Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

you, and scheming how they can best please and surprise you. It is a famous thing to live in England—grand Old England, in these days!"

"Well, Master Philip," said his sister, who had been listening to his harangue, "may I inquire where you gained all this learning?"

"Not out of my own head, I assure you, Katy; but I heard papa read some remarks, a great deal like what I have said, from the introduction to Dr. Arnott's clever book; and because I was much pleased with them, I wanted to make Frank feel the same pleasure."

Mrs. Howitt.

LESSON XVII. THE K0OKERY.

Mr. S. Books are a species of crow. But they differ from the carrion crow and raven, in not feeding upon dead flesh, but upon corn and other seeds and grass, though indeed they pick up beetles and other insects and worms. See what a number of them have lighted on yonder ploughed field, almost blackening it over. They are searching for grubs and worms. The men in the field do not molest them, for they do a great deal of service by destroying grubs, which, if suffered to grow to winged insects, would injure the trees and plants.

F. But do they not hurt the corn?

Mr. S. Yes; they tear up a good deal of green corn; but, upon the whole, rooks are reckoned the farmer's friends.

F. Do all rooks live in rookeries?

Mr. S. It is their nature to associate together, and build in numbers on the same or adjoining trees. They have no objection to the neighbourhood of man, but readily take to a plantation of tall trees, though it be close to a house; and this is commonly called a rookery. They will even fix their habitations on trees in the midst of towns.

F. I think a rookery is a sort of town itself.

Mr. S. It is: a village in the air, peopled with numerous inhabitants; and nothing can be more amusing than to view them all in motion, flying to and fro, and busied in their several occupations. The spring is their busiest time. Early in the year they begin to repair their nests, or build new ones.

F. Do they all work together, or every one for itself?

Mr. S. Each pair, after they have coupled, builds its own nest; and, instead of helping, they are very apt to steal the materials from one another. If both birds go out at once in search of sticks, they often find at their return the work all destroyed, and the materials carried off. However, I have met with a story which shows that they are not without some sense of the criminality of thieving. There was in a rookery a lazy pair of rooks, who never went out to get sticks for themselves, but made a practice of watching when their neighbours were abroad and helping themselves from their nests. They had served most of the community in this manner, and by these means had just finished their own nest; when all the other rooks in a rage fell upon them at once, pulled their nest in pieces, beat them soundly, and drove them from their society.

F. But why do they live together, if they do not help one another?

Mr. S. They probably receive pleasure from the company of their own kind, as men and various other creatures do. Then, though they do not assist one another in building, they are mutually serviceable in many ways. If a large bird of prey hovers about a rookery, for the purpose of carrying off any of the young ones, they all unite to drive him away. And when they are feeding in a flock, several are placed as sentinels upon the trees all round, to give alarm if any danger approaches.

F. Do rooks always keep to the same trees?

Mr, S. Yes; they are much attached to them; and when the trees happen to be cut down, they seem greatly distressed, and keep hovering about them as they are falling, and will scarcely desert them when thev lie on the ground.—" Evenings at Home."

LESSON XVIII.—THE WAY TO FIND O0T PRIDE.

Pride, ugly Pride, sometimes is seen,
By haughty looks, and lofty mien:
But oftener it is found that Pride
Loves deep within the heart to hide:
And while the looks are mild and fair,
It sits and does its mischief there.
Now if you really wish to find
If pride be lurking in your mind,
Inquire if you can bear a slight,
Or patiently give up your right.
Can you submissively consent
To take reproof and punishment,
And feel no angry temper start
In any corner of your heart?
Can you at once confess a crime,
And promise for another time?
Or say you've been in a mistake,
Nor try some poor excuse to make,

But freely own that it was wrong,

To argue for your side so long?

Flat contradiction can you bear,

When you are right, and know you are?

Nor flatly contradict again,

But wait or modestly explain,

And tell your reasons one by one;

Nor think of triumph when you've done?

Can you in business or in play

Give up your wishes or your way;

Or do a thing against your will,

For somebody that's younger still?

And never try to overbear,

Nor say a word that is not fair?

Does laughing at you in a joke,

No anger nor revenge provoke;

But can you laugh yourself, and be

As merry as the company?

Or when you find that you could do

The harm to them they did to you,

Can you keep down the wicked thought,

And do exactly as you ought?

Put all these questions to your heart,

And make it act an honest part:

And when they've each been fairly tried,

I think you'll own that you have Pride;

Some one will suit you as you go,

And force your heart to tell you so;

But if they all should be denied,

Then you're too proud to own your Pride.

Jane Taylor.

LESSON XIX. MOUNTAINS.

The prominences on the surface of the land, according to their elevation, form mountains, hills, or slopes. Mountains are sometimes insulated, ascending abruptly from a level country, as the Peak of Teneriffe. Such mountains are frequently volcanic. The usual arrangement is, however, in groups, the different members of which are connected at the base. These groups, being generally narrow and elongated, are styled chains. A grand chain generally consists of several parallel ridges, the loftiest and boldest ridge being in the middle. The extremities of a chain are often of a very inferior elevation, the greatest heights being attained at varying intermediate points. Secondary ranges frequently branch off from a main chain, and follow a different direction, as the Appenines from the Alps. The direction of some chains is parallel to the equator; that of others is parallel to the meridian. The great mountain systems of the two continents follow the prevailing direction of the land in each; those of the western world run north and south; those of the eastern, east and west. In like manner, the direction of secondary ranges, as the Appenines in Italy, the Ghauts in India, and the Dovrefield in Norway, correspond to the greatest length of their respective peninsulas. It is very common for the declivities of a chain to slope gradually on one side, and to have a steeper inclination on the other. The Andes are more abrupt towards the Pacific Ocean than towards the interior of South America; the Alps are steeper on the side of Italy than of Switzerland; the Pyrenees decline more rapidly towards Spain than France; and the Ghauts of India are precipitous on the west, and sloping in the

« ElőzőTovább »