« السابقةمتابعة »
the artery (a), and drives the blood through when taken out of the water ; on the other it to all parts of the body; from whence it hand, those fish which live near the bottom is again returned by the veins to the right of the water, or in the mud, have a comauricle of the heart. This explanation paratively small requirement for oxygen, will show you how it is that in the arteries and sustain life for a long while after they only there is any pulsation, since in those are caught. The proverb, “ Dead as a vessels only can the impulse of the con- herring," has probably arisen from the sudtraction of the heart be communicated to denness of the death of that fish upon its the contained fluid." Each pulse at the removal from the water. Mr. Yarrell wrist records a contraction of the left ven- states that perch (a common fresh-water tricle of the heart, and the driving of a species) has an extraordinary power of refresh supply of blood over the whole human taining life; and that these fish are “conframe.
stantly exhibited in the markets of Catholic I have now explained the anatomy of countries, and if not sold, are taken back the most complicated heart, and if you to the ponds, from which they were removed will think over what I have said to you in the morning, to be reproduced another about it, you will have no difficulty in day.” A rare little fish, known by the forming an idea of all the other varieties name of the Anglesea morris, has been of this organ in the lower animals, since known to live after having been carried in all are constructed upon a similar principle. brown paper in a gentleman's pocket for This will be rendered the more easy if you three hours. The carp, a common resident observe that the heart which I have de- in the ponds of the West of England, is scribed is double, and has two auricles, and also singularly tenacious of life, as might two ventricles, four cavities in all. In be anticipated from its ground-haunting fishes there are only two cavities, i. e. one habits. Your grandfather, when a boy, auricle, and one ventricle; and the blood was present on an occasion when the water having passed from the gills into the pul. was " let off” from a large fish-pond, in monary vein (a), goes directly forwards which were a great number of this mudinto the vessel (a), Fishes, therefore, loving fish, and about fifty of the smaller have no pulse in their bodies.
fry were given to him. They were packed The gills, or lungs of fishes, are formed in a basket with damp straw, carried a disof an immense number of small blood-tance of more than ten miles, and after vessels, or capillaries, arranged in loops being out of water for nearly three hours, like fringe, and covered with a thin and on a fine warm day, were found to be alive transparent membrane, resembling gold at the end of their journey. They were beater's skin. This membrane loses its turned into a small
nd, when five or six transparency when it becomes dry, and in only, out of the whole number, were disdrying, contracts, and thus impedes 'the covered to be unable to resume their ordicirculation of the blood through the fringe nary activity.
Moreover, the blood in its The class of animals called Fishes are passage through the gills, when the fish is for the most part oviparous. The term is out of water, dries up, and becomes thick- derived from two words meaning “egg," ened, and unfit to circulate. You will and “to be born ;" it signifies that the now see how it is that these organs be- young are produced from eggs. Almost come unable to abstract oxygen from the every person has seen the roe of the comair, and how it happens that the fish can mon herring. This is a mass of eggs, and no longer breathe. "It dies from suffoca- would take you a very long time to count tion, or want of air.
its contents. In a common perch, weighThe power of living out of the water ing half a pound, the number of eggs was varies, nevertheless, extraordinarily in dif- discovered to be no less than two hundred ferent species, but is traceable to the pecu- and eighty thousand! while in a modeliar requirements of the animal in its rate-sized cod-fish, it is estimated that the native element."
The fishes which are in number is usually several thousands of the habit of swimming near the surface of thousands! the water, require, and consume much These arrangements for the reproduction *oxygen, and hence die almost immediately 1 of the species prove how necessary these
'animals are; for such a provision for their A few moments, and another light footmultiplication would not have been made step crossed that stream of sunshine; a unless they fulfilled some important part loving arm was thrown around the young in the great system of nature. What that girl, who raised her head, and turned a part-or what the purpose of the CREATOR sweet hopeful smile upon the pale face in so carefully guarding against their ex- which was now bent upon her own with tinction--may be, has not yet been dis all the earnestness of a sister's love. covered, and must be left for the enlighten- There was sunshine in every expression of ment of future time to determine. In the the girl's face-the richest, brightest sunmeanwhile, let us learn patiently to use shine of life, even that which comes from -such light as may be given to us, assured the hopeful spirit and strong heart within. that the most insignificant portions of the It was this inner light which fell so cheetgreat realm of nature are necessary and ingly upon the path that no outer radiance important parts of a grand scheme which could cheer and lighten. The girl knew ministers to our benefit and joy. Yet let this, alas! too well, while closer sank the us not arrogate to ourselves the sole right long fringes over her eyes, as though it were to happiness in this beautiful scene, but a mockery to raise them ever so little. The remember that the lowliest living thing eyes of the blind girl looked within, and has, in its sphere, a happiness of its own there, in her own true spirit, she found the that we have no right, in mere sport, to light which to all outer sense was lost for destroy.
“How kind, dear Agnes, to hurry back so quickly! Do you know that I have been
indulging in such happy dreams during THE SUNSHINE OF LIFE. your absence, that I almost forgot that my
darling sister was not by my side.” And There was sunshine gleaming through while she spoke the blind girl pressed yet the hazel copse, and upon the little brook closer to the side of that loving sister, and which divided it from an ample garden. suffered her to draw her gently back to the There was sunshine lighting up the latticed couch, when Agnes answered in a cheerful porch and trellis-work of the pretty, cheer-toneful rectory of Dahlwell, which seemed set
“I only stopped to
see poor widow in the midst of a garland of summer Brown, my sweet May, and to tell her that flowers. And there was sunshine creeping we would call together on Monday; but between the clustering roses and vine were the dreams happy, dear one? I leaves which curtained the long, low win- feared that I had done wrong by leaving dow of its little sitting-room; and this you to your own thoughts to-day.” light, so soft and flickering, reflected the “ Agnes, dear, true sister!" exclairred trembling foliage, and lay in rich golden the young girl, while she raised herself for tracery upon the Indian matting that a moment from the circling arm which was covered the floor-as if there were enough thrown around her, “look at me now, and of brightness diffused throughout that tell me if my face wears one shadow more cheerful room, and this bold sunshine was of sadness than it ever did ? I cannot see, willing to lie still, and form a rich mosaic but I feel that there are no thoughts within beneath the small feet which stepped from which should throw gloom without It an old-fashioned damask couch placed at was not always so, Agnes ; you know how the side of the window, towards the case- hard a task it was to fan the tiny sparks of ment: and then the gold tracery rested Hope and Patience into steady Aames tenderly upon the rich brown curls which Often, when I lay through those long dreary fell in silken masses over the shoulders of months in my darkened room, I prayed a young girl, as, leaning her arms upon the that if the blessed light of Heaven "might window-sill, she bent her drooping head never more gladden my eyes, I might die lower and lower, till the bright waving to everything else on earth. These were hair swept the lattice-frame, and mingled wrong, rebellious thoughts, but they have with the sweet flowers and green leaves passed away for ever I trust, and made which clustered thickly round.
room for all the peace and thankfulness
which now fills my heart. So never fear, old age--and the old man felt his spirit my sister, to leave me to my own thoughts, refreshed by the glad hopefulness of youth. when they do but make me stronger and For several years of this happy time of happier-never more weak and sorrowful. learning, the young girls had another com
Marion Leslie had spoken the simple panion in the old study, as well as in their truth, when she told her watchful sister woodland rambles, and pleasant wanderings that her own thoughts could never harm among the sweet glens and bosky hills her. There was an inward strength of which surrounded their home. purpose, and noble abnegation of self in The only brother of the squire of Dahlher brave heart, which won love and ad-well came for a stated time each afternoon, miration from all who knew her sad his to receive more good help in his studies tory, and came prepared to soothe and pity from his kind old master. And though her,
Frank Leonard was full ten years the senior Agnes and Marion were the orphan of little May Leslie, and was, moreover, children of an artillery officer ; their mo- so good a specimen of the true student, in ther dying when they were very young, all calm abstraction, and quiet earnestness, they were placed under the care of their there never was a gentler friend, or one maternal grandfather, an earnest, single- readier to help on, and join in the childish minded old clergyman, who held a small pleasures of the young maiden, than this living in one of the prettiest villages in same grave, loving student.
In truth, any Yorkshire. He had been several years a stranger who might have invaded the sancwidower, when the two motherless children tity of the tutor's study during the hours of his only daughter were given to shed when it was only used for its legitimate new light and happiness round his desolate purpose, would have seen at once that the hearth. They were the unceasing delight young man, who appeared to be so devoutly of the good old man's heart, and never poring over his Euclid, showed almost as were children's lives more truly what they much devotion to the pretty, graceful little ought to be, than those which the rector's learner, who drew her seat beside him, grandchildren led. Even as they grew up and, perhaps, took rather more brotherly to girlhood, and the death of their surviva interest in her studies than there was occaing parent left them entirely under the sion for, seeing that her grandfather was as guardianship of their grandfather, they close to her on the other side. seemed to lose none of their innocent hap- So passed these well-spent years peacepiness ; it was only merged in new delighis, fully away, until the girls grew up into won from the rich stores of knowledge graceful women. Few sorrows had as yet which the powerful mind of their beloved been theirs, except the sorrow of saying guardian unfolded for their instruction. It good-bye to Frank Leonard, when he left was in truth a sweet sight to look upon, his native country home, and pleasant when, in the cheerful long library of Dahl- studies, for a lucrative appointment in well Rectory, the old man sat between the India. His departure had caused a sad two fair creatures, who nestled close beside blank in the little circle at the Rectory: him, and read them rare lessons from his The good old man missed the intellectual choice heavy tomes-not the less precious companionship of his young pupil ; Agnes that they were in part made clearer and missed his reauy help in all her serious lighter to the young minds of his grand-studies; and May missed those words of children, by his own plain alterations
and encouragement, and the kind smile which, explanations ; and a sweeter sight still
to after her grandfather's approval, were the watch the sunny faces, and bright eyes of rewards she prized the most. Even the the girls, as they raised them intently to huge carved oaken chair, which had always the mild, earnest countenance of their been Frank's seat, seemed to miss him too. Reverend teacher, whose white hair fell in Still standing in its accustomed place, it
even upon his shoulders. was the only unused chair in the room, and Rare and precious hours were those passed looked as stiff and uneasy as in reality
it in the quiet study, both for the taught and was. the teacher; for the young learned, how Still years sped rapidly on, and found holy and sacred is the experience of wise and left the Rectory at Dahlwell the same
abode of peace it had ever been. Time, once convinced that all hope of regaining which had ripened the beauty of the or- her sight was over, she rose from the dark phan sisters, from bud to blossom, and laid ened couch in all the trust and patience of à richer hue on the sunny tresses and glow- her pure womanly nature. She felt it'her ing cheeks of May Leslie, and a deeper turn to soothe and cheer now; and it was tint to the thoughtful eyes of her graver indeed marvellous to see that brave young sister, had been as kind and true to the creature so strong-hearted and cheerful, noble brow and heart of their dear guardian. with the same bright smile, and the same His clustering curls still hung in snowy clear, ringing tones of mirth ever on her whiteness over the collar of his sable cas- lips, tempered a little by what she would sock, and his kindly blue eyes beamed call her“ wholesome sorrow.” It was brightly as ever in all human sympathy and wonderful, too, to see how readily shie christian charity.
moved along the old passages, and reached The long accounts which Frank regularly her favourite books from their familiar forwarded of his success in his new sphere, places on the study shelves; and then, were an unfailing source of pleasure to the taking her accustomed place between her old man, and scarcely less welcome to his grandfather's arm-chair and the vacant seat, granddaughters, for they always found a which was still called Frank Leonard's, portion of his letters devoted to them and with upturned face (that her dear friends the remembrance of old happiness. might see the smile was safe), she sat, and
Marion had reached her eighteenth year, listened to the holy teaching of that rare when a fever broke out in the village; old scholar, Jeremy Taylor, whose works from the dwellings of the poor to the houses were such choice favourites with the good of the wealthy, it passed with fearful rapidity. rector. Or Agnes would read to them from The squire of Dahlwell was one of its first that treasury of golden thoughts and sayvictims; and from offering the last conso- ings, and of sweetest melodies of divine lations of religion to his dying pupil, the poesy, laid up for us by our Shakspeare. rector returned to find his youngest grand-Or, oftener still than these, the old man child in the wild delirium of the disease. would open his large Bible, and turn to
After a severe struggle, the youth and that blessed history of Him whose whole excellent constitution of May Leslie
one long harmony of love, and vailed, and she was pronounced out of mercy, and charity: and so he read on, danger. Slowly, very slowly, did the re- in his deep and sonorous voice, of the turning strength of their darling reward the Saviour's love and pity, and ever-present fond sister and grandfather for their anxious help for those who seek it;" of strength watchings round her sick-bed; but more given to the weak, health to the sick in slowly still did the strength and brightness body, and sweet forgiveness to the troubled which had always beamed in her clear, soul: and read, too, with a voice perhaps beautiful eyes, seem to return. All the less strong and clear than was his wont
, weakness yet lingering after her severe ill- how the touch of that blessed One had ness, appeared to have concentrated itself, given sight to the closed eyes, which opened and fixed upon this most srecious gift at his word, and “gave glory to God."... sight. For many weeks Agnes and the May knew so well the thoughts which old man kept constant watch within a dark- were on one of these occasions busy in the ened room, and round a darkened couch. loving heart of her grandfather--for they The most eminent practitioners from the were almost the echoes of what had once neighbouring cities were summoned; but been her own—that she clasped the hand skill and patience were equally unavailing. she held within both hers more fondly, In an agony of grief, the loving friends and with a smile said gently: "You learned that their sweet May--the bright- would hardly grieve for me, dear grandeyed, happy girl of a few months back-papa, if you knew how truly in spirit was irretrievably, hopelessly blind. that prayer of the blind man has been
It was in the season of bitter sorrow answered to your blind girl. which followed the announcement of this hand of the blessed Jesus had touched sad truth, that the true courage and noble- these eyelids, not indeed to unclose them ness of May Leslie's spirit was shown; ) to the light of the outer world, but to give
As if the
a clearer, purer sight of the hidden trea- this feeling of hers May had no sympathy. sures of spiritual light and peace. Were Her only answers to her sister's reiterated it not for this inner brightness, how should expressions of pleasure at the prospect of I bear the darkness which seems spread having their old companion back, were the between me, and you, and Agnes, and every tears which fell so quickly upon the prefamiliar object in this dear old room. cious letter—for precious it was to May Thank our Father in Heaven, dearest Leslie's heart, though it called forth a grandpapa, that he had compassion on your show of more sorrow than joy. Nobly as poor hlind child, and poured the precious she had conquered all vain repinings for light of love and peace into her darkened the blessing she had lost, the struggle heart. And pray, too, that no shadow of must begin anew now. Frank Leonard doubt or complaining may ever cloud it would be at Dahlwell in a day or two-but again."
she would not see him. He would perhaps And earnestly the old man did pray for often, as in old times, share her grandfather's his sweet, patient grandchild; while not the hours of study, and give his ready help to less earnestly were the girl's own thoughts Agnes in hers—while she must only sit and raised to the Giver of light and life. listen—not even look upon that bright
Thus strengthened and held up by Faith smile which had been so dear to her from and Hope, her darkened life passed happily her very childhood, and which was even now along; she listened, if she could not read, so fondly cherished among other sweet, sad and her voice was cheerful as ever; her remembrances of light and beauty-lost to step as true and light as in other days; her for ever. and often in the twilight she would sing the Agnes knew the cause of her sister's sweet old melodies which her grandfather grief too well to offer any words of soothloved to hear, till the old man wept for very ing; she could only fold the weeping girl joy, and blessed her in his heart for the more tenderly in her arms, and kiss the true brave spirit she really was.
fevered brow which rested against her The sisters still sat in their own quiet shoulder; but before the last gleam of a sitting-room, where we first introduced golden sunset had passed away from the them to our readers, when the good rector latticed window-frame, with its garniture of entered, his face beaming with pleasure, as vine-leaves and china roses, the shadow he placed an open letter in Agnes' hand, which had fallen on May Leslie's spirit and seating himself on the other side of had passed away, and she stood with Agnes the blind girl, said, while he kissed the at the open casement, with a calm, happy fair cheek which was upturned to him: smile, and cheerful voice, talking over the "Good news, my sweet child! we shall return of Frank Leonard to Dahlwell. have our old friend, Frank Leonard, here in two days at farthest. He writes me from A year had fleeted past since Frank London, saying how anxious he is to be Leonard's return, and again the light of a among us all again, and sends more re- summer's sun shone brilliantly through the membrances, than I can deliver to his deep glades and stately woods which surdear little sisters' as he calls you. Agnes rounded his home, and lit up its many winwill read his letter, for I promised to go to dows with a broad stream of radiance, until the Hall and see Harris about some little it looked more like some golden palace of preparations he wishes to make in honour fairy-land, than the grey old English hall of his new master's arrival; and the ringers it really was ; and, through the stained have been to ask if they may give the Squire diamond panes of a deep mullioned window, a peal of welcome. The whole village is which opened upon a blooming rosery, this rejoicing at Frank's return."
stream of sunshine fell upon the interior b. Long after the old man left them, the of a small chamber, known for long years, sisters bent over Frank Leonard's letter.at Dahlwell, as the “ Lady's Room.” Agnes hailed his coming to the house of There, before an antique ebony book-case his fathers with the same feelings with and cabinet, stood Agnes Leslie, completwhich she would have welcomed the return ing the arrangement of a row of dark old of a dear brother ; but with the usual tact volumes, which contrasted strangely with sof womanly observation, fshe saw that in the handsomely bound, modern looking