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3. An Oasis is, as it were, an island of fertility in the midst of a sea of sand. Oases lie somewhat lower than the surrounding desert, and thus gather what little moisture there is.

4. Watershed, the elevation and slope of ground that determine the course of rivers.

5. Basin is the term applied to all the district out of which any water drains into a sea or river. Thus, all the East of England and a large part of the Midland Counties belong to the Basin of the German Ocean; and those again form the Basin of the Thames, through which any of its streams flow.

6. The Delta of a river is the land included within the channels by which it finds its way to the sea. It is formed by the deposit of mud and other substances at the mouth, the water diverging into different channels; hence the name Delta, from its resemblance to the Greek letter so called (▲ i.e., D). This process is called silting up. The new channels are called branches: the river Ganges, for instance, forms a Delta, having the Hooghly as a branch. This word branch is sometimes, though inaccurately, applied to a tributary river, but in these pages the word stream is used in this sense; just as the French have the word rivière to express a stream flowing into a fleuve or main river. The junction of a stream with a river is called a confluence; hence we get the name of the city of Coblentz at the confluence of the Moselle with the Rhine, Coblentz being the corruption of the Latin confluentia.

7. The Right or Left Bank of a river is the bank to the right or left of the spectator looking towards the mouth.

8. Glaciers are fields or broad channels of ice, formed in deep but elevated valleys on the sides of mountains, the tops of which are covered with perpetual snow. This snow partially melting descends, and freezing again forms the ice field.

9. Ocean Currents. The motion of the Sea is produced by wind, or fixed currents, or tides. The wind affects only the surface, where it raises enormous waves; but it is ascertained

that in the fiercest tempests the waters remain undisturbed at a certain depth in perpetual calm. The tides are described on p. 123. Currents are great movements of water in one direction; the principal of these are the polar currents and the equatorial current. The former set from the poles towards the equator, sending down enormous masses of ice, called icebergs, which are sometimes met with far from the polar circles. The equatorial current sets from East to West between the tropics. From these main currents others are set in motion, the chief of which is the Gulf stream, which flowing from the Gulf of Mexico, follows the coast of N. America, but at a considerable distance from it, as far as Newfoundland, and then turns East towards Iceland and the British coast. As it comes from the hot regions of the Torrid Zone its water is warmer than the general temperature of the Ocean it passes through; and as at different periods it retains more or less of this warmth, or carries it more or less northerly, so our climate is found warmer or colder. The meeting of two currents will cause a whirlpool, such as the Maelstrom, S. of the Lofoden isles off the coast of Norway.

10. Trade Winds, etc. There are certain currents of air which are always blowing in one direction over the same surface. Such are the Trades, that always blow out at sea from E. to W. between the tropics. They are said to be caused by the speed at which the earth revolves at the tropics. They affect a region extending about 28 degrees N. and S. of the equator in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. N. of the equator they blow from N.E.; S. of the equator from S.E. Between the regions thus affected is a narrow belt of the earth immediately upon the equator, where the atmosphere is often so calm that a candle will burn at sea in the open air without flickering. The winds here are variable, and violent thunderstorms with great rains occur at times. In the Indian Ocean there is a wind called the Monsoon. It blows from S.E. from April to October; and from N.E. during the other six months. There are, however, six weeks

between each change, when this wind is variable, and the weather marked by a succession of calms, gales and hurricanes. Hurricanes are fearful tempests of wind that occur in the tropics, violent enough to sweep away forests, vegetation and human dwellings. When two currents of air encounter one another, they will produce a water-spout; which will suck up such parts of the Ocean as are under its influence, dash ships to pieces, dry up lakes and pools, transport enormous masses of solid material to great distances, and then strew the ground with ruins and a deluge of water.

11. Electric Fluid is spread through the atmosphere, through the globe and everything on its surface. It shows itself in the atmosphere by different phenomena, the commonest of which is lightning, which is in fact an electric explosion. It is the cause also of the magnetic power, and of the Aurora Borealis. A magnetized needle always turns one point to the North, the other to the South. This discovery led to the Mariners' Compass and to the developement of navigation which followed that discovery. The Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights illumine the Arctic regions during their period of continuous night. It is seen in our own latitude, but never in such splendour as to give an idea of its polar brilliancy. It is sometime seen as a rosy light suffusing the northern part of the sky at night; sometimes as streamers of white light converging towards one point in the arc of a luminous circle. Even in England its rosy light has been sometimes so intense as to deceive fire-men, who have hurried out with their engines in its direction.

12. The Earth's Crust. Little is known of the interior of the Earth, except that the lower you go, the hotter it is. The deepest mine is in Bohemia, now inaccessible, which is 3778 feet below the surface. From calculations that have been made, it is concluded that the crust of the earth is about 10 miles thick, but all beyond this is conjecture. The surface of the Earth is composed of five principal formations:


1. Primary Formation, consisting of granite, porphyry, &c., which appear to have always remained what they are, since they first issued out of fire in a molten stream; they are found on the tops of the highest mountains, and forming the lower beds of plains, but never in strata or layers. 2. Secondary Formation, consisting of substances disposed in strata and deposited by water. They often contain remains of vegetable and animal life, called fossils. Coal formed from vegetables, and chalk from shells, belong to this formation.

3. Tertiary Formation, composed of ruins of the former two, as when earthquakes, volcanoes, floods and other commotions have broken up parts of the Earth's surface.

4. Volcanic Formation, composed of a fiery liquid grown hard called Lava, and ashes thrown out of Volcanoes.

5. The Soil, which is the substance, composed of animal and vegetable deposit, covering all other formations, where vegetation is found.

13. Races of Men. "God that made the world and all things therein, hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the Earth." (Acts xvii. 24, 26). Mankind may be divided into three races: the Caucasians or white and bearded men; the Mongolians or tawny and beardless men; the Ethiopians or black, woolly-haired men, "God's image still, though cut in ebony, not ivory," as saith old Fuller.

The Caucasian race comprises in Europe, the Teutonic, e.g., English, German, etc.; the Celtic, e.g., French, Irish, etc.; the Slavonic, e.g., Russians, Poles, etc.; Circassian, e.g., Greeks, Tuscan, etc.; and a mixture of Caucasian and Mongolian, e.g. Finns, Lapps, Magyars, Turks; in Asia, Hindoos, Persians, Arabs, Jews; and in Africa the mixed races of Nubians, Abyssinians or Copts.

The Mongolian race comprises in Asia, Tartars, Chinese,

Japanese, Siamese, the Malay tribes, New Zealanders or Maori and the Melanesians; in America the Esquimaux, the Red Indian Tribes, and the Aborigines of South America.

The Ethiopian race comprises the Negro tribes of West and Central Africa, and the Papuan tribes of New Guinea.



By this beautiful title we often speak of our noble English language, as if it were the parent of all that patriotism and love of freedom, which belong to those who speak it, and make them brothers of one family. The English tongue is spoken more widely than any other, and when the colonies have grown to maturity, it will be hard to reckon the millions who will be using our speech.


The Alphabet is the name given to the list of letters, which go to make up the words we use. The word is formed from the names of the first two letters of the Greek language, Alpha, Beta. Shakespeare calls it the ABC, or Absey." The The Latin word Elementum, which means the beginning or element of anything, has been thought by some to be their name for the Roman alphabet, as being the L. M. N. tum of their language.

There are 26 letters in the English Alphabet, which, except w, are borrowed from the Roman.

The earlier English books are printed in Gothic, or old English characters, and are called Black-letter, The present or Roman type, was first used in printing in 1467 at Rome.

The English Language is made up from many other languages, the principal of which are British, Latin, Anglo-Saxon, and Norman-French.

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