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Our time is of such great value, that we are ruined if we waste it. This is true in a religious as well as in a worldly sense. But, at present, I am only speaking of the inconvenience arising from a want of punctuality. A man makes an engagement to meet me at twelve o'clock. But he is not ready till half-past: so that whatever we had agreed to do, we have half an hour less to do it in. It is true that we might stay half an hour longer; but then this half hour must be taken from other business. But suppose the man says that he was busily employed till half-past twelve, and that he was not wasting his time. I answer that he was wasting mine. I had arranged my affairs so as to be ready at twelve, and therefore I was kept half an hour waiting in suspense. I wonder, too, that men are not punctual, if it be only for the sake of gaining the good opinion of others. When I was waiting, and looking at my watch, and counting every moment after the clock had struck twelve, I could hardly help being out of humour, and having a bad opinion of the exactness and regularity of the person who was thus wasting my time and his own. I thought he was a bad man of business, and I could not help feeling something of the disposition
that a whole company is said to be in when they are kept waiting for dinner by the delay of a single person :they have been said to be employed, during all that time, in thinking over all the bad qualities belonging to that unfortunate individual. A man must have a good character to be able to stand this. Generally speaking, however, a want of punctuality arises from want of method and good management; and I think I never knew a man to be very prosperous who had not learned the art of keeping to his time. For my own part, I long since adopted a plan which I have steadily pursued, and which I am persuaded has been of great importance to me through life, and has added much to my comfort as well as my advantage. It is, always to get ready half an hour too soon. Whatever has been the hour fixed for any engagement, I have always endeavoured to be quite ready just half an hour before the time. I say endeavoured to get ready, because so many interruptions' occur, that, even with this rule, it very often happens that we can be only just in time.
Now this half hour need not be thrown away, even if you are actually ready half an hour too soon. A man who knows how to manage time can always find something which will give him employment for this interval. But if we only try to get ready just in time, for a journey or other engagement, there are so many interruptions, before starting, so many last words, so many things forgotten, that every thing is confusion, and we are almost sure to be too late. I may, perhaps, be reckoned more than punctual; but never mind. If my hint is of any use to any of your readers, it will be a satisfaction to your early, and constant, and punctual reader,
NATURAL HISTORY.-THE OYSTER. It seems impossi le for any one to contemplate the works of Providence without feeling his mind expanded with wonder and delight. The smallest animal that breathes seems to be formed with exactly the same care, and consideration of its wants, as the largest which we behold; and the reason why we do not see this is because our eyes are not so constructed as to enable us to perceive the formation of these objects of their Creator's care. There are some animals too small to be observed by our naked eye; and yet, when we look at them through a microscope, (or large magnifying glass,) then we see that there is, as it were, a world below us, and that every part of it is made by the hand of Him who is truly called wonderful, and to whom great and little are both alike. There are some creatures, too, which at first sight appear to be formed with very little consideration of their happiness and enjoyments; and yet, a little further consideration will shew us, that their condition has not been neglected or overlooked. Look at the Oyster ;. it seems as if rudely formed, and shut out of the reach of those enjoyments which belong to other animals: it appears to be enclosed in its coarse shells, as in a narrow and dark prison. But how noble a defence do these shells make against any fish or any bird of prey that would otherwise devour it! And then *, what think you of a little lamp which lights the darkness of its solitary dwelling? An attentive observer of lately remarked, on opening an oyster, that there was a shining matter, or bluish light, resembling a star, about the centre of the shell, which appeared to proceed from a small quantity of real phosphorus. On being taken from the animal, it extended to nearly
* Conchologist's Companion.
+ M. de Lavoye.
half an inch in length; and when immersed in water seemed, in every respect, the same as the phosphorus obtained from bones, &c. The oyster itself was perfectly alive and fresh ; consequently the light could not proceed from any decomposition of the shell or animal, but must have arisen from some other cause. The microscope shews us things which, without its help, we should know nothing of. On examining this apparent phosphorus through a magnifying glass of great power, it was found to consist of three different sorts of small living creatures; one of which had no less than forty-eight legs attached to a slender body, and a black spot on the head which was evidently its only eye; and the back exactly resembled that of an eel when deprived of its outer coating. The second insect had also a single eye, and numerous feet, a nose resembling that of a dog, and a body made up of several rings. The third was very different, having a speckled body, a head resembling a foal's, with a tuft of hair on both sides. Each of these extraordinary insects was beautifully shining, and altogether resembled a bluish star.
Who shall assign a limit to the wonders of creation? A living lamp sheds its beautiful light over the solitary apartment of the Oyster; shines even in the midst of water, and cheers the solitude and silence of perpetual night. This lamp is, likewise, probably of use to the Oyster, in attracting its prey to him, to make amends for his want of power to move about in search of food. These things seem wonderful, and almost beyond belief; but whoever has observed the powers of the microscope, and found that creatures smaller than a grain of sand may be magnified to the size of large monsters, and that their limbs and joints are formed with the most perfeet contrivance, and exactly suited to the purposes of the animals, will see that the Creator
of them all is not only wonderful in all his works, but full of goodness and mercy too--“ that the greatest things are not beyond his power, nor the smallest beneath his care.
FISH-POND AT LOGAN.
The following curious account is taken from a Scotch newspaper. The fish-pond at Logan, or Port Nessock, formed in 1800, and re-peopled since by many successive generations of cod-fish, is nothing more than an artificial basin of salt water, 30 feet deep and 100 in circumference. The area within is wholly hewn from the solid rock, and communicates with the sea by one of those fissures, or natural tunnels, so common on bold and precipitous coasts. Attached to the pond is a neat Gothic cottage for the accommodation of the fisherman. In every state of the wind or tide-in winter as well as summer-when not a single boat dare venture to sea, the proprietor, Colonel Mac Dowall, can command a supply of the finest fish; and study, at his leisure, the instinct and habits of the “ finny nations.” The moment the fisherman crosses his threshold, the pond is agitated by the action of some hundred fins, and thrown into perfect anarchy and confusion. Darting from this, that, and the other corner, the fish all rush towards the fisherman, elevate their snouts, lash their tails, and jostle one another with such violence, as if they were going to attack the fisherman instead of the limpets that he is bringing to feed them with. Many of the fish are so tame that they will feed out of your hand, while others are quite shy; so that the fisb. erman talks of their different tempers. One gigantic fish appears like the father of the pond; and he