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on her eggs, and her shyness seemed gone. board was often removed, in order that our visitors might see her on her nest. She never left her eggs on that account. Sometimes she seemed as if she considered the call an intrusion, and had the air of being rather offended by it. Still, there she sat patiently fulfilling her home-duties in the face of those she might fear as enemies. In due time the eggs were hatched, and at first the young birds appeared to be quite blind. This was supposed to be caused by the movement of the pump-handle jarring their tender organs. As the old birds came in and out with food, all the little heads were thrust up with their yellow mouths wide open to receive it. At such times the nest looked very much like a cushion stuck full of gold-headed pins. The supply of food was very large. It was wonderful to see how rapidly the old birds went and returned. Each was seen coming in different directions, with such a mouthful of insects, as you would suppose must take a long time to collect. They were now as careful to avoid notice as when the nest was building. In a few weeks the young tits were all fledged, and flew away with their parents. They all disappeared at once, but we fully expect to see the old birds take up their quarters in Pump Cottage again next spring.'
"I hope they will," said Emily; "I shall so like to hear if they do come."
"I hope I shall remember to tell you, my dear,"
said Mr. Grant. "As you take such an interest in my friendly tits, we must persuade Mr. Leslie to bring you over to see them if they come as usual.'
There was a cordial shaking of hands between Mr. Grant and the young people, when he left the cheerful party. Little Augusta sat silent with eyes full of wonder fixed on the visitor, while he told the history of the birds in the pump. She did not venture to speak as the others had done, for she was a very timid child. But after he was gone, she said to Harry:-" Was not that a nice story the gentleman told about the tom-tits?"
"Our little Brownie is grown so sleepy, Papa," said Emily one evening. "He is scarcely ever awake. He just rouses and eats a very little, and then goes to bed again,-sleepy little fellow!"
"Ah, my dear," said Mr. Leslie, "he sleeps when nature calls him to rest. He is not the only winter slumberer who has begun his nap. The hedge-hog has rolled himself into a round ball in his nest. The bats have hung themselves up by their hind legs in the barns.
tures they are, more like tiny
Odd-looking creamonkeys wrapped
up in cloaks, than anything else. The badger has made a hole in the earth, where he may sleep the
* Before this little book passes through the press, information has been received, that the Tom-tits again made their nest in the garden pump, and reared twelve young ones, which all took flight on the 11th of June, 1851.
winter through. The squirrels and Brownie's cousins, the field-mice, have each made a cozy nest for the cold season, and have begun their long
"I am glad I am not going to sleep all the winter, Papa," said Harry. "At first I was sorry that summer was over; but now I like the long winter evenings, and soon there will be sliding and skating."
"It is very likely you may get a slide to-morrow, Harry. There was ice in the pond as I passed just after sunset, and there is every promise of a sharp frost to-night."
This was a pleasant prospect to the boys. Next day was, as Harry said, "a good hard frost." After lessons were over, they got a capital walk with Mr. Gray, who went to call on a gentleman two or three miles distant. Races and slides, when a bit of ice came in the way, made additional exercise for all. Flocks of winter birds were seen.
"See, see," said Arthur; "there are lots of peewits in that fallow field." There they were with their graceful forms and their peculiar cry.
"You know the loud and clamorous cries these birds make when we approach their nests, in the spring and summer months;" said Mr. Gray. "There are many who search for their eggs to sell them under the name of plovers' eggs, which fetch a high price, and these cries often lead them to the nest with little trouble; so the poor birds
would do better to keep silence. On one occasion their loud notes, as they rose and hovered in the air, are said to have guided some people to the spot over which a gentleman had fallen wounded in a skirmish. He would probably have died there, had not his trusty followers been led to the place by these birds. His family, the Tyrwhitts of Lincolnshire, still bear three peewits as their arms in memory of this event."
"I like that," said George; "I wish I knew the way in which we came by our arms. Very likely there is some story belonging to it."
“There are many anecdotes of the kind connected with armorial bearings, and some you may find in the numbers of the Patrician Magazine, which I have at home."
As they walked on at a quick pace, other winter birds were seen, and at last a flock of sea-gulls flew over their heads; a sight only to be seen so far inland in severe weather. Mr. Gray was the first to notice them.
"Look at that flock of birds, boys. Do you know what they are?"
At the first moment they were puzzled; then Arthur exclaimed:
"Oh, they are sea-gulls. Do you not remember how we used to enjoy watching them when we were by the sea last year?"
Yes, yes, they are gulls," said the others; you can hear their screaming cry."
They do not sing as sweetly as the thrush or the blackbird," said Arthur; "yet I do like to hear their wild notes."
"Oh yes," said George, "but I suppose that is because we have heard it in such pleasant places."
"The pleasure may in part arise from this," said Mr. Gray," but there are other causes for it. The notes of the gull mingle well with the roar of wind and wave. Their song is in harmony with the scenes in which they are usually found, and their wild cries heard in the favourite places of