R                                                                 1577                                                   RACCOON


R (ār), the eighteenth letter, is a voiced consonant. Sometimes it is made between the hard palate (or the teeth) and the tip of the tongue, as in array, rise, trace. This is dental r, employed before a vowel and usually rolled or trilled. Sometimes r is made with the upper surface of the tongue on the back of the hard palate. This is palatal r, as in arm, raw, war. Sometimes r also is a semi-vowel, sometimes a liquid. R is closely related to such mixed vowels as u in up and\ urn and e in fern. The Scotch and IrishVroll r strongly, but the Cnmese cannot even say it, substituting I.

Rabat (r-bt'), also called New Sallee, a seaport city of Morocco, Africa, is situated on the south side of the Bu-Regreg, where it empties into the Atlantic. The most conspicuous object in the town is the tower of Beni-Hassan (180 feet high); and near it is the ruined mosque of Almanzor, originally intended to be the largest in the world. Formerly Rabat was the center of European trade with Morocco; but, owing to the silting of the mouth of the river, its commerce has greatly declined. Its chief exports are goat and sheep skins, hides, wool, almonds, wax and gum In 1906 its exports were 96,677: its imports 332,644. Population 26,000.

Rab'bi, an honorary title applied to teachers and masters of the Jewish law, being in common use in the time of Christ, who was frequently addressed as such by his disciples. Other forms of the same title are Rab, master; Rabban, our master ; and Rab-boni, my master.

Rab' bit, a rodent with long ears, belonging to the same genus as the hares. The smaller burrowing varieties are called rabbits; the larger ones and those that do not construct a burrow are called hares. Hares are born with fur and open eyes; rabbits, naked and blind. A typical hare is large, has long ears and legs, is a swift and tireless runner; rabbits are small, have short ears and legs, and are not strong runners. Both hares and rabbits have numerous enemies, who cause their timidity and tremors. The so-called jack-rabbit really is a jack-hare. The cotton-tail is a typical rabbit. They feed on grass, herbs and tender bark. Those in captivity will eat nearly all kinds of vegetables and at times should be given dry food, as shelled corn. The tame rabbits have,been modified and varied by selection and breeding. They multiply

rapidly, having from four to eight litters a year. They were introduced into Australia about the middle of the 19th century and into New Zealand in i860. They multiplied till they were a great menace to the crops and to vegetation. The government offered a bounty for their skins, and in a single year more than twenty-five millions were killed in New South Wales alone. The skin is of little value, but the hair has been used in making the body for felt hats. See Hare. Rabelais {r'b'-l'), Franois, the greatest of French humorists, was born, according to the general statements of biographers, in 1493, but more probably a few years earlier, near Chinon, a small town in Touraine. At the request of his father he became a brother of the Order of St. Francis in the convent of Fontenay-le-Comte about 1519, and devoted himself with the utmost ardor to his hitherto neglected studies. To medicine in particular he seems to have been strongly attracted, and, in addition to Latin and Greek, he is said to have mastered Italian, Spanish, German, Hebrew and Arabic. Charged with heresy on account of his devotion to learning, he left the convent, and later was a monk of the order of St. Benedict, then lecturer in the University at Montpelier and finally canon of Cardinal Bellay's abbey near Paris. He died at Paris, April 9, 1553. Rabelais' great romance, in which are narrated the adventures of Gargantua and Pantagruel, continues to hold its rank as a masterpiece of humor and grotesque invention. In form a sportive and extravagant fiction, it is a pointed criticism of the corrupt society of the period, the follies and vices of which are pictured with marked ingenuity and effect; but, at the same time, on account of its free tone and plainness of speech few books are less suitable for general perusal. Rabelais also ranks among the theoretical reformers of education.

Raccoon (rk-koon'), a tree-climbing, nocturnal animal belonging to the bear family

and restricted to North and South America. The common "coon" ;of the United States is widely distributed. It has a stout, clumsy body about two feet long without the tail, which is about a foot in length.

Description images/pp0480 1

common raccoon