Juno's Aquarium.

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 aquarium.

" 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.

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 ones.

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 wonderful ?"

" 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 verse!"

" ' Great and marvellous are thy works Lord God Almighty !' "

" That's a good motto," said Georgie " only these little bugs and things are small and marvellous."

" 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 Georgie.

" 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 life.' "

"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 deal.

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 in one.

Juno and Georgie material appears courtesy of John T. Dizer.

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