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the whole body of them took to flight, and left the workmen in full possession of a spot which had been occupied by sea-fowl from time unknown. Only one pair of gulls remained behind; and they had taken their post on a steep ledge of rock out of reach, and seemed to be aware that nothing but shot or stones could dislodge them. Orders were given that they should not be disturbed in their stronghold ; and they soon became accustomed to the noise and bustle, and stayed till their young were reared and in a condition to shift for themselves.
In the next spring the same pair, as was supposed, took possession of their old post; and strict orders, as before, were given on no account to disturb them; and, as a further protection, no fire-arms were allowed to be used. The same pair therefore continued for five following years to visit this ledge-rearing their young, which generally consisted of two, and never more than three, in number.
In the spring of the sixth year, the main body of gulls left the land near, where their nests were continually plundered of their eggs by the young men and boys of the neighbourhood, and took refuge on the island, chiefly at the south side, where they have built every spring since ; and on this spot in particular their artless nests are built in such numbers that it is difficult at times to avoid treading upon them. The keepers of the lighthouse say that even here the gulls are not without their troubles; for a pair of crows come every year at the same time, and build their nest just opposite the Stack, as if for the purpose of harassing them and stealing their eggs. No sooner do the gulls begin to lay, than these two crows are on the look-out-often hovering near, and watching for an opportunity to carry off an egg. The moment these thieves appear, the gulls are in a tumult: those on the nests cower over their eggs; while the others, with screams and threats, do their best to frighten the plunderers away. But the cunning crows usually gain their point: watching an opportunity, down they pounce, pierce an egg with their sharp beak, and fly off with it in a trice.
The gulls, which are on the island in such numbers during the breeding season, leave it for the rest of the year, and are never seen collected in great numbers, except when drawn together by shoals of herrings, or some like cause. It is said by the light-keepers of the lighthouse, that the gulls all return to the South Stack on the same night, on or about the 10th of February. The keepers say that in the middle of the night they are warned of their arrival by a great noise, as it were, of greeting and cheering each other; and that they look to their return as that of so many old acquaintances, after a long absence, announcing that the winter is over and the spring approaching.
In one part of the island a ledge of rock hangs far over the sea, and commands a full view of the various ledges and steeps on which the gulls have established themselves ; and from this ledge they have been watched whilst their wild cry mixed with the roaring of the waves against the rock below. Some of them would fly so near the stranger who sat watching them, that the fanning of their wings could almost be felt; whilst others would alight within a few yards, and, looking at him with a simple stare, repeat their melancholy note. On the other hand, a pair of the large black-backed gulls from time to time sailed by, and then dropping down upon their ledge, examined the stranger with their keen, suspicious eyes.
The common gulls, opening their beaks barely enough to utter a gentle cry, seemed to say, “ We are poor harmless creatures: do not hurt us." The black-backed gulls, the moment they had alighted, opened their beaks as wide as possible, and gave a loud, hearty scream, as much as to say, “ This is our territory: you have no business here."
Not far from the resting-place of the pair of blackbacked gulls, a couple of the common sort had established themselves on a bit of flat rock that made the beholders giddy. Here stood their only offspring-a little grey, downy-covered nestling, with about half an inch between its toes and destruction; for a breath might have blown it over.
But the little tottering bird seemed quite at its ease,--so well taught, that when the old birds one after another returned with food, it shewed none of the eager. ness common to young birds, which would certainly have thrown it off its balance; no movement of its flappers, no stretchings of its neck, no gapings of its mouth. There it stood motionless, as if it knew the danger of the slightest bustling display of pleasure. It was impossible not to feel something like pity for the dull life it was doomed to lead in such a cradle ; for it was plain that from the moment of its leaving its egg-shell to that hour, the only change it could have known must have been that of standing on its right or left leg, or cautiously putting one foot before the other to the distance of a few inches.
It was curious to observe the proceedings of the older birds. The din was unceasing; and some seemed quite spent with screaming or hearing others scream ; for they might be seen flying off from the main body to a retired crag or hollow, as if to rest awhile in perfect silence. Now and then, indeed, as if by common consent, the uproar ceased altogether; and the whole body settled themselves on a rocky slope, interspersed with grass, just below the light-keepers' dwellings: and this was their chief nursery-establishment; for hundreds of young ones were moving about upon it in every stage of growth. No doubt each parent knew perfectly its own offspring, though, generally speaking, all were mixed together; but now and then an old bird would fix its eye upon one of these living grey puff- balls of downy feathers, and then suddenly opening its mouth, would place at the feet of the fledgling a crawful of half-digested shrimps or softened crabs. — From Rev. E. Stanley's History of Birds.
THE DANES-CROYLAND ABBEY.
During the latter years of the Saxon kingdom in England, the country suffered greatly from the inroads of the Danes, a fierce and heathen nation, who landed from their ships on the English shores, and burnt and destroyed all that came within their reach. Their great inroad was made in the year 870; and an account remains of their destroying the great monastery of Croyland. No wonder that the early English Church long afterwards had in their litany a petition, “That it may please Thee to quell the cruelty of our pagan enemies, we beseech Thee to hear us, good Lord !" The aged abbot (or head of the monastery), Theodore, resolving to die at his post, commanded the younger and stronger monks to escape, if possible, into the marshes, and carry with them whatever things of most
value belonged to the monastery. Some precious things they buried; and now, as the fires came nearer and nearer, the party who were to attempt a flight pushed off in the boat, and gained a hiding-place in a wood not far distant.
The abbot, with a few aged men and the young children, dressed themselves for Divine service, which they had scarcely finished, when the Danes broke in. Some the Danes slew outright, the old abbot among the first, who fell at the altar. Some they tortured, to make them discover where their treasure was, and then murdered them.
A little child, called Turgar, of ten years old, kept close to the sub-prior of the monastery, Lethwyn, who had fled into the dining-hall; and seeing Lethwyn slain, besought him that he might die there.
The young Earl Sidroc, who led the party of Danes, was touched with pity at the beauty and innocence of the child: he drew off the little cowl which Turgar wore, and throwing a Danish tunic over him, bade him keep close to his side. His protection saved the child's life: he soon afterwards regained his liberty, and going back to Croyland, found the young monks returned, and attempting to extinguish the fire, which was still raging in many parts of the monastery. From this time the remaining monks continued to dwell among the ruins in great poverty and affliction, and with their numbers lessening from year to year, from twenty-eight to seven, then to five; and at last Turgar only, with two who had grown up with him, remained alive.
Turketul, a noble Saxon at the court of King Edmund, was travelling in the king's service towards York, in 942, when he passed by Croyland. The aged monks, who had now weathered eighty winters, invited him and his train to be their guests. Perhaps in doing this they may have received assistance from the Lincolnshire freeholders of the neighbourhood. They took Turketul to prayers in a little chapel, built in a corner of the ruined church, told him their story, and besought him to intercede with the king for them. He was struck by this picture of patience and aged piety; he gave them a timely supply for their present need; and after a few years more, he obtained leave from King Edred to rebuild the monastery, to endow it with some of his own manors, and he became the first abbot of the new foundation. He carried about the old
monks in a litter to see his new works as they were in progress; set up a new school, which he visited every day, to attend to the advancement of every pupil in it, and was attended by a servant, who carried dried fruits, or apples and pears, to reward those who made the best answers to the pains of their teachers. Here he passed a tranquil old age after his public labours, and died about thirty years from the time of his first visit to the ruins of Croyland.— From Rev. E. Churton's Early English Church.
The repentant Dog. A LADY one fine autumn morning went out to take a walk in the Regent's Park. Her little dog Dash went with her; and when he found himselfin the park, with the grass to scamper upon, he seemed much delighted, and began frolicking to and fro, to shew his joy at being, as he probably thought, in the country. He would run before his mistress for some way, and then run back again, as if to assure her that he did not mean to leave her; and after jumping a little about her, would set off again. All this was very pleasant for Dash and his mistress; but presently they came within sight of some sheep; not nice clean country sheep, but black dismal-looking crea