AMBLESIDE SERIES GEOGRAPHY BOOKS BY CHARLOTTE M. MASON
With Maps and Illustrations
NEW EDITION. REVISED 1925
London Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner
& Co., Ltd., Broadway House: 68-74, Carte Lane, E.C.
This little book is confined to very simple "reading lessons upon the
Form and Motions of the Earth, the Points of the Compass, the Meaning
of a Map: Definitions."
The shape and motions of the earth are fundamental ideas--however
difficult to grasp.
Geography should be learned chiefly from maps, and the child should
begin the study by learning "the meaning of map," and how to use it.
These subjects are well fitted to form an attractive introduction to
the study of Geography: some of them should awaken the delightful
interest which attaches in a child's mind to that which is
wonderful--incomprehensible. The Map lessons should lead to mechanical
efforts, equally delightful. It is only when presented to the child for
the first time in the form of stale knowledge and foregone conclusions
that the facts taught in these lessons appear dry and repulsive to him.
An effort is made in the following pages to treat the subject with the
sort of sympathetic interest and freshness which attracts children to a
A short summary of the chief points in each reading lesson is given in
the form of questions and answers.
Easy verses, illustrative of the various subjects, are introduced, in
order that the children may connect pleasant poetic fancies with the
phenomena upon which "Geography" so much depends.
It is hoped that these reading lessons may afford intelligent teaching,
even in the hands of a young teacher.
The first ideas of Geography--the lessons on "Place"--which should make
the child observant of local geography, of the features of his own
neighbourhood, its heights and hollows and level lands, its streams and
ponds--should be conveyed viva voce. At this stage, a class-book cannot
take the place of an intelligent teacher.
Children should go through the book twice, and should, after the second
reading, be able to answer any of the questions from memory.
Charlotte M. Mason
The Titles of the Poems are printed
How all things praise the Lord
Our World Part I
The Sailor-boy's Gossip (Eliza
Our World Part II
The Star (Jane Taylor)
Our World and Other Worlds Part I
Our World and Other Worlds Part II
The Sunshine (Mary Howitt)
Day and Night
The Blind Boy (C. Cibber)
Poles and Axis
The Four Seasons Part I
The Voice of Spring (Mary
The Four Seasons Part II
Harvest Thanksgiving (Sir
Hot Countries and Cold Countries Part I
The Humming-bird (Mary Howitt)
Hot Countries and Cold Countries Part II
The Land of Ice at the South Pole
Sunrise and Sunset
Why the Sun Rises and Sets
The Points of the Compass
The Mariner's Compass
The Plan of a Room
The Plan of a Town
Map of a County
How Maps are Made
The Surface of the Earth Part I
The Surface of the Earth Part II
Highlands and Lowlands
The Waters of the Earth Part I
The Waters of the Earth Part II
The Oceans and Their Parts
All Things Praise the Lord
Sun, moon and stars, by day and night,
At God's commandment give us light;
And when we wake, and while we sleep,
Their watch, like guardian angels, keep.
The bright blue sky above our head,
The soft green earth on which we tread,
The ocean rolling round the land,
Were made by God's almighty hand.
Sweet flowers that hill and dale adorn,
Fair fruit trees, fields of grass and corn,
The clouds that rise, the showers that fall,
The winds that blow - God sent them all.
The beasts that graze with downward eye,
The birds that perch, and sing, and fly,
The fishes swimming in the sea,
God's creatures are as well as we.
But us He formed for better things,
As servants of the King of kings,
With lifted hands and open face,
And thankful heart to seek His grace.
Perhaps you have not yet thought much about places far from the town or
village where your home is. No doubt you have heard of the wonderful
sights of London, if you have not seen them, and you know that London
and many other towns are in our own country, England. Perhaps, too, you
have friends who have travelled, and who speak of far-away places they
have seen. And you may have thought, as you listened, how very big the
world must be to hold so many places!
Our wonderful, beautiful world is very large and very full; with more
people and places and things in it than you can ever know about.
Indeed, there are many parts of it which nobody has seen yet, though
brave men often make difficult and very dangerous journeys to find out
and explore these unknown places. But, after all, the strange thing is,
that our world must come to an end somewhere. Have you ever thought of
that? It was a great puzzle to learned men who lived long ago, and who
did not know so much about some things as you may learn before the end
of this lesson. They knew the world was not everywhere; that the sun
and moon which shine above us are not part of the world, but are a
great way off. So they said, Why do we never come to the end of the
world? If we journey on over land and sea for years, surely we should
come to the end then? And what is the end like? Would we fall off the
edge, just as a cup might fall off the edge of a table?
At last it was discovered that people never came to the end of the
world on account of its shape. There are certain things we use which
you might run your finger along all day without ever coming to an edge.
Round things, such as balls or oranges, have no edge, no end. And our
world is round. It is more the shape of an orange than of a ball,
because it is a little bit flat at what we may call the top and bottom.
This was a wonderful thing to find out. You can see that a ball is
round; even if it were a ball as big as the house, you could see enough
of it to know its shape. But only God above can see the whole of this
huge world; how then could men discover its shape?
You would not understand all the reasons which prove that the world is
round, but three are easy enough. The captain of a ship found out that,
by sailing on and on, and never turning back, he came at last to the
very place he had started from. Try that plan on a straight table, and
you will find that the farther you go, the farther you will be from
your starting place. Try on a ball which you have first stuck a pin
into for a mark. After you have moved your finger half-way round the
ball, the farther you go, the nearer you get to the pin, until at last
you touch it, and have reached again the point you started from. As
people now very often sail round the world in this way, we know that
the world is round in one direction. The other two reasons we shall
find in the fourth lesson.
You say, dear mamma, it is good to be talking
With those who will kindly endeavour to teach.
And I think I have learnt something while I was walking
Along with the sailor-boy down on the beach.
He told me of lands where he soon will be going,
Where humming-birds scarcely are bigger than bees,
Where the mace and the nutmeg together are growing,
And cinnamon formeth the bark of some trees.
He told me that islands far out in the ocean
Are mountains of coral that insects have made,
And I freely confess I had hardly a notion
That insects could world in the way that he said.
He spoke of wide deserts where the sand-clouds are flying.
No shade for the brow, and no grass for the feet;
Where camels and travelers often lie dying,
Gasping for water and scorching with heat.
He told me of places away in the East,
Where topaz, and ruby, and sapphires are found:
Where you never are safe from the snake and the beast,
For the serpent and tiger and jackal abound.
I thought our own Thames was a very great stream,
With its waters so fresh and its currents so strong;
But how tiny our largest of rivers must seem
To those he had sailed on, three thousand miles long.
He speaks, dear mamma, of so many strange places,
With people who neither have cities nor kings.
Who wear skins on their shoulders, paint on their faces,
And live on the spoils which their hunting-field brings.
Oh! I long, dear mamma, to learn more of these stories,
From books that are written to please and to teach,
And I wish I could see half the curious glories
The sailor-boy told me of down on the beach.
We cannot go round the world for ourselves, but there are some ways of
knowing its shape which we can try.
If you are on a hill or tower, so high that you can see over all the
buildings near, and beyond them as far as the eye can reach you will
find that you are in the middle of a great circle or ring. Everywhere,
all round you, the world and the sky seem to touch one another. It is
not that they really do so; bet the eye can see no farther because the
world everywhere beyond this circle dips down out of sight, as the
sides of an orange might to a fly on the top.
The place where the earth and sky seem to meet is called the horizon.
All over the world, wherever anybody stands so that he can have an
unbroken view, he finds himself standing in the middle of such a circle.
That the surface of the world is everywhere rounded in this way is one
proof that the world is round; or rather that it is a sphere, a name given to objects
which are round in every direction like a ball. Globe is another name given to
objects of this shape. As the world is rounded everywhere, this
roundness hides very distant objects from view, as a hill might. Thus
you may sometimes see the top of an object when its lower part is
hidden by the round swell. The dome of Saint Paul's may be seen from a
great distance; while the doors would be hidden by this rounding of the
earth, even if there we no buildings between you and them. The best way
to understand this is to stand on the sea shore and watch a ship just
coming into sight from below the horizon. The sea looks so flat, it is
hard to believe there is any roundness there, and yet, something rises
between you and the ship. Instead of seeing the whole of her, you see
only the slight masts. The large heavy hull, the part which you would
expect to show most clearly in the distance, is quite hidden from view.
What hides it? The rounding of the waters. The sea, which covers part
of the world's surface, has everywhere just the same curve or roundness
as the land.
on Lessons II and IV
1. What is the shape of the world? - Round, like an orange; that is, a
little flattened at the top and bottom.
2. Give one reason for supposing that the world is round. - A ship may
arrive at the place she started from by sailing right on without ever
3. Does this prove that the world is round in every direction like a
ball? - No; only that it is round in the direction in which the ship
4. Why do we say the world is a sphere or globe? - Because it is round
in every direction, like a ball.
5. How is this proved? - When nothing hides the view to a great
distance, the land sinks out of sight all around us, and we are
standing in the middle of a circle.
6. What causes this effect? - The rounding of the surface of the world;
we cannot see straight on as if it were flat.
7. Does this prove that the world is a sphere? - Yes; because the same
effect may be seen in every part of the world; it is round in every
8. What is this circle called? - The horizon; the world and the sky
seem to meet all round.
9. Can the roundness of the world be seen in any other way? - Yes; it
rises between us and objects at a distance, hiding the lower parts of
them from view.
10. Mention such an object. - A ship coming in to land: when she first
appears we cannot see her hull.
Twinkle, twinkle little star;
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light--
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.
Then the traveller in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark;
He could not see which way to go
If you did not twinkle so.
In the dark blue sky you keep,
Yet often through my window peep;
For you never shut your eye
Till the sun is in the sky.
As your bright but tiny spark
Lights the traveller in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
World and Other Worlds
About three hundred years ago, there lived a wise man, named Galileo,
who spent his nights in watching the stars, and in considering how they
moved. Perhaps you think the stars are little shining lamps, lit up in
the sky every night which do not move at all. Galileo knew better; and,
in his long night-watches, he found out some wonderful things about our
world which you shall hear.
Not that he was exactly the first to make these discoveries. But
Galileo was among the first who wished to make others as wise as
himself. He wrote his wonderful secrets in a book, and taught the
people. Alas, his books were burned, and he, himself, was imprisoned.
Men said his strange tales were not true, and were angry with the man
who wished to teach them.
Have you noticed that things look smaller and smaller the farther you
are from them? That a kite flies up, till it looks like a speck; that a
man in the distance looks no bigger than a child?
Get far enough off, and the very largest thing looks no bigger than a
dot. Even our own great world would seem no larger than one of the
stars in the sky if we could get far enough off to see it so small;
which we never can, because we cannot get out of our own world.
Galileo’s wonderful discovery was, that nearly all the stars we see in
the sky are as large, some of them many times as large, as our world.
They are so far off that they look small to us, just as our world would
look if seen from a star.
Then he went on to tell that our world is really a kind of star, which,
with seven others something like it, is always going round the sun.
These eight stars, which are always wandering round the sun, are called
planets, a word which means wanderers. Our world is a planets, and its
name is Earth; another planet is called Venus; and each of the other
planets has a name of its own which you may learn some day.
But, you say, the stars all shine like lamps; how then can our earth
look like a star? It is not on fire. It is true that more of the stars
do shine and burn like the sun, but these eight planets, of which our
earth is one, shine in another way.
Have you ever seen the windows of a house look red and bright when the
sun was shining on them in the evening? Sometimes you would think the
house was on fire, they look in such a blaze; but it is only the light
of the sun which they are sending back, or reflecting. On a sun-shiny,
hot day by the sea-side you can hardly bear to look at anything. Water
and houses and pavement dazzle you so with the sun’s light, which they
are reflecting, that it is almost as bad as trying to look at the sun
If we were off our earth, far, far away, up in space, we should not see
houses, trees, and water, but just a ball shining all over with the
light of the sun, which it is giving back or reflecting. And that is
how it is that these eight planets, and our moon also, shine like
bright stars, though they are not really bright themselves. They send
back, or reflect, the bright light of the sun.
World and Other Worlds
The great sun is very glorious and beautiful, and is always pouring out
floods of light and of fierce heat. His light gives day to all the
planets; and his heat enables corn to grow upon our earth, and men to
live there; and makes warm summer days when children may play in the
But his fiercest heat does not come to our earth; we are far, far away
from the great fire of the sun; and only get the gentle warmth which
makes our world pleasant. Some parts of the world get much more of the
sun's heat than others; why they do so, you will know soon; but it is
nowhere scorching hot. Everywhere, nearly, people and animals may live,
and plants grow; and the sun is a kind friend which gives life and
pleasure to all living things.
Day and night, never resting for a moment, the eight planets are
continually moving round the sun. When the journey is finished they
begin again, silent, punctual, never tired; so punctual are they, that
astronomers (the wise men like Galileo who study the stars) know just
in what part of the sky to look for a planet at any time. And it
comes—more true to time than a railway train, but without any blowing
of whistles or ringing of bells, without any bustle or noise or smoke.
And the astronomers are filled with delight to see how well these
wonderful works of God obey the law He has given them.
The eight planets do not travel round the sun side by side. Some are
much farther from the sun than our earth. Some are nearer to him. As
each one keeps at a regular distance from the sun all through its
journey, the more distant the planet is, the longer is the time it
takes to finish its course. The length of our year is 365 days, but the
planet Saturn, which is much farther from the sun than the earth is,
has a year nearly thirty times as long as ours. That is to say, he has
a far larger circle to move round, so it takes him nearly thirty times
as long as it takes the earth to go round the sun. Supposing each of
the planets left a shining track which we could see as it went on its
course, there would be eight shining circles round the sun at different
distances from him. These would show us the orbits or paths of the
planets. The path our earth takes through space in her journey round
the sun is her orbit. Not that there is any real path or waymark of any
kind for her to follow.
Yet, year after year, she journeys over the same course, and never gets
nearer to the sun or farther from him. Should she lose her way by any
chance, and get nearer to the sun, terrible things would follow. Trees,
grass and houses would all blaze up; the very hills and ground would
burn; and our whole world would become a great fire, kindled by the
fierce heat of the sun. But there is no chance in the matter. God keeps
the earth and the other planets moving round in their own places by two
wonderful laws which cannot be broken. But you are too young to
understand about these yet.
on Lesson VI and VII
1. What discovery did Galileo make? - That our world is a planet.
2. What is a planet? - A body that looks bright like a star and travels
round the sun.
3. How do planets shine? - By reflecting the sun's light. They have
none in themselves.
4. Is not our world larger than the stars and planets? - A great deal
smaller than the stars, which are very far away: smaller than most of
5. What is our world's name as a planet? - Earth
6. How long is our year? - Rather more than 365 days.
7. Is there any reason why our year should be 365 days in length?
- That is the time the
earth takes to perform her journey round the sun.
8. What is the path she takes round the sun called? - Her orbit.
I love the sunshine everywhere
In wood and field, and glen;
I love it in the busy haunts
Of town-imprisoned men.
I love it when it streameth in
The humble cottage door,
And casts the chequered casement-shade
Upon the red brick floor.
I love it where the children lie
Deep in the clovery grass,
To watch among the twining roots
The gold-green beetles pass.
How beautiful, where dragon-flies
Are wondrous to behold,
With rainbow wings of gauzy pearl,
And bodies blue and gold!
How beautiful on harvest-slopes
To see the sunshine lie;
Or on the paler reaped fields
Where yellow shocks stand high!
Oh! yes; I love the sunshine!
Like kindness or like mirth,
Upon a human countenance
Is sunshine on the earth!
Upon the earth; upon the sea;
And through the crystal air,
On piled up clouds; the gracious sun;
Is glorious everywhere.
The earth not only travels around the sun in a year, but the whole of
that time it is itself turning round, or rotating. Just so, a top,
while spinning quickly, might at the same time move along the floor.
Turn round a few times on your heels and you will see how. It takes you
a much longer time to spin round than the top requires, because you are
so much larger than the top. And the earth is so huge that it cannot
rotate, or spin round, in less than twenty-four hours, a whole day and
night. As there are 365 days in a year the earth turns quite round 365
times while she is moving round the sun, as you might turn round ten
times while moving across the room.
Have you ever wondered why it is we have bright day to work in and play
in, and then dark night to rest in, and that these never fail to come,
the one after the other?
Our earth, without the sun, would be quite dark and cold. Every ray of
light, every ray of heat, comes from the sun. And that is why the earth
is made always to journey round the sun, and never to wander away; for
what could she do out in the cold and dark?
But the earth is round, the shape of an orange. Some evening, hold an
orange close to a candle, and you will see exactly half of the orange
made bright with the light. The other part is in the shade, and there
is a clear, though faint, line between the light part and the dark
part. Do the same thing with a very large ball and the light and dark
parts will show more clearly. Hold any round object before a light, and
half the object will be lighted up; the other half will remain dark.
The earth is a round object; the sun is its light. Is one half of the
world bright, beautiful, and warm; and the other half always dark, and
cold, and dreary, without moving creature or growing plant? No! and the
reason of this you can easily prove.
Run a knitting needle through your orange, and turn the orange very
slowly round on the needle before the candle. Half is always in the
light; half, in the shade. Thus every bit has its turn in the dark.
Now you see what a beautiful, kind contrivance it is to keep the earth
continually turning round before the sun, while she travels round him.
By far the greatest part of the earth, all the way round, has its turn
in the light and its turn in the dark in twenty-four hours. It is
because it takes the earth that time to turn completely round that our
day and night last twenty-four hours. The half turned to the sun has
day; the half turned from the sun has night. When it is night with us,
the people on the opposite half have day, and when we are about our
work, they are in bed. This movement of the earth is called its
"diurnal" motion. Diurnal means daily; motion is movement.
O say, what is that thing call'd light,
Which I must ne'er enjoy;
What are the blessings of the sight;
O tell your poor blind boy!
You talk of wondrous things you see;
You say the sun shines bright;
I feel him warm, but how can he,
Or make it day or night?
My day or night myself I make
Whene'er I sleep or play;
And could I ever keep awake
With me 'twere always day.
With heavy sighs I often hear
You mourn my hapless woe;
But sure with patience I can bear
A loss I ne'er can know.
Then let not what I cannot have
My cheer of mind destroy;
Wilst thus I sing, I am a king,
Although a poor blind boy.
If you watch a wheel turning round quickly, you will see that the
middle part, which is called the axle, is quite still. When a top is
spinning its fastest, sleeping, as boys say, the very middle of the
top, right through, down to the point, is still. So, if you could spin
round quickly on your heels, you might imagine a line through the
middle of you, from your head to your heels, upon which you spin. That
middle line would be still while all the rest of you was in motion;
just as the knitting needle was still when you turned the orange round
Everything which turns round or rotates in this way turns on a still
middle line; not a real line; the stillness is real, but the line is
only imaginary. Such a line is called an axis. If you could turn round upon
your heels, you would turn upon an axis. The top spins upon its axis.
The earth spins or rotates upon her axis once in twenty-four hours. You
remember that the earth is a little flattened at the top and bottom;
the axis runs between the two flattened parts. The places where the
axis would come out if it were real, instead of an imaginary, line, are
called poles. Your poles would be one at the top of your head, the
other at your heels. The earth's poles are at the two flattened parts.
One of the poles always points to a particular star in the heavens
called the pole star, and that is the north pole of the earth; the pole
at the other flattened end is the south pole.
As the ends of the earth, where the poles are, are slightly flattened,
the middle between the poles bulges out a little, as you may have seen
an orange bulge in the middle. Round this bulging middle, exactly
between the two poles, there is another imaginary line called the equator, because it divides the
earth into "equal" parts, and for another reason also. The equator
helps us to know where places are, and you will find it marked upon all
maps of the world. Sphere, as you know, is a name given to the earth
because it is a round object; the word hemi means half; so half the earth
is a hemisphere.
The equator divides the earth into two hemispheres or half spheres, as
you might divide an orange into two hemispheres by tying a string round
the middle. The half between the equator and the north pole is the
northern hemisphere: the other half, between the equator and the south
pole, is the southern hemisphere.
on Lessons IX and XI
1. What is the earth's axis? - An imaginary line upon which the earth
turns round or rotates.
2. Where is this line? - Through
the middle of the earth, between the two flattened parts.
3. What are the poles? - The two ends of the axis, north and south.
4. In what time does the earth turn quite round? - In a day and night,
that is, in twenty-four hours.
5. When have we day? - When our part of the world is turned to the sun.
6. When have we night? - When our part of the world has rolled round,
from the sun.
7. What causes the change of day and night? - The rotation of the earth
before the sun.
8. What is the equator? - An imaginary line round the middle of the earth
between the two poles.
The days of our year do not follow, day after day alike, all the year
round. We have winter frost and snow, and leafless tree; then, spring;
after that, the bright hot summer; next, autumn; and then winter again.
We have sunshine in winter as well as in summer, but the two are very
different. The summer sun makes us so warm that we can hardly bear our
clothes, but in winter we want warm wraps on the brightest day. The
reason is that, though the earth goes on her regular path, and does not
go away from the sun, yet our country and others north of the equator
are leaning away from him in the winter and towards him in the summer.
We live in the northern half of the world, or the northern hemisphere;
and this whole hemisphere gets far less sunshine in our winter than in
How can part of the earth be turned from the sun if the whole earth is
not? That is another wonderful, beautiful arrangement God has made, so
that nearly all the world should be pleasant to live in. If the earth
were to go round the sun with her axis upright, that is, standing up
straight from pole to pole, the middle bulging part, where the equator
is, would be always just opposite to the sun and would get too much
heat. While we, who live a good deal to the north of the equator,
should never get enough sunshine to ripen our corn and fruit. The sun's
rays would fall straight down upon the equator, and would slope so much
to reach us that we should get very little heat. You know it is much
warmer in front of a kitchen fire, where the heat comes out straight,
than it is in a corner which only slanting rays of heat can reach.
But the earth does not travel with its axis upright. It is always a
sloping line; sloping, not towards the sun, but towards the path which
the earth travels along; and, therefore, at one time our north pole is
turned towards the sun, and at another time, the south pole. Of course,
there is no real path, it is merely a way through space. But imagine it
a real road for a moment, and you can think of the earth bowling along
with her axis sloping towards the road.
Voice of Spring
I am coming, little maiden!
With the pleasant sunshine laden,
With the honey for the bee;
With the blossom for the tree;
With the flower and with the leaf;
Till I come the time is brief.
I am coming, I am coming!
Hark, the little bee is humming.
See, the lark is soaring high
In the bright and sunny sky;
And the gnats are on the wing.
Little maiden, now is spring!
See the yellow catkins cover
All the slender willows over;
And on mossy banks so green
Star-like primroses are seen;
Every little stream is bright;
All the orchard trees are white.
Hark! The little lambs are bleating;
And the cawing rooks are meeting
In the elms--a noisy crowd;
And all birds are singing loud;
And the first white butterfly
In the sun goes flitting by.
That is how the earth moves, never turning out of her way, or changing
her position in the least, but with her north pole always pointing
towards the pole star in the heavens.
Hold a doll sloping towards a table on which a candle is standing. Fix
on a bright nail in the room for your pole star, and take care always
to keep the doll's face looking towards it. Then carry the doll
steadily round the candle, never changing its position, but keeping it
always sloping a little towards the table, from the head to the feet.
At one time the candle shines straight on the middle of the doll. Then,
move the figure round, always in the same position, and you will find
the feet turned towards the candle, and the head turned a little away.
Go on still farther; the candle shines again straight on the middle,
and neither head nor feet are turned towards it. Go farther round and
you will see the head turned towards the light and the feet away. When
you get to the point where you began, the candle will again shine upon
It is rather difficult to keep the doll steady in the same position and
always facing the pole star; but if you can manage it you will be able
to understand a little how we get the four seasons.
Take an orange, then, instead of the doll, with a line round the middle
for the equator, and a knitting needle put through to show where the
poles should be. Put an N at the top for the north pole, and an S at
the bottom for the south pole. Then, carry it gently round the candle
with the knitting needle always sloping a little towards the table, and the
north pole always pointing to the
pole star. You will find that at one time the north pole turns a
little towards the candle, and the south pole a little away. As you go
on, the candle shines full on the equator and neither of the poles
turns towards it. Go on farther, and the south pole turns to, and the
north pole away from the light. Continue moving round, and again the
candle shines full on the equator, and neither pole turns towards it.
We live in the northern hemisphere, about half-way between the north
pole and the equator. Our warmest time, our summer, is, therefore, when
the pole turns towards the sun. Our coldest time is when the south pole
is turned towards, and our part of the world a little away from, the
sun, so as to get only his slanting rays. We have our spring and autumn
when the sun shines straight down on the equator, and we neither turn
towards nor from him. Our autumn is warmer than our spring because the
sun has been shining upon us all summer, and has made our part of the
world warm. Just in the same way, a room is made warm that has had a
good fire burning in it all day.
As the middle of the earth about the equator is the part always nearest
to the sun and is never turned from him, that is the hottest part of
the world, and it has not the change of the four seasons as we have.
on Lesson XIV
1. Name the four seasons. - Spring, summer, autumn, winter.
2. What is the difference between them? - Summer is rather hot, winter
cold; spring and autumn neither very hot nor very cold.
3. How do we get summer? - Our part of the world, the northern
hemisphere, is turned towards the sun, and therefore, receives much
4. When have we winter? - When the northern hemisphere is turned from
5. What part of the world is turned to him then? - The southern
hemisphere; there they have summer during our winter.
6. When have we spring and autumn? - When the sun shines straight on
the equator, and neither of the poles is turned towards him.
"The flowers are blooming everywhere,
On every hill and dell;
And oh! how beautiful they are,
How sweetly, too, they smell!
"The little birds they dance along,
And look so glad and gay;
I love to hear their pleasant song,
I feel as glad as they.
"The young lambs bleat and frisk about,
The bees hum round their hive,
The butterflies are coming out;
'Tis good to be alive.
"The trees, that looked so stiff and grey,
With green leaves now are hung;
Oh! mother, let me laugh and play,
I cannot hold my tongue.
"See, yonder bird spreads out its wings,
And mounts the clear blue skies;
And, hark! how merrily he sings,
As far away he flies.
"Go forth, my child! and laugh and play,
And let thy cheerful voice
With birds, and brooks, and merry May,
Cry out, 'Rejoice! rejoice!'
"I would not check thy bounding mirth,
My happy little boy;
For He who made this blooming earth
Smiles on an infant's joy."
Praise, O praise our God and King,
Hymns of gladness let us sing,
For His mercies still endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.
Praise Him that He made the sun,
Day by day his course to run,
For His mercies still endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.
And the silver moon by night,
Shining with her gentle light,
For His mercies still endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.
Praise Him that He gave the rain
To make big the swelling grain,
For His mercies still endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.
And hath bid the fruitful field
Crops of yellow grain to yield;
For His mercies still endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.
Praise Him for our harvest-store;
He hath fill'd the garner-floor;
For His mercies still endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.
Sir Henry Baker.
When icicles hang by the wall,
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail;
When blood is nipt, and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl
Tu-whit! tu-whoo! a merry note!
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
When all around the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marian's nose looks red and raw;
When roasted crabs his in the bowl--
Then nightly sings the staring owl
Tu-whit! tu-whoo! a merry note!
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
Countries and Cold Countries
Though at one time of the year the north pole is turned a little
towards the sun, and at another the south pole, yet the earth's axis
never slants so much as to turn away the broad middle part, where the
equator is, from the sun's rays. That middle band of the earth, at the
equator and north and south of it, is always the hottest part because
it is nearest the sun, and his rays fall upon it straight, and not
sloping. Therefore in this part there is no winter cold nor summer
heat, no seasons like ours, but hot weather all the year through. Here
are the hot countries, where the people with dark skins live, and the
palm trees grow; where there are beautiful flowers of every colour, and
large juicy fruits; where the feathers of the birds are crimson and
purple and gold and green; and where huge wild beasts, both fierce and
gentle, roam about in the forests.
This part of the earth's surface is called the torrid zone, or belt;
the word "torrid" means burning, and it is easy to see why the name is
suitable. These hot countries are also spoken of as within the tropics.
You cannot understand yet what is meant by the "tropics"; but you may
remember that the hot countries are tropical, or within the tropics.
From the equator up towards the north pole the world becomes colder and
colder the farther we go, until at last, near the pole, there is
perpetual ice and snow. Many ships, manned with brave sailors, have
tried to reach the north pole, but until the last few years no one has
been able to get across the frozen seas. No green things grow on these
frost-bound lands; there are few living creatures, and huge masses of
ice, called icebergs, larger than whole rows of houses, float about
where the sea is not altogether frozen. Sad it is for any unfortunate
ship which is trying to make way amongst these!
This dreary part of the world is called the frigid, or cold zone, and
well deserved its name. Even when the north pole is turned towards the
sun there is never enough sunshine to melt the ice. But that part of
the year is the summertime in those regions, as with ourselves, and,
for the people who live near the pole, is a joyful time for more
reasons than one.
The humming-bird! the humming-bird!
So fairy-like and bright,
It lives among the sunny flowers,
A creature of delight!
In the radiant islands of the East,
Where fragrant spices grow,
A thousand, thousand humming-birds
Go glancing to and fro.
Like living fires they flit about,
Scarce larger than a bee,
Among the broad palmetto leaves
And through the fan-palm tree.
And in those wild and verdant woods,
Where stately mosses tower,
Where hangs from branching tree to tree
The scarlet passion-flower--
There builds her nest the humming-bird,
Within the ancient wood--
Her nest of silky cotton down--
And rears her tiny brood.
All crimson is her shining breast,
Like to the red, red rose;
Her wing is the changeful green and blue
That necks of the peacock shows.
Thou happy, happy humming-bird,
No winter round thee lours,
Thou never saw'st a leafless tree,
Nor land without sweet flowers.
Countries and Cold Countries
As the earth is round, only half of it can be lighted at one time by
the sun. When the north pole is turned towards the sun, the sunlight
cannot reach all the way down to the south pole. It reaches to the
north pole, and falls a good bit over to the other side. At the time of
year when this is the case, there is never any night at the north pole.
Though that part of the earth turns round with the rest once in
twenty-four hours, yet as the whole of it is turned towards the sun
while the earth rotates, that region "cannot get out of the light"; so
there is a long, long summer day up there; and the sun shines in the
sky at midnight when we are all in bed and asleep. The nearer we get to
the pole, the longer the days become, until at the pole itself there is
a single day which lasts for half the year; that is, the sun can be
seen all that time.
That is the happy time of the year for the few people who live in these
frozen regions. In our winter, it is the south pole which has the
sunshine and our north pole is turned away. Then the north pole has a
long night, and the people in the frigid zone have to live for months
without daylight. When at last the sun rises, it is a great festival,
and the people come out of their huts and watch for hours for the
joyful sight, which we might see every morning if we were not fast
asleep. This is at a long distance from the pole; quite close to the
north pole no one can live because there is nothing to eat.
All about the south pole lies a land covered in deep snow, which never
melts, and around this land are icebergs, and frozen seas. Here, too,
are long, long days and nights, just as about the north pole. It is
another frigid zone. But the south pole has its dark cold winter night
when the north pole has its long day, because when the one pole is
turned towards the sun, the other is turned away.
Between these two frigid zones and the torrid zone are two broad belts
of land, where it is neither very hot nor very cold, and where the
people enjoy the pleasant change of the four seasons in their year.
Apples, plums, and corn, and many other things grow in these regions;
the fields are green; and the trees lose their leaves in the autumn and
get new ones in the spring. These are the temperate zones, That between
the torrid zone and the north frigid is the north temperate zone, in
which our own country lies. That between the torrid zone and the south
frigid, is the south temperate zone. These broad belts get warmer the
nearer we go to the equator, and colder the nearer we draw to the
poles. But as the lands in them are never very warm nor very cold, the
word temperate is used to
describe the whole.
When you see a map of the world, you will be able to decide at once
whether any land is warm, or cold, or temperate, by considering how far
it lies from the equator.
on Lesson XX
1. Which is the hottest part of the earth? - The torrid zone; at the
equator and on each side of it.
2. Why? - It is the part nearest the sun, and that upon which his
straight rays fall.
3. Which are the coldest parts? - The two frigid, or freezing, zones,
one round each pole.
4. Why are these cold? - They are far from the sun, and are warmed only
by his slanting rays.
5. What are the belts of the earth between these called? - The north
temperate zone, and the south temperate zone.
6. What can you say about the lands in these? - They have four seasons
in their year, and are neither very hot nor very cold.
The Land of Ice at the South Pole
The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,
And southward aye we fled.
And now there cam both mist and snow,
And it grew wondrous cold:
And ice, mast high, came floating by,
As green as emerald.
And through the drifts the snowy clifts
Did send a dismal sheen:
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken-
The ice was all between.
The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound.
It is very important to know the distance of places from the equator,
because the climate of a place depends very much upon how far it is
from the equator.
Distance from the equator is called latitude. Places north of that line
are in north latitude; those south of it are in south latitude. But it
is not enough to know that a place is in north latitude. If you wish to
know its climate, and, therefore, what sort of animals live in it, and
what plants grow, you must know exactly how far it is from the equator.
That people may know this, other imaginary lines are drawn on maps as
if they passed round the earth in the same direction as the equator,
and parallel with it. The two rails upon which a tramcar or a railway
carriage run are parallel; that is, they both run in the same
direction, and are always at the same distance from one another.
These imaginary lines round the world, at equal distances from the
equator and from each other, are called parallels of latitude, and are
marked in maps of the world, or of any part of it.
If you know which parallel a place is upon, you know its distance from
the equator, and can judge fairly well how hot or cold it is. But how
are we to know any particular parallel so as to speak of it? Has each a
name of its own? Not a name, but a number.
The world is round, and, therefore, any line which goes right round it
must be a circle, the shape of a ring. Wise men have divided the circle
into 360 equal parts, and each of these parts is called a degree.
Divide a circle into quarters, and in each quarter there will be ninety
degrees, because four times ninety are 360. A circle drawn round the
world from pole to pole, and passing through the equator, must have 360
degrees. From the equator to either of the poles, a quarter of a
circle, the distance is ninety degrees.
Imagine a line for each one of these degrees, to measure them off, as
the inches are measured off on a foot-rule. These lines must go round
the earth, for the measure is wanted everywhere; they must parallel
with the equator, or the measure would not be true. These are parallels
of latitude; there are ninety between the equator and the north pole,
one for each degree. Between the equator and the south pole there is
the same number of parallels of latitude.
A place on the fifth parallel to the north is five degrees north of the
equator, and must be hot. A place on the fiftieth parallel is fifty
degrees north of the equator, and is temperate, getting rather cold. A
place seventy-five degrees north is in the frigid zone, very cold.
These parallels are marked on maps of the world. Each parallel is not
always marked; every fifth or tenth is enough to enable us to find a
place when once we know that it is so many degrees north or south of
the equator. To write that a place is forty-five degrees north
latitude, we write 45 degrees N. lat. The little cipher after 45 stands
At a distance of 23 1/2 degrees from the equator, on each side, are two
parallels called tropics. All lands within that space are very hot, and
belong to the torrid zone. If you can remember this you will find it a
great help. You will know that lands 15 degrees N. lat., 10 degrees S.
lat., and so on, are hot lands. Then, if you could also recollect that
at 66 1/2 degrees north and south, the frigid zones begin, beyond which
all is generally cold and dreary, you would have some idea what the
climate of places would be in different parts of the world.
on Lesson XXII
1. What is latitude? - Distance from the equator, north or south.
2. Why is it important to know the distance of a place from the
equator? - Because the climate of the place depends very much upon that.
3. How is latitude measured? - By imaginary lines round the earth,
parallel with the equator.
4. What does "parallel with the equator" mean? - Running in the same
direction as the equator, and keeping at the same distance from it all
5. How many parallels are there north of the equator? - Ninety, but
they are not all marked on maps of the world.
6. Which are the most important lines to remember? - Those at 23 1/2
degrees and at 66 1/2 degrees north and south of the equator.
See the day begins to break,
And the light shoots like a streak
Of subtle fire; the wind blows cold
While the morning doth unfold,
Now the birds begin to rouse,
And the squirrel from the boughs
Leaps, to get him nuts and fruits;
The early lark, that erst was mute,
Carols to the rising day
Many a note and many a lay.
Shepherds, rise, and shake off sleep--
See the blusing morn doth peep
Through the windows, while the sun
To the mountain-tops is run,
Gilding all the vales below
With his rising flames, which grow
Greater by his climbing still.--
Up! ye lazy swains! and fill
Bag and bottle for the field;
Clasp your cloaks fast, lest they yield
To the bitter north-east wind.
Call the maidens up, and find
Who lies longest, that she may
Be chidden for untimed delay.
Feed your faithful dogs, and pray
Heaven to keep you from decay;
So unfold, and then away.--
One change which is constantly taking place in the heavens you have, no
doubt, noticed. The sun never seems to remain still in the same place.
Every morning, long before you are awake in the summer, but later in
the winter, a grand sight is to be seen the in the heavens; that is, if
the morning should not be cloudy.
At first, there is no sun to be seen, but everything stands out in a
clear light, and you know the sun is coming. Then, a certain part of
the sky becomes rosy and bright, getting more beautiful and golden
every moment. Perhaps there are little lovely pink clouds, or, purple
clouds with golden edges floating about. Then you just see a bright
golden rim, too dazzling for you to look at, coming up from behind the
earth into the golden sky. The rim rises, and rises, until at last the
whole round, glorious sun is shining in the sky, which he made so
splendid with his rays before he appeared. As the morning goes on, he
gets higher and higher in the heavens, and is no longer bathed in
golden sky and rosy clouds.
By noon he reaches his highest point, nearly overhead; and he still
continues his course across the sky, until, in the evening, he reaches
the point just opposite to that where his course began.
Then he gradually goes down with the same splendour with which he
rose;--sometimes, in a sky which looks like a great sea of gold with
cities and palaces and all beautiful forms rising out of it. After the
last edge of the sun has disappeared below the earth, a clear, soft
light remains for a while, such as came before his rising in the
morning: this is called twilight.
The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. By remembering this,
you will be able to tell the direction in which the places near your
own town, or the streets of your own town, lie.
Stand so that your right hand is towards the east where the sun rises,
your left towards the west where the sun sets. Then you are looking
towards the north pole and you back is towards the south pole. All the
houses, streets, and towns on your right-hand side are to the east of
you; those on your left are to the west of you.
The places you must walk straightforward to reach are north, and the
places behind you are to the south.
If you are in a place new to you, where you have never see the sun rise
or set, and want to know in what direction a certain road runs, you
must notice in what direction your own shadow falls at twelve o'clock.
At noon, the shadows of all objects fall towards the north. Then if you
face the north, you have, as before, the south behind you, the east on
your right hand, and the west on your left. Or, if you face the sun at
noon, you face south.
When people are moving from place to place, it is important that they
should know if they are going southward or northward. In our own
country, which is in the north latitude, the father north we go, the
colder it becomes and the warmest part of England lies quite to the
south. The railways on which we travel from place to place are called
by names which tell us the direction in which they run.
People like to know, also, where the wind comes from, as that enables
them to judge what kind of weather may be expected. If it be from the
north, "The north wind doth blow, and we shall have snow"; if it blow
from the west, a west wind, we expect rain.
You may get very ready in noticing the directions of places by a little
practice. Notice how each of the windows of your school face, or each
of the rooms in your home; the rows of houses you pass on your way to
school: and which are the north, south, east, and west sides of
churches. The direction of places, the way buildings look, and the way
the wind blows, are among the things that intelligent people like to
on Lesson XXIV
1. Where does the sun rise? - In the east.
2. Where does he set? - In the west.
3. If you stand with your right hand to the east, in which direction
are you looking? - To the north.
4. Where is the south? - Opposite to the north.
5. How may you find out the direction you are moving in at noon? - Look
at your own shadow, it points north.
6. How may the other points be known? - If we stand as before, facing
the north, the south is behind us, the east to the right hand and the
west to the left.
Shepherds all, and maidens fair,
Fold your flocks up, for the air
'Gins to thicken, and the sun
Already his great course hath run.
See the dewdrops how they kiss
Every little flower that is:
Hanging on their velvet heads,
Like a rope of crystal beads.
See the heavy clouds low falling,
And bright Hesperus down calling
The dead night from underground.
the Sun Rises and Sets
This appearance of the sun going over our earth every day was very
puzzling to the ancients. Their first idea was that the sun travelled
round our world every day - going round it like a huge lamp, and thus
lighting up part after part. But the great sun is many thousand times
larger than our little earth. Also, it is very far away, and,
therefore, would have to travel a very long distance to get round the
earth. As this journey could not be finished in twenty-four hours it is
plain that the change of day and night must be caused in some other way.
If a person be carried along in a railway carriage at a very quick
rate, he does not seem to me moving at all himself, but houses, trees,
and towns, seem to be running fast in the opposite direction. So, if
you turn round quickly, the room seems to be spinning round fast the
other way. In the same way, the sun appears to take his daily course
over the earth, moving from east to west, while it is really the earth
which moves in quite the opposite direction--from west to east. The
sun, at least as far as we are concerned, is standing still.
The earth, as you know, is constantly turning round before the sun;
half is always in the light of the sun and half in the dark. But as the
earth is always turning, part after part comes up under the sun, and
part after part goes down into the shade.
In our early morning, the part of the earth we live upon, England,
gradually rolls round towards the sun. First we see a little rim of him
in the distance, but the roundness of the earth comes between us and
the whole sun. Then we go rolling on towards the sun, until we see the
whole of him. We still roll forward, till we get under the sun and have
him nearly overhead. Then it is twelve o’clock, or noon, not only with
us, but with all the places and people just in a line with us, north
All these places have rolled under the sun just at the same moment as
ourselves. You will understand this if you will draw chalk lines
between the two flattened ends of an orange, and then twirl it slowly
between your thumb and finger. You will find that the whole of one line
comes forward at once; then the whole of the next, and so on, just as
all the places in a line from pole to pole come forward at once as the
As the earth goes on rolling, our country is no longer nearly under the
sun as at mid-day, but rolls farther and farther back, until we begin
to lose sight of him. At last we turn right away, and get not one ray
of his light, not even the twilight which lasts for a little while
after the sun has set.
Then it is our night; but, though we have turned away, all the world is
not dark. The part opposite to our feet, on the other side of our round
earth, has rolled full into the sunshine, and when it is midnight with
us, there the sun is overhead and it is noon.
Such lines as we have imagined between the flattened ends of an orange
to join together the parts that roll into the light at the same time,
are supposed to be drawn from pole to pole on the earth’s surface,
passin g through the equator.
Each of these lines passes through all the places that have their noon,
or mid-day, at the same time. It is noon at any place because that part
of the earth has rolled forward so as to come under the sun. As the
whole earth from north to south rolls forward at once, all places
exactly north or south of one another have mid-day at the same moment.
The imaginary lines passing through such places are called meridians. The word meridian means
“mid-day,” and meridians are mid-day lines. They are the lines marked
on globes and maps running from north to south.
These meridian lines are of great use, as they enable us to judge how
far places are from each other, east and west. By means of the equator
and the lines which run parallel with it, we know how far north or
south of the equator any place lies. But we might search all round the
globe before we found a place a certain number of degrees north of the
equator, if we did not know which meridian line went through it.
We English people number the meridian lines from Greenwich, a place
near London. The line which runs from pole to pole and passes through
Greenwich is the first meridian. Every place exactly north and south of
Greenwich, all the way to the poles, has the first meridian passing
through it, and has noon at the same time as ourselves. There is a
meridian line to measure off every degree upon the equator, though they
are not always all marked upon maps. The distance between places east
and west, is called longitude.
All parts of the world that lie to the east of Greenwich are in east
longitude. The rest of the world, the half that lies to the west of
Greenwich, is in west longitude. The meridians are marked 2 degrees W.
or 25 degrees W., according to the number of degrees they are west of
Greenwich; or, 50 degrees E. long., if they lie so far to the east of
Greenwich. Places east of Greenwich, or in east longitude have their
noon before we do, because they turn towards the sun in the morning
before we do. All places in west longitude have their noon later.
If a sailor knows that a place is so many degrees to the north of the
equator, and so many
degrees to the east of Greenwich, he knows exactly where to look for
it. How he is able to guide his ship to the very point he wants to
reach, you will learn in your next lesson.
on Lessons XXVI and XXVII
1. What is meridian? - An imaginary line from pole to pole, passing
through the equator.
2. What does the word “meridian” mean? - Mid-day.
3. Why are the meridians so called? - Because they pass through all
places that have mid-day at the same time.
4. Why do places north and south of each other have mid-day at the same
time? - Because each portion of the earth, from pole to pole, turns
towards the sun at the same time.
5. How many of these meridians are there? - 360; one through each
degree on the circle of the equator.
6. Which is our first meridian? - The one running through Greenwich.
7. What is the distance of places from Greenwich, east and west,
called? - East and west longitude.
8. What is the great use of these lines? - They enable us to know the
distance of all places from Greenwich, east or west.
Points of the Compass
Perhaps you have seen a compass, and have been delighted with the
wonderful needle which seems to move about of its own accord, as if it
The needle is enclosed in a round box. At the bottom of the box is a
card marked, as in the picture, with many points, each pointing to
certain letters within a circle. Beyond this are numbers, dividing the
circles into degrees, ninety in each quarter. The four points most
clearly marked are N., S., E., and W., that is, north and south,
opposite to each other, and east and west, also opposite. These four
are the cardinal points of the compass; cardinal, because they are the
chief or principal points.
Between north and east is a point marked N.E., north-east, the
direction which is mid-way between north and east. There are six other
points between north and east, the names of which you need not learn at
present. Each of the other quarters is divided in the same way, as you
will see in the Figure. The compass has thirty-two points in all. The
four cardinal points, and the four points exactly between these are the
most important, and are all you need remember. Poised in the middle of
the box, so that it does not touch either the card or the lid, but can
swing round easily, is what is called the needle, a slight bar of
steel, pointed at each end. Hold the N. of the compass towards the
north. Then, with the compass in your hand, turn towards the east, and
you will see a remarkable thing. The little needle moves, too, but
moves quite by itself in just the other direction. Turn to the west,
and again the needle moves in the opposite direction to that in which
you move. However little you turn, a little quiver of the needle
follows your movement. And you look at it, wondering how the little
thing could perceive you had moved when you hardly knew it yourself.
Walk straight on in any direction, and the needle is fairly steady;
only fairly steady, because you are sure, without intending it, to move
a little to the right or the left.
Turn round very slowly, a little bit at a time, beginning at the north
and turning towards the east, and you may make the needle also move
round in a circle. It moves in the opposite direction to yourself, for
it is trying to get back to the north from which you are turning.
Suppose that a line were drawn round you, a yard off, as you turn, by
the time you face the north again the line would be a circle, and might
be divided into quarters, with 90 degrees in each, like the circle upon
the card of the compass. It might also have letters, N., S., W., E.,
within it, showing each direction in which you faced as you turned
slowly round. If the line, instead of being close to you, were as far
off as the eye could reach, it would still be a circle.
This distant circle where the earth and sky seem to meet is, as you
know, the line of the horizon. The circle upon the card of the compass,
divided into degrees, represents the circle of the horizon; with the
points north, east, south and west marked upon it: and, whichever way
you turn, the needle will always point to the north.
A little pocket compass, which may be bought for sixpence or less,
would help you to understand this lesson.
on Lesson XXVIII
1. How many points of the compass are there? - Thirty-two.
2. Which are the principal? - The four cardinal points; north, south,
3. Which points are next in importance? - The points in the directions
midway between these.
4. Name them. - North-east, south-east, south-west, north-west.
5. What does the circle upon the card of the compass represent? - The
circle of the horizon.
6. How is it divided? - Into degrees, like all circles 90 degrees in
Why does the needle move at all? When you turn from the north, why does
it move the other way?
The little piece of steel which forms the needle of the compass is a
magnet. When you are older you will probably know more, but at present
you can learn one thing about magnets.
Whenever a magnet has free play, it will not rest until one end of it
turns to the north, towards the north pole; the other to the south,
towards the south pole.
To be free to turn, the magnet must not lie flat upon a table, but
should be hung in a loop of thread fastened round the middle of it, or
be placed lightly, as it is in the compass, on a little point called a
If you consider, you will understand how it is that when you turn from
the north the needle moves, not with you, but the other way.
The needle is a magnet; it must point to the north. If you face the
north, the needle points in the way you are looking; if you turn to the
right the needle flies just as far to the left. If it remained still
when you turned, that is, if it allowed itself to be carried round with
you, it would point east, not north. You can tell how far you have
moved in any direction by noticing how many degrees the needle has to
move back to find the north.
If you turn about quickly, you cause the little needle to fly to and
fro like a wild thing in a cage in its struggle to point true to the
If we lived in waste lands, where there are no roads or waymarks, a
compass would be very valuable. By noticing how the needle pointed as
we journeyed away from home, we should know what direction we ought to
take to find our way home again. In a country like England, which has
roads and railways leading to every place of any size, a compass is not
much wanted. But think what a friend it must be to the sailor on the
wide, trackless sea, where there are no roads, no eastern or northern
railways; where the ships that have gone the same way before, leave not
the faintest mark; where the seaman finds no more waymark or sign-post
than a bird has in flying through the air.
Have you ever wondered how it is that a ship finds its way across seas?
How is it that if you get into a ship for New York, she makes her way
nearly as direct for New York as a railway train upon land makes for
London; though the ship certainly has not two iron rails, leading
straight to the place, to run upon?
Before his ship starts, the captain studies the map to see exactly how
many degrees N.E. or S.W. of London, let us say, the place to which he
is going lies. When he knows what direction he is to take, the compass
points out the way to him. It shows him that he is going towards the
north-east, or south-west, or to whatever point he wishes to make for,
and guides him so surely, that he can sail over the world without ever
losing his way. Because it is such a friend to the sailor, this
wonderful instrument is called the Mariner’s compass.
If there were no such instrument, ships would not venture much out of
sight of land; for, with nothing to guide them, they would miss their
way or run into unknown dangers.
Plan of a Room
We have spoken of a map or picture of the world, and you have perhaps
wondered how it is possible to make a picture of so large an object, of
which only a very small part can be seen at once.
A map is not really a picture, it is a plan. A picture of a house
reminds you of the house. It shows the shape, perhaps the colour, and
has the general look of the real object. A plan is also a sort of
likeness, more useful than a picture, but it does not remind you of the
object it represents.
When we have seen how plans of small places are made, and the uses they
serve, you will be better able to understand the meaning of a map.
Opposite is the plan of the floor of a schoolroom. You are supposed to
be looking at it from a great height up above. As you look from a great
distance, everything looks small. As you look from above, everything
appears to lie flat on the floor. Desks, stools and tables seem to have
no supports, but to lie with their tops level with the ground.
So far, it is easy to draw a plan. You could make one of any room if
you imagine yourself to be looking down from a great height so that you
would see tables and chairs looking like little flat squares and rounds
on the floor. But such a plan would be of no use. A plan is only useful
when it shows the exact size as well as shape of the real things; where
they stand, north or south, east or west; and just how far they are
from one another.
By looking at the plan before us, we learn that the schoolroom it
represents is forty-five feet long and thirty broad. That the desks
stand against the north wall. That they are seven and a half feet long,
and two and a half feet apart. That the teachers’ desks stand out five
feet from those of the scholars. How do we get such an exact idea of
the schoolroom from this small plan? Notice the little measure drawn
below the plan which is called a scale. The scale is divided into
lengths, about a quarter of an inch each, and each of these divisions
stands for five feet. That is, a quarter of an inch on the scale stands
for a length of five feet of the walls and desks of the schoolroom. We
compare the scale with the plan of the schoolroom and see that the long
walls are as long as nine of these five-foot measures, so we know the
room is nine times five, or forty-five feet long’ and so on with the
other walls and the objects in the room.
To make a plan of a room, you must first make a scale, with a certain
measure to stand for five or three or ten feet. It does not matter how
many, if you put the number down on the scale. Then observe how the
walls of the room lie, north, south, east, west. Take a foot-rule and
measure your longest wall. Draw a line as many measures of the scale in
length as will stand for the length of the room. Do the same with the
shorter wall. Then draw the two opposite walls of the same length. Put
letters N.E. or S.W. to show the position of each wall. Then measure
the objects in the room, and the distance of each object from the
walls, putting each one into your plan, according to the scale.
Now you have an exact plan of the room from which a person who had
never seen it could tell its shape, size, aspect, or the way it looks,
north or south’ what things are in the room, where they stand and how
far they are from one another.
on Lesson XXX
1. What may be learnt from the plan of a building? - Its exact size and
shape, and its aspect, or the direction in which it looks.
2. How is the size shown? - By the scale.
3. What is a scale? - A measure which shows that a certain length in
the plan stands for a certain length in the real object.
Plan of a Town
Suppose that a lark who could think, or an airman, were flying over
your town away up in the sky, and paused overhead for a moment to see
what there was below him. He would only see the principal things,
streets, and large buildings. Everything would look very small because
he would be so far off; and as he would see them from above, the
buildings would look flat. Such a view of a town is given on the
opposite page. It is the old city of Chichester, which is built upon a
very simple plan. About the middle of the plan you see a round dot,
marked cross; that is the beautiful old cross of carved stone which
stands in the middle of the city, and from which you may look down the
four chief streets. These run in a pretty direct line towards the four
cardinal points; East Street, towards the east, where the sun rises;
West Street, towards the west, where he sets, North Street, towards the
north; and South Street, towards the south. There are several smaller
streets running out of each of these, and between the streets are
buildings. The fine old Cathedral,
which you may enter from West Street or from South Street, is the
building for which Chichester is famous; the plan gives you some idea
of its shape. At the south-west corner of the cathedral you see the
Bishop’s Palace marked. The city of Chichester has broad old walls -
which form a pleasant walk for the towns-folk - nearly all round it.
But a plan must show the distance of the buildings from one another,
the length and width of the streets, and the size of the whole town.
Look at the scale below the plan which stands for half a mile. Each of
the four chief streets is about half the length of the scale, or a
quarter of a mile, long. South Street, however, is longer than the
others, because it goes beyond the city to the station. The length of
any of the other streets and the distance between any two buildings you
can find out yourself by using the scale.
We can have a plan of a country or a piece of a country as well as of a
town or room. Each measure of the scale must stand for a long distance
when the plan is of a large place, and for a short distance when the
place is small. Thus we can tells the size of a large place from a
small plan by looking at the scale.
of a County
If it were possible for our bird, or airman, flying still higher up in
the air, to take a view of the county you live in, as well as of your
town, a plan of such a view would be that which is given in what is
called a map.
A map would show the chief things in the county: - towns dotted about
here and there; perhaps a row or range of hills running across the
county, past town after town; a great stream of water, called a river,
making its way to the sea, and little streams running along to join the
big river: the sea on one side, it may be, running into the land here
and there and making curious patterns. In a map of a county there is no
room to mark the streets and buildings of each town. Indeed, the town
itself is only marked by a dot to show where it is, and its name is
written near the dot.
Hills take up a good deal more room than towns, because they generally
run over a great piece of country. They are marked on maps by shaded
lines, as when the sun shines on one side of a hill the other sides
look dark and shady. Rivers are marked by a wavy line; thick, if the
river is wide across; thin if it is narrow.
If you wish to draw a map of your own county, you must first make a
scale, as your map should show how large your county is. Perhaps each
measure of the scale will stand for ten miles; then, if the county be
thirty miles long and twenty broad, the map will be three measures long
and two broad.
You will next show upon what part of the earth's surface your county is
by putting in the parallels and meridians. If the 52nd parallel runs
through it, you know it is 52 degrees north of the equator; if the 2nd
meridian, you know it is two degrees west of Greenwich.
Then you must draw the shape of your county as accurately as you can.
The only way you can find out the shape is by copying it from some
The line showing the north of the county is to be the top of your
drawing; the bottom, the south; the right hand, the east; the left
hand, the west. Maps are always made with the north at the top; so, as
you look towards the north or top, you have the east on your right and
the west on your left. The bottom of the map is the south.
Perhaps a range of hills runs across the north of your county for
twenty miles, which you will mark by a shaded line two measures long.
Then there may be a little river of eight and a long river of thirty
miles, winding in and out till they get to the sea. These go into the
map as wavy lines so many measures long.
Then come dots for the towns. These are put north or west as they may
lie, and half a measure or one or two measures apart according as they
are five or ten or twenty miles distant from one another. There is no
room on small maps for little villages.
Next put in the names of the counties that border your county all
round; or if it is bordered on one side by the sea, the name of the sea.
By looking at the map and scale now it is finished you can tell several
facts about your own county.
You see it shape. You can find out its size and its distance from the
equator. You may name the hill ranges and rivers in it, and say where
they run and how long they are. You may name, also, all the towns, and
say how far they are from one another, and what direction, north or
west, a man must go in to get from one town to another. You see, too,
what county you would get into if you went out of yours on the south or
east or north side.
on Lesson XXXII
1. How may the size of a county be learned from a map? - By the scale,
which shows that a measure, perhaps half an inch long, stands for ten
or twenty miles.
2. How may we know its distance from the equator? - By the parallel
which runs through, or near the county. The number of the parallel
shows the number of degrees it is from the equator.
3. What does the map teach as to the appearance of a county? - The map
shows if it is flat or hilly; if it has many rivers; if the sea washes
it, and runs up into the land.
4. What may we learn about the towns? - Where they lie in the county,
north, south, or west: and how far we must go to get from our own town
to any other.
5. Does the map show in what part of England our county is? - Yes; it
shows what counties border ours on every side: or, if the sea washes
the county, the name of the sea.
Maps are Made
It is easy enough to make a map from which much may be learned when
there is another map to copy it from; but the first map of any
district, how was that made? How was it possible to make a map of a
great piece of land when it is only possible to see a small part at
once? There are still some parts of the world about which all that can
be said is "Unexplored"; which means that nobody from any civilised
land has been there, or knows what those lands are like.
You have learned already that brave men are constantly taking most
dangerous journeys to discover these unexplored regions. When a
traveller has found out and examined a new place, his first care is to
make a map of it, for the use of the rest of the world.
First, he measures every mile of the land carefully, but a method which
you cannot understand. Then, he draws the exact shape according to
scale. Then he measures and marks down in its right position every
hill, mountain, valley, river, forest, village--whatever, in fact, he
finds in this newly-discovered land. But how can he tell in what part
of the whole world this new land lies? It is very necessary to know
this, and he finds out before he begins to measure or draw.
Persons who have studied these things can always find out what latitude
they are in by observing the sun and the stars. That is, they can learn
exactly how far they are from the equator. Stranger still, they can
find out their longitude, or their distance west or east of Greenwich,
by means of a time-piece, or chronometer, which very ship carries.
Now, if they know their exact distance from Greenwich, and their exact
distance from the equator, they know exactly whereabouts on the earth's
surface they are, and can put their new map into its right place on the
old map of the world. You will be able to understand how the captain of
a ship finds out his latitude and longitude in the open sea when you
get a little older.
In this careful way, mile by mile, nearly the whole surface of the
earth has been measured and mapped out. A map of the world, which you
may buy for a penny, was not made at one time and by one person. It has
taken three or four hundred years to make, and has been drawn in bit by
bit, by one and another, as each found out and mapped out some new land
which before his time had been "unexplored." When we think of this we
should be ready to give careful heed to the study of maps, the making
of which has cost not only much labour, but many noble lives.
As the world is round, the best way to make a map of the whole of it,
with all its lands and waters, is on a round globe, such as we often
see. Such a globe has the equator round the middle, the meridians,
running from north to south and meeting at the poles, and the parallel
lines round the earth, in the same direction as the equator. But maps
of any part of the world are always made flat.
This and the following lessons should be read with the map of the world.
Surface of the Earth
Wherever we go upon our earth we find ourselves upon one of two things;
we are either upon land or upon water. The surface of the earth
consists of land and water. We say the surface because it is only of
the surface or outside of this huge ball, our world, that we are
speaking. But how are the land and water divided? Does all the land lie
together in one place, and all the water in another? And which is there
the most of, land or water?
Look at a map of the world: most likely it is divided into two
hemispheres: not northern and southern, which we have spoken of, but
eastern and western. That is, the earth is supposed to be divided as an
orange would be if you cut it through the middle between the two
flattened ends, and spread out the outer skins of each half side by
The first thing that strikes you is that there is a great deal more
water than land; that about three quarters of the earth's surface is
covered with water, while only one quarter is land. Perhaps you
expected that most of the earth's surface would be land for men to live
upon, and for the plants they need for food to grow on. Some day you
will understand that men could not live, nor green things grow on the
earth, unless there were far more of what seems waste water than of
The water, you will see, runs into the land here and there, and gives
it many irregular shapes. Indeed, the shape of the land depends
entirely upon the water which borders it.
In the western hemispherethere is a great mass of land, or, rather,
there are two great masses joined together, which are something like
two legs of mutton in shape; and are called North America and South
In the northern of these, or North America, there are four great breaks
on the eastern side, made by the sea running in; the southern mass of
land, or South America, is nearly unbroken. The two together stretch a
great way from north to south between the poles.
There are no more masses of land in the western hemisphere; but there
are many small pieces dotted about here and there in the water. There
is a great deal of water in the western hemisphere, far more than in
Surface of the Earth
In the eastern hemisphere the land lies chiefly to the north of the
equator; most of the water in this division is south of the equator.
There is a great mass of land in the north, stretching from east to
west, and broken into many places by the water.
Joined to this mass by a little narrow neck of land are called
'continents." A continent is the largest division of land. The
continent in the western hemisphere, which is nearly in two separate
pieces, is America, North and South.
The mass of land which stretches from east to west in the eastern
hemisphere, though it is really only one continent, has two names, and
is generally spoken of as two. The larger part on the east is Asia, and
the smaller division on the west is Europe. Both of these are much
broken into by the water, but Europe more so than Asia.
The continent joined to Asia by a little neck of land is Africa, which,
like South America, is not much broken by the sea.
The continent south of the equator with water all round it is Australia
and still further south is Antartica.
The smaller pieces of land surrounded by water are not called
continents, but islands. Australia is sometimes called an island
because it has water all round it.
The part of the land which borders the water is called the coast or the
coast line. Those continents into which the water makes its way in many
places and for a great distance, have, as you would expect, the most
coast or the longest coast line compared with their size.
on Lesson XXXV
1. What is a continent? - The largest division of land.
2. How many continents are there? - Six.
3. Name them. - Europe, Asia, Africa, America, Australia and Antartica.
4. What is the coast? - That part of the land which is washed by the
1. Which continents are upon the equator?
2. Which two continents are north of the equator?
3. Which two lie south of the equator?
4. Which is the longest continent from north to south?
5. Name four continents in the eastern hemisphere.
6. What continent lies east of Europe?
7. What continent lies west of Europe?
8. What continent is to the south of Europe?
9. What continent is quite surrounded by water?
10. What continent would be surrounded by water but for one little neck
Most likely you know the pleasure of being on a hill-top; of the rest,
after a long pull up hill, when you look round and see the villages you
know dotted about, quite small in the distance; and then of the scamper
about with the fresh wind blowing in your face.
Everybody likes the hills; and one reason why England is so pleasant a
country is that there are many hills scattered about in it. These are
not often single hills, but long rows, or ranges, as they are called,
which run through several counties.
A wide stretch of level country, with no hills worth speaking of, is
called a plain.
Any rising ground is a hill; but if the ground rise so high that it
takes a man some hours' hard climbing to get to the top, it is called a
mountain. There are mountains
in the world so high that the top or summit
has never been reached; and others, whose sides are so steep that it is
impossible to climb them.
Mountains, like hills, do not often stand alone; they are either in
ranges or chains, or several
lie close together in a group.
Between two or three mountains, the land dips down into a hollow or valley.
Sometimes, at the bottom of a mountain valley lies a blue lake, making
a picture in its waters of the sky and clouds above and of the
mountains which tower all round it. Perhaps there are little islands
rising here and there above its surface.
Sometimes two or three chains of mountains run side by side, or
parallel with each other. When this is the case there are valleys,
often many miles wide, between the chains. Most mountains have several
peaks, often far apart, for a mountain is generally a huge mass many
miles round at the base or bottom and thinning away into ridges at the
After getting up to what looks like the top of a mountain from below,
we should, in some places, find ourselves on a wide, open country like
a plain, only that it rises high above the rest of the land. A large
tract which stands high above the country round, as a table stands
above a floor, is called a tableland.
Countries or districts with mountain chains or groups are said to be
mountainous. It is a pleasant thing to live among mountains; to be in
sight of what is great and beautiful far beyond anything men can make.
You learn to know the great rugged shapes so well that you can see them
with your eyes shut. You know how the mountains look at any time of
day, or in any kind of weather, for they are always changing. At one
time they are so wrapped up in clouds that you cannot see them. Again,
they look clear and bright and quite near; and then, again, they appear
far away, and covered with a soft, purple haze. And what pleasure there
is in mountain climbing--which is always hard work and often dangerous,
but is so delightful that people travel hundreds of miles for the
pleasure of feeling the clear, cold mountain air.
Though the heat may be unbearable at the base or foot of a mountain,
the air grows colder and colder as you rise. At the top, if the
mountain be lofty, there is nothing but eternal snow, and great fields
of ice in the high valleys; snow and ice which do not entirely thaw
away in the hottest summer days. Indeed, near the equator, where the
lowlands are always hot, the cold is as great on the tops of high
mountains as it is at the poles. You cannot at present understand why,
but the fact is, if we could rise two or three miles into the air above
our own homes, we should get into a climate as cold as we should find
in the frozen oceans. The highest mountains in the world are between
five and six miles in height. None of our English mountains are quite
one mile above the level of the sea. The height of mountains is always
measured from the surface or level of the sea, because, when it is
calm, the sea keeps at about the same height all over the world.
on Lesson XXXVI
1. What is a hill? - Rising ground.
2. What is a mountain? - A mass of ground more than half a mile in
3. What is a plain? - A tract of level land.
4. What is a tableland? - A tract of land raised high above the country
5. What is a valley? - Land that sinks or dips below the country about
6. Name the parts of a mountain. - The base or foot; the sides, the
peaks; and the summit or highest point.
7. How do mountains usually lie? - In chains or ranges; or in groups.
8. What is a chain or range? - Mountains following one another in a row.
9. What is a group? - Several mountains clustered together.
Have you ever sent a paper boat floating down a stream? You know how
fast it goes; not because the wind blows it, but because the water
carries it along. The waters of the stream are moving, running. What
you look at this moment, you will never see again, though more water
will come, and hasten after that which has gone on. When the shore is
reached, the waters pour into the sea day and night without ceasing.
Most likely the stream does not go to the sea by itself; it may pour
its waters into another larger river; but one way or other, to the sea
it goes at last. If you stand on a bridge which goes across a wide
river and watch the waters rushing along, fast and strong and never
stopping, you wonder where all the water comes from; and why it is
never emptied away, when such great riverfuls are being always poured
into the sea. How that is, and how a river begins, and how it grows,
and how it is that a river blesses the land it flows through and makes
it fertile, are things you will understand when you know more
geography. Only think of this now; when you see no wavy river marks
upon the map of any country, be sorry for its people; for that is not a
land of green fields, or forest trees, of corn or fruit.
Rivers have small beginnings; a little stream flows out of a spring of
clear, fresh water bubbling up from the ground. Then, other little
streams, and larger streams, and at last other rivers join it, until it
becomes a broad, deep river, upon which ships can sail. Where does it
begin, and how does it find a place to flow in? It begins generally
upon high ground, often on mountain sides, but not always; this
beginning is called its source. The running water wears away the earth
and so makes a place for itself; the more water there is, the wider is
this channel, which is called the bed
of the river, because the river lies in it. The land on each side of
the river is called a bank.
Water split upon a table finds its way to the floor; it is the way of
water to get as low down as it can. Therefore rivers make their way to
the lowest part of the country they are flowing through. Where you see
river lines on a map, you may be sure that that is the lowest part of
the country; that the land rises a little, at least, on each side of
the river valley.
Sometimes the river comes to a hollow place in its valley, much wider
than itself, and deep like its own bed. It fills up such a hollow with
its waters and passes on. This is how most lakes are formed. Look at a lake on
a map, and you will generally see that a river enters it at one end,
and leaves it again at the end nearest the sea.
Rivers which flow into larger rivers are tributaries. The mouth of a river is where its water
flows into the sea. Sometimes a large river, when near the sea, divides
into branches, and has then many mouths; and the land between these
branches is called a delta.
If a river rises in low ground and flows over a plain, its waters move
slowly. Mountain rivers have a rapid current,
their waters flow fast.
on Lesson XXXVII
1. What is a stream? - Running water.
2. What is a river? - A large stream of fresh water.
3. What is the source of a river? - Its beginning.
4. What is its mouth? - The end of a river, where its water pours into
5. What is its bed? - The channel which holds the waters of the river.
6. What are its banks? - The land which borders a river on each side.
7. What is a river valley? - the low land along the bottom of which the
8. What are tributaries? - Rivers which flow into other rivers and not
directly into the sea.
9. What is a lake? - Water surrounded by land.
10. How may a river form a lake? - By filling up a hollow place in its
11. What is the current of a river? - The movement of its waters, fast
12. What is a delta? - Land which a river has formed at its mouth.
We are English people or English children, because our fathers and
mothers and their fathers and mothers lived and were born in England.
England is our country, and
Englishmen are our fellow countrymen. Most English people are proud of
their country and love it dearly. When they go into foreign lands they
like everyone to know that they are English. The people of other
countries have the same feeling about their native land: everybody
thinks his own country is the best and the pleasantest.
Some of the continents contain many countries. The lands or waters
which border a country all round are called its boundaries, because they bound it
or limit it; just as the garden-walls all round it bound or shut in a
house. Sometimes a range of mountains, sometimes a stream of water,
divides one country from another; but often there is no mark of this
kind to show the boundary line.
The people of the same country usually speak the same language. We can
understand the talk of the people in any part of England. Though north
country folk and west country folk have many queer words, still they
all speak the English language.
English is spoken also in the country to the north of England, called
Scotland, and in the country to the west of England, called Ireland,
and, indeed, in many parts of the world, in countries which are part of
the British Empire. If we crossed the English Channel we should be in
another country which does not belong to England; and at first it would
sound odd to hear the little children speaking in a tongue quite
strange to us.
The people of the same country are generally governed by the same laws,
and have the same king or queen or council over them.
A country which has a king or queen is called a kingdom. Our king has other
countries besides England in his kingdom; a kingdom may include more
than one country. If a kingdom be very large it is sometimes called an
empire. Our king is very properly called Emperor of India, because
India consists of a great many kingdoms.
A country which has no king, but is governed by a council chosen by the
people from among themselves, is a republic.
The people of a country are usually noted for some particular
qualities. One country will be famous for cleanliness; another, for
industry; another for cleverness and wit. English people are generally
thought to be brave and truthful.
Also, the people of each country have ways of their own; ways of
dressing, eating, cooking their food, and so on. The habits of a
country depend a good deal upon its distance from the equator. People
do not wear the same clothes, or eat the same sort of food in a hot
country as in a cold one.
Some countries are more civilized than others. That is, the people know
better what is right and wrong; they behave more properly; send their
children to school, and so are better educated; and know how to do
their work in a better way. They also care more about books and
reading, and are kinder in their ways to one another; they are so at
least in Christian countries.
Most countries are divided into several smaller parts; in England these
parts are called counties.
There are always towns in a
country, many or few. If the country be rich and civilized like our own
England, it has a great many large towns. If it be a wild, waste
country, the map will only show a few towns scattered here and there.
Most towns have several streets with houses and shops. They have
churches and schools, factories and markets. Large towns have very many
streets and many people living in them. The finest and most handsome
town in a country is generally the capital
or chief town. If has wide streets, often crowded with gay carriages,
handsome buildings, fine shops, and rich people living in or near it.
There is generally a palace for the king in or near the capital city of
Towns upon the sea-coast, where the water runs into the land, are often
very busy. They are sea-ports, with many ships coming and going or
resting in harbour. Harbour
is the name given to a small inlet where ships may lie in shelter from
the storms of the open sea.
By the army of a country we
mean the soldiers who are kept ready to fight if that country should go
to war with another.
The navy means ships full of
fighting men, used when battles are fought upon the sea.
The Air-force means
aeroplanes with airmen who fight in the air.
on Lesson XXXVIII
1. What is generally meant by a country? - A portion of land where the
people speak the same language and are governed by the same laws.
2. What are the boundaries of a country? - The lands or waters which
border it all round.
3. What is a kingdom? - The country or countries ruled by one king.
4. What is a republic? - A country ruled by a council chosen by the
5. What is a capital city? - Generally the finest and handsomest town
in a country.
6. What is a sea-port? - A town on the coast to which ships come and go.
7. What is a harbour? - An inlet of the sea which affords shelter to
8. What is an army? - The soldiers of a country.
9. What is a navy? - The war ships of a country.
Waters of the Earth
Land folk know little about the sea compared with the men who go down
to the sea in ships and occupy their business upon the great deep.
Still, people who have been to the seaside know something about it.
They have felt the delightful breeze that comes off the water: a strong
wind, sometimes, which blows off hats, sends hair flying about, and
drives everybody along before it. What waves there are in such a wind!
high enough sometimes to wash over the pier. Great gray waves they are,
which rise higher and higher until each long swell breaks into foam at
the top; and then, how the white horses come galloping in to shore! And
how the sea changes colour! At one time it is blue; then, a beautiful
clear green, flecked all over with white foam; and then, a dull,
Never still for a moment, it is always moving, always changing, always
sending forth a sound. The least breath of wind spreads a ripple over
the waters; and, wind or no wind, every day, wave after wave, the sea
comes close in to the land. Then, as if shy of the land folk, it
retires a long way off, leaving the sands wet and shining where it has
been. No sooner is it out than it returns, but returns only to retire
This change goes on continually, twice every day, and is known as the
coming in and going out, or the flow and ebb, of the tide.
When the tide is going out is the best time to hunt for seaside
treasures; lovely shells and curious seaweed, strange looking starfish,
and droll little crabs. But the fishing smacks bring in better
treasures than these; great boat-loads of herrings or mackerel, or
other wholesome fish.
Then, who does not know the pleasure of bathing, of tumbling about in
the cool water on a hot day? But how salt and bitter the water is which
gets into our mouths!
So even landsmen know a good deal about the sea. They know how it
looks, stretching away and away until it seems to touch the sky in a
half-circle. They have seen the ships come and go upon it, now sinking
below, now rising above the half-circle of the horizon. They know that
the waters are salt and bitter. That the sea breezes bring health to
the land. That the waters are never at rest, but are rippled, or raised
into storm waves by the wind, and are always moving to and fro with the
tide. That many fish live in the waters, some with a shell for a house,
and some only covered with shining scales. That curious plants, which
we call sea-weeds, grow in the sea; and that its colour changes many
times a day.
Waters of the Earth
But think what it would be to cross the great ocean in one of the ships
we see sinking below the horizon. Ocean is the name given to the mighty
waters which cover so much of the earth's surface. Think of sailing on,
day after day, week after week, and never seeing land, nothing
anywhere, but the wide waste of waters. There is not half a circle, but
the whole circle of the horizon about you everywhere, for nothing
breaks the view. Wherever you look, water and sky seem to meet in the
In the morning you see the sun rising, it would seem, out of the sea in
the east; and you can easily watch him all day until he seems to sink
into the sea again in the west.
Now and then another ship crosses your way and is "spoken," as sailors
Sad it is for all on board when a terrible storm arises! When the great
billows mount higher than the ship's masts, and wash her decks, and
cause the ship to reel to and fro, and fill her with water, until at
last, she sinks to the bottom.
If a ship goes to the bottom in mid-ocean, there is no hope of getting
her up again. She will go down, down, to a greater depth in the water
than you can imagine before the bottom is reached.
Think of the longest walk you are yet able to take, say five or six
miles. Think of that long walk turned on end, so that you could go
straight down the whole way as a fly might walk down a wall. Such a
distance off, straight down, does the bottom or bed of the ocean lie.
This ocean bed is not flat, like the floor of a room; it rises into
high places, and sinks down into low places as the surface of the land
Indeed, many of these high places in the bed of the ocean rise to a
height of more than five or six miles, and may be seen above the water
when they form islands. Sometimes these islands appear only as bare
rocks, but sometimes trees and plants grow, and people live upon them.
The land stretching down into the great ocean divides it into separate
parts, and each of these divisions is a little different from the
others, and has a name of its own. In this way there are five oceans,
though their waters unite and make the one great ocean, as you will see
on a map or globe.
on Lesson XL
1. What is an ocean? - Ocean is the name of the great waters of the
2. How many oceans are there? - Five.
3. How so? - The great ocean has five parts with different names.
4. Name the five oceans. - The Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, and
Oceans and Their Parts
The ocean waters which lie near each of the poles are frozen to a great
depth. Even in the long summer day of those regions, when the sun does
not set for months together, it fails to thaw the deep ice upon these
Though the ice is never really thawed, yet the sun is strong enough to
cause it to crack here and there with a sound like thunder. The great
masses of ice, -- icebergs, or ice mountains, -- which are broken off
in this way, float about where they can find room. Some of them make
their way far north or south towards the equator; and ships' crews are
sometimes startled to see a huge blue iceberg floating down upon them
in quite warm regions. In the Polar regions multitudes of these ice
mountains break loose in the summer; and these strike against one
another every now and then with a tremendous crash.
You would think no vessel would venture into these terrible seas; yet,
every few years ships full of brave men set forth to explore the Arctic
and Antarctic Oceans.
The Arctic is the ocean about the North Pole. The ocean which surrounds
the land at the South Pole is the Antarctic, and it is even more dreary
than the Arctic, because it is farther from inhabited lands. The word
Antarctic means "opposite to" the Arctic.
The great whale loves to bring up her young in these lonely seas.
The greatest of the oceans is the Pacific. It fills more space than all
the countries of the earth taken together.
It reaches south to the Antarctic, and the waters of these two oceans
are not separated in any way. It is nearly divided from the Arctic by
the northern lands of Asia and America, but there is a narrow passage
of water which joins the two oceans. Such a narrow passage of water
joining two larger portions is called a strait.
The high parts of the ocean bed rise above water in many places in the
Pacific. These are called islands. An island
is just a piece of land with water all round it. On the map you will
find many islands scattered over the Pacific Ocean. They are mostly
small and lie in groups; that is, several clustered together.
This ocean makes its way into the land in only one place on the
American coast, by a long, narrow opening called a gulf.
It has made five large openings on the eastern side of Asia, and each
of these openings is separated from the rest of the ocean waters by a
chain of islands.
Parts of the ocean lying in great curves of the land in this way are
called seas, and the Pacific has five seas on the east of Asia.
The Atlantic Ocean is much smaller than the Pacific, but is more
important to us. English ships are continually coming and going upon
it, and can get into other oceans only after crossing the Atlantic.
Though it has not many ocean islands, the Atlantic has numerous large
islands lying off the continents. It has also many inland seas; that
is, seas which are nearly surrounded by land, not just locked in by a
chain of islands. Some of these seas are connected with the ocean only
by narrow straits; others, by wide passages of water called channels.
Sometimes the ocean enters the land by a wide opening not shut in in
any way; such as opening is called a bay.
The Indian Ocean, which lies to the south of Asia, is the hottest of
on Lesson XLI
1. What is a sea? - A part of the ocean lying in great curves of the
land, or nearly surrounded by land.
2. What is a gulf? - An opening into the land, generally long and
3. What is a strait? - A narrow passage of water, joining two larger
4. What is a channel? - A passage of water generally longer and wider
than a strait.
5. What is a bay? - An opening into the land, generally wide.
6. What is an island? - Land surrounded by water.
7. What is a group of islands? - Several islands lying close together.
8. What is the main land? - The principal land, the continent.
9. What is a peninsula? - Land which the sea almost surrounds.
10. What is an isthmus? - The narrow neck of land which sometimes joins
a peninsula to the mainland.
11. What is a cape? - A small piece of land jutting out into the sea.
12. By what other names is such a point of land known? - Ness or naze
(which means nose), and point: a high cliff jutting into the sea is
called a head or promontory.
1. Between what continents does the Pacific lie?
2. The Atlantic?
3. The Indian Ocean?
4. What continents have shores washed by the Arctic Ocean?
5. Name the five seas east of Asia.
6. What strait connects the Pacific and Arctic Oceans?
7. Name the gulf on the west of America.
8. Name a large bay on the west of Europe.
9. Name three large islands in the Mediterranean sea.
10. What channel lies between England and France?
11. What is the narrowest part of this channel called?
12. Name four large peninsulas which form part of the continent of
13. What isthmus connects Africa with Asia?
14. Name the most northerly cape in Europe.
15. The most southerly.