THE story of the aquarium which Juno
made for Georgie, was this :
One day when Georgie was taking a ride
with his mother, they came to a great gateway, under some trees, which opened from
the main road to the private grounds of a
very handsome country house. Georgie's
mother directed the coachman to turn in at
this gate-way, saying that she was going to
make a call upon the lady that lived in that
house, who was a friend of hers.
So the coachman drove in, and went
up by a winding avenue to the house, and
Georgie and his mother descended from the
carriage and went in. While his mother
was engaged in conversation with the lady
of the house, in the parlor, a young girl
named Josephine took Georgie out into a
back hall, to show him her aquarium.
Although Georgie had never heard of an
aquarium, and had not the least idea what
it looked like, he was very glad to go and
see it, notwithstanding. Indeed, I think he
was all the more interested in going to see
it, from the fact that it was something that
he had never heard of.
Josephine conducted him out through a
side door which led from the parlor into a
handsome passage-way, where there were a
great many pretty pictures hanging upon
the walls. The passage led to a sort of
back entry or hall, where the sun came in
very pleasantly at a large window. By the
side of the window was a door leading out
upon a piazza. The door was open, and
Georgie, looking out as he passed by, could
see the piazza, which was shaded beautifully by woodbines and honeysuckles growing up over trellises built between the columns.
At the window there was a bird cage
which hung suspended from a hook fastened into the casing above. There were two
canary birds in this cage, but Georgie did
not stop to look at them, partly because the
cage was hung up too high, and partly because his attention was more strongly attracted to the aquarium, which stood upon
a small table below.
The aquarium was an oblong box, with
sides and ends of glass, so that Georgie
could look in and see what there was inside. The box was large enough to take
up about half the space of the window;
still there was sufficient room for Georgie to
pass by it and sit down upon the windowseat, where he could see perfectly well.
The aquarium was nearly full of water,
and in the water there were a great many
little fishes and various other " live things,"
as Georgie called them, all swimming and
crawling about. The bottom of it was
covered with gravel and pebbles, and upon
these were a number of plants that looked
like sea-weed. In one corner there were
tufts of beautiful green sprigs growing up
half way to the top of the water. Some of
the fishes were nibbling these sprigs, and
others were swimming about among them;
and on one side four or five little snails were
crawling up on the glass. They had no
legs, and Georgie wondered how they could
crawl. He watched one of them a long
time, and saw plainly that he moved slowly
along, but Georgie could not possibly imagine how he did it.
Georgie remained watching the movements of the animals in the aquarium a long
time, and at length, when his mother had
finished her call, and sent for him to come,
he left the place very reluctantly. On his
way home he related to his mother what he
had seen, and begged her to get him an
aquarium. But all that he could get her to
promise was that she " would see about it."
When, however, he came to tell the story
to Juno, she said that she would get him an
" Good!" exclaimed Georgie, clapping
his hands. " A real one ?"
" Why not exactly a real one," said Juno,
" that is, not such an one as Josephine's.
But I can make you one that will do very
well to begin with, and if you like it, and
don't get tired of it, and don't make any
trouble with it, then, perhaps, your mother
will get you a better one by and by."
So Juno went to the china closet, and
there from the-top of a high shelf, she took
down a large glass jar. It was a jar
that preserved peaches had once been in.
When the peaches were all eaten, the jar
had been washed clean, and the tin cover
replaced, and then the jar had been put
upon the high shelf in the china closet
where Juno now found it.
Juno carried the jar out to the back
piazza, and set it upon a small table that
she placed there for it in a corner. The
situation of it was very convenient for
Georgie to see everything in it, when it
should be filled.
" This aquarium is round, and the one
you saw was square," said Juno, " but that
will not make any great difference. Now
we must go and get something to put in it.
We must have some pebble stones for the
bottom, and. some water-grass, and some
water; and then as many little animals as
we can find. Perhaps you can get some
fishes for it."
So Juno brought a tin pail with a cover
on it, and a long-handled tin mug or dipper.
This mug was to dip up the animals with.
She also brought a small basket to bring
home the pebbles in.
Juno and Georgie then took a walk down.
into the woods behind the garden, and first
gathered up some pebbles from the bottom
of the brook. Georgie put the pebbles in
the basket, and then began to look into the
water for animals.
He found a few animals, but not many, for
the water ran too swiftly in the brook for
animals to live there in peace, so after a
while Juno proposed that they should go to
The pond was at a considerable distance
farther in the woods. The way to it was by
a cow-path, which went winding in amongrocks and bushes for a quarter of a mile.
The pond was small, and the water in it
was still. This allowed plants to grow and
animals to thrive and multiply, and here
Georgie found a large number of specimens.
He dug up some plants from the mud at
the margin of the pond, and put them
into the bottom of his pail. Then with the
dipper he fished up all the little wriggling.
bugs and " spinrounds " that he could see
in the water, and a number of crawlingthings which he saw on the bottom. He
had always been afraid of such wriggling
and crawling and spinning things as these
and had thought them very ugly ; but now
that he wanted them for his aquarium, he
began to consider them as very curious, and
he tried to find and catch as many of them
as he could.
At last he thought he had got enough.
So he put the cover upon his pail, and then
taking the pail in one hand and the basket
of pebbles and gravel in the other, he set
out on his return home. Juno carried the
long-handled mug for him, as both his own
hands were full.
When they reached home, Juno first put
the pebbles and the gravel in the bottom of
the jar, taking care to let them down carefully so as not to break the glass. Then
she put the roots of water-grass in, and after
that she poured the water in from the tin pail,
animals and all. The poor things seemed
somewhat astonished at first to find themselves going over such a cascade as the
water made in being poured out from the
pail and afterward in whirling round and
round so swiftly in the jar. But they soon
recovered from their fright, and began
swimming—all that could swim—in the
water, while the others went crawling to
and fro over the pebbles on the bottom, just
as if they were in their native pond.
After this, Georgie went into the woods
with Juno a great many times, and brought
back a great many animals for his aquarium,
and very often he found new ones which
he had not seen before. He was always
particularly pleased when he found any new
Juno named all the different kinds for
him, just as Adam named the various animals that came around him in the garden of
Eden. Juno's names were not very scientific, but they were much easier to speak
and to remember than the learned Latin
words which are found in books. Among
the principal things in the aquarium, which
Juno thus named, besides minnows and polliwogs, there were what she called wigglers and skipjacks, and twirligigs and waggletails. There was one very curious little
thing that Georgie found in one corner of
the pond, several days after he commenced
his collection, that moved about with such
strange and indescribable jerks and wrigglings, that Juno named him jumpjiggle.
There was a cover which belonged over
the jar, and when the water and the animals
were in, Georgie put the cover on. This
cover was of tin, but it was coated with
some kind of varnish, of a light-yellow
color, which gave it somewhat the appearance of brass. It had a margin about half
an inch broad, which formed the edge of it,
and came down over the neck of the jar.
Juno said that she thought it would be a
good plan to have a motto for the aquarium, to be written prettily upon a strip of
blue paper, and gummed around the edge
of the cover.
Georgie approved of this plan very cordially. So that evening, just before Georgie
went to bed, Juno took the Bible and a Concordance, which is a book by means of
which you find where any particular text is
that you wish to see.
" We must find some verse about the
wonderful works of God," said Jtino.
" Don't you think those animals are very
" Yes," said Georgie, " I think they are
very wonderful indeed."
" And, what wonderful contrivances God
has made for them," said Juno," to paddle
about in the water with! Ah! here is a
" ' Great and marvellous are thy works
Lord God Almighty !' "
" That's a good motto," said Georgie
" only these little bugs and things are small
" Here's another verse," said Juno, reading from another part of the Bible:
" ' Oh, Lord, how manifold are thy works!
in wisdom hast thou made them all; the
earth is full of thy riches.' "
" That would do very well, indeed," said
" Here's another," said Juno. " It is from
the account of the creation :"
" 'And God said let the waters bring forth
abundantly the moving creature that hath
"That's it," said Georgie. "That's exactly the thing."
Juno herself liked this verse the best. So
she wrote it out in a very plain and legible
manner, upon a narrow slip of bright blue
paper, and then gummed the slip around
the edge of the cover.
Sometimes Georgie took the cover of his
aquarium off, so as to let the rays of the sun
come in directly upon the surface of the
water, though he shaded the side of the jar,
in order to prevent too great a glare of light
and heat for the animals within. He used
to watch the motions and gambols of the
animals a great deal, especially on rainy
days when he could not go out to play. On
pleasant days he often went to the brook
and to the pond to bring new specimens,
so that the aquarium amused him a great
There was one thing very curious about
this aquarium, and that was that when
Georgie looked in at his animals through
the top of the jar where he saw them
through the upper surface of the water
which was level and flat, they all looked of
their natural and proper size; but when he
looked at them through the side of the jar
where the glass was rounding, they looked
greatly magnified as they came swimming
by, one after the other. Thus by looking
through the side of the jar he found that
he had an aquarium and a microscope all
Juno and Georgie material appears courtesy of John T. Dizer.
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