eyes open."
"My eyes are always open," said Dick, "but that doesn't keep our land."
"You ought to have a creek," said Frank, "if you want your land to grow. Just look, uncle, what a lot of dirt has been left here."
"It makes quite a delta, doesn't it?" replied Uncle Robert.
"Sure enough," said Donald. "You remember the day of our picnic we were going to see if there was one here, and we forgot it."
"Now you see where some of the dirt or silt that is brought down by the creek goes," said Uncle Robert. "And all this must have been left here since the flood in the spring. Frank is right. The creek is really building land all the time."
"Most of the dirt or—what did you call it—silt goes down the river, doesn't it?" asked Frank.
"Our land goes down the river," said Joe; "I've seen it."
"And the river is building land for us," said Donald.
"Yes," said Uncle Robert, "the river works all the time, tearing down in some places and building up in others. The clouds give us rain, the rain goes down into the ground, and then comes out and runs into the streams, and then—"
"Into the ocean," said Frank.
No one spoke.
"And then it rises up from the ocean and comes back again in clouds."
"Did those clouds we had this morning come all the way from the ocean?" asked Joe. "I don't see how they could come so far?"
"The clouds have swift wings to carry them," replied Uncle Robert. "They travel very far without tiring."
"The wind brings the clouds, doesn't it, uncle?" asked Susie.
"Yes, they come on the wings of the wind."
"Oh," said Joe, "I see."
"There's father blowing the horn," said Dick. "We must go."
"Come again," said Uncle Robert and the children together.
"I wish we could hear more about the river," said Joe to Frank as he helped them push off the boat.
"Come over again any day," said Frank. "Uncle Robert will tell you all about it."
"I wish he was my uncle, too," said Dick as they pulled out into the stream. "He isn't a bit stuck up and he knows a lot."
THE BIG BOOK.
"Please tell us another story from the Big Book," begged Susie as the family were all seated on the piazza one beautiful summer evening.
The great full moon, like a ball of molten iron, was rising in the east. It plowed a silver path across the river. Fireflies glimmered and sparkled in the dusky shadows of the meadow and in and out of the garden shrubs. The merry chirping of the crickets and the low hum of insect voices filled the air. Down by the creek the whip-poor-will told his one story over and over.
"A story from the Big Book!" repeated Uncle Robert. "There are so many and they are all so wonderful. Ever since man was created he has read stories in the earth, water, and sky, and in all living things. Everything he has found in Nature helps him to live and grow wiser and better. We could never understand printed books unless we studied the Big Book. The more we read what God has written the more we shall want to read what other people have found out and put into printed books. The true desire to read these books springs from our love and study of Nature.
"It was written for many years that the sun moved around the earth. But Copernicus studied the sun, earth, and stars anew, and he showed that the printed books were wrong by proving that the earth moved around the sun. Galileo read the same story through the telescope that he made.
"Steam had always been a very common thing. Hot vapor had risen from heated water ever since fire was discovered, but the real story of steam had not been read until Watt sat long hours by a boiling teakettle. Then came the locomotive, the railroad, and mighty engines driving wheels that work for man."
"Wasn't that a good story to read from the Big Book!" said Frank.
"Lightning had flashed and thunder rolled throughout the ages. Men feared, wondered, and worshiped that mighty hidden power. Franklin looked straight at the forked lightning and asked, 'What are you?' The answer came in the telegraph that is fast making the nations of the earth one great family. Bell listened long and carefully to sounds, and now I can talk from New York to my friends in Chicago.
"Are not these stories from the Big Book as wonderful as miracles? These are only a few of the many stories that have been read. Countless more will be read when children really open their eyes to the 'law of the Lord that converteth the soul.' Great men and great minds have road Nature's revelation in the past, but the time is coming when you and I and all children will read every day and hour the hidden things that surround us like light and press upon us like air. The Creator is writing the Big Book all the time for us—His children. Should we not read what He says there?"
The children did not understand all that Uncle Robert said, yet they loved to listen.
"We have found that our farm is a very interesting page of the Book," said Mrs. Leonard.
"Yes, that is the precious thing about it all.
"Whether we look, or whether we listen, We hear life murmur or see it glisten."
All eyes were gazing at the moon as it seemed to rise above the trees. The great face of the man in the moon became distinct as he looked down upon the rolling earth.
"A beautiful and wonderful world," continued Uncle Robert, "but probably not a bit more wonderful than the countless worlds we see up there.
"Just think! we are on a great round ball, and it is moving on its axis from west to east toward the moon. The moon, you know, does not really move over our heads as it seems to do. The round earth rolls upon its axis, and that makes the moon seem to rise higher and higher, and then sink away below the western horizon."
"To-morrow night it will come up in the east a little later," said Frank.
"Round and round we go upon our ball of earth. The sun seems to rise and set just as the moon does, but it is the world itself that makes the sun and moon seem to rise and set," said Uncle Robert.
"What is our earth made of?" asked Donald.
"Just what you see before you," answered Uncle Robert. "Under our feet we have the ground, the soil, gravel, sand, and loam, which is made of—"
"Ground-up rock," said Frank.
"And underneath the soil there is—"
"The solid rock," said Frank.
"And underneath that?" asked Mr. Leonard.
"We do not know, but it is quite certain the solid earth is made of ground-up rock and rock that may be ground. The mills are all at work, grinding all the time."