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vary from that of our smallest wren to that of our common humble-bee; they have wings large in proportion to their body, and fly with amazing rapidity; and it is when they are on the wing that they produce, by the velocity of their motions, that humming sound whence their name, and that their splendid colours are disclosed to the greatest advantage:
“Each rapid movement gives a different dye;
Now sink to shade, now like a furnace glow." Their bills are long, slender, hooked at the point, with sawlike teeth, containing a tongue, split almost to its base, forming two parts, which they can protrude at pleasure, and with which they extract the nectar from flowers, or the small insects that lodge in the cups, as they also seize them when floating in the air. “I have seen the humming bird,” says Wilson, "for half an hour at a time, darting at those little groups of insects that dance in the air on a fine summer evening, retiring to an adjoining twig to rest, and renewing the attack with a dexterity that sets all other flycatchers at defiance." Their feet are small and slender, but have long claws, and, in consequence, they seldom alight upon the ground, but perch easily on branches, from which also they frequently suspend themselves when sleeping, with their heads downwards. Their tail is broad. Their nests, about an inch in breadth, are very compactly formed, and lined with fine down, are fixed to the side of a branch or the mossgrown side of a tree so artificially, that they appear, when viewed from below, mere mossy knots. They are bold and pugnacious, two males seldom meeting on the same bush or
flower without a battle; and the intrepidity of the female, when defending her young, is not less remarkable. They attack the eyes of the larger birds, when their needle-like bill is truly a formidable weapon; and it is affirmed, that if they perceive a man climbing the tree where their nests are, they fly at his face, and strike him also in the eyes. Most of the species lay only two eggs, and some of them only one. They bave been tamed-a female, with her nest and eggs, brought from Jamaica to England, was fed with honey and water on the passage, and the young ones, when hatched, readily took honey from the lips of the lady to whom they were presented, and one, at least, survived two months after their arrival.
HOME AND HEAVEN.
IF ever two heart-cheering words
To mortal man were given,
Those two were Home and Heaven.
Through Jesus' name are given;
To think of Home and Heaven.
To dark despair be driven;
The joys of Home and Heaven.
And let the little leaven
Make every Home like Heaven.
DROWNED ON HIS BIRTHDAY. Boys perhaps never feel more than when one of their playfellows is drowned; especially if they should be standing by and see him sink to rise no more.
There are few boys who live in towns on the banks of rivers, like that in the picture, but have known some boy with whom they have played who lost his life by drowning. Well do I remember a playfellow of mine who sat beside me at our desk in the morning, but whose naked body I saw dragged up from the river in the afternoon, swelled with water and quite dead! I shall never forget poor. Harry Rogers.
Here is another tale about a boy who was drowned in the same river on his own birthday. We found it in “Miller's Country Year Book."
“Unless you can swim well never venture into deep water. I well remember, when a boy, being present when one of our companions was drowned. He ventured out too far, and the current of the river carried him off his feet. Although there was no hole, nor dangerous spot where he was bathing—for a man seven feet high might have walked out foot by foot, and not lost more than two or three inches of his height in the water at a stride, so gradual and sure was the slope.
The scene rises as vividly before me as if it had but happened yesterday. I remember well it was his birthday; in honour of which, his fond mother had allowed him to put on his Sunday clothes. It was after dinner when he went out for a walk. His mother bade us not stay very late, and invited two or three of us (his chosen playmates) to come home with him to tea. She had made a large plum-cake to cele
brate his birthday, for he was their only child. in June; a beautiful hot sunshiny day; so instead of going to the Long Plantation a bird-nesting, as we at first intended to do, we turned off at Ashcroft Dike, passed the old oil-mill, and wandered on the banks of the river, over a field or two, until we arrived at the Gravel Bed, our favourite bathing place. We placed our clothes, as usual, carefully under the willows on the bank, one or two kindly throwing down their every-day garments, that our companion might put his Sunday clothes upon them, and so preserve them from being soiled. I was reckoned a good swimmer, and, if I remember rightly, made my way at once across the deep river. Greatly have I regretted this since, for, saving myself, there was but another amongst us who could swim, and he was close upon my heels when the alarm was given that our comrade was drowning. The river Trent, in which we were bathing, is rather wide; and as I was resting myself on the opposite bank, I did not at first clearly comprehend what had happened; for no young savages ever yelled or shouted louder at the sight of a white man than we were wont to do whilst bathing. It was the silence which followed that alarmed me most, and I swam back again with a heavy heart; for, without being told, I knew that something had happened. On the bank the group of boys was huddled together, some crying, others silent,-all sorrowful. My companion who could swim assisted me, and we dived for him in turns, until we were compelled to lie down on the shore, breathless and exhausted, and almost black in the face through our exertions. I shall carry the scar to my