The Book of a Naturalist

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George H. Doran Company, 1919 - Animal behavior - 360 pages

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Page 154 - spectral procession of spotted dust, with dissolution in its fangs, dislocation in its coils. Startle it: the winding stream will become a twisted arrow; the wave of poisoned life will lash through the grass like a cast lance.
Page 154 - difficult to read, and not always worth reading; but the dark sayings of nature will probably become clearer for the looking into, and will very certainly be worth reading. And, indeed, all guidance to the right sense of the human and variable myths will probably depend on our first getting at the sense of the natural and invariable ones.
Page 154 - Is there indeed no tongue, except the mute forked flash from its lips, in that running brook of horror on the ground? Why that horror? We all feel it, yet how imaginative it is, how disproportioned to the real strength of the creature!
Page 216 - it seemed to him more satisfactory to regard such things " not as specially endowed or created instincts, but as small consequences of one general law"—the law of variation and the survival of the fittest.
Page 154 - But that horror is of the myth, not of the creature; ... it is the strength of the base element that is so dreadful in the serpent; it is the
Page 154 - That rivulet of smooth silver—how does it flow, think you? It literally rows on the earth, with every scale for an oar; it bites the dust with the ridges of its body. Watch it when it moves slowly; a wave, but, without wind! a current, but with no fall! all the body moving at the same instant, yet some of it to one side, some to another,
Page 331 - I know what white, what purple fritillaries The grassy harvest of the river-fields Above by Ensham, down by Sandford, yields,
Page 155 - the most inspired of all the reptiles, and of a fiery nature, inasmuch as it exhibits an incredible celerity, moving by its spirit without either hands or feet.
Page 154 - the coil backwards; but all with the same calm will and equal way —no contraction, no extension; one soundless, causeless march of sequent rings,
Page 167 - of the lethal serpent, together with its habit of attaching itself to human habitations, about which it glides in a ghostly manner, may be traced the notion of its friendliness and guardianship and of its supernatural power and wisdom; the belief that it was a reincarnation of a dead man's soul, a messenger from the gods, and, finally, the

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