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things did not seem likely to quench our intense and burning thirst, and we gazed mournfully at these Chinese dainties without daring to touch them. We inquired of the White Ball whether it would not be possible to procure anywhere a little cold water. “Yes," replied he, "a few yards from this there is a very deep well, and the water is excellent, but as cold as ice. You must warm it a little before drinking it, otherwise it will certainly give you the colic.” We begged him to send for some, promising to take every precaution against any illness it might occasion; and a good-natured soldier took a large pail, and ran to draw us some of this dangerous water. We then asked whether perhaps there was any vinegar in the establishment. “I have some,” said the White Ball, “but I am afraid you will not like it; it is polypus-vinegar, made by the animal itself.” “Polypusvinegar! Oh! we are acquainted with that; it is the best vinegar that can be got. But how does it happen that you possess such a treasure as a vinegar-polypus ? Were you ever on the coast of Leao-tong?” “Yes, some years ago I was sent on an expedition into that country, and I brought back one with me.” During this conversation the soldier arrived with the pail of ice-cold water; the White Ball gave us some of his exquisite vinegar, and with the help of a little brown sugar, we conpounded an exquisite beverage. The Chinese gazed at us in astonishment as we drank it.
The vinegar-polype is an assemblage of fleshy and glutinous membranes, tubes, and shapeless appendages, that give it a very ugly and repulsive appearance, when out of its native element. In the water, however, it is extremely beautiful. At first you might take it for an inert, dead mass; but when touched it contracts and dilates, and assumes various forms. This animal, transferred from the Yellow Sea, is placed in a tank filled with fresh water, to which a few glasses of spirits are added, and after twenty or thirty days this liquid is found transformed into excellent vinegar-clear as spring water, very strong, and agreeable to the taste. To increase the supply you have occasion to exhaust, it is only necessary to add an equal quantity of pure water; or, if you detach a limb, it vegetates and grows into a perfect organism, possessing the same useful property as its parent.
HUMMING-BIRDS. For that peculiar charm which resides in flashing light, combined with the most brilliant colors, the lustre of precious stones, there are no birds, no creatures, that can compare with hummingbirds. Confined exclusively to America, whence we have already gathered between three and four hundred distinct species, and more are being continually discovered, these lovely little winged gems were to the Mexican and Peruvian Indians the very quintessence of beauty. By these simple people they were called by various names, signifying “the rays of the sun," " the tresses of the day-star," and the like. Their glittering scale-like plumage was employed to make, at the cost of immense time, patience, and labor, the radiant mantles in which the emperors and highest nobles appeared on state occasious.
The Mexican priests adopted the tiny birds into their mythology; they taught that the souls of those warriors who died in defence of the god, were conducted by Togamiqui, the wife of the god of war, straight to the mansion of the sun, and there transformed into humming-birds.
In the gorgeous forest glooms of the mountainous parts of Jamaica, and especially in the sunny glades which here and there break their uniformity--where the ever-verdant foliage rises upon all sides of the open space like a wall, covered with the most elegant and fragrant flowers- I have been charmed by the familiar fearlessness and lustrous splendor of these little creatures. Here, sitting down on a prostrate log in the shadow, I have watched them sipping all around, flitting to and fro, coming, going, every moment disappearing in the sombre shade, or suddenly flashing out, with a whirr like that of a spinning-wheel, into the bright sunshine. Bold and unsuspecting, they might be seen exploring bush after bush. While I remained motionless, they would approach even within arm's length of me, busily rifling all the blossoms in rapid succession, so as to lose none, and of course in their zeal frequently probing the same flower again and again.
Sometimes it would be the mango, suspending himself on whirring pinions in front of the flowers, his broadly-expanded ail feathers of the richest violet, his body plumage all green and
gold, and his cheeks and throat blazing, in the changing light, with the radiance now of the ruby, now of the amethyst, now of the sapphire, and now becoming for an instant the most intense black. But much more commonly on these occasions was I visited by the elegant Long-tail, whose slender form, black velvet crest, emerald bosom, and long tail-plumes, distinguish it as one of the chiefs of this feathered race. This lovely little gem would be hovering about, half a dozen visible at the same moment, threading the projecting branches, now .probing here, now there, one moment above a flower and bending down to it, the next hanging below it, and thrusting up its crimson beak to kiss its nectar tube from beneath. All the while the cloudy wings on each side would vibrate with a noise like that of a factory wheel; and its entire throat, breast, and belly, clothed in scaly plumage of the richest green, contrasted finely with the velvety black of all beside. This scaly plumage would flash brilliantly back the sun's light, like a noble emerald in the crown of a king; then, by the slightest possible turn of the bird, it would become black, all the light being absorbed; then, on another movement, it would seem a dark rich olive, and in an instant flame forth again with emerald effulgence, over which olive and black clouds were momentarily passing and re-passing.
THE BLUEBIRD. The pleasing manners and sociable disposition of this little bird entitle him to particular notice. As one of the first messengers of spring, bringing the charming tidings to our very doors, he bears his own recommendation always along with him, and meets with a hearty welcome from everybody.
Though generally accounted a bird of passage, yet so early as the middle of February, if the weather be mild, he usually makes his appearance about his old haunts—the barn, the orchard, and fence posts. Storms and deep snows sometimes succeeding, he disappears for a time, but about the middle of March is again seen, accompanied by its mate, visiting the box in the garden, or the hole in the old apple-tree, the cradle of some generations of his ancestors.
The usual spring and summer song of the bluebird is a soft, agreeable, and oft-repeated warble, uttered with open, quivering wings, and is extremely pleasing. In his motions and general character, he had great resemblance to the Robin Redbreast of Britain; had he the brown olive of that bird, instead of his own blue, he could hardly be distinguished from him. Like him, he is known to almost every child, and shows as much confidence in man, by associating with him in summer, as the other by his familiarity in winter.
He is also of a mild and pleasing disposition, seldom fighting or quarrelling with other birds. His society is courted by the inhabitants of the country, and few farmers neglect to provide for him, in some suitable place, a snug little summer-house, ready fitted and rent free. For this he more than sufficiently repays them by the cheerfulness of his song, and the multitude of injurious insects which he daily destroys. Towards fall—that is, in the month of October-his song changes to a single plaintive note, as he passes over the many-colored woods; and his melancholy air recalls to our minds the approaching of the face of nature.
Even after the trees are stripped of their leaves, he still lingers over his native fields, as if loath to leave them. About the middle or end of November, few or none of them are seen; but with every return of mild and open weather, we hear their plaintive note amid the fields, or the air, seeming to deplore the devastations of winter,
THE COAST OF NORWAY. EVERY one who has looked at the map of Norway, must have been struck with the singular character of its coast. On the map it looks so jagged, such a strange inixture of land and sea, that it appears as if there must be a perpetual struggle between the two-the sea striving to inundate the land, and the land pushing itself out into the sea, till it ends in their dividing the region between them. On the spot, however, this coast is very sublime. The long straggling promontories are mountainous, towering ridges of rock, springing up in precipices from the water; while the bays between them, instead of being rounded with shelving sandy shores on which the sea tumbles its vaves, as in bays of our coast, are, in fact, long narrow valleys, filled with sea, instead of being laid out in fields and meadows. The high rocky banks shelter these deep bays (called fiords) from almost every wind; so that their waters are usually as still as those of a lake. For days and weeks together they reflect each separate tree-top of the pine forests which clothe the mountain sides, the mirror being broken only by the leap of some sportive fish, or the oars of the boatman, as he goes to inspect the sea-fowl from islet to islet of the fiord, or carries out his nets or rod to catch the seatrout, or char, or cod, or herrings, which abound in their seasons on the coast of Norway.
It is difficult to say whether these fiords are the most beautiful in summer or in winter. In summer, they glitter with golden sunshine ; and purple and green shadows from the mountain and forest lie on them; and these may be more lovely than the faint light of the winter noons of those latitudes, and the snowy pictures of frozen peaks which show themselves on the surface ; but before the day is half over, out come the stars—the glorious stars which shine like nothing that we have ever seen. There, the planets cast a faint shadow, as the young moon does with us; and these planets, and the constellations of the sky, as they silently glide over from peak to peak of these rocky passes, are imaged on the waters so clearly, that the fisherman, as he unmoors his boat for his evening task, feels as if he were about to shoot forth his vessel into another heaven, and to cleave his way among the stars.
Still along these narrow, deep sea-valleys, there is rarely silence The ear is kept awake by a thousand voices. In the summer, there are cataracts leaping from ledge to ledge of the rocks; and there is the bleating of the kids that browse there, and the flap of the great eagle's wings, as it dashes abroad from its eyrie, and the cries of whole clouds of sea-birds, which inhabit the islets ; and all these sounds are mingled and multiplied by the strong echoes, till they become a din as loud as that of a city. Even at night, when the flocks are in the fold, and the birds at roost, and the echoes themselves seem to be asleep, there is occasionally a sweet music heard, too soft for even the listening ear to catch by day. Every breath of summer wind that steals through the pine forests, wakes this music as it goes. The stiff spiny leaves of the