Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/652

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
634
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

bask in the sunshine, more than they possibly can while they are penned up in wards, they would improve mentally and physically more rapidly than they do. I do not not know of any more depressing influence within the range of the possibilities than that which settles upon one who has recovered his senses in an asylum, and is retained there until he recovers his health! The possibility of recovering one's health, surrounded by insane people, is what I have always doubted, and why I insisted upon leaving the asylum as soon as I did; and I never look upon such an institution without a heart-felt pang for the many sad and wretched beings I know it must contain; and with this comes the still more horrible thought that there may possibly be among them some who, in all justice and right, should be as free as I myself.

 
Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Flare Left - 12px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 5px.svg Rule Segment - Circle - 6px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 5px.svg Rule Segment - Flare Right - 12px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg

THE LITTLE MISSOURI BAD LANDS.
By Professor T. H. McBRIDE.
II.

"Knew you what silence was before?
 Here is no startle of dreaming bird
That sings in his sleep or strives to sing;
 Here is no sough of branches stirred,
Nor noise of any living thing."—Lowell.

HOWEVER interesting the Bad Lands may be in their scenery and in their conditions purely physical, it is only when we consider them in their relation to life and its progress on the earth that they become most attractive, most engaging.

To describe the present flora and especially the fauna of this region would require no very long chapter, and yet the list of species would be longer than some might suspect. Where erosion less interrupted by the fires has been allowed to do its perfect work, there are level areas of considerable extent sparsely covered with short grass, on which the prong-horn, the elk, the deer, and the big-horn sheep, have been wont to graze. The valleys, and even the flat tops of the buttes in May, are said to abound with flowers. Cottonwood-groves occur along the banks of the river, and occasionally a thicket of low box-elders, plums, and various kinds of thorny shrubs, divides with the sage-brush the occupancy of some sheltered ravine; while up the northern faces of some of the higher and more sloping buttes, where the snow of winter lingers longest, low, ragged cedars creep in straggling file. But, where the fires have done their part, the desolation is extreme. Even the vegetation which the spring-time may have brought seems to vanish from the earth, the precipitated alkali whitens the valleys, and from all the naked hills comes up a glare of dazzling