Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/676

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it—its height, the larger or smaller mass of water, the nature of the bed and the form of the opening through which the water escapes, the shape of the rocks over which it flows or against which it rebounds. Each stream of water has its own life. Pagans have personified rivers by surrounding their sources and their shores with divinities. To us, also, the torrent and its cascades are the soul of the valley.

And yet there is another and a foreign force that plays havoc with all our calculations—the wind. "Then, in the air, there are endless assaults between the coquettish sylph and the rogue who pursues her. Sometimes he seizes her of a sudden and carries her off with a puff to drop her as abruptly; sometimes he entices her and plays a thousand tricks upon her; then he grows bolder, embraces her, and makes her dance upon herself with a giddy velocity; and often he takes her so well on the wing that, like a flight of little floating clouds, she whitens in the distance in space. But soon the brook is formed again; it undulates and balances itself like a waving scarf, while all around a thousand limpid threads glide along the rock, and make a joyous court of falls in miniature to the green cascade."—Translated for The Popular Science Monthly from the Revue Scientifique.



THE study of the origin and development of species may be pursued with reference to the starry hosts, for there are different species of suns as well as of animals. The wide-ranging eye of the astronomer perceives in the dazzling orb whose rising turns night into day and whose beams vivify the face of the earth, only a minor representative of a great order of radiating bodies peopling the profundities of space. But, besides placing the sun in the comparatively humble rank to which he belongs by virtue of his inferiority in magnitude to many of his brilliant comrades, we are able to distinguish his particular breed, so to speak. He is not of the same kidney with such a sun as the dazzling Sirius, while the diamond radiance of Rigel and the sparkling blue beams of Vega proclaim that those stars are in some important respects different and more splendid organisms than our sun.

While there can be no question that suns have a life-history, a beginning and an end marking the termini of a regular process of development, and that consequently the stars that we see differ in age, still it is not yet possible to say with absolute certainty at just what point in the scale of solar development our sun, or any other