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Sylvia climbed as high as she could towards him, and called louder and louder, but all in vain. Capriole leapt from rock to rock, cropped the fine grass in the hollows, and was quite lost in the pleasure of his new life.
Poor Sylvia staid till she was tired, and then returned very sad to the farm to tell her mis-fortune. She got her brothers to go with her to the hill, and took with her a slice of white bread and some milk to tempt the little wanderer home.
But he had mounted still higher, and had joined a herd of companions of the same species, with whom he was frisking and sporting. He had neither eyes nor ears for his old friends of the valley. All former habits were broken at once.
Sylvia came back, crying as much from vexation as sorrow. The little ungrateful thing! (said she)— so well as I loved him, and so kindly as I treated him, to desert me in this way at last!—But he was always a rover.
Take care then Sylvia, said her mother, how you set your heart upon rovers again.—Evenings at Some.
To grass, or leaf, or fruit, or wall,
Within that house secure he hides,
Give but his horns the slightest touch,
l Imminent, threatening.
Where'er he dwells, he dwells alone,
Thus, hermit-like, his life he leads,
Who seeks him must be worse than blind,
twittering busy patient usual
outpouring business impatient unusual
A LOVING PAIR OF SWALLOWS.
Two barn swallows came into our wood-shed in the spring time. Their busy twitterings led me at once to sus-pect that they were looking out a spot for building. But as a carpenter's bench was under the window, and frequent hammering, sawing, and planing were going on, I had little hope they would choose a place under our roof.
To my surprise, however, they soon began to build over the open door-way. I was delighted, and spent much time in watching them. It was a beautiful show of family love; the mother bird was so busy and so important, and her mate was so attentive. He scarcely ever left the side of the nest. There he was, all day long, twittering in tones that were obviously the oufpourings of love.
Sometimes he would bring in a straw, or a hair, to be hvwoven in the precious little fabric. One day,
hearing an un -usual twittering, I looked and saw him circling round with a large downy feather in his bill. Bending over the unfinished nest, he offered it to his mate with the most graceful and loving air you can fancy. Then when she put up her mouth to take it, he poured forth such a gush of glad'some song! It seemed as if pride and af-fection had swelled his heart, till it was almost too big for his little bosom.
During the process of hatching, he offered to take his share of household duty. Three or four times a day, he would, with coaxing twitterings, persuade his mate to fly abroad for food. The moment she left the eggs, he would take the post of the mother; and give a loud alarm whenever cat or dog came about. When the young ones came forth, he shared in the mother's toils, and brought at least half the food for his hungry little family.
But when they became old enough to fly, you would have laughed had you watched their tricks. Such chirping and twittering! Such diving down from the nest, and flying up again! Such wheeling round in circles, talking to the young ones all the while! Such clinging to the sides of the shed with their sharp claws, to show the timid little ones that there was no fear of falling!
For three days, all this was carried on busily. It was clearly an infant flying school. But all their talking and twittering were of no use. The little downy things looked down, and then looked up, and, alarmed at the wide space, sank down into the nest again.
At length the parents grew im-patient, and brought
their neighbours. As I was picking up chips one
day, I found my head en'circled with a swarm of
swallows. They flew up to the nest, and chattered
. away to the young ones. They clung to the walls, looking back to tell how the thing was done; they dived, and wheeled, and balanced, and floated, in a manner perfectly beautiful to behold.
The pupils were much excited. They jumped upon the edge of the nest, and twittered, and shook their feathers, and waved their wings; and then hopped back again chirping, "It is pretty sport, but we cannot do it."
Three times the neighbours came in, and repeated their graceful lessons. The third time, two of the young birds gave a sudden plunge down'wards, and then fluttered, and hopped, till they alighted on a small log. And 0, such praises as were warbled by the whole troop! The air was filled with their joy! Some were flying round,—swift as a ray of light. Others were perched on the hoe handle, and the teeth of the rake. Many clung to the wall; and two kept swinging, in the most graceful style, on a hanging hoop.
For sometime, the little ones came home to their nest at night. I was ever on the watch to wel'come them, and see that none were missing. Their tameness was wonderful. If I hung my gown on a nail I found a little swallow perched in the sleeve. If I took a nap in the afternoon, my wyaking eyes were greeted by a swallow on the bed post. In the summer evening they flew about the sitting room in search of flies, and sometimes alighted on chairs and tables.
I almost thought they knew how much I loved them. But at last they flew away to warmer skies, with a whole troop of relations and neighbours.*
THE FAITHFUL BIRD.
The green-house is my summer seat; My shrubs, dis-played from that retreat,
Enjoy'd the open air; Two gold-finches, whose sprightly song Had been their mutual solace1 long,
Liv'd happy pris'ners there.
They sang as blithe as finches sing
And frolic where they list ;2
And therefore never miss'd.
But Nature works in every breast,
And Dick felt some desires,
A pass between the wires.
The open windows seem'd to invite
But Tom was still confined;
To leave his friend behind.
So settling on his cage, by play,
You must not live alone —
Beturn'd him to his own.—Cowper.
i Mutual solace, each other's comfort.
2 List, choose, like.
3 Suppressed, kept down, checked. * Freeman, Le. the freed bird.