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are continually in motion, visiting flower after flower, and extracting its honey as if with a kiss.
7. For this purpose they are furnished with a forky tongue, that enters the cup of the flower and extracts its nectared tribute. Upon this alone they subsist. The rapid motion of their wings occasions a humming sound, from whence they have their name; for whatever divides the air swiftly must produce a murmur.
8. The nests of these birds are also very curious. They are suspended in the air, at the point of the twigs. Sometimes they make their nests even in houses, if a small and convenient twig for the purpose is found there. The female is the architect, while the male goes in quest of materials — such as cotton, fine moss, and the fibers of vegetables.
9. Of these materials a nest is composed, about the size of a hen's egg cut in two; it is admirably contrived, and warmly lined with cotton. There are never more than two eggs found in the nest; these are about the size of small peas, and as white as snow, with here and there a yellow speck.
10. The male and the female sit upon the nest by turns; but the female takes to herself the greatest share. She seldom quits the nest, except for a few minutes in the inorning and evening, when the dew is upon the flowers, and their honey in perfection. During this short interval the male takes her place.
11. The time of incubation continues twelve days, at the end of which the young ones appear, and are about the size of a blue-bottle fly. They are at first bare; by degrees they are covered with down; and, at last, feathers succeed, but less beautiful at first than those of the humming bird in a shed near the dwelling-house, and took it in at a time when the young ones were about fifteen or twenty days old.
12. Father Labat, in his account of the mission to America, says that his companion found the nest of a
13. “He placed them in a cage at his chamber window, to be annused by their sportive flutterings; but he was much surprised to see the old ones, which came and fed their brood regularly every hour in the day. By this means they themselves grew so tame that they seldoin quitted the chamber, and without any constraint came to live with their
young ones. 14. “All four frequently perched upon their master's hand, chirping as if they had been at liberty abroad. He fed them with a very fine clear paste, made of wine, biscuit and sugar. They thrust their tongues into this paste till they were satisfied, and then fluttered and chirped about the room.
15. “I never beheld any thing more agreeable,” continues he, “than this lovely little family, which had possession of my companion's chamber, and flew in and out just as they thought proper; but were ever attentive to the voice of their master when he called them."
0.—BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT. 1. “Milton, you may bring me a branch from the peartree, and also one off the cherry-tree in the garden, and we will examine into their structure a little.
2. “Very good, my son; these specimens will nicely serve our purpose. Please look carefully at this branch of cherry, and see if you can distinguish any thing pecu liar about it."
3. “I notice, father," said Milton, “a little cluster of buds, and several others scattered over the branch, and that some are larger than the others."
4. “Well, that is correct. Can you tell me the characteristics of these buds ?”
5. “I do not know that I can. I see a difference in the size, but can not account for it.”
6. “I think I understand the difference,” said Minnie. “The large, round buds will come out blossoms, but the sharp-pointed ones produce the leaves.”
7. “That is right, Minnie. These two classes of buds are found on fruit trees after they come into bearing, and are easily distinguished by a practiced eye. The fruit buds are always on the older branches of the tree, while leaf buds appear on all parts, and exclusively so on the new shoots.
8. “It is a fact of peculiar interest that rank growth is always inimical to fruitfulness; hence young and vigorous
trees are seldom productive. It is only when they become feebler in growth that fruit is produced.
9. “In this sprig of pear, the contrast of the buds is more marked. The one-leaf bud toward the end is small and sharp, while the fruitbuds are very large and plump.
10. “A closer look at these buds will show that they are wrapped up in cerements alike impervious to wind and weather. These are the
cradles in which the infant leaf and flower are safely rocked through the winter's storm for the genial influences of spring to warm into life and beauty. This preservation is very wonderful.
11. “Let the leaf or flower be ever so little exposed to the touch of the frost, and its death ensues at once;
but here the tender germ lies snugly enveloped in these thin folds of nature's providing, capable of enduring all the rigors of the severest winter.
12. “God's protectors are sure. These invulnerable bud-shields are quite thick, and are glued together by a gummy substance that effectually shuts out all the rains and cold until the sunshine is ready for the little nursling within, and then they open gently to let it grow. 13. “In this bud of horse-chestnut this arrangement is beautifully seen.
As the only object of this casing is to protect the dormant bud during the winter, it is cast off as soon as the leaf begins its expansion in the spring, and will be seen scattered profusely beneath the tree.
14. “Pick up one of these cast-off scales,
generations of leaves and flowers.
16. “0, how wonderful and minute is God's care for all the works of his hands! It is only by such clear conceptions of His presence every-where, that we can understand the sublime and gracious lessons of the God with us.' 'If God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to
morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?'
? 17. “Let us take our place as sentinel at the gateway leading to one of these little fruit-buds, and if we could
only see all the beautiful messengers passing through it, carrying into its store-house the treasures which God has provided to enrich it, our wonder and admiration would be beyond expression.
18. “And why should our conceptions be measured by a lower scale, when we can be fully cognizant of the facts, though we may not clearly understand all the processes by which they are established? Through that little neck connecting the bud with the branch, how
different and brilliant dyes are passed to pencil the petals of the flower and blush in the cheek of the fruit!
19. “What a commingling of odors and infusion of acids, bitters and sweets! What skillful little architects are at work there, shaping dome and column, scooping out seed-chambers and wrapping up the little embryo, with its store of infant food!
20. “ Could we see all these crowding through the same narrow entrance, with their loads of treasure, jostling each other on the way, we should say, 'What a confusion is here!' and tremble for the impending fate of our poor bud. But our anxiety would be uncalled for.
21. “Guided by unerring skill, each tint blushes in its appropriate leaf-fringe, or dots itself on the petal — the drop of nectar distills in the bosom of the flower, and exhales in sweetness on the air; while bitter and sweet, seed and pulp, assimilate and perfect the fruit by the great law stamped upon them when God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth; and it was so.'
22. “And so it will ever be while time endures; and he is little above the swine, that eats of the acorn and looks not up to see from whence it comes, who can pluck flower or fruit and not adore the God who gives them for his enjoyment by such a marvelous process."