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endeavouring to set one boy against another, repeating harsh things which have been said, exaggerating difficulties and misunderstandings, and by exhibiting himself, and encouraging others to exhibit, a revengeful and passionate spirit.
Children should be courteous in their manners to one another. Boys ought to be gentlemanly, girls lady-like, in all their conversation and demeanour. There is every reason for this. It is proper in itself. Politeness is only gentleness and kindness expressed in our manners and conversation. Now, gentleness and kindness are agreeable—they promote happiness; while a rude, rough, and ill-natured manner makes everybody uncomfortable. Politeness and kind consideration for others smooths the roughness of play, and overcomes difficulties, and heightens enjoyment. It binds playmates together in strong bonds of affection; and forms in boys and girls such manners and habits, as make them objects of regard and affection while they are young, and give them vast advantages,' when they grow up, in their intercourse ■with the world at large.—J. Abbott.
LESSON LI. ORANGE HARVEST IN THE AZORES.
Many of the trees are a hundred years old. The thinness of the rind of a St. Michael's orange, and its freedom from pips, depend on the age of the tree. As the vigour of the plant declines, the peel becomes thinner, and the seeds gradually diminish till they disappear altogether. Thus, the oranges most in esteem are the produce of barren trees, and those deemed least palatable come from trees in full vigour. The number of the trees is increased by layers, which, at the end of two years, are cut away from the parent stem; the process of raising from seed being seldom if ever adopted, on account of the very slow growth of the plants so raised. In Fayal, the branches, by means of strings, are strained away from the centre inu> the shape of a cup, or of an open umbrella turned upside down—a plan which conduces much to early ripening, as tbe sun is thus allowed to penetrate, and the branches to receive a free circulation of air. To shield them from the -winds, the gardens are protected by high walls, whilst the trees themselves are planted among rows of fayas, firs, and camphor-trees. Without these precautions, the windfalls would do away with the profits, none of the "groundfruit," as it is called, being exported to England. Filled with these magnificent shrubs, mixed with the lofty arbutus, many of the gardens present an imposing scene—
"Groves whose rich frult, burnished wlth golden rlnd,
One was especially charming, which covered the sides of a glen or ravine. On a near approach, scores of boys were seen scattered among the branches, gathering fruit into small baskets, hallooing and laughing, and finally emptying their gatherings into larger baskets underneath. Many large trees, on the steep slopes of the glen, lay uprooted, either from their load of fruit, the high winds, or the weight of the boys. Besides, the fall of a tree might not be unamusing; and in so light a soil, where the roots are superficial, a light strain would give it bias enough. The trees lie where they fall; and some that had evidently come down many years before, were still alive, and bearing good crops. The fruit is
not ripe till March or April, nor do the natives generally eat it before that time. The boys, however, who gather it, are marked exceptions: they are of a yellow tint, as if saturated with orange juice.
The process of packing the oranges is expeditious and simple. In some open plot of ground, you find a group of men and children, seated on a heap of the calyxleaves, or husks, of Indian corn, in which each orange is to be wrapped up. The operation begins. A child hands to a workman, who squats beside him, a prepared husk; it is snatched from the child, wrapped round the orange, and passed to the next, who, with the chest between his legs, places it in the orange box ; the parties continuing the work with amazing rapidity, until at length the chest is filled to overflowing. Two men now hand it to the carpenter, who bends over it several thin boards, secured with a willow band, presses it with his naked foot as he saws off the ragged ends of the boards, and despatches it to the ass, that stands ready for lading. Two chests are slung on its back by cords, in the figure of 8; and the driver, taking his goad, and uttering his well-known cry, trudges off to town.—Bullar.
LESSON LII. THE CUCKOO.
The cuckoo builds no nest, but deposits its eggs singly in the nests of small, and, for the most part, insecteating birds. Notwithstanding the immense disparity between the size of the cuckoo, and that of all these birds, there is very little between their eggs; the egg of the cuckoo being of the exact size of that of the skylark. Five or six eggs are deposited by the female cuckoo during the season, extending from the middle of May to the middle of July; but no more than one is ever (unless by an extraordinary exception) dropped into one nest. After fourteen days' incubation, the young cuckoo is hatched; and as the support of so large a bird alone is sufficiently arduous for the foster-parents, it is necessary that their own eggs and young should be destroyed; and this is always effected by the young cuckoo, in the manner thus described by Dr. Jenner :—" I examined the nest of a hedge-sparrow, which contained a cuckoo and three hedge-sparrow's eggs. The next day the bird had hatched; but the nest then contained only a young cuckoo and one hedge-sparrow. The nest was so placed that I could distinctly see what was going forward in it. To my surprise, I saw the cuckoo, though so lately hatched, in the act of turning out the hedge-sparrow. With the assistance of its rump and wings it contrived to get the bird upon its back, and making a lodgment for its burden by elevating its elbows, clambered backwards with it up the side of the nest till it reached the top, when it threw off its load with a jerk, and quite disengaged it from the nest. It remained in this situation for a short time, feeling about with its wings, as if to be convinced that the business was properly executed, and then dropped into the nest again." In climbing up the nest the young cuckoo sometimes drops its burden, but after a little respite the work is resumed and goes on till it is effected. The singularity of its shape is well adapted to these purposes; for, unlike other newly hatched birds, its back is very broad, with a considerable depression in the middle. This depression seems formed by nature to give a more secure lodgment to the eggs or young birds, when the cuckoo is employed in removing them from the nest. When it is about twelve days old, this cavity is quite filled up, and the back resumes the shape of nestling birds in general.
"Having found that the old hedge-sparrow commonly throws out some of her own eggs, after her nest has received the cuckoo, and not knowing how she might treat her young ones, if the cuckoo were deprived of the power of dispossessing them of the nest, I made the following experiment :•—-A young cuckoo, that had been hatched by a hedge-sparrow about four hours, was confined in the nest in such a manner that it could not possibly turn out the young ones, which were hatched at the same time, though it was almost incessantly making attempts to do so. The consequence was, that the old bird fed the whole alike, and appeared to pay the same attention to all, until the nest was unfortunately plundered."
Here are many indications of the wisdom with which all the details of the works of God are arranged! One is, the selection, by the parent, of the nest of a bird which feeds its young with insects; for as the fosterparent can only present to its bantling the same kind of food it procures for its own offspring, if this were uncongenial to it, it could not be reared. Then the small size of the strange egg probably prevents the detection of the imposition, until the hatching of the young; after which, the impulse of parental affection is drawn towards it. The exorbitant demand made by the appetite of so large a chick, renders it needful that their exertions be bestowed upon it alone; so that the expulsion of the other eggs, or young, is a provision of mercy towards the parent birds. The same instinct also explains the reason •why the nests chosen by the parent cuckoo are those of small birds. If the depth of the nest were great, the