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which had broken up and floated down towards the south pole. These had been also seen and reported by Magellan on that first voyage ever taken around the world four hundred years ago. Farther up the beach, Jud and the boys came to a full stop. Before them towered so high that the stars seemed tangled in its leaves a royal palm, one of the most magnificent trees on earth. Its straight, tapered shaft shot up over a hundred and twenty-five feet and was then crowned with a mass of glossy leaves, like deep-green plumes. As it touched the violet sky with the full moon rising back of its proud head, it had an air of unearthly majesty. Beneath their feet the beach was covered with angel-wings, pure white shells eight inches long, shaped like the wings of angels in old pictures. With them were beautifully tinted tellinas, crimson olivas with their wonderful zigzag, tentlike color patterns, large dosinas round as dollars, and many other varieties, gold, crimson, and purple. Some distance down the beach the professor kept a large canoe, in which the whole party paddled out into the bay. As they flashed over the smooth surface, the clamor of the night-life dwindled. Suddenly, from the bushes on a little point, sounded a birdsong which held them all spellbound, a stream of joyous melody, full of rapid, ringing notes, yet with a purity of tone which made the song indescribably beautiful. It seemed to include the ethereal quality of the hermitthrush, the lilt and richness of the thrasher, and the magic of the veery's song, and yet to be more beautiful than any or all of them together. On and on the magic melody flowed and rippled, throbbed and ebbed in the moonlight. Suddenly it stopped. Then from the same thicket burst out a medley of different songs. Some of them were slow and mellow. Others had silvery, bell-like trills. There were flute-like calls, gay hurried twitterings, and leisurely delicious strains— all of them songs of birds which the Cornwall visitors had never even heard. Then Will, the ornithologist of his party, began to hear songs which were familiar to him. There was the musical chuckle of the purple martin, the plaintive call of the upland plover, the curious “kow-kow” of the yellow-billed cuckoo, and the slow, labored music of the scarlettanager. Suddenly all of them ceased and once again the original song burst out. “That thicket must be chuck full of birds,” whispered Jud.
Professor Ditson shook his head. “It 's only one bird,” he said, “but the greatest singer of all the world—the whitebanded mocking-bird.” Even as he spoke, the songster itself fluttered up into the air, a brown bird with a white throat, and tail and wings broadly banded with the same color. Up and up it soared, and its notes chimed like a golden bell as its incomparable song drifted down through the moonlight to those listening below. Then on glistening wings the spent singer wavered down like some huge moth and disappeared in the dark of the thicket. In the silence that followed, Will drew a deep breath. “I 'd have traveled around the world to hear that song,” he half whispered. Professor Ditson nodded his head understandingly. “Many and many an ornithologist,” he said, “has come to South America to listen to that bird and gone away without hearing what we have heard to-night. Between his own two songs,” went on the professor, “I counted the notes of seventeen other birds of both North and South America that he mimicked.” They paddled gently toward the shore, hoping to hear the bird again, but it sang no more that night. As they neared the beach, the moonlit air was heavy with the scent of jessamine, only fragrant after darkness, and the overpowering perfume of night-blooming cereuses, whose satin-white blossoms were three feet in circumference. Suddenly, just before them, the moon-flowers bloomed. Great snowy blossoms five inches across began to open slowly. There was a puff of wind, and hundreds of them burst into bloom at once, glorious white salvers of beauty and fragrance. “Everything here,” said Will, “seems beautiful and peaceful and safe.” Professor Ditson smiled sardonically. “South America is beautiful,” he said precisely, “but it is never safe. Death and danger lurk everywhere and in the most unexpected forms. It is only in South America," he went on, “that you can be eaten up by fish about the size of a small trout, or be killed by ants or little brown bats.” Jud listened with much scorn. “Professor,” he broke out at last, “I don't take much stock in that kind of talk. Your nerves are in a bad way. My advice to you is—” What Mr. Judson Adams's advice was will never be known, for at that moment a dreadful thing happened. Into the beauty
of the moonlight, from the glassy water of the bay, soared a shape of horror, a black, monstrous creature like a gigantic bat. It had two wings which measured a good twenty feet from tip to tip, and was flat, like an enormous skate. Behind it streamed a spiked, flexible tail, while long feelers, like slim horns, projected several feet beyond a vast, hooked mouth. Like some vampire shape from the pit, it skimmed through the air across the bow of the canoe not ten feet from where Jud was sitting. The old trapper was no coward, but this sudden horror was too much even for his seasoned nerves. With a yell, he fell backward off his thwart, and as his legs kicked convulsively in the air, the monster came down with a crash that could have been heard a mile, raising a wave that nearly swamped the canoe. A moment later, the monstrous shape broke water again farther seaward, blotting out for an instant with its black bulk the rising moon. “What kind of a sea-devil is that, anyhow?” queried Jud, shakily, as he righted himself, with the second crash of the falling body still in his ears. “That,” responded Professor Ditson, precisely, “is a well-nourished specimen of the manta ray, a fish allied to the skate family— but you started to speak about nerves.” Jud, however, said nothing and kept on saying nothing all the way back to the house. Safely arrived there, he went down to the spring for some water with Pinto, but a moment later came bolting back. “What 's the matter now, Jud?” inquired Will, solicitously. “Did you find another water-devil in the spring?” “That 's just what I did!” bellowed Jud. “When I started to dip out a pail of water, up pops about six feet of snake. Now you know, boys,” he went on, panting, “I hate snakes, an' I jumped clear across the spring at the sight of this one; but what do you suppose that Injun did?” he continued excitedly. “Pats the snake's head an' tells me it 'stame an’ there to keep the spring free from frogs. Now what do you think of that?” “He was quite right,” observed Professor Ditson, soothingly. “It is a perfectly harmless, well-behaved serpent, known as the mussarama. This one is a fine specimen which it will be worth your while to examine more carefully.” “I’ve examined it just as carefully as I'm goin' to,” shouted Jud, stamping into the house as Pinto came grunting up the path carrying a brimming bucket of water.
As they sat down for supper, a long streak of black and white flashed across the ceiling just over Jud, who sat staring at it with a spoonful of soup half-way to his mouth. “Professor Ditson,” he inquired softly, “is that thing on the ceiling another one of your tame snakes?” “No, sir,” responded the professor, impatiently; “that is only a harmless houselizard.” “I just wanted to know,” remarked Jud, rising and taking his plate to a bench outside of the door, where he finished his supper, in spite of all attempts on the part of the boys to bring him back. In front of Will stood a pitcher of rich yellow cream. “You have a good cow, Professor Ditson,” he remarked politely as he poured some into a cup of the delicious coffee which is served with every meal in Brazil. “Yes,” agreed the scientist, “I have a grove of them.” Then he explained to the bewildered Will that the cream was the sap of the cow-tree. Will was not so fortunate with his next investigation. Taking a second helping of a good-tasting stew which Pinto had brought in from the kitchen, he asked the Indian what it was made of. “Tinnala,” replied the Mundurucu. “What is it in North American?” persisted Will. The Indian shook his head. “I not know any other name,” he said. “Wait, I show you,” he went on, disappearing into the kitchen to return a moment later with a long, hairy arm ending in a clenched fist. Will started up and clasped his stomach frantically, remembering all that he had read about cannibalism among the South American Indians. Even when Professor Ditson explained the stew was made from a variety of monkey which was considered a great delicacy, he was not entirely reassured and finished his meal on oranges. Jud was much amused. “You always were a fussy eater, Bill,” he remarked from the porch. “I remember you would n’t eat mountain-lion meat up in the north when we were after the pearl. You ought to pattern after Joe. He don't find fault with his food.” “All I want about food,” grunted Joe, “is enough.” That night the whole party slept side by side in hammocks swung in a screened veranda in the second story. During the night, Jud, who was always a light sleeper, was wakened by a curious,
rustling, crackling sound which seemed to
come from the storeroom, which opened into
the sleeping-porch. After listening awhile
he reached over and aroused Professor Dit
son, who was sleeping soundly next to him. “Some one 's stealin'
with the startling suddenness of the tropics, where there is no dawn-light. With the light, the tumult of the night ceased, and in place of the insect din came a medley of birdnotes. When Jud opened his eyes Professor
your grub,” he whispered. The professorstepped lightly out of his hammock, followed by Jud and the boys, who had been awakened by the whispering. Opening the door noiselessly, the scientist peered in. After a long look, Professor Ditson turned around to find Jud gripping his revolver and ready for the worst. “You can put up your gun,” the scientist growled. “Bullets don't mean anything to thieves like these,” and he flashed the light on a strange sight. On a long table stood native baskets full of cassava, that curious grainlike substance obtained from the root of the poisonous manihot and which takes the place of wheat in South America. The floor was covered with moving columns of ants, large and small, which had streamed up the legs of the table and into the baskets. Some of them were over an inch long, while others were smaller than the grains they were carrying. The noise which had aroused Jud had been made by their cutting off the dry leaves with which the baskets were lined, to use in lining their underground nests. Professor Ditson told them that nothing could stop an ant-army. Once on the march, they would not turn back for fire or water and would furiously attack anything that tried to check them. “A remarkably efficient insect,” concluded the professor, “for it bites with one end and stings with the other.” “This is what I call a nice quiet night! What next?” murmured Jud, as he went back to his hammock. “Sea-devils, snakes, lizards —and now it 's ants. I wonder what next?” “Next,” however, was daylight, blazing
Ditson's hammock was empty (for the scientist usually got up long before daylight), and through the open door strutted a longlegged, wide-winged bird, nearly three feet tall, with a shimmering blue breast and throat. Without hesitating, it walked over to Jud's hammock and, spreading its wings with a deep murmuring note, made a low bow. “Good morning to you,” responded Jud, much pleased with his visitor. The bird bowed and murmured again and allowed him to pat her beautiful head as she bent forward. Then she went to the next hammock and the next and the next, until she had awakened all of the sleepers, whereupon, with deep bows and courtesies and murmurings, she sidled out of the room. “Now, that,” said Jud, as he rolled out of the hammock and began to look for his shoes, “is an alarm-clock worth having!”
Pinto, the Mundurucu, who appeared at this moment with a pail of spring water, told them that the bird was a tame female trumpeter which he had picked up as a queer, frightened little creature, all legs and neck, but which had become one of the best-loved of all of his many pets. Each morning the tame, beautiful bird would wander through the house, waking up every sleeper at sunrise. When Pinto took trips through the forest the bird always went with him, traveling on his back in a large-meshed fiber bag; and when he made camp it would parade around for a while, bowing and talking, and then fly up into the nearest tree, where it would spend the night. Tente, as it was named, was always gentle except when it met a dog. No matter how large or fierce the latter might be, Tente would fly at it, making a loud, rumbling noise, which always made the dog turn tail and run for its life.
As Pinto started to fill the pitchers, Will, the bird expert of the party, began to ask him about some of the songs that were sounding all around the house. One bird which squalled and mewed interested him.
“That bird chestnut cuckoo,” said Pinto.
And as Will listened he could well believe it. A little farther off, another bird called constantly, “Crispen, Crispen, Crispen.” “One time,” narrated the Indian, “a girl and her little brother Crispen go walking in the woods. He very little boy and he wander away and get lost, and all day and all night and all next day she go through the woods calling “Crispen! Crispen! Crispen!' until at last she changed into a little bird. And still she flies through the woods and calls ‘Crispen!’” At this point, Jud finally found his missing shoe and started to put one on, but stopped at a shout from the Mundurucu. “Shake it out!” warned Pinto. “No one ever put on shoes in this country without shaking out.” Jud did as he was told. With the first shoe he drew a blank. Out of the second one, however, rattled down on the floor a centipede fully six inches long, which Pinto skilfully crushed with the heavy waterpitcher. Jud gasped and sank back into his hammock. “Boys,” he said solemnly, “I doubt if I last out this trip!”
(To be continued)
A FORTUNATE MISFORTUNE By KATHARINE HAVILAND TAYLOR
As I look back, I realize that many, many things I felt to be unfortunate proved quite misfortune's opposite, and that lots of times a cloudy sky absolutely guarantees the sunniest sort of a to-morrow. For an example take my learning French. I did n’t want to at all. I thought I was learning a great deal more than I could ever use, anyway, and that the necessity of studying was overrated by my family, so I really was entirely averse to adding another study. But my aunt, who paid my tuition at the girls' school where I went as a day-scholar, said she would n’t pay it unless I studied French and did well at it. And when I think of that, the way I fumed over it, and the sunny day it brought to me, I realize—as I said at the beginning—and I feel a little foolish. This story, which happened to me, is a story about the most fortunate kind of misfortune; and to explain things a little, I will
begin two evenings before it happened, when we, the Carrolls, were all in our library. Daddy, who is a manufacturer, was sitting by the big center-table; Mother was across from him, darning the holes that Daddy had cut in the towel with his razor. Ethel, my elder sister, was putting on her hat—she was going out to a picture—show with the man she is going to marry. Mary, who is younger than I, was studying her Latin and doing it all half aloud, and I was drawing. And as I drew I was thinking a lot about Paris and wondering whether I should ever get there. I wanted to go so much, for I intended to be an artist and, of course, seeing great pictures is a part of any artist's study. “Drawing, dear?” asked Mother, who has a way of being interested in the things other people do. (I think the nicest mothers all have this quality.) I said I was, and then I held up the picture,