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PELISSON AND THE SPIDER. Many animals, such as the horse and the cow, are known to be fond of music. But this fondness we may hardly expect to find in so insignificant an animal as the spider. The following anecdote will offer a striking example of our mistaken notion :
A gentleman named Pelisson, holding an office under the government of Louis the Fourteenth, was sentenced to five years' confinement in the Bastille. During his imprisonment, Pelisson, who knew the value of time and could not remain idle, occupied himself in reading and writing; and frequently, as a kind of relief from study, he would play on the flute. On these occasions he often remarked that a large spider, which had made its web in a corner of the room, came out of its hole, seemingly to listen to the music. Pelisson, to encourage it, would continue to play, and at last the insect became so familiar that it would approach him and feed in his hand.
The circumstance having come to the knowledge of the jailers, they felt bound to tell the Governor of the Bastille, who was a man incapable of pity.
Determined to deprive the prisoner of his insectfriend, the Governor went to his cell and said, “Well, Mr. Pelisson, I hear you have found a companion.” “It is true," replied he, “and though we cannot converse, we understand each other
well.” “ But I can hardly believe what I have been told," said the Governor, " and I should like to be convinced of the truth."
Pelisson, not suspecting any bad intention, immediately called the insect, which came and fed in his hand, and allowed itself to be caressed. The Governor, watching an opportunity, brushed it off, and, crushing it under his foot, left the room without saying a word. Anon.
LEANING idly over a fence, we once noticed a young “ lord of the creation " amusing himself in the grass by watching the frolicsome flight of birds which were playing around him. At length a beautiful Bob-o-link perched itself upon the drooping bough of an apple-tree, which extended to within a few yards of the place where the urchin sat.
The boy seemed astonished at its impudence, and after regarding it steadily for a minute or two, he picked up a stone lying at his feet. He prepared to throw it, and steadied himself carefully for a good aim. The little arm was reached backward without alarming the bird; but lo, its throat swelled, and forth came : -“ A link — a link -a l-i-n-k, Bob-o-link Bob-o-link ! a-no-weet a-no-weet! I know it -I know it !
a link - a link don't throw it ! throw it !- throw it!" And he didn't : slowly the little arm fell by his side, and the stone dropped. The minstrel charmed the murderer !
We heard the songster through, and watched its unharmed flight, as did the boy with a sorrowful countenance. Anxious to hear an expression of the little fellow's feeling, we approached him and enquired, “Why didn't you stone it, my boy? you might have killed it and carried it
? home!” The poor little fellow looked up doubtingly, as though he suspected our meaning, and with an expression, half of shame and half of sorrow, he replied, “ Couldn't ! 'case he sung so !”
Anecdotes of Natural History.
ROBIN AND ROBINA. EVERY one who has lived in the country has noticed the tame and docile character of the Robin. His confidence in man renders him a general favorite, and is his best security against danger.
“One of these pretty birds,” writes a country gentleman, “passed a great part of five winters in my parlor. He soon came to know who kept the key of the larder, and whenever that key was turned, he would hop in fearlessly to receive cheese crumbs, which were his delight. He very soon became acquainted with the entrance to the kitchen, and the stairs which connected it with the parlor. If a fine day occurred, he seldom failed to go out, but always returned before night. His favorite resting-place was the fold of a festooned* window curtain. This, for his accommodation, was never dropped, and I had a little basket placed in it, in which he took great pleasure.
“When spring returned, he dispensed with the shelter which
my home afforded him during the winter, and set out in search of a wife. This companion he was not long in finding; and his first care seemed to be to introduce her to my notice. When I went into the garden, he showed that he had no wish to drop my acquaintance, but rather to seek to continue it. He came close to my feet, and when I held out my hand he alighted upon it, in expectation of the cheese crumbs with which I was wont to feed him.
“I have said that he wished to introduce his chosen mate to my notice; he brought her as near to me as possible, but Robina never conquered her fears so far as to alight on my hand. She frequently, however, sat on a tree or bush . hard bye, and was fed by Robin who carried crumbs to her out of my little box."
* Festooned, hung between two points and drooping between.
A SAUCY ROBIN. ONE winter a Robin became our constant guest. This little fellow made himself perfectly at home with the servants, attending their table during meal times, and receiving all scraps with which they were pleased to favor him. Не took his stand on the frame of one of the neighbouring chairs, whence he had a good view of the ground beneath the table, ready to hop forth when a crumb fell. He enjoyed, indeed, the range of the kitchen and pantry at will, and throve exceedingly on his good fare: from being small and thin, Cock Robin grew into a fine fat bird. He at last became so bold as to hop on to the table, and without waiting for an invitation, help himself to bread, and any morsel that lay in his way: nothing escaped his clear bright eye.
One cold, snowy morning, Robin was absent from the kitchen much longer than usual. We were beginning to wonder what had become of him, when he suddenly made his entry through the open lattice of the pantry. He was accompanied by two other robins, exceedingly lean and illfavored; forming a striking contrast with our fat, comely, little friend. It was evident these two were invited guests. Scarcely, however, had his hungry visitors begun to partake of the crumbs scattered beneath the table, than he bristled up his feathers, hopped about in a threatening manner, and scolded in harsh and angry tones.
A battle immediately commenced, which was maintained for some minutes with great spirit, by one of his outraged guests; but victory decided, at length, in favor of our friend, he being half as big again as his famished adversary. Having driven both his visitors from the kitchen, Rob returned proud of his victory, and flying to his favorite peg, sang a song of triumph. He puffed out his red breast, and ruffled his feathers, as if to express his satisfaction for having vanquished his enemies. Narr. Nature.
DICK, THE HOMELY SKYLARK. I CAUGHT one day a nest of skylarks, and fed them with care and attention, and succeeded in rearing three. Lively and cheerful, they ran about upon the bottom of a large cage, as playful as kittens, and as happy as creatures could be whose haunts were the skies and the green fields. Two of these larks were less shrewd than the other, who gave evidence of his superior ability; they all sang a little, but this one better than the other two.
It was agreed that the two inferior larks should be set at liberty, but that this singing bird should be retained. Dick now engrossed all care, and had his moods of temper, as ourselves. Sometimes he would nestle down in his turf, and twitter as though he would say many soft things to me. At other times I would speak to him, and he would raise his little crest feathers, and lower his wings, and strut and sing as proudly as a bird knows how. A third mood was that of perfectly scornful rage : on being spoken to, he would sing loudly, and bristle up as though he would scold and fight as fiercely as a game cock.
Dick was always pleased with men and boys, but alarmed at ladies and women in general. Being such a favorite, he was allowed daily liberty, and his chief singing-place was the arm of a sofa. While I was reading, my book was often a chosen place for his long and continuous song. Dick was bold, and at dinner time he would approach the plate, and take from it just what he pleased : to oppose him was to incur his resentment. Then a fight would be sure to ensue, when he would dart off, singing in triumphant defiance.
Dick never allowed any one to come down in the morning without a salute, and he expected it should be exchanged! He therefore waited at the front part of his