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it which enchants the eye-a compan- and memory, to me, has kept a faithful ionship like that of life, and which no transcript of the scene. When the kingother inanimate thing affords. And of fisher had sounded the alarm, he slunk all brooks, this that I now describe was away, and all was still. The morning to me the sweetest.
overture of the birds had passed, for it After proceeding a considerable dis- was now near ten o'clock. The mourntance, the valley became narrowed down ful metallic note of the wood-thrush was to a rocky ravine, and the shrunken perchance faintly heard at intervals— stream fretted and foamed its way over the cooing of a pigeon, the amorous wooa rugged and devious channel. At last, ings of the high-hole, the hollow roll about half way up the mountain, and at of the woodpecker at his work, might a considerable elevation, we reached the occasionally salute the ear, but all at source of the rivulet, which consisted of such distance of time and place as to a small lake of as pure water as ever give effect to the silence and repose
that reflected the face of heaven. It was marked the scene. I had my gun, but surrounded on three sides by tall cliffs, I felt no disposition to break the spell whose dark, shaggy forms, in contrast, that nature had cast on all around. The gave a silver brilliancy and beauty to harsh noise of gunpowder had been out the mirror-like water that lay at their of tune there and then. Bill and myself feet. The other side of the lake was sauntered along the border of the lake, bounded by a sandy lawn, of small ex- musing and stepping lightly, as if not to tent, but in the centre of which stood a crumple a leaf or crush a twig, that might lofty white-wood tree.
break the peace, over which nature, like The objects that first presented them- a magistrate, seemed to preside. selves, as we approached the lake, was But as we were slowly proceeding, a kingfisher, running over his watch- Bill's piercing eye discovered a dark man's rattle from the dry limb of a tree object upon the white-wood or tulip tree, that projected over the water, by way of that stood in the sandy lawn at some warning to the tenants of the mountain distance. He pointed to it, and both that danger was near; a heron, stand- quickened our steps in that direction. ing half-leg deep in the margin of the As we approached it, we perceived it to water, and seeming to be lost in a lazy be an enormous nest, and concluded it dream; a pair of harlequin ducks that must be that of an eagle. As we came were swimming near the opposite shore; nearer, the nest seemed roughly comand a bald eagle, that stood upon the posed of large sticks, and occupying a point of a rock that projected a few feet circumference equal to a cart-wheel. It out of the water near the centre of the was at the very top of the tree, which lake. This object particularly attracted rose to the height of sixty or seventy feet, our attention, but as we moved toward and at least half of that elevation was a it, it heavily unfolded its wings, pitched smooth trunk without a single limb. forward, and with a labored beating of But Bill was an excellent climber, and the air gained an elevation and sailed it was resolved, without a council of war, gloriously away beyond the reach of that he should ascend and see what was sight.
in the nest. Those were days of feeling, rather Accordingly, stripping off his coat, than speech. Neither my companion and clinging to the tree as if by suction, nor myself spoke of the beauty of that he began to ascend. It was hitchety scene at the time; but we felt it deeply, hatchety up I go!" By a process diffi
cult to describe—a sort of insinuation, head beneath the nest, exposing only the propelling power and working ma- a portion of his person, together with chinery of which were invisible--he soon the seat of his trowsers. The clash of cleared the smooth part of the trunk, the eagle's beak as he swept by, though and taking hold of the branches, rose it seemed like the clangor of a tailimb by limb, till, with breathless interest, lor's shears when forcibly shut, did no I saw him lift his head above the nest harm; but we cannot say as much of and peer into its recess. The best ex- the creature's talons. One of the claws pression of his wonder was his silence. struck the part exposed, and made an I waited, but no reply. “ What is it?" incision in the trowsers as well as the said I, incapable of enduring the sus- skin, of about two inches in length. pense. No answer. • What is it, Bill The rent, however, was too super-why don't you speak ?" said I, once ficial to prove mortal, nor did it deprive
“ Look!” said he, holding up a Bill of his presence of mind. Taking featherless little monster, about as large no manner of notice of the damage done, as a barn-door fowl-kicking and flap- he cocked his eye up at the eagle, and ping its wings, and squealing with all seeing that he was already preparing its might. “ Look! there's a pair for another descent, he slid down beon 'em. They're young eagles, I'll tween the limbs of the tree with amazbe bound, but I never see such critters ing dexterity, and had approached the afore! The nest is as big as a trundle- lowest of the branches, when again we bed, and there's a heap of snake-skins, heard the rushing sound, and saw the and feathers, and fishes' tails in it; and infuriate bird falling like an iron wedge there's a lamb's head here, that looks almost perpendicularly upon him. Alin the face like an acquaintance-and though he was full five and thirty feet I should n't wonder if it belonged to from the ground, such was my agony, Squire Kellogg's little cosset that he lost that again I cried out, “ Jump, Bill last week—the varmint!”
for Heaven's sake, jump!” As Bill uttered these last words, his Bill was a fellow to go on his own attention, as well my own, was attracted hook-particularly in a time of imminent by a rushing sound above, and looking peril, like the present. Evidently pay
saw an eagle, about a hun- ing no attention to me, he cast one dred yards in the air, descending like a glance at the eagle, and leaping from thunderbolt directly toward Bill's head. the branch, came down upon the wind. The bird's wings were close to its body, The eagle swept over him as he fell, its tail above and its head beneath, and striking his talons into his brimless its beak open and its talons half dis- beaver, bore it away in triumph-dropplayed for the blow. Entirely forgetting ping it however at a short distance. As my gun, in my agony of fear, I exclaim- Bill struck the ground on his feet, I ed, “ Jump, Bill! for Heaven's sake immediately saw that he
was safe. jump!” But such was the suddenness After sitting a moment to recover his of the proceeding, that ere I could fairly breath, he put his hand to his head, and utter the words, the formidable bird, with finding that his hat was gone, exclaimed, a fearful and vengeful scream, swept “ There, the critter 's got my clamshell down upon his mark. I shut my eyes —why didn't you fire, Bob?" in very
horror. But not so Bill Keeler ; The hat was soon found, and after a there was no taking him by surprise. little while Bill discovered the success As the eagle came down, he dodged his of the eagle's first attack upon his per
son; but although some blood was shed, writhing, and thrusting out his tongue, the incident was not considered serious, but all to no purpose. Taking a fair and we proceeded in our ramble. aim with the gun, Bill now fired, and
We had not advanced far, when, on cut the reptile in twain. passing through some bushes near a We
e pursued our ramble until late in heap of rocks, I heard a rustling in the the day, when, on our return, we saw a leaves. Turning my eye in the direc- gray squirrel leaping about upon the tion of the sound, I saw a black snake, ground at some distance. The appearcovered by leaves except his head and ance of this animal in its native woods about two feet of his body. He was is singularly imposing. Its long, bushy directly in my path, and, brandishing his tail imparts to it an appearance of extratongue, seemed determined to oppose ordinary size, and renders its wonderful my progress. Bill had my gun, but I agility a matter of surprise. In the called to him, and he soon appeared. I present instance, as the squirrel saw us pointed out the snake, but, refusing to from a distance, he ran to a tree, ascendfire, he approached the creature with a ed the trunk, and flew along its branches. bold front; who, seeing that he could From these it leaped to those of another gain nothing by his threats, turned and tree, seeming actually to move like a fled through the leaves with amazing spirit of the air. At last it reached a speed. Bill followed upon his trail, and large oak, and disappeared in a hole came up
with him just as he was seek- in the trunk. ing shelter in the crevice of a rock. He Bill's jacket was off in an instant, and had buried about two feet of his length, almost as nimbly as the squirrel himself when Bill seized his tail, and, holding he ascended to its retreat. I stood befast, prevented his farther progress. We low with my gun, ready to fire if the then both of us took hold and tried to creature should attempt to escape. At pull him out—but as he had coiled him- last Bill, peeping into the hole, and sayself around the protuberances of the ing, in a subdued voice, "I see the varrock within, he resisted all our efforts. mint!" thrust his hand into the place.
Bill now directed me to bend down It was but a moment before he hauled to him a pretty stout walnut sapling that him out, and holding him forth with one was growing near. I complied with hand, while he held on to the tree with the command, and my companion, taking the other, he exclaimed, “Fire, Bob a piece of rope from his pocket, doubled fire-he bites like-like a sarpent!” the tail of the snake, and firmly lashed Accustomed to obey orders, I immediit to the top of the young tree. This ately fired, and the squirrel dropped being done—“We'll let go now," said dead to the ground. At the same time Bill," and see which will hold on the I saw Bill snapping his fingers, as if longest.” So, loosing our hold of the some stray shot had peppered them. tree and serpent, we stood by to see the He soon descended, and showed me that result. The snake was so firmly tied as one of the little leaden missiles had to render it impossible for him to escape, passed through the ball of his thumb; and the sapling pulled with a vigor and he only remarked, however, “I should patience that were likely to prevail at think, Bob, you might kill a squirrel last. We waited at the place for nearly without shooting a friend!” an hour, when the serpent slowly yield Such are the adventures of a day in ed, and the sapling jerked him into the my youth; and such, or similar, no air. There he hung, dangling and doubt, have been the experiences of many
a Yankee youth before. I record them September he is gone to more genial here, partly for the satisfaction of review- lands. ing the sweet memories of the past, and It is only in tropical countries that the partly to point the moral of this chap- several species of humming-birds are ter—that youth is a portion of life to seen in their abundance, variety, and which, in after years, we usually look glory. The islands that stud the back with fond regard, as the happiest, ocean between Florida and the main if not the most useful, part of our exist- land of South America, literally swarm
Let my youthful friends mark with them. In the wild and 'uncultithe observation, and not be unmindful vated parts they inhabit the magnificent of their present privileges. Let them forests overhung with parasitical plants, enjoy their young days, with thankful- whose blossoms hardly yield in beauty ness and moderation, and not be too san- to the sparkling tints of these tenants guine of that future, which will disclose of the air. In the cultivated portions, the melancholy truth that life is a journey, they abound in the gardens, and seem which affords the cares and toils and to delight in society, becoming familiar dangers of travel, without a resting- and destitute of fear, hovering often place. A resting-place is indeed found, on one side of a shrub or plant while but it is only given as life ceases. the fruit is plucked on the other. While we live we are journeying; there Lively and full of
these is no fixed habitation for man on the winged gems are almost incessantly in earth: he is an emigrant to another the air, darting from one object to ancountry, and not a settler here. Let us, other, and displaying their gorgeous in attempting to make our journey as hues in the sunbeams. When performcheerful as we may, still be careful that ing a lengthened flight, as during mithe place to which we migrate, and gration, they pass through the air in long where we must abide, be in a happy undulations, raising themselves to a concountry.
The Humming. Birds. THESE little fairies of the feathered race—the smallest of birds, and perhaps the most brilliant-belong exclusively to our American continent and the adjacent islands. Most of them dwell in the warm climates, where flowers are ever in bloom, and where spring or summer hold perpetual sway. One species alone visits our chill New England climatethe little fellow of the ruby throat. He comes to us in May, and makes himself familiar with our gardens and trellices, sports amid the flowers, and holds siderable height and then falling in a companionship only with the “flush and curve. When feeding on a flower, they the fair.” His stay is short, for early in keep themselves poised in one position, as steadily as if suspended on a bough Among the most dazzling of this bril—making a humming noise by the rapid liant tribe is the bar-tailed hummingmotion of their wings.
bird of Brazil. The tail is forked to the In disposition, these creatures are in- base, and consists of five feathers, gradtrepid, but, like some other little people, uated one above another at almost equal they are very quarrelsome. In defend- distances. Their color is of the richest ing their nests, they attack birds five flame, or orange red, with a dazzling times their size, and drive them off with metallic burnish. The upper part of
their motions are the body of the bird is golden green; very violent and their flight as swift as the rump is red, and the under surface
Often the eye is incapable of emerald green. of following them, and their shrill, Stokes' humming-bird may perhaps piercing shriek alone announces their be cited as a rival of this little gem of presence.
beauty. The head and whole of the
Stokes' Humming-Bird. back is covered with scale-shaped feath- the ingenious mechanism of their strucers, those on the head being brilliant ture—can we sufficiently admire the Arblue and changing to violet, those con chitect who made them and bade them the back being bright emerald green. go forth to add life, and beauty, and brilThe cheeks are purplish green, with liancy to the landscape, while sharing small pink spots. Was there ever any themselves in the joys of existence ? lass of a fancy ball more gaily decked?
Such are a few of the species of this famous race. There are more than a hundred kinds, all noted for their littleand their surpassing beauty.
Madagascar. What a beautiful conception in the Author of nature were these little fairies ! On the eastern coast of Africa is one It is as if the flowers had taken wings, of the largest islands in the world, called and life, and intelligence, and shared in Madagascar. It is 900 miles long, and the sports of animal life.
And if we
contains about twice as much land as regard their beauty—the delicacy of England, Wales, and Scotland, or three their feathers—their energy and power times as much as New England. It is compared with their size-if we consider some five or six thousand miles south