But what is worse still, these metal reeds, which are the most untunable things in the whole range of sound-producing material, are constantly, from contact with fog and moisture, getting out of order; and howl dolorously as they will in token of their ailments, their half-starved guardian, who will grind half an hour for a penny, cannot afford to medicate their pains, even if he is aware of them, which, judging from his placid composure during the most infamous combination of discords, is very much to be questioned.
And, believe it or not, I'm telling you the truth." I looked eastward where the moon, now nearly a week past the full, was mounting. "You can't make me see what you've seen, Lieutenant," I laughed. "But you can make me hear. I've always wondered what kind of a noise a disembodied spirit could make without any vocal cords or breath or any other earthly sound-producing mechanism.
By this latter means the Trigla produces pure and long-drawn sounds which range over nearly an octave. But the most interesting case for us is that of two species of Ophidium, in which the males alone are provided with a sound-producing apparatus, consisting of small movable bones, with proper muscles, in connection with the swim bladder.
These are known as pitch, intensity, and quality, and they are dependent upon the vibrations of the sound-producing bodies. Pitch, which has reference to the height, or degree of sharpness, of tones, is determined by the rapidity of the vibrations of the vibrating body.
I wonder whether you attribute the odoriferous and sound-producing organs, when confined to the males, to their greater vigour, etc.? I could say a good deal in opposition to you, but my arguments would have no weight in your eyes, and I do not intend to write for the public anything on this or any other difficult subject.
So again, the sound-producing organs proper to the males of the Homoptera and Orthoptera have generally been transferred in a rudimentary, or even in a nearly perfect condition, to the females; yet not sufficiently perfect to be of any use.
There is only this difference: in the first instance the vibrations of the sound-producing organs have their origin in the activity of the astral part of the living being, and it is this activity which comes to the recipient's direct experience in the form of aural impressions; in the second instance the air, by being brought externally into a state of vibration, exerts a kind of suction on the astral realm which pervades the air, with the result that parts of this realm become physically audible.
Given the crude tools of a sound-producing mechanism it will, if it chooses and has the skill, disclose some trifle of its own true nature. Phil heard words that should have sounded idiotic coming from a boy, but they carried complete and instant conviction.
In the crickets the wing-cases are symmetrical; both have straight edges and sharply-scored nervures adapted to produce the stridulation. A distinct portion of their edges is not, therefore, set apart for the elaboration of a sound-producing instrument. In this family the wing-cases lie flat on the back of the insect, and overlap each other for a considerable portion of their extent.
Landois has recently found in certain Orthoptera rudimentary structures closely similar to the sound-producing organs in the Homoptera; and this is a surprising fact. See 'Zeitschrift fur wissenschaft Zoolog. B. xxii.