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DUCK-shooting is much the same sport all the world over, though there are some plans which would not so well repay the trouble, where ducks are not to be seen in such immense flocks. Sometimes the shooter, lying at his length in a small canoe, is carefully covered over and concealed by green branches. Having his loaded guns ready pointed over the bows, he either gently paddles himself, or is borne along the stream, unheeded or unobserved, to within the closest requisite range of his unsuspecting victims. In early Winter the stratagem is occasionally varied by the substitution of a white-painted scow—which is a flat-bottomed boat, square at both ends—the shooter therein being either covered over with a sheet or dressed in flannel. This plan, when the water is studded with floating masses of ice, answers most admirably. Sometimes by using a white sheet on a frame, to look like a snowbank.
A good shot may often be got at birds circling overhead, as they generally do after the report of a gun, if ignorant of the point whence the alarm proceeds. On many open waters wild-fowl may be got in the tall grass or reeds growing on the edge from a boat, but in places where this is not practicable and they are equally unapproachable in other ways, it is a good plan to send a person round in an opposite direction to drive them toward the shooter, who carefully conceals himself beforehand.
Stalking ducks, however, affords by far the best sport, requiring, as it often does, very great skill, especially when it is necessary to approach a flock some distance out on the open water. The landmarks and bearings being carefully noted, the shooter, after making a sufficient détour, on arriving at the point of advance, commences, according to the nature of the intervening ground, to glide stealthily forward, dodging behind every tree and bush; sometimes bent nearly double, or in default of cover crawling on hands and knees through the grass. If the birds are diving or feeding, the moment must be watched when two or three are under water together, or have their tails simultaneously upturned ; then dashing rapidly forward he should frighten away the rest, to prevent their giving alarm, and gain the nearest cover before the divers reappear. If this manoeuvre be successfully accomplished he may pause a moment to recover his steadiness of hand, for the absence of the other ducks will not be regarded, even if noticed. If, therefore, he finds himself still too far from his objects, he may wait patiently for the moment when they again dive, which they will very soon do, and then gaining the water's edge he will get a splendid right and left, as they return to the surface and when they rise on the wing; which, be it remembered, all wild-fowl do with their heads to the wind.
A VISIT TO THE PHOSPHATE FIELDS AND HILLS.
By Miss JENNIE HAsKELL.
It is not the object of this article to discuss any theory with regard to the origin of what is known as Phosphate IRock, nor to give any scientific information with regard to its mining or manufacture. Its aim is simply to set before those who have never visited the phosphate fields a sort of picture of what these are, and to give some faint idea of the yet undiscovered wealth of the little Palmetto State.
Come with us, then, not so much in search of knowledge as of pleasant information, and follow the curves of the Ashley, away from the quaint and dusky city streets, west
ward and southward, to where it flows, shining and quivering, among low-lying fields and tangled thickets. Here, sloping down to the river-banks on either side, you see the grand old plantations, of which such beautiful traditions are preserved. Grand are they still, but with a melancholy grandeur, as of dethroned kings or exiled heroes. Silent they have stood for many years, discrowned and voiceless—their harps hung on the willows, their halls deserted and their coffers empty. But lo! along the banks of the river runs a thrill of awakening life. Desolation cannot last for ever, and day must surely follow night. The memory of old sorrows must grow faint with time, and from moss-hung ruins stately piles arise. The genius of to-day is not one of sullen retrospection, but of hope and noble vigor. And so along the river-banks, winding in mysterious silence ever toward the sea, once more the devastated fields grow green with the exquisite tinge of growing rice. Once more, amid their dark-green leaves, the cotton-pods expand and hang like flakes of snow. And, besides, new sounds are heard, and the old, whose hearts cling to the ways of the past, turn aside with a little sigh as the great trees fall beneath the ax, and the shriek of the locomotive rends the solemn stillness of the piny woods. But who would stay the swift-winged feet of beautiful Progress, though they trample, sometimes, even on our graves 2 For she brings healing in her hands for all the wounds 'she gives. She scatters bread to the starving, and the clink of the gold she bears is like a sweet bell of promise, for it tells of peace, of plenty and prosperity to those weary of want and care. And here we have reached the fields. And such fields ! Do not picture to yourselves “green fields of England,” nor meadows golden and gemmed with the scarlet poppy and the blue cornflower. Properly, these are the “diggings,” for the crop is under ground, and the pretty grass and the stately trees must all be sacrificed for the sake of the Phosphate Rock. The land just here looks as though a whirlwind had passed over it. Giant roots torn up lie scattered here and there. It is a sunny expanse of desolation; a desert with not a green oasis nor a sheltering palm. Little do they care, those dusky laborers, for the beating of the tropic sun 1 Well seasoned are they to all intensities of heat, and even now and here they must have their dearly-loved fire, where they cook their midday meal of hoecake and bacon, and around which they gather after sunset, when the gnats become troublesome, and exchange their rough and witty sayings, their novel views of men and things. Now, however, there is no time to talk. Each man is busy digging at his respective “pit.” They dig in line, throwing the phosphate on one side, the mud on the other. Some industrious fellows have dug far forward ; some lazy ones are lagging back from the line, but, on the whole, the work progresses with tolerable regularity. The voluble “foreman,” filled with the conscious pomp of his “little brief authority,” scatters his abuse and his threatenings very much as the rain falls, upon the just and upon the unjust. Some of the costumes are most uncouth. Here is one, consisting chiefly of a coarse grain-sack. Through two holes in this protrude two brawny, muscular arms, wielding pickax and shovel with what appears Titanic force. One old man wears a crushed silk hat “that has seen better days.” Some have red bandanas tied about their forehead, though this usually symbolizes headache. Most are bareheaded, and their tattered, misfitting garments must not be taken as evidences of penury, by any means, being worn generally through, motives of economy. For the phosphate-diggers are better paid than any other class of negro laborers in South Carolina, many of them making as much as two dollars a day. This sum is laid away in an old stocking, and hidden in some convenient spot. Too often is it expended in drink, and, in the case of the younger generation, a large proportion of these wages goes in Sunday trips to the city, in gorgeous articles of wearing apparel, and in presents to sweethearts. A certain amount of false pride seems to be engendered by these good wages. For where, in walking through a rice-field filled with busy workers, one may look for respectful salutations from every laborer, man or woman, he may expect, in vain, the least sign of recognition or respect in passing through the phosphate diggings, except from some few “old-time” darkies, who retain the polished manners of their ancient training. We pause to watch a very industrious digger, who stops to look neither to the right nor to the left, but only at intervals to moisten his horny hands and take a firmer grip of his shovel. He has dug his pit with great skill. The walls are perpendicular, and as smooth as if leveled with a mason's trowel. As he drives his shovel down you hear it strike on the rock. Now and then he takes his pickax and breaks this rock, and loosensit for the entrance of the shovel, and then he raises it in great masses—a dull, dirty stuff, all plastered over with black and slimy mud. In this mud the laborer stands as he works, and sometimes in water up to the ankles. The usual size of a pit dug
by one man, during the course of the day, is about fifteen feet long by six feet wide and four feet deep. The diggers are paid about twenty-five cents a foot in depth, and fifty cents for wheeling. The best diggers often dig as deep as six feet per day. The stratum of phosphate varies - in thickness, in different fields, from six to fourteen inches, eleven to twelve being, however, a fair average. For every two inches in depth of stratum one can generally calculate on one hundred tons to the acre. For instance, from a twelve-inch stratum six hundred tons is a fair average of production. Under the rock is seen a whitish substance, and when we ask this industrious digger what he calls it, he answers, promptly, “Self-raising !” Whence this stuff derives its name among the diggers we cannot tell, but to them it marks the bottom of the pit, signifying that the stratum of rock has been dug through. The Rev. Minus Wright, minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, doffs his hat on our approach, and prepares to give us desired information on the subject of the origin of phosphates. “In de days ob Noah an’de ark,” he tells us, in that inimitable patois which we despair of reproducing (Mr. Harris, in “Uncle Remus,” being the only successful imitator of this difficult tongue that we have ever met with)—“in de days of Noah, de disobedient ob de Lord was drowned,” he says, with pompous gravity. “Sureye knows 'bout dat. An' w'en de great flood done settle
down, an' de dub done fine de green branch on de moun. | which the rook is thrown, and immediately emptied into tain, an' Noah an''o fambly done come fort', doy fine all the cars, thus saving considerable expense in the handling. de dead t'ing, an' de dead pusson w'at was drownded lodge The "Washer" may be near at hand, or, as in some cases, up on de mountain side, all 'bout whar dey ain't used to as far distant as two or three miles. Like a great serwas! De big el'phunt, he been dey; de big hipperpotamus, pent, the train winds through the sunny woods, laden he been dey; de big w'ale"
with its unsightly burden and with the uncouth diggers. “The mastodon,” we murmur, suggestively, as he Oa either side lie fields of giant ferns, uncurling their pauses for breath, but he takes no notice.
feathery fronds as fearlessly as in the heart of the primeval “All de odder beasts," he resumes ; "and dat mek how forests. Green, leaning fans of palmetto rustle softly you fine dese yer toofs in de groun',” taking up a large against each other as the soft wind stirs them; trailing, shark's tooth and balancing it meditatively on his black thorny Cherokee vines wind backward and forward like a thumb.
network across the undergrowth, and above spread the “Bat, Minus," we ventore, doubtingly, “then we will stardy branches of the live-oak, hung with moss, and still all turn to phosphate, too, one of these days ?"
higher the spires of the lonely pinos cleave the blue sky. “Yo ain't do no such t'ing !” he responds, with some There are pools starred with water-lilies, and now and impatience at our stupidity. “Enty I bin tell you dese then the sunny bareness of the road is flecked with the been de disobedient ob God? All wat die dese days is gorgeous hues of a sleeping spake, unwound, ribbon-like, berry in cimetary an' se-pul-ter"—it is impossible to give in the dust. Listen to the sonorous musio that wakes the an idea of his pronunciation of this word—"ter wait de echoes of the sleeping woods. Were there ever words jedgement day; but dese, I say, dese was de disobedient more strange than these : ob God, an' dis how He done punish 'em !" Impressed by this very original theory, and by the vast
"I stepped on the rook and the rock was round,
Oh, Lord, how long ? number of the “disobedient of God," we move on, leaving
De love of God come streaming down, Minus still eloquently discoursing to his neighbors, being
Oh, Lord, how long ? fairly wound up now. Negro earnestness is the most grotesque in the world, so his words are received with much
« What kind of shoes are those you wear ?
Oh, Lord, how long? applause and some laughter, which he takes in very good
Dat you can walk upon the air! part.
Oh, Lord, how long ?” A narrow gauge railway runs through the field, and along this, puffing and blowing, a little locomotive drags a It is a melody, however grotesque, and it swells out long line of open phosphate cars to the "Washer,” The richly on the Summer air. rock is generally conveyed to the cars in wheelbarrows, On the banks of the river, conveniently for shipping, but often platforms are located along the line of rail on I and not too far from the railroad, stands the “Washer," a
tall building, more or less roughly put together, but strong enough to stand the wear and tear of storms, and the throbbing of machinery. Perhaps it stands on bare, marshy ground, with a cool breeze always on its summit, and a wide view of river, fields and woods. Perhaps it is embowered in trees and surrounded by winding walks and shady nooks. The rock is here taken in “ dumping-carts,” which are drawn up an inclined plane by machinery to the top of the “Washer.” These cars hold about three tons of mud and rock, which turns out generally one ton of “clean” rock. Here the rock is “dumped” into troughs, in which it is turned round and round, back and forth, by the action of toothed screws, while a strong volume of water is pumped upon it by the engine, and gradually works its way down toward spouts, through which it falls into cars waiting to receive it. Our cut represents the back of the “Washer.” To the extreme right may be seen in perspective the car ascending the inclined plane, conveying the dirty rock to be cleaned. The long trough, also on the right, carries off the refuse. To the left of the cut may be seen laborers wheeling off the cleaned rock. This was formerly done by hand, but in a great many cases cars are used here as well, running on an incline. At the spouts through which the “clean” rock falls men stand, guiding its course into the cars waiting to receive it. So practiced do these men become in detecting imperfectly-cleaned rock, that they secure the smallest piece the instant it appears, and throw it back to be rewashed. The “clean” rock is then conveyed to the wharf or shed, and there piled to await shipment to the purchaser or the mill. Here they lie, vast piles of rock, representing thousands of dollars, outspread to the eye of the sun, after how many centuries of entombment no man can say ! Take up a piece at random. Here, delicately graven, is a perfect shell, as if molded by an artist-hand. Here are two still hinged together. Mingled with the rock you find small, slender, black-polished shark's teeth, and larger gray ones, sometimes as much as six inches in length. The teeth and bones of other animals may be found in this pile, but the phosphate rock itself is a very different substance, being, indeed, not bones, but rock / It is at the Mill that the uninitiated feels, after even the most strenuous efforts to comprehend the details of each successive operation, “Here I leave hope behind.” However, some general idea may be imbibed by one visit to the Mill as to the preparation of rock for the market. These mills have been established in large numbers since the discovery of “he Phosphate Basins, for the purpose of grinding the rock and of manufacturing it into fertilizers. Some companies merely pulverize the rock, and present it thus in its “raw" state on the market, leaving it to the agriculturist to use it in this form or to combine it as he pleases. Other companies prepare the costly “superphosphates,” subjecting the rock, when powdered, to the action of sulphuric acid, to render it soluble in water, and thus more readily assimilated by the plant. In the “Dryingroom,” at the mill, the “clean" phosphate rock is piled in great masses over perforated flues, through which heated air is blown into a strong blast from the furnace, and passes through these masses of rock, drying it thoroughly. Thence it is removed to the “ Crusher,” where, by the action of powerful machinery, the particles of rock are rubbed and ground against each other, over and over, till they are finely pulverized. Indeed, so fine is this phosphate dust, that, were it not for the **fans.” in constant motion, one would be able neither to see not to breathe in the neighborhood of the “Crusher." In the immense “Acid Chambers” sulphuric acid is manu
factured on a large scale. Outside, the sun bakes down on flaring piles of yellow sulphur. In the “Mixing-room”—as represented in our cut—the pulverised rock, subjected to the action cf the acid, is “ammoniated ” and chemically combined and operated upon in various ways, to suit the varying demands of the agriculturist. You hasten from this room, handkerchief to nose, with all convenient speed, satisfied with a very superficial examination into these processes. We have still to visit long, dim rooms in which the powdered phosphate is piled in dark, huge piles, which yon might almost imagine great subterranean caves of solid rock, did not the sense of touch convince you that this is no longer rock, but dust 1 And here it is poured into bags and piled in long, neat lines; and here is the “Brandingroom,” where each peculiar mixture is branded with its own peculiar title. And so out again into the sunny air, with a stronger sense upon you than ever before of man's wisdom and ingenuity, and of the vast and curious treasure stored in Nature's garnering-houses for the enrichment of mankind. The “Charleston, South Carolina, Mining and Manufacturing Company,” organized in 1867, was the first to attempt the development of this long-hidden and wonderful wealth. Since then, like Jack's bean-stalk—springing up in a night, as it were—“phosphate-works” line the banks of both rivers, Here may be seen the extensive works and busy operations of wealthy corporations, possessed of immense capital, and controlling a vast amount of labor; here, again, the modest efforts of individual miners, “digging on their own account.” And however the market-prices may vary, or the phosphate-fever abate, this strangelygarnered treasure, laid up by provident Nature against the time of direst need for her children, must form an unfailing revenue to those children so long as South Carolina has for her market, so to speak, the world.
THE PARRAKEET COCKAT00 OF AUSTRALIA,
ALTHOUGH not clothed with the brilliant plumage that decorates so many of the parrot tribe, this bird is a remarkably pretty one, and is worthy of notice not only for the curious crest with which its head is adorned, but for the grace and elegance of its form. With the exception of the head, on which a little crimson and yellow are seen, the plumage of the parrakeet cockatoois simply tinted with brown, gray, and white ; but these colors are so pure, and their arrangement so harmonious, that the eye does not at all look for brighter coloring. It is mostly seen upon the ground, where it runs with great swiftness, and is very accomplished at winding its way among the grass-stems, upon the seeds of which it subsists. It is by no means a shy bird, and will permit of a close approach, so that its habits can be readily watched. When alarmed, it leaves the ground and flies off to the nearest tree, perching upon the branches and crouching down upon them lengthways so as to be invisible from below. There is no great difficulty in shooting it, which is a matter of some consequence to the hunter, as its flesh is notable for its tenderness and delicate flavor. The eggs of this species are pure white, which is the case with parrot-eggs generally, and their number is from four to six. Mr. Gould gives the following description of the parrakeet cockatoo : “The interior portion of the vast continent of Australia
may be said to possess a fanua almost peculiar to itself,
JUST FOR TO-NIGHT. bat of whick our present knowledge is extremely limited.
BY SARAH DOUDNEY. New forms, therefore, of great interest may be expected when the difficulties which the explorer has to encounter
SOFTLY the Summer day fades on the sea; in his jorrney toward the centre sball be overcome. This
Faintly the vesper-wind murmurs to me,
Murmurs and sighs of the sunsets of old beautiful and elegant bird is one of its denizens. I have, When we were turning life's "pages of gold"; it is true, seen it cross the great mountain ranges, and Then in love's madness we turned them too fast, breed on the flats between them and the sea ; still, this is Yet there is one golden loaf for the last: an unusual occurrence, and the few thas found, compared Listen, the ebbing wave gathers and breaks, to the thousands observed on the plains stretching from How it caresses the strand it forsakes, the interior side of the mountains, proves that they bave,
Sprinkling the pebbles with flashes of light Ias it were, overstepped their natural boundary.
Leave me to-morrow, love, kiss me to-night. “Its range is extended over the whole of the southern We were but dreamers and idlers, they say, portion of Australia, and, being strictly a migratory bird, In the bright hours that have drifted away; it makes a simultaneous movement southward to within
Well, let them say so;-in sorrow and pain one hundred miles of the coast in September, arriving in
All the old gladness will come back again: the York district near Swan River in Western Australia
Just for to-night, while the west is aglow,
Shall we not love as we loved long ago ? precisely at the same time that it appears in the Liverpool
Only one blossom is left on the bough, plains in the eastern portion of the country.
Shall we not seize on its loveliness now? “After breeding and rearing a numerous progeny, the Let the last hour be a mournful delight, whole again retire northward in February and March, but Leave me to-morrow, but kiss me to-night to what degree of latitude toward the tropics they wend their way I have not been able to ascertain.
Ay, we were wenk when we should have been brava.
I was a trifler and you were & slave; “I have never received it from Port Essington or any
Chancos slipped by, and we saw them too late, other port in the same latitude, which, however, is no Friends played us false, and we said it was fate: proof that it does not visit that part of the continent, since Only this moment is ours ere it dies, it is merely the country near the coast that has yet been What if that setting sun never should rise ? traversed. In all probability it will be found at a littte
What if this life with its sweetness and fear distance in the interior, wherever there are situations suit
Closes for ever, and ends for us here? able to its habits, but doubtless at approximate periods to
Somewhere, far off, in a new world of light
Love has its morrow; then kiss me to-night. those in which it occurs in New South Wales.
“It would appear to be more numerous in the eastern divisions of Australia than in the western. During the
TOM NAVARRO. Summer of 1839 it was breeding in all the apple-tree (Angophora) flats on the Upper Hunter, as well as in
BY AMELIA E. BARR. similar districts on the Peel and other rivers which flow
DAM, I have a theory that the garden northward.
of Eden must have been between the “After the breeding season is over it congregates in nu
Colorado and the Guadalupe.” merous flocks before taking its departure. I have seen
“Na, na, Master Tom, ye canna prove the ground quite covered by them while engaged in pro
that. It is dootless a gude land, but curing food, and it was not an unusual circumstance to
it's no to compare wi' the links o' Tay see hundreds together in the dead branches of the gum
or Clydeside." trees in the neighborhood of the water, a plentiful supply
“I have never been in Scotland of which would appear to be essential to its existence;
“Mair's the pity ; but you're young hence, .e may reasonably suppose that the interior of the
yet, and there's days afore ye.” country is not so sterile and inhospitable as is ordinarily
"I'm content, Adam. The man who imagined, and that it yet may be made available for the
has breathed the airs of Western Texas uses of man. The harlequin-bronzewing and the warbling
has been very near in Paradise.” grass-parrakeet are also denizens of that part of the “I'm saying naught again the land. It's a gude land if country, and equally unable to exist without water.” it was weel divided. There's nao use i' a new warld that
The bead and throat of this species are yellow, and there doesna sort the wrange o' the auld ane; an' the ill-dividis a patch of crimson on the ears. Upon the head there ing was a'that was to blame' wi' bonnie Scotland. I dinna is a long, slender, painted crest, yellow at the base and see that the thing is mended here.” gray at the tip, giving the bird so curious an aspect “Would you like the world divided over again, Adam ?” that at first sight it appears either to be a cockatoo or a “If a' things could be done twice, a' things would be parrakeet
, as the eye is directed to the crest or the general done better ; but the warld is o'er big a care for me. I form. The back and under portions of the body are maun e'en look after my cucumber vines.” brown, and a large part of the wings is white. The cen “Adam, I saw you at the Capitol last night; which side tral tail-feathers are brown, and the rest gray. The did you take ?" female is distinguished from her mate by a green tinge, “I shall neither meddle or mak’ any mair wi' 'ither which pervades the yellow of the head and throat, and the folk's quarrels. I'm a puir lad, following an honest trade; numerous bars of yellow and dark blackish brown which an' spades an' plows are mair to my hand than swords an' cross the tail.
shooting-irons. But they were braw lads, yon, that stood roan' General Green, an' I'm no saying, if I had been
twenty years younger, but what I might has been beguiled In many persons, grief takes the form of anger. A wi' the gran' talk I heard." proud spirit, unwilling to display itself covered with dust “Adam, you knew my father ?” and ashes, nplifts its head with unbecoming pride, in “Deed did I. A likely man he was, an' ye aro na that order to conceal that temporary humiliation,
far ahint him. Knew him ? Yes. I know him, I fought