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managed it. Our womankind heard attempts at the garden doors (two), as if a thief were trying to effect his entrance. It was Mrs. Wissey jumping up at the latch, which she endeavoured to lift with a stroke of her paw; and if the door was not barred inside, she often succeeded in opening it. Then, hiding till we went to bed, she had the run of the house all to herself.
On one occasion she was smitten with a sudden affection for our servant, while he was busy plucking pigeons for a pie. With her tail stuck up as stiff as a poker, she rubbed herself against his legs. She sang him the sweetest of songs without words, in the feline key of Purr sharp, major. She amused him with a variety of impromptu tricks; and as soon as he was off his guard, and his attention diverted from the task in hand, she seized a pigeon ready plucked, bolted with it through a hornbeam hedge, and enjoyed it at leisure in our neighbour's garden.
Paying us the compliment of believing our intellect equal to her own, she never attempted to repeat the trick, but when she felt inclined to steal, set about it in a less barefaced manner. Many of her thefts were committed, not for the gratification of her own appetite-she was too well fed to need that-but to regale a vagabond Tom, whom she would plaintively summon, and then present with a delicate sweetbread or any other ill-gotten tit-bit.
Another cat has fastened herself inside a garden kiosk. She had one kitten left her out of a litter, while those of a sister cat were all destroyed. The kittenless cat tried to steal her rival's kitten, and several severe fights were the consequence. As the kidnapper still continued to prowl about, the anxious mother (the door being merely shut) jumped at the inside bolt and pushed it into the staple. The door being latticed on the upper half, we were able to open it from the outside by means of a crook, without having to wait for pussy's unbolting it.
The ass is one of M. Menault's favourites: he won't hear of a word against him. The ass is not a
slovenly water-carrier, nor a coarse peasant, nor a blockhead, nor a lowminded creature. On the contrary, he is excessively neat in his person, and grumbles at his master's not grooming him better. See how he rolls himself upon the grass; note the care he takes to avoid wetting his feet; and, in spite of his shaggy coat, you never find him troubled with vermin.
The ass is intelligent; here is the proof. A Chartres ass often went to the Château de Guerville, whose occupants were musical people. The lady of the house had a splendid voice. As soon as she began to sing, the ass went close to the windows to listen. One day, when she was practising a bravura alone, her performance so delighted him that he walked up the steps, crossed the entrance hall, and stole into the drawing-room unperceived. In the midst of a brilliant passage he expressed his approval by braying. with all his might and main.
Erasmus, therefore, was wrong in saying that the cruciferous animal has small taste for music: although he admits, as an extenuating circumstance, that his skin is excellent for kettledrums, and that his tibias make the best of clarionets.
The excellence of the donkey's memory is proved by an anecdote of English origin. In March, 1816, a donkey, the property of Captain Dundas, was put on board the frigate 'Ister,' at Gibraltar, to be taken to Malta. The vessel, when off Cape Gata, grounded on a sandbank not far from the shore. A part of the cargo was discharged. To give the donkey a chance of his life, he was gently dropped into the sea to sink or swim.
Some days afterwards, when the gates of Gibraltar were opened in the morning, in walked the donkey, proceeding straight to the stable of a Mr. Weeks, where he had previously lodged. That gentleman imagined that, for some reason or another, the donkey had not been put on board the Ister.' When the vessel returned the mystery was explained. Not only had the donkey (Valiant by name) swum to shore, but, without guide, compass, or
travelling map, had found his way from Cape Gata to Gibraltar, a distance of more than two hundred miles, which he had never traversed before, through a hilly country cut up by watercourses. The short time in which he performed the journey proved that he must have taken the direct road, keeping to it without ever going out of his way.
Notwithstanding which, we hold that for egotism persevered in with dogged and yet reasoning obstinacy, there is no more striking example than the donkey. Human waywardness is nothing to it.
animals have human faults of character, although they have not every human virtue. Even in fish, the brain has no organ which has not its homologue in the brain of superior animals. Benevolent but mistaken attempts have been made to raise the donkey in public esteem. Labour in vain; washing blackamoors white. If the donkey had the horse's good qualities, he would be, in fact, a little horse. But as there will always be poor in the land, so will donkeys ever exist as such.
The donkey can no more be persuaded to do what he doesn't choose by kindness than he can by blows. Ill-usage and good-usage are equally thrown away upon him. He affects stupidity to indulge his laziness, as monkeys are said to pretend ignorance of human speech to avoid being set to work. Why does he behave worse in a gaping village or a crowded street or a busy marketplace, where people are looking on, than he does on a solitary road, except to annoy you by shame at his conduct? He selects a thorny bush in preference to a thornless one, into which to rush, to dislodge his rider. He knows the height of a branch that will hit your head; he is aware that a wall will grate your leg; and when he intends to give you a fall, he selects the sharpest heap of stones or the filthiest puddle in which to deposit you.
A gentleman fond of hunting gave his boy a donkey to begin with. The donkey disliked carrying the boy, and the boy was afraid of riding the donkey. One day, on
his refusing to mount the brute, the father had the son tied on its back. At which the beast threw himself on the ground, and rolling, crushed the child before the parent's face. It was a horribly vicious and wicked action, but also an intelligent mode of avoiding further trouble quite consistent with donkey character.
Creatures rejoicing in a backbone take higher rank than those that have none; nevertheless, many articulate insects display greater abilities than many of their vertebrate superiors. For instance, when you look a fish full in the face,' What a stupid creature!' you exclaim;
What glassy eyes, void of all speculation, like a dotard's, under incipient softening of the brain.'
Certain fishes-cels, for example -cross the world's stage under a feminine disguise. You may know them by their serpentine length and slimness. They live mostly in dirty mud, making frequent changes of residence, dependent on the scarcity or abundance of prey. They are not particular in their choice of watering-places. Being very voracious, all is fish that comes to their net. Their movements are graceful, their integuments smooth and silky. They exhibit singular turnings and windings of an elegance peculiar to themselves. In unsettled weather they are restless, excited, fussy. A thunderstorm sours their temper and upsets their nerves.
Still, you must not always be led by appearances, nor jump from particulars to generals. There are fishes capable of rising above their station and mounting to a higher sphere. The Fathers of the Church compared the human soul to a flyingfish. 'If it desires to soar and hover above the waves of material existence, it must plunge from time to time in the ocean of the infinite -in the contemplation of God-if only to moisten and refresh its wings.'
Other fishes, such as the salmon, inhabit fresh and saline waters alternately. They are great folk who have their winter retreat and their summer residence, their Mediterranean château and their Highland castle. The salmon aristocratically
passes his spring and summer in the river, his autumn and winter in the sea. Others, again, belie the charge of egotism. When the welfare of their offspring is in question, they are capable of labours and sacrifices all the more praiseworthy because they are disinterested. With birds and quadrupeds, parental cares are recompensed by the delights of parental love. They behold, they caress, they fondle their young, and are caressed and fondled in return. But fishes, like the majority of insects, devote themselves to the welfare of a progeny whom they are never to know. This affection, not for individuals, but for the race, not for their children, but for their posterity, is so potent with fish that it impels them, at least once a year," to change their habits, their haunts, and their mode of life.
Water is the domain of fishes, as air is that of birds and winged insects. From water are derived the soft organisation, the mucous texture, the gliding flexibility, and the continual movement which are their characteristics. Their brain, less dense, is less energetic than that of land animals. The flaccidity of their flesh reacts on their sensibility and their intellectual manifestations. But if their mental powers are less developed, their term of existence is more extended. They gain in longevity what they lose in warmth of temperament. Short and sweet' is never their motto of life. They are excellent examples of the utility of baths as a means of attaining length of days. They prove that death, with vertebrate animals, is hastened by fast living, by the rapid condensation of life. Fishes, on the other hand, solidify slowly; their ossification is sluggish in its progress. They are always cartilaginous, more or less; that is, always young. They do not, like ourselves, prematurely attain the rigidity of mind and body, the hardness of heart and feeling, which make us good for nothing but to return to earth, to feed vegetables convertible into flesh good to eat.
Fish may be considered the birds of the sea, and birds the fish of the atmosphere; the wings of the one are represented by the fins of the
other, 'the feathers by the scales. If there are water-fowl, there aro' also aërial or flying-fish. If birds are full of air to render them lighter, most fish are furnished with an airbladder. The fish flies in water, as the bird swims in air. Winds baffle the flight of weak-winged birds, and marine currents impede the progress of the feeble-finned fish; while robuster species boldly brave both oceanic gales and atmospheric currents. As there are birds which cannot fly, so are there fish which hardly swim. The migra tions of fishes from the great deeps and back again are not less regular and; astonishing than those performed by the swallow and the
The olfactory nerves in fish are highly developed. Mr. Jesse's experiments with perfumed food have proved the acuteness of their sense of smell. But who knows if their limited intelligence be not consequent on the dulness of their tasto and touch? What can you expect of creatures who know nothing of savours? Fishes, in fact, do not eat; they only swallow. It requires talent, say gastronomes, to understand the art of eating. Their deficient tact is no great loss to them. They get their living without much diplomacy, having only to drift down the stream of existence. Their want of sensibility cannot be denied; never has a fish been seen to shed a tear.
There is no creature, however stupid, which does not modify its habits according to circumstances. The finny tribes are specially intelligent in selecting their diet according to the season of the year. The most tempting fly offered to a fish when out of season will fail to I excite its appetite, and a bait which is effectual at one time of the day will have lost all its attractions a few hours later. Are turbots and soles devoid of intelligence, when they use their tails as a shovel, and cover themselves with sand all except their eyes and mouth? Are eels stupid when they leave the water on dewy nights, and prowl about the meadows in search of worms?
THE FIRST VISIT.
APA and mamma he's consulted, we know;
His courtship's en règle and quite comme il faut ;
Young monsieur is anxious for marriage;
And he's come now to pop the sweet question, I'll swear.
You can see how he's curled and arranged his back hair, While his coat has a charming immaculate air
That betokens a castle and carriage.
But hardly the blushing young lady he's seen
He loves, he adores; and he's ne'er had a chance
Of catching at croquet a casual glance;
For courtship is one of those things that in France
It's awkward, you see; this unhappy young man
His hat on his knees, and mistaking
His words, how he stutters, and looks up and down,
Just picture the meeting in England, and sce
Papa having promised his blessing;
What smiles and what laughter, what silence more sweet Than all words, e'en that word which all lovers repeat, With diminutive darlings, dears, ducks, and complete With the usual amount of caressing.
Our poor Gallic couple perchance in a while
In fancy will bells of a wedding be rung,