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7th joy these hatidence misplaticular confid
animals at best is only instinct, in birds is almost reason.
5. Among the first returning tourists’ from the south, în spring, are these pleasant little people, the bluebird, martin, and wren. They have particular confidence in man. Nor is their confidence misplaced; for every body hails with joy these harbingers of spring. Their company is peculiarly agreeable, and they seem to know it; for every year they come again to occupy the boxes, or perchance old hats, which were put up for them, and in them they build their nests, and there they live rent free; yet not exactly so, for they pay us with their notes.
6. Sometimes these little people have a deal of difficulty among themselves about these habitations. The martins come, and find the bluebirds have taken all these places, and there is a disturbance directly. After some considerable scolding, and twitting on facts, the martins take possession of a certain portion of the pigeon-cote, and keep it too, for not a pigeon dare go near them, - while the smaller wrens content themselves with some spare corner of the portico, where they forthwith proceed to build their houses, with all the architectural skill derived from their great namesake, the builder of St. Paul's.* There is a spice of waggish mischief about the wren somewhat amusing.
7. Often when the bluebird has left his house, and gone to market or down town, the wren peeps in, and, finding no one there, proceeds to amuse himself by pulling out the straws and feathers in the nest; but should perchance the bluebird come in sight, the wren remembers that there is something very interesting going on around the corner of the barn, that demands his immediate attention.
8. These birds — the bluebird, martin, and the wren, together with the swallows (barn and chimney), and "honest robin,” who, as quaint old Walton has it, “loves
* The architect of St. Paul's, in London, was Sir Christopher Wren.
mankind, both alive and dead” -- are half domesticated'. They love to live near man. The bluebird and the robin are the only two among them who appear to have paid much attention to the cultivation of their vocal powers. They salute the morning with sweet songs. The wren and other small birds are in the garden, breakfasting on worms, or, as we sometimes express it, “getting their grub."
9. The martin, meanwhile, listens to the concert, as a critic, or as one of the audience;'for he sits up in his private box, now and then uttering an approving note, as if of applause. Indeed, the martin is not very musical. Sometimes, in the bosom of his family, when he feels very social, he takes up his pipe, and then essays a song. But he never gets beyond the first few notes of “Hi Betty Martin,” and then goes off on tiptoe.
1 AB'DỊ-CĀTE. Relinquish as an office thermometer, is thirty-two degrees
or station ; give up ; surrender. below the freezing point of water. MËR'CY-RY. A metal which is fluid 5 Joc'YND. Merry; gay ; joyous.
at common temperatures ; quick 6 OP'E-RA. A musical drama. silver.
7 TôUR'IST. One who makes a tour or 8 THER-MÖM'E-TÇR. An instrument journey.
for measuring degrees of heat. | 8 HÄR'BIN-GER. A forerunner ; a her4 ZĒ'ro. The figure naught; here, the ald.
point at which the numbering of 9 DQ-MĚS'TI-CĀT-ED. Tamed; living the degrees on a thermometer com- under the care of man. mences. Zero, in the common 10 ÂU'DIENCE. Assembly of hearers.
LVII. — BIRDS, CONCLUDED.
1. But here we have a jolly little fellow, who makes up in sociability what he lacks in song. The small housesparrow or, as he is generally known, the “chippin' bird,” comes to our very doors. He hops along the piazza, gathering “crumbs of comfort” and of bread, and knows that not a soul within the house, not even that “unfeeling schoolboy,” would harm a feather of his tail. He keeps a careful eye, however, on the cat; for he is perfectly aware that she would consider him only a swallow, and he does not like to lose his identity.
2. There is in history a single instance where this bird seems to have forgotten his character, and to have been a destroyer, rather than, as he is called by boys, a “sparer.” Every juvenile' of five years, who is at all read in the literature of his age, knows the tragic story of the death and burial of cock robin. That interesting individual was found one morning lying on the ground, with a murderous weapon through his heart. The horror-stricken birds assembled. A coroner's inquest was holden. The first inquiry was, of course, “ Who killed cock robin ?” There was a momentary silence; and then the sparrow, the last one in the crowd, perhaps, to be suspected, confessed the deed. He then proceeds to state how it was done, and owns he did it with his bow and arrow.”
3. “Caw! caw! caw!” The watchword and the signal of alarm or caution among crows; or else it is the “ dreadful note of preparation” summoning the lawless legions? from the depths of the pine woods, from yonder hill, from far-off forests, to come and help pull up a field of corn, just beginning to put forth its tender blades. “All these and more come flocking,” for there's no one around; the scarecrow was blown down last night; the gun is lent; the boys have gone to school; the farmer tumbled off the hay-mow yesterday and broke his leg : and so the crows proceed with the destruction,
4. The crow and blackbird both are arrantrogues. The last, indeed, renders somewhat of service in the early part of spring; for, following the furrows of the field, devouring countless worms and grubs, which would be most
destructive to the coming crop of corn, all day long he gleans behind the plough, a perfect little Ruth. But when the corn comes, he devotes himself to its destruction with a perfect ruthlessness“, and fills his own crop with the farmer's in a very short time.
5. Perchance, should any one appear on the premises, he gets upon the fence, and whistles very unconcernedly, just as if he hadn't been doing any thing. As for that bean pole, standing in the centre of the field, dressed in old clothes, and bearing some faint resemblance to a returned Californian, — ha! ha! ha! What fools men are to think that they can cheat the blackbird! Why, there are five of them at this moment pulling corn for dear life, to see who shall get through his row the first, who were born, bred, and educated in the very hat of that identical old scarecrow. To be sure, when it was first set up, the birds eyed it with curiosity, perhaps mistrust, but it never entered their heads that it was intended to resemble a man; or if it did, it soon became a standing joke with them.
6. Every farmer hates the crow, and we must acknowl. edge he is not a very lovable bird. He has neither beauty nor song; for his eternal caw! caw! is a note renewed so often as to be at a decided discount. Nor has he civility of manners; and his ideas concerning private property are extremely vagues. Yet of all the bird tribe, he is far the most intelligent. Nor is he a hypocrite. There he is, on that old tree by the road side, clothed in a sable suit, and, as you go by, looks demure’, interesting, and melancholy. But should there be a gun in the bottom of the wagon, though it is covered carefully with a bundle of straw, a blanket over that, and a large fat boy sitting on top of all, he knows it is there, and, trusty sentinel, alarms the whole community of crows in the region round about; and away they wing, “over the hills and far away.” Caw! caw! caw! You didn't catch him that time. He is very well aware that you intend to kill him — if you can. He just wants to see you try it — that's all.
1 JŪ'VE-NÝLE. A young person. Jó VĀGUE (vāg). Unfixed ; unsettled. 2 LEGION (lē'jun). A large body of 6 HÝP'O-CRITE. One who pretends to soldiers; a great number.
be what he is not; a dissembler. 8 ÅR'RẠNT. Very bad ; notorious in a 7 Dę-MŪRE'. Modest and pensive. bad sense.
8 COM-MÜ'NI TY. A society of individ+ ROTH-LESS-NĖSS. Want of pity ;) uals having common rights and incruelty ; hard-heartedness.
LVIII. — AFTER MARRIAGE.
[Richard Brinsley Sheridan, a celebrated orator and dramatic writer,was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1751, and died in 1816. His principal plays are “ The Rivals,” “ The Duenna,” “ The School for Scandal,” and “ The Critic.” They are all marked by brilliant wit and pointed dialogue, and “ The School for Scandal ” is perhaps the most finished comedy in the language. He was a very effective speaker in Parliament. There was little that was estimable or respectable in Sheridan's character. He was always in a state of pecuniary embarrassment, and in his later years too often sought oblivion in that fatal source of alleviation, the bottle. The following scene is from “ The School for Scandal.”]
LADY TEAZLE and SIR PETER. Sir Peter. Lady Teazle, Lady Teazle, I'll not bear it!
Lady Teazle. Sir Peter, Sir Peter, you may bear it or not, as you please; but I ought to have my own way in every thing; and what's more, I will too. What! though I was educated in the country, I know very well that women of fashion in London are accountable to nobody after they are married.
Sir P. Very well, ma'am, very well — so a husband is to have no influence, no authority ?
Lady T. Authority! No, to be sure:- if you wanted authority over me, you should have adopted me, and not married me; I am sure you were old enough.