Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/188

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174
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the largest in Alaska, and was put up during the life of Ebbits, a Tongas chief who was named in honor of one of John Jacob Astor's captains. A tablet near by reads:

"TO THE MEMORY OF EBBITS,

HEAD CHIEF OF THE TONGAS,

WHO DIED IN 1880, AGED 100 YEARS."

At one o'clock we started for Simpson. The run of twelve miles was made in about two hours, and within less than half a day's time we were aboard the magnificent steamer Islander, bound for Port Essington.

 
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ASPECTS OF NATURE IN THE AFRICAN SAHARA. A SUMMER JOURNEY.
By Professor ANGELO HEILPRIN.
II.

MORE than one traveler has remarked that the most important lesson that traveling teaches is to unlearn that which has been learned before. No matter how seemingly truthful a picture may be, how carefully worded a description is, somehow or other the actual fact rebels against the conception which has been brought to the mind. The great African desert repeated the lesson that was taught to me a few years before by the icy wilderness of the far North, and still earlier by the primeval fastnesses of the tropics. Is it that the description of a new country is so difficult a task, or that the narrator intentionally beguiles himself into an excess of imagination, which makes the telling or the conveying of the simple truth so seemingly impossible? The late Professor Drummond, in his work on Tropical Africa, ventured to lift the veil from the picture that had generally been drawn of the dark continent, and assumed to disenchant the reader of preconceived notions regarding vast and impenetrable primeval forests, of gayly plumaged birds, of monkeys swinging from trapezes in shaded bowers, etc. But for this mendacious effort to destroy an old picture and to reconstruct a new one he was sharply taken to task by Mr. Stanley, who averred that the true picture of Africa as drawn by Professor Drummond bore "no more resemblance to tropical Africa than the tors of Devon, or the moors of Yorkshire, or the downs of Dover represent the smiling scenes of England, of leafy Warwickshire, the gardens of Kent, and the glorious vales of the isle." In short,