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England, and leads a solitary life along the Wissahickon and in its valleys. It feeds on wood beetles and seeds, and nests in remote and difficult places. Six eggs are laid. Prolonged snows occasionally drive it into the town or city. Oc
Carlisle and often in Illinois. Its common note is a soft, low plit. It builds in old stables, in trees, boxes, carriages, old hats, and is very similar to the common wren in other respects. The great Carolina species has been seen in Pennsyl
casionally the long-billed marsh-wren comes up : vania and New Jersey, and Audubon met one in from Atlantic County and City to return the sea- Camden. It dwells south of New York and east son's courtesies. It breeds in June, and sometimes of the Rockies. We know some twenty varieties produces a second brood in low nests in the sedge, of the wren in all parts of the country. It is en
Its flight is low and short, and its food consists of aquatic larvae. The note is harsh and strident. The bird usually retires early in September, and leaves the county in November. The house-, sometimes called the wood-wren, is of much use to farmers, and if its eggs are taken it will replace them even to the number of five-and-twenty. The song of the male in May and June is loud and animated. It has a notable antipathy for cats.
The Western or Parkman's wren is probably the same. The Gulf States and Mexico have a long-tailed house-wren—Bewick's—using the note of the winter-wren, which is sometimes found in
deared by its tenderness to the lost babes in the wood and by itsgenialty, but has less special commendation than some other families.
The thrushes are singing perchers, and not only numerous and varied in their characteristics here but everywhere. There are more than one hundred and fifty species of the sub-family to which it belongs and in which it is principal. The red-, wood- and ground-swamp robin are all thrushes, as is the tawny or Wilson's, the mocking-bird, the catbird, and the brown thrasher, the hermit and red-thrush, the golden-crowned, the veery and oven-bird. The vast numbers of each of these varieties indicates the rank of the genus to which
eggs are hatched in June, and the young are carefully watched. The sweet, tinkling melody of this thrush is dear to all. The hermit thrush, or ground-swamp robin spends about a week of April in Philadelphia on its way north; is silent, but confiding, and yet dares withstand the hawk. Wilson's thrush arrives a little earlier, and prefers the fields and copses to human society, feeding on insects and grain. Its song is quaint and simple. The nests are carefully secreted, and it leaves early in September.
The mocking-bird is a thrush, and, though rare, is sometimes heard in Germantown. The catbird arrives from Panama in May, and appears boldly
young. Its song has great variety and force, ft is enjoyed by the performer as well by as the singer The thrasher leaves early in October. Theortf) bird or golden -crowned thrush arrives in the woods in May; lives on seeds, insects gleaned from tte ground, and sings from morning till sunset * fitful spells. Its flight is low. Its one brood f. bountifully fed, even when a crow-blackbird's<g» has been hatched with them, as often occurs.
The wagtail, or water-thnish, arrives in the numbers in May, and resorts at once to *"•*' having running water. Its note has no partial'' charm, and it is disputed whether this mains or leaves our latitude. The same
land, is also among the finest in Pennsylvania, and Mr. Flagg learned the burden of his song from an inspired blacksmith: "Glory to God! Glory to God! Hallelujah. Amen. Videlicet."
The red-winged blackbird is one of our earliest and most beautiful friends, whether measured by the month of his arrival or by the songs of Mother Goose which introduce him. He has no music, though he seems trying occasionally to sustain a tune with the more harmonious frogs. His sharp chip, chip, churet, mingles with the medley of sounds that come from every meadow and adjacent forest; but the note is individual and never
meadows, with as much skill as that of the oriole; and they are valiantly defended by the little architects. The eggs are tinged with blue and mottled with purple blotches; and there is but one annual brood. They are far more destructive to corn than the crow; eating it in the milk in Virginia and some other Southern States, and making their mischievous mark in Pennsylvania. They are found in the greatest numbers in Virginia, where they alight upon the meadows in dense clouds during January, and the noise of their flight and that of their song is very grand. In the more Northern States they destroy an infinite number of grubs and worms in compensation for their plunder. Either individually or in flocks, the redwinged blackbird is one of the feathered charms of our scenery. He is a coefficient with the brilliant bluebird ; with the yellowbird and oriole; the scarlet tanager; the dusky catbird, and that great number which color our landscapes. And though small, the blackbird has always been esteemed by cooks. Their meat is firm and juicy and well flavored; and if served under another name is highly prized.
Seated between the Alleghanies and the Atlantic, intermediate between the North and the South, and washed by the Gulf Stream and refreshed by the waters of inland seas, it is every way natural that Pennsylvania should be the common ground of most American birds, as it is possessed of the finest climate and soil. There are no birds restricted to so small an area; but even this brief
survey shows how many of the finest song-birds, and of the most domestic and well-beloved, haunt forests, fields, meadows, and streets in which they are protected by popular feeling crystallized into law. The mention made of the food of the bird demonstrates their worth to every farmer, and to all who live on meats and the cereals. If we could for fifty years protect our song-birds as« protect some fishes and some game-birds and some manufactures, there can be no question that noxious insects would be reduced, and pecunitrr losses reduced, and more knowledge and sympathy with animal being, and a finer philanthropy and tenderer sentiment would be developed, and that individuals and the country would profit thereby. It is something that we have made so good a beginning—something that we have such incoitives, conditions, and opportunities for the future.
CHATS AT THE BREAKFAST-TABLE. By M. H. Ford.
The breakfast-table! what it should contain, how it ought to be arranged; surely this is a question the solution of which demands a liberal education in woman. There is no more important meal in the day, both as regards food and temper, for upon its digestibility depends to a great extent the daily happiness of the family, while if it is eaten with joy and contentment, it surrounds its consumers with an atmosphere of placidity which small annoyances can hardly disturb. A breakfast should always be as poetic as possible; through it the good housewife must endeavor to give a tone to the whole day, and with the matutinal ham-andeggs administer a daily ration of sweetness and light, if possible.
Our forefathers had an unhappy practice of devoting the first precious moments of family reunion to "prayers," while the breakfast was crowded into a few hurried seconds which the members of the household snatched from their numerous avocations for the satisfaction of Nature's demand for sustenance. It was a good thing to pray; but it was not wise to shorten the time for breakfast. One cannot be really devotional while one's stomach is clamoring for nour
ishment, and spiritual longings are apt to gi« way before bodily needs; so that if a man cannot spare ample time both for prayers and breakfast, he had better combine the two. A meal which only satisfies the material man is a very poor one; it leaves half his nature famished and begging for; more, and puts him on a level with those grcs materialists who will not allow that man's mind » anything but transmuted beefsteak. A mode) breakfast should be as perfect as possible in its substantial contents, so that the corporeal man shall be silenced and held in his properly subordinate place; but above and beyond this the Tpointment and surroundings of the table should be such that the intellectuality is roused and appealed to. The artistic sense must be touched, that part of man which lies above his cats should be fed, and a housewife ought to feel most horiK criticism on her spiritual cookery than on tie failure of her material sausages. All this is n>«t applicable to breakfast than to any other meil, because it should celebrate the first meeting of rk family after dreams and refreshing sleep. the breakfast a festival where parents and can enjoy each other, where the best tho*fto and gifts of all can be brought forth for mutual pleasure and gratification.
The breakfast-table must be beautiful and picturesque; it must glitter with color and be placed where the sunshine can fall upon it; for to maintain cheerfulness over an untidy, ill-appointed table is a grace to which few of us attain. It is an easy matter nowadays to make a table look pretty at slight expense. The china stores are full of cheap and bright-colored dishes, the price of which comes within the means of those who cannot afford the fragile "decorated china." Then the unbleached table linen is much more artistic than the cheaper qualities of white cloth, so that it is by no means necessary that a table should be expensively furnished in order to look well.
Flowers also add much to table decoration. They are always refreshing and suggestive of pure thoughts, and should form part of the "aspiration element" of every breakfast-table if they can be obtained. Even a bouquet of grasses and sunflowers is beautiful, provided the latter are not too large. There are sunflowers which rival the moon in circumference, and these would hardly be suitable. But if one carries away a little bunch of odorous violets from a breakfast-table surrounded by an atmosphere of color and sunshine, where one has drank a cup of fragrant chocolate to the accompaniment of bright words and pleasant faces, a drop of oil has fallen into the heart thereby which will lubricate many a rusty place in one's nerve machinery during the day.
The woman who regularly meets her family at an ill-set, poorly furnished table, is accessory to many crimes. The old saying, that the road a wife must open to her husband's heart lies through his stomach, is decidedly uncomplimentary to both sexes; but it is, nevertheless, true that a woman can do much for the enlightenment of her family, for the heightening of its mental and moral tone, through the appointment and management of her table. This is one of the cases where a woman needs a liberal education. The tendency of the American is to "feed" simply, whenever it becomes necessary for him to eat. He is brought up to think that he must dine at certain times in order to keep the machinery in motion by which he expects to become a rich man; and the moments he can save while eating, he considers so much gain if devoted to business. So he seats himself
at the table to dispose of soup, meats, vegetables, cheese, pie, fruit, and pudding, that he may fill his stomach and return to his office as soon as possible. But the cultivated woman, with a knowledge of chemistry, politics, and art, tolerates nothing of the kind. She provides a table which shall attract the eye and please the senses of her family, as well as gratify their appetites; and having done so, she sits down prepared to enjoy the results of her care in all directions, and to rise with a mind refreshed by cheerful conversation.
The Greeks struck the keynote of the art of dining, when they ate in a reclining posture. They had no thought of haste. They expected to enjoy the wine, the peacock's brains, to listen to Phidias's plans for a new art work, and hear what fresh thought Plato had to advance for their edifi: cation. Imagine the growls which would be heard from the average American, if to morrow morning he should rise to find his beefsteak garnished with Greek epigrams, while the wife of his bosom sat opposite to him clad in all the graces of Aspasia, and ready to discuss the pre-Raphaelites, or argue the presidential question! Verily, we must be content to advance slowly, and banish the dominant newspaper gradually from our morning repasts.
One of the first requisites for the enjoyment of breakfast, dinner, or supper, is a pleasant diningroom. Few people appreciate this fact, and the dining-room is usually tucked away in a corner of the house, or down in the basement, where the sun can never reach it, and where a dismal atmosphere of utility and materialism reigns supreme. It is a mistake to adorn the sitting-room and the library, and leave the dining-room in melancholy destitution. A library will take care of itself, to a certain extent, for where there are books one always finds an air of cheer and comfort; and the sitting-room, where the family gather to read and talk, can scarcely fail to look homelike, no matter how plain it may be. But a dining-room, if left to itself, has no resources; it begins instantly to grow ragged and out-at-elbows, while its suggestions of dead dinners rise up to choke one, as soon as its precincts are entered.
The furnishing of the dining-room should be bright. If there is plenty of sunlight, hang softcolored curtains before the windows; but if not, let the sunshine enter unimpeded, and hang a bright curtain against the wall to light up the