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gion in British territory alone is nearly two hundred and fifty thousand square miles. It might be well if those who will no doubt soon be asked to subscribe to companies having for their object the exploitation of gold properties in the district would wait for further developments before accepting these assertions too literally. But at least there is no doubt that gold occurs in the Yukon Valley in quantities considerable enough to appreciably increase the world's annual production; and it is a satisfaction to us to know that a fair proportion of it is found on British soil. Not the least gratifying feature is that the auriferous belt from which the placers of the river valleys have been derived has been located, and has been proved by recent geological survey expeditions to be very extensive. It runs through British and American territory for several hundred miles in a low range of mountains which are an extension of the Rockies; and the quartz gold is so plentiful on the upper slopes as to be visible in parts to the naked eye. The placers are the accumulated drift of ages, carried down by the streams which rise in this range and empty at various points into the Yukon. The placers will be worked first; and unless the experience of other gold-producing districts in other parts of the world be reversed, lode-mining along the Yukon will not be seriously attempted until the placers become thin. For the present, the latter are likely to tax all the energies brought to bear upon them.
The great obstacles to the develop ment of the Yukon goldfields are their remoteness from the nearest point of civilization and the extreme severity of the climate. The initial difficulty is to get there. Going northward to Fort Cudahy, the prospector may with luck strike the Yukon in six weeks. If he should lose his way there is no refuge from starvation in the dreary wilderness. Should he go by way of the Yukon River and reach the mouth early in the summer after escaping the icebergs that come drifting down at that time of the year from the Arctic Ocean, he may sail on a stern-wheel vessel for the whole distance to Circle City, eighteen hundred miles from the coast. Or,
again, he can start from the town of Juneau, and go by way of the Chilkoot Pass and the long succession of lakes which ultimately flow into the Yukon not far from Forty-Mile Creek. All three routes are attended with danger. The more usual is the last, which, though certainly the most dangerous, is the shortest. You fit out at Juneau, go north by boat to Dyea, a hamlet at the head of the Chilkoot Sound, cross the Pass to Lake Linderman, where you purchase or build boats for the purpose of carrying you along the lakes and rivers that take you, after a journey of seven hundred and fifty miles or thereabouts, right into Forty-Mile, which is a day's sail by canoe from Klondyke. But the difficulties are not over with safe arrival at the mining grounds. The district is a bleak one: such warm season as there is endures for only three months; it is necessary to construct a hut, because no man could sleep in the open and survive; and, to crown all, provisions are reported to be at famine prices-meat, four dollars a pound; potatoes, twenty dollars a sack at the beginning and thirty-five to forty dollars at the end of the season; and so on. A notion of the extreme severity of the cold which prevails for something like nine months out of the twelve may be gathered when we say the ground is frozen so hard that a pick will not penetrate it any more easily than if it were block marble. Though in the brief summer it is partially thawed out, it is seldom possible without artificial means to work more than a foot or two of earth. Explosives were tried, but proved inefficacious; and down to 1895, ninety days' work at the sluices was an exceptionally good season. In that year two men on the Birch Creek diggings hic upon a simple expedient which rendered it unnecessary to loaf around the saloons of Forty-Mile and Circle City for three-fourths of the year. They kept fires burning constantly on their pay gravel. They lit a fire at night and in the morning there were a few inches of gravel soft enough to be worked. This was carried into their cabin and the fire lighted the next night. In this way they contrived to accumulate many tons of stuff which in the following
spring they worked. It had frozen again, but the particles had been separated, and the sun sufficed to thaw it out. This is the general practice to-day on all the Yukon diggings. It is a primitive plan, no doubt, and we have apparatus here that would render it quite unnnecessary; but to have it here is not the same thing as having it at Klondyke, and it may be admitted that the device is the best that could be adopted with the limited resources at the disposal of the miners. When communications are improved, what is now a drawback will no doubt be laughed at. But those who are wise-supposing wisdom to be not altogether inconsistent with a gold rush-will wait until the road is rendered easier, and until there is a reasonable certainty of an adequate food supply, before trying their luck. It is almost too late, any way, for a prospecting party to reach the gold-fields this year, and if there is plenty of the metal there, it can well wait until next spring. Long before that time we shall have learned something definite as to this year's yield.
From The Spectator. ANIMALS IN FAMINE.
The recent rains in India will bring relief to the famine-struck animals before they lighten the sufferings of their owners. The green-stuff will spring up and give food for the cattle long before the grain can ripen and provide a meal for the peasant. But the animals will have time to recover their strength and be ready to do their work in preparing the ground for the next crop, and the actual loss of life among the beasts of the field will be arrested. This is said to have been less than in many Indian famines affecting much smaller areas. The total failure of the grain crops was due to absence of rain at a definite point of time when it was necessary to its germination. But there has not been such a protracted and general drought as to bring on the whole animal population a famine in the form which causes most suffering to them.
In their wild state most animals live under the incubus of two sources of terror,-death by violence from their natural foe or foes, and death by famine. The greater number are never far removed from the latter possibility; it is the inevitable sequence of disablement, weakness, or old age, and if not cut off by pestilence, violence, or fatal accident, they have all to face this grim spectre in the closing scene. Yet in most cases dread of the latter is not present to their consciousness in the form of apprehension,-only as shadowed out by actual reminder caused by scarcity of food at a particular time, or a total failure, which drives them to wander. But the fear of the "natural enemy" is always vivid and oppressive, and alters the whole course of their everyday life. The deer on certain of the Highland mountains, exposed in any hard winter to almost inevitable famine, do not profit by experience of famine. Experience of danger from man makes them the most wary of animals; they sleep with waking senses, feed by night, are constantly under the influence of their besetting terror, and take every measure which experience suggests to guard against the enemy. Experience of famine leaves them no wiser than before. They do not abandon the spots in which they suffered in previous years until they actually feel the pinch of hunger, and they return to the same inhospitable ground when the scarcity has passed. Yet when confronted by the two terrors-hunger and man-they are simply insensible to the fear of the latter usually so dominant. Starvation looms larger than any terror from living foes, and they invade the rickyards, and almost enter the dwellings of their only hereditary enemy. The recent accounts of the behavior of four thousand starving elk in the northern territory of the United States correspond exactly with those of the Highland deer in the hard winter of 1893. They approach the buildings for food, and can hardly be driven from the stacks of hay. Yet only one herbivorous animal out of all the multitude of species has ever thought of making a store of hay against a time of famine, and this is one of the most insignificant of all, the pika, or calling
young shoots and leaves. It is this habit of hungry cattle which makes the space under all trees in parks of the same height,-that to which cattle can lift their heads to bite the branches. When the wood or forest has been enclosed previously, the whole of this stock of food, reaching down to the ground, instead of to the "cattle line," is at their service. In a paragraph quoted in the Globe of June 28th, from some remarks of Sir Dietrich Brandis, lately chief of the Forest Department of the Indian empire, special mention is made of the part played by this "reserve" in the economy of animal famines in India. During the years of drought and famine in 1867 and 1868, the cattle (of all the inhabitants) were allowed to graze in the Rajah's preserves at Rupnagar. The branches of the trees were cut for fodder. The same was done in Kishangarh, and a large proportion of the cattle of these two places were preserved during those terrible years.
But there are regions, like the African steppe, where the summer famines among animals are more frequent than in India, and where there is little forest available as a reserve store of food. Certain animals "trek" for great distances to escape from the famine area. Birds leave it entirely. But the greater number of the quadrupeds stay and take their chance, the stronger of hunger, the weak of famine and death.
hare of the Russian steppes. There would be nothing very extraordinary in the fact if social animals, such as deer, cattle, or antelopes, did gather quantities of long herbage, like the tall grasses of Central Africa or of the Indian swamps, and accumulate it for the benefit of the herd, and combine to protect it from other herds, or if they reserved certain portions of the longer herbage for food in winter. The latter would perhaps demand a greater range of concepts than the former. But the brain-power of the improvident deer must be equal to that of the squirrel or field-mouse, which seldom forget to lay aside a "famine fund." In temperate climates, prolonged frost or snow is the only frequent cause of famine among either beasts or birds. This cause is not constant, season by season, but it occurs often enough in the lifetime of most individuals of the different species to impress their memory by suffering. In the plains of India, and even more regularly in the plains of Africa, the summer heats cause partial famine to all herbivorous animals, and this condition is recurring and constant. Brehm has described the cumulative suffering of the animal world, of the "African steppe," mainly from famine, at the close of this regular period of summer drought. We cannot supose that in this case the terror of starvation is wholly forgotten in the brief time of plenty. The neglect to form any store, or to reserve pastures in climates sufficiently temperate to spare them from being burnt up with summer heat, suggests the question whether these "hand-to-mouth" herbivorous animals rely on any natural reserves of food not obvious to us. This is a natural device, just as the Kaffir, when his mealies fail, lives on roots and grubs, or the insect and vegetable eating rook becomes carnivorous in a drought. To some extent both deer and cattle do rely on such reserves. When the grass is burnt up, trees are still luxuriant, and it is to the woods that the ruminant animals look as a reserve in famine. The fact was recognized during the siege of Paris, when all the trees of the boulevards and the parks were felled late in September that the tens of thousands of cattle might browse on the
If we examine the stores made by most of the vegetable-eating animals which do lay by a "famine fund," we find a rather curious similarity in the food commonly used by them. They nearly all live on vegetable substances in a concentrated form-natural foodlozenges, which are very easily stored away. There is a great difference, for example, between the bulk of nutriment eaten in the form of grass by a rabbit, and the same amount of sustenance in the "special preparation" in the kernel of a nut, or the stone of a peach, or the bulb of a crocus, off which a squirrel makes a meal. Nearly all the storing animals eat "concentrated food," whether it be beans and grain, hoarded by the hamster, or nuts and hard fruits, by the squirrel, nuthatch, and possibly some of the jays. But there is one vege
table-eating animal whose food is neither concentrated nor easy to move. On the contrary, it is obtained with great labor in the first instance, and stored with no less toil after it is procured. The beaver lives during the winter on the bark of trees. As it is not safe, and often impossible, for the animal to leave the water when the ice has formed, it stores these branches under water, cutting them into lengths, dragging them below the surface, and fixing them down to the bottom with stones and mud. This is more difficult work than gathering hay.
Birds, in spite of their powers of locomotion, suffer greatly from famine. Many species which could leave the famine area seem either deficient in the instinct to move, or unwilling to do so. Rooks, for instance, which are now known to migrate across the Channel and the North Sea, will hang about the same parish in bad droughts and suffer acutely, though they might easily move to places where water, if not food, is abundant. The frost famines mainly affect the insect-eating birds; and as these live on animal food, which would not keep, they could not be expected to make a store. But there is no such difference of possible food between birds which do make stores and birds which do not. Why, for instance, should the nuthatch and the Mexican woodpecker lay by for hard times while the rook does not?
Domestic animals in this country are very properly guaranteed by recent leg
Letters Delayed by Bees.-An unusual sight was witnessed at Cranbrook, in Kent, the other afternoon. A swarm of bees settled on a pillar-box at Frizley, and soon afterwards a second swarm lo. cated themselves inside the box, the whole colony following the queen through the aperture provided for letters. Every preparation was made for the capture of the swarm upon the ar
islation against being left to starve by their owners. It is not often that the owner of any domesticated animal is so careless of his own interests as to do so when the creature is capable of work, or so inhuman if it is not. But instances do occur to the contrary. The law does recognize an implied right on the part of the animal to this exemption from the great curse of animal existence, if man has exacted from it a previous tribute in the form of work. But there is a borderland of animal domestication in which this implicit duty of man to beast is seriously neglected, partly because the work done by the animal is less obvious, though the animal is kept for the profit of man. There are great areas of new country in Argentina, the United States, and Australia where the raising of stock, whether sheep, cattle, or horses, is carried on without much regard to the limits set by famine in years of frost or drought. The creatures are multiplied without regard to famine periods, and no reserve of food is kept to meet these. Natural laws are left to work in bad times, and this "natural law" is death by famine. Consequently, at the present time we hear of multitudes of starving horses on the ranches of Oregon, and in Australia during a drought, or in Argentina after protracted drought or cold, sheep and cattle die by tens of thousands by the most lingering of deaths. There is something amiss here in the relations between man and beast which cannot be justified even on "business" grounds.
rival of the rural postman to clear the letters; but, owing to the awkward position of the winged visitors, it was found impossible to hive the bees until night, when they were smoked and safely housed. Owing to this unusual incident, the letters posted before the bees took possession of the pillar-box were delayed for several hours.-St. James's Gazette.
Sixth Series, Volume XV.
I. IN NATURE'S
WAGGISH MOOD. By
No. 2774-September 4, 1897.
II. THE POETRY OF GEORGE MEREDITH, Church Quarterly,
III. AN UNNOTED CORNER OF SPAIN. By
JOURNALISM. By Sir Wemyss Reid, Nineteenth Century,
V. EUROPE'S NEW INVALID. By John
Gentleman's Magazine, .
IV. SOME REMINISCENCES OF ENGLISH
THE DAY BEYOND,
FAITH AND LOVE,
VI. THE TALE OF A GRECIAN BOY. By
VII. THE NEW SAYINGS OF CHRIST. By M.
X. A POETIC TRIO,
XI. THE EARLY RISING FALLACY,
TO ONE WHOSE LOVE LIES DYING 626
626 AN AMERICAN ECHO OF THE
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