This page of the book is from "The New Student's Reference Work: Volume 3" by Chandler B. Beach, Frank Morton McMurry and others.
RAT I588 RAVENNA
ries are exceedingly ornamental in cultivation, having large showy flowers, chief among which is R. odoratus, with purple flowers one to two inches in diameter.
Rat, a gnawing animal related to the mouse and of similar form, but larger. Like mice, rats are quick, burrowing and nocturnal in habits. The brown rat is about eight or nine inches long without the tail. It has spread over the civilized world, having originally come from western Asia. It appeared in Europe during the 18th century and has been transported by ships to other countries. It is commonly called the Norway rat, but the name is ill-advised, because Norway was not its original home. The black rat is smaller, being about six or seven inches long. Its original home is believed xo have been Persia. It, likewise, by migration and transportation spread around the world, but it is less fierce than the brown rat, and is driven before the latter. The wood, trade or pack rat is one of the most interesting members of the family. Innumerable stories are told of its pranks. It is distributed generally in our southern and western states, and is also found in Mexico and British Columbia. It builds a moundlike nest of twigs, grass, leaves and bark, and does its work at night. It is a large rat, the color a yellowish-gray, with under parts and feet white, eyes and ears noticeably large, expression mild and rabbit-like. The cotton-rat of the south, a small yellowish-brown rat, is very greedy and destructive. The marsh-rat, about the size of the preceding, is a great swimmer, sometimes makes its nest among reeds, and shows close relationship to the muskrat. The kangaroo-rat, a pouched rat, is a beautiful little creature, found in the arid regions of our southwest. It is small; has a tail longer than its body, the tail being tipped with a brush and used as a rudder ; a silky coat of softest brown; pointed head, long whiskers, outside cheek-pouches. With its exaggerated hind legs, its habit of hopping about thereon with the forepaws tucked up under the chin, it seems a miniature kangaroo.
Rat Portage. See Kenora.
Rat'tlesnake', a deadly-poisonous snake, with horny rattles on the tail. The rattles are horny rings made of modified scales, so loosely constructed that they rattle when the tail is vibrated. There are about fifteen species, exclusively American. These snakes have grooved fangs that are erected when they strike. There are several reserve fangs on each side to replace those that may be broken. The common rattlesnake of the eastern United States extends from Maine to Texas. It attains a length of four feet, and, exceptionally, may have as many as twenty-three rings in the rattle. The color is yellowish brown of various shades, with three rows of irregular brown blotches; the tail is black. They are naturally sluggish,
and do not attack unprovoked. Their food is rabbits, rats, squirrels and other small animals. The prairie rattlesnake or massa-sauga is smaller and darker colored. It is common in grassy meadows where not exterminated. Several other kinds are found west of the Mississippi and in South America, some attaining a length of seven feet or more. See Copperhead and Moccasin.
Rauhes (row'lies) Haus (The Rough House) is an institution founded and managed by Johann Heinrich Wichern at Horn, near Hamburg, in connection with German home-missions. It partly is a refuge for neglected children ; partly a boarding school for the moral and intellectual education of the children of the higher classes ; and partly a training-school for those who wish to become teachers or officials in houses of correction etc. It was opened in 1831 and has since almost grown into a large community. The children live in families of twelve, each being under the superintendency of an artisan, who employs the children in indoor and outdoor labor according to their capability.
Ra'ven, a large, crow-like bird in the Old and the New World. The American raven is much larger than the crow; upper part of a glossy black with green and purple reflections, duller below; feathers of throat and breast fringe-like. It is common in the west and northwest, often seen soaring high over the evergreens. The bulky nest is built on lofty cliff or evergreen, a well-made structure of sticks with soft lining of sheep's wool and fine grasses, the same nest being used year after year, but repairs being made for each new brood. The little ones have considerable white mixed with the black. Ravens are gregarious, dwell with any birds of their genera. The birds are omnivorous. Their note is harsh except during the breeding-season; nevertheless they can be taught to imitate sounds.
Raven, The, a poem by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in The New York Mirror on January 29th, 1845. It is Poe'smost famous work, and has been an object of study almost from the day of publication. Many stories have been told of the circumstances and manner of its composition. Poe him-, self has told the story, but few critics have \ been willing to accept his statement. There Vare many foreign translations, and with French students especially it is an object of great admiration and study. See Poe.
Raven'na, a city of central Italy, situated in the midst of a well-watered, fertile and finely wooded plain. Ravenna is an ancient city, rich in monuments of art. It is the fifth Christian century surviving to the twentieth. Besides a library of nearly 100,-000 volumes, it has an archaeological museum and educational institutions. The city probably was of Umbrian origin ; at least it was an Umbrian city when it passed into the