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leave a rough stubble ; while others cut it quite close to the land. In Surrey and Kent, women may be seen wielding the sickle. Rye and oats usually become ripe first; but this depends upon the time of sowing, though grain of every species may, sometimes, be seen at once, fit for the sickle.
The utmost diligence is now exerted, and labourers. from all parts are eagerly engaged to give their assistance in this delightful occupation; all is bustle and activity. The labours of the sickle completed, those who have toiled in securing the wealth of their employer, now receive the welcome reward of a Harvest Supper, or festival. Many curious ceremonies were formerly practised by rustics at the celebration of Harvest Home. Images made of straw, or stubble, were carried home from the harvest-field, followed by a piper or a drum, the men and women singing round it. Some sixty years ago, in the north, a figure like this was dressed up, at harvest time, and was called the kern-baby. In the Hebrides, the strokes of the sickle are timed by the modulation of the harvest song, in which all the voices of the reapers are united. Herrick, in his Hesperides, gives a lively description of this festival, in his Hock-cart, or Harvest Home:
Come, sons of Summer, by whose toile
sicklern-baby. a nap, atharin the norm singin
Some blesse the cart; some kisse the sheaves ;
About the Ilth of August, the Puffin (alca arctica) migrates. Priestholme, or Puffin's Island, about three quarters of a mile from the Isle of Anglesea, abounds with these birds; and their flocks, for multitude, may be compared to swarms of bees. • After climbing up the rocks, and walking to the other side of the island, I had a sight,' says. Mr. Bingley, of upwards of fifty, acres of land literally covered with puffins; and my calculation is much within compass, when I declare that the numbers here must have been more than 50,000. Their bite, from the shape and strength of the bill, is severe: in the birds full grown, it has four oblique transyerse. furrows, and, when caught, they will seize on any thing that is near them. Puffins are migratory, first, arrive from the 5th to the 10th of April, quit it (almost to a bird), and return twice or thrice before they settle to burrow and prepare for laying their eggs. They begin to burrow the first week in May, and are at that time so intent on the business as to suffer themselves to be taken by the hand. This task falls chiefly to the share of the males, for, on dissection, ten out of twelve so employed, proved of that sex; the males also insist in incubation. The first young are hatched the beginning of July, and the old birds show much
affection towards them, but this affection ceases at the period of migration, which is about the 11th of August'. Puffins do not breed till three years old, lay only one egg, which differs much in form ; some have one end very acute, others being completely obtuse ; all are white. The young are entirely covered with a long blackish down, and in shape altogether so different from the parents, that no one, at first sight, could suppose them the same species. Puffins are said to change their bills annually. Their usual food is sprats and sea-weeds, which renders the flesh of the old ones extremely rank: the young, however, are sold by the renters of the island (who hire it from Lord Bulkeley at fifteen pounds per annum) at one shilling per dozen, to persons who cure them by pickling, and, when packed in small barrels, each. containing twelve birds, sells for four or five shillings. The oil is extracted from them by a peculiar process, and the bones are taken out; after which the skin. is closed round the flesh, and they are immersed in vinegar impregnated with spices. Dr. Caius informs us, that, in his days, puffins were allowed. by the church to be eaten in Lent, instead of fish; and says, that they were usually caught by means of ferrets, as rabbits are sometimes taken: at present, they are either dug out of the burrows, seized by the hand, or drawn out by a hooked stick. The winter residence of this genus, and that of the guillemot, is but imperfectly known; it is probable that they live at sea in some more temperate climate, remote from land; forming those myriads of birds mariners observe in many parts of the ocean. They are always
1 We have visited Priestholme a week after this period, and have not seen a single puffin; so much punctuality is observed in their annual migrations. Of the many thousand birds which cover the island, not one is left: sometimes, indeed, a single bird is discovered which was prevented by age or accident from accompanying this great army of winged wandererse
found there at certain seasons, retiring only at breeding time, and, during that period, are met with as near the pole as ever navigators have penetrated.' .:
About the middle of the month, the swift disappears, and probably migrates to more southern regions. Rooks begin to 'roost in their nest trees, and young broods of goldfinches (fringilla carduelis) appear; lapwings (tringa vanellus) and linnets (fringilla linota) congregate : the nuthatch chatters ; and, towards the end of the month, the redbreast is again. heard.
At the beginning of the month, melilot (trifolium officinale), rue (ruta graveolens), the water parsnep (sysimbrium nasturtium), horehound (marrubium vul. gare), water mint (Mentha aquatica), the orpine ( sedum telephium), and the gentiana amarella, have their flowers full blown. The purple blossoms of the meadow saffron (colchicum autumnale) now adorn the low moist lands. The number of plants in flower, however, is greatly lessened in this month, those which bloomed in the former months running fast to seed.
The great intention of nature in the structure of plants, seems to be the perfecting of the seed; for ihose parts which most immediately contribute to fructification are usually lodged in the centre, the recesses, or the labyrinths of the flowers. During their tender and immature state, they are shut up in the stalk, or sheltered in the bud. But as soon as they have acquired firmness of texture sufficient to bear exposure, and are ready to perform the important office which is assigned to them, they are disclosed to the light and air by the bursting of the stem, or the ex. pansion of the petals ; after which they have, in many cases, by the very form of the flower during its blow, the light and warmth reflected upon them from the concave side of the cup. What is called also the sleep of plants, is the leaves or petals disposing themselves in such a manner as to shelter the young stem,
buds or fruits ; they turn up or they fall down, according as this purpose renders either change of position requisite.' The scarcity of flowers is amply re- paid by an abundance of fruits of various kinds and hues :
The mealy plum
BIDLAKE. Heaths and commons are now in all their beauty ; the flowers of the various species of heath (erica) covering them with a fine purple hue. Ferns also begin to flower, the commonest sort of which is the fern or brakes (polypodium filix-mas); but the female (pteris aquilina) is the most beautiful plant. How admirable is the disposition of these heaths! While the warm valley, on the one hand, which enjoys the fertilizing influence of a placid stream, and of a powerful sun, is too rich a soil for this plant; the higher summit of the mountain is, on the other hand, too cold, too barren, and too much exposed, to be the favourite soil or climate of heaths. Fungous moss, the most barren of all plants, and the least capable of affording nourishment to cattle, occupies these summits. The heath grows midway up the hill, while the skirts and the valleys below are destined for grass and corn. Thus, the very covering given to the mountains demonstrates the benignity of Providence: what is nearest to the habitation of man, is best adapted to his support; what is nearest and most accessible to his cattle, affords 'them most nourishment; and the least productive part of his ground is removed to the greatest distance.
Various are the uses to which heath and fern are applied. In England, the common heath is employed in making brooms or faggots, which last are used às fuel in ovens; the stalks and tops are of consider