The Baldwin Library
' )C^ /f7!
KroT E LIT Co., LondEA n.
THE LITTLE YEAR BOOK.
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY;
56, PATERNOSTER ROW; 65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD,
AND 164, PICCADILLY.
THE LITTLE YEAR-BOOK.
L 'Tis New Year's-day The coming year
All blank before us lies;
Oh may no blot or stain appear
To mar its history written here,
When published in the skies."
THE month JANUARY receives its name from
Janus, an idol-god of the Romans. The image
of this idol was a man with two faces; one, old
and wrinkled, supposed to be looking on the
past; the other, youthful and bold, looking for-
ward to the future. The month was also called
"the door-keeper, and a bunch of keys was
placed in the hands of the image, to show that it
was appointed to Janus to open the door of the
In the old Saxon times of England, January
was called Wolf-monath, it being the season when
wolves, urged by hunger, left their forests, and
man and beast were alike exposed to their savage
There are two or three days to be noted in
this month. Twelfth-day, connected in the
minds of the young with plum-cake, is so
called because it is the twelfth day after Christ-
mas. It is also known as Epiphany, or, as the
word means, "the manifestation;" as on this
day the wise men from the east came to
the infant Saviour with their gifts of -gold,
frank-incense, and myrrh (Luke ii. 1 -11);
he was then first manifested to the Gentile
In former times, the first week of the year was
kept as a holiday by the country people, and on
the Monday after Twelfth Day it was the cus-
tom to resume lalour in the fields by again
yoking the plough; hence the day was called
January is the coldest month of the year.
This arises partly from the rays of the sun falling
aslant, or sideways, on the earth, and partly
because the days are short and the nights long
It is the season of frost and snow. Piles of
drifted snow may often be seen, not only cover-
ing the open country, but blocking the streets of
our towns and cities.
As a snowy landscape has much in it to please
the sight, and as a brisk walk abroad will
cause the blood to glow in our veins, and a
bloom to come over the palest cheek, let us go
forth for a winter morning's ramble.
But what is there worth looking at now
the hedges are bare, and the fallow lands are
dreary, and the sun is not to be seen all day
long I Some may thus ask, as they look through
the window of their snug parlour, or as they
draw their chair closer to the blazing fire,
Yet, come with me into the lane that leads
to the brook; let us stroll over the common and
through the wood, and we shall be sure to find
objects to interest and instruct us; for "God
hath made every thing beautiful in his time."
Eccl. iii. 11
It is indeed very cold, and there is a slight
fall of snow. See, the woodman with his dog is
on his way from the thicket, with a bundle of
sticks on his back, returning to his cottage on
We should not fail to notice how well the
animals are able to endure the severity of the
season. The coat of the ox is not short and
smooth, but deep and rough. The Shetland pony
is shaggy; and the under fur of the hare is full
and thick. So with the tribes of birds: the
thick down beneath the feathers keeps them
warm, whatever the cold of the season.
But we miss the bat, the dormouse, and the
hedgehog. They may be found; but where 9
fast asleep-in a slumber called hybernation-
during which time their blood circulates very
slowly, and the heat of their bodies is reduced to
nearly that of the air without. Will not this
lead to death ? No; this is their great Creator's
plan of keeping them in life. When spring
comes, we shall see them arise into all the bustle
of animal life.
What a flock of small birds It surely
amounts to thousands! They are larks-the
same whose song fills the air in summer, but
which is now mute. These birds are now very
fat, and are caught to be roasted or to line a pie,
for our tables.
And yet listen! That is the song of a bird;
how clear and shrill 1 It is the wren, one of the
smallest, but one of the hardiest of our birds; it
may be seen hopping from twig to twig, prying
into the crevices of the bark in quest of insects
and their larvae or eggs, on which it feeds; then
suddenly breaking forth into a clear strain, which
ceases as suddenly as it began.
But the wren is not our only winter songster:
we have the robin, whose cheerful note is wel-
come to all. He is a favourite everywhere, with
his rusty-red breast and his full black eye. See
him waiting for the crumbs which children
throw from the cottage door. Then there is the
woodlark, on a fine day, pouring out his sweet
strain. The hedge-sparrow may also now be
heard warbling a gentle song; the thick hedge
conceals the plainly dressed bird, but it is well
known to all.
See the fields, green with the rising blade, are
blackened with rooks, all intent upon the destruc-
tion of the larvae of beetles, which they eagerly
devour, to the benefit of the farmer, who need
not grieve at the trifling mischief they do, as
they compensate him by destroying hosts
of insects which would injure the summer
God has given to us winter flowers; and even
in the cold month of January, a sprig of flower.
ing laurustinus may be plucked, a feeble bud or
two of the China rose, or a marigold. Let us
gather a winter nosegay, which may cheer the
solitude of some one we love, who, by age or
sickness, is kept within doors.
The sweet rosemary, with its bluish lilac-
coloured flowers, is commonly now in bloom.
It was wound by our forefathers into a wreath
as an ornament at the wedding ceremony, or
used at funerals as a token of sorrow.
What is that meek, humble, hardy little flower,
peeping through the snow, and smiling upon the
wintry waste ? It is the winter aconite, with
its buttercup-like blossoms as bright as gold, and
its leaves of a dark but lively green.
Notice how the shrubs and trees have their
tender plants closed up in buds, in which the
future leaves, fruits, and flowers are tightly
bound together. While more lowly plants are
hid from view, preparing new shoots to burst
forth when the spring returns, and when the
earth is made soft with showers.
It might be thought that at this season there
would be little work to be done in the country.
But though not the busiest time with the farmer,
he has enough to do. He has to thresh out his
corn, plough the ground, clear out the ditches,
form drains for the land, mend the hedges and
banks, and look wel that the cattle are sheltered
from the cold.
The gardener now also must look about him.
The young trees must be protected from frost,
straw asnt be laid around the roots of others;
the gooseberry and currant bushes must be
pruned, and the ground prepared for future
plantings. Indeed, it matters little whether
we live in town or country, winter will bring
its duties and labours, and no time will be
found in which any one need be idle.
Surely, we find that a winter's walk in
January is not without interest; and as we tramp
along, perchance on the first day of the month
we may find it a it season for us to look back
with gratitude for past mercies, and that we are
spared to see the goodness of God. I1 becomes
us, too, to humble ourselves for the sin, of the
past, while we renew our faith in the Lord Jesus
Christ, that through Him we may obtain pardon.
And in looking forward to a new year, we would
ask God to give us his Holy Spirit to prepare us
for all his will on earth, and that the rest of
our days may be spent in his fear.
How can I this year improve?
How each moment wisely spend ?
So that conscience shall approve,
When my days and years shall end.
Let me to the Saviour flee-
Then life's greatest work is done:
All shall work for good to me,
If the heavenly prize be won.
listen, Saviour, to my prayer ;
Make this year a year of grace;
Let me still thy favour share,
Guide my steps in wisdom's ways:
Happy then throughout the year,
Life or death shall equal be;
While I live, 'tis in Thy fear;
When J die, I die in Thee.
"There's nothing bright above, below,
From flowers that bloom to stars that glow;
But in their light our souls may see
Some feature of the Deity."
In the second month of the year, the Romans
held a feast, called Februalia, in honour of their
goddess Juno, or as she was sometimes called,
Februa. At this time many sacrifices were pre-
sented in the vain hope of obtaining pardon of
LEAP YEAR.-Every fourth year is known as
Leap Year, when February numbers 29 days.
This is occasioned by the difference between the
natural year and the common year. The former is
the time in which the sun makes its apparent
revolution round the earth, and which consists of
365 days 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 48 seconds.
The common year contains 365 days. The
difference between the two is made up every
fourth year, by the addition of a day to the
month of February, which about makes up for
the 5 hours, etc., over in the natural year.
February was known to the Saxons as Sol-
monath, the rays of the sun being now more
powerful than in the past month. It was also
calledPan-cake-monath, as, during this time, cakes
baked in a pan were offered to Sol, or the sun.
Another name given to it was'Sprout-kele-monath,
because kale and cabbages begin now to sprout.
In the course of the month, there generally
occur Septuagesima Sunday, which is supposed
to take its name from its being about seventy
days before Easter. In succession there follow
Sexagesima Sunday, being about sixty days;
and Quinquagesima Sunday, about fifty days,
Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday com-
monly fall in this month; though sometimes
they occur in March, according to the movable
feast of Easter, which feast governs most of the
tAsts and, festivals of the year. In the days
when popery prevailed in our land, the first of
these days was devoted to the confession of sin,
called shriving, from whence we obtain the word
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent (the
word Lent means "spring"), which was the
season of the year when prayer and fasting
were observed. In past ages, the people some-
times cast ashes upon their bodies as a mark of
We will now go forth on one of our early
rambles. The air is still clear and frosty, and
the ponds are covered with a slight coating of
ice. But soon the frost will change, as the day
advances, to a chilly thaw and foggy damp. But
if we would enjoy the sights which are to be
seen around us, we must take the rough with
the smooth, and not shrink from a cloudy sky or
there morning mist.
Look at the farmers' men: out of doors they
are casting manure on the fields, or cutting the
hedges; and in the barn they are busily thresh-
ing the corn to supply us with "the staff of
life." Yonder is a gardener engaged in sowing
seed in the beds he l4as just prepared for it.
Towards the end of the month we shall find
those banks which are open to the mid-day sun
showing sigus of vegetable life. The sap will
begin to rise in the trees, and willows, lilacs,
and elders, will be among the most forward in
swelling their bloom-buds.
See that soft green willow springing
Where the waters gently pass ,
Every way her free boughs flinging
O'er the moist and rising grass ;
Long ere winter's blasts are fled
See her tipped with vernal red,
And her kindly flower diaplay'd
Ere her leaf can cast her shade.
This chilly month has its flowers. Thak herald
of spring, the snowdrop, is in full blossom. It
looks like an icicle changed into a flower. The
crowfoot now enlivens the moors and marshes
with its golden cups, mingled with the yellow
dandelion, the "sunflower of spring." The
dandelion affords honey and medicine. Its leaves
are sold for salad in France, and its roots are
roasted for coffee in Germany. The young
often amuse themselves in blowing its downy
balls of seeds away, watching them as they float
in the air. They form a feast for the birds, who
eat the seeds.
The white and dead nettle, and the colt's-foot,
are now in bloom. The cottony down under the
leaves of the latter was often gathered in country
villages for tinder. By the end of the month,
the marsh marigold will be in flower by the cold
river-side or in marshy grounds.
Let us pass through the wood, and we shall
be almost sure of seeing the squirrel, now so
very busy and alert. How nimbly he ascends
the trunk of that fine beech tree ; and how soon
he is hidden in some crevice in the branches!
Te has been most probably on a visit to his
store of nuts, acorns, and beech-mast, for a
meal. The squirrel does not pass the winter
in a state of sleep, but clad in warm fur
braves its cold. Instinct-directed, he gathers
various little magazines of food, snugly hidden,
lest the thievish jay should discover and pilfer
Some of the feathered tribes are now also
busy. The raven is preparing his nest, and so
is the crow; and the rook is not behind them.
How full of bustle is the rookery! Here are
some bringing sticks and twigs with which to
repair their nests, which, thus patched up, form
the cradle for many a successive race. Others
are contending for the possession of a nest to
which two parties lay claim.
The thrush is loud in song; clear, bold, and
varied are his notes; nor is the blackbird silent.
Listen to those two sharp notes; there flits the
bird that uttered them among the willows by
the brook; it is the marsh titmouse. It builds
in the holes of pollard willows, and the stumps
of trees near its favourite haunts; and its nest
is made of moss, mixed with the fine soft down
which clothes the seeds of the willow.
There the mole throws up its little hillocks in
the fields, and the earth-worm is seen along the
paths. Both are busy labourers, and do some
service in breaking up the clods of the earth,
preparing them for the seed corn.
See yonder butterfly on the wing It is called
the brimstone. It is the first that comes forth,
and may be regarded as the harbinger of its race.
Here, too, is a film of gossamer, a sign that some
of the spiders are already beginning to throw out
their floating lines, like silken streamers.
During the present month many of the reptile
tribes will awake from their sleep. The viper
will soon crawl forth to enjoy the sunshine. The
ditches will resound with the hoarse deep croak
of the frog, and the masses of eggs, or spawn,
will be seen in great abundance on the surface of
Surely a walk in February is not without its
YEAR BOOK. 19
interest to those who are willing to use their
eyes, and to study the book of nature." Come,
before we return home, let us gaze on this tiny
snowdrop-one of the earliest of its kind:
Behold the modest, drooping flower,
Well fitted to adorn a bower;
Bright on its breast the silvery dew
Adds lustre to its snow-like hue.
See, how it hangs its modest head,
Scarce lifted from its lowly bed ;
.nd whispers to the ears of youth
This lesson of important truth :-
Whate'er your gifts or virtues be,
Oh, cultivate humility :
Be unobtrusive, meek, retired;
Seek to be useful, not admired.
Now stormy March has come at last,
With wind, and cloud, and changing skies ;
I hear the rushing of the blast
That through the lowly valley flies."
It has been said that "every month, like a
good servant, brings its own character with it."
Our Saxon forefathers seem to have considered
the month of March very rude and boisterous,
for they called it Hlyd-monath, the loud or
windy month; and Rhede-monath, rough or
stormy month. It was the first month in the
year of the Romans, who called it Martius, in
honour of Mars, the heathen god of war; and
the Gothic tribes undertook in this month war-
like expeditions. Hence, March is drawn by
artists in a tawny colour, with a fierce counte-
nance and a helmet on his head. From this,
perhaps, is derived the proverb, March comes
in like a lion;" nor is this unlike its general
character; for, during this month, we have often
violent gales-rough, roaring, lion-like winds.
On the 21st of this month, the night and day
are of equal length, whence it is termed the
equinox-a term derived from two Latin words,
meaning "equal" and "night."
If we go forth for a walk, though we may
find the month rude and boisterous, there will
be much that is pleasant connected with it.
It is the spring-time. The frozen earth now
yields to the rays of the sun, the ground is again
soft, and the ploughman is abroad, turning up the
earth, that it may be ready for the seed scattered
by the hand of the sower. At this time the
rude and chilly north-east winds are of great
service in taking away the damps which the
thaws of February have caused.
22 THE LITTLE
These cruel-seeming winds blow not in
vain;" for, if we look upwards, we see the
clouds moving with a brisker motion, and so
scattered as to allow the sun to peep out with
his cheerful beams. And if we look an the
earth, we find the dry air of March renders the
ground fit for the seed. The wind drives clouds
of dust before it. A bushel of March dust is
worth a king's ransom; such is an old country
proverb, which points to the fact of the value of
dry and dusty weather for putting in the seed.
As soon as the season advances, the sun will
get higher in the heavens, and shed a more
genial warmth. See, vegetation has increased
since our last ramble, and the country now is
putting off its winter dress, and the trees begin
to put on their glossy leaves. The fruit trees
are adorned with white and pink buds; while
the flowers appear on the earth, and enrich the
air with their fragrance.
During this month, the woods and gardens
begin to put on their floral attire. The mere-
reon or olive spurge, and mountain pepper, called
by the Italians "the little fair one," before its
leaves have shown themselves, is adorned with
purple clusters. Beautiful however, as this little
plant is to look upon, its berries are poisonous to
men and beasts, and the bark will raise blisters
on the skin. The young sister of Dr. Thornton
died in consequence of eating a small number of
the berries of the mezereon. To the birds, how-
ever, the berries are a delicious food.
Rising about three, feet high, with a circular
row of leaves around its stem, is now seen the
evergreen spurge laurel. It has yellowish,
drooping flowers, clustering under a dark foliage.
Its berries, wiaich are of a bluish-black colour,
S are poisonous.
The peach unfolds its lovely blossoms; the violet
perfumes the air; and the common elder puts forth
its leaves. The bright celandine, w'th its heart-
shaped leaves, will show its golden stars about
the middle of the month. It is a late riser, and
retires early to rest; for it opens to the sun about
nine in the morning, and shuts up about five in
the afternoon. It also shuts its eyes before rain.
The cross-shaped little flowers of the whitlow
grass peep out upon the old wall or on rocky soils.
The primrose betrays itself by its sweet perfume.
Thou shalt be mine, thou simplest flower,
Tenting thyself beneath the bower
Thy little leaves have made;
So meekly shrinking from the eye,
Yet marked by every passer by,
Of thine own sweets betrayed."
The common arum-called lords and ladies.
wake robin, and cuckoo's pint-with its broad
glossy leaves, is now in bloom From the centre
of the leaves rises a'kind of column of green or
violet colour : on these grow the orange-coloured
berries; these the birds enjoy, but they are
poisonous to men.
The little bell-shaped flower of the dove's-foot
cranesbill, with its rosy cheeks and plump round
leaves, like velvet to the touch; the palm with
its golden balls, called by country children
" yellow goslings j" the tassels hanging from the
hazel; the rose-coloured almond flowers; and the
daffodils and jonquils of white and yellow; are
all nodding to the breeze.
The garden anemone appears with its brilliant
scarlet, or with tints of purple or lilac fading into
white. The dog's-tooth violet-pretty little fa-
vourite !-with its twin-spotted leaves and reddish
stem, is now opening its deep lilac petals in the
The periwinkle of various colours abounds,
but especially the bright blue is seen creeping
along the eaves.
See where the sky-blue periwinkle climbs,
E'en to the cottage eaves; and hides the wall
And dairy lattice."
These are some of the flowers which please
our senses in the opening month of spring. May
they teach us the wisdom and power of God, as
the works of His hand, and his goodness in
clothing the earth with such beauty.
But see, the bee is on the wing And there
flits along a brimstone butterfly. Many other
.insects spring into life.
Few of our summer birds of passage have yet
made their appearance, though most of our
winter visitors have already taken their de-
parture for the wide regions of the north. One
species may be observed flitting about on the
common lands and open pasture grounds, re-
markable for the pure white of the lower part of
the back, in contrast with the bluish-grey of the
rest of the upper parts, and the fawn colour of
the chest. It is the wheatear. How quick,
restless, and uncertain are its movements, as it
flits from turf to turf, or from stone to stone, and
how nimbly it. runs along the ground Towards
the close of the month, the wild pigeon's coo will
be heard in the woods, and blackbirds and
thrushes will begin to build their nests.
March is a busy month for the husbandman,
who sows that he may reap and gather into
barns. As we see the sower stalk with measured
step along the newly ploughed ground, throwing
into the earth the seed that shall spring up into
new life, let us think on the revival of the
mortal frames of all true believers, "sown in
corruption, raised in incorruption,-sown in dis-
honour, raised in glory,-sown in weakness,
raised in power,-sown a natural body, raised a
spiritual body," when the last trumpet shall
sound, and we shall rise to meet the Lord of life
Neither let us forget the beautiful parable of
our Saviour, "Behold, a sower went forth to
sow." (Matthew xiii. 3). May we be of those in
whose hearts the seed of Divine truth is cast,
and which, springing up, bears fruit in the life-
it may be thirty, sixty, or even a hundredfold !
28 THE LITTLE
A month of sunshine and of showers,
Of balmy breezes, opening flowers."
The beautiful month of April is come. The
Romans called it Aprilis, from the Latin aperire,
"to open," in allusion to the bursting of the
buds of trees and flowers, and their opening in
all their beauty. Artists represent April as a
young man, clothed in green, with a garland of
myrtle and hawthorn buds on his head, and a
bunch of primroses and violets in his hand.
The Saxons called this month Eostre-monath,
or Easter-month, because they worshipped at
this season their goddess Eostre.
Among the special days that usually fall in
this month, is Palm Sunday, which' commemo-
rates the event of the people casting palm
branches in the way as our Saviour went up to
Then comes Maunday Thursday, which by
some is said to be derived from an old English
word, maund, a basket :"-as on this day the
poor, in some places, are supplied with bread,
carried in small baskets.
Good (or Holy) Friday is a day of solemn
memorial, when Christ died on the cross as d
sacrifice for sin, that we, through faith in His
precious blood might obtain forgiveness. The
custom of eating "hot cross buns on this day
is derived from a very old superstitious practice;
though we suppose boys and girls will not care
about the origin, so that they get the well-spiced
b buns to sat,
SEaster Sunday is a day of joy, or as it has
been called, the feast of feasts ;" for it reminds
us of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Thus, in this month, we are particularly called
to remember that He died for our sins, and
rose again for our justification."
Let us now away into the fields, while we
raise our hearts in thankfulness unto God who
has made the earth "soft with showers," and
has blessed the springing thereof"
On all aides we behold that wood, and copse,
and field, are bringing forth thousands of early
flowers. What a change has come over the earth !
Last month the flowers appeared scattered here
and there; but, now,
"From the moist meadow to the withered hill,
Led by the breeze, the vivid verdure rtun;"
and primroses, violets and anemones, like a
variegated earpet, adorn the ground; the air is
fragrant with perfume. .,rops of blooms
adornthe green lanes and hedgerows. The pale
green lambs' lettuce with its lilac-coloured
flowers now decorates, the green banks and corn-
fields. The blackthorn spreads a sheet of white
buds upon the hedge ; and the creeping ground-
ivv displays its whorls of purplish-lilac flowers,
which, when bruised, diffuse a sweet odour.
In the cornfields, the sweet-scented covers
with their flowers of purple and white adorn the
meadows. The oxlip, the cowslip, and the
.buttercup gild the fields. The pale lilac blos-
soms of the cuckoo-flower abound in the moist
S meadows; the dark blue bell flowers of the
gentian are displayed in clusters; and the wild
hearts-ease opens its eyes upon the banks of the
In every woodland, the blue wild hyacinth
abounds, and the greenish-yellow blossoms of the
hellebore stand out bold in the hedges. The
white bryony with its vine-shaped leaves is
twisting and turning among the hedges, and the
pretty flower of the sensitive wood-sorrel clings
around the trunks of decayed trees.
Apple and other fruit trees put forth their
White and blushing blossoms, and the garden
becomes a grove of delights.
S "In spite of nipping sheep and hungry cow
The daisy finds a place below;"
Iand wt only in the field but in the garden
border also. The purple arum and the dragon-
flower are now in bloom; and various species of
auriculas are in full flower, enriched
With shining meal o'er all their velvet leaves."
The marigold adorns the garden with its starry
flowers of every tint; and the lilac trees adorn
alike the door of the poor man's cottage and the
gardens of the rich.
We now behold the almond-tree flourishing,
and sometimes the horse-chestnut with its numer-
ous blossoms, like a vast forest of pyramids; the
laurel, and the apple, besides other trees, are also
covered with bloom.
Now the little mosses, nature's livery round
the globe," shoot up their heads, some of them
looking like a very small tree, and others bearing
their fruit like a cup on a hair-like stem; some
covering the tops of walls, or in woods and
groves protecting the roots of trees, and some
in larger patches on banks of ditches. Wherever
we turn our eyes, we behold what a beautiful
green carpet God has spread over the earth,
teaching us to trust in Him; for, "if He so
clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and
to-morrow is cast into the oven," will He not
much more clothe those whose souls can never
The birds have now returned from the places
of their winter retreat. Listen to that full choir
in the grove, where every tree gives us a little
concert. The nightingale, that favourite of the
poets, warbles at eve when all the woods are
still, and the cuckoo proclaims the advance of
spring. Early in the month, the sand-martin
and the swallow, those welcome guests, return.
Forsaking her wintry rest, the swallow in the
chimney chattering makes her nest." It appears
among us and stays while the insects are most
troublesome, and when they cease to be so, it
The corn-crake may now be heard in the
meadows, with its harsh cry, "crake, crake;"
and on the elm tree the wry-neck is shouting
"peep, peep, peep." Indeed, nearly all the
birds are now actively engaged in building their
Some to the holly hedge
Nestling repair, and to the thicket some;
Some to the rude protection of the thorn
Commit their feeble offspring: the cleft tree
Offers its kind concealment to a few,
Their food its insects, and its moss their nests;
Others, apart, far in the grassy dale,
Or roughening waste, their humble texture weave."
But we must hasten home-a dark mass of
clouds is gathering over our heads, and the first
drops of a shower are falling; this is well called
" the uncertain month of April," with its sun-
shine and showers.
Let us gather from it a lesson, for it is a
picture of human life. As rain follows sun.
shine, so often do we find that trouble succeeds
pleasure, and prosperity is followed by adversity.
This is a world of change; but if we believe in
Jesus, and walk in his ways, all will work
together for our good.
"When apple-trees in blossom me,
And cherries of a silken white;
And king-cups deck the meadow fair,
And daffodils in brooks delight;
When golden wall-flowers bloom around,
And pipple violets scent the ground,
And lilac 'gins to show her bloom,
W' e then can sing that May is come."
The Romans called this month Maius, as some
suppose from Makia, one of their fabled deities
Our Saxon fathers named it Tri-milki-monath,
or "three-milk-month." because the cows were
now milked three times daily.
In the calendar we meet, in this month, with
Rogation Sunday, the fifth Sunday after Easter,
which is so called from the Latin word rogare,
"to beseech," on account of the three following
days being by some devoted to special prayers.
Holy Thursday, or Ascension Day, is designed
to celebrate the glorious ascension of our Lord
into heaven, after having fulfilled his work of
love and mercy on earth. Whit Sunday, or, the
Day of Pentecost, commemorates the descent of
the Holy Spirit upon the apostles. On this
day, in the early ages of the Church, the young
people dressed in white.
May, we are told, should be drawn with a
sweet and amiable countenance, clad in a robe of
white and green, embroidered with daffodils and
hawthorns." "For lo, the winter is past, the
rain is over and gone: the flowers appear on
the earth; the time of the singing of birds is
come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our
When fishes leap in silver stream,
And tender corn is springing high,
And banks are warm with sunny beam,
And twittering swallows cleave the sky,
And forest bees are humming near,
And.cowslips in boys' hats appear,
And maids do wear the meadow's bloom,-
We then may sing that May is come."
A ramble in the woods on a fine evening in
the early part of May, is very delightful. Look
at those giant-like trunks, robed with dark
green ivy; some are nearly covered with leaves,
while the buds are just bursting from others.
The beech and elm are now about to flower, and
the larch is already in leaf. Among the most
forward is the horse-chestnut, which will soon
open its bunches of blossoms of white and pink.
Then there is the dim, dusky-looking pine; and
near it, in beautiful contrast, the wild cherry,
" white with its profusion of blossoms."
Blue-bells, called by country people "cuckoo's
stockings," are plentiful: the ferns are putting
forth their russet scrolls;" and the arum, fully
expanded, is displayingg its crimson clubs."
The white flowers of wild strawberries lie meekly
among their leaves.
As the season advances, the scene in orchard,
field, and wood still becomes more beautiful.
There is the forest of plum, and pear and apple-
" One boundless bush-one white empurpled shower
Of mingled blossoms."
The golden chains of the laburnum, and the
silver wreaths of the May, or hawthorn, the
walnut, the maple, and the mulberry, are putting
forth their beauties; all afford a delightful picture.
There are the almond-tree with its beautiful
cluster of white blossoms, and the delicate
drooping bells of the lily of the valley, hiding
amid the thicket of green leaves, of which our
Lord has said, "Even Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these." The butter-
cup., the cowslip, and the primrose gild the
meadows, and the hedges are half buried in the
But we must visit the garden, and there again
as in fields and woods, we shall find a profusion
of flowers. The scarlet hawthorn, blushing like
the rose, greets the eye, and cheers with its
fragrant smell. Marigolds, of various hues,
spread their elegant starry petals to the shining
sun; 'and the beautiful blossoms of the mallow
assume their varied hues of purple, pink, white
or red. The spiderwort, too, puts forth its
flowers, varying in all shades ofbiue. It is
cald "the life of man;" because, like it, though
beautiful, it is brief, and soon withers away.
And, just as other flowers are closing for the
night, the common evening primrose opens its
pae yelf6w cups.
SAnd there, in liveliest green attired,
Smiling like hope, and cheering the glad eye,
The meek, unsheltered myrtle sweetly blooms."
Very pretty ranunculuses are now blooming
on the border; while several garden peonies
display their various tints. The creeping honey-
suckle weaves its rich festoons, and the garden
is fragrant with its odours; and those beautiful
-lants, the rhododendrons, decorate both garden
and shrubbery with their handsome crimson, or
white and purple flowers, and hard evergreen
The dairy of the farm, owing to the large
supply of grass for the cattle, now affords plenty
of employment. Bees begin to swarm; the
may-fly dances on the river; and the water-
beetle sports upon its surface. See that water-
shrew, as it swims by the banks. A beetle
may also be seen called the boatman, swimming
upon its back, and its legs sweeping along like
the oars of a galley.
The water of stagnant pools is now found to
teem with various kinds of animalcules. One,
called the proteus, from its curious changes of
figure, and another, the volvox gobator, having
a rapid whirling motion, are to be observed by
the aid of a microscope, in numbers in a single
drop of water.
Now the swift darts round the old tower; the
fly-catcher frequents our gardens and orchards;
the bat makes his appearance in the evening of
the day. Early in the morning, the air is filled
with a perfect clamour of bird voices. Garden
warblers are seen and heard all around: black-
caps, whitethroats, churrs and chuffs, make the
air ring with their merry songs. Leverets, or
young hares, sit in their little pits or forms"
on the common.
But harkf! that is the sound of the night-jar,
or goat-sucker. It is one of the arrivals of the
month; it has again taken up its home on the
borders of the wood, where we may hear it as
the shades of evening draw on. A zealous
student of the habits of birds, named White,
tells us that the night-jar sometimes chatters as
it flies, but more usually it utters its jarring cry
when perched on the bare branch of a tree. It
is most punctual in beginning its note of "jar-
jar" exactly at the going down of the sun; so
exactly, that this gentleman noticed that at
times it struck up just as the report of Ports-
mouth evening gun was heard at sun-set. The
night-jar is as active as the swallow in giving
chase to moths and insects.
42 TIER ILTTILE
There listen again! the note of this bid
warn us that it is time: to return home; and as
we return, let us reflect how every season
brings with it the gifts and love-tokens of our
heavenly Father. We trace, His caxe wisdom,
and goodness in fruits and flowers, in the bright
green with which the meadows are now covered,
and in every thing- that hath life. Oh that
men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and
for his wonderful works to the children of
SBright summer beams along the sky,
And paints the glowing year;
Where'er we turn the raptured eye,
Its splendid tints appear."
This month was called Junius by the Romans,
some say in honour of their heathen goddess
Juno. Our Saxon forefathers gave it several
names- Weyd-monath, because the cattle did
weyd, or go to feed in their meadows, or as they
called them, "weyds." It was likewise named
Serem.mnath, or the dry month."
The 21st of June is the longest day in the
year, being from sunrise to sunset about sixteen
hours a&d a half long, and as the twilight ex-
tends from sunset to' sunrise, there is no real
Trinity Sunday-so called in honour of the
Holy Trinity-commonly falls in this month;
after which the Sundays are numbered in order
from the First Sunday after Trinity to the
twenty-second or twenty-eighth, varying accord-
ing as Easter falls early or late in the year.
" ( Leafy June "-the month of roses-invites
us forth. Let us obey, and we shall find every
object fitted to refresh our senses-sight, sound,
scent, and taste will alike be gratified. Come,
then, let us imitate the busy bee, and try to
extract good from the glorious works of God.
.-And first that queen of flowers, the rose,
Arts our eye by its beauty. We see it in
cottage gardens, and on the sides of the noble-
man's lawn. Near to it is the tall white lily
in its purity and grace. Then we have
"The shining pansy trimmed with golden lace;
The tall-topped lark-heels, feathered thick with
The woodbine climbing o'er the door in bowers ;
The London-tufts of many a mottled hue;
The pale pink-pea, and monkshood darkly blue;
The white and purple gillyflowers that stay
Lingering in blossom summer half-away;
The columbines stone-blue, or deep night-brown,
Their honeycomb-like blossoms hanging down;
With marjoram-knots, sweetbriar, and ribbon-grass;
And lavender, the choice of every lass."
The eye is almost dazzled by 'the scarlet
patches of verbena on yonder bed. There, too,
is a group of fuchsias hanging out their beautiful
wax-like bells; and the curious passion flower,
with its twining tendrils, is climbing over the
front of the arbour. Handsome petunias present
their white and purple flowers, and the jasmine
shows its star-like fragrant blossoms in contrast
with its dark green leaves.
Of the wild flowers, the scarlet pimpernel is
now blooming by the wayside. It is better
known as "the poor man's weather-glass" and
" shepherd's barometer," and is so called because
it closes before rain. Even the stinging-nettle has
its flower, while the dead-nettle is adorned with
fine short rings of white blossoms. The tall and
showy foxglove, with its spike of large purple or
white freckled bells, graces the banks and hedges;
and the large, rose-coloured flowers of the musk-
mallow are found in gravelly soil; while the
lilac flowers of the common mallow adorn the
roadside and the meadow.
Even the water has its plants in blossom.
But so manyare the flowers which now decorate
the lanes and hedges, the field and the gardens,
the pond, and running brook, that it would be
impossible to give them even a passing glance.
Yet we rmust not fail to look at the bonnie
broom," which makes the distant heath appear as
a carpet worked in yellow gold.
Whilst the young delight in the abundance of
flowers which this month brings to them, they
have another cause to welcome it. It is because
June paints the cheeks of cherries red, ripens
currants and gooseberries, and brings strawberries
and raspberries to their perfection.
But let us now pass into the wood, for the day
is beginning to be hot, and the leafy trees will
form a pleasant shade. There goes the squirrel;
how nimbly he ascends that smooth-barked
heeoh; his mate is probably with her young in
their nest ; you may see it like that of a bird, in
the fork of those tall bwinches, almost concealed
by the foliage and thick boughs.
Observe that pretty bird-the n.uthatch-
which is nOW so nimbly running round and up
the trunk of the fine tree before us: few birds
display more activity than this bark-climber ; in
this respect this bird even exceeds the wood-
pecker, as it is not only capable of ascending,
but of descending also; its tail, however, is never
used to assist in climbing, as it is by the latter.
The newly-fledged families of the feathered
tribes are now abroad ; and the parent birds are
busy in feeding their young and in teaching
them to fly.
"How pleasant the life of a bird must be,
Flitting about in each leafy tree;
In the leafy trees so broad and tall,
Like a green and beautiful palace hall,
That opens upon the bright blue sky,
And the frolicsome winds as they wander by.'"
SWater-ouzels and kingfishers are plunging in
the water in search of food for their broods, and
swallows are flitting to and fro carrying insects
to their nests.
Called into life by the warm rays of the sun,
Come winged abroad,
Ten thousand forms, ten thousand different tribes."
The bee is busily at work cleaning out his
new hive, and preparing for future labour; and
wasps, too, have made their nests on the side of
a warm bank, or have suspended their paper-like
homes firmly between the branches of the trees.
In yonder fields the haymakers are busily at
work. God, in his abundant goodness, provides
plenty of grass for the beasts of the field. Well do
they enjoy themselves in the green juicy pastures.
Yet they cannot eat up all that grows for them
in the summer months. What, then, is to be
done with all this quantity of grass ? Man knows
what! When the grass is ripe and has stopped
growing, before it withers and rots in the
meadow, the farmer goes forth, and mows it
down. This takes place about the month of
June. The mown grass is then spread out on
the field and dried with the heat of the sun. In
the long and barren season of winter it is turned
to good account. The cattle are fed upon it
until spring comes again, and the fresh young
grass begins to grow once more. As dry grass is
called hay, this work of the farmer is called hay
Scythes twinkle in each grassy dell,
Where solitude was wont to dwell;
And meadows they are mad with noise
Of laughing maids and shouting boys,
Making up the withering hay,
With merry hearts as light as play."
If you are a city youth, and have never
seen a merry hay harvest, you have missed one
of the most inviting of all scenes; for the mowing,
and tossing, and spreading of the grass, the sweet
odours that rise from the fresh-made hay and
float upon the breeze, the gathering up in
Swaggons and storing away in the haymow, form
some of the prettiest pictures in all the interest-
ing scenes of a farmer's life.
This, too, is the month of sheep-washing and
Much is tie toil,
The clamour much, of men, and boys, and dogs,
Ere the soft people to the flood
Commit their woolly sides."
See the shepherd in impatience, he series one
and hurls it into the stream. The others follow
quickly, plunging one by one into the water.
When they are well washed, they. are sent to
dry themselves in the sun and in the breeze.
Then will come the shearer, and the sheep will
be gathered into the fold, to be eased of their
load of wool, which wil] be made into cloth for
But it is time to *retire, for the heat of the sun
begins to warm even tlie recesses of the wood;
the voices of the birds have ceased; and the in-
sects have retreated to the covert of the leaves.
How glorious is the sun in his strength! how
powerful are his light-giving, life-reviving beams!
and how forcibly does he proclaim the might and
glory of Him who maketh the heavens his throne,
and the earth his footstool! And what a striking
emblem is he of Jesus, "the Sun of righteous-
ness," who cme.to -be "the light #f he world,"
and who 'has declared that if we follow Him we
"shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the
light of life." May we look to Him in faith, and
have our heartNs pEriftd Lt gladdened by His
There seems a voice in every gale,
A tongue in every blooming flower,
Which tells, 0 Lord, the wondrous tale,
Of thine indulgence, love, and power."
The name July was given to this month in
honour of Julius Caesar, who was born at this
time. The Saxons called it Aeftera-litha-monath,
or latter mild month."
St. Within's Day is on the 15th of this
month. It is an old story, that an attempt to
remove in solemn procession the body of Bishop
Within of Winchester from its grave in the
churchyard, where it had lain one hundred
years, (in order to place it in the cathedral)
was prevented by a heavy shower of rain,
which continued forty days, when the purpose
was abandoned. Hence it is absurdly said,
that forty lays' rain has been renewed ever
since. But we now know that natural causes,
about this time of the year, lead to the forma-
tion of rain-clouds, and the fall of much
rain. We may be quite sure that the old
bishop has nothing to do in the matter.
As we go forth this month for a pleasant walk,
we shall not fail to notice what varieties of
flowers adorn the field and the garden, the lane,
and the copse. Indeed, many as there were in
June to delight us with their beauty and scent,
there are very many more in July. Candytufts,
columbines, catchfly, egg-plants, and many others
now appear in their gayest dresses. Sweet la-
vender, with its spikes of bloom, perfumes the
air; and the frail yellow flower of the day-lily,
blooming now, and to-morrow faded and dying,
reminds us that
Our fairest hopes, our happiest hours,
Are fragile as its golden flowers;
Which in the sun's fierce beams decay
And vanish, like our lives, away."
The, Venice-mallow, named by old writers
"good-night-at-noon," puts forth its buff-coloured
flowers: but it does not keep them open all day
long; and sometimes it will even keep them
folded up several days together, waiting for a
bright and clear day. Corn-flags now display
their elegant bright pink or scarlet bells, while
the hollyhock sets up its lofty flowers of many
hues. Carnations and pinks of every variety,
with their companion the sweet-william, shed a
delicious fragrance around; the full-blown ra-
nunculus glitters in every colour of the rain-
bow. Sage-plants of all kinds display their
different tints ; and the marvel of Peru puts
forth its blossoms varying from white to red,
purple, or yellow.
Many roses are yet to be seen. The white
and the yellow water-lily are floating on the
stream together; the meadow-sweet, with its
thick-branched head of cream-coloured flowers,
adorns the water-side; and the thorn-apple dis-
plays its bell-shaped blossoms of delicate beauty.
And all these flowers have been spread over
the- earth for a wise purpose :-
"From the first bud, whose venturous head,
The winter's lingering tempest braves,
To those which 'midst the foliage dead,
Shrink latest to their annual, graves ;,
All are for use, for health, for pleasure given-
Al speak, in various ways, the bounteous hand
The country is now full of life and beauty,
and at the fas; they are finishing their hay
harvest. In the freshness of the morning the
mower is still busy with his scythe, and with
regular strokes and a sweeping sound, the sweet
amd flowery grass falls before him. The gardener
now has to water his plants, to roll his gravel
walks, to clip his box edgings, to train his
honey-suckles, to plant out cauliflowers, and to
prepare the ground for autumn and winter
crops. The farmer sees to the general .ordering
of his farm; his wife to the poultry yard and
the dairy; and the shepherd to his lambs.
If we take a walk along the green lanes, let
us notice the bees as they hum and flutter about
the wild honeysuckle; or drink the sweets in
the fragrant clover-fields. It is amusing to
watch these insects, to see how they examine
flower after flower, how quickly they leave
those which have been already visited; and how
eagerly they extract the honey from such as
afford a supply. In this pursuit they fly over
fields and gardens, and wander far from their
home, returning when their tiny honey-bag is
filled, and again going forth on the same
Of the birds of this month the finches, mar-
tins, and swallows are to be observed flitting
over the meadows, or lodging among the boughs
of the trees. Early in the morning up springs
the lark, and pours forth a gush of sweetest
music ; and the song of the nightingale may still
be heard long after the sun has set behind the hills.
Grass hoppers and field-crickets now abound, and
butterflies are in all their beauty of colours flutter-
ing among the flowers. Dragon-flies and flying
beetles too, may be seen on every field and heath.
How sultry it is now at noon! Mark how
the cattle, seek a grateful shade from the heat:
some are standing deep in the pond; others
recline under the shade of the trees. Let us
also rest ourselves beneath this spreading oak,
while not a breeze is stirring the leaves above
us. Let us listen to the brook murmuring
over the pebbles. The fish spring up and
catch the insects that sport on the surface of
the water; and the birds have ceased their song,
as though overpowered with the heat.
How pleasant it is to watch the evening of a
long summer's day, when the rays of the sun
have lost some of their power, and the bright
orb itself is just setting in the west! Then the
trees cast their long shadows behind us, and the
sky above gleams with purple, crimson, and
gold. The cows are now brought from the pas-
ture; and the weary horses return from their
labour in the fields : by their sides the farmers'
men, with their scythes and rakes on their
shoulders, walk with tired step to their cottage
homes. As the sun is setting hosts of gnats
dance over the pools of water, the stars begin
to shine mildly over our heads, the dew falls
gently, the evening primrose opens its pale
yellow petals, and the beasts and birds go to
As we enter on the month of July we are
reminded that half the year has gone. Not a
day, an hour, or a moment of its time can be
now recalled. If the months have been im-
proved, let us be thankful; if we have neglected
to employ them for our own and others' good,
and for the glory of God, let us be humbled;
and, looking up in prayer for the aid of Divine
grace, let us seek to spend the remainder of our
time more diligently, prayerfully, and usefully,
that we may not at last be found to have lived
Lord of the harvest all is thine;
The rains that fall, the auns that shine ;
The seed once hidden in the ground ;
The skill that makes our fruits abound;
New every year,
Thy gifts appear;
New praises from our lips shall sound."
August received its name in honour of the
Roman emperor Augustus. By the Saxons it
was called Arn-mownth, or "Barn-month ;" be-
cause it was the time of storing the harvest into
The first day of the month bears the name
Lammas-day; or, as it was anciently called,
' Loaf-mass," or feast, when thanksgivings to
God were offered for the first-fruits of the corn
of which they made their loaves. It is still
retained in the Almanack, as leases of land are
sometimes dated from this day.
This is a beautiful month; its fruits supply
the wants of nearly all the year. God now
openeth His hands, and supplies the desires of
His living creatures. He has nourished the
seed that was sown; His winds and rains have
cherished its growth; His sun has ripened the
grain in the ear; and man goes forth and gathers
the gifts of Divine power and goodness.
Now waving o'er the yellow field
The bending ears their load sustain,
And to the reaper's sickle yield
Their cluster'd stores of golden grain:
Thus patient labour shall succeed,
And find its reaping season come;
Who sow with tears the precious seed,
Shall shout with joy the harvest home."
The gathering in of the harvest usually begins
with rye and oats, proceeds with wheat, and
finishes with peas and beans.
There is now a brilliant colouring in the
garden, though the number of flowers is very
much less than during last month. Dahlias
and sunflowers display their glowing hues; and
garden hydranglas, often called the Chinese
guelder rose, put forth their numerous clusters
of pale rose-coloured, but sometimes blue blos-
August has a plentiful supply of wild flowers.
" The scarlet pimpernel creeps here and there,
Amid the corn the crimson poppies blush,
Still on the brooks gleam water-lilies rare,
And purple loosestrife, and the flowering rush :
Still honeysuckle blooms perfume the gale,
Where bryony leaves adorn the hedgerows green,
Where peep the scabious and the champion pale,
With trumpet-like convolvulus between,
The blue campanula and chicory wild,
And yellow toad-flax variegate the plain,
And with a thankful heart and sense beguiled,
We look upon the fields of ripening grain."
The woods and hedges are rich in fox-glove,
blue bells, wild geraniums, meadow rue, and
In the orchard the trees are laden with fruit:
the boughs of the plum are bent to the earth;
the juicy pears, unless gathered, fall to the
ground; ruddy peaches and apricots adorn the
walls; and the grapes in the open air begin to
show signs of ripeness. The forest is bright
with berries, and the leaves of the great elms
are tipped with yellow-the first symptoms of
their decay and fall.
Butterflies and other insects are numerous:
ladybirds, ants, wasps, and bees, are busy, collect-
ing their different foods, while the field-mouse
runs among the ripening wheat. This beautiful
little creature is the smallest of British animals.
Its nest is like a bird's, made of dried leaves,
and suspended among the stalks of standing
corn. It is quite round, about the size of a
cricket-ball, and in it will often be found eight
of these tiny mice.
Among other birds, the corncrake visits us in
summer, and keeps up in cur meadows its cry of
" crake, crake," though it is not easily to be
seen. It runs with great rapidity, and is un-
willing to take to its wings. When found it
pretends to be dead. A gentleman had one
brought to him by his dog. As it lay on the
ground, he turned it over with his foot, and he
concluded that it was dead. Standing looking
at it, however, in silence, he saw it suddenly
open one eye. He then took it up; its head
fell; its legs hung loose; it seemed again quite
dead. He then put it in his pocket, and before
long he felt it struggling to escape. He took it
out, and it appeared as lifeless as before. He
then laid it upon the ground, and retired a short
distance; in a few minutes it cautiously raised
its head, looked round, and ran off at full speed.
The broods of young birds are now becoming
active. Swallows, martens, lapwings, swifts,
and others of the feathered tribes are now trying
their strength and command of wing. The long-
eared, or horned owl, is stealthily sailing about
as the night comes on.
In the hollow tree or the old grey tower,
The spectral owl doth dwell,
9ull, hated, despised, in the sunshine hour,
But at dusk he is abroad and well.
Not a bird of the forest e'er mates with him,
All mock him outright by day;
But at night when the woods grow still and dim,
The boldest will shrink away.
Oh when the night falls, and roosts the fowl,
Then, then is the reign of the horned owl !"
As we proceed in our ramble, fields of waving
yellow corn are seen on every side. All the
villagers have turned out to work, for all are
wanted now. Some are cutting, others are bind-
ing into sheaves, and many are piling the wag-
gon with the gathered treasure; and soon the
sound of harvest home" will be heard in the
Such a scene reminds us that we have all a
harvest to gather in. What sowing should there
be in the days of our youth, that in due season
the fruits may appear. The salvation of our
souls is of more importance than the harvest of
the fields, and even of the whole world. May we
have grace to do our work; for sad will it be
if we neglect it. "' He that sleepeth in harvest
is a son that causeth shame." (Prov. x. 5.)
Many will have to say at last, "The harvest is
past, the summer is ended, and we are not
saved." (Jer. viii. 20.) But that it may not be
our sad case, let us go to Jesus now, and look to
Him that we may be saved, and in His strength
may we live all our days, bringing forth the
fruits of righteousness to His honour and praise :
then shall we join in the great harvest home of
"The year is now declining ; and the air-
When morning blushes o'er the orient hill -
Embued with chillness. Soon the forest,
Brown and sere, will cast its foliage;
The sickle of the husbandman will cease,
And Nature's lap be shorn and bare."
September derives its name from the Latin
word septem, signifying seven, for though now
the ninth month of the year, it was the seventh
with the Romans, who began their year in
March. Ember or imber, is the Latin word for
"shower," and it intimates that the wet season
commences in this monta~ Oar Saxon fore-
fathers called it GriT~e s-t atA or "barley-
month ;" beeamBse that kind lf grain was reaped
at this season. Their bnad was chiefly made of
The moon about the early part of-this month,
when at her full, rises for a week, sooner after
sun-setting than at any other time of the year.
She is then known as the harvest moon; and
she affords a light which is of great service to
those at work in the fields, and to whom every
hour is of great value in the completion of the
Moon of harvest, I do love
O'er the uplands now to rove,
While thy modest ray serene,
Gilds the wide surrounding scene,
And to watch thee riding high
In the blue vault of the sky."
In this month is the time of the autumnal
equinox, when the days and nights are again of
equal length (see p. 21). Heavy rains and
winds mostly occur at this season, which are
called the equinoctiall gales."
This is the time for fruits. It is true, the
strawberry, the currant, and other kinds are not
now seen; but then we have the apple-trees
bending beneath their loads, and pears in almost
equal plenty. The peach, plum, grape, apricot,
damson, greengage, and many others, at this
season enrich the trees in the open orchard, or
adorn the walls.
The notes of the redbreast and wren are again
heard as autumn draws on; and nightingales
and chimney-swallows prepare to wing their way
to a warmer clime.
September does not display many new flowers,
but a great number of those of last month con-
tinue in bloom. Yet there is much to remind
us that the prettiest flowers have their time to
But come, let us now make our way to the
seashore, it may serve to diversify our walks,
and will present us with new objects of interest.
Let us hasten, the tide is retiring, and many a
nook beneath the cliffs, many a little pool among
the jutting rocks, which they enclose and over-
hang, will claim our attention.
Observe those floating masses of jelly; who
would suppose that they were living animals !
Here one is left on the shore; let us look at it:
it is one of the medusse, the blue jellyfish. It is of
the shape of a vast mushroom, and often attains
to the weight of several pounds, measuring from
a foot to two feet across its umbrella-like sur-
face; but if this animal be removed from the
sea, and exposed to the sun and air, it seems to
melt away, and it will be found that its size and
weight are owing to the presence of sea water
with which numberless filmy cells are filled. In
a short time this fluid will entirely escape, and
leave only a delicately filmy skin weighing a few
Observe that singular creature, slowly creep-
ing at the bottom of a little basin in the rock,
filled with clear sea water. It is a star fish; let
us take it out, and examine it more closely. It
consists of a central portion, or disc-like body,
from which five rays, capable of being shortened
and extended, branch out; its covering is horny.
The rays are gently bent towards the mouth;
and these, when a crab or shell fish is within
their range, are folded closely over it, drawing it
towards the mouth, which is open to swal-
Mark that fleet of small vessels in the dis-
tance; how animated the scene how beautiful
a picture they present, crowded on the placid
surface of the water, blue as the sky above!
They are out with men engaged in dredging for
oysters, which are taken at this season from the
beds they form, and sent in great quantities to
the markets. Near to that shore across the bay
some fishermen are at work catching other shell
fish, as mussels and periwinkles.
Behold those large dark coloured birds, wing-
ing their way laudwards from the sea. They
are cormorants, and are returning to their roost-
ing place after a fishing excursion, in which, no
doubt, they have been very successful. The cor-
morant is a beautiful bird, and may be taught to
catch fish as falcons are taught to take par:
tridges. It has been so employed in China, and
has. also been trained for the same, pturose
in England, but for the sake of amusement
Again, see on the shingles yonder-there is
a little group of kittlewakes, or gulls, which
make their nests aiong the herbage on rocky
islands. And now there skims along a flock of
terns or sea-swallows. These birds sweep over
the surface of the water, even in the roughest
weather, and seize the fishes as they are tossed
up by the waves.
The sea-pheasant, a species of duck, the velvet
duck, the shell-drake, together with puffie
stormy petrels, earlws, and many other water
birds, are now found around our coast
A walk on. the sea-shore will lead us al a to
notice the variety of shells which are cast up by
ti- wave There lie the familiar oyster and
cockle, together with others of cimious designs,
and shaded with the most beautiful colors.
BSomeae ma singled with the sand; others, with
strange living creatures within them, are fixed
to the rocks or floating on the weeds washed up
by the tide.
But there is no end to speaking about the
varied objects found at the sea-side. We might
range the cliffs, and study the plants-as sam-
phlires, sea-cabbages, sea-lavenders, sea-stocks,
sea-radishes, pepper-worts, and a host of other
plants; together with a singular variety of
ferns The beach, with its molluscs, weeds and
stones, and the waters with their fish, would
supply us with a vast number of things, to
tell us of the greatness and goodness of God,
who at first said, "Let the waters bring forth
abundantly the moving creature that hath life."
(Gen. i. 20.)
But the evening draws on apace, and we
must return. See how gloriously the broad
bright harvest moon lights up the dark waters
of the sea, and silvers the foliage of the trees,
and the tall spire of the village church. How
beautiful is such a night! how lovely such a
scene Who can gaze upon it, and not feel his
heart glow with gratitude to the God of all
power and goodness, whose mercies are over all
And as we take a parting glance at the
sea, let us think of that word: Who is a God
like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity ? who
delighteth in mercy;" for Thou wilt cast all
their sins into the depths of the sea." (Mic. vii.
18, 19). These are precious words for the true
penitent and humble believer : may we be
among those who, through a true faith in Jesus,
can apply them to their own hearts !
Now boys are busy in the woods,
Gathering ripe nuts, bright and brown;
In shady lanes the children stray,
Looking for blackberries through the day-
Those berries of such old renown."
October derives its names from the Latin octo,
which signifies eight," because it was the eighth
month in the Roman year, though it is the
tenth month with us. The Saxons called it
Winter-tyllith, or "winter beginning;" and it is
often known to us as the fall of the leaf."
Now let as away for an autumn walk; and
first the change in &6 trees catches our eye. The
bright fresh green is turned into orange, red,
purple, and brown. Dark and glossy acorns lie
scattered on the ground in the woods; and
prt lke horse-chestnuts and beech-nuts afford a
Ir ge supply of food for birds- and squirrels.
S ee, tihreI is a lively little creature sitting off
a bonig, biting at its leisure the nuts with its
Seartet lips, dark people sloes, brown haws,
and other seeds without number, ffl~- s to the
bitfk a si-pply of winter food.
The viaige children, however, do not intend to
lot the birds and squirrels have all the wild fruit.
We may hear their merry shouts in the woods, a%
they gather the brown-shellers, and a, supply of
hael nuts and blackberries, will be carried honie
by them to-night in glee.
86dt flowers are yet to be seen in the garden,
i ragk they I k pale and siclky Yellow ma-
pig p iand lofty hollyhocks are in blosson.
-DubleW of Maf colbtrs flourish, afnd si~n*
SAiers bend their heats to the great orb of day.
Mi~haolimas daisies, ad Chinese chrysantheO
a, ts ad& the: bright verdure of the evergreen
Sdra's still make the garden attractive. Chli
santhemum signifies gold flower. Several species
of feverfew are in bloom: some with yellow
flowers, and others looking like little tufts of
snow. The cottoneasters now display their purple
or red berries, like beads of coral. The flower
was so named on account of the cottony down
which invests the young shoots and fruits.
The sweet mignonette is even now in flower;
fragrant violets again appear to cheer us at
this season; and the guelder rose shows its
The bear-berries, too, are putting forth their
greenish-white waxen bells or deep rose-colour
blossoms; the shepherd's spikenard displays its
yellow clusters of star-shaped flowers; and the
hairy dwarf-weed its bright yellow pea-shaped
blossoms. Now the various mosses are spread-
ing in moist places a velvet green carpet, and
are very useful. Their scaly stems form little
stars of verdure, and furnish a soft cushion at
the foot of the oak: they cover up the seeds
and roots of flowers, improve the poor soil of
rocks and hills, and defend the trees from the
It is the time of honey harvest. Whilst there
was an abundance of flowers the bees were con-
stantly adding to their stores of honey, but now
the flowers are nearly gone, they begin to feed
on what sweet honey they have got. As the
hive will daily become of less value the cottager
stupifies the bees, and robs the hive of the greater
part of its wealth.
It is very wonderful that the little winged
creatures that breakfast on the bright berries in
the English woods will in a few days be feeding
on the sunny shores of Africa. How do the birds
find their way to such a distant spot ? There is
no path in the air: there are no guide-posts to
show them the way. God is their guide. He
has taught them the way to those places where
they may obtain suitable food. And, whet
the winter is past they will return to theil
former homes in their hedges, or beneath the
thatch of our cottages.
T7 TABE LITTLE
All our summer birds of passage are about to
leave for a warmer climate. The swift a pd the
nightingale will lead the way; the blackcp and
the redtart, and the whitethroat, and the wheat-
ear, will follow; the swallows, as loti to depart,
will continue long to gather, night after night, in
flocks of countless thousands, to roost among the
sedges of the swamp, wheeling, and chattering,
and settling, ere they sink to sleep; at last they
will fix their time; morning will rise-no
swallows will be visible, or, but a few straggers;
night yill come, but the air will be deserted.
The place of our summer visitors will, how
ever, be occupied by a race of hardy natives of
the north. Driven from the frozen lakes and
morasses of the far northern countries, they
wing their way to our more temperate climes;
not, indeed, for the purpose of building V hir
aests and of rearing their broods with us, but
for the sake of food, which our marshes and
Jakes, our hedgerows and copses suppy in
Every month brings its labours in the farm
and garden. Now is the time to store up po.
tatoes for our own table, and turnips for the
cows. Much ploughing is now done; and wheat
and beans are at this season sown. Timber is
out; and hedges, gates, and ditches are put into
October is known in some parts of our. land
as fungus month; for it is the season when
mushrooms and other plants of the kind spring
up, often in a ni~ht, in damp and shady spots;
and sometimes they perish in as short a time.
As an instance, the giant puff ball, as it is
called, will grow three feet round in a single
night. They are in the form of balls, clubs,
cups, saucers, umbrellas, and cones. In size they
are from a pin's head to a foot across. In colour
they: are dusty-brown, black, pink, crimson,
yellow, and indeed almost all shades. Some
have a pleasant scent: others are very offensive
-. odour. Several are good for human food;
but mostly they are hurtful and poisonous.
Great care is therefore necessary that in collect-
ing them mistakes are not made, which may
endanger life. Humble as is their position in
the kingdom of nature, they do good service.
When the rains set in, and vegetation decays,
the corrupt mass gives birth to the fungus
tribe, which speedily absorb, and remove the
putrid matter out of which they grow. One
singular fact noticed in some kinds of fungus
is, that if cleft, or cut asunder, on the parts
being put together again, the whole will
unite just as human flesh will heal after being
We have already said that October is known
as "the fall of the leaf." The fairest foliage
withers, and drops to the earth, and the most
beautiful flowers must fade; so "we all do fade
as a leaf." The rosy cheek and sparkling eye
will lose their beauty at the chilly hand of
death. Happy will it be for us if, when we feel
that our strength is gone, that we can enjoy
the good hope that the Saviour, to vhom we
have looked, in the days of our health, and on
whose merits we rely for salvation, will take
us to bloom in immortal youth and beauty
in his paradise above.
The sere leaf flitting on the blast,
The hips and haws on every hedge,
Bespeak November come : at last
We stand on winter's crumbling edge !
Like Nature's opening grave, we eye
The two brief months not yet gone by."
November is so named from the Latin word
noverm, that is, nine," as it was the ninth month
among the Romans. The ancient Britons called
it WIind-monath; aad also Blot-ronath, or blood
month," on account of the large number of cattle
killed at this time, both for winter store and 7>
sacrifices to their idols.
This is not the best season for a walk in the :
meadows. Chilly fogs and bleak winds strip the
woods of their leaves, and the country looks bare
and forlorn. It is by soae called "gloomy
November." Let it not, however, be supposed
that it is all gloom; far from it. There are days
when the sun clears the air, and myriads of
dewdrops twinkle in his light. All through
the month there will be sights worth seeing,
and lessons to be learned from the works of
We shall not notice so many birds as in former
moAths; though the redwing and the starling
will be found among the red berries in the wood;
and the magpie and the rook will venture to the
threshold of the barn, in search of stray ears of
S At this season some birds, which during the
S summer lived in pairs, will collect into flocks of
c ijderable numbers, and rove the country in
S iuest of food, Among them will be large flocks
of skylarks. These well-kP own songsters wiUl
'aite in troops, spreading over ploughed lands
qad tunip fields, searching for grain seeds and
Another, bird, which now collects into flockl,
is the yellow hammer, which may be observed
flitting along the hedgerows, and crowding the
farmer's stack-yard, attracted by the scattered
Bats now get into the roofs of barns, or asnong
old ruins, and hang themselves by the hooks Mi
their wings, to sleep the winter away; the dor-
mouse creeps into his hole for his long slumber;
and the squirrel, having laid up a good stock of
nuts, retires into his .snug mossy home till the
bright weather of spring shall call him out again,
to gambol on the trees.
Among the insect tribes great changes are
now taking place. To numbers, the present
month brings the end of their existence. The
butterfly has disappeared: it laid its eggs, whence
sprung hosts of caterpillars, from whose ravage
the gardens have suffered; it' enjoyed LIt hours
of sunshine, and perished, but its progeny yet
survive; they are now in the chrysalis state,
waiting the time of their change. Some are
wrapped up in a sUlen mummy case, others
m spended by a thread of silk, hang at resting-
places .of safety, protected from the severity of
the weather, until the warmth of spring rouses
them to motion, Many insects, however, sur-
Ire the winter, some concealed in chinks of old
tees, or between the bark and the wood; others
have burrowed into< the earth, penetrating to a
, The corn is now piled upon the barn floor,
,~d the farmer and his sons are busy in storing
it away. Apples are packed for winter use;
jerbs are dried to season our. food; and large
qtpres of potatoes are safely lodged in the
, Jn large farm-houses, as there is not so much
,Xwrk as usual to be done out of doors, the men
:r busy within, threshing the corn, mending
leo sieves, or repairing the cribs for the cattle.
Wjrhen the weather is fair they will be engaged
i d manuring and draining the ground, and
nding to the fences,
If we look around we shall discover the cro
cns still in flower. The evergreen strawberry-
tree also hangs out its pretty closer of wax-
like, bell-shaped flowers, and ipe berries; for
this tree bears frtit and tower at the~ cote
time. The delicate pinky-white flowers of the
]aurustinus are now in perfection, and the Chia*-
rose blossoms fteely. A few red' and purple
stock may also now be seen; and here and
there a single bud of primrose is peeping frm
beneath its sheltering leaves, while the green
holly displays its red berries.
The wind, in the evening, sounds imounfully
among the branches of the treeS: and every gust
scatters a shower of leaves upon the earth ; they
float upon the millpond and" the rivalet, mand
rustle under the feet a we walk along the
pathway to the common.
These leaves will soon have stirnedt to dust ;
but we are still spared, though the tite may
not be far distant when we toe ~si fatde as
the leaf; fo- sin has brought death ints th
world, and as the wind strips the leaves from
trees, and brings them to the dust, so every one
of us will, sooner or later, be taken from the
world by the hand of death. May we all be
found, when that period shall arrive, yea even
now, prepared to meet Him who came to redeem
us by His precious blood from all iniquity.
We like the Spring with its fine, fresh air,
We like the Summer with flowers so fair,
We like the fruits we in Autumn share,
And we like, too, old Winter's greeting:
His touch is cold, but his heart is warm ;
So, though he may bring to us wind and storm,
We look with a smile on his well-known form,
And our's is a gladsome meeting."
December takes its name from the Latin word
decem, ten;" as in the Roman year, it was the
tenth month. By the Saxons it was called
Haligh-monath, or "holy month," from Christ-
mas Day falling within it.
In the calendar of the month there generally
falls Advent Sunday, though sometimes it falls
in November. It is the fourth Sunday before
Advent, from "adventus," an approach, and
used to express the nearness of the birth of our
Lord Jesus Christ.
The 25th of this month is Christmas Day,
when we are called to remember the nativity of
the Saviour. "Glory to God in the highest
on earth peace, good will toward men."
"Good people all, both young and old,
Lift up your heart and voice;
Again the season is come round
That bids us all rejoice.
Rejoice aloud in early youth,
And when your hairs are grey,
In Jesus Christ our Saviour
Rejoice on Christmas-day."
This is the season of cold and snow, short
:days and long nights, when young and old
move briskly over the frost bound earth
lto give a glow to their blood. If we look
broad upon the garden or the field, all is
There's silence in the harvest-fienl
And blackness in the mountain glen
And clouds that will not pass away
From the hill-tops for many a day,
And stillness round the homes of men.
In rich men's halls the fire is piled,
And furry robes keep out the weather;
In poor men's huts the fire is low,
Through broken panes the keen winds blow,
And old and young are cold together."
Let us be thankful, if in the month of Decem-
ber we have got a good roof over our heads, a
warm fireside by day, and a wellcovered bed at
At this season the grovad is often spread over
with snow. Faster and thicker it falls, and
deepens on the pathways and roads. The wheels
of the earta are clogged with it, and the drivers
move heavily along at their side. The wind
blows with a low murmuring sound; it grows
shriller and louders as night sets, in, and the
snow gathers into drifts.
Let us catch some of the white flakes, letting
them gently fall and rest upon my black hat.
And now look through this magnifying glass,
and gaze in wonder at their forms. Here are
diamonds and stars, crosses and triangles, and a
thousand other plain and ornamental shapes-
all the most regular, perfect, and beautiful that
you can conceive.
Of how many things does this pure white
snow remind us! It tells us of the power of
t::tf Creator: "He saith to the snow, Be thou
oa the earth." "He giveth snow like wool."
(i(ob xsxvii. 6; Psa. cxlvii 16.) And it re-
Wmisds us of the promise to the penitent:
' Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be
aewhite as snow." (Isa. L 18.)
Even at this season we may sometimes gather
a small nosegay; for the golden blossoms of the
flowering furme are bright, and the pale
still stays with us. The Christmas rose
ys its bunches of rosy white blossoms,
Sthe Japan corehorns puta forth its yellow
flowers; while the anemone enlivens the gar-
den borders with its showy stars. In the
parlour-window, the gay Chinese primrose dis-
plays its pale tints of pinkish lilac: in the
garden, solitary flowers of the polyanthus,
mezereon, and common primrose are still to
be seen ; while, in the sheltered border, the
snowdrop timidly peeps forth, and discloses
its delicate blossoms.
In December the farmer is occupied as in
other winter months. He clears his grounds,
repairs the hedges, and threshes the corn.
He protects the fruit trees in his garden,
gathers the sheep into the homestead, fattens
the oxen for market, and now and then
prepares the earth for the seed of the coming
We have now come to the close of another
year. It is a suitable time to look back upon
our past conduct, to think over our sins and
follies, and to ask forgiveness of God, for the
sake of Jesus Christ his Son, who came into the
world to die for sinners.
It is a time to make good resolutions for
the future, through the help of the Holy
Spirit, without whose grace we cannot do
anything that is right in the sight of God.
We should pray that it may please him to
give us, with the new year, a new and
holy heart, that we may delight to do his
It is a time to reflect upon the blessings
that we enjoy, and to give thanks to Him
who daily loadeth us with benefits, and whose
tender mercies are over all his works. We
should praise God for life, and health, and
earthly comforts; but above all for the gift
of his dear Son, for the pardon of our sins,
and the hope of heaven.
It is a time to pray for the continuance
--of Divine mercy and protection, for ourselves,
Land for all we love. Let us commit our
|souls and bodies to Jesus our Saviour, and
THE LITTLE YEAR-BOOK.
implore his grace, that, if we are spared to
the close of the coming year, we may be,
through the grace of the Holy Spirit, found
walking in his ways, and living to his glory.
And if it should be his will to call us from
this world, we may be received into his
heavenly kingdom, there to reign with him
London: B. pardon and son, P~inters, 1P.ternoIter-rC'.w
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