Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors]

1. The skylark, which pours forth its animated song while floating high in the air, is an inhabitant of most parts of Europe, Asia, and North Africa, but is not found in America. A lady, belonging to a family in the south-east of Ireland, has recorded some very interesting anecdotes of a pet skylark, to which the name of “ Tommy” had been given.

2. This little bird was so tame that, when the family were assembled at breakfast, he would fly upon the table, and walk round, picking up crumbs; and sometimes he would hop up on a loaf, and actually allow a slice to be cut under his feet. It was curious to see him watching the operation of threading a needle. When the thread was put ever so little into the eye, he would seize the end of it, and dexterously pull it through.

3. Sometimes, when one of the three young ladies of the family had fastened her thread to her work, and continued sewing, he would make a sudden plunge at the thread, and pull it out of the needle, then fly out of reach, and chuckle over the mischief. Sometimes he would hop on an open work-box, and, seizing the end of a cotton thread, would fly with it to the other side of the apartment, unwinding yard upon yard from the revolving spool.

4. The second of the young ladies to whom we allude was remarkable for the elegance and neatness with which her hair was always braided. This did not escape Tommy's observation, and he frequently made an attack upon it. He would take the end of a ringlet in his bill, and, fluttering before her face, would leave it in the most admired disorder. He would then again chuckle, as we have heard a magpie do after any act of mischief.

5. There was a gentleman, an intimate friend of the family, who, in his repeated visits, had made the acquaintance of Tommy. Whenever he made a morning call, he would say, “Ha! Tommy! good-morning to

The little creature would instantly fly to his extended hand, and suffer itself to be thrown into the air, like that toy, and fall again into his hand; and so the game would continue for several minutes, until at length Tommy would fly to the ceiling, singing that splendid melody which, in his natural state, the lark pours forth as he ascends above the clouds.

6. Another game, which Tommy perfectly understood, was “hide-and-go-seek;” and for this he preferred, as his companion, the second of the three sisters. She would say, “ Now, Tommy, I'm going to hide;" and then, drawing the room door open, she would place herself behind it, and cry, “Whoop!" Tommy would immediately commence strutting up and down the floor, and, stretching out his neck, would peer under this, and behind that, as if he were seeking for her. At length, coming opposite to where she stood, he would givý a loud scream, and fly up to attack her hair.

7. When this was over, and he had again become quiet, she would say, “Now, Tommy, it is your turn to hide." Immediately the bird would stand still under a table, and she would commence a diligent search, exclaiming, “Where is Tommy? Did any one see Tommy?In the mean time he would never give, by sound or movement, the least indication that he was in the room; but the moment she thought proper to find him he would again scream, and fly up to her.

8. The mistress of the house, a little advanced in life, wore spectacles, which he would frequently pull off, in his flights, and immediately let fall, as they were too heavy for him to carry; and after every feat of this kind he would chuckle at his success. In the long days of summer, when the dinner things were removed, and the dessert was brought on, it was his practice to come upon the table, and, going round it, he would do something amusing to each person.

9. He would bite the fingers of the master of the house, and give an exulting chuckle when the latter affected to be hurt. At another gentleman's knuckles he would strike like a game-cock, and pretend to be in a wonderful passion. Then he would take a sudden flight at a lady's cap, and, cătching the end of a ribbon, would gracefully flutter before her face, caroling a snatch of a song; and again he would visit his fair friend with the beautiful hair, and, plucking out her combs, would speedily demolish her glossy curls.

10. There remains one trait of sagacity, which those who recollect the entertaining little creature would scarcely pardon us if we omitted. The youngest of the three ladies was accustomed each night, before she retired, to take her candle over to Tommy's cage, to bid him good-night. He would instantly bring out his head from under his wing, and, standing up, sing one of the most beautiful little songs you could conceive it possible for a little throat like his to warble, a song, too, that he never gave forth on any other occasion.

11. If she attempted to go out of the room without . thus coming to bid him good-night, although his head was under his wing, and you thought him asleep, he would instantly scream out, to put her in mind. To this may be added the singular fact that he would not sing the same song for any one else who might take a candle to his cage, though he would respond by a chirp to his good-night.

12. What the usual duration of a lark's age is we can not say. Tommy himself lived a happy life for thirteen years. At length he grew ill; and care and skill were expended on him in vain. He was wrapped in cotton, and placed near the genial warmth of a moderate fire; yet still he languished. His young friend, for whom he used to sing his sweet goodnight, approached him with her candle. He lifted his little head, and, as the dying swan is said to sing, he attempted to warble for her a last farewell. She burst into tears, and retired. In the morning Tommy was dead.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

1. The path of success in business is invariably the path of common sense. Notwithstanding all that is said about “lucky hits," the best kind of success, in

every man's life, is not that which is brought about by accident. The only “ good time coming” we are just ified in hoping for is that which we are capable of making for ourselves.

2. It is not good for human nature to have the road of life made too easy. An eminent judge, when asked what contributed most to success at the bar, replied, “ Some succeed by great talent, some by high connections, some by miracle, but the majority by commencing without a shilling.”

3. It may, indeed, be questioned whether a heavier curse could be imposed on man than the complete gratification of all his wishes, without effort on his part, leaving nothing for his hopes, desires, or struggles. A certain marquis asking Sir Horace Vere what his brother died of, Sir Horace replied, “He died, sir, of having nothing to do.” —“ Ah!” said the marquis, " that is enough to kill any general of us all.”

4. Those who fail in life are very apt to assume the tone of injured innocence, and conclude too hastily that every body excepting themselves has had a hand in their personal misfortunes; but it will generally be found that men who are constantly lamenting their ill luck are only reaping the consequences of their own neglect, mismanagement, and improvidence.

5. Attention, application, accuracy, method, punct 1ality, and dispatch, are the principal qualities required for the efficient conduct of business of any sort. It is the result of every-day experience, that steady attention to matters of detail lies at the root of human progʻress; and that diligence, above all, is the mother of what is erroneously called “good luck."

6. A French statesman, being asked how he contrived to accomplish so much work, and at the same time attend to his social duties, replied, “I do it

« PreviousContinue »