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A FIELD-FLOWER FOR "MY LOVE!”
LET me choose a wilding blossom,
Hill, or brake, or meadow yields.
Flag or Poppy we'll not gather,
Briony or Pimpernel;
Purpling Vetches, crimson Clover,
Violets nestling by the brink.
Sad Forget-me-not's a token
Full of partings and mishaps; Leave the Foxglove spire unbroken, Lest the fairies want for caps. Crimson Loose-strife, Crowfoot, Pansy, Golden Gowan, golden Broom; Eyebright cannot fix my fancy,
Nor the Meadow-sweet's perfume.
Rustic friends in field or grove,—
Do not shed a leaflet slender,
Keep awhile thy fragant zest; Fair and sweet, bring thoughts as tender To a balmier, fairer breast!
From "Household Words."
GENIUS is lord of the world. Men labor at the foundation of society; while the lonely lark, unseen and little prized, sits, hard by, in his nest on the earth, gathering strength to bear his song up to the sun. Slowly rise basement and monumental aisle, column and architrave, dome and lofty tower; and when the cloud-piercing spire is burnished with gold, and the fabric stands perfect and wondrous, up springs the forgotten lark, with airy wheel, to the pinnacle and standing poised and unwondering on his giddy perch, he pours out his celestial music till his bright footing trembles with harmony. And when the song is done, and mounting thence, he soars away to fill his exhausted heart at the fountains of the sun, the dwellers in the towers below look up to the gilded spire and shout-not to the burnished shaft, but to the lark-lost from it in the sky.
AN ENCHANTED VALLEY.
IN A FORMER NUMBER, we gave some very interesting extracts from Mrs. Meredith's "Home in Tasmania." We had marked others to follow; but want of space prevented us, at that time, giving them insertion. We must not, however, any longer delay to make room for the following graphic description of certain scenes and certain discoveries in Van Diemen's Land.
Mrs Meredith commences thus :
"We rode on horseback for two miles of forest, and then arriving at a 'scrub' so thick and close that our horses could go no further, we left them with the servant, and proceeded on foot. We soon struck into a cattle path, which was a beaten, though very narrow track underfoot, and so far a passage above, that the shrubs gave way on being pushed, but instantly closed again. Long pendulous streamers of tangled grey lichen, hung like enormous beards from the trees; and on horizontal branches formed perfect curtains of some feet in depth. Funguses of all kinds protruded from the dead, damp, mossy logs and gigantic fallen trees that lay in our path; and the deep soft beds of accumulated decaying leaves and bark that one's feet sank into, were damp and spongy and chill, even on a warm summer day.
"The nettles of this colony are the most formidable I have ever encountered, both in size and venom; and in this primeval scrub they flourished in undisturbed luxuriance, often rising far above our heads, and forming quite a tree-like growth, armed with a fierce array of poisoned spears, with which they ruthlessly attacked my arms and ankles; a thin print dress being a poor defence against their sharp and most painful stings, from which I suffered severely for some days after this scramble. A friend of ours once rode after some cattle into a mass of these nettles, which spread over a large space of ground. His horse became so infuriated by the pain of the nettlestings, that he threw himself down amongst them to roll, which of course increased the poor animal's torture, and his master could neither lead nor drive him out. The creature was rendered mad and furious by pain, and in a short time died in convulsions.
"Our cattle-track at length brought us into the enchanted valley Mr. Meredith had discovered; and not in my most fan tastic imaginings had I ever pictured to myself anything so exquisitely beautiful! We were in a world of fern trees, some palm-like and of gigantic size, others quite juvenile; some tall and erect as the columns of a temple, others bending into an arch, or springing up in diverging groups,
leaning in all directions; their wide-spread-swered by a 'coo-ee,' and Dick soon ing feathery crowns forming half-transpa- bounded to me, followed by his master. We rent green canopies, that folded and waved then shared our sandwiches with the little together in many places so closely that birds and the ants, and drank of the bright only a span of blue sky could peep down cool rivulet; and again went on exploring. between them, to glitter on the bright In one place we found a perfect living model sparkling rivulet that tumbled and foamed of an ancient vaulted crypt, such as I have along over mossy rocks, and under fantas- seen in old churches or castles, or beneath tic natural log bridges, and down into dark St. Mary's Hall, in Coventry. We stood in mysterious channels that no eye could trace a large level space, devoid of grass or any out, under those masses of fern trunks, kind of undergrowth, but strewn with fern and broad green feathers overarching it. leaflets like a thick, soft, even mat. Hun"All around, far above the tallest Ferns, dreds-perhaps thousands of fern trees huge forest trees soared up aloft; throwing grew here, of nearly uniform size, and at their great arms about in a gale that was equal distances, all straight and erect as blowing up there, whilst scarcely a breath chiselled pillars; and, springing from their lifted the lightest feather of the Ferns be- living capitals, the long, arching, thicklow. All was calm and silent beside us, ribbed fern leaves spread forth and mingled save the pleasant music of the rivulet, and densely overhead in a groined roof of the the tiny chirping of some bright little birds, daintiest beauty, through which a ray of flitting about amongst the underwood. I light gleamed down-the solemn twilight of had brought my sketch-book, and although the place strangely suiting with its almost despairing of success, sat down under a Fern sacred character. Openings between the canopy to attempt an outline of some of outer columns seemed like arched doors and the whimsical groups before me; whilst Mr. windows seen through the "long-drawn Meredith and Dick went to look for a aisle," and stray gleams of sunshine falling kangaroo; the former giving me the need- across them were faintly reflected on the less caution not to wander about, lest I fretted vault above us. Danby might paint the should be lost-a catastrophe for which I scene; or perhaps one of Cattermole's wonseem to possess a natural aptitude in the drous water-color pictures done on the spot 'Bush.' might convey some tolerable idea of its form and coloring; but a mere slight sketch were wholly useless.
"I soon relinquished my pencil, and shut my book, half in disgust at my own presumption in attempting for an instant a subject so far beyond my poor abilities; and, fastening my handkerchief to the trunk of my canopy fern tree, I ventured to make short excursions from it on all sides, taking care not to go out of sight of the handkerchief. Sometimes I could go as much as ten yards; but this was in the clearest place; generally the view closed in about five or six. The stems of the fern trees here varied from 6 to 20 or 30 feet high, and from 8 inches diameter to 2 or 3 feet; their external substance being a dark-colored, thick, soft, fibrous, mat-like bark, frequently netted over with the most delicate little ferns, growing on it parasitically. One species of these creeping Ferns had long winding stems, so tough and strong that I could rarely break them; and waving polished leaves, not unlike harts'-tongue, but narrower. These wreathed round and round the mossy columns of the fern trees like living garlands; and the wondrously elegant stately crown-canopy of feathers (from 12 to 18 feet long) springing from the summit, bent over in a graceful curve all around, as evenly and regularly as the ribs of a parasol.
Whilst making one of my cautious sixyard tours, a fine brush kangaroo came by me, and was instantly out of sight again; and then I heard a whistle, which I an
"After reluctantly leaving our temple in the wilderness, we wandered some time longer amidst the grand and beautiful scenes around, and I made a collection of small ferns and other plants new to me. We noticed one very ornamental shrub, usually known as the Tallow tree' (from the vishere very abundantly, and in great luxucous greasy pulp of the berries), growing riance; but every one we found was growing out of a fern tree; the foster parent, in most whilst the nursling throve most vigorously. cases, appearing exhausted and withering, It seemed, generally, as if seed had lodged in the soft fibrous rind of the fern tree, and had sprung up into a tall, strong, erect stem, at the same time sending out downward shoots, that eventually struck into the earth; but we could not find one plant I am aware that the tree is not always a growing in and out of the earth, although parasite. Many of the stems were a foot rooted shoots clasped about the poor old through, and their great, coiling, snaky
hoary fern trees.
"These tyrant parasites are very handsome; with rich, dark green, glossy leaves, and red blossoms, succeeded by most brilliant orange-colored berries, which, when ripe, split open, and the case flying back, partially displays the bright red cluster of
seeds within, like a little pomegranate with an orange-peel husk. The beautiful Tasmanian Sassafras tree is also a dweller in some parts of our fern-tree valley, but not in those we explored on the present occasion. The flowers are white and fragrant, the leaves large and bright green, and the bark has a most aromatic scent, besides being, in a decoction, an excellent tonic medicine. The wood is hard and white, with scarcely any visible grain, but is marked or shaded with light brown in irregular occasional streaks. Thinking that it must partake of the pleasant fragrance of its bark, I procured some to make boxes of, but found it quite devoid of scent after the bark was removed. A block of it furnished Mr. Meredith with an excellent material for a beautiful toy sailing-boat, which he carved out of it for George; and the fine, close, velvety texture of the wood, seems admirably adapted for carving of any kind. The sawyers and other bushmen familiar with the tree, call it indiscriminately saucifax''sarserfrax,' and 'satisfaction.""
A CAMEL JOURNEY ACROSS THE DESERT.
MR. BELDAM, in his "Recollections of the East," gives this interesting account of his journey :
"I have already spoken of the savoir faire of Khalifa (an Egyptian servant, who acted as cook to the party). The entertainments commonly furnished us were worthy of the Palais Royal. Here is his usual bill of fare :Breakfast-tea, coffee, hot rolls, and English butter, cold fowls or other meat, eggs, and milk. Lunch, en route-cold meat, bread, English cheese, and fruit. Dinner-soup a la Julienne, roast or boiled mutton, fowls, vegetables, rice, maccaroni, pancakes of the most delicious kind, a variety of condiments, and a dessert. Tea and coffee at bed-time; liqueur and stout for those who liked them; abundance of Nile water, preserved in glass bottles, of which we partook plentifully at meals; and Latakia of the finest quality.
"Throughout the journey we suffered little from thirst, and seldom drank during the day -a circumstance which I attribute mainly to abstinence from all fermented liquors. I certainly began to think, for the first time in my life, that I should become a gourmand. As a counterpart to this European diet, it may be worth while to know something of the cookery so jocosely recommended by the noble author whom I have already quoted (Lord Nugent). My companion and I walked out this evening; and witnessed the following scene:-An old Arab sat on the ground, and a lad stood beside him, preparing their supper. The old Arab had a large earthen pan, into which he emptied
a quantity of coarse meal. The boy, with a pitcher of water, fetched no doubt from the neighboring pool, was ready to pour it on the meal as the old man wanted it.
"Filthy enough were the old man, the lad, the platter, and the meal; but the climax was yet to come. There was a smouldering fire burning in a sand hole, just by, the fuel of which was principally made up of camels' dung. When the dough was sufficiently kneaded, the old man spread it out with his begrimed hands, into a large flat cake; then opening the fire, he laid the cake upon it, covered it with the hot reeking ashes, and in a little time the savory food was baked to the owner's satisfaction. This was the ordinary diet of the Arabs of the caravan. On festive occasions, such as I shall hereafter describe, a sheep or a goat is cooked in an equally primitive way, and washed down by a due proportion of puddle-water. It will be easily imagined, that among people who fare in this way, a handful of tobacco or a pot of coffee is enough to make their hearts leap for joy."
A SWEET REPOSE.
SHE sleeps amongst the pillows soft,
Hang flutes and folds of virgin white.
Her glance out-shines the starry sky; But now her locks are hidden quite,
And closed is her fringed eye!
She sleepeth: wherefore does she start?
Dethroned from his nightly sway,―
Our souls with wakening thoughts array. Two Spirits of might doth man obey;
By each he's taught, from each he learns: The one is Lord of life by day;
Th' other when starry Night returns.
ENERGY AND VICTORY!
The longer I live, the more I am certain that the great difference between men,-between the feeble and the powerful, the great and the insig nificant, is energy-invincible determination. A purpose once fixed; and then,-death or victory. That quality will do anything that can be done in this world; and no talents, no circumstances, no opportunities, will make a two-legged creature a man without it.-SIR T. FOWELL BUXTON.
THE VOICE OF NATURE.
BY ELIZA COOK.
God hath a voice that ever is heard
In the peal of the thunder, the chirp of the bird;
THE AQUATIC VIVARIUM,
THE ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY appear to be ever on the qui vive for novelty. Animals, with alarmingly-ugly names, have been introduced from time to time with great success. They have, however, had their day; and now there requires "something new." The last novelty is called a "Vivarium," and it is indeed a curiosity in its way.
It is a light airy building, sixty by twenty feet in area, containing around its transparent walls fourteen six-feet tanks of plate glass. Eight tanks will, in the first instance, be devoted to living marine animals, and of these six are ready for exhibition. They enclose masses of rock, sand, gravel, corallines, sea-weed, and sea-water; and are abundantly stocked with crustacea, star-fish, sea-eggs, actinias, ascidians, shelled and shell-less molluscs, and fish of the genera gasterosteus, labrus, crenilabrus, blennius, gibius, and cottus. Thus have we the contents of a whole river under a glass shade.
What a lady does with gold fish in her drawing-room, the Society have been doing with the entire inhabitants of a pond. You see a tiny lake poured-fish, stones, pebbles, moss, and all-into a glass box no bigger than a child's cradle. You look into the box-in shape not unlike an orange box, only somewhat higher-and there you see the fishes swimming about, dancing the most intricate quadrilles in the water, as easily as by looking into a glass bee-hive you see the bees hard at work making honey. More than this-the Society have dredged part of the ocean, they have dived to the bottom of the sea, and brought up the most curious collection of sea-weeds and seaplants-most of them alive and kicking. In a short time, the deep will no longer have any secrets hidden from us. The Atlantic, we expect, will soon be made visible to the naked eye of man. We shall be able to see all its treasures-to take the census even, if necessary, of its marine population to record their births, deaths, and marriages to be the historians of their daily habits, movements, changes, jealousies, and pitched battles!
Of course everybody will pay a visit here, if
only to see flourishing, in their native element, specimens of a great number of the fish they have eaten, and a greater number besides they would never think of eating. There's the fifteen-spined stickle-back. What would they think of a dish of these for dinner? There's the spider-crab also -which would hardly tempt, we think, the greatest lover of shell-fish to take him for supper just before retiring to bed. There's the "craw-fish," likewise, who does not look so tempting as when he appears at table in his bright military costume; but is of a dirty drab color, hardly distinguishable from the mud and stones in the midst of which he is lying. It is curious to watch him scratching his shelly head, and cleaning himself with his long claws with an action of rubbing them over his face somewhat similar to a cat's.
The animals seem quite puzzled how to meet the gaze of so many curious eyes. Fish, usually bold and daring, are here timid and retiring. The great delight of a large fish seems to be to creep under a big piece of rock, as if the sun was too much for him, and he wanted to lie in the shade and quietly philosophise all by himself. There he will remain, absorbed in reflection for hours. The only fish that appears in the least anxious to enter into communication with his fellow-creatures, is the ugly-looking pike, with his long beak of a mouth that comes to a point, not unlike a pair of grape-scissors, and opens and shuts exactly like one. the other fishes, judging from the rapidity with which they get out of the way, do not seem to relish the spirit of his communications. The young fish are the most restless. They dart about with a kind of kittenish playfulness, as if they enjoyed the sport, and never would be tired of swimming.
Of the wonderful forms of the different animals -some so fairy-like, some so twisted and deformed
it is impossible to give a notion. Their colors, and blending of colors, in endless variety, would puzzle the skill of an artist to describe. Some glitter in a complete suit of armor, every scale of which is of gold. Others are of a light blueish transparency, reminding you of the reflection of an amethyst with the sun playing upon it. Some look like little mother-of-pearl fishes, such as are used for counters at a round game; whilst others remind us of those peculiar purses that ladies sometimes carry, and which are made up of different streaks of eolor-not two of them being alike. Fancy all these flashing and glittering together, as if they were being continually shaken up in the cage before you. They are not, however, all beautiful. For instance, there is one little green, spotty, apoplectic monster, with goggle eyes, and a stomach that bulges out worse than any officer's breast. This overgrown fellow hobbles along as if he were too fat to get on without the aid of a stick. Nor are the crabs pretty, with their spiky claws, that keep opening and shutting as if they wanted to shear off some poor little fish's head. Still they are amusing.
Perhaps the most curious part of the exhibition are the zoophytes and the sea-plants. They have been compared in harmony of color to the arrangement of a skilfully-dressed flower-garden. Some have gone so far even, as to declare that in the beauty of their many hues, they equal
the effect of a splendid tulip-bed. This is carrying the "poetical feeling" to its extremest limit.
In one of the tanks-there are eight of them, and filled (the marine portion only) with seven tons of sea-water, which is supplied expressly from Brighton-are a private party of water tortoises, with whom is allowed to associate a young alligator, black and motionless as if he were made of India-rubber.
The number of visitors who flock in to inspect the "Vivarium," is extraordinary. Nor are we surprised at it. Old people may gain from it much useful information, and to children it will prove a source of endless attraction.
All honor be to Mr. Mitchell, the Society's Secretary, for the admirable manner in which he has "got up" this new summer attraction!
ZOOLOGICAL FOLK LORE.-No. II. BY J. M'INTOSH, MEM. ENT. SOC., ETC. (Continued from Page 223.)
No.10. BEES.-If stolen, bees will not thrive, they pine away and die! They must not be bought, it is better to give a sack of wheat for a hive! If there are bees kept at the house where a marriage feast is celebrated, care is taken to dress up their hives in red or scarlet cloth. The foolish people actually believe that the bees would forsake their dwellings if they are not made to participate in the rejoicings of the owners. When a death occurs in the family, they cover the hive with a black cloth! If they swarm on rotten wood, a death must take place in the family! They are also said not to thrive in a quarrelsome household! The common humble bee also comes in for its share; for if one happens to enter a house, it is a sure sign of death!
No. 11. WASPS.-The first one seen in the season should always be killed. By so doing, you free yourself for the year from all your enemies!
No. 12. A CERTAIN CURE FOR SCARLET FEVER.-In certain parts of Ireland, when a person is attacked with this malady, you are drily requested to cut some of the sick man's hair off, and put it down the throat of an ass! Donkeys indeed must such people be !
No. 13. WEASELS.-It is considered unlucky for a weasel to cross one's path. Illsuccess is sure to follow. It is also very illluck for a hare to cross one on the highway.
Nor did we meet with nimble feet,
No. 14. BIRDS.-It is said that, if a bird should fly into a room and out again, by an open window, it surely indicates the decease of some of the inmates!
No. 15. SNAKES.-It is a common belief in Dorset, Cornwall, and Devon, that it is immany parts of England, particularly Somerset, possible to kill a snake till sun-down (¿.e. the setting of the sun), when it immediately dies!
No. 16. SAILORS.-Sailors sometimes make a considerable pecuniary sacrifice for the acquisition of a child's caul (foetus envelope of the head), the retaining of which, is to infallibly preserve them from drowning.
No 17. A LAMB IN THE SPRING.-It is considered very lucky to see one of these with its head towards you; and still more so, if it happen to be a black one!
No. 18. MOLES.-In Devonshire, it is believed that moles begin to work with the flow of, and leave off with the ebb of, the tide. The same is related of the beaver!
No. 19. SPIDERS.-We are informed that, in the south of Ireland, spiders are enveloped in treacle, or preserved alive, in order to be swallowed as a certain cure for ague!
No 20. CROWs.-To see a crow flying alone, is a sure sign of bad luck, and an odd one perched in the path of the observer is a sign of death!
No. 21. THE OWL.-This innocent, and most useful bird in the destruction of rats, mice, &c., is still heard with alarm, and remains with us as in Chaucer's days:
The oule, eke that of deth the bode bringeth.
If it should happen to change the darkness of its ivy bush for the rays of the sun at noon-day, its presence is a sure sign of illluck to the unfortunate beholder! The discordant screech of the owl has probably been the cause of such superstitious dread as foreboding evil, &c., and from the circumstance of its being heard only in the dark or twilight :
The obscure bird,
So well known and established was the character of the owl, as a bird of omen, Shakspeare uses the term metaphorically, applying it to inauspicious persons:Thou ominous and fearful owl of death, Our nation's terror,-and their bloody scourge! Henry VI-Part 1.
We would advise all who are ignorant enough still to hold these birds in abhorrence, to read the humane defence against their destruction by that celebrated naturalist, Charles Waterton, Esq., who threatened to strangle his keeper if ever he molested them.
Taunton, June 15.
(To be Continued.)