Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub
[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

This noble songster, the pride of the American topmost branch of a tall bush or tree in the forest, forest, is peculiar to the New World. So greatly pours out his admirable song, which, amid the mulsuperior are its powers of melody to those of any titude of notes from all the warbling host, still rises European bird, that long after the discovery of the pre-eminent, so that his solo is heard alone, and all western continent, reports of its existence were the rest of the musical choir appear employed in treated as a mere fable, akin to the other unnatural mere accompaniments to this grand actor in the marvels with which an excited imagination peopled sublime opera of nature.” Nor is the power our vast forests. And this skepticism will appear of the Mocking-bird confined to mere imitation. the more excusable when we remember that few His native tones are sweet, bold and clear; these persons, who have never heard the mocking-bird, he blends with the borrowed music in such a manhave any sufficient conception of his powers of imi- ner as to render the whole a complete chorus of tation, the sweetness of his melody, or the wildness song. While singing he spreads his wings, elevates of his native tones. When these are in full display, his head, and moves rapidly from one position to the forest resounds with a succession of notes, another. Some observers have even fancied a reas though from every warbler of the grove, so that gularity in his motions, as though keeping time to the listener, instead of believing that he hears only his own music. Not unfrequently he darts high into one bird, seems to be surrounded with myriads. the air with a scream which at once silences every Nor is this power confined to imitations of song. warbler of the grove. With the strains of the Thrush and Warbler, chime Writers on Ornithology have sometimes amused in the wail of the Whippoor-will, the crowing of the themselves by comparing the powers of the Mockingcock, and the loud scream of the eagle. The mewing bird with those of the Nightingale. Barrington, a of cats, the whistling of man, and the grating sounds of distinguished British naturalist, who had heard the brute matter, form variations to this singular chorus, American bird, declares him to be equal to the Nightblended and linked together in so artful a manner as ingale in every respect, but thinks the song spoiled to surpass immeasurably every performance of the by frequent mixture of disagreeable sounds. On this kind in the whole range of animated creation. “With opinion Wilson has the following remarks: the dawn of morning," says Nuttall, “while yet “If the Mocking-bird be fully equal to the song the sun lingers below the blushing horizon, our of the Nightingale, and, as I can with confidence sublime songster in his native wilds, mounted on the add, not only to that, but to the song of almost every

other bird, beside being capable of exactly imitating, and at first fed regularly every half hour, on milk
various other sounds and voices of animals, his thickened with Indian meal. This should occasion.
Vucal powers are unquestionably superior to those ally be mingled with cherries, strawberries, cedar-
of the Nightingale, which possesses its own native berries, insects, especially spiders, and fine gravel.
notes alone. Further, if we consider, as is asserted by Meat, cut very fine, is also given. Attempts, par-
Mr. Barrington, that one reason of the Nightingale's tially successful, have been made to breed them in
being more attended to than others is, that it sings in confinement.
the night; and if we believe, with Shakspeare, that The Mocking-bird is found in all our forests from
The Nightingale, if she should sing by day,

the Great Lakes to Mexico. It was once abundant When every goose is cackling, would be thought in the neighborhood of Philadelphia, but has been No better a musician than a Wren,

driven thence by the amateur sportsman. It delights, what must we think of that bird who, in the glare of however, in a warm climate, and especially one day, when a multitude of songsters are straining like that of Carolina, low, and near the sea. From their throats in melody, overpowers all competition, the middle of April to the middle of May embraces and by the superiority of bis voice, expression and the time of building, the season varying with the action, not only attracts every ear, but frequently climate and nature of the spring. The nest is mostly strikes dumb his mortified rivals, when the silence placed upon a solitary thorn or cedar-bush, often close of night, as well as the bustle of the day, bear wit

to the habitation of man, whose society this bird ness to his melody; and whenever in captivity, in seems to court. The eggs are four or five in number, a foreign country, he is declared, by the best judges blue, with large brown spots. The female rears in that country, to be fully equal to the song of their two broods in a season, during which time she sweetest bird in its whole compass ? The supposed is closely guarded, fed and enlivened by the male. degradation of his song by the introduction of extra- The courage of these birds in defending their young neous sounds and unexpected imitations, is in fact is astonishing. During the period of incubation, one of the chief excellencies of this bird, as these neither cat, dog, animal por man can approach the changes give a perpetual novelty to the strain, keep nest without being attacked. Their great enemy is attention constantly awake, and impress every hearer the black-snake. When the male perceives this with a deeper interest in what is to follow. In wily foe, he darts rapidly upon it, and to avoid its short, if we believe in the truth of that mathematical bite, strikes rapidly about the head and eyes, until axiom, that the whole is greater than a part, all that the enemy, blinded and baffled, hastens to retreat. is excellent or delightful, amusing or striking, in the But his little antagonist pursues, redoubling his efforts music of birds, must belong to that admirable songster, until the snake is killed. Then joining his mate, the whose vocal powers are equal to the whole com- victor pours forth his loudest strains, seemingly in pass of their whole strains.”

celebration of his good fortune. Confinement does not seem to have much effect The Mocking-bird is nine and a half inches long, upon the Mocking-bird's song. In the cage it is a most and thirteen broad. The upper parts of the head, agreeable pet, seeming to exert itself to give pleasure. neck and back are a brownish ash color. The wings Even at night, when all else is hushed to rest, it and tail nearly black, tipped with white. The male pours forth its magical notes, which ring along the is distinguished by having the whole nine primaries solitary haunts of man with strange cadence, and as of the wings of a clear white, while but seven are of echoes of a more beautiful sphere. Its chief plea- that color in the female, with whom also the color sure consists in deceiving the animals of the house inclines to dun. The tail is cuneiform; the legs and hold. “He whistles for the dog,” says the author feet strong and black; bill of the same color; the eye quoted above, “Cæsar starts up, wags his tail, and yellowish, inclining 10 golden. His plumage, like runs to meet his master. He squeaks out like a hurt that of the nightingale, is sober and pleasing, and his chicken, and the hen hurries about with hanging figure neat, active and inspiriting. wings and bristled feathers, clucking to protect her A bird, called by Nuttall, the Mountain Mockinginjured brood. The barking of the dog, the mewing bird, possesses considerable powers of imitation. It of the cat, the creaking of a passing wheelbarrow, is found on the vast table-lands of Oregon and Mexico. follow with great truth and rapidity. He repeats the It is smaller than its valuable relative, somewhat tune taught him by his master, fully and faithfully.” different in shape and color, and possesses much Those taken when wild are the best singers; when power and sweetness of tone. The eggs are emerald raised by hand they should be kept perfectly clean, green. Little, however, is known of this bird.

THE OLD YEAR AND THE NEW.

!

BY CLARA.

HERE, on the threshold of the year, we feel

New thoughts. New plans perplex the mental view,
And fain would we endeavor thus to heal

The Old Year's disappointments in the New.

As ends the year, to us all time must end

As time's knell soundeth, so our knell must toll Oh! may our lives so pass, that we may mend

The BODY's sorrows in the RISEN SOUL.

THE LOST NOTES.

BY MRS. HUGHS.

66

"You could not have made your application at a made great efforts in his favor. It is unnecessary more apropos time, my good fellow," said a pale, for me to trouble you with all the particulars; suffice emaciated invalid, who was seated on an easy chair it to say, that the person who had intended to sell in his own chamber, addressing a fine, intelligent took a mortgage on the place, for two thousand dollooking young man near him; “I had exactly the lars, still retaining the right which the court had sum you want paid to me very unexpectedly yester. given, of making a sale at any moment that he chose. day. I had the good fortune some years ago to assist This mortgage and privilege he last year transferred a friend with a few hundred dollars, but though the 10 old Hinkley, and he, though his interest has been money was serviceable at the time, he eventually regularly paid, and though he has never even asked became a bankrupt, and as I had only his note for for the principal, is, I find, about 10 seize upon and the loan, I never expected to receive any thing from sell the property.” him. Yesterday, however, he came and put into my "Is it possible? Are you sure of it? Have you hand two bank notes of a thousand dollars each, heard it from himself ?" which was the amount of my own money and the “ Yes; I went to him as soon as I had an intimalegal interest upon it. I am very happy 10 be able tion on the subject, and found him determined; nor to accommodate you, though I am sorry at the same could I prevail upon him to promise to give me any tiine to find you are under the necessity of bor- time to look about me, except on a condition, which rowing.”

he had before proposed to me, but which I cannot "It is a painful circumstance,” replied the other, possjbly comply with." but happily it does not arise from any fault of my “And what may that be ?" asked the master of the own."

house. “I never imagined it did,” returned the master of That I would consent to become his son-in-law,” the house, “and consequently had no hesitation in replied Norman, whilst his cheeks became tinged promising to assist you. But pray, may I ask what with a color noi unworthy of a young girl. has occasioned so painful a necessity ?"

"Truly, I should suppose that would be no very - I came with the full intention of explaining it unacceptable proposal,” returned Mr. Woodford, to you,” said the young man, whom we will here with a smile. “ Maria Hinckley is a very sweet, introduce to our readers by the name of Norman pretty girl, and is generally thought a very amiable Horton. “Do not leave the room, Lucy, I beg,” he one. Beside which, it is well known she will have continued, addressing a lovely girl, who had hitherto a very handsome fortune." sat sewing at a distant window, but who at this mo- “That is all very true, and I admire Maria ex. ment rose to quit the apartment. “I have nothing ceedingly; but, unfortunately, there is an insurmountto say that I would not wish you to hear.”

able obstacle in the way.” “I am sure you have not," said Mr. Woodford, “You mean, I suppose, that you are not in love, "so sit still, Lucy dear.” Then turning, as his whatever she may be." daughter resumed her seat and her work, to Horton, “I have no reason to imagine that she is any more he added, “ My lease of life is so nearly expired that in love with me than I am with her.” I am afraid to let my nurse leave me even for a few “But may it not be worth while, my young friend,” minutes, lest my warning to quit should come when said Mr. Woodford, in a serious tone, “to consider she is away from me. The spasms to which I have whether this love which young people are so apt to for some time been subject have of late increased so think indispensable, is really so essential as they much in violence, that I believe my physicians have imagine. I am myself disposed to think that if there liitle hope of my surviving another. But I am in- is care taken to choose a partner with amiable disterfering with your explanation, which I am anxious positions and correct principles, there would be as to hear; for, though so nearly done with this world much real happiness found in the end, as if they myself, I still retain my interest in the welfare of allowed themselves to be wholly guided by the love those l esteem. So go on, Norman, and let me hear that is proverbially blind." what you were going to say."

“But if the litile god has happened to stumble in “You are aware," returned Horton, with an ex- the way first,” said Horton, laughing, “what is to be pression of countenance that proved the subject to done then ?" be a painful one to him, “that my poor father fre- Ah, true, that is another matter. I forgot at the quently involved himself in difficulties. At one time time what was whispered about that pretty little he became so embarrassed that his farm was con- Miss Shirley, who paid your mother so long a visit demned by the court, and would have been sold by last summer. She was, indeed, a very fine girl, and the sheriff, had not his friends, for my mother's sake, , as she and Lucy have been such great friends ever

since they became acquainted, I would advise you, who had now recovered her voice and natural if you are not quite sure of your ground, to bespeak color, and immediately left the room. the interest of your old school-fellow and playmate. “ It seems a strange thing," said Mr. Woodford, What say you, Lucy? You would do your best to turning to his companion, “that I should be so care. aid Norman's cause, would you not ?" But Lucy, less about such a sum of money; but the fact is, I who had before been sewing at a wonderful rate, had already set my house in order, as far as money just at the moment her father appealed to her, hap-matters are concerned, and was therefore almost pened 10 drop her needle, so that when he paused sorry to have my mind called back to such a subject, for a reply, she was 100 much occupied in searching from things of so much higher importance.” the carpet to give it.

“ There is one thing, however, in the business," "Let me assist you,” said Horton, but before he said Norman, “which cannot fail to be gratifying, reached the place where the needle bad dropt, she and that is the proof your friend has given of his had found it, and risen from her bending posture. honorable feelings."

“Why, my child, you have sent all the blood of “Yes, that gave me sincere pleasure; and, indeed, your body into your face, by stooping to search for I do n't pretend to say that the money itself was not that foolish needle,” said her father. And, indeed, very acceptable, for though we have had enough to the poor girl's face was a perfect scarlet, and the live upon comfortably whilst all together, it will be beautifully defined shades of white and red, which but a small portion for each when divided amongst were amongst her striking beauties, were com- my large family." pletely destroyed.

Lucy now returned to the room, but with a look “You hav n't told us yet,” continued the father, as of disappointment. The notes were no where to be Lucy made a slight effort to shake back the bright found. Again and again she was sent on various auburn tresses which seemed to try to curtain her errands of search, but all proved equally fruitless. face till it recovered its usual hue, “whether you “ I should not wonder, after all," said the invalid, will give Norman your vote and interest.”

“if I merely put them into my pocket till you came "Oh, certainly, papa! Norman knows well enough home;" and as he spoke he began to draw one piece it will always give me pleasure to be of service to of paper out of his pockets after another-but the him," said the young girl, but in consequence, per right ones were not there. haps, of the blood having been forced into her head, " Papa," said Lucy, and the color almost forsook her voice had not ils sweet silvery sound, but seemed her cheeks, “ you gave me some paper out of your husky and scarcely audible.

pocket last night to light the lamp with." "As soon as I have settled Hinckley's affair, I be- * And what sort of paper was it?" asked the lieve I shall be tempted to come and make a trial of father. your kindness,” said the young man; “but as long “It was too dark for me to see it, but it felt soft as I am in his clutches, it would be inexcusable in and thin. me to try to involve any other person in my for- “Was it single or duuble ?" tunes."

“It was double; but I cannot tell whether it was “We will soon give him his quietus,” returned in one or two pieces." Mr. Woodford; "Lucy, dear, where did I put those “What did you do with the part that was not notes ?"

consumed? If the number is left, the money may "I do n't know, papa, I never saw them. Indeed still be obtained." I didn't know you had received them till I heard " I threw it into the fire," replied Lucy, in a mourn you mention it just now."

ful tone. "That's strange! You are always with me, and “ Then I am afraid it is gone,” said the father. know every thing I either do or say."

“But keep up your spirits, Norman, I have promised "But you know you sent me yesterday morning to my aid, and you shall have it, unless death overtake see brother Henry, when sister sent word he was me before I have time to make the arrangement. I sick; and I suppose the gentleman came while I was cannot think of letting one so deserving be trodden away.”

on by the foot of persecution." "Ah, true, so he did; and where was I dear-what “For myself,” returned Horton, “ it would not be room was I in. Sickness has destroyed my memory of much consequence to have to begin the world 80 entirely that I cannot remember any thing." again, even with very limited means. I am young

"I left you in the breakfast-room reading, and and healthy, and have had an education which has when I came back, you were in this room lying put many resources in my power. But my poor down."

mother! It would go hard, indeed, at her age, and “Yes, I remember now, I felt what I thought with her delicate health, to be turned away from Ibe were premonitory symptoms of spasms, and hastened scene of all her early pleasures, and which is er10 lie down. But no doubt I put the notes by first, deared to her by a thousand tender associations." though where I don't recollect. Go, dear, and “It must not be,” said the invalid; "and I will look in my desk. You will probably find them in see after the business as soon as I have taken a little the large red pocket-book or in one of the little rest; but at present I feel rather exhausted.” drawers, or"

Horton then took leave, and Lucy, after assisting "I will look everywhere, papa," interrupted Lucy, l her father to lie down, resumed her accustomed seat, and began to sew, her active mind keeping pace with bad my desk open to write a receipt, and I may perher no less active fingers. With painful anxiety baps have put the notes in that drawer.” she dwelt on the state of her only surviving parent, “But, papa, you will be left alone," objected the and on the loneliness and destitution in which she daughter. would be left were he to be taken from her. It was "Send your aunt to me," returned the invalid, true she had a brother older than herself, but she re- "and look well, for I am exceedingly anxious on membered with a sigh, how little either he or his wife poor Norman's account." were calculated to fill up the vacuum. The rest of Lucy did as desired, but with a faint and trembling the children were all younger than herself, and were heari; first, however, dispatching one of her brothers consequently of an age rather 10 require protection to summon the doctor, for there was a something about than to render it. A sister of her father's had pro- her father's look that seemed to say, they would mised to remain with the younger branches of the soon be an orphan family. family, but though a well-meaning woman, she was The writing-desk was diligently searched, and but a poor substitute for the parent that was about to every paper it contained carefully examined, but in be taken from her. Then her thoughts would turn vain, and she was just turning the key to lock it to Norman Horton's embarrassments, and to the again, when she was hastily called by her aunt, who distress of his poor mother-and the tears of sym- said her father had made two or three attempts to pathy often filled her soft beautiful eyes, though they speak, but she could not understand him. Lucy ran were as often dashed away, lest they should be with all the speed of which she was capable to the observed by her father. Indeed, the gentle, self-bed-side of the invalid, but could scarcely restrain a denying girl, had learnt to deprive herself, almost scream of horror at sight of the frightful change that wholly, of the luxury of tears, from an anxiety to had taken place in the few minutes she had been keep her parent's mind composed and tranquil. But absent. The blueness that she had before observed nature would sometimes have its course, and on this around his mouth had extended to his lips, and his day it was unusually imperative. “It would be whole face wore that expression that all who have strange if I did not feel for Mrs. Horton,” she argued attended the bed of death know as the indications of with herself, as if anxious to find an excuse for the approaching dissolution. The moment she appeared tears which in spite of her utmost efforts would he motioned to her to put her head close to his course each other down her cheeks. " It would be mouth, when he said, in a voice scarcely audible, most ungrateful of me did I not do so, for ever since “I know now, they are in the" but the last word, mother's death she has behaved to me with even though evidently spoken, could not be heard. maternal tenderness. It is true I have not seen much “Never mind the notes, dear papa," cried Lucy, of her of late, but that is certainly not owing to any in an agony of distress, "only keep yourself comfault of hers." The truth is that since the visit of posed and let them take their chance." Miss Shirley to Mrs. Horton, Norman and Lucy had But the dying man shook his head, and again almet much less frequently than formerly. That young tempted to speak. “Look in the" bui again the lady had hinted to Lucy the probability of an en- word died away, and though the anxious girl laid gagement taking place between herself and Norman, her ear close to the blue and stiffening lips, she was and as he had since that time been a much less fre unable to catch a shadow of the sound which they quent visiter at Mr. Woodford's, Lucy concluded emitted. After lying a few minutes as if to collect that the engagement had actually taken place. It the small portion of strength yet remaining, the was a subject which she had never ventured either sufferer made another effort, and again Lucy put to inquire into, or even to examine her own bosom her ear to his now cold lips, and stretched every upon, for though in the habit of scrutinizing her faculty to catch the sound, far more, however, for thoughts and feelings on all others, on this one she the sake of satisfying him, than on account of the was a complete coward, and preferred remaining in money itself; but the word “in” was all she could ignorance to risking the result of an investigation. distinguish. Distressed beyond measure at seeing It was true that from what Norman had said that his ineffectual efforts, she cried, “Don't attempt to morning, it was evident no actual engagement yet speak, dear papa, but let me guess, and if I am right existed, but as it was equally evident that it was a only make a motion of assent." She iben guessed thing he desired, she was determined to use what the breakfast-table drawer, the drawer in her own ever influence she had in forwarding his wishes, work-box, and a variety of similar places, but rethough she at the same time felt ashamed of the ceived no intimation in return. Whilst thus engaged strange sensations that the probability of being called the physican arrived, who, struck with the extreme upon to perform such an office, excited in her mind. stillness of his patient, endeavored to raise his head, She was, however, roused from these interesting but in so doing he found that life was already extinct, though painful reveries by the voice of her father. and the spirit which had made its last effort in an On going to his bed-side she was exceedingly alarmed attempt to aid a fellow-creature, had burst its at the expression of his countenance, and the blue- prison bars. ness round his mouth, which always preceded one We pass over the grief of the mourning family. of his severe attacks.

Those who have never experienced such an affliction "Go, Lucy,” said he, in a feeble voice, “and could have little idea of it from our description, look in the private drawer in my writing-desk. I and those who have already tasted the bitter cup,

« НазадПродовжити »