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1856.]

The Fireside.

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suddenly petrified while sitting at her work. It made me think of Lot's wife.

This is a stupendous geological mystery. Those small blocks with their smooth concave and convex bases, and regular yet diversified sides. And these forming symmetrical columns, morticed together into a columnar pile, and this again supporting a solid mass of rock, on which a smaller series of columns rest, as if nature were endeavoring to make all these columns converge in & Gothic spire pointing to the Great Architect, these are phenomena that fill the beholder with amazing wonder. But what laws of nature, what agents of God, assisted in their erection, and laid those blocks in their places, whether water, flood, or fire, or all, this still remains a matter of doubt and conjecture.

On my return to Belfast the following morning, a young man entered the car at one of the stations, just starting for America. His aged mother and sisters clung to him with moving tenderness, and wept as though the cars were to be his grave. When the train gave the signal for starting, they again rushed to the door of the car, re-embraced him, clasping and wringing their hands in pitiful agony, until the conductor closed the door by force, and the train sped him toward the setting sun. There was something exceedingly affecting in the parting scene of these humble peasants. Perhaps he was the only stay of his aged mother in this poverty-ridden country, and the pride of his sisters. Many were the country comrades that escorted him hither-hale and generous looking youths, who crowded around him in strange confusion to get his parting grasp. As the cars began to move, they shouted him a last farewell with uncovered heads, and his mother and sisters threw up their hands as if to hold the cruel train that tore him from their embrace. Such is life.

DUBLIN, May 10, 1856.

THE FIRESIDE. The fireside is a seminary of infinite importance. It is important because it is universal, and because the education it bestows being woven with the woof of childhood, gives form and color to the whole texture of life. There are few who can receive the honors of a college, but all are graduates of the hearth. The learning of the university may fade from the recollection, its classic lore may molder in the halls of the memory, but the simple lessons of home, enameled upon the heart in childhood, defy the rust of years. So deep, so lasting, indeed, are the impressions of early life, that you often see a man in the imbecility of age holding fresh in his recollection the events of his childhood, while all the wide space between that and the present hour is a blasted and forgotten waste. You have, perhaps, seen an old half obliterated portrait, and in the attempt to have it cleaned and restored you have seen it fade away, while a brighter and still more perfect picture, painted beneath, is revealed to view. This portrait, first drawn upon the Canvass, is an apt illustration of youth, and though it may be concealed by some after design, still the original traits will shine through the outward picture, giving it tone while fresh, and surviving it in decay. Such is the fireside the great institution furnished for our education.

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1856.]

Plea for the Birds.

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PLEA FOR THE BIRDS.

The following interesting passages are from a paper read by Mr. Townsend Glover, before the late meeting of the United States Agricultural Society, and published in the Washington National Intelligencer:

Here, however, let me change the subject, to put in a plea for mischievous birds, which appear to have been sent to keep the “balance of power” in insect life, which insects would otherwise multiply to such a degree as to be perfectly unbearable, and render the agriculturists' toil entirely useless. A farmer keeps a watch-dog to guard his premises, and cats to kill rats and mice in his granary and barn; yet he suffers an "unfeathered biped” to tear down his rails in order to get a chance shot at a robin, wren, or blue bird, which may be unfortunate enough to be on his premises; and yet these very birds do him more good than either dog or cat, working diligently from morn to dark, and killing and destroying insects injurious to his crops, which, if not thus thinned out, would eventually multiply to such an extent as to leave him scarcely any crop whatsoever.

Birds are accused of eating cherries and other fruits. True; but the poor birds merely take a tithe of the fruit to pay for the tree, which, but for their unceasing efforts, would otherwise probably have been killed in its infancy. To exemplify the utility of birds, I will give one or two instances that have occurred under my own observation. Some years ago, I took a fancy to keep bees; accordingly, hives were procured, and books read upon the subject. One day a king-bird or bee-martin was observed to be very busy about the hives, apparently snapping up every straggling bee he could find. Indignant at such a breach of hospitality, as his nest was on the premises, I hastened to the house to procure a gun to shoot the marauder. When I returned, I perceived a grayish bird on the bushy top of a tree, and thinking it was the robber, I fired, and down dropped a poor, innocent Phæbe bird.

Hoping to find some consolation to my conscience for having committed this most foul murder, I inwardly accused the poor little Phæbe of having also killed the bees; and having determined to ascertain the fact by dissecting the bird, it was opened, when, much to my regret and astonishment, it was found to be full of the striped cucumber bugs, and not one single bee. Here I had killed the very bird that had been working for me the whole season, perfectly innocent of the crime for which it was sacrificed. After the circumstances, I determined never to let a gun be fired on the premises, excepting on special occasions; and at present the place is perfectly crowded during spring, summer and autumn with the feathered songsters, which build their nests even in my very porch, and bring up their young perfectly fearless of mankind; and although cherries, strawberries, &c., do suffer, yet the insects are not a quarter as numerous and troublesome as they were formerly.

In the Southern States I have seen the bee-martin chase and capture a boll-worm moth not ten paces from where I stood, and the mocking

bird feeding its nearly grown young on the same insect. Even the ugly toad works for the farmer and gardener, as his food consists of insects more or less injurious. The beautiful and lively green and gray lizards of the Southern States, which are seen running on the fence rail, or amidst the green foliage of trees, shrubs and bushes, and from which they can scarcely be distinguished except when in motion, are ever on the watch for insect prey; and I know of one curious case in which even the mice in the green-house were of service, for they had rooted up the earth round several potted peach trees, in order to devour the chrysalis of the peach-tree borer.

STANZAS— A SCENE OF LIFE.

Upon the eastern sky,
Aurora doth with magic fingers trace
Rich streaks of purple, gold and criinson dye,
Which in their soft and glowing tints defy

All human skill and grace.

Bathed in the flood of light
The red sun rises with the opening day,
Parting the shadowy curtain of the night;
And as he onward travels in his might,
The bright clouds fade away.

So in our youthful dreams,
The star of hope that rises at our birth,
At first with such a dazzling radiance gleams
That to the bounding heart almost it seems

Too glorious for earth.

But dreams fade one by one,
E'en as the clouds that in the morning-dawn
Do but reflect the brightness of the sun,
And even while his race is just begun,
The glowing hues are gone.

Yet Hope's sweet star may light
Our way, with radiance clearer than before ;
For it shall glow far more serenely bright,
And shine by faith throughout the darkest night,

Increasing more and more.

Till, as at twilight hour,
The setting sun doth calmly pass away,
So may we, strengthened with a heavenly power,
Sink to our rest, as Death's dark shadows lower,

And rise to endless day.

“Full many a gem of purest ray serene

The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,

And waste its sweetness on the desert air."

1856.]

Hans Ehrlich and the Orphan.

205

HANS EHRLICH AND THE ORPHAN.

FROM THE GERMAN BY THE EDITOR

CHRISTIAN wept bitterly when his father died. He was only nine years of age, yet he felt keenly the greatness of his loss. Now he was alone in the world, for his mother was already dead several years.

Christian's father had been a weaver. As a sickly man without means he had often been put to the worst. As he could leave neither gold nor goods to his son, he strove the more earnestly to start him in the path of life with good instruction. He was a pious man, and many words of wholesome advice did he address to his son as he sat resting behind his weaver-loom, and when he lay sick in bed. Thus one day he said to his son: “Be of good cheer—you have two fathers. The one, it is true, is only a poor, weak man, who can be but little help to you; but the other is rich and powerful. Yes, He is a Lord above all lords, who cannot only make you happy here, but blessed hereafter. Read diligently good books, and especially the New Testament, and do what is there commanded; thus you will learn ever better to know your Father. When you arise early in the morning, and in child-like simplicity say your morning prayer, you will feel your Father's presence, and he will smile on you as by the beams of the morning sun; and after your evening prayer He will softly close your eyes to sleep, and cause sweet silence and peace to be around you that you may rest under His proctection. As you become more and more active in doing good, and devoted in piety, He will be near you in all that you do, in sorrow and in joy."

Thus kindly and affectionately did the weaver speak to his son Christian. It was the remembrance of this that caused him to weep so bitterly, when the pale and wasted form of the good man lay before him in the coffin, and his fatherly lips were closed forever. He sobbed : “Alas, I am a poor forsaken child! Who now shall befriend and instruct me? Who shall give me bread that I shall not die of hunger ?" In his deep sorrow he did not think of that Father yet living, of whom the dying one had told him.

Christian had several uncles in the village. Two of them were rich, and one was a poor laborer. The name of this last was Hans EHRLICH.

Out of respect rather for themselves than the poor weaver, the two rich uncles came also to his funeral; but when the question came up, “Who will now take care of little Christian?” they made all kinds of excuses. Martin, the miller, thought "his two sons were very wild youths, who would have their own way, and would certainly not get along well with Christian. Besides this, a mill would be no proper place for a poor boy who had yet much to learn; the noisy clattering of his three mills would only confuse his head, because he was not accustomed to it."

Hartwich, the farmer, on the other hand assured them “that he would cheerfully take the poor boy to himself, but he had always so much to

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