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occasion a rumbling like thunder. It is not improbable that the dam submits to this inconvenient situation so low in the shaft, in order to secure her broods from rapacious birds, and particularly from owls, which frequently fall down chimneys, perhaps in attempting to get at these nestlings.
The swallow lays from four to six white eggs, dotted with red specks; and brings out her first brood about the last week in June, or the first week in July. The progressive method by which the young are introduced into life is very amusing : first, they emerge from the shaft with difficulty enough, and often fall down into the rooms below : for a day or so they are fed on the chimney-top, and then are conducted to the dead leafless bough of some tree, where sitting in a row they are attended with great assiduity, and may then be called perchers. In a day or two more they become fliers, but are still unable to take their own food; therefore they play about near the place where the dams are hawking for flies; and when a mouthful is collected, at a certain signal given the dam and the nestling advance, rising toward each other, and meeting at an angle : the young one all the while uttering such a little quick note of gratitude and complacency, that a person must have paid very little regard to the wonders of nature that has not remarked this feat.
The dam betakes herself immediately to the business of a second brood as soon as she is disengaged from her first; which at once associates with the first broods of house-martins; and with them congregates, clustering on sunny roofs, towers, and trees. This hirundo brings out her second brood towards the middle and end of August.
All the summer long the swallow is a most instructive pattern of unwearied industry and affection ; for, from morning to night, while there is a family to be supported, she spends the whole day in skimming close to the ground, and exerting the most sudden turns and quick evolutions. Avenues, and long walks under hedges, and pasture fields, and mown meadows where cattle graze, are her delight, especially if there are trees interspersed ; because in such spots insects most abound. When a fly is taken, a smart snap from her bill is heard, resembling the noise at the shutting of a watch-case; but the motion of the mandibles is too quick
for the eye.
The swallow, probably the male bird, is the sentinel to house-martins and other little birds, announcing the approach of birds of prey. For as soon as a hawk appears, with a shrill alarming note he calls all the swallows and martins about him; who pursue in a body, and buffet and strike their enemy till they have driven him from the village, darting down from above on his back, and rising in a perpendicular line in perfect security. This bird will also sound the alarm, and strike at cats when they climb on the roofs of houses, or otherwise approach the nests. Each species of hirundo drinks as it flies along, sipping the surface of the water ; but the swallow alone, in general, washes on the wing, by dropping into a pool for many times together : in very hot weather house-martins and bank-martins also dip and wash a little.
The swallow is a delicate songster, and in soft sunny weather sings both perching and flying ; on trees in a kind of concert, and on chimney-tops : it is also a bold fier, ranging to distant downs and commons even in windy weather, which the other species seem much to dislike ; nay, even frequenting exposed seaport towns and making little excursions over the salt water. Horsemen on wide downs are often closely attended for miles together by a little party of swallows, which plays before and behind them, sweeping around, and collecting all the skulking insects that are roused by the trampling of the horse's feet: when the wind blows hard, without this expedient, they are often forced to settle to pick up their lurking prey.
This species feeds much on little beetles, as well as on gnats and flies; and often settles on dug ground, or paths, for gravels to grind and digest its food. For some weeks before they depart, they forsake houses and chimneys, and roost in trees ; and usually withdraw about the beginning of October ; though some few stragglers may remain on till the first week in November.
TO A WATER-FOWL.
WHITHER, 'midst falling dew,
Thy solitary way?
Vainly the fowler's eye
Thy figure floats along.
Seek'st thou the plashy brink
On the chafed ocean side ?
There is a Power whose care
Lone wandering, but not lost.
All day thy wings have fanned,
Though the dark night is near.
And soon that toil shall end ;
Soon o'er thy sheltered nest.
Thou’rt gone, the abyss of heaven
And shall not soon depart.
He who from zone to zone
W. C. BRYANT.
THE WATER SYSTEM OF BRITISH NORTH
Extract from a Speech delivered at Winnipeg.
From its geographical position and its peculiar characteristics, Manitoba may be regarded as the keystone of that mighty arch of sister provinces which spans the continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It was here that Canada, emerging from her woods and forests, first gazed upon her rolling prairies and unexplored North-West, and learned as by an unexpected revelation, that her historical territories of the Canadas, her eastern sea-boards of New Brunswick, Labrador, and Nova Scotia, her Laurentian lakes and valleys, corn-lands and pastures, though themselves more extensive than half-adozen European kingdoms, were but the vestibules and the ante-chambers to that till then undreamed-of Dominion, whose illimitable dimensions alike confound the arithmetic of the surveyor and the verification of the explorer. It was hence, that counting her past achievements as but the preface and prelude to her future exertions and expanding destinies, she took a fresh departure, received the afflatus of a more imperial inspiration, and felt herself no longer a mere settler along the banks of a single river, but the owner of half a continent, and in the amplitude of her possession, in the wealth of her resources, in the sinews of her material might, the
peer of any power on the earth. Geographical misconceptions are often engendered by the smallness of the maps upon which the figure of the world is depicted. To this is probably to be attributed the inadequate idea, entertained by the best educated persons, of the extent of Her Majesty's North American possessions. Perhaps the best way of connecting such a universal misapprehension would be by a summary of the rivers which flow through them, for we know that as a poor man cannot afford to live in a big house, so a small country cannot support a big river.