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"You've been so very kind to me,
To flattering craft a victim made,
J. T. TROWBRIDGE.
LXIII. WHAT TO READ, AND HOW.
1. A young man found that he could read with interest nothing but sensational stories. The best books were placed in his hands, but they were not interesting.
2. One afternoon, as he was reading a foolish story, he overheard one say, "That boy is a great reader; does he read any thing that is worth reading?"
3. "No," was the reply; "his mind will run out if he keeps on reading after his present fashion. He used to be a sensible boy till he took to reading nonsense, and nothing else."
4. The boy sat still for a time; then rose, went up to the man who said that his mind would run out, and asked him if he would let him have a good book to read. 5. "Will you read a good book if I will let you have one?"
6. "Yes, sir."
7. "It will be hard work for you."
8. "I will do it."
9. "Well, come home with me and I will lend you a good book."
10. The boy went with him, and received a volume of Franklin's works.
11. "There," said the man, "read that, and come occasionally and tell me what you have read."
12. The lad kept his promise. He found it hard work to keep to the simple and wise sentences of the philosopher, but he persevered. The more he read, and the more he talked with his friend about what he had read, the more interested he became.
13. Ere long he felt no desire to read the feeble and foolish books he had formerly delighted in. He derived a great deal more pleasure from reading good ones. Besides, his mind began to grow. He began to be spoken of as an intelligent and promising young man.
14. Those who do not read good books, but flashy and worthless ones, read hastily and with very little attention; they seem to think, if they are able to say that they have read the books, that nothing more is necessary.
15. It does one very little good to simply read a book. A gentleman once asked a reader of this class if he had read a certain book.
16. "Yes, sir," was the prompt reply.
17. "What do you know about it?"
18. "I know I know that I have read it."
19. He spoke the truth. He had read the book, and he knew that he had read it, and that was all he knew about it.
20. Of course he derived no benefit from that book, unless, perhaps, the reading it kept him out of some mischief; but, on the other hand, it tended to form a bad habit of reading.
21. No book does any one good unless it is understood. Unless you get some definite ideas from a book, there is no use in reading it.
REV. JOSEPH ALDEN, LL.D.
LXIV. VALUE OF BIRDS.
1. How ought we to receive our pretty visitors? The law has told us that we must not kill them or destroy their nests. They come to us in the most confiding innocence, not intending to harm us, but to confer upon us benefits which no other class of the animal creation can confer.
2. Were there none of these birds to keep in check the myriads of voracious insects which swarm around us, our country, it may well be believed, would cease to be habitable by man. We may form some idea of the value of birds from calculating the labors of a single species.
3. Each red-winged blackbird devours on an average fifty grubs a day. One pair in four months consumes more than twelve thousand. If there are in New England one million pairs of these birds, then they will consume twelve thousand millions of grubs in one sum
4. If any one can calculate the amount of injury that such an army of insects might do, he may calculate the amount of benefit which we derive from this single species of birds for one season only.
5. It does one's heart good to hear the sweet song of the meadow lark. The gunner should spare him for that alone. They, too, feed upon insects and (to man) useless berries.
6. The oriole and other hanging birds feed almost wholly on insects in the spring. In cherry time we rather wish they and the robin would stay in the woods; and yet they are busy in catching the pea-bug; and the robin also examines the trees in the orchard. Insects found upon the apple tree seem to be his favorite food.
7. The crow blackbird pulls up corn, but he devours
an immense number of insects. The kingbird is said to catch bees. I have shot two or three, opened their crops, and found nothing but bugs and parts of bugs,—not a sign of a bee. Let him live, for he eats beetles, crickets, grasshoppers and canker-worms.
8. The phebe lives on insects. We shall suffer for our cruelty and ingratitude if we harm this friendly inhabitant of our cow-yards. The bobolink eats crickets, grasshoppers, and spiders. No wonder he sings so lustily.
9. The sparrows- there are several species of themsubsist mostly on insects; they eat only a small portion of seeds. The multitude of small worms that they pick from trees and shrubs is almost incredible. The sparrow is the only bird that seems to have a liking for the prickly green worm that infests the cultivated raspberry; and the European sparrow takes delight in tackling the stronghold of the tent worm.
10. The swallow eats nothing but insects. Almost every species of the smaller birds devour more or less insects, not even the crow excepted. He eats the white grub worm wherever he can find it.
11. The brown thrush, or thrasher, is said to do much injury on corn and other things. This may be partly true; but for every kernel of corn he pilfers I am persuaded he destroys five hundred insects. Some years ago, seeing one of the birds busy about my garden, as I supposed for no good end, I shot him; and in a few days after I shot another one.
12. On opening their crops I found them filled with the large, black bugs that live upon squashes, and poison our cucumber vines - a bug, I believe, that no other creature will eat. Let them have some corn for their
pay, if they wish it. I place a high value on the thrasher, as an insect-eating bird; and I love to hear his merry song.
J. W. MELL.
LXV. THE SKATER'S SONG.
1. Hurra! hurra! who cares for the cold? Winds are rough, but skaters are bold. Winds may blow, for skaters know,
As over the ice so swift they go,
Winds can not worry them-let them blow
2. There are Tom, John, Harry and Isidore, Jessie and Jane, and a dozen more;
Tasks all done-away we run
And, of all forms of frolic and fun,
There's nothing like skating under the sun.
3. Then away, away o'er the crystal floor;
4. Here's the good old moon, with a kindly smileBless her round face, so friendly the while!
We bravely dare the frosty air,
And, so glad and gay, we glide away
Over the floor of the beautiful bay,
LXVI.-CAPTAIN HARDY AND NATHAN.
1. Nathan. Good morning, captain. How do you stand this.hot weather?
2. Captain. Bless you, boy, it is a cold bath to what we had at Monmouth! Did I ever tell you about that battle?