Page images
PDF
EPUB

all the other; and so on. Paper and snow are white, because they reflect all the rays. My coat is blue; it reflects the blue rays; your cousin's coat is black, because it absorbs all the rays of the sun.

Why do objects change their color, Father? The leaves, you know, do só in autumn.

They undergo an internal change, and no longer reflect the green, but the yellow, or some other rays.

But the flowers of our geraniums are of different colors; how is this, Father, that the same flowers should not be of one color?

Because different parts of the flower reflect different rays of the sun; one part red; another, indigo; a third, the violet.

That seems, Father, as if the parts of the same flower were really different from each other in their texture: I mean, it seems as if there were the qualities of several different flowers in one.

That is the case; good microscopes prove that it is so this accounts for their reflecting different rays, and for their diversity of colors.

Why, Father, every thing, when explained, seems surprising. But if the black aborbs, or drinks in, all the rays, and the white reflects them, then a black dress must be much warmer than a white one.

And so it is.

I am greatly pleased, Father, with your ac

count of colors. How astonishing are the rays of light!

They are; and how thankful we should be for eyes to behold them.

We ought, indeed; the blind must lose many enjoyments. Milton very beautifully describes his feelings after he became blind. Can you repeat his lines? Father.

I think I can,

"With the year

Seasons return; but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But clouds instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off; and for the book of knowledge fair,
Presented with an universal blank

Of Nature's works, to me expung'd and raz'd,
And wisdom, at one entrance, quite shut out."

These are very fine verses, Frank, and you have repeated them very feelingly. If light be so wonderful, what must He be who formed it? A sacred writer says of him, that he is light, and that with him there is no darkness at all.

Yes, Father, and another says, that he dwells in light inaccessible!

H

CONVERSATION X.

THE EARTH.

We have taken several views of the world in which we live, which are interesting and instructive There is one, however, which I regard as of very great importance, which I have not named.

What is it, Father?

It is what is called Geology, or an account of the different strata, or layers of substance, of which the earth is composed. But you cannot go far into the earth, Father, to know what they are.

Of course, I mean, so far as we can ascertain the materials of which it is formed. From unquestionable evidence, it appears that the earth has undergone an immense revolution according to the Scriptures, the waters of the ocean have covered the whole earth, even the tops of the highest mountains. There are, indeed, many proofs, on the earth itself, that this has been the case. God has written, and in very plain characters, too, the truth of his word upon his

works.

The Bible says, you know, Father, that "the foundations of the great deep were broken up."

Yes, and mountains doubtless became plains, and plains and vallies became mountains; and some islands were lost in the immeasurable ocean, and others were formed.

You pointed out the common strata to me, the other day, when you showed me the brick and tile manufactory.

:

Do you recollect what they were ? Yes, I think I do, Father; common soil, clay, sand, marl, chalk, and stony ground. This uniformity, however, is by no means general the strata varies in different places. But whatever view we take of the earth, of its gravel, or marble, or coal, or chalk, or stone; whether we go into the deep vallies, or ascend the highest mountains, we find shells, and sea-plants, and petrified fish of different kinds. The hills and the mines in foreign lands, as well as those of our own, present similar articles, and in greater abundance. The Alps, and the Apennines, the Pyrenees, and the vast mountains in South America, give evident proof that they have been visited by the ocean. Indeed, the productions of America have been found in a fossil state in Europe, and those of Africa in Germany.

Can you mention some of them, Father? Yes; fossil specimens of the mouse deer, a native of America, have been found in

Ireland; and the crocodile, a native of the Nile, has been found in Germany. The traveller Humbolt met with vast quantities of sea shells on the Andes, 14,120 feet above the level of the sea.

This is indeed surprising, Father. No one could have carried them thither, I should suppose.

Certainly not; they are found in such immense quantities, that this could not have been the case. Geologists, or persons who have devoted their leisure to the examination of the internal structure of the globe, have found the peculiar productions of the four quarters of the world, in a fossil state, in one place.

Have they found any thing which does not now exist, in their researches ?

Yes; the fossils of many animals now unknown, have been found, though it is possible that they may exist in some unexplored parts of the world.

How many of this kind have been discovered, Father?

I think, more than thirty. I will mention two or three; there is the Irish Elk, a large species, which has been found in the quarries of England and Ireland, of the Isle of Man, and in those of France, and of Germany.

On the banks of the Ohio, in America,

« PreviousContinue »