Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 36.djvu/234

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222
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

too early or carefully attended to. Morals in a child are in a very rudimentary condition, and much depends on the mother as to whether they are to develop and give strength to the character, or whether they are to wither away, like unused organs of the body. Truthfulness, courage, and unselfishness are blossoms of character growing from but small seeds; let them be nourished in the warmth and sunshine of love and sympathy, and watchfully protected from choking weeds, and at last will come the crowning of a fine character, without which all the book-learning in the world is but a parrot's jargon. — Nineteenth Century.


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THE STRUGGLE OF SEA AND LAND.

By Dr. VINZENZ HILBER, of Graz.

WE stand on a bluff at the sea-shore. The surf is undermining it. That deep cutting into the bank is its work. An over-hanging mass of earth is thrown down and becomes the toy of the waves, which reduce it to gravel. This in its turn becomes ammunition to be hurled against the shore. Wherever this process is going on, the land falls back before the advancing sea, and considerable results are evident in a short time. The Island of Heligoland has been reduced, within a thousand years, from a considerable island to a mere rock. The strings of rocky islands along many coasts are remnants of destroyed shore-land. Thus the land yields with hardly a struggle to the supremacy of the sea. Loose alluvial terrains give way in a body. The Zuyder Zee so came into being five hundred years ago, and Holland, part of which is below the level of the sea, would have been likewise overflown if it had not been defended by artificial dikes. Subsidences of ground have also been sometimes observed during earthquakes.

In other places the sea gives way. Rivers carry out masses of detritus and deposit them along the shores, causing the land to advance. By the operation of this process Roman ports on the eastern coast of Italy have been left away inland, and whole alluvial districts of the upper Italian plain have been wrested from the sea.

No doubt a very long time is required for important changes in the sea-lines to be produced by these processes; hence we must widen our view if we would find a solution of the problems which the history of the primitive seas offers us.

When the Alpine traveler finds sea-shells included in the rocks on high peaks, he says that the strata of the mountain are ocean deposits. In the great foldings of the rocks which he can follow