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would rather fast entirely than allow it to be hungry. He spent his brief hours of respite from toil in making various little fancy articles, which he sold, in order to procure dainties which FineEar liked, -gingerbread and sugar, for example. Often, during the period of toil, the convict would smile with delight when his little friend, creeping from its nestling place, would rub its soft fur against his cheek. But when, on a fine sunshiny day, the rat took up his position on the ground, smoothed his coat, combed his long moustaches with his sharp nails, and dressed his long ears with his delicate paws, his master would testify the utmost delight, and exchange tender glances with the black, roguish eyes of Master Fine-Ear.
The latter, confiding in his patron's care and protection, went, came, sported, or stood still, certain that no one would injure him; for to touch a hair of the rat's whisker would be to incur a terrible penalty. One day, for having thrown a pebble at him, a 'prisoner was forced to spend a week in the hospital, ere he recovered the effects of a blow bestowed on him by;Fine-Ear's master.
The animal soon learned to know the sound of the dinner-bell, and jumped with delight on the convict when he heard the welcome summons.
Four years passed on in this manner, when one day poor FineEar was attacked by a cat, which had found her way into the workshop, and received several deep wounds before his master, flying to the rescue, seized the feline foe, and actually tore her to pieces.
The recovery of the rat was tedious. During the next month the convict was occupied in dressing his wounds.
It was strange the interest which every one connected with the prison took in Fine-Ear's misfortune. Not only did the guards and turnkeys speak of it as the topic of the day, but the hospital nurses furnished plasters and bandages for the wounds;
and even the surgeon condescended to prescribe for him.
At length the animal recovered his strength and gaiety, save that one of his hind paws dragged a little, and the wound still disfigured his shin. He was more tame and affectionate than ever, but the sight of a cat was sufficient to throw his master
into a paroxysm of rage, and, running after the unlucky puss, he would, if possible, catch and destroy her.
A great pleasure was in store for the convict. Thanks to his good conduct during the past four years, his sentence of imprisonment for life had been commuted into twenty years, in which were to be included the fifteen already spent in prison.
“Thank God !” he cried ; “under His mercy it is to Fine-Ear I owe this happiness!” and he kissed the animal with transport. Five years still remained to be passed in toilsome imprisonment, but they were cut short in an unlooked-for manner.
One day, a mutinous party of felons succeeded in seizing a turnkey, and, having shut him up with themselves in one of the dormitories, they threatened to put him to death if all their demands were not instantly complied with, and a full amnesty granted for this revolt.
Fine-Ear's master, who had taken no part in the uproar, stood silently behind the officials and the soldiers, who were ready to fire on the insurgents. Just as the attack was about to commence, he approached the chief superintendent, and said a few words to him in a low voice.
“I accept your offer,” replied the governor: “Remember, you risk your life; but if you succeed, I pledge my word that you
I shall be strongly recommended to the government for unconditional pardon, this very night.”
The convict drew forth Fine-Ear from his bosom, kissed him several times, and then placing him within the vest of a young fellow-prisoner, with whom the rat was already familiar, he said in a broken voice :
“If I do not return, be kind to him, and love him as I have loved him.”
Then, having armed himself with an enormous bar of iron, he marched with a determined step to the dormitory, without regarding the missiles which the rebels hurled at his head. With a few blows of his bar, he made the door fly open, and darting into the room, he overturned those who opposed his entrance, threw down his weapon, and seizing the turnkey, put him, or rather flung him, out safe and sound into the passage.
While in the act of covering the man's escape from the infuriated convicts, he suddenly fell to the ground, bathed in blood.
One of the wretches had lifted the iron bar and struck down with it his heroic comrade.
He was carried dying to the hospital, and, ere he breathed his last, he uttered one word—it “Fine-Ear!”
Must I tell it ? the rat appeared restless and unhappy for a few days, but he soon forgot his master, and began to testify the same affection for his new owner that he had formerly shown to him who was dead.
Fine-Ear still lives, fat, and sleek, and strong; indeed, he no longer fears his feline enemies, and has actually succeeded in killing a full-grown cat and three kittens. But, he no longer remembers the dead, nor regards the sound of his master's number, which formerly used to make him prick up his ears, and run from one end of the court to the other.
Does it only prove that rats, as well as men, may be ungrateful? Or is it a little illustration of the wise and merciful arrangement, that the world must go on, die who will ?
LEAF ROLLERS. The caterpillar is one of those insects called “Leaf Rollers," because they roll up the leaves on which they feed, and take up their habitation within. There are many kinds of leaf rollers, each employing a different mode of rolling the leaf, but in all cases the leaf is held in position by the silken threads spun by the caterpillar. Some use three or four leaves to make one habitation, by binding them together by their edges. Some take a single leaf, and, fastening silken cords to its edges, gradually contract them, until the edges are brought together and there held. Some content themselves with a portion of a leaf, snipping out the parts that they require, and rolling it round.
The insect before us, however, requires an entire leaf for its habitation, and there lies in tolerable security from enemies. There are plenty of birds about the trees, and they know well enough that within the circled leaves little caterpillars reside; but they do not find that they can always make a meal on the caterpillars, and for the following reason. The curled leaf is like a tube open at both ends, the caterpillar lying snugly in the
interior. So when a bird puts its beak into one end of the tube, the caterpillar tumbles out at the other, and lets himself drop to the distance of some feet, supporting itself by a silken thread that it spins.
The bird finds that its prey has escaped, and not having sufficient reasoning power to trace the silken thread, and so find the caterpillar, goes off to try its fortune elsewhere. The danger being over, the caterpillar ascends its silken ladder, and quietly regains possession of its home.
Myriads of these rolled leaves may be found on oak-trees, and the caterpillars may be driven out in numbers by a sharp jar given to a branch. It is quite amusing to see the simultaneous descent of some hundred caterpillars, each swaying in the breeze at the end of the line, and occasionally dropping another foot or so, as if dissatisfied with its position. Each caterpillar consumes about three or four leaves in the whole of its existence, and literally eats itself out of house and home. But when it has eaten one house, it only has to walk a few steps to find the materials for another, and in a very short time it is newly lodged and boarded.
On examining the leaves of an oak-tree, we shall find many of them marked in a very peculiar manner. A white wavy line meanders about the leaf like the course of a river, and, even as the river, increases in width as it proceeds on its course. This effect is produced by the caterpillar of one of the leaf-mining insects; tiny creatures which live between the layers of the leaf, and eat their way about it.
Of course, the larger the creature becomes, the more food it eats, the more space it occupies, and the wider is its road; so that, although at its commencement the path is no wider than a needle-scratch, it becomes nearly the fifth of an inch wide at its termination.
It is easy to trace the insect, and to find it at the widest extremity of its path, either as caterpillar or chrysalis. Often, though, the creature has escaped, and the enpty case is the only relic of its being
There are many insects which are leaf-miners in their larval state. Very many of them belong to the minutest known examples of the moth tribe-the very humming-bird of the moths; and, like the humming-birds, resplendent in colors beyond description. These are so numerous that the study of them and their habits has become quite a distinct branch of insect lore.
Some, again, are the larvæ of certain flies, while others are the larvæ of small beetles. Their tastes, too, are very comprehensive, for there are few indigenous plants whose leaves show no sign of the miner's track : and even in the leaves of many imported plants, the meandering path may be seen.
There are some plants, such as the eglantine, the dewberry, and others, that are especially the haunts of these insects, and on whose branches nearly every other leaf is marked with the winding path. I have now before me a little branch containing seven leaves, and six of them have been tunnelled, while one leaf has been occupied by two insects, each keeping to his own side.
Common Objects of the Country.
USES OF VERMIN.
Owing to the decrease of vermin, that is, of all the carnivorous birds and beasts of the country, there is an increase in the numbers of the different living creatures on which they preyed, not game only, but other free animals.
Wood-pigeons, blackbirds, thrushes, and all the smaller birds, increase yearly through the destruction of their natural enemies. The wood-pigeon, in particular, has multiplied to a great extent.
The farmers complain constantly to me of the mischief done by these birds, and I cannot defend them by showing that if they consume much corn they also destroy many grubs and other noxious insects, as they feed wholly on seeds and vegetables. A farmer near this place, who had yielded with a pretty good grace to my arguments in favor of the rook, pointed out to me the other day a large flock of wood-pigeons, hárd at work on a field of young clover, which had been under barley the last season. “There,' he said, "you always say that every bird does more good than harm; what good are those birds doing to my young clover ? On this, to see if it be not true that every wild animal is of some service to us, I set off to shoot some of the wood-pigeons, that I