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a district in England. St Augustine is said, by our virtues of springs, rivers, and lakes.' We have little, old monkish chroniclers, to have endowed the people however, about the objects specified, springs and of a part of Kent with tails like fishes, because they rivers leading the conversation to the four great preferred fishing to listening to his sermons. But rivers mentioned in Scripture as surrounding the though the story is still alluded to as a vulgar garden of Eden; and nearly the whole chapter is reproach, we must say to the reader, in the quaint taken up with a discussion respecting the exact site words of our author, "you commit no deadly sin of the terrestrial paradise. This, though a favourite though you believe it not.'
subject of discussion at the period, forms a terribly After a long discourse about Amazons, the three dry one now ; so we shall pass on to the next day. friends speak of a fierce people and of great courage, The third day's conversation turns upon ‘fancies, though only three spans in length,' called pigmies. visions, spirits, enchanters, charmers, witches, and “They inhabit the utter part of India, toward the hags. After a deal of curious matter, the friends come east, near the rising of the river Ganges, where, at to a conclusion, as contrary to that of Aristotle and such times as it is in other places winter, the cranes the ancients, as it is to the ideas of the modern gliostcome to lay their eggs, and to bring up their young believers and spirit-rappers--namely, that all appariones, about the river-sides; whose coming, so soon as tions proceed from the devils alone. We are told that the pigmies perceive--because they are so little, that there are six degrees of those very numerous and the cranes regard them not, but do them much hurt, troublesome gentry. The first, in the upper regions of as well in their persons as in eating up their victuals the air, attends to thunder, lightning, hail, and snow; and spoiling their fruits--they join themselves in the second, in the lower part of the atmosphere, causes great numbers to break their eggs. And to prepare heavy rains, blights, frosts, storms, and whirlwinds; themselves to this terrible fight, they mount upon the third, on earth, has quite enough, indeed too goats and rams, and in very goodly equipage, go much, to do with the affairs of man; the fourth, in forward to destroy this multiplication of cranes, as to the waters, presides over inundations and shipwrecks; a most dangerous and bloody enterprise.'
the fifth, in the upper strata of the earth, occasions Of the existence of the pigmies, the friends have no earthquakes, and accidents in mines and wells; the manner of doubt. They tell us that the Tyrians, sixth, still lower down, is actively employed in the whose commerce led them to the extreme ends of the place unmentionable to ears polite. Among all these, earth, retained numbers of these valiant little people there are well-defined gradations of rank, from the as mercenary soldiers; that, in short, the pigmies are ‘arch-enemy'Satan himself, down to the lowest stoke. no other than the Gammadins, who hanged their We here learn how it was that witches and wizards shields upon the towers of Tyre, as we may read in were generally deserted, in their utmost need, by the the twenty-seventh chapter of the book of Ezekiel. fiends with whom they had formed engagements. In And we must ourselves add, that the belief in a their ignorance, they had made contracts with low, nation of pigmies prevailed to a comparatively late vulgar demons, that had neither power to fulfil, nor period. Few of the old museums were without the sufficient honourable feeling to carry out, their engageskeleton or embalmed body of a pigmy; and it was ments. In all cases, however, when the bargain was no earlier than the last century, when Dr Tyson, in made with a demon of rank, the terms were most an elaborate anatomical work, first proved that all honourably fulfilled, though the extreme penalty of those embalmed bodies and skeletons were the the bond was always exacted. Indeed, some necroremains of monkeys.
mancers of superlative cunning and audacity, managed From the dwarf to the giant is no more distant a to cheat the demons—'turn a corner jinkin', as step, than from the ridiculous to the sublime. One Burns says; but of such highly presumptuous and Bocacius, who saw it himself, is given as the authority dangerous experiments, the less said the better. for the following story : “Near Trapani, in Sicily, Necromancers who wished to possess a private certain labourers, digging for chalk under the foot of demoniacal attendant of their own always at hand, a hill, discovered a cave of great wideness. Entering could have one confined in a ring, button, box, phial, into the which, with light, they found sitting in the or other small portable article ; but, as a high-casté midst thereof a man of such monstrous hugeness, demon would not submit to such confinement, and a that, astonished therewith, they fled to the village, low-caste one could not be depended upon, it was reporting what they had seen ; then, gathering usual in such transactions to secure the services of together in greater number, with torches and wea- a low-class fiend, at the same time taking a bond for pons, they returned to the cave, where they found their due fulfilment, from one of the upper ten thousand the giant, whose like was never heard of before. in devildom. The best thing, however, that a magician In his left hand he held a mighty staff, so great and could have a devil confined in was a horse. He could thick as a great mast of a ship. Seeing that he then make journeys of incredible distance in the stirred not, they took a good heart and drew near shortest periods, and always find profitable employhim; but they had no sooner laid their hands upon ment for the imprisoned fiend; an object sometimes him, than he fell to ashes, the bones only remaining- of very great consequence. 80 monstrous, that the very skull of his head could of planetary influence, we are told a curious story, hold in it a bushel of wheat. His whole skeleton being to the following effect: Abel, the son of Adam, foremeasured, was found to be 140 cubits in length.' seeing the deluge, and naturally anxious that the
To arrive at such a size, the man must have lived recondite secrets, so dearly purchased by eating the a very long time; so we are next treated with accounts fruit of the tree of knowledge, should not be lost to of persons, who had lived from 200 up to 500 years. mankind, wrote a book on the virtues and properties Centaurs, mermen, and merwomen, next furnish of the planets, and enclosed it in the centre of a large subjects for the most ridiculous stories. We are stone. Long after the great cataclysm, Hermes told that a family, appropriately termed Marins, then Trismegistus found the stone, opened it, and took lived in Spain, who were the descendants of a mer- out the book, by the contents of which he profited
These Marins were webfooted and scaly: most wonderfully. This antediluvian book subseThey lived principally on raw fish, which they caught quently fell into the hands of St Thomas, who, in with their hands while swimming in their great- turn, managed to perform many great and admirable grandfather's native element, being, as may readily feats by its assistance. On one occasion, the saint, be granted, the expertest of swimmers.
while sojourning in a certain city, being seized by a A fountain in the garden suggests the topic of the severe sickness, was much annoyed by the noise of second day's conversation—'On the proportions and horses and carts traversing the narrow street in which
he dwelt. So he prepared two images, according to state of the poor wretch, deterred them from attempta prescription made and provided in Abel's ancient ing to render him any assistance. On going to their book aforesaid, and having burned one of them at mid-day meal, however, they found that a viper had each end of the street, no horse or other beast of crept into and been drowned in their wine-jar. Wine draught or burthen could ever after pass the spots thus rendered so deadly poisonous they could not where those images were interred. He also made drink; but thinking it a pity that it should be another image, from directions in the same book, and wasted, they concluded to give it to the leper, and threw it into a fountain ; and the effect of this won- thus charitably put him out of his exceeding misery derful image was such, that every pitcher touched by at once. Accordingly, they did so; but, to their the waters of that fountain immediately fell to pieces. great surprise, instead of dying instantaneously, as This certainly seems to have been a very mischievous they had expected, the leper became rather jolly trick, even though perpetrated by a saint; and it also than otherwise. In short, the mowers, instead of savours of a tampering with forbidden arts. But being philanthropic poisoners, as they thought, were our author sets us right on the latter score. Using a sort of pre-Hahnnemanite homeopathists ; for the the influence of the planets, he tells us, is so very venom of the viper counteracted the virulence of the lawful, that nothing can be said against it; but the leprosy, and the man was not killed, but cured. other kind of necromancy, used and practised through | So,' continues Antonio, “as all herbs, beasts, and the help and favour of the devil, is a very different stones contain good and profitable virtues, we should affair indeed.
not attribute to the stars the misfortunes that befall There is nothing novel in the ghost stories in this us, but rather to our own ignorance, which debars us chapter; they are of the regular stereotyped kind, from properly administering to our health and happilong and still known over all the world, though here ness. Concluding, therefore, I say, that pestilential localised by assuming a Spanish character. And as and infectious diseases are not caused by the stars, we are given to understand that those appearances but by matters of the earth itself infecting the air were not disembodied spirits, but merely illusions as dead carrions, corrupted carcasses, sinks, standing caused by devils, the accounts of them lose that cold and putrid water, and many other filthy things. The charnel-house-like connection with death, the grave, belief in the influence of the stars has long since and our own humanity in its future form, which passed away, but there are many still among us who constitutes the great charm and interest of what we might glean sound useful information from the above may term a legitimate glost story.
passage. Many supposed apparitions, however, were merely The fifth and sixth chapters treat 'of the septennatural events, to which men, in their superstitious trional regions, and many things pleasant and fears, attributed a spiritual character. As an instance worthy to be known. In other regions, we are of such, we are told of an occurrence that took place told that the sea is the mother of mysteries, but at Benevento, the very town where the garden-scene in the septentrional or northern, it is the mother of is laid. An industrious matron, having risen before monsters. One fish, indeed, the head of which was day one morning, to finish some pressing household sent by the Primate of Norway to Pope Leo X., was work, sent her servant to light a candle at a lamp called the monster: it had no other name, and well that was always kept burning in a neighbouring deserved to be so termed. According to Antonio's church. The sleepy girl, slightly dressed in white description, 'its length is commonly about fifty cubits, night-clothes, losing her way, wandered over half the which is but little in comparison with the greatness town, before she reached the church; and then, too and deformity of its proportions and members. Its stupid to give any explanation, frightened a silly head is as great as half its body, and round about sexton before she returned to her mistress's house full of horns, longer than those of an ox. It has with the burning candle. But, in the meantime, the only one eye, a cubit in length and a cubit in mistress herself, not choosing to wait in the dark, set breadth, which by night glittereti in such sort, that off for the church, and also returned with a lighted afar off it resembleth a huge flame of fire. Its teeth candle in her hand. Now, it happened that a sick are great and sharp; its body full of hairs, resembling neighbour saw the two women, and his mind being the wing-feathers of a goose; and its colour is as weakened by disease, magnified their number to a black as any jet in the world may be.' considerable extent. The sexton partly corroborated Then Bernardo, not to be outdone, gives the folthe sick man; and as the story travelled, the number lowing account of another odd fish that was caught multiplied till the middle of the day, when it was in 1517, in a river of Germany. “Its head was like currently reported and believed that a penitential unto that of a wild boar, with two great tusks procession of two thousand ghosts carrying lighted shooting about four spans out of its mouth. It had tapers had passed through the town during the pre- four great feet, like to those with which you see vious night. For, says Ludovico, who tells the story, dragons usually painted; and besides the two eyes * let but one such matter as this come amongst the in its head, it had two others in its sides, and one in common people, and it will grow so, from mouth to its belly; and on the ridge of its neck certain long mouth, that at last of a mite they will make an bristles, as strong and hard as though they had been elephant.'
iron or steel. This monster was carried to Antwerp, The fourth day's discourse, suggested by the and there live many who will witness to have seen arrangement of the flowers in the garden, is upon the same.'
chance, fortune, destiny, luck, felicity, and happiness Among a number of wonderful fishes, we may —what they signify, the difference between them, only mention another, found in the rivers of Sweden. and many other learned and curious points;' and Its name is trevis; it is black in winter, and white in forms a very interesting chapter, far in advance of summer. “Its marvellous property is such, that, the age in which it was written. Astrology, and the binding it fast with a cord, and letting it down to supposed influence of the stars, at man's birth, on his the bottom of the river, if there be any gold on the future destiny, are treated as ridiculous absurdities; sands thereof, the same cleaveth fast to its skin, while ignorance and misconduct are shewn to be the which, how great soever the pieces may be, fall not principal causes of human misfortunes and miseries. off from it till they be taken off; so that some perHere Antonio tells a story of some mowers, who sons in that country use no other occupation to found, in a meadow they were cutting, miserable earn their living than this.' leper that had crawled thither to die. The contagious Coming to our own shores, Antonio says: “There nature of the disease, and the hideously disgusting is a town in Scotland, the benefit arising to which,
from an abundance of ducks, is so great and wonder in a simple and primitive manner. The vineyards ful that I cannot pass it over. There is, near this are especially luxuriant-no wonder that the wines town, a mighty great and craggy rock, to which, at of the island are so superior to those of Italy--the breeding-time, these fowls come flocking in such olive-grounds extensive and productive; and then quantities, that they resemble immense dark clouds the orange-groves—you realise the garden of the rather than anything else. The first two or three Hesperides at Millis, and positively ride for miles days they hover aloof, flying up and down about the through an orange-grove. But we are travelling too rock; during which time, the people of the town stir fast: we must halt long enough before getting to not out of their doors, for fear of frightening them. Millis; and how pleasant it is to watch the unpacking The ducks, seeing all things silent and still, settle of those huge bisacce: a piece of roast wild boarthemselves boldly, and fill the rock with nests. Their excellent !—birds boiled and rolled in myrtle-leavessight is so sharp and piercing that, while fluttering Umph! you say. Ali, they don't look so well as they over the sea which beateth on the same rock, they taste! Very white bread, and very red wine-green see the fish through the water, which-incontinently myrtle-branches for dishes and plates, and cut myrtleplunging themselves into the same-they snap up twigs for forks—a hunting-knife to carve with. But withi such facility, that it is scarcely to be believed the sun is very hot, and you can take a siesta under but by him who hath seen it. Then the towns-people, these lovely trees-on that sweet bank of wild-flowers, knowing the ways and passages, get up into this without any fear of cold, cramp, or rheumatism. And rock, and not only sustain themselves by the fish what wild villages you pass through—some smiling, which they find in the nests, but maintain a great cheerful, liealthy; others squalid, dirty. Alas, alas; traffic by selling them in other towns. When they and here, in these low, ill-drained situations, will perceive that the young birds are ready to fly, the presently come the dreaded intemperio, the scourge of people—in order to enjoy the benefit of the fish the this beautiful land. The season is early yet; you longer--pluck their wings, detaining them in the will, I hope, escape it; but see how your guide nests many days, and at last take and eat them, their muffles up his head at sunset in the hood of his flesh being very tender and of good smack. These rugged cabanedda, surmounting the whole with a red ducks are never seen in that region but at such time cotton pocket-handkerchief. He has had it once, and as they breed, and though the people kill numbers of dreads it. You laugh at his precautions. Take care! them, yet they never fail to come as many as the And now you wonder where you will halt at night, rock can hold. The generality of wonderful stories for locandas there are few. You need have no care are founded on some slight substratum of truth; for this in liospitable, kindly Sardinia, only you must through the foregoing cloud of exaggeration, our not always carry your ideas of fastidious refinement clearer eyes can readily perceive the Bass Rock and with you; they will occasionally cause you trouble its feathered tenantry of gannets.
and vexation of spirit. The sixth and last day's conversation was held in The kindly dwelling of a coltivatore or a village an arbour of sweetly-scented jessamine, where, in the priest, with its simple and unpretending appliances, intervals of speaking, the ears of our three ancient will be ever ready to welcome you; and what an friends were regaled with the sweet and delectable song amusing compound of extreme goodness, ignorance, of nightingales, which, in their opinion, far excelled and superstition is this same village priest. Like his the curious forced harmony of musicians. As we native molenta, low carefully does he revolve in his must part with them, we surely cannot leave them little orbit of daily duties, doling out his kindnesses; in a more pleasant place; and so, at once, we shall ay, and his charities and hospitalities also, on the say farewell to The Garden of Flowers.
miserable pittance assigned him for the cure of souls.
He will give you a marvellously good supper, good A RIDE ACROSS SARDINIA.
wine, and perhaps a good joke too, for they are not
ascetics; but then, after supper comes bed, and with Assuming, dear reader, that you are not tired of beds in Sardinia come flens also-not in pairs, dear Sardinia, or out of conceit with those dear wild reader, not even in small social parties-alas, no; creatures who inbabit it, I propose to take you across these sanguinary little monsters, form themselves the island to Cagliara. You go by rough paths, over | into heavy brigades, and make the attack en masse. lofty mountains, attended by a guide who is quite a But you have a letter of introduction to the character. He carries a long rifle, and wears a Seigneur of -; your guide has been long desslouched hat; is acquainted with everything and canting on the grandeur of his house at Sassari, everybody; he is an intimate friend of the terrible and also of his campagna, which you are now rapidly bandit, whose stronghold you have to cross; lie is approaching. You bave for many lours been within on most affectionate terms with the padres of the his feudal domain. different villages; and to know the village priest, is You, somehow, can connect feudalism only with the to know everybody. Well, you must trust yourself middle ages; but here, in this far-off, antiquated, out-horse and limb, money and all-to him for the of-the-way land, you are in the very midst of it. next few days or weeks, and he will not fail you; The impression on your mind, drawn from the vivid he may just courteously chent you out of a stray picturing of the old priest last night, and of the guide scudo or two, in the way of business-first, because all the morning, falls sadly short, as you behold the you are an Englishman, and, of course, supposed large tumble-down, queer-looking building, which for to have mines of wealth; and, next, because you some centuries has from time to time received within are a heretic—so the saints would only smile on the its walls the successive representatives of the Ffault. Beyond this, he will do nothing to harm you: family during the hot summer months. You have a on the contrary, at each village, as he passes along, he recent and very vivid recollection of fine English will spread your name and fame before you, so that country-seats, and pretty country villas in England, there will be a positive rusli to catch a passing glimpse with their smooth lawns, and all their elegant accesof the grand Milordo Inglese'- not that they hare sories, and are not prepared for such a combination of the smallest idea of what a Milordo Inglese really power, pride, and plainness. We must go first into means—an 'Inca of Peru' would be quite as intelli- the court-see the rough sheds for still rougher gible to them. Meanwhile, there is ał this season implements of tillage; the unsophisticated stable, end of May or beginning of June-a lovely sky, a tolerably furnished with snorting and kicking little country teeming with a varied and most abundant horses; and the noble-looking, pale.brown, large-eyed, vegetation, not perhaps highly cultivated, but tilled | large-horned bullocks, which drew hither the cart containing the signora, the young ladies, and their But here comes the marchese again, bringing along female attendants, but three days ago. There, under with him a priest, a certain Padre Benedetto, to whon yonder shed, is the ne plus ultra of antique and you have no particular care to be introduced. The clumsy contrivances, in which they were dragged - priest, like many other Sard priests, has large broad one can hardly say drawn-over stones as large as features, high cheek-bones, round bead-like black your head, jolting, creaking, and tumbling; and sadly eyes, and peculiarly dark unctuous complexion : be bruised they would have been, but for the family takes snuff prodigiously, uses a red cotton handkersupply of wool-bedding which wedged them softly and chief—makes you a bow and a compliment at every tightly in
third word. You consider him decidedly a bore, and But the guide has announced you with every his loquacity is becoming intolerably irksome, as flourishing title his inventive brain could suggest; it you wish to hear the remainder of the lovely arietta, is in vain that your English taste for truth rebels; he now in full progress-you, in self-defence, make bovs has you at his mercy, and you have no chance of con- and interjections in return, still straining your ears to vincing him that you are not the Lord Chancellor, or catch the dulcet sounds; and just at her Majesty's prime-minister, travelling incog, on her
Cota dimentico, Majesty's private service.
De corsi affanni, Forth come a troop of clamorous dogs, and another troop of equally clamorous domestics, the very anti- there comes an official, the maggior duomo; he podes of our solemn and decorous Johns and Sarahs ; makes bows more profound than the padre, and in and there, somewhere in the midst, stands tle seigneur flourishing terms, and with many allusions to your himself, hat in hand. He has a kind and courtly look; signoria illustrissima, announces dinner. Dinner-it one may read his Spanish descent in every line of his has an imposing sound, it is an era in the day, high-bred features. There is pride, too; but not of especially in the travelling day—it is the rest for man that quality which degenerates into insufferable inso- and horse during the noontide heat. Let us see what lence. No; he estimates himself somewhat highly, the marchese has for dinner. The table is laid in perhaps ; but in doing so, he has no desire to depre- approved style: there is a tower of luscious fruit in ciate you. He is delighted to receive you, and he tells the centre; little appetite-exciting condiments at the you so-your advent is an immense relief to the corners, such as anchovies, hot pickles, dried sausages, monotony of his country-life.
&c. These are barely touched, for here comes the I may just whisper in your ear, en passant, that he minestra with its grated cheese—not soup, dear has very few resources--the idea of reading has not reader, good or bad as you are accustomed to struck him particularly; he has practised it but little meet with it-for minestra is broth flavoured with since he left the Jesuit's College at Cagliara; he grated cheese, and slightly thickened with vermicelli. delights in the wild-boar hunt, and takes great And now come a host of dishes, all different in taste, interest in the success of his vineyards and olive- / but all composed of one kind of meat. grounds, from the produce of which, and the mulct This, you would never have discovered, had it not exacted from his feuars, his income is principally been for the over-anxiety of your host, who laments derived. Well, the seigneur triumphantly ushers you in fervid tones the total absence of game, fish, and into his ancestral casa di campagna. There are many poultry; tells you that had he had the smallest hint apartments, furnished with extreme simplicity. It is of your visit, he would certainly have procured them; plain, the villeggiatura is a sort of encampment. The but he has not hunted since his arrival; and there is seigneur gives some orders to the domestic throng not a market within-I dare not say how many miles who buzz and clatter about him ; some macaroni and —not a shop: so he had no time-no opportunity. tomatos are drawn forth from an ancient-looking The secret, therefore, is, that out of the sheep killed walnut-wood armadio in the principal sala, and, after for family use, some additional dishes have been much clattering and gesticulating, hauled away to be concocted, much to the honour and glory of the cooked. Meanwhile, you are courteously offered some marchese's chef de cuisine, who, no doubt, is all this fruit and wine, by way of temporary refreshment; after time secretly rejoicing at this opportunity of making which you stroll out to look after your good little a signal display of his culinary skill. And really horse, in whose well-being you feel by this time barring a rather generous expenditure in the maiter intensely interested—his sure-footed sagacity having of oil and garlic-you are very much of his opinion. spared you many a terrible fall—and you begin to Meanwhile, as the repast progresses, you become regard liim as a thinking and reasoning being. After nervously curious as to the sounds in the house ; you many mutual caresses, you take your leave of him to expect each time any of the huge doors are opened, to lounge round the campagna, which you find a perfect see the houri of the balcony; but she comes not, so labyrinth of orange, lemon, and mulberry trees, you give her up in silent despair. You are not aware though with open spots here and there adorned with that some fragments of old Spanish customs yet a few flowers, wildly scattered, and but carelessly linger here, and that this is one: you will not see her tended. Your English notions of smooth lawns and here; you might probably see her at church when in gay parterres vividly suggest themselves; you wonder the capital; or on the public walk, well attended by that something of the kind has not been thought of a matronly duenna, or just possibly at the opera ; but here, where nature is so bountiful; you wonder, too, she is well watched and guarded : most likely, she is whether the pretty, dark-eyed, sylph-like damigellu, of betrothed to some neighbouring marchese, and will whom you accidentally caught a glimpse at an upper shortly be united to him without much consultation balcony, does not love flowers; and, if so, why she of her individual fancies. does not amuse herself by tending the graceful things In the meanwhile-and as you are brooding over she so much resembles.
your disappointment—on speeds the dinner. Some And now you are rather anxious perhaps to stray apricots, lightly fried in boiling oil, and dusted over beneath that magic balcony, for you fancy you heard with sugar, are really exquisite. You testify your the lovely arietta in Anna Bolena
approval, whereupon the domestic who is replenishing Al dolce quidami,
your plate is enchanted, and loudly commends your Castel natio,
taste. You, accustomed to liveried automatons of Ai verdi platani,
the Jeames style, are perfectly thunderstruck at Al queto rio, &c.,
his audacity, but perceive that it is perfectly well
received. And now the little tower of fruit is in the softest and fullest of female voices.
attacked ; and very excellent coffee and cognac
supersede the wines, which were superlative. The padre, trout as well. I once found a nest with three small after a very elaborate application of the orange-wood white eggs under a cascade on the Pentland Hills. stecche to his very unpolished teeth, has subsided into While I was standing by the fall, a water-crow burst a quiet siesta, from which he will not awake for two through it from the inside, and flew fifty yards down good hours. The marchese is hovering between polite- the burn, where it alighted. I waded in and got ness and intense drowsiness; he has strained his eyes under the water-fall, where I discovered the nest on three times to make you a suitable reply to an obser- a shelf of rock, with water dripping on it; the convation; and at length-just as he tried to remark to struction of the nest, however, was so ingenious, that you that he had heard at Terra Firma that England though wet outside, the inside was quite dry, and the was a magnificent city-his words died away in a eggs warm. When I was putting on my shoes and deep sonorous snore, to which, induced by example, stockings on the bank, the bird returned, and again you yourself at length willingly respond. So now, darting through the torrent, reached its nest. I again, I say for the present, addios.
thought this shewed great courage.
These are the
only points regarding the water-crow worth noticing, MORE BIRDS AS OBSERVED BY ME. * of all the birds which help to add to one's enjoyIn Peeblesshire, amongst the green rounded hills of ment of summer-time, the one I fancied most was the the south of Scotland, is the sweetly retired pastoral yellow-hammer, or, as we called it, the yellow-yorlin. Vale of Manor, permeated by a little clear stream, in This is a simple little bird, and has a song apt to be which it was my delight in school-days to throw my unnoticed by many, but never by me. I may remark rod and line. I could tell every pool where a trout lay. that I have recognised the seasons, spring and But I advert to the stream now with a design of saying as from the songs of birds calling up the association.
summer, not so much from their visible phenomena, a little about the water-ouzel or water-crow, which And summer was not summer for me, unless the I was wont to observe while engaged in this, my yellow-yorlin churmed her simple roundelay from the favourite sport. It is a little bird, rather smaller green hedgerows. than a mavis, black all over the body except its I have often thought that the seasons are ushered breast, which is white. It is easily made out by this in to almost every one by some little favourite associcontrast of colours. Sometimes it was met with ation. Thus, spring to you is perhaps not spring
without violets, or primroses, or budding trees; for perched upon a stone in the middle of the stream;
me, the song of the lark, the mavis, the cuckoo-is sometimes on the gravel at the very edge; and often spring. Flowers are your spring—birds are mine. flying past, over the centre of the water. There The same with summer: you cannot think of that were still two other retreats chosen by this bird—a season--the word itself cannot be sounded, without hole in the bank, or one of the lowest branches of your calling up something summer-like, such as green some alder-tree which grew over deep pools.
leaves or shady lanes. I see summer at any other On being disturbed by any one walking up the time in the year, by thinking of the yellow-yorlin ; river-bank, the water-crow, on rising, as frequently for the song of that bird has always had the feel of flies down-stream past you, as away up-stream before that warm season. you. It is not a very shy bird, and, though I should If the weather is warm and genial, the song of have been sorry to have killed one, still I could not this bird is sure to be in full measure. Its favourite resist having many a shot with stones, as it went position is on the top of some hedgerow, where it whirring over the water in its straight, rapid flight. appears very like a brownish-yellow ball of feathers. I never hit one. If you take the trouble of watch- The notes begin suddenly and end in a prolonged ing the habits of this little bird, you will find the cadence, something like the following words, familiar following remarks true: I have observed it care- to many a school-boy: fully before venturing to write about it, and of course I know too, that others have written about it long ago. 1. When standing on a stone in the
3 middle of the water, it has a habit of nodding its head and threatening to be off many times, before it
lit-tle bit of bread, but no-oh che-e-e-se. opens its wings to be gone; it even partly loses its If the day happens to be chilly, the yellow-yorlin's balance when dip, dipping in this way, though it notes reach only as far as always recovers itself again. 2. When standing
thus, it, for the most part, keeps its head towards you, and
A little bit of bread, but no-oh more frequently its side than its back. When started, with a sudden break-off before coming to the cheese ; it prefers making the turn in the air, to simply turn- and if she is not at all in singing mood, she is longer ing itself on the stone—that is to say, if it intends in the intervals, and then contents herself with flying from you; but I have as often observed it leave
simply the stone, dive under water for an instant, and then
A little bit of bread. fly past you. If there are companions with you, the water-crow will often quit the course of the stream in In cold weather, these notes are sung sharply and its flight past; but when it has flown about a hun- quickly, with a kind of shiver; but when enjoying dred yards, it resumes the water-course, and alights the full meridian sun, she will sit on her favourite soon: half a circle is often flown over in this way. hedgetop for an hour at a time, sounding to her mate, Sometimes it will do this for a single person even. as often as once or twice a minute, her plaintive 3. The water-crow feeds on aquatic insects, the spawn calls for of salmon, &c.; and to get at this food, it dives usually
A little bit of bread, but no-oh cheeese. in the streams, and propels itself under water by its wings and feet. This is a strange habit, and gave me This fancy about the yellow-yorlin must have often much amusement, though it was only upon two occa- struck many a one; for though its sweet notes may sions I was witness of the fact. It was looking after be uttered in vain for many a passer-by, still I know those small larvæ of the may-fly which are to be seen there must be those who have felt the warm ditty in great numbers cased all over with minute stones strike home, like cheerful words from an old friend. and shells. These tiny creatures form the chief food of Besides, it so often sits by the roadsides. the bird in May and June, and make capital bait for I must just add that this little favourite's petitions