Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 6.djvu/30

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20
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

at the bar: "Come, Swill, let's take a drink!" "Well, I don't know. Ain't dry myself. Hows'ever, guess I will take a drink, for fear I might get dry!" With better philosophy on their side, these educated oysters, twice in every twenty-four hours took their precautionary drink. The French method of oyster-training is much more laborious. The adult bivalves are carefully spread out in the water and periodical lessons are given to each one individually. Each oyster on this occasion receives a tap, not with a ferule, but with a small iron instrument. This causes the bivalve to close tightly. Finally the last day comes with its last premonitory tap. Its education thus finished, it takes passage with its fellow-graduates for Paris. As a result of its education, it knows how to keep its mouth shut when it enters society!

Said one of the English commissioners at the great World's Fair, in respect of the American inventions on exhibition, "They show so much knowingness!" So we think of this oyster-training; the American practice shows a common-sense tact, not found in the French method. And, though in a vastly more ancient sense, the secret of keeping oysters alive in the winter is an American art. Connected with the inland deposits of oyster-shells, made by the former Indian tribes in New Jersey, the writer has discovered what he believes to be oyster-preserves, the evidence of pits in which the Indians stored the living bivalves for winter consumption, when the bays and rivers of New Jersey were frozen over. While unearthing this Indian cache, the thought occurred, "How knowing these ancient people must have been!"

The next article will give, in detail, the friends and companions of the oyster; its enemies, with their modes of attack, and the geographical area of this bivalve.

 
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HERBERT SPENCER AND THE DOCTRINE OF EVOLUTION.[1]

THE change that has taken place in the world of thought within our own time, regarding the doctrine of Evolution, is something quite unprecedented in the history of progressive ideas. Twenty years ago that doctrine was almost universally scouted as a groundless and absurd speculation; now, it is admitted as an established principle by many of the ablest men of science, and is almost universally conceded to have a basis of truth, whatever form it may ultimately take. It is, moreover, beginning to exert a powerful influence in the investigation

  1. A Lecture delivered before the New York Liberal Club, June 5th, 1874, by E. L. Youmans.