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CONVERSATION IX.

COLORS.

FATHER, did

you not say in our last walk, that colors were accidental, and not essential to bodies ?

Yes ; and so they are : a body is always of the color of those rays of light which it reflects.

Do colors, then, arise from the light?

Certainly. If there were no light, there would be no colors. You said last evening, as you looked from the drawing room window, that it was very dark; of what color was every thing then?

Black, Father; but that was, because we could not see distinctly.

You can never see any object without light; and then it is colored by the rays of the sun.

But are not the rays of the sun white, or of a light yellow, Father?

No; or else every thing would be of these colors.

But how do you know this ?

I will tell you, Frank; here is a triangular glass, which is called a prism. Draw up the shutter for a few moments. Here are a few of the sun's rays, through a little passage which has been left by a nail; I will intercept them with the prism : there,

Why, Father, there are all the colors of the rainbow on the wainscot. Let me see; there is red, and orange, and yellow, and green,

and blue, and indigo, and violet. O how beautiful!

Then, Father, all the colors put together would make white; would they not?

Yes ; if you were to take a round piece of pasteboard, and put on the colors in proper proportion, and then turn it round swiftly, it would appear white. In

proper proportions, you say, Father ; are they not equal as seen through the prism?'

No; divide the figure produced by the prism into 360 equal parts ; you will find that the red will fill 45 of them; the orange, 27; the yellow, 48; the green, 60; the blue, 60; the indigo, 40; and the violet, 80.

Every ray of the sun is of a light color, Father; every ray, then, must include all the seven colors; and we should see them all, if we could refract a single ray with the prism.

Certainly; but the rays of the sun are so exquisitely fine, that you could not procure a single ray, on which to make the experiment. But as ten thousand rays, or any number you please, produce the colors of the rainbow, of course, every individual ray must produce them.

How wonderful, Father, it is, that there should be all the colors of the rainbow wrapt

up in every single ray of light ! Who can find out the works of God!

It is. Here is the finger of God; here is omnipotence; here is divine wisdom.

And is there not the goodness of God, too, Father, in making creation so beautiful, to delight our eyes and to cheer our hearts ?

Assuredly. Every thing might have been of one color; creation would then have lost one of its principal charms. But God's great goodness appears every where.

I want more fully to understand you, Father ; you say there is no color without light.

Yes; it is the theory of Sir Isaac Newton.

Then, when the geranium was shut up in the back parlor, whilst we were out last summer, and the leaves all turned white, was that for want of the light?

Certainly. The lettuce which you see every day on the table are white. Robert tied them up, that they might become so.

To shut out the light ?

Yes, or else they would have been green ; those which are not ticd up, you know, áre green.

Then why is one object green, and another yellow, and another red, and another violet ?

The answer is easy; the rose is red, because it reflects the red rays of light, and absorbs all the other : the grass is green, because it reflects the green rays, and absorbs 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 seenis,

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 warms er 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 beholil 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 ? I think I can, Father.

“ 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!

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