Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/39
THE NEGRO SINCE THE CIVIL WAR.
bubbles. This peculiar feature must have been a secondary acquisition. The bubbles not only surround the insect and the stem upon which it rests, but flows in a continuous sheet between the ventral plates of the abdomen, and the insect probably utilizes this air in the manner of other air-breathing aquatic larvæ—namely, through its spiracles. As many aquatic larvae respire in two ways, either inhaling air through the spiracles or by means of branchial leaflets, so Aphrophora may likewise utilize its branchial tufts for the same purpose. For this reason we can understand how each fresh bubble added to the mass may aërate the fluid, so to speak, and thus insure at intervals a fresh supply of oxygen.
THE admirable conduct of the negro during the civil war made it seem possible to have the readjustment of his relations on the basis of freedom brought about with a minimum of friction. As a whole, the former slaves had stayed on the land where they belonged. Many of those who had wandered, moved by the homing instinct so strong in their race, found their way back to their accustomed places. The bonds of mutual interest and old affections were enough, had the situation been left without outside disturbance, to have made the transition natural and easy. It is true that the negro, with his scant wage paid in supplies, would not have advanced very far in the ways of freedom. He would have been hardly better than the middle-age serf bound to his field. It would, however, have been better to begin with a minimum of liberty, with provision for schooling and a franchise based on education. But this was not to be. Political ends and the popular misconception of the negroes as beings who differ from ourselves only in the color of their skin and in the kink of their hair led to their immediate enfranchisement and to the disenfranchisement of their masters. This was attended by an invasion into the South of the worst political rabble that has ever cursed the land. There were good and true men among the carpet-baggers, but as a lot they were of a badness such as the world has not known since captured provinces were dealt out to the political gamblers of Rome.
The effect of the carpet-bag period on the negroes was to raise their expectations of fortune to the highest point, and then to