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being then destitute of food, he drops down, like a lifeless mass, from the branches to the ground. 5. After remaining torpid some time, from the shock received by the fall, he prepares for a journey to some neighbouring tree, to which he crawls with a motion almost imperceptible.' 6. At length arrived, he ascends the trunk, and devours, with famished appetite, whatever the branches afford. 7. By consuming the bark, he soon destroys the life of the tree, and thus the source is lost from which his sustenance is derived.
8. Such is the miserable state of this slothful animal. 9. How different are the comforts and enjoyments of the industrious beaver! 10. This creature is found in the northern parts of America, and is about two feet long and one foot high. 11. The figure of it somewhat resembles that of a rat. 12. In the month of June and July, the beavers assemble, and form a society, which generally consists of more than two hundred. 13. They always fix their abode by the side of a lake or river; and in order to make a dead water in that part which lies above and below, they erect, with incredible labour, a dam or pier, perhaps fourscore or a hundred feet long, and ten or twelve feet thick at the base. 14. When the dike is completed, they build their several apartments, which are divided into three stories. The first is below the level of the mole, and is for the most part full of water. 15. The walls of their habitations are perpendicular, and about two feet thick. 16. If any wood projects from them, they cut it off with their teeth, which
are more serviceable than saws. 17. And by the help of their tails, they plaster all their work with a kind of mortar, which they prepare of dry grass and clay mixed together. 18. In August or September, they begin to lay up their stores of food; which consist of the wood of the birch, the plane, * and of some other trees. 19. Thus they pass the gloomy winter in ease and plenty.
20. These two American animals, contrasted with each other, afford a most striking picture of the blessings of Industry, and the penury and wretchedness of sloth.
Hum'-ming-bird, s. the smallest of all birds, about the size of an
hornet. It receives its name from the humming noise it makes. 1. Land-scape, s. the view or prospect of a country,
In-of-fen'-sive, a. giving no offence, pain, or terror. 3. Eu-ro-pe-an, s. a native of Europe.
In-tes-tines, s. pl. the bowels, seldom used in the singular, 4. In'-fi-nite, a. very large, having no bounds or limits. 5. Ha'-zel, a. relating to the tree bearing nuts. Applied to colours,
a light brown. 6. Vel-vet, a: a kind of silk, with short fur upon it. 7. Crese, s. a turf.
Gild'-ed, pret. (the g is pronounced hard,) adorned with golden
·lustre or glittering brightness. · 9. Wes-tern, a. lying or being in the west. 12. Nec'-tar-ed, a. relating to sweet juice, or any pleasant liquor. 16. Pome-gra"-nate, s. a fruit tree which grows naturally in Spain, Portugal, Italy, &c.
, * A large tree tree growing in America, sometimes called Platanon.
. Cit-ron, s. fruit growing in liot countries, its smell, taste, and
shape, somewhat like a lemon. 17. Ar-chi-tect, s. (pro. ar-ki-tect,) a builder.
Fi’-bres, s. pl. "small threads or strings. 18. Cot-'ton, s. the down or flax of the fruit of the cotton-tree.* 22. In-cu-ba'-tion, s. the act of setting upon eggs to hatch them. 23. Mis'-si-on, s. commission, when a person is sent on any business
he is said to be sent on a mission,
1. Of all the birds that flutter in the garden, or paint the landscape, the humming-bird is the most delightful to look upon, and the most inoffensive. 2. Of this charming little animal there are six or seven varieties, from the size of a small wren, down to that of an humble-bee. 3. A European would not readily suppose that there existed any birds so very small, and yet so completely furnished with a bill, feathers, wings, and intestines, exactly resembling those of the largest kind. 4. Birds not so big as the end of one's little finger, would probably be supposed mere creatures of imagination, were they not seen in infinite numbers, and as frequent as butterflies in a summer's day, sporting in the fields of America, from flower to flower, and extracting sweets with their little bill.
5. The smallest humming-bird is about the size of a hazel nut. 6. The feathers on its wings and tail are black : but those on the body, and under its wings, are of a greenish brown, with a fine red cast or gloss, which no silk or velvet can imitate. 7. It has a small crest on its head, green at the bottom, and as it were gilded at the top ; and which sparkles in the sun like a little star in the middle of its fore
• The cotton is sown on ploughed lands in spring, and cut down like our corn in harvest; being an annual plant.
head. 8. The bill is black, straight, slender, and of the length of a small pin.
9. It is inconceivable how much these birds add to the high finishing and beauty of a rich luxurious western landscape. 10. As soon as the sun is risen, the humming.birds of different kinds are seen fluttering about the flowers, without ever lighting upon them. 11. Their wings are in such rapid motion, that it is impossible to discern their colours, except by their glittering. 12. They are never still, but continually in motion, visiting flower after flower, and extracting its honey as if with a kiss. For this purpose they are furnished with a forky tongue, that enters the cup of the flower, and extracts its nectared tribute. 13. Upon this only they subsist. 14. The rapid motions of their wings occasions a humming sound, whence they have their names; for whatever divides the air swiftly must produce a murmur.
15. The nests of these birds are also very curious. 16. They are suspended in the air at the point of the twigs on an orange, a pomegranate, or a citron tree; sometimes even in houses, if a small and convenient twig is found for the purpose. 17. The female is the architect, while the male goes in quest of materials; such as cotton, fine moss, and the fibres of vegetables. 18. 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. 19. There are never more than two eggs found in the nest; these are about the size of a small pea, and as white as snow, with here and there a yellow speck. 20. The male and the female sit upon the nest by turns; but the female takes to herself the greatest share. 21. She seldom quits the nest, except a few minutes in the morning and evening, when the dew is upon the flowers, and their honey in perfection. 22. During this short interval the male takes her place. The time of incubation continues twelve days; at the end of which the young ones appear, much 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 old ones.
23, Father Labat,* in his account of the mission to America, says, “ that his companion found the nest of a humming-bird in a shed near the dwellinghouse; and took it in, at a time when the young ones were about fifteen or twenty days old. 24. He placed them in a cage at his chamber window, to be amused 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. 25. By this means they themselves grew so tame, that they seldom quitted the chamber; and, without any constraint, came to live with their young ones. 26. 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. 27. They thrust their tongues into this paste, till they were satisfied, and then fluttered and chirped about the room.
* John Baptist Labat, a Frenchman, died at Paris, 1758.