Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/830

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810
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

present if I have given any of my readers a more rational reason in future for eating their dinners. To be sure, Nature herself has admirably provided that even the most unscientific person should find sufficient internal conviction as to the desirability of dining without the aid of extraneous exhortation; but it is at least some comfort to know that so universal and so unreasoning a practice is not altogether an unreasonable one as well.—Belgravia.

 

THE ORIGIN OF UPLAND LAKES.
By Rev. J. CLIFTON WARD, F. G. S.

WHO has not felt a sudden and intense pleasure when, rounding the end of some mighty mountain or towering crag, the still waters of an upland lake or tarn have first met the eye? Perhaps, on approach, wild birds have started from the smooth surface and left it a little sea of shimmering gold, as the sun's light has been reflected from each tiny wavelet. The raven's croak among the overhanging cliffs, the patch of snow lying unmelted deep in a rocky fissure, the scattered sheep browsing carelessly on the few grassy slopes, while all around are masses of tumbled rock, and the light veil of cloud that ever and anon sweeps the cliff-tops and adds an air of mystery and wonder to the whole—all combine to make a scene which can not but send a thrill of pleasure and perhaps of happy awe to every heart. Instinctively one feels, if the power of expression be not present, what Nature's true poet hath so truly sung:

. . . . How divine
The liberty, for frail, for mortal man,
To roam at large among unpeopled glens
And mountainous retirements, only trod
By devious footsteps; regions consecrate
To oldest time! and, reckless of the storm
That keeps the raven quiet in her nest,
Be as a presence or a motion—one
Among the many there.

No one can wander over rugged and beautiful mountains without being led to love and admire these calm sheets of water, which lie nestled in hollows, and are ofttimes blackened by the shadow of encircling cliffs. Love for such solitary spots soon excites our curiosity as to the origin of these miniature upland lakes. In the Cumbrian lake district they are scattered broadcast over the country in far greater numbers than most people imagine, and at a period not vastly remote their number must have been more than double what it is now. But the yearly waste of mountain-side and the matter brought down by