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Round the four sides of the base is an illegible inscription in black letter. There is another curious example—besides the one in Bisley church
yard, which we have already described -in which the cross and well are so beautifully combined, that though it is not a churchyard cross we are glad to introduce it into this article. It is in the little village of Lynby, in Nottinghamshire, within the bounds of old Sherwood Forest, and not far from Newstead Abbey. On the village green, at the upper end of the village street, not far from the church, is the broken shaft of a cross, rising from a fine base of six or seven octagonal steps, the “risers" ornamented with quatrefoils, and beside it the village maypole still stands. There is a clear lively stream of water flowing down each side of the wide straggling street, with little wooden bridges across to the cottages, and farm-houses, and the village inn. Towards the lower end of the street the two streams disappear, unite in one
stream underground, and reappear at the lower entrance of the village, gushing forth in a mimic cascade from beneath the base of a perfect cross which is overshadowed by the foliage of a couple of elm-trees. The idea is a beautiful one—the Water of Life flowing forth from the foot of the Cross. On the other side of the cross is a date, 1663; it was built, therefore, immediately after the Restoration, by the loyal Byron. It is represented in the engraving on the page opposite.
We have got over the superstitious hatred of the Christian symbol which succeeded to a superstitious reverence for it, and are setting it up again in suitable places. No new church gable is now without it. It appears on very many of our modern gravestones. An Eleanor Cross is, after all, to be the Good Prince's monument, on the site of the first Great Exhibition. Why should we not agree to a general re-introduction into our churchyards, of the beautiful class of Christian Cross which we have been describing ? Surely no one can deny that it is appropriate and significant in the churchyard; it is the standard of the Lord planted in the court of His own house ; it is the cross on which Christ died, set up amidst the graves of Christians, for a token
THE SYMBOL OF CHRISTIANITY.
to us that, as Christ died upon the cross and rose again, so shall we rise through that death
the cross. And the churchyard cross has its intrinsic beauty to recommend it. The monument is one of the most elegant little architectural gems which Gothic art has invented; rising out of the turf of the green graves, and bearing the symbol of faith and hope aloft over them, shadowed by the foliage of spreading yew or forest tree, with the gray walls and traceried windows of the church for a background—there is not a more beautiful object within the range of the architect's art.
THE ART OF FLY-TAMING.
THERE is no creature, perhaps, so common in England, an
in most other temperate climates, as The Common Fly. The population of Great Britain and Ireland—the population, that is to say, taken in human beings—is estimated at very nearly thirty millions; but the summer population, taken in flies, must be at least a hundred times that amount. Oat-of-doors and in-doors, in the woods, on the common; by the river, on the mountain, in the country lane, in the city parlour, in the cottage, and in the mansion, this well known little companion, “ busy, curious, and thirsty," is universally to be found. And yet I doubt greatly as to how far he can be correctly described as “ well-known.” For the truth seems, that he is regarded as too common to make his intimacy worth desiring. His natural history, therefore, and habits-his peculiarities of formation and character-are so rarely made the subjects of observation, as to be only very occasionally and imperfectly understood. Entomologists are busy with their "captures;" they secure multitudes of bright-winged butterflies, and soft moths, and burnished beetles; they learn their scientific names and relations-things all excellent
gh in their way; but the constant companions of all our summer leisure, that literally “eat of our portion and drink of our cup," the lively and sometimes troublesome guests that do not need to be hunted or sought after, but that place themselves under our very eyes, as though to invite observation and attention—these are only so far noticed by many of us as to make us wish them well out of sight. And so we lose much, I believe, that might interest us as painstaking students of nature, and miss many a profitable lesson placed in our reach. If
my readers think that I am making sadly too much of a fly, I would invite them to consider for a moment the following curious point: How is it that our six-footed friends contrive to perch, or alight, or settle, or whatever be the proper word to employ, on the ceilings of our rooms ? The method they adopt for staying there, when once settled, is supposed to be either by certain sucker-like appendages to their feet, or by means of a kind of glutinous secretion which they have the power to exude. But these theories explain nothing as to the present object of our search. We now ask, not how the flies stay, but how they arrive; not how they maintain their footing, but how they obtain it; not how they keep their feet fixed to the ceiling, but how they place them there first of all. The difficulty is worth examining. When this insect is voyaging about in the chamber, not in the wavy, winding, flustering manner of its congener the Blowis, but with a singular succession, unless disturbed, of straight aerial
MUSCA DOMESTICA AND THE CEILING.
marches, and sudden stops, and counter-marches in almost every possible direction, its wings will be found, I believe, rapidly vibrating at right angles to its thorax, its abdomen somewhat lower and depending, and its legs all under the body with the feet gathered together. By and by there is an upward movement towards the ceiling; the body, the wings, and the legs still retaining the same relative position. The ceiling is all but arrived at, and all parts are still as before. The next moment everything is reversed; the fly is on the ceiling, his wings at rest, his body upside down, and his feet uppermost and spread out. The question is, how this total change has been so suddenly accomplished. Is there a rapid topsy-turvying of the body, just immediately preceding the moment of actual contact with the ceiling, the previous upward impetus carrying the body successfully through the tiny space that remains, and not losing its power till the feet have had time to fix themselves up above ? Or is it, that the two foremost feet are suddenly thrown up, when sufficiently near, and made sure ; and then, the thorax and remaining feet and abdomen rapidly wheeled after them into position? The reader may smile at these inquiries; but if he were unexpectedly changed into a fly, and were allowed, withal, to retain his reasoning powers as a man, but were left to determine, by their help alone, and without the divine guidings of instinct, how to fix himself on a ceiling-would he know, and could he determine, which course to adopt ? At any rate, there appears something to ascertain on this point; and wherever there is something to ascertain in nature, there it is worthy of man to inquire.
But I have been taught other things by Musca Domestica besides my comparative ignorance of his ways. I learned much from him, for instance, on one occasion, as to the importance of gentleness and kindness. It was a bright sunny day, I remember, and I was leaning, in contemplative mood, over a kind of low wall, and was holding a common pin, which I had just picked up, in my hand. Presently, as if to enjoy the warm sunshine in which the smooth coping-stone of the wall was glistening and baking, one of my little dipterous friends alighted on the wall top, within a short distance of my hand. After alighting, he turned and shifted till the sun fell warm on his back. I have noticed other insects perform similar evolutions, and with the object I have hinted at, I suppose. Or, it may be, as a friend once suggested, that so enormous an eye as the fly possesses would be affected most unpleasantly, and perhaps injuriously, by direct gaze at the sun, not to say that in such a case the little creature would find it extremely difficult to discern the approach of any enemy or danger, or to perceive anything, in short, but the blinding sunshine flooding through its five* eyes to its brain. Whereas, with that luminary shining from behind, our insect would obtain, apparently, every possible advantage, whether for flight or defence; for all objects in front, or on either side, would be displayed to it (with the sun in such a position) in full light; and all enemies approaching from behind would give warning of their proximity by casting a shadow before them. Accordingly, either as influenced by such a warning, or as feeling an interception of desirable warmth, I have often noticed that the shadow of my hand, if sufficiently near, would cause a fly when basking in the summer noon, very speedily to take flight. All who have tried to catch insects will have observed much the same thing. Probably they will also have remarked, that if the shadow be suddenly brought over an insect thus sunning itself, it will start off suddenly, as in fear; but that if the artificial darkness be made to creep over it quietly and slowly, it will only more just sufficiently to reach a position free from eclipse.
* See Samuelson's "Humble. Creatures; or, the Earth-worm and Fly." John Van Voorst, London.
But to go back to the little incident—the petty incident as it was in itself-which we are engaged in relating. When I observed my friend fly settling down and turning about, as already described, till he looked away from the sun, the thought suggested itself to my mind (I know not from what cause), whether it would be possible to touch him with the pin of which my fingers happened to have hold. And, it being then a time of real leisure, which I considered myself to have fairly earned by diligent head-labour beforehand, I did not think it unworthy of me to attempt this most insignificant of problems. I went to work, therefore, warily, and wisely too, as it proved. I "stalked" my small game, as it were. I moved my hand gradually and slowly, and at some considerable distance (relatively speaking), and after a circuitous manner, till it bore about south-west from the fly. In saying this, I suppose my friend's head—it being then a little after noon, and his back being turned to the sun-to have pointed about north.
Having reached in this way what I considered an eligible position for advancing, and pushed the pin forward from my hand as far as the length of my thumb and forefinger, by which it was held, would allow; and finding that the pin's point was still much too distant from the nearest part of the fly's left wing for accomplishing my design, I began causing my hand and my instrument to glide onward together at a rate something faster than that practised by a good-sized clock's minute hand. And whenever--as not uncommonly happened—even this industriously tardigrade motion gave rise to certain fidgety and apparently suspicious movements on the part of the fly, I immediately took warning from these indications, and ordered my hand and pin to stand still ; nor did I give the word of command again to go forward till the fidgety proceedings were over, and all suspicion appeared gone. The process, being conducted in this way, was inevitably a long one; and once or