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Sometimes it dwells on a few mournful notes, which begin softly, swell to its full power, and then die away. Sometimes it gives in quick succession a series of sharp, ringing tones, which it ends with the ascending notes of a rising chord. The birds which are free do not sing after midsummer, while those which are caged sing until November, or even until February. The young birds need to be under training of some older one, and will often surpass their teacher; few become first-rate. .
5. The nest of the nightingale is not built in the branches, or in a hole, or hanging in the air, or quite on the ground, but is very near it. It is not easily found unless the movements of the bird betray it. The materials are straw, grass, little sticks, dried leaves, all jumbled together with so little art that one can hardly see it when it is right before him. If the same materials were seen anywhere else, they would seem to have been blown together by the wind, and stopped just there by a fork in the branches. There are four or five smooth olive-brown eggs. The bird is about six inches long, and weighs three quarters of an ounce. Its colors are dark-brown above and grayish-white below.
6. Izaak Walton says: “But the nightingale, another of my airy creatures, breathes such sweet, loud music out of the little instrumental throat, that it might make mankind think that miracles are not ceased. He that at midnight, when the very laborer sleeps securely, should hear, as I have very often, the clear airs, the sweet descants, the natural rising and falling, the doubling and redoubling of her voice, might well be lifted above earth, and say, “Lord, what music hast thou provided for Thy saints in heaven, when Thou affordest such music on earth!'”
S. H. Peabody.
FOR PREPARATION.-I. Is the nightingale alluded to most often in poems of American authors, or of British authors ? Luscinia (Latin name of the bird; it belongs to the tribe dentirostres, or tooth-billed). Philomela (the Greek name of the bird); see the story of Procne and Philomela, daughters of Pandion, and of Itys and Tereus, the first changed to a swallow, the second to a nightingale; note also the imitation of the notes of those birds in some of the names, e. g., Itys, that of the swallow, and Tereus, of the nightingale. Mudie wrote a work on British birds. What did Izaak Walton write ?
II. Chôrd (kôrd), nīght'-in-gale (nīt'in-gäl), lā'-bor-er, weighş (wāz).
III. Meaning of est in loudest? How would you write loud if comparing only two persons ? Difference in gender of she and he ? Meaning of un and final n in unknown ?
IV. Rivalry, captured, pines, secure, literal version, specimen, astonished, exquisite, harmony, admirable, materials, miracles, securely, descants.
V. Note the fact that the plain-feathered birds of the temperate zone are better singers than the birds of the torrid zone, so noted for the beauty of their plumage. The former are beautiful to the ear, the latter to the eye. The lark and the nightingale are great favorites with the British poets (see the poems of Shelley, Keats, and Wordsworth, addressed to these birds ; see also X., CXXXIX.).
1. When icicles hang by the wall,
And Dick, the shepherd, blows his nail,
And milk comes frozen home in pail,
Joan doth keel the pot.
And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And Marian's nose looks red and raw,
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
FOR PREPARATION.-I. From “Love's Labor's Lost,” Act V., Scene 2. The song in praise of the owl, representing winter. It is a good specimen of Shakespeare's songs.
II. I'-çi-ele (l'si-k!), shěp'-herd (-erd), fro'-zen (-zn), night'-ly (nīt'-), grēaş'-y, côugh'-ing (kawf'-).
III. Shepherd (sheep-herd); frozen (explain the suffix en); doth (th); nipped (ed)
IV. Nipped, brooding.
V. “Ways be foul” (i. e., bad roads). Why is the owl called “staring"?
“Parson's saw” (saw = a speech or sermon). “ Crabs” (crabapples). “Keel the pot” (cool it).
XIX.-DOTHEBOYS HALL. 1. Mrs. Squeers stood at one of the desks, presiding over an immense basin of brimstone and treacle, of which delicious compound she administered a large installment to each boy in succession, using for the purpose a common wooden spoon, which might have been originally manufactured for some gigantic top, and which widened every young gentleman's mouth considerably, they being all obliged, under heavy corporal penalties, to take in the whole of the bowl at a gulp.
2. There was a long row of boys waiting, with countenances of no pleasant anticipation, to be treacled, and another file who had just escaped from the infliction, making a variety of wry mouths indicative of anything
but satisfaction. The whole were attired in such motley, ill-assorted, extraordinary garments, as would have been irresistibly ridiculous, but for the foul appearance of dirt, disorder, and disease, with which they were associated.
3. “Now,” said Squeers, giving the desk a great rap with his cane, which made half the little boys nearly jump out of their boots, “is that business over?”
“ Just over,” said Mrs. Squeers, choking the last boy in her hurry, and tapping the crown of his head with the wooden spoon to restore him. “Here, you Smike! take away now. Look sharp!”
4. Smike shuffled out with the basin, and Mrs. Squeers, having called up a little boy with a curly head, and wiped her hands upon it, hurried after him into a species of wash-house, where there was a small fire and a large kettle, together with a number of little wooden bowls which were arranged upon a board.
5. Into these bowls Mrs. Squeers, assisted by the hungry servant, poured a brown composition which looked like diluted pincushions without the covers, and was called porridge. A minute wedge of brown bread was inserted in each bowl; and when they had eaten their porridge by means of the bread, the boys ate the bread itself, and had finished their breakfast; whereupon Mr. Squeers said, in a solemn voice, "For what we have received, may the Lord make us truly thankful!” and went away to his own.
6. After some half-hour's delay, Mr. Squeers reappeared, and the boys took their places and their books, of which latter commodity the average might be about one to eight learners. A few minutes having elapsed, during which Mr. Squeers looked very profound, as if he had a perfect apprehension of what was inside all the books, and could say every word of their contents by heart if he only chose to take the trouble, that gentleman called
the first class. 7. Obedient to this summons, there ranged themselves in front of the schoolmaster's desk half-a-dozen scarecrows, out at knees and elbows, one of whom placed a torn and filthy book beneath his learned eye.
“ This is the first class in English spelling and philosophy, Nickleby,” said Squeers, beckoning Nicholas to stand beside him. “We'll get up a Latin one, and hand that over to you. Now, then, where's the first boy?”
8. “Please, sir, he's cleaning the back-parlor window," said the temporary head of the philosophical class.
“So he is, to be sure!” rejoined Squeers. “We go upon the practical mode of teaching, Nickleby—the regular education system. C-l-e-a-n, clean; verb active, to make bright, to scour. W-i-n, win, d-e-r, der, winder; a casement. When the boy knows this out of the book he goes and does it. It's just the same principle as the use of the globes. Where's the second boy ?”
9. “Please, sir, he's weeding the garden,” replied a small voice.
“ To be sure,” said Squeers, by no means disconcerted, “ so he is! B-o-t, bot, t-i-n, tin, bottin, n-e-y, ney, bottinney; noun substantive, a knowledge of plants. When he has learned that bottinney means a knowledge of plants, he goes and knows 'em. That's our system, Nickleby; what do you think of it?”
10. “It's a very useful one, at any rate," answered Nicholas, significantly.
“I believe you,” rejoined Squeers, not remarking the emphasis of his usher. “Third boy, what's a horse ?”