The Baldwin Library
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THE MOTHER BIRD FEEDING HER YOUNG.
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T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.
c A/LKS with Mamma! Where shall
b.. they be ?
S In leafy grove, o'er flowery lea;
Or shall we muse in that sweet nook
Where nodding willows kiss the brook,
Which ever and ever onward flows,
While round and round the mill-wheel goes,
With its clack-click-clack !
Walks with Mamma! Where shall we stray?
To watch the swallows at their play,
Wheeling about in rapid flight
Which 'most outstrips our aching sight;
Or where through depths of forest-trees
Sweep the swift pinions of the breeze,
With a whirr-whish-whirr!
Walks with Mamma! Where shall we go?
Amid the orchard's golden glow
Of autumn fruit, or garden bowers
Decked with a wreath of balmy flowers;
And where the fountain's glittering spray
Leaps, leaps and falls, both night and day,
With a plash-clash-plash!
Walks with Mamma! Say, shall we take
Our ramble to the silent lake,
Or wander through the castle halls,
And climb the ivy-shrouded walls;
While Echo mocks each merry voice,
As loud and long our hearts rejoice
With a ho-ha-ho !
*^ t--;. -, I,
WALKS WITH MAMMA.
RS. SOMERVILLE was a widow lady,
i Iwith a son, named Walter, who lived
in the village of Beyminster, in one of
the midland counties of England. She
S was an officer's widow, and received a
pension from Government, which, though small
in amount, enabled her to maintain a respectable
appearance. Her pretty little house was situated
about a quarter of a mile from the village, with
a beautiful garden in front and an orchard in
the rear, that in May and June was a mass of
flowers, and in autumn shone with red and
Walter was a lad of six years old, and, I
need hardly tell you, was his mother's pride, her
8 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
joy and hope. She laboured hard to train him
up in ways of piety, that he might be a truthful,
generous, honourable, Christian gentleman. He
was an inquiring child, always eager to learn;
and his little mind, even at his early age, was
therefore stored with much useful information.
In his seventh year, he was attacked by a
severe illness, which confined him to the house
for several weeks, and during which his mother
watched over him with the tenderest love. His
patience, mildness, and sweet temper amply
repaid her for her care; but both mother and
son rejoiced when the warm summer weather
brought back health and colour to his cheeks,
and strength to his limbs, and the doctor an-
nounced that he might once more take those
walks with mamma in which he had always so
keenly delighted. They were pleasant walks
indeed; so pleasant that I think you will be
very glad to learn all about them, to see what
Walter saw, and to hear what Walter heard.
And this you may do by reading the following
WALK THE FIRST 9
WALK THE FIRST.
IT was a lovely morning in July when Mrs.
Somerville entered the drawing room, and
seeing Walter engaged with a book of pictures,
bade him make haste and put on his cap and
boots, for he had read enough, and it was now
time to take a little exercise.
'i We will stroll through the village, Walter,"
said Mrs. Somerville; "for you have not been
into Beyminster since you recovered from your
illness. Dr. Gray has ordered you to spend
two or three hours a day in the open air; and I
will accompany you in all your rambles, as I
know you like everything explained which you
do not understand."
"Then I am sure," exclaimed Walter, I
shall enjoy myself exceedingly. I do so love
walking in the country when you are with me,
mamma; for there is so much to see, that without
you I grow quite confused."
Both mother and son were soon ready, and
passing through the garden, turned into the high
road which led to the village. On their way they
1o WALKS WITH MAMMA.
met with many of the villagers, who were very
glad to see the little gentleman," as they called
Walter Somerville, "about again." "Bless him,"
said an old dame, to whom he often carried little
gifts from his mamma's table, "he does look
pulled down, sure-ly But he'll soon pick up his
roses again, this fine weather, that he will!"
"There is always something to see in the
village," remarked Walter.
"That is," said his mother, "if you keep
your eyes open. All the difference between the
wise and the foolish consists in this; that the
former do, and the latter do not, keep their eyes
open. Some persons go straight on, and see
nothing. Here we are at the blacksmith's shop.
Peter Robinson is hammering away as usual,
just as if he had not a minute to lose: and no
more he has, for every minute is precious; once
gone, it cannot be recalled. See how the sparks
fly upwards, as he brings the heavy hammer
down on the red hot iron! You know that it
is only while the iron is red hot that it can be
hammered into shape. There are many hearts,
my boy, so hard that they will not yield to
advice until softened by the fires of adversity!"
WALK THE FIRST.
"Oh, mamma, look at Dame Simpson's
cottage! It is covered all over, like a bower,
with roses and honeysuckles."
IN THE VILLAGE.
Yes; and her garden is quite a sight. Look
at the pinks, and carnations, and double-stocks.
How sweet the mignonnette smells, and what a
fine bed she has of sweet-william! I like the
old cottage flowers far better than most of those
12 WALKS WITH MAMMNA.
rare and costly plants which we meet with in
I cannot think, mamma, how Dame Simpson
keeps her garden in such fine order, for she
has no gardener."
"No; but she works in it herself, and so do
her grandchildren. She does a little every day,
and a little well done goes a great way."
That is the miller's cart;-I declare it is
quite loaded with sacks of flour."
"Miller Thompson is a thriving man. He
is always attentive to his business, sober, and
honest. Such men generally prosper; and when
they are also good and charitable, as he is, they
deserve to prosper. Some day we will go and
have a peep at his mill. Here is the school-
house. Do not run to the door, Walter; I object
to disturbing the children while at their lessons."
"Look, mamma! Don't you see Black Tommy
perched on the school-house wall?"
Yes; there he is in his suit of black, which
he wears both summer and winter. How know-
ing he looks, with his head a little on one side,
and his full white eye fixed upon us, as if he
knew we were friends!"
WALK THE FIRST. 13
"Do you remember when he hid away Farmer
Jones's watch, which he had left on his parlour-
Yes; Black Tommy, as the boys call him,
like all the ravens, is fond of pilfering and
hiding. It is the brightness attracts him; he
oniy hides things that shine and glitter."
While conversing so pleasantly, Mrs. Somer-
ville and her son had reached the end of the
village. The main road went straight forward
for some miles to a large market town, but just
at this point two lanes branched off, one to the
right, the other to the left. The one on the
right crossed an open country to the ruins of an
old castle, which had once been a famous place,
inhabited by lords and ladies, squires and pages;
the other descended a gentle hill to the village
brook, which you crossed by a rustic wooden
bridge, and then you could walk along its bank
to the other end of the village, where you turned
off to the parish church.
Walter expressed a wish to visit the castle
ruins, but Mrs. Somerville thought it too long
a walk for the first day. So they determined
to visit the wooden bridge.
14 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
The lane that led to it was, indeed, a beau-
tiful lane. On either hand rose fine old trees,
-oak, and elm, and chestnut,-which mingled
their spreading boughs above your head so as
to form a grand triumphal arch, and created a
cool and pleasant shade even in the summer
noon. Under such an arch a king might have
been proud to ride ; and there was music to
welcome him, for hundreds of birds had made
their nests among the leaves, and they filled
the air with their songs of joy. The hedges
were bright with flowers; the scarlet pimpernel,
the marsh-mallow or wild geranium, the bright
blue bell, and the graceful star of Bethlehem."
Wild honeysuckle also grew among the haw-
thorn, and the murmur of the bees about its
blossoms proved how rich it was in balm and
"What a lovely spot!" exclaimed Mrs. Somer-
ville; I think I should never grow tired of
visiting it. Look through the trees, Walter, at
the yellow corn-fields beyond, and the green
hills that rise in the distance against the deep
blue sky. Is it not like a picture set in a
graceful frame? And what a picture! No
WALK THE FIRST. 15
human hand could blend such glorious colours,
or design such beautiful forms. How earnest
should be our gratitude to the good God that
gives us such fair scenes to look upon !"
THE WOODEN BRIDGE.
"Here we are at the bridge, mamma. I
could jump across it in half a dozen jumps !"
"Over a small stream like this, a small
wooden bridge is sufficient, but if the current
ran swift and strong, of course we should need
a stronger and larger pile."
"At Fernham the bridge is of stone."
16 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
"Much skill is required in building a good
bridge, where it has to be thrown across a
broad and rapid river, and to support a vast
amount of traffic."
"What do you mean by traffic, mamma?"
"The people, and horses, and cattle, and
carts, and waggons,-in fact, all that crosses
"Are bridges ever built of anything else
than wood and stone?"
"Yes; iron is sometimes used, because it is
cheaper; and sometimes iron and stone. Then,
there are suspension-bridges, as they are called,
where the roadway rests on immense iron chains,
hung, or suspended to, enormous pillars of stone.
In wild parts of the world the bridges are of a
very different character. How would you like
to cross a deep glen, over a swift torrent, upon
a single rope ? A basket is made to run to and
fro upon the rope, and you seat yourself within
it. You are then drawn across by another rope,
fastened to the basket. If the rope gave way, you
would bedashed headlong intothetorrent below!"
"A man must be very brave," said Walter,
"to trust his life to such a crazy affair!"
WALK THE FIRST. 17
"Let us rest a moment, Walter. How
quietly, how gently flows the stream Just as
it flows now, it has flowed for long, long years.
I can remember it when I was a child, and so
BY THE STREAM.
could my mother before me. You see, dear boy,
that men and women and children pass away,
but the flowers still bloom, the trees still wave
to and fro their leafy branches, and the waters
18 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
still ripple through the green valley. Cannot
you fancy what they are singing?"
"I hear a soft low sound," said Walter,
laughing; but I cannot tell what it means."
Well, a great poet has written a little song
which he supposes the brook to sing as it passes
on its way. And if brooks could sing, I am
sure it is just such a song as this they would
delight to warble."
"Do you remember it, mamma? I should
very much like to hear it."
"I think I can repeat a verse or two.
'I chatter over stony ways
In little sharps and trebles,'
-that is, singing in different notes,-
'I bubble into eddying bays,
I babble on the pebbles.'
"That is just what our stream does as it
flows under the bridge; for here, you see, its
bed consists of pebbles.
'I chatter, chatter as I flow
To join the brimming river;
For men may come, and men may go,
But I go on for ever !'"
Oh, the last two lines are very pretty, and
I shall try not to forget them, mamma.
WALK THE FIRST. '9
For men may come, and men may go,
But I go on for ever!'"
Ah, my boy, since life is so short, let us
learn to make the best use of it possible. Let
us never lose a moment, but always be learning
something or doing something, which may profit
ourselves or our fellow-creatures."
"Look, mamma, there is a dead bird floating
down the stream."
"Yes; and I think the rooks above us must
have noticed it, from the loud cawing they are
"They are strange birds, the rooks; I like
to watch them flying through the air in a great
black cloud, and making a terrible to-do as if
they wanted everybody to come out and look
at them. What do they live on, mamma?"
"On worms, -and insects, and grubs, and
sometimes on the grains of corn. Farmers do
not like them; but this is a mistake, for they are
very useful birds, and destroy the farmers' worst
enemies, the grubs and insects. Every morning
they leave their nests in search of food for
themselves and their young, and they regularly
return every evening. Year after year they
20 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
visit the same place, always going about in
flocks, building in flocks, and seeking their food
in flocks. There never was any animal more
fond of the company of its kind. See to what
a height they have risen; they don't seem much
larger than larks up in the bright sunny sky!
There, now they are coming down again. What
a rush, what a sweep! And how quickly they
fly They have found out some good feeding-
place, and are covering the ground with their jet-
black wings. But now we must return home."
"Let us keep along the bank, mamma, and
turn up by the old church."
"Very well, Walter; and as we go I will
repeat to you the verses I wrote, one day while
you were ill, about the village-church."
"Verses, mamma? And are they really
"Did you not know I sometimes tried to
express my thoughts in rhyme ? I have written
but little since your dear father's death, but
now that you are growing older, I must resume
my pen, and see if you will approve of mamma
as a poetess."
"Of course I shall, mamma. And now, begin."
-. T- -
22 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
"Listen, then, to my song about the Old
"THE VILLAGE CHURCH.
"The village church, so lone and gray,
Crowns yonder leafy, breeze-swept hill,
Where, scattered round, the daisied graves
Slumber in shade and sunshine still.
"Within its sacred walls, my boy,
Have pious hearts confessed their fears,
Or felt a sweet celestial joy
While lifting off the weight of years.
And grander music ne'er was heard
On hill or plain, by earth or sea,-
From the blithe throat of wandering bird,-
From summer wind o'er flowery lea,-
Than those blest chimes that mount above,
Like some angelic heavenly voice,
To tell us of a Saviour's love,
And bid us in that love rejoice!
"The village church!-for centuries there
The winds have roved about its tower;
Oh, flourish still, blest home of prayer,
O shrine of mercy, love, and power!
And may my children's steadfast feet
Tread in the path that saints have trod,-
A path with fadeless blossoms sweet,
A path that leads us to our God!"
Oh, mamma," cried Walter, "and those
pretty verses are really your own Pray teach
them to me; I am sure I could learn them, and
WALK THE FIRST. 23.
then I could say them over to myself every time
I saw the old church tower."
"You shall learn them this afternoon, Walter,"
said his mamma, as they turned into the grave-
yard. A path led across it into the parsonage-
lane, but as there was another way of ap-
proaching the clergyman's house, it was not
much frequented. You seldom met with any
strangers in that quiet shady God's Acre;" but
you would sometimes see an old man musing
among the graves, and thinking, perhaps, how
24 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
soon a place would be found therein for his own
decaying body;-or a mother kneeling beside
her infant's little mound, and carefully tending
the flowers which she had planted all about it;
-or a sister would be mourning for a beloved
brother. Sometimes you would see an 'artist
sketching the old church, which was a famous
building, large, handsome, and stately; or the
village children would be scattered here and
there, spelling out the verses on the mossy
grave-stones, and making wreaths and crowns
How quiet it is here!" said Walter; "I
almost feel afraid to speak aloud."
"We ought to behave reverently," replied
Mrs. Somerville, "in a place that may be said
in a peculiar sense to belong to God. All the
earth is His, we know, but here we seem to feel
His presence more directly. And the dead lie
around us, reminding us of the day when we
shall be called home-home to the bright and
glorious world where sin is not, nor sorrow, nor
broken hearts, but perfect love and perfect peace
Walter looked into his mother's face, and saw
WALK THE FIRST. 25
that the tears were in her eyes. He knew that
she was thinking of his father, and of their
happy married life, which had lasted but three
years. He pressed her hand, and she stooped
down and kissed him.
Leaving the church-yard, they strolled down
the parsonage lane towards the stream, which
they had to re-cross before they could return
into the main road. On the way Walter's atten-
tion was attracted by a large hay-rick in one of
the fields, which the farmer was cutting down
to get some hay for his horses. A hen and
her chickens had been drawn to the spot by the
chance of picking up a few grains, and her
constant cluck-cluck, and her anxiety that her
26 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
young should get a hearty meal, amused Walter
extremely. His mother did not fail to remind
him that all animals were kind to their young,
and that the young, on their part, seemed to
show a high sense of the duty of obedience.
And now Walter's strength began to fail him.
He had had a long walk, and being still weak
with his severe illness, it had wearied him
greatly. His mother, therefore, was very glad
when they reached the village, and entering the
inn, she ordered a chaise to be got ready to
take them home. The drive pleased Walter
and refreshed him, so that by the time they
reached Mrs. Somerville's cottage, he was quite
gay and lively again, and declared it was only
the heat which had overpowered him. His
mother, however, thought it better he should
lie down awhile; and scarcely had she made him
comfortable upon the couch before the tired
boy fell asleep. He slept a full hour, and then
sprang up quite well and hearty, declaring he
felt all the better and stronger for his first walk
WALK THE SECOND. 27
WALK THE SECOND.
" OH, mamma," cried Walter, running into his
mother's room, what do you think I have
I cannot guess, Walter," said MIrs. Somer-
ville; "you discover so many wonderful things
in the course of a day."
That I will do with pleasure, while I get
you ready for your walk. An ant-lion is a
"Well, an ant-lion's hole! So, at least,- the
gardener told me it was; and now I have come to
you that you may tell me something about it."
That I will do with pleasure, while I get
you ready for your walk. An ant-lion is a
z8 WALKS WITZI MAMMA.
winged insect, not at all unlike a small dragon
fly, only it has a couple of hard curved nippers
at its jaws, with which it seizes its victim. Its
mode of catching its prey is very ingenious.
It searches out a dry sandy place, and burrows
a hole by turning itself rapidly round in the
sand. If in doing so it meets with any small
stones, it places them upon its head, one by one,
and jerks them over the edge of the pit. But
if it comes across a pebble, it takes it up on its
back, and carefully walks up the side to lay it
down out of the way. Sometimes the stone
rolls off, in which case the patient creature
descends to the bottom, once more gets hold of
its burden, and makes a second attempt.
"When the pit is finished it will be about
two inches deep, and nearly three inches wide
at the top, with sloping sides, so that at the
bottom it will not measure more than one inch
across. Here the ant-lion posts itself, and in
order not to scare away any chance comer with
its ugly head, covers itself all over with sand,
except the points of its two claws. By-and-by
comes an ant, and treading too close to the
edge of the pit, the sand gives way. and down
WALK THE SECOND. 29
falls the ant into the jaws of its enemy, which
snaps it up at once. Sometimes the ant stops
half way and tries to escape; then the ant-lion
takes up some sand on its head, and flings it
over the ant, which is carried down the slippery
side, and falls to the bottom. So there it lies
in wait, and woe be to the unfortunate ant which
strays within its reach."
Thank you, mamma. The ant-lion may be
very clever, but I think it is also very deceitful;
and I should like to warn the poor ants if I saw
them drawing near its pit."
"There are wicked men in this world not less
deceitful than the ant-lion," said his mother;
" and there are sins which also lie in wait to
ensnare and destroy us. The Bible warns us
against these, Walter, but we don't always heed
By this time both Walter and his mother
were equipped for their walk, and, quitting the
cottage, they followed a path that led across
some pleasant fields to a sheet of water, which
the villagers called "the lake." There were
beautiful trees planted all around it, and the
water-lily spread its green leaves and snow-
30 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
white flowers upon its surface. In some places
the waters murmured through dense reeds,
while in others they were so clear that you
could detect the pebbles and gravel lying far
beneath them, and see the clouds and the blue
sky in them as in a mirror. The lake was
a favourite resort of Mrs. Somerville's, and
she and her son would wander on its banks for
Why are you so fond of the lake, mamma?"
said Walter; "before I was ill you came here
"I am fond of it," said Mrs. Somerville,
" because it is very beautiful in itself, and
because it reminds me of other and even more
beautiful lakes that I have seen in Cumberland
and in the Scotch Highlands."
"The Highlands," inquired Walter; where
Oh, fully three hundred miles from here,
far away in the north of Scotland."
"And are the lakes there very beautiful?"
More beautiful than I can tell. Poets
and painters visit them on account of their
numerous charms. They are surrounded by
WALK THE SECOND. 31
lofty mountains, which often start up from the
very brink of the water, and whose summits
are covered with snow for the greater part of
the year. They are very still and deep, and
the mountain-sides seem bare of leaf or flower,
yet there is something so grand about them
that one can only gaze and admire."
-^ ..... ,, .-'-
.. ,-_ .. ,- .
I hope I shall see them when I am older,"
said Walter. But what are those young men
doing over on the other bank, mamma?"
They are anglers, Walter."
32 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
"Anglers: what does that mean?"
"Persons who fish for sport. This lake is
famous for its fish, and people who are fond of
fishing come here from the neighboring town
and villages to enjoy what they call sport."
"How do they catch the fish?"
"Do you not see that they have each a long
rod, with a line fastened to it? At the end of
the line hangs a hook, on which the bait is
placed; that is, a worm, or a fly, or something
made to imitate a fly, of which the fish, you
know, are very fond. The silly fish, while
swimming about, catch sight of the tempting
bait, jump at it, and swallow it,-to find, alas!
that they have also swallowed the hook, which
they cannot get rid of, and the angler, drawing
in his line, lands the fish, panting and struggling,
on the bank beside him."
But, mamma," said Walter, surely that is
Some persons think so, and some do not.
Fish were given to man to supply him with
wholesome and abundant food, and perhaps it
is allowable for us to catch them where and
as we can. Yet I should not like to be an
WALK THE SECOND. 33
angler; I could not bear to see the struggles
of the poor creatures, deprived of life to afford
me an hour's amusement."
Turning away from the lake, mother and son
continued their pleasant rambles through the
fields. They walked on in silence for some
time, until Mrs. Somerville exclaimed, Do you
singing a few sweet notes; and now it drops
again to find its little nest."
I see it, mamma; what bird do you call it?"
"A skylark, Walter; and it is one of the
sweetest singers .in all the world of birds. It
34 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
is not very handsome; but who cares about its
dusky plumes when listening to its glorious
song! We must not judge people by their
looks, Walter, but by what they can do, and
what they are."
It seems to have a yellow breast."
Yellow, spotted with black; and the lower
part of its body is of a pale yellow, but the
legs and tail are of a dusky brown, and the
feathers on the upper part of its body of a
reddish brown. It is a small bird, only about
seven inches in length; but if you heard its rich
full song without seeing the singer, you would
think it must be both large and strong, to send
forth such a flood of sound. It builds its nest
in the furrows of the field, and under, or close
to, pieces of turf. It feeds on corn and insects.
When it first rises from the earth its notes are
faint and broken, but, as it ascends, it seems to
gain confidence, and pours out a noble strain,
which you can hear long after the bird has
soared so high as to be quite invisible. Hark!
it is rising now!"
Oh, how clearly I can hear its song! And
see!--there it goes-up, up, up-I declare,
WALK THE SECOND. 35
mamma, I cannot see it; it seems to have risen
above the clouds."
Mother and son now resumed their ramble.
It brought them, in a few minutes, down the
hill on which the village was built, to the old
mill; a quaint, fantastic pile, situated higher up
the stream than the wooden bridge. There are
few such mills now-a-days, for steam is taking
the lace of water, and the mill is turned by an
the place of water, and the mill is turned by an
36 WALKS WITN MAPIMMA.
engine instead of the water-wheel. But the old
mill was a very pleasant sight. Yes; very
pleasant was it to see the sparkling, shining
drops fall off the wheel, as the water, by pour-
ing constantly upon it, made it turn round and
round. And very pleasant was it to hear the low
murmur of the mill inside; or, peeping in, to
see the yellow corn pass through a great funnel-
shaped machine into large sacks below, con-
verted into beautiful white flour. Very pleasant
was it to see the jolly miller, with his white
coat and white apron, standing at the mill door,
and thinking, perhaps, of the money he would
get for that fine flour. Very pleasant, too, was
the mill-pond; for, shut in by the wooden gate
that kept its waters from running away, it
always looked smooth and still. And a famous
place was that pond for fish, I can tell you.
Roach, and chub, and dace, and carp, you
might catch, if you were clever enough; and
long, fat eels, as big round as the miller's
Walter would have liked to spend an hour
or two in the old corn mill; for he knew the
miller well, and had often ridden in his cart,
WALK THE SECOND. 37
behind the steady brown horse, Old Dobbin.
But Mrs. Somerville thought it best to continue
their ramble; and, still ascending the stream,
they came to a point where it leapt over a low
wall of crag and rock in a flashing, gleaming,
Oh, there is the waterfall, mamma! Is it
not pretty?" exclaimed Walter.
38 WALKS WIT[H MAMMA.
And, in truth, the scene was one well fitted
to charm the eye. A rustic bridge was thrown
from one side to the other, and standing upon
it you saw the waters beneath you leaping over
the rock in wild fury-falling among the stones
at the bottom in a cloud of spray-hissing, and
bubbling, and gurgling-and then going on their
way in the utmost tranquillity, just as if nothing
in the world had happened! The trees on
either bank cast a pleasant shadow, and the
rocks were covered with mosses and ferns.
The music of the birds mingled with that of
the stream, and the air was filled with fresh-
It is good to be here," said Mrs. Somerville;
" and to thank God that He has provided us
with such beautiful revelations of His love and
power. If earth is so lovely, my boy, how
wondrous in its loveliness must be the Better
Mrs. Somerville and her son now crossed the
waterfall, and took their way across some corn-
fields to their own house. It was harvest time,
and the farmer's men were busily engaged in
collecting the ripe corn, to store it in the
WALK THE SECOND. 39
garners. Mrs. Somerville was called upon to
explain to Walter the way in which the seed
was sown; how it sprung up in tall green
the corn was then cut down, and the chaff
separated from the grain; how the grain was
40 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
afterwards carried to the mill, and ground into
flour. Bread, she told him, was the staff of
life, and even the most savage nations were
glad to get such a staff to walk with. Wheat
would not grow in very cold or very hot coun-
tries, and so some nations made their bread out
of barley, others of oats or rye, and others
of plants with strange names, such as maize,
cassava, banana, and the like. But every-
where the people made bread, of some kind
or other, except in the wildest and most barren
It was a hot sunny day, and the cows were
glad to stand about in the ponds to cool them-
selves, waiting patiently until Mary came to
milk them, or to drive them home. So Walter
began to feel weary, and his mamma thought
it better to cut short their ramble. There is
an old proverb which it would be an excellent
thing if all of us remembered and acted upon--
"Enough is as good as a feast;" and Mrs.
Somerville saw that her son had had "enough"
for that one day. She knew that too much
exercise was as harmful as too little. To over-do
a thing is as unwise as not to do it at all; and,
WALK THE THIRD. 4'
i i. ,. ..
THE COWS IN THE POND.
in fact, moderation is the rule that should guide
us in every action.
WALK THE THIRD.
WALTER'S next walk was directed towards the
ruins of the old castle, which every stranger
that passed through Beyminster made a point
--- -. _2
that passed through Beyminster made a point
42 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
of seeing. Persons came, indeed, from miles
and miles away to examine these famous ruins,
and never seemed to regret their trouble.
Before starting, Walter paid a visit to the
poultry yard, which he had not seen since his
illness. It amused him greatly to watch his
favourite peacock standing in the sun, and
spreading out his glittering tail, while hens and
ducks and geese and turkeys were gathered
round, as if to admire the splendid fellow. He
looked, indeed, a superb prince, and would have
been thought a still finer creature if he had had
the sense to hold his tongue. But his voice
was like a screech, and tempted you to laugh
when you heard it.
It is not really his tail that he is so proud of
showing, but the train which rises above it, and
which is provided with brilliant spots, or circlets,
called eyes. These display the most beautiful
colours-yellow, green, blue, and violet, with a
fine velvet black in the centre. When pleased
or excited, the proud bird erects this train, and
reveals the majesty of his beauty. All his
movements are slow and dignified: his head,
adorned with a tuft of twenty-four green and
WALK THE THIRD. 43
gold feathers, bends nobly back; his pace is
solemn; and he frequently turns slowly and
gracefully round, as if to catch the sunbeams in
every direction and produce new colours of as-
tonishing richness. He loses these plumes every
-* .' .
year; and then, as if aware of the greatness of
his loss, hides himself in obscure places until the
returning spring restores his vanished splendour.
The female, or peahen, has a very short train,
which has none of the gorgeous hues that dis-
tinguish her mate.
44 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
Formerly, peacocks were considered a dainty
dish for the tables of kings and nobles, but
now they are chiefly kept on account of their
Having completed his survey of the poultry
yard, Walter made haste to join his mother, and
the two started off on their journey to the old
On their way they saw in a neighboring
field some gentlemen in red coats, mounted on
spirited horses; and Walter knew they were
huntsmen. They were shouting to their dogs,
and encouraging them to pursue the object of
their chase, a poor hare, which had contrived
to hide itself among the grass and bushes.
Walter thought it was very cruel and very
foolish for gentlemen to hunt a little simple
hare, and did not seem satisfied when his
mamma told him she supposed it was done for
the sake of the amusement and excitement to
be gained by rapid riding over hedge and ditch,
and dale and lea.
Mrs. Somerville had accustomed her son to
note everything he saw in his daily rambles,
and to ask her for an explanation whenever he
WALK TIHE THIRD. 45
felt himself at a loss. Children should never
be checked in asking questions. It is their best
and pleasantest way of gaining knowledge. It
accustoms them to observe and think.
...". .. .
What birds are those, mamma?" said
Walter, pointing to a couple which had ap-
parently built their nest under the thatched
roof of the wall of an old stone-built barn.
They are swallows," she replied; "birds
noted for their rapid flight. People say,
46 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
'Swift as a swallow;' and you will not wonder
at it when I tell you that he flies at the
rate of a mile in a minute-sixty 'miles in an
Oh, mamma, that is faster than a railway
Yes: and he is said to be on the wing ten
hours daily; so that every day he flies about
six hundred miles. The martin, or window
swallow, is a graceful bird, about five inches
and a half long, with the upper part of his
body and tail of a glossy blue black, while
underneath he is white as snow. He builds
his nest generally beneath the eaves of a house
or in a corner of a window; and makes it of
mud mixed with straw, hair, and twigs, lined
inside with feathers. The most curious thing is,
that every year, in the month of October, he and
all his tribe leave our country and fly far away to
the warm lands of the south, regularly returning
every spring. And this they never fail to do.
Something tells them that they must be away
before the icy winter comes and kills the winged
insects on which they feed."
"Ah, that is wonderful, indeed," said Walter.
WALK THE THIRD. 47
'You should make a song about the swallow,
"Many of our poets have celebrated this
beautiful bird," replied Mrs. Somerville, but
as you prefer mamma's verses, I will repeat to
you a simple lay:--
"Fly away, fly away,
For the leaves begin to shiver
And to fade, and droop, and fall;
And there's darkness on the river,
And the cattle seek the stall;
48 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
And the bee no longer hummeth
About the honeyed flowers,
And the winter surely cometh
To blight the blossomed bowers:
Fly away, fly away,
"Fly away, fly away,
There's One above shall guide thee
Through the daytime's golden light,
Shall watch lest ill betide thee
'Mid the shadows of the night;
Till thou sweepest o'er the mountains,
To the genial southern land,
Where the sunlight gilds the fountains,
By feathery palm-trees fanned:
Fly away, fly away,
Come again, come again,
When the spring renews the flowers,
And the brooklets gayly flow,
We forget the winter hours
In the fresh and golden glow;
And we gladly hail thee, swallow,
For we know that in thy track
The light and the life will follow,
And the joyous days come back:
Come again, come again,
Come again, come again,
Fain would we hear the stories
That are told in those songs of thino,-
Of the south and its wondrous glories,
Of lands and seas divine;
WALK THE TRIRD. 49
Fain would we watch thee, scorning
The earth on rapid wing,-
Oh, we long for thee, bird of morning,
Sweet messenger of spring:
Come again, come again,
Need I tell you that Walter was delighted
with the Song of the Swallow? His mother
had to repeat it a second time, and he listened
to it with the greatest interest.
It was not long before they arrived at the
castle. It was seated on a rising ground, and
nearly surrounded by a broad river, into which,
after many windings, flowed the stream I have
already spoken of. Walter was delighted with
the prospect before him. The castle, as I have
said, was in ruins, but at one end stood a tower
which was nearly perfect. The walls were built
of massive stones, and in some places were seven
or eight feet thick. Two of the sides had been
overthrown, but a pile of masonry still remained
on the river bank, and there was quite enough
left to show that in the old days the castle must
have been very strong and stately.
"Who lived in this castle, mamma? "
"The knights and nobles to whom it be-
50 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
longed. It was erected by a great soldier, who
came over to England with the Norman king,
William the Conqueror; and then it passed to
his son and grandson, by whom it was enlarged
and strengthened. It has witnessed banquets
and dances, battles and sieges, sorrow and glad-
ness, life and death. If those stones could
speak, Walter, they would tell strange tales of
the scenes that have taken place within these
ruined walls, where now the ivy climbs, and birds
make their nests, and wild-flowers blossom."
It must have been a grand building," said
Grand indeed," replied his mamma, but
not what you would like to dwell in.. The floors
were strewn with rushes, the walls hung with
curtains, there was no glass in the windows, and
the fire was kindled with logs of wood, which
must have filled the chambers with smoke.
Those great nobles who kept their state in
yonder castle had not half the comforts that,
now-a-days, are enjoyed by the humble shop-
keeper. And they lived, too, in constant
tumult. Noble quarrelled with noble, or rebelled
against his king, and soldiers would besiege
WALK THE THIRD. 51
the castle, and perhaps, after a hard fight,
would capture it, and throw its lord into
prison. The 'good old days,' as some people
call them, were days of strife and care and
i -:- _
RUINED TOWER OF BEYMINSTER CASTLE.
uncertainty. Let us be thankful that our lot,
Walter, is cast in a happier time! "
Walter and his mamma spent an hour or
two in the castle ruins, collecting a nosegay of
52 [WALKS WIITH MAMMA.
wild-flowers. They then commenced their
journey homeward, taking, however, a different
path. Passing along a shady lane, Walter's
attention was attracted by the voices of children
issuing from a cottage-garden; and peeping over
the fence, he saw that three sisters and their
brother were looking at a row of bee-hives.
The sight was quite sufficient to set him oft
questioning his mamma; and she, on her part,
very gladly afforded him all the information he
required. She told him of the bee's industry,
of the neatness with which it constructs its cells,
and of its diligence in laying by during the
summer a store of food to support it in the
bitter winter weather.
"The bee," she said, extracts the sweet
juices of the flowers by means of an instrument
shaped something like a tongue, and called a
proboscis. These juices it collects in a honey-
bag, and carries home to the hive, where it
pours into the cells of the honey-comb all that
it does not need for itself. From the honey also
it makes the wax which is used to form its cells.
The bee's sting is composed of three parts
-a sheath and two darts, each furnished with
WALK THE THIRD. 53
several points, and dipped into a venom or
poison that makes the wound which they inflict
"A bee-hive contains three kinds of indivi-
duals-a queen, drones, and workers. The
queen is the ruler and mother of the whole
family, is larger than all the others, and has a
curved sting. She has a guard of honour, like
54 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
a human queen; the guard consisting of twelve
working-bees, which, Tvhen she travels, always
clear the way before her, never turn their backs
upon her, and when she rests approach her
humbly, licking her face, mouth, and eyes.
"The drones are all males: they are less
than the queen, but larger than the workers,
who, after they have served their purpose, turn
upon them and sting them to death. Idleness
does not prosper in a bee-hive."
How many bees, mamma, do you think
there are in each hive? "
I daresay there will be one queen in each,
two thousand drones, and twenty thousand
What do the bees when the queen dies? "
They make a great turmoil, I can assure
you; and after consulting with one another,
choose out an egg which, when hatched, yields
a small maggot; and this they feed upon bee-
bread and carefully watch, until it is about six-
teen days old. Then it produces a queen, whose
appearance is hailed with the greatest delight."
There is something very wonderful about
WALK THE FOURTH. 55
There is indeed; and to study their habits
would well repay you. Another time I will tell
you more about them, but here we are at home,
and I think you will be glad to rest after so
long a walk."
WALK THE FOURTH.
THE next day, when Walter was watching Mrs.
Somerville gathering apples in the garden, the
gardener came up to him and said he had found
a bird's nest, if Master Walter would like to see
it. He gladly repaired to the spot where it
was concealed, and found it to be a chaffinch's.
As soon as he had examined it, he returned to
his mamma, and asked her to explain how the
bird constructed so beautiful and ingenious a
The chaffinch," said Mrs. Somerville,
" likes to build its nest in the fork of a tree or
bush, where several branches are thrown out
from one spot, so as to form a kind of cup in
which the nest can lie. It then collects a
quantity of wool, which it picks up on the
56 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
hedges or in the sheep-fields, and mats together
into a kind of loose felt, weaving into it all sorts
of delicate mosses, spider webs, and cottony
downs. Then about the outside of the nest it
appearance of a part of the tree, and prevent it
"4 *I "
THE PARENT BIRDS AND THtEIK NEST.
sticks numerous lichens, which give it much thle
appearance of a part of the tree, and prevent it
from being easily detected. It is afterwards
lined with the hair of the cow."
WALK THE FOURTH. 57
"What, mamma!" said Walter, "does it
pluck the hair from the cow's body?"
"No; it hunts about the fields where the
cows are pastured, and searches the crevices of
the trees and posts against which the cattle are
accustomed to rub themselves."
And it takes all this trouble to make a
bird's nest! said Walter.
Yes; both trouble and ingenuity," replied
Mrs. Somerville, of which those boys think
little who steal them from their industrious
makers. Do you not admire, Walter, the
instinct or reason, sense or sagacity- whatever
we may call it-which leads the bird to build
her nest with so much ingenious care? And
is it not a pretty sight to see the mother feeding
her young? You cannot think with what
eagerness the little ones open their bills to
receive the food she brings them.-But it is
nearly noon: make haste, and dress yourself for
Walter was soon ready, and his mamma
joining him, they went on a visit to Beyminster
Forest. A. forest it was named, but its extent
was not very great, though it was rich in beautiful
58 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
landscapes. It was a favourite resort of the vil-
lage children, who gathered posies of ferns and
foxgloves in its leafy depths. Mrs. Somerville
pointed out to her son the different kinds of
trees which flourished there-oak, and elm, and
ash, and chestnut, and lime, and alder; describ-
ing the peculiarities of each, and explaining to
him how each might be known by its foliage,
and general character. Then she went on to
speak of their different uses; their value as
timber for building houses or ships. Walter
was much interested in hearing her simple story
of the mighty oak that is cut down by the
woodman's axe. and converted into a strong
vessel, though it springs from only a little acorn
-an acorn so little that you might put half a
dozen into a child's hand. From small begin-
nings," said his mother," arise great ends. It
is very foolish to despise trifles, for they are
frequently of high importance. The letters of
the alphabet appear trifling to the learner, and
yet those letters, when arranged in words and
sentences, decide the fate of nations, or convey
to all the world the glad tidings of eternal
happiness in Christ Jesus."
WALK THE FOURTH. 59
Issuing from the wood, they began to trace
the course of the village stream above the
waterfall, and were constantly rewarded for
their trouble by glimpses of beautiful scenes.
THE CHILDREN IN THE FOREST.
They were much amused, at one time, by seeing
a lad, with bare feet, and trousers tucked about
his knees, wading across the brook. He seemed
to enjoy the cool waters very much.
60 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
I thought," said Walter, the stream was
too deep for anybody to walk across."
It is," replied Mrs. Somerville, in most
places near the village, but just at this point
exists a ford."
And what is a ford, mamma? "
A shallow part of a stream or river, which
passengers can cross on foot or on horseback.
Before bridges were so numerous as they now-
a-days are, people had to search about for these
fords, or they would frequently have been
stopped in their journeys. Travellers from the
town of Broadmore to our village here always
came by this ford until the bridge was built
higher up the stream."
A little further they met with a young angler,
a lad named Charles Denton, whom Mrs.
Somerville knew. She asked him what he was
fishing for. He replied that there were good
trout and perch in the stream, and that he
wanted to catch a small dish of fish for his sick
grandmother. Mrs. Somerville commended
him for thinking so kindly of the aged and
infirm. His sister was washing clothes in the
brook, and Mrs. Somerville informed Walter
WALK THE FOURTH. 61
that they were among the best children in
Beyminster-never idle, never careless, dutiful
and affectionate to their parents, regular in their
attendance at school and church, and so indus-
CROSSING THE FORD.
trious that they nearly supported their widowed
mother and their grandmother by their own
earnings. Such children, she said, were indeed
a blessing to their parents, whose hearts they
62 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
cheered, and whose lives they brightened.
Such children could not fail to grow up into
good men and women; and she firmly believed
that the blessing of God would be upon their
And I will be a good man," said Walter,
" when I grow big enough."
"I hope so, my dear--I trust so; and I
pray daily that you may learn to fear God and
honour the truth; to shun evil, and to take no
delight in wicked ways. I pray that you may
become a Christian and a gentleman, in all
things imitating the conduct and character of
Him who was indeed without spot or stain."
A few minutes' walk brought Mrs. Somerville
and her son to the door of their own house,
where, for the present, we must leave them.
Perhaps I shall ask the reader on some other
occasion to accompany them in their pleasant
rambles, and explore more of the pretty land-
scapes that lie around Beyminster. It has
been my object to show the lads and lasses
who read these pages how they may make
such rambles enjoyable, by keeping their eyes
open; by observing the curious and beautiful
WALK THE FOURTH. 63
things around them-trees and leaves, birds
and flowers, the rippling stream, the grassy
*-. .--, _- --
MRS. SOMERVILLE S COTTAGE.
meadow, the mossy ruin, the village school.
God in His goodness has made this earth full
of beauty, so that it may always fill our minds
with pleasant thoughts and our hearts with
gentle feelings. And who can gaze upon the
glorious sky so rich in dazzling colours, or on
64 WALKS WITH MAMMA.
the leafy wood, or on the bright and rolling
river, or who can listen to the sweet music of
the birds, without emotions of praise and thank-
"Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving;
sing praise upon the harp unto our God: who
covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth
rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow
upon the mountains. Praise ye the Lord."