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Edge of the Jungle   By: (1877-1962)

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[Illustration: WILLIAM BEEBE Author of Edge of the Jungle, Jungle Days, Gallapagos, World's End, The Arcturus Adventure, etc.]

BY THE AUTHOR OF "JUNGLE DAYS," "THE LOG OF THE SUN," ETC.

EDGE OF THE

JUNGLE

By WILLIAM BEEBE

Honorary Curator of Birds and Director of the Tropical Research Station of the New York Zoological Society.

GARDEN CITY, NEW YORK

GARDEN CITY PUBLISHING CO., INC.

COPYRIGHT, 1921

BY HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY

TO THE BIRDS AND BUTTERFLIES, THE ANTS AND TREE FROGS WHO HAVE TOLERATED ME IN THEIR JUNGLE ANTE CHAMBERS I OFFER THIS VOLUME OF FRIENDLY WORDS

NOTE

This second series of essays, following those in Jungle Peace , are republished by the kindness of the Editors of The Atlantic Monthly , Harper's Magazine and House and Garden .

With the exception of A Tropic Garden which refers to the Botanical Gardens of Georgetown, all deal with the jungle immediately about the Tropical Research Station of the New York Zoological Society, situated at Kartabo, at the junction of the Cuyuni and Mazaruni Rivers, in British Guiana.

For the accurate identification of the more important organisms mentioned, a brief appendix of scientific names has been prepared.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I THE LURE OF KARTABO 3

II A JUNGLE CLEARING 34

III THE HOME TOWN OF THE ARMY ANTS 58

IV A JUNGLE BEACH 90

V A BIT OF USELESSNESS 112

VI GUINEVERE THE MYSTERIOUS 123

VII A JUNGLE LABOR UNION 149

VIII THE ATTAS AT HOME 172

IX HAMMOCK NIGHTS 195

X A TROPIC GARDEN 230

XI THE BAY OF BUTTERFLIES 252

XII SEQUELS 274

APPENDIX OF SCIENTIFIC NAMES 295

INDEX 299

EDGE OF THE JUNGLE

"For the true scientific method is this: To trust no statements without verification, to test all things as rigorously as possible, to keep no secrets, to attempt no monopolies, to give out one's best modestly and plainly, serving no other end but knowledge."

H. G. WELLS.

I

THE LURE OF KARTABO

A house may be inherited, as when a wren rears its brood in turn within its own natal hollow; or one may build a new home such as is fashioned from year to year by gaunt and shadowy herons; or we may have it built to order, as do the drones of the wild jungle bees. In my case, I flitted like a hermit crab from one used shell to another. This little crustacean, living his oblique life in the shallows, changes doorways when his home becomes too small or hinders him in searching for the things which he covets in life. The difference between our estates was that the hermit crab sought only for food, I chiefly for strange new facts which was a distinction as trivial as that he achieved his desires sideways and on eight legs, while I traversed my environment usually forward and generally on two.

The word of finance went forth and demanded the felling of the second growth around Kalacoon, and for the second time the land was given over to cutlass and fire. But again there was a halting in the affairs of man, and the rubber saplings were not planted or were smothered; and again the jungle smiled patiently through a knee tangle of thorns and blossoms, and the charred clumps of razor grass sent forth skeins of saws and hanks of living barbs.

I stood beneath the familiar cashew trees, which had yielded for me so bountifully of their crops of blossoms and hummingbirds, of fruit and of tanagers, and looked out toward the distant jungle, which trembled through the expanse of palpitating heat waves; and I knew how a hermit crab feels when its home pinches, or is out of gear with the world... Continue reading book >>




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