TliH MONhKE' STEALING TFHE GOLD SPECTACEI.S
PEEPS INTO THE BOOK OF NATURE
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS
BROADWAY, LUDGATE HILL
NEW YORK: 416, BROOME STREET
MONTHLY MAGAZINES FOR THE
EVERY BOY'S MAGAZINE 6a.
EVERY GIRL'S MAGAZINE 6a.
LITTLE WIDE AWAKE 3.
IN submitting this little book to the perusal
of her young friends, the Authoress is
actuated by a wish to attract their attention
to the study of nature-one of the most
interesting that can occupy the mind: pre-
senting infinite variety, and disclosing in-
It is the earnest wish of the writer of the
following pages, that those who read them
may experience the same delight in con-
templating the wonderful works of God,
which she has felt, whilst enjoying a quiet
ramble in the lovely lanes and woods that
abound in this our beloved and beautiful
IT was the commencement of the Mid-
summer vacation, when little Helen
Melville placed herself at the window,
anxiously waiting the return of the car-
riage from the Station, where it had been
sent to meet her two brothers, George and
Walter, who were coming from school by
the mail train that morning. Mrs. Melville
was sitting at work, and Agnes, her eldest
daughter, was busily engaged finishing a
frock for Dame Goodenough's little baby.
Here they come down the hill," cried
Helen, "there is George waving his hand,
and Walter by the side of papa." Agnei
and her mamma started up to see the tra-
vellers, and they all proceeded to the hall
to welcome them.
"Oh! dear mamma," said George,
springing into his mother's arms, "how
delighted I am to see you, and Agnes, and
Helen, and all at my own dear home."
After these mutual congratulations were
ended, the boys found time to return the
caresses of a beautiful Newfoundland dog,
named Neptune. He was a great favourite,
and expressed his delight by jumping upon
his young masters, and rolling over and
over a pretty little spaniel, called Rover,
who was rather annoyed by the rough
gambols of his companion. In due time,
however, they quietly seated themselves to
enjoy some refreshment after their journey,
and to hear and relate what had happened
during their absence.
After luncheon, the children went out to
visit the garden, and their numerous pets.
Both the girls had worked hard t-, keep
their brothers' gardens in order; and the
pleasure George and Walter expressed at
finding them in such nice condition, amply
repaid their sisters for all their trouble.
The roses were coming into beautiful
bloom; the carnations were tied up, each
blossom separately, the finest with a round
piece of cardboard under the flower, to
keep the calix from bursting, and Agnes
had contrived some little shades, fastened
on sticks, to shelter them from the sun.
They then went to see the ducks and
chickens. Walter was delighted to find
his white duck, Lily, had a brood of thir-
teen little ducklings, and counted five of
them white, like the old one; the rest were
dark. George's guinea-hen was sitting on
fifteen eggs, and would not hatch them for
a fortnight. After giving the poultry
some barley, they proceeded to the field, to
see Frisk, the little pony, who, as soon as
he saw them coming, trotted to meet them.
"How are you, my old friend?" said
George, stroking the nose of the gentle
creature. "I hope we shall have many
walks together, this summer; do you think
mamma will join us in our expeditions, as
she did last year, Agnes?"
Yes," replied Agnes; "mamma says
to-morrow she will take us to see Dame
Goodenough. She must ride Frisk, and
we must walk by her side. Perhaps, if she
is not too tired, we can go on to Wilton."
That will be delightful," said George.
" How kind mamma is; I dearly like a walk
"I hope," said Agnes, Frisk will behave
better, when he goes out with mamma,
than cousin Harry's pony, Dick, did, when
he carried the panniers to the pic-nic last
month. Did you hear of it, George?"
"No," replied George, "I have not
heard anything about it. Do tell me,
Agnes, the whole story."
A RUNAWAY PONY.
"Aunt Howard proposed to have a
pic-nic to Oakdale, and invited many
friends to join her. There were the two
Misses King, and their brothers, John and
William, Mr. and Miss Sloper, and many
others I did not know, making in all a
party of twenty; besides our cousins Jane,
Mary, Harry, and Tom."
"Did you go, Agnes?" inquired Walter.
Mamma could not go with us," said
Agnes, "and she did not like us to go
without her; but I must continue my
story. The provisions were all packed in
two panniers, and Dick was to carry them.
Joe, the little foot-boy, drove the pony,
and was desired to keep him some distance
behind the rest of the party. At first
Dick behaved very well, but just as he
came to the steep hill, at the entrance of
Oakdale, a gun went off the other side the
hedge, and he started at full speed down
the hill, to the great astonishment of the
good people who were quietly walking in
front. The ladies ran screaming to the
hedge on either side, and some of the
gentlemen did the same. Harry and Tom
tried to stop the pony, but in vain; he ran
so fast, he was unable to stop, and the
panniers coming in contact with some of
the party, they were knocked down, and
treated to a roll in the dust."
"Were they at all hurt?" asked Walter.
"Oh, no!" said Agnes, "they only made
their coats dusty, and soon regaining their
feet, joined in the race after their dinner,
which was just then in a very dangerous
situation; but it was not much use. Dick
only trotted the faster for the noise they
made in the pursuit, and did not stop till
he came to the turnpike."
"How I wish I had seen the chase,"
said Walter; "it must have looked very
droll; Dick running first, with all the
good things in the panniers, and all the
hungry folks travelling after, as fast as
"Harry told me," continued Agnes, "that
he could not run for laughing. On the top
of one of the panniers was a nice custard
pudding, and every now and then an extra
bound of Dick's would send a portion of it
splash into the road. When they came to
open the covering was the greatest fun-
the shouts of laughter-as one thing after
another came out. The veal pie made its
appearance with a cucumber imbedded in
the crust; the salt was upset over the
gooseberry tart; the mustard alighted on
the rhubarb pie; the pepper covered the
ham; the sugar was scattered over the
tongue, and the fowl found a resting-place
in a dish of jam tarts; many of the plates
and dishes were broken, and some ginger-
beer, that went off without leave, soaked a
loaf of bread."
The only thing that was quite free from
damage," said Helen, "was a bread and
butter pudding, baked that morning; as it
was not cold, Tom took it to a stream of
water near, and left it to cool, till the meat
was eaten. When pudding time came, he
went to fetch it, and, to his great dismay
and disappointment, found that a dog, be-
longing to one of the party, had made free
with a large portion of it."
"Well done!" said Walter; "why they
could hardly have found enough to eat."
"I wish I had been there," said George;
"it must have been a very merry party."
"According to Harry's account, there
was plenty of fun," said Agnes; "but one
or two of the party did not quite like such
a practical joke. Miss King was very much
annoyed with Tom for handing her some
cake over which the vinegar bottle had
burst. He declared he did not know it was
touched by the vinegar, but she would not
speak to him all the rest of the day. "
"How silly," said George; "why every
one was liable to the same, and the best
thing to be done was to laugh at such a
"So the rest thought," replied Agnes,
"and they all said they enjoyed Aunt
"We had something of the same kind
last monthly holiday," said George. Mr.
Ross took us to Rowley Common, to spend
the day, and I assure you we had fine fun.
All our cricket-bats and balls were put into
a cart, with the good things, and Mr. Ross
drove. When we arrived on the common,
the elder boys had a game of cricket before
dinner. I played till I was knocked down
by a ball, which struck me on the shoulder."
"You never told us of your accident
before," said Agnes; "were you much
"It was very painful at the time," said
George, "but soon got well. It was not
worth while to make dear mamma uneasy
for such a trifle."
"Did Walter join in your game?" asked
"No," replied Walter; I played at Hare
and Hounds, and Follow my Leader. You
would have been much amused to have seen
all the chases we had. Tom Grant was the
Leader, and he led us a pretty dance over
the furze bushes, and round the trees. Many
of the boys came down on their knees in
the middle of a bunch of very prickly furze
they could not jump over; others rolled
into the nettles. I fell flat down in a large
bunch, and stung my face very much; but
it would not do to be left behind, so,
gathering a dock-leaf, I held it to my
cheek, and ran as fast as I could. At last
Tom came to a ditch, and as he was the best
jumper in the school, he leaped over it
with ease; but Frank Green, trying to
follow him, came short of the opposite
FRANK IN THE DITCH.
bank, and sank up to his waist in the mud
and water of the ditch."
"Poor fellow," said Agnes, "I hope you
helped him out, Walter."
"Oh, yes !" replied Walter, "we soon
helped him out; but you cannot think what
a funny figure he cut. We were obliged to
c-rape the mud from his clothes with our
"Did he not take cold?" asked Helen.
"No," replied Walter; "there is a cot-
tage at the side of the common; we took
him there, and wrapped him in a blanket,
whilst the good woman very kindly washed
and dried the parts of his dress that were
"I suppose he did not much like staying
quietly in-doors, while the rest of the party
were enjoying themselves?" said Agnes.
"He grumbled a little," said Walter, "at
losing the fun; but when we went to see if
he was ready to join us, we met him at the
door, and four of the big boys gave him a
good tossing in the blanket."
"What a shame!" said Helen, "to serve
the poor fellow like that."
"He enjoyed the fun as much as the
rest," said George; "but the best of the
joke was, that, as we were tossing him very
high, crack went the blanket, and he all but
came through on the ground."
"I hope you gave the poor woman another
blanket," said Agnes.
Mr. Ross came just at the time," replied
Walter, "and he said it would be but right
to make a subscription to pay for the
blanket; so we all helped, and, with his
contribution, there was enough to buy a.
pair of blankets, instead of one."
I am glad the poor woman was not a
loser by your fun," said Agnes.
"Oh, no!" replied Walter. "She said
she hoped we should come again, and, if
we wished another tossing, we should have
SCHOOLBOY SPORTS. 19
one of the new blankets, that would be
I think," said Agnes, "we must go in,
or we shall not be ready for dinner. Your
amusing tales have made us forget the
time. Hark! there is the dinner-bell."
NEXT morning, directly after breakfast,
Frisk was saddled, brought to the door,
and Mrs. Melville, accompanied by the
children, set off to visit Wilton Farm, and
take Dame Goodenough the frock Agnes
had made for little Jane. Neptune and
Rover were also in attendance; and Helen
took her basket to carry any treasures she
might find. The road to Wilton was up a
steep hill, and over a down, where they
were delighted by listening to the song of
the sky-lark, and watching it as it rose,
warbling upon the wing, raising its note as
it soared, until it seemed lost in the
immense height above, the song continuing,
the bird itself unseen; then descending with
a swell, as it comes from the clouds, yet
sinking by degrees, as it approaches its
nest, the spot where all its affections are
centred, the spot that has prompted all its
Listen to that happy little bird," sala
Mrs. Melville, how joyously it is carolling
forth its Maker's praise."
I wonder where its nest is," said George.
"Not far from it," replied Mrs. Melville.
" The lark builds its nest upon the ground,
beneath some turf, that serves to hide and
"Can you tell me, dear mamma, how
many eggs the lark lays?" asked Agnes.
She lays," answered Mrs. Melville,
"four or five. They are of a dusky colour;
and she sits a fortnight before they are
hatched. During this time her mate is
most attentive, and cheers her with his
song. Rising to an imperceptible height,
he keeps his loved partner in view, nor
once loses sight of his nest, either in ascend-
ing or descending."
I wonder the nest is not destroyed"
said Walter: "it is very dangerous to build
it on the ground. Why does not the lark
choose some high tree or wall?"
The more closely we examine the order
of nature," replied Mrs. Melville, "the
more we shall be struck at the wonderful
adaptation, or fitness, of every animal, bird,
and insect, to the place it has to occupy in
the animal creation; and I wish you, my
dear children, to notice how each separate
creature exhibits the goodness, love, and
power of its Almighty Creator. The lark
is taught, by that unerring power implanted
in its nature by the great God, and which
is called instinct, to select materials for
her nest, so much resembling the ground
around in colour, that, at a very little dis-
tance, you would not discover it. The
formation of its foot renders the lark unable
to rest on a tree; the hind claw is very
much lengthened, and would be much in
A ROMAN ROAD,
the way should it attempt to grasp a stick.
Indeed, it can only stand on the ground, or
a flat surface."
By this time they had passed the down,
and entered a pretty lane abounding with
wild thyme and harebells. A little further
on they came to a road, said to have been
used by the Romans, and which was exceed-
ingly rough. The children much wished to
go this way; George promised to lead Frisk,
and guide him safely. Mrs. Melville con-
sented to trust herself to his care; and
the surefooted little animal carried her with
the greatest caution, avoiding all the stones
The village of Wilton was situated in a
beautiful valley; and the side of the hill
our party were now descending consisted
of rich corn and clover fields. The road
they traversed was almost overshadowed by
trees; the hedges had not for many years
been cut, and gave a cool and refreshing
shade; while the view they occasionally
enjoyed of Wilton Park on the opposite
hill, the brilliant green of the after-grass
(for it had just been mown), contrasting
with the dark shadow of the woods that
bounded it on one side, and studded with
clusters of trees, in which the airy foliage
and light tint of the larch were contrasted
with the more sombre but scarcely less
beautiful, massive dark green of the Scotcl
fir, and the majestic height of the elm and
oak, with the graceful drooping of the lime,
and the luxuriance of the horse-chesnut.
The Roman road traversed by our friends,
terminated in a large field, through which
the canal wound its peaceful track. The
children entreated their mamma to let
them stay here a short time, to gather some
beautiful forget-me-not, which grew on the
banks of the canal. Mrs. Melville con-
sented; and, dismounting from her trusty
little palfrey, sat down under a large lane
tree, on a seat of turf George had covered
with a cloak his mamma used, in preference
to a habit, when she rode the pony; and
Frisk was set at liberty to eat as much
grass as he liked. After gathering enough
forget-me-not to fill Helen's basket, the
children returned to the place where Mrs.
Melville was resting.
"Oh! mamma," said Walter, "see what
I have found; what is it? I had so much
trouble to catch it: when I thought I had
covered it with my hat, it gave a jump, and
went so far."
It is a grasshopper, my dear," said
Mrs. Melville, ,nd a very fine one.
Look at its beautiful wings; see how
bright its colour: it is a brilliant green.
Now sit down, and we will talk a little
about its history, before we go on to the
farm." The children were delighted at
their mamma's proposal, and quickly seated
themselves around her, for it was one of
their greatest treats to listen to the anec-
dotes and histories Mrs. Melville related to
them. George placed himself at his
mamma's feet, Neptune lay by his side,
and Helen took Rover in charge, as he was
apt to hunt about among the grass, and
bark at any one that passed.
Now, dear mamma," said Agnes, "we
are all ready; will you be so kind as to
tell us the history of the grasshopper? "
"With pleasure," replied Mrs. Melville.
" The insect Walter has found is one of
the largest kind that is a native of this
country. The eggs from which the grass-
hoppers are produced are deposited by the
female in a small cell in the earth; they
are oval in form, white, and of the consis-
tency of horn; each female depositing some
hundreds. These are produced in the au-
tumn, and continue, uninjured by the seve-
rity of the winter, till the genial warmth
of spring enlivens and hatches them."
THE GRASSHOPPER'S ENEMIES.
"How much they must increase," said
George. If one grasshopper lays several
hundred eggs one year, and next year
these hundreds deposit several hundreds
more, I wonder we are not overrun by
You need not, my dear George," said
Mrs. Melville, smiling, "be at all alarmed
at the idea of being overrun by these little
insects; but I would have you remark the
wisdom and goodness of the Creator, in that
He has rendered them so productive. You
must consider how many enemies the little
grasshopper has: many birds eat them; the
hedgehog and the mole prey upon insects,
and, no doubt, destroy many grasshoppers.
It is therefore necessary, both to provide a
portion of food for others, as well as to pre-
vent the extermination of the species, that
the grasshopper should be able to propagate
its kind, on what seems to you such a large
What are they like, mamma, when they
come out of the egg ?" asked Helen.
"They are hatched," replied Mrs. Mel-
ville, at the beginning of May. Every
egg produces an insect the size of a small
fly; these, at first, are white, but soon be-
come a reddish brown. They are formed
like grasshoppers, and hop among the grass
with great agility as soon as hatched. In
this first state, which is called larva, they
have no appearance of wings."
"I have often seen them without wings,"
said George, but never could understand
how it was. I thought they were different
insects to those with wings. Please to go
on, dear mamma, and tell us some more."
The next stage of their existence," con-
tinued Mrs. Melville, "is called pupa, or
nymph, and differs from the first, in having
the wings folded up in little cases on the
back of the insect. They still hop about,
and eat voraciously; but must wait for their
THE GRASSHOPPER'S CHANGES.
last change before they can use their wings.
In these two states the grasshopper exists
for nearly a month; it then prepares for its
last change; and, bursting its skin, enters a
state of greater liberty and enjoyment."
How does it get out of its coat of mail?"
"It is a difficult task, Walter," answered
Mrs. Melville; "but that great Being, who
appointed the various changes this little
insect undergoes, strengthens it to survive
them, and instructs it to take the proper
means to guard against accident or injury.
When the grasshopper feels its last change
approaching, it seeks a convenient place
beneath the drooping leaves of some thorn,
or thistle, that it may be sheltered from wet,
should a storm come on during the time it is
freeing itself from its old covering. It uses
violent exertion to disengage itself, by swell-
ing its head and neck, and drawing them in
again. At last the skin bursts: the head
comes forth first; by continued effort the
other parts follow successively; and the little
creature, with its long feelers, legs, and all,
works its way from the old skin, leaving
that fixed to the thistle or thorn."
Is the new skin, that it comes out in,
as hard as the old one, mamma?" asked
"No, my dear," replied Mrs. Melville.
"When the grasshopper first leaves its old
skin, it is soft and tender; by degrees it
hardens, as the moisture with which it is
covered dries; and in a short time assumes
the hardness and colour of the one before
How wonderful it is," remarked Agnes,
"that the grasshopper should be able to pull
these long legs from its old skin without
It is, indeed, wonderful," said Mrs. Mel-
ville; it is one of the wonderful works of
God. And to trace His hand in the forma-
THE GRASSHOPPER'S FOOD.
tion of His creatures, is the proper end of
the study of nature: these long legs are given
the grasshopper to enable it to leap over the
You have not told us, mamma, what the
grasshopper feeds on," said Walter.
Its food is grass and tender plants," an-
swered Mrs. Melville.
"Mamma," said Agnes, "is this insect
at all like the locust we read of in the
"Yes, my dear," replied Mrs. Melville:
"the locust and grasshopper belong to tbv
same class of insects, but the locust is mucr
larger and more powerful than the grass-
hopper ; and is not a native of this
"Will you please to tell us something
more about it?" said Helen.
"Willingly, my dear," replied Mrs. Mel-
ville. "Tell me, Agnes, where this insect
is spoken of in the Bible."
I think, mamma," answered Agnes,
"the account of the eighth plague God sent
on Pharaoh, and the Egyptians, is the first
time the ravages of locusts are described in
It is so," said Mrs. Melville. Can you
tell me, Walter, why that plague was sent,
and where the narrative is to be found?"
"Yes, mamma," replied Walter: "the
history of the plagues of Egypt is in Exodus;
I think the plague of locusts is written in the
tenth chapter. Were they not sent to punish
Pharaoh, king of Egypt, for his disobedience
in not letting the children of Israel depart,
according to the command of God, and for
his hardness of heart ?"
They were, my dear," said Mrs. Melville;
" and the ravages they committed were
dreadful. It is said, They covered the face
of the whole earth, so that the land was
darkened; and they did eat every herb of
the land, and all the fruit of the trees, which
the hail had left; and there remained not
anything green on the trees, or in the herbs
of the field, through all the land of Egypt.'
In other parts of the Bible, the visitation of
locusts, by the command of God, is threat-
ened for disobedience to His law. Moses.
in delivering the curses on the Jews, should
they forsake the worship of the Lord, says,
'They shall carry much seed out into the
field, and shall gather but little in, for the
locust shall consume it.' And again, 'All
thy trees, and thy fruit, shall the locust
consume.' In prophetic language, the over-
running of a country by locusts is typical of
invasion from hostile armies."
"When it is said, that John the Baptist
ate locusts and wild honey, does it mean the
same insect you are describing, mamma?"
It is thought by some people," replied
Mrs. Melville, that the locust, used as food
by John the Baptist, was a plant so called;
out I can see no reason why it should not
be the insect : it is likely they were eaten
by the Jews, for Moses, when enumerating,
in the book of Leviticus, the clean animals
they might eat, specifies four different kinds
"Do any other nations eat them, mam-
ma?" inquired Helen.
"Yes, my love," replied Mrs. Melville,
"the inhabitants of the various countries
this destructive insect frequents, compensate
themselves, in some degree, for the ravages
they commit, by subsisting on them in turn.
In many places they are brought to the
market for sale. The Bedouins roast them on
the coals; in addition to this, the Arabs steep
them in butter. The inhabitants of Morocco
dry them on the roofs and terraces of their
houses; they eat them either smoked or
boiled, and esteem them so highly, that the
price of provision falls when the locusts
visit the neighbourhood. The Hottentots, as
HABITS OF THE LOCUST.
well as many African tribes, grind them into
a sort of flour, which they make into bread."
"Does the locust go through the same
stages as the grasshopper, mamma?" asked
"Exactly the same, my dear," replied
Mrs. Melville, "but they differ in some
other things. The locust is much larger
and more destructive than the grasshopper;
they are also gregarious, or live together in
"Are they very destructive before they
can fly?" inquired Agnes.
"They are equally voracious, if not more
so," answered Mrs. Melville, "in the two
first states of their existence, as when
arrived at perfection. As soon as they
leave the egg, they arrange themselves in
bands, and march towards the sea, demo-
lishing, in their progress, every green thing
that comes in their way, and keeping their
ranks like men of war."
"What do they do if they come to a
house, mamma?" asked Helen.
They climb over it, my dear," replied
Mrs. Melville; "no obstacle will stop them.
The poor people of the country try to
destroy them, by digging ditches, and filling
them with fire-wood; but the locusts pour
in, till, by numbers, they extinguish the
flames, and cross over the dead bodies of
their companions. They rest at night, and
remain clustered on the tufts of grass, or
shrubs, and many of them are killed by
driving flocks of sheep over them. It is
when the locusts have acquired wings they
are most formidable; a swarm of them
appears at a distance, like a black cloud,
which, as it approaches, almost hides the
light of the sun, and woe to the unfortunate
country on which they alight. They ravage
the meadow and the pasture land; strip the
trees of their leaves, the garden of 'ts
beauty. The visitation of a few hours
LOCUSTS IN ENGLAND.
destroys the expectation of the year, and a
famine too frequently ensues."
What dreadful creatures they must be,"
said Walter. Do they ever come to this
Not in any numbers, my dear," replied
Mrs. Melville; we are mercifully preserved
from such a heavy judgment as a visit from
a flight of locusts would be. In 1748, a fev-
individuals were seen in several parts of
England; they occasioned a great deal of
talk, but did no mischief; and, within the
last few years, some have been picked up in
the city of Bath."
Thank you, dear mamma, for the inte-
resting account you have given us," said
Agnes; "I had no idea the history of the
locust could amuse us so much."
I wish you to gain more than amuse-
ment;i from what I have told you, my love,"
replied Mrs. Melville; "I want you to rec(
gnise the hand of God in directing tlb
38 HOLIDAY RAMBLES.
marches of the locust. They are His
scourge, with which He corrects nations for
their iniquities. He calls them, 'My great
army, which I sent amongst you;' and truly
they are a great army, marshalled by His
Almighty power, and guided by His hand.
"I think it is now time to move on.
George, will you call the pony?"
AT the commencement of this conversation,
Frisk was quietly feeding on the shrubs and
grass that grew near the plane tree. Being
much interested in the subject under con-
sideration, no one had for some time paid
any attention to the movements of the little
creature, and when George went to call him,
he was rather surprised at seeing Frisk at
the top of the hill, in the very act of getting
through the hedge into a wheat field.
George and Walter directly ran to prevent
his breaking bounds; but, owing to the
steepness of the field, they did not arrive
at the top until Frisk had made his way
through the barrier, and was regaling him-
self, very much to his own satisfaction, on
the sweet young wheat. The boys followed
through the gap, and went to catch him, as
usual; but Frisk, as if conscious that he was
doing wrong, would not be caught, and ran
off through the middle of the field. They
did not like to follow him, fearing they
should hurt the corn; so, walking round by
the hedge, they, after a time, succeeded in
catching the runaway, and bringing him to
the place through which he entered. George
took the end of the bridle, and going first,
pulled Frisk after him. Walter followed,
and they soon arrived safely at the bottom
of the field, where Mrs. Melville and the
girls were anxiously waiting for them.
"What could make Frisk behave so
badly ?" said Agnes, when she had heard
the account of the chase. "He generally
stays very quietly near us."
"I hope he has not been taking lessons
from Dick, Harry's pony," said George.
Next time it would be better to fasten
him to a tree, my dear," said Mrs. Melville;
"he must not be allowed to trespass in
corn fields. I fear he has injured the
No, mamma, I do not think he did
much harm," replied George. "He made
a path through the corn, but the next
shower will cause it to rise again; and
Walter closed the gap in the hedge with
I am glad you so carefully repaired the
mischief, my dears," said Mrs. Melville, as
she remounted her little pony.
Leaving the canal, and the pleasant field
through which it passed, our party pro-
ceeded on their way to Wilton Farm. On
their arrival, Dame Goodenough came out
to meet and welcome them; Mrs. Melville
dismounted and accompanied the good
woman into the house, followed by the
children. Frisk was fastened to a post
under the shade of a large walnut tree.
Neptune was admonished to lie quietly
under the table; George gave him one of his
gloves to take in charge, and Helen kept
Rover by her side.
After many inquiries, Agnes gave the
frock she had made for the little girl, but
could not receive her thanks, as the little
creature was quietly enjoying a sound sleep
in the cradle. Whilst they were talking,
Rover slipped from beside Helen, and she
was alarmed by hearing a noise behind her.
On turning to discover the cause of the
commotion, she saw Rover very intently
looking, and pointing at something in a
Don't be frightened, Miss Helen," said
Dame Goodenough; that is only Muff, the
poor cat. She is a very useful creature,
and is nursing two little ducks."
You do not mean to say that she has
two live ducks in her basket?" said George,
"Yes, sir, she has. There they are,"
replied the Dame, taking up the cat, and
showing them two little ducks, one white,
and the other dark, in the basket; these
poor little things remained too long in the
water this morning, and got the cramp, so
we brought them in to Muff, to take care of.
When she has warmed them enough I will
take them out to their mother."
The children expressed much astonish-
ment and admiration at the docility of puss,
and taking Rover away, they put him on a
chair, giving him strict orders not to move.
Just then Farmer Goodenough came in, and,
after paying his respects to Mrs. Melville,
asked the young people if they would like
to look over the farm, and see his stock.
They willingly agreed to go, if their mamma
had no objection. Mrs. Melville kindly con-
sented, charging them to come back in half
an hour, as it would then be time to return
home. George looked at his watch, and pro-
mised to be the time-keeper, and bring back
the rest of the party, as his mamma desired.
They first went to the poultry yard, to
see a fine brood of guinea chicks that morn-
ing come out of the nest; these they admired
very much, and gave them some food. They
then went to the pond, to see the geese and
ducks swimming about. A brood of ducks,
that had been hatched under a hen, took the
water as well as the others, and the children
were much disturbed to see the distress of
the poor hen, as she ran from side to side of
the pond, calling her foster children. The
old goose and gander took great care of
their young family, and gliding about in the
water, looked much more graceful than when
waddling on the land. The farmer threw
some corn to the chickens, when the whole
party in the pond came flying, quacking,
and tumbling, to secure their share of
the food, much to the amusement of the
They then went to see a litter of pigs,
three weeks old. Walter was delighted
A LESSON FOR GLUTTONS.
with them, and counted ten, four black,
two white, and the rest black and white.
Farmer Goodenough put some barley-meal
and whey into their trough, and the children
were much struck to see what greedy little
creatures they were.
"I hope," said Walter, [ shall never be
greedy like these pigs; how they are push-
ing one another to try to get the best and
most. They must hurt each other, or they
would not squeak so loudly. I wish
Master Harding could see them; I think it
would cure him of gluttony."
"Hush, Walter," said Agnes, "we must
not speak ill of the absent. Let us rather
learn the hatefulness of gluttony, the plea-
sure of giving to others, and living together
in love and peace."
What you say is very true, Miss
Agnes. I often turn away with disgust
from those greedy creatures to my old
friend here," said Farmer Goodenough,
patting the head of a fine sheep-dog, which
had accompanied them in their walk; he
always stops when I feed him, to kiss my
hand in thanks, before he eats a bit."
Pretty creature," said Helen. What
is its name?"
"I call him Oscar, Miss Helen," said
Farmer Goodenough. He is a very valu-
able dog; he goes to the hills with me, and
will single out of the flock any sheep I
name, and bring it to me."
How can he know them apart, among
so many?" said George.
"Why, sir, I believe Oscar and I know
every sheep in the flock. I often think,
when I am out with them, of those words
that are applied to our blessed Saviour, in
the 40th chapter of Isaiah, and the 11th
verse: 'He shall feed His flock like a
shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with
His arm, and carry them in His bosom,
and shall gently lead those that are with
"THi~ GOOD SHEPHERD."
young.' How beautifully the care Christ
takes of His people is here expressed, under
the image of a tender shepherd: how He
tends them, and bears with the young and
weak; and how fit the emblem chosen to
represent His children-a flock of sheep. I
am sure my sheep need great care to pre-
vent them from -tiin, and to guard
them from injury, for they are of all
animals the most unfit to take proper care
of themselves: if one goes through the
hedge, all the rest are sure to follow,
though they may leave half their fleece on
the thorns. I should like to show you
,some of the lambs, they are such playful
So saying, he led the way across the
yard to a field where nearly a hundred
lambs were frisking about. The children
were much amused at their gambols, and
would have watched them much longer
had not George looked at his watch, and
found it was time to return; sc they her~
their steps towards the house, looking in to
see the calves on their way, and thanking
the farmer for the trouble he had taken in
showing them all the creatures. When
they arrived at the house, they found Mrs.
Melville waiting; little Jane was awake,
and dressed in the present Agnes had
taken her, but was too shy to have any-
thing to say to them. Neptune brought
George his glove, and Rover was delighted
to be again allowed to run about. Farmer
Goodenough assisted Mrs. Melville to mount
her trusty little steed; and when the
children had taken another peep at Muff,
and said good-bye to Dame Goodenough and
little Jane, they ran after their mamma.
Farmer Goodenough attended them to the
gate, and they proceeded on their way
home: it being too late to go to Wilton
that day, Mrs. Melville kindly promised to
take them when their aunt Emily came.
AUNT EMILY'S LETTER.
They much enjoyed their walk home again,
talking over all they had seen and heard.
Neptune rendered himself useful by carry-
ing the basket, and little Rover ran back-
wards and forwards in high glee. They
arrived at home just in time for dinner, and
met Mr. Melville at the gate, coming to
look for them, with a letter open in his
Good news!" said he.
"What is it about, papa?" said George.
"Your dear aunt Emily is coming to-
morrow. Is not that good news, George?"
"It is, indeed," said all the children.
"Dear aunty, how pleased we shall be to
The dinner-bell rang, and Mr. Melville
assisting his wife to dismount, they all went
into the house to enjoy the good things pro-
vided, with thankful hearts, and appetites
much improved by their walk.
DIRECTLY after breakfast, the following
morning, the children commenced making
preparations for welcoming their aunt, Miss
St. Clair. Agnes and George went to
gather the best flowers their gardens af-
forded, and succeeded in finding a bunch
of beautiful roses, carnations, geranium,
verbena, and myrtle, which they arranged in
a vase with great care, and placed on their
aunt's-dressing tabld. Helen and Walter
ransacked the strawberry beds, hoping
to procure enough ripe fruit for dessert.
After they had finished these arrange-
ments, they remembered their aunt would
come to look at their gardens almost the
first thing: and as the wind had blown down
some of the creepers, they all set to work
to put things in proper order. George went
to the filbert hedge to cut some nice straight
sticks, Agnes brought some matting to tie
the plants, Helen began to pull up the
weeds, and Walter ran for his wheelbarrow
to carry them away. As they all worked
together, they each helped- the other; and
in a short time they had completed their
task. When they had finished, they went
into the house, and entreated their mamma
to come and see how busy they had all been.
Mrs. Melville willingly consented to accom-
pany them, and they were much gratified
at the praise she bestowed on their in-
Look, mamma," said George, "is not
this a beautiful rose? I struck it from a
cutting last year; and Agnes has taken
such care of it since I have been away! Is
not this a fine blossom?"
It is, indeed," replied Mrs. Melville.
" I think the rose is one of the most beau-
tiful as well as fragrant flowers. It is used
in Scripture as an emblem of our Saviour:
we read, in the Song of Solomon, 2nd
chapter, 1st verse, 'I am the Rose of
Sharon, and the Lily of the valleys.' "
Where is Sharon, mamma?" asked
"The valley of Sharon," said Mrs. Mel-
ville, is at the foot of Mount Carmel, in
the land of Palestine, or the Holy Land, as
it is sometimes called. The rose and lily
flourish there, with all the splendour and
fragrance ascribed to them in the Bible."
Does the rose grow in any other coun-
try?" asked Agnes.
In Egypt," replied Mrs. Melville, the
rose is cultivated to such an extent, par-
ticularly in one province, that to ride
through beds of roses for twenty miles
together, is nc unusual thing."
"How very beautiful," said Helen. But
what good, mamma, are they in such quan-
They are used to make rose water, my
dear," answered Mrs. Melville, C:and that
valuable scent called Atar of Roses. At
Cairo this rose water is sold at a penny a
quart, and is used after bathing, the bath
of rose water costing only sixpence extra.
The Atar of Roses is more expensive in
England; it is sometimes a guinea a small
bottle. At Cairo the same quantity would
be one shilling."
"Mamma," said Helen, "now you are
out, do come and see my chickens; they
are such pretty creatures."
"I am quite willing to accompany you,
my love," said Mrs. Melville, "but I cannot
stay very long, as it will soon be time to
meet your aunt."
Helen led the way to the poultry-yard,
and showed her mamma her speckled hen,
Gipsy, and a troop of little chicks just
hatched. She opened the coop, and let
Madam Gipsy and her charge out into the
yard, to enjoy the bright sunshine, and
catch the insects that were flying about.
Walter brought some food for them, and the
children stood to watch the care the old
hen took of all the young ones. She
,vould not eat any herself till she had called
the little creatures around her, and given
them the best. When she thought they had
walked enough, she called them to her, and
nestled them all under her wings.
Of what should the care this faithful
bird displays for her young ones remind
us?" asked Mrs. Melville.
"I think I know what you mean,
mamma," said George. Are you not think-
ing of our Saviour's words when He wept
You are right, my dear," replied Mrs.
Melville; I meant those words recorded
in St. Matthew and St. Luke, '0 Jeru-
salem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the
prophets, and stonest them which are sent
unto thee, how often would I have gathered
thy children together, even as a hen
gathereth her chickens under her wings,
and ye would not.' We may see Christ's
tender care of His people illustrated by the
similitude of a hen gathering her chickens
together. The tenderness and care instinc-
tively displayed by the hen for her young,
is a beautiful illustration of our Lord's
love to His people. David says, 'How
excellent is Thy lovingkindness, 0 God;
therefore the children of men put their
trust under the shadow of Thy wings.'
Those, and those only, who have taken
refuge in Christ, will, when the storms and
vicissitudes of this life occur, experience
that refuge and support not to be derived
from any earthly source. May you, my
beloved children, seek an individual interest
in that Saviour, whom to know is eternal.
life; that when assailed by the temptations
and trials of this world, you may be enabled
56 HOLIDAY RAMBLES.
to know the blessedness of flying to Christ
as your refuge, and putting your trust
under the shadow of His wings."
The conversation was here interrupted by
the servant coming to tell his mistress
the carriage was waiting. Mrs. Melville
then went to meet her sister, and the
children, after going round the garden,
separated to dress for dinner, and be in
readiness to receive their much wished-for
THE following morning, at breakfast, Mr.
Melville said, I have some news which I
think will interest you."
Do tell us, papa," said George.
"There has been a fresh arrival of
animals at the Zoological Gardens."
What are they, papa?" inquired Walter.
"I have not seen them," replied Mr.
Melville; "but I hear that, first of all, is a
young giraffe, a pair of pelicans, an ostrich,
an African lion, and some monkeys."
Oh! dear papa, do take us to see them,"
said Helen, springing from her chair, and
throwing her arms round her papa; it will
be such a treat to go to the Gardens with
Do not be so rough, my dear," said Mr.
Melville, gently disengaging the little girl's
arms from his neck, and taking her on his
knee. I have leisure to-day, and shall be
happy to take you to the Gardens, especially
as your mamma tells me you have been good
children, and have given her but little
trouble with your lessons. I give you an
hour to equip yourselves, and be sure you
do not forget some nuts for the monkeys,
and bread for the elephant."
The children, greatly delighted with their
papa's kind promise, were not long prepar-
ing for their excursion. When they were
ready, they repaired to the hall, to wait for
their papa, mamma, and aunt, who soon
joined them; and entering the carriage, they
drove off, with happy faces, in expectation
of the morning's pleasure.
The Zoological Gardens were at some
distance from Mr. Melville's residence, and
were much frequented, both for the pleasant-
ness of their situation, and for the beauty of
the animals. They were tastefully laid out
TIE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS.
in shady walks, smooth grass-plots, enli-
vened with beds of beautiful flowers, and
sweet-scented shrubs. On entering the
gardens, they turned to the right, along a
wide path, which led to the largest house,
containing the lions and tigers. The first
den was the abode of a beautiful lion and
lioness. The children admired the flowing
mane of the majestic animal, and the beauty
of his mate. Helen was rather alarmed at
such formidable creatures, but being re-
assured by her father, gained courage to
look at the splendid animals.
"Is not a lion more generous and noble
in its disposition than a tiger, papa ?" in-
He is generally considered so, my dear,"
replied Mr. Melville. The lion is fre-
quently tamed, and exhibits docility and
affection for his keeper in a remarkable
degree. I remember an anecdote I read
some time ago, of a lion in a menagerie at
Brussels, called Danco, whose cage was in
want of some repairs. His keeper desired a
carpenter to set about it; but when the
workman came and saw the lion, he started
back with terror. The keeper entered the
animal's cage, and led him to the upper part
of it, while the lower was refitting. He
there amused himself for some time playing
with the lion, and being wearied, he soon
fell asleep. The carpenter, fully relying on
the vigilance of the keeper, pursued his
work with rapidity, and when he had
finished, he called him to see what was
done. The keeper made no answer. Hav-
ing repeatedly called in vain, he began to
feel alarmed at his situation, and determined
to go to the upper part of the cage, where,
looking through the railing, he saw the lion
and the keeper sleeping, side by side. He
immediately uttered a loud cry. The lion,
awakened by the noise, started up, and
stared at the carpenter with an eye of fury;
THE TIGER-THE CHETAH.
then, placing his paw on the breast of the
keeper, laid down to sleep again. At length
the keeper was awakened by some of the
attendants, and appearing to feel no appre-
hension from the situation in which he found
himself, he shook the lion by the paw, and
then quietly conducted him to his former
"Noble creature!" said Agnes, how I
should like to have seen him sleeping by the
side of his master. What is this animal,
"That is the royal Bengal tiger," replied
Mr. Melville. "You see it is striped; and
next is a chetah, or hunting leopard."
"What do they hunt, papa?" asked
In India and Persia, my dear," replied
Mr. Melville, "the chetah is used to cap-
ture antelopes and deer. They are so tame
and gentle, that they are led in a leash, like
greyhounds; but when brought to the hunt-
ing field they are carried either on an
elephant or in a cart made for the purpose
and drawn by oxen. When the game is in
view, the chetah is quickly loosed from his
leash, and, as soon as he sees the deer, he
drops quietly off the cart, and approaches it
with great caution, availing himself of the
shelter of every bush that comes in his way.
When arrived at a certain distance from his
prey, he no longer desires concealment, but,
springing forward, in a few bounds generally
succeeds in capturing his victim."
After admiring the agile form and beau-
tiful markings of the ocelot, noticing the civet
cat, and some more animals of the same
kind, our party left that house, and pro-
ceeded to the one containing the monkeys.
In the centre compartment were several
monkeys, of different kinds, some very small,
and others large. The children were much
delighted with watching their antics, and,
throwing some nuts into the cage, enjoyed
the scramble which ensued. One little
monkey, with a long tail, put its arm out to
reach a bit of biscuit Helen offered it; this
was seen by a large Barbary ape, who wished
to share in the spoil, but, as if unwilling to
venture too near the bars, he caught the
little monkey by the tail, and gradually
drew it towards himself. The little crea-
ture was most industrious in demolishing its
booty, and as the ape took it in his arms to
reach the cake, popped the last two bits into
its mouth, and turning round, chattered
defiance at its persecutor.
There were many visitors to the monkey
house besides our party, and, amongst the
rest, a gentleman, with a large pair of gold
spectacles on, and who appeared to be very
short-sighted, for he was peering in a most
inquisitive manner into the cage. A mon-
key, with very long arms, seemed much to
resent this prying scrutiny. Climbing, un-
observed by the gentleman, to a position
on the bars just even with his head, and
watching an opportunity when his uncon-
scious victim was stooping, in the ardour
of observation, almost close to the cage, he
snatched the spectacles from off his nose.
It would be vain to attempt describing the
scene that ensued; the astonishment and
indignation of the gentleman; the chatter-
ing of all the monkeys, both little and big,
and, I am sorry to say, the laughter of some
of the spectators, made a concert of sounds
not the most harmonious in the world. The
arrival of a keeper quieted the din in some
measure, but it was not till the pebbles
were separated from the gold part of the
spectacles, and the latter was twisted into
every shape but the right, that they were
taken from their chattering possessor.
At the upper end of the house was a
large baboon. To the great delight of the
children, the keeper entered his cage, taking
with him a small table, an arm chair, and
THE BABOON AT TEA.
a cup of tea. The baboon gravely seated
himself in the chair, and taking the cup
from the table, poured the tea into the
saucer, and, holding it in his hands, drank
the contents with apparent relish.
"I think," said Mrs. Melville, "we have
watched these amusing creatures long
enough; let us go and pay a visit to the
elephant. Have you anything left to give
him, my dears?"
"I have some bread, mamma," said
And I have some biscuits," said Helen.
"Will he like them, mamma?"
"I dare say he will, my dear," replied
Mrs. Melville. "Whenever I have visited
a menagerie, there has always been either
an old man or woman in the corner, close
by the elephant, with a basket of cakes and
gingerbread for sale. Many persons give
the sagacious creature some pence, and
he directly turns to the basket, gives the
owner the money, and expects something
"Does he know when he is well served,
mamma?" inquired George; "or may he
be cheated with impunity?"
"It is not easy to cheat him," said Miss
St. Clair. I saw a man give an elephant,
who was his customer, only six star-cakes
for a penny, instead of eight; but he would
not be content till he had the right number."
Whilst thus conversing, they entered the
habitation of the elephant. Helen had
never seen so large a creature before, and,
being frightened when he moved his trunk
towards her, kept close to her mamma, and
could not be induced to offer him a bit of
bread Agnes had given her for that purpose.
The elephant was very gentle, and appeared
pleased with the bread the children gave
him, taking it from their hands with his
trunk, then curling it round to put it into
Mr. Melville said he could tell them a
story, in which the elephant's trunk had
been of great use to his keeper.
"Do tell us, papa," said all the children.
"Some years ago," said Mr. Melville,
"in one of the travelling menageries, were
a pair of beautiful tigers; and one Sunday,
when no one was in the show, by some
means these animals succeeded in getting
out of their den, and springing upon a
lama, soon deprived it of life, and, by the
time the keeper entered the place, were
making a hearty meal on its carcase. The
keeper attempted to capture the ferocious
animals, but not succeeding, he only en-
raged them; and the tiger, leaving his prey,
pursued the man. Providentially, he hap-
pened to run within reach of the elephant,
who instantly wound his trunk round him,
and lifting him into his den, placed him
where he would be safe from his pursuer.
The tiger, lashing his sides with his tail,
crouching for a time, sprang at the keeper;
but the elephant was prepared to frustrate
his design, and receiving the enraged brute
on his tusks and trunk, dashed him, with
great violence, to the other end of the
arena. Again the savage beast returned
to the charge, his eyes flashing fury, and
growling defiance. He was received as
before by the noble creature, and tossed to
a distance. A third time he renewed the
attack, and a third time was sent flying
through the air. Being knocked, with so
much violence, against the barrier three
times following, effectually damped his
courage, and he slunk off to his den. The
noise of the encounter brought plenty of
people to the assistance of the keeper, but
it was not till both the tigers were secured
in their den, that his faithful protector
would allow him to depart from his place of
How grateful the keeper must have felt
A NARROW ESCAPE.
to the noble animal for saving his life," said
He must, indeed," replied Mr. Melville:
"but though elephants remember their
friends, they never forget those that injure
"Indeed they do not," said Miss St.
Clair. "It is very dangerous to hurt the
elephant. A little boy once gave one an
apple, with a pin in it; the elephant swal-
lowed it, and the boy thought no more
about it, but went round the show to look
at the animals. Coming within reach of
the injured creature, he seized the boy with
his trunk, and was in the act of lifting him
over the rails of his den, when the keeper,
attracted by the cries of the terrified boy,
interposed and rescued him from his immi-
What a wicked thing to do!" said
Walter. "I hope the naughty boy was
The elephant punished him severely,"
said Mrs. Melville. It could be no very
pleasant sensation to feel himself completely
in the power of the justly-enraged animal."
What would the elephant have done to
the boy, aunty, asked Agnes, if he had
taken him into his den?"
"He would no doubt have crushed him
to death, my dear," replied Miss St. Clair.
" Had not the keeper been near, it would
have been the last piece of mischief the boy
would ever have committed."
The children were anxious to see the
newly-arrived animals; and Mr. Melville
seeing the keeper, inquired in what part of
the gardens they were placed; the man in-
formed him that the young lion was in the
same house with the other beasts of prey;
the ostrich and pelicans were with the
birds; but the giraffe had met with a sad
accident, for as they were bringing it to the
gardens, the caravan was overturned, and
the poor creature received a severe injury
on its shoulder. The children were much
disappointed at not being able to see it; but
the keeper told them it was obliged to be
laid on its side, and a man sat at its head,
day and night, to prevent its moving.
On the way to the aviary, our party
passed many deer, antelopes, and goats, that
were tethered to the ground. A zebra very
much delighted Walter; and a large pond,
in which a number of beautiful water-fowl
were bathing themselves, attracted the at-
tention of the children for some time.
At the entrance of the aviary were some
large macaws, secured by a chain round
one of their legs to a stand. In passing
one of these, Miss St. Clair accidentally
knocked against the stand, and disturbed
the equilibrium of its occupier; the bird
gave a loud scream, and the other macaws,
taking up the note, created such a commo-
tion, that it frightened the children. Little
Helen ran out of the house as fast as she
could; her papa followed her, and assuring
her that the noise was the worst she had to
fear, soon prevailed on her to return, and
see the other birds.
SThe ostrich was a young one, and its
feathers were rather dirty, and out of order,
from its long journey. The pelicans also
appeared rather dingy; but the children
were delighted with the elegant plumage
and graceful form of the various kinds of
storks and pheasants that were walking up
and down their cages or basking in the
Leaving the aviary, Mr. Melville took
them to the place where the different kinds
of dogs were kept. A beautiful Esquimaux
dog attracted the attention of Agnes, who
very much admired his large curly tail. A
fine Newfoundland, also, won much upon
their good-will by wagging his tail, and
taking a piece of biscuit with great
"I think," said George, "this is my
favourite of all the dogs; that large Thibet
mastiff looks so surly; and the greyhound,
notwithstanding its beauty, is greedy, and
seems to think only of himself, but this
pretty creature thanks you for every bit he
"The Newfoundland is, certainly, one of
the most interesting species," rejoined Mr.
Melville. "There are many anecdotes of
his sagacity in saving life. His feet being
webbed, much increases his dexterity in
swimming; and he will without hesitation
spring into the water to rescue his master
from drowning. A dog, belonging to a
vessel engaged in the Whale Fishery, ren-
dered essential assistance to his fellow-voy-
agers. On one occasion, seven men were
on an iceberg, when it gave way. Six of
them caught hold of the bow-ropes; but
the seventh sank, the water closed over him,
and his comrades concluded he was lost.
The master of the vessel was below at the
time, but promptly sprang upon deck, ac-
companied by his faithful dog. While
gazing intently, he observed the head of the
sailor above the water. He pointed it out
to the dog, and giving the word of com-
mand, the noble animal leaped from the
bow of the vessel, and swam towards the
man, barking, either to express anxiety, or to
cheer the man with a prospect of assistance.
Before the dog could arrive, the man was
picked up, in a state of insensibility, by a
boat that came from another ship. Seeing
the man was rescued, the dog returned to
his own ship; and, when taken on board,
his gambols, frisking, and fawning on his
master, indicated that, though he had not
saved the man, he was aware he had done
Another of these useful animals be-
longed to the commander of a ship in the
West-India trade. This dog always knew
THE CHURCH-GOING DOG.
when land was near; and, for some hours
before it was in view, would go to the side
of the vessel, snuff the air, wag his tail,
and seem much pleased. This was the
signal for sending a man aloft; and, in a
short time, the shore was sure to be dis-
covered. The captain, retiring from the
sea-service, took the dog with him; and
going to reside within a few miles of
London, he regularly attended the village
church on Sundays, accompanied by his
dog. When his master was prevented
going, the dog, on hearing the bell, would
set off alone, walk slowly to the church,
lie down in the captain's pew till service
was over, and then return quietly home."
"Thank you, dear papa, for your sto-
ries," said Agnes. "I always liked dogs;
and now they will be higher in my favour
It is time to think of returning home,"
said Mrs. Melville, looking 4t her watch;
76 HOLIDAY RAMBLES.
"we have remained here longer than we
intended. Come, my dears, you must not
stay looking at the dogs any more."
Notwithstanding the reluctance the
children felt at leaving the interesting
objects that surrounded them, they
promptly obeyed their mamma's call, and
left the gardens immediately,
THE excursion to Wilton afforded so much
gratification to the children, that not many
days elapsed before they entreated Mrs.
Melville to accompany them to a very
beautiful wood about a mile and a half
Having procured his mamma's consent,
George soon had the little pony equipped
for the expedition, and taking his hat and
gloves, took his station at his head, to wait
the arrival of Mrs. Melville and Miss St.
Clair. Walter, his sisters, and the two
dogs, were also quite ready and anxious to
proceed on their much wished-for ex-
Mrs. Melville soon appeared, and, mount-
ing her little palfrey, they all set off in high
78 HOLIDAY RAMBLES.
glee to the wood of Millgrove. They pro-
ceeded through a beautiful shady lane, the
trees meeting in many places over their
heads, and forming graceful avenues.
Occasionally a break in the hedge enabled
them to get a view of the picturesque city
of C---, which was situated on the oppo-
site hill. After enjoying this refreshing
shade for a considerable time, they came
in sight of a tumulus, on which the unfor-
tunate Duke of Monmouth is said to have
encamped, and which overlooked the wood
and village of Millgrove. After descending
a steep hill, they arrived at their destination.
The wood was in a valley, with a fine trout
stream running through it; the hill on one
side was covered with beautiful oaks, and
as the brush-wood had lately been cut from
under them, our party gladly availed them-
selves of the cool and refreshing shadow
afforded by a splendid oak, the monarch of
the wood, and, reclining on a bank scattered
A WOODLAND SCENE.
over with wild flowers, they amused them-
selves by watching the numerous insects
as they sported in the gloom, or sparkled
in the sunbeams that enlivened the shade
of the wood. Frisk, as usual, was allowed
to regale himself on the surrounding herb-
age, and the dogs were quietly resting at
the feet of their young masters.
How lovely this wood is!" observed
Miss St. Clair. I really think it increases
in beauty every time I come here."
"Yes," replied Mrs Melville, "so I
think; it is a favourite walk of ours.
There are so many insects to observe here,
and the wild flowers are so beautiful, we
never tire of coming."
"Dear aunty," said George, "do just
look at that large fly; what is it about?"
Let us go and see," replied Miss St.
Clair, rising, and walking towards the
object that excited their curiosity. "It is
a large dragon-fly, in search of prey.
Watch how it flies from spray to spray,
to secure the insects it lives on."
By this time they were joined by all the
party, and they together watched the
dragon-fly, as it flitted about amongst the
briers and flags that abounded on each
side the rivulet, chasing any unfortunate
butterfly that happened to come in its way.
After watching some time, they saw the
dragon-fly succeed in capturing a small
white butterfly, and settling on a high
branch just opposite our party, began to
devour its prey.
Helen had been earnestly observing the
chase, and had hoped that some sudden
turn of the poor butterfly would place it
beyond the reach of its rapacious perse-
cutor, but was much distressed to see the
dragon-fly bite off first one wing, and then
another, from its unresisting victim, and
wanted her aunt to drive it away. Miss
St. Clair told her it was the nature of that
species of insect to devour those weaker
than themselves. At last the dragon-fly
finished its repast, and flew off to another
vicinity, much to the delight of the children,
who did not wish to see it exercise its
prowess in that manner a second time.
Again taking their seat upon the bank,
they began to talk over what they had just
"How very cruel it was of the dragon-
fly to kill that pretty white butterfly," said
It does appear cruel," said Mrs. Melville,
"bujt it is one of the wise arrangements
of God, that, amongst the larger animals,
birds, and insects, there should be a class
whose nature it is to devour those unable to
resist them. Lions and tigers are amongst
the carnivorous animals; the eagle, hawk,
and owl, are carnivorous birds; the dragon-
fly, as well as many others, are carnivorous
"Will you tell us, dear mamma," said
Agnes, something more of the history of
"With pleasure, my love," replied Mrs.
Melville. It is an interesting account,
and I think will amuse as well as instruct
Walter, will you keep your little dog
still?" said Miss St. Clair. "It is rightly
named Rover, for it seems to be always
"Yes, aunty, I will. Come, Rover, and
sit by my side, and be quiet, if you can,"
said Walter. Now, mamma, we are all
You remember, my dear," said Mrs.
Melville, "when I gave you the history of
the grasshopper and locust, I told you
these insects passed through two stages
before they arrived at perfection. Can you
tell me the names I used to describe their
"I think I can, mamma," said Agnes;
"you called the first stage larva, and the
second pupa, or nymph, did you not ?"
"It is so, my dear," continued Mrs.
Melville, "and the dragon-fly, in like
manner, goes through two transformations
before it comes forth a perfect insect. The
female dragon-fly deposits her eggs on the
water; they sink directly to the bottom, in
a mass which much resembles a bunch of
"Do the dragon-flies live in the water?"
"During the two first stages of their
existence, my dear," replied Mrs. Melville,
"they remain at the bottom of ponds and
streams, taking refuge in the mud, which
they much resemble in colour. The head
and body of the larva are like the perfect
insect; it has six legs, and its feet are
armed with sharp claws. The only dif-
ference between it and the pupa, or nymph,
is, that the latter has the rudiments, or
beginnings, of wings, packed up in little
cases on each side of the insect. It is sup-
posed to continue in the water for nearly
What does it feed on, mamma?" asked
Its food consists of the small animals
that inhabit the water," answered Mr,.
Melville. "It is a most voracious insect;
no prey comes amiss to it, and it will seize
an insect with its strong mandibles, and not
quit its hold until it has drained all the
juices from the body of its victim. When
the nymph of the dragon-fly prepares for
its final transformation, it leaves its home
in the bed of the pond, or river, and, by
means of its sharp claws, fixes itself to some
reed or twig on the bank."
How surprising it is," observed Miss
St. Clair, "the dragon-fly should seek a
,lace for changing its skin where it will be
protected from harm. I do not think it
leaves the water till this period, though it
changes its skin several times before arriving
at its full growth. The instinct bestowed
on it by its beneficent Creator doubtless
impels it, as soon as it finds its last change
approaching, to select some suitable situa-
tion in which to complete its transform-
"How does it free itself from its old
skin, mamma?" asked Agnes.
"In a similar manner to that of the
grasshopper," replied Mrs. Melville. "By
the swelling of the upper part of the body
of the dragon-fly, the envelope is soon dis-
tended, and bursts asunder on the back of
the head and shoulders; through this open-
ing first the head, and then the legs, of
the perfect fly make their exit, whilst the
empty covering of the legs continues in its
"It must require very violent exertion,"
said Miss St. Clair, "to burst its old co-
"Yes, it does," resumed Mrs. Melville;
"it is obliged to rest. After extricating
itself thus far, it hangs with its head down-
wards, and remains in that position till the
parts excluded are, in some degree, dry.
It next erects itself, and taking hold of the
upper part of the skin with its feet, pulls
the part still enveloped further out; then,
creeping forward, by degrees it disengages
the entire body, and again rests for a time."
"How does the fly spread its wings?"
When the fly first comes out of the old
skin," continued Mrs. Melville, "they are
folded up, and not a quarter the size they
are when fully developed. Gradually they
expand, their plaits and folds become
smooth, the body also insensibly becomes
larger and longer, and the limbs acquire
their just size and proportions. While the
wings are undergoing this operation of
drying and expanding, the insect takes care
to keep them from coming in contact with
the body, by bending itself into the form
of a crescent; for if they were obstructed
whilst wet, they could not afterwards be
set to rights."
"How many eyes do you think the
dragon-fly has, George?" asked Miss St.
"I have only seen two, aunty," said
George, in any of the flies I have caught;
but why do you ask? Have they more?"
"Yes," replied Miss St. Clair: "they
have a greater number than you would
suppose, George, for the eyes of the dragon-
fly are singular pieces of mechanism. The
surface of the eye is divided into a net-
work, composed of six-sided figures; and
it is computed that there are between
twelve and thirteen thousand of these in
each eye; and each one of these compart-
ments is a distinct and perfect organ of
Why, aunty, that is like a fairy tale,"
said Agnes. "Five-and-twenty thousand
eyes in the head of one little insect!"
"It is, indeed, astonishing, but it is
perfectly true," observed Mrs. Melville.
"And we should admire the wisdom and
kindness of God in constructing an instru-
ment of such a complex nature as is the
eye of the dragon-fly, for the use and pre-
servation of one little creature, enabling it
to see, in all directions, those insects on
which it feeds."
They are beautiful creatures," remarked
Miss St. Clair. "I like to see them, as they
dart about in the sunshine, sparkling like
gems, their polished wings reflecting the
bright beams in which they revel;' and dart-
ing after their prey with such rapidity, that
the eye is unable to follow the mazy intri-
cacy of their flight."
THE INSECT WORLD.
"Every insect is beautiful," said Mrs.
Melville; and we ought to feel thankful
to the Bestower of every good, that He has
created such a variety of interesting objects
to gratify our taste. The garden, field,
hedge, and rivulet, are all animated with a
profusion of beautiful creatures, sporting
about, and lightly traversing the air in a
thousand directions; but it is when we come
to study the individual history of insects
that we trace the hand of that Alrighty
Being who, although so great as to fill the
universe with His presence, yet condescends
to animate the dust of this earth, rendering
each creature capable of enjoyment, and fill-
ing it with happiness."
Whilst thus conversing, they were startled
by hearing Rover barking violently, and
Neptune growling. Miss St. Clair, and the
children, went to ascertain what was the
matter; and, going to a little rising, they
saw the two dogs in the middle of a heap of
dead leaves. Rover was barking with all
his might, and Neptune trying to take
something up in his mouth, every time he
touched it drawing his head back again
very quickly, giving it a shake as if his
nose had been pricked, growling all the
time; then he would put out his paw, and
give whatever it was a pat, but with no
better success; so, seeing his friends com-
ing, he left off his attempts to capture the
prize, and went to meet them,
What can it be?" said Walter. Look
at poor Neptune's nose; it has been hurt.
Can you think what it is, aunty?"
We shall soon see," replied Miss St.
Clair, going towards the place where Rover
was keeping guard.
"Oh! dear aunty, do not go," cried
Helen; "I am afraid you will be hurt."
Do not be alarmed, my dear," said Miss
St. Clair: "there is nothing there that will
injure us; it is most likely some little ani-
mal the dogs have found. There, see, it is
a poor harmless hedgehog, a creature that
will not hurt any one."
"Is that anything alive, aunty?" said
Helen. "Why, it looks just like a ball
made of thorns."
What a strange creature," said Walter:
" it is perfectly round. Where is its head?"
"If you stay quietly for a short time,"
replied Miss St. Clair, "you will find it has
a head, Walter, for it will unroll itself.
Will you go to your mamma, George, and
tell her the cause of the commotion ? Per-
haps she will come to see it also."
"Look, dear mamma," said Helen, run-
ning to meet Mrs. Melville; "come and see
this curious animal the dogs have found."
It is an interesting creature, my dear,"
replied Mrs. Melville; "and I am glad you
will have an opportunity of watching it.
If George will put my cloak on this stump,
we will remain till it unrolls itself."
The dogs made it curl up," observed
Miss St. Clair; "but I think they received
more injury than they inflicted. See, poor
Neptune's nose is bleeding; Rover was the
wisest, although he made the most noise."
"Poor Neptune," said Agnes, patting
him, "how could you be so foolish as to
attempt to bite the hedgehog? I hope you
will be wiser another time, and let such
prickly things alone."
The dog looked up, sensible of his young
mistress's kindness, and, wagging his tail in
thanks for the caution, laid down by her
You will have to wait a long time,
Walter," said Miss St. Clair, "if you do
not keep that restless little Rover still."
Come, Rover, lie down here," said
Walter; "and, if you can, be quiet for a
lit tle while."
They waited very patiently for some
time, and the hedgehog began to move.
Look," said Helen, "it has a snout
something like a pig."
Hush !" said Miss St. Clair; "you will
They watched until it was quite un-
rolled, and had walked away.
Now, dear mamma," said George, do
tell us something about that odd creature.
I think it has given Neptune a lesson not
to pry too much. Poor fellow, how is your
nose? I hope it will soon be well."
"The hedgehog," replied Mrs. Melville,
"is a very harmless little animal, feeding on
insects, worms, and roots. It is not capable
of running with much speed; but its mer-
ciful Creator has amply compensated it for
this deficiency by endowing it with the
power of contracting its body, as you have
seen; and when rolled up in a ball, it may
be knocked about without sustaining any
injury; and few dogs will attempt to bite it."
"I often think," said Miss St. Clair,
" how plainly we can trace the exercise of a
Divine power in the works of nature. It is
curious to observe how equally the various
instincts and powers are bestowed. Here is
the hedgehog, very deficient in the power
of escaping from its enemies by speed; but
it has another quality given it, which
enables it to contract itself into a ball, pre-
senting to its assailants an impenetrable
barrier of prickles. It is also capable of
passing through a very small space. I have
seen one go through a barn-door, at the
Was it not hurt, aunty?" asked Helen.
No, my dear, not in the least," replied
Miss St. Clair. The hinge separated the
door from the wall rather more than an
inch; and the door was held open whilst
the little creature passed through."
"Are hedgehogs of any use, mamma?"
They are sometimes tamed, and kept
in the kitchen to destroy cockroaches," re-
plied Mrs. Melville. During the day
they hide themselves, and will creep into
very small spaces. After dark they come
out of their hiding-places, and soon destroy
all the insects within their reach. No crea-
ture is created in vain. Without doubt
this little animal fills its place in the eco-
nomy of nature, and offers its tribute of
praise to its Almighty Creator. We should
learn from this instance the duty of con-
secrating all our powers to the service of
our Heavenly Father, who, though He con-
descends to create such insignificant crea-
tures for use, has endowed us with reason;
and, therefore, requires that this reason,
together with all our faculties, be dedicated
to His service.'
AFTER resting a little longer, our party rose
to continue their walk. George called Frisk.
and he trotted after them. Then, following
the brook, they passed through the wood to
a field where they found plenty of wild
flowers. The children amused themselves
by gathering roses, wild mallow, and many
other flowers, twining them into wreaths,
with the large white convolvolus, and the
tendrils of the wild hop. They crowned
each other with these garlands, and after
they were tired of this employment, they
went up the field, which was very steep, in
search of some moss, to complete the arbour
Agnes and George had between their gar-
dens. Their baskets were soon filled with
beautiful moss, and wishing to take more
home than they would hold, George and
Walter took their handkerchiefs, and after
making two large bundles of it, they slung
them across Neptune's back. The docile
creature carried them with great care, and
appeared well pleased with his burden.
George was returning to the place where
his mamma and aunt were sitting, followed
by Neptune and the rest of the party, when,
without thinking of what he was doing, he
set off at full speed, ran down the hill, and
jumped over a bush near the edge of the
stream. Neptune, thinking he could not
do better than imitate his young master,
followed, and, in clearing the hedge, upset
the two bundles of moss. Seeing Neptune
without his package, George turned to
discover the fate of the moss he had collected
with so much care, and saw one bundle in
the stream, the other caught on a brier.
By this time the rest of the children arrived,
and Neptune's exploit, and the mischance
of the bundle, afforded them plenty of amuse-