Page images
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

"Certainly we can, Charlie; but what made Katie say so?" 'Why, mother, I was telling her what happened at school this morning. You know the beautiful geranium master's sister sent him from the country;

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

well, he placed it in the school- THE VALUE OF PUNCTU

room window because it needed
light. This morning early it
was looking so fresh and pretty,
but after a time it began to
fade, and by twelve o'clock it
was quite withered. When
master looked closely at it, he
saw that it had had a fall, for
the pot was cracked, the plant
broken, and the stem was only
held up by being tied to a thin
stick, which could not be seen
at first sight. Master is very
angry, and says he will severely
punish the boy who has done


ENERAL WASHINGTON was a pattern of punctuality. When he engaged to meet Congress at noon, he never failed to be at the door of the hall just as the clock was striking twelve. He always dined at four o'clock; and if the guests whom he had invited were not present, the dinner went on precisely at the appointed hour, without waiting for them. Washington



would make no apology, but simply remark, Gentlemen, we are punctual here." When those people got another invitation to dine with the President, they would be sure to be in time.

A person had a pair of beautiful horses to sell, which the President wanted to buy. Five o'clock in the morning of a certain day was fixed as the time for Washington to see them; but the horses were not brought till a quarter past five, when the owner was told that the President had been there at the hour appointed, but had gone away. The man thus lost a good chance of selling his horses by his delay of one quarter of an hour.


NE day a gentleman was stopped in a street of New York by a shabbylooking man, who asked him if he did not remember his old schoolmate, Harry B-; and then begged him to lend him five dollars.

The gentleman remembered Harry B- very well. He knew that his father was a rich man, and that when he was at school, Harry's business prospects were

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[graphic][merged small][merged small]

the heads are smooth and round without tufts.

each other while in the gloom or egrets; another, in which they scour the woods in search of mice and small birds, a stranger to their cries may almost be forgiven, especially if he be alone, for a moment's timidity.

These birds appear to be very sensitive to light; and in the day-time, the eyes of several varieties of them are either shut entirely, or are protected by an inner eyelid, which they are able to let down or raise with great rapidity. Their faculty of hearing is probably more acute than that of many other birds; the opening towards the ear is in some species very large, and furnished with a covering which is moveable at pleasure. Their flight is easy and light, but not rapid; and from the softness of their feathers, even those of the wings, they fly without noise. They vary greatly in size; the larger ones devour small animals, birds, reptiles, and sometimes fishes, while the smaller kinds feed upon beetles and moths that fly in the twilight.

Owls are usually arranged by naturalists in two principal groups, or families; one, in which all the species have two tufts of feathers on the head, which have been called horns,

The Eagle Owl, which is one of the largest species of the family, inhabits the North of Europe generally, but is not often seen in this country. Its food consists of game, such as fawns, hares, grouse, etc., as well as birds. It pounces on these creatures upon the ground, seizing them with its feet, and seldom advances its head towards its victims till their struggles are over. The nest of this bird is placed among rocks or the walls of old ruins, the materials collected for it being spread over a surface of several square feet.

The White, or Barn Owl, is found in this country all the year round; it is remarkable for the colour of its plumage, and is probably the best known of all the British species of owls. It inhabits churches, barns, old malting-kilns, or ruined buildings of any sort, and also takes up its abode in holes in decayed trees. If not molested, the same haunts are frequented, either by parent birds or their offspring, many years in succession. It is an active destroyer of rats and mice, for which service they


are by some strictly protected. They seldom leave their retreat during the day; and if their place of concealment be approached with caution, and a view of the bird be obtained, it will generally be observed to have its eyes closed, as if asleep.

About sunset a pair of these owls, particularly when they have young ones, issue forth in quest of food, and may be seen flapping gently along, searching lanes, hedge-rows, orchards, and small enclosures near outbuildings. They feed on young rats, mice, shrews, small birds, and insects. Sometimes they even succeed in catching fish. A gentleman residing in Yorkshire, having observed some scales of fishes in the nest of a pair of these birds, which had built near a lake on his premises, was induced one moonlight night to watch their motions. To his surprise he saw one of them plunge into the water, and seize a perch, which it bore away to its nest, whence it was afterwards taken. This species is said, when satisfied, to hide the remainder of its meat, like a dog.

Owls have been noticed for an extraordinary attachment to their young. An instance of

gentleman, who lived several years on a farm near a steep mountain, on the summit of which two Eagle owls had built their nest.

One day in the month of July a young bird, having quitted the nest, was caught by the servants. This bird was, considering the seasonofthe year, well feathered; but the down appeared here and there between those feathers

which had not attained to their full growth. After it was caught, it was shut up in a large hencoop, when to the captors' surprise, on the following morning, a fine young partridge was found lying dead before the door of the coop. It was immediately concluded that this provision had been brought there by the old ones, which no doubt had been making search in the night time for their lost And such was, young one. indeed, the fact; for night after night, for fourteen days, was the same mark of attention repeated. The game which the old birds carried to the captive consisted chiefly of young partridges, for the most part newly killed, but sometimes a little spoiled. On one occasion a moor-fowl was found, so fresh that it was still warm under the

this was witnessed by a Swedish wings; at another time a lamb

« PreviousContinue »