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book. Thomson thus describes the washing and shearing of sheep, in his SUMMER :
Fast, fast, they plunge amid the flashing wave,
Holds, by his twisted horns, th' indignant ram. Much amusement may be derived from an attentive observation of the common white or barn owl, during the mild evenings of this month. The following curious circumstance is recorded by Mr. White', of a pair of white owls, which bred under the eaves of the church. About an hour before sunset (for then the mice begin to run) they sally forth in quest of prey, and hunt all round the hedges of meadows and small enclosures for them; beating the fields over like a setting-dog, and often dropping down in the grass or corn. I have observed these birds for an hour together, during the breeding time, and have found, by my watch, that the ow! returns every five minutes with her prey. A piece of address which they show, when they return loaded, should not, I think, be passed over in silence. As they take their prey with their claws, so they carry
Nat. Hist. of Selborne, vol. ii, pp. 259, 260, 8vo ed. 1813.
it in their claws to their nest; but as their feet are necessary, in their ascent under the tiles, they constantly perch, first on the roof of the chancel, and shift the mouse from their claws to their bill, that the feet may be at liberty to take hold of the plate on the wall, as they are rising under the eaves.'
While the Moon, with sudden gleam,
Through the clouds that cover her,
Pleased I hear thy boding cry!
Sure, thy notes are harmony.
Wanders to the lonely shade,
Shrinks to hear thy boding cry,
To her it is not harmony!
Wrings his hands in agony,
Shrinks to hear thy boding cry,-
To him it is not harmony'. · Mackerel (scomber, scomber) are taken in great abundance in this month. The long migration of this fish seems at present to be greatly called in question; and it is thought more probable, that the shoals which appear in such abundance round the more temperate European coasts, in reality reside, during the winter, at no very great distance, immersing themselves in the soft bottom, and remaining in a state of torpidity. From this state, it is reasonable to suppose, they are awakened by the warmth of the returning spring, and gradually recover their former activity. At their first appearance their eyes are observed to be remarkably dim, as if covered with
These pleasing stanzas are by an early anonymous poet, and may be found in Mr. Ellis's Specimens,' vol. iii, p. 351.
à kind of film, which passes off as the season advances, when they appear in their full perfection of colour and vigour. Mackerel are taken, generally, in nets, and, when first caught, exhibit an alternation of the most vivid and beautiful colours; we have seen more than four thousand of these delicate and elegant fish taken at a single hawl. Their flavour is much impaired'even a few hours after their capture?.
The maritime plants which flower this month, are, the sea-barley (hordeum maritimum), sulphur-wort (pucedanum officinale), and loose sedge (carex distans), in salt marshes; the sea-plantain (plantago maritima), among rocks on the sea-coast; the slender-leaved buffonia (buffonia tenuifolia), and the tassel pond-weed (ruppia maritima), in salt-water ditches. To these may be added, the common alkanet (anchusa officinalis), the narrow-leaved pepperwort (lepidum ruderale), and the Roman nettle (urtica pilulifera), in sea wastes; the black salt-wort (glaux maritima), on muddy shores; the sea-chickweed (arenaria peploides), and the common sea-rocket (bunias cakile), on sandy shores; and the perfoliate cabbage (brassica orientalis) among maritime rocks.
* Multitudes of mackerel are taken on our coast : at times they sell exorbitantly dear, but chiefly in the opposite extreme. The first Brighton boat of mackerel sold, the 14th of May, 1807, at Billingsgate, for forty guineas per hundred (seven shillings cach), the highest price ever known at that market. The next boat that came in, reduced their value to thirteen guineas per hundred. In 1808, these fish were caught so plentifully, at Dover, that they sold sixty for a shilling. At Brighton, in June, the same year, the shoal of mackerel was so great, that one of the boats had the meshes of her nets so closely occupied by them, that it was impossible to drag them in. The fish and nets, therefore, in the end, sank together, the fisherman thereby sustaining a loss of nearly sixty pounds, exclusive of what his cargo, could he have got it into the boat, would have produced.
· Bemarkable Days.
2.- VISITATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY.
This festival was first instituted by Pope - Urban VI, in commemoration of that remarkable journey which the Mother of our Lord took into the mountains of Judæa, in order to visit the mother of St. John the Baptist. It was afterwards confirmed, not only by a decree of Pope Boniface IX, but by the Council of Basil, in 1441.
3.—DOG-DAYS BEGIN. These are a certain number of days before and after the heliacal rising of Canicula, or the dog-star, in the morning. The antients imagined that this slar so rising occasioned the sultry weather, usually felt in the latter part of the summer, or dog-days; with all the distempers of that sickly season. See Homer's Iliad, lib. v, 10, and Virgil's Æneid, lib. 1. They did not consider that the heliacal rising of this star varies much in the course of a few years, and indeed in the same year in different latitudes; as is now well known, "The dog-days in our modern almanacks occupy the time from July 3 to August Il; the name being applied now, as it was formerly, to the hottest time of the year. ; 4.-TRANSLATION OF SAINT MARTIN.
This day was appointed to commemorate the removal or translation of St. Martin's body from one tomb to another much more noble and magnificent ; an honour conferred upon the deceased saint by Perpetuus, one of his successors in the see of Tours. His festival is celebrated on the Ilth of November, which see.
7.-THOMAS A BECKET. This haughty prelate was born in London, in the year 1119, and was the son of Gilbert, a merchant, and Matilda, a Saracen lady, who is said to have