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FURTHER REMARKS ON THE SPIDER.
(Continued from page 277, Vol. II.)
Lo! in this curious insect,
RIUMPHING, AS WE now ARE, DAILY, over old prejudices; and viewing the wonders of creation as we now do with a desire to know more and more of their varied attractions,- we deem nothing that the Creator has made, unworthy our attention. ALL PERSONS who really love to watch Nature in some of her more delicate movements, should carefully study the operations of the Spider.
It is not merely in the construction of their residence that they turn their silken filament to account. With its assistance, they are enabled to fabricate a cradle for their progeny, so well-contrived that it is impossible to contemplate it without admiration, or without reflecting that even Among these most savage and ferocious of all living animals, "Love strong as Death," has been appointed the safeguard and defender of Who would expect anything like affection in a female spider-remorseless, cruel, and blood-thirsty as she is? Her very mate approaches her with fear and trembling; for should she not happen to be in an extremely good temper, his life inevitably pays the forfeit of his rashness, his amiable spouse feeling not the slightest objection to obtain a hearty meal by devouring her betterhalf; yet, strange to say, no animals can be pointed out more devotedly attached to their progeny than the females of these relentless devourers. When about to lay her eggs, converting her silken thread to a new use, the spider-mother constructs with it a beautiful globular basket or cocoon, in which she deposits her precious treasure, and then binds the cradle to some part of her body, or sometimes simply carries it clasped to her breast; no matter how she may be engaged, she never leaves it, even while at the chase in search of food; no dan ger, no torture will make her drop her cherished burden, nor while life lasts will anything compel her to desert the charge entrusted to her care. When the young are hatched, the spectacle is equally interesting; for the new-born progeny, as they leave the egg, creep out upon their mother's back, who carries them about and defends them with tiger-like courage, until they become strong enough to procure their own subsistence.
the body, immediately above the insertion of the mandibles and legs, so that the head and thorax are the first parts liberated. The line of separation pursues the same direction till it extends to the abdomen, which is the next part disengaged; the extrication of the legs being the last and greatest difficulty the spider has to overcome.
"As the suspensory filament connected with the spinners of the exuviæ is considerably shorter than the legs, and does not undergo any sensible alteration in length, the abdomen during the process of moulting becomes gradually deflected from its original horizontal direction, till it assumes a vertical position nearly at right angles with the thorax. By this change of posture, attended with numerous contortions of the body, and alternate contractions and extensions of the limbs, the spider is ultimately enabled to accomplish its purpose. The spines with which the legs are provided, no doubt contribute to facilitate the operation greatly; for as they are directed down the limbs, and are moveable at the will of the animal, when it has partially drawn its legs from their sheath, by contracting them, it can prevent them from re-entering, by slightly erecting the spines, and thus bringing their extremities in contact with the inner surface of the integuments.
"When the spider has completely disengaged itself from the slough, it remains for a short period in a state of great exhaustion, suspended solely by a thread from the spinners, connected with the interior of the abdominal portion of the cast skin, which is much corrugated and drawn together. The entire process, as above described, occupies the space of about twenty minutes. After reposing a little, the spider further attaches itself to the suspensory lines by the claws of the feet; and when its strength is sufficiently restored, and its limbs have acquired the requisite degree of firmness, it ascends its filaments and seeks its retreat."
Such are a few only of the curious provisions of
nature, with regard to this insect. Vulgar minds recoil at the sight of the spider, and can see no beauty in the "work of its hands." They shriek, and run away, as if from a revolting spectacle. We pity such people, and blush for their narrow intellect.
AUTO-BIOGRAPHY OF A DOG.-No. IX.
(Continued from Vol. II., page 406.)
HEARK'EE, MR. EDITOR,-"La dent d'oche fume sa pipe," and so does my old master now and Spiders, unlike the true insects, frequently then, and I see no harm in it. Indeed, it is change their skin, and present themselves in a new rather a cosey sight to see the old boy snugly and enlarged dress as their growth proceeds. The ensconced in his little summer-house, and enjoymanner in which this operation is effected ing his patent "yerbury" well primed with best is thus described by Mr. Blackwall, to whose ex-"latakia, myself reclining by his feet on one side, cellent observations on the structure and economy of these creatures we are indebted for an account of the process:-"Preparatory to casting its integuments, the spider spins several strong lines in the vicinity of its snare, from which it suspends itself by the feet, and a filament proceeding from the spinners. After remaining for a short time in this situation, the horny covering of the thorax gives way by a fissure running down each side of
and my godson (an immense black cat) on the other a glass of sherry-and-water on the little shelf, and though last, not least, the latest number of OUR JOURNAL, which he is quietly conning over.
This is a very calm scene you will admit; but it is a vastly different story when the "dent d'oche" performs, as you shall presently see. I must premise, Mr. Editor, that the "dent d'oche" is a very high mountain in Savoy, about three
miles S. E. of Tholon, a small town situated on the S. E. of Lac Leman, and nearly opposite "Cully," on the Vaudois side of the lake.
Now, Mr. Editor, when the wind blows from the Fort de l'Ecluse just above Bellegarde, on the frontiers of France and Switzerland, you must not fail to go to this spot, if you should ever take it in your head to visit Geneva, not only to see the splendid wild mountainous scenery from this tremendous fortification, but also to witness the remarkable Perte du Rhone. There is a very good old-fashioned hotel here, and everything very well and very reasonably served; and although it is a frontier town, the 'gens d'armes" never give you any trouble, if you are only kind to them. They much prefer discussing a "pinte" of " medoc" and a cigar, to turning your carriage inside out for the chance of finding a bit of stale bread. However, when the wind blows from the fort de l'Ecluse, it is a hundred to one that the "dent d'oche commence a fume sa pipe."
It happened one morning in August, that Bombyx and his family, accompanied by the old "grandpapa des papillons," started in a large open carriage for the Tour de Gourzes. It was a glorious morning as, at six o'clock, we left our residence of course intent on a day's sport and amusement; and the wind was slightly from the N.W. We went up the Berne Road by "Vennes," les "croisettes," to the "chalet à gobet," here we branched off to our right through Savigny, after our party had refreshed their steeds, and myself and brother had got up a glorious cats' hunt.
have such a pleasant trip home as we had out. All went on smoothly and comfortably down to Grand Vaux and Villette, although it had now got fearfully "sombre" and overcast; and thunder was heard in Savoy. Our postillion (an uncommonly jovial fellow), pushed on as fast as he could, and we were just getting into "Lutry" when the loud voice of our postillion was heard. La dent d'oche fume sa Pipe!" All eyes were instantly turned towards the "Dent d'Oche;" and sure enough, immense heavy, lead-colored clouds, were rolling over the lofty summit, and slowly descending its huge sides, towards the lake; whilst others were winding round the "Roche St. Julien, and reaching the Lake by the
Vallée du Rhone." Every one was made as snug as could be; but it was of little use. Flash after flash of the most vivid lightning followed with awful rapidity. The "Dent d'Öche" fired from the summit, midway, and base. This was met by tremendous serpentining flashes, which seemed to run along the lake as they burst from the "Vallée du Rhone." The thunder was unceasing, and fearfully loud. Luckily, the postillion knew his horses, aud they were quiet as might be. Presently we got to Pully, and here a deluge of rain drenched us to the skin. The storm continued raging; and as we neared Lausanne, by the old "Route d'Italie," and were passing" les Moussequines," such a shower of hail fell, that I really thought we should have had every bone in our bodies broken. Fortunately, it was all up-hill, and we escaped a good deal by keeping under the carriage. Far otherwise was it with Bombyx and We turned south from Savigny, and reached our his party. However, Jean and Bombyx were old friend the Chasseur about nine o'clock; when laughing away to keep each other in good spirits. having disposed of some bread and cheese, and Not so old grand-papa; who lost his patience, and ordered dinner at three, Bombyx and his sons, got out to walk, thinking to get shelter in a small with old grandpapa, Jean, and the German cottage which he knew to be close by. Here, servant, set off for the Tour de Gourzes; whilst the however, he was, unfortunately, much disapyoung ladies amused themselves by making cap-pointed-the owner being out, and the door tures at the foot of the mountain and fishing water-beetles out of a neighboring pond. Many were the beautiful captures made in butterflies, moths, geometræ, tinice, and coleoptera; and delightful, too, was it to see old grandpapa, at nearly eighty, the gayest of the gay.
Myself and my brother were hunting for mice, close by the old tower, when we heard Jean say to himself (at the same time stroking his nose significantly), "Voyons voir," the wind has quite changed, and the heat is almost suffocating.
"Parbleu oui," says grandpapa, applying his handkerchief to his venerable bald cranium, even I am quite in a perspiration. I think the wind blows from the Fort de l'Ecluse. However, we shall be home in time."
"Je voudrais bien," says Jean.
After a little more sport we went down to the chalet. There all was ready under the old plane trees, and the first thing I smelt, Mr. Editorah! I suppose you have already guessed it--was the inimitable omelette, the never-to-be-forgotten Soupe aux Herbettes," the exquisite "Jambon," the "Salade croquante," some delicious "Briscelets," expressly for old grand-papa, old Beaume, and Yvorne.
At about five o'clock, we started on our return; but I overheard a conversation between Jean and the postillion, which made me fancy we should not
locked. In a back lane by Mon Repos, the lightning fell twice within four yards of us. I confess we were all now alarmed, and leaving the high road, we went straight across a private field, and reached home after the worst soaking I ever had in my life.
Old grand-papa arrived about half an hour afterwards, worse off than any-positively like a drowned rat. A good supper, and some hot grog, put all to rights again. This storm lasted, on and off, during two entire days.
Now, Mr. Editor, you know what it is when "La Dent d' Oche fume sa Pipe.”—Believe me to remain, your affectionate friend,
Tottenham, Jan. 20th, 1853.
THE CAT AND THE DOG.
THE CAT.-A cat lives only for herself. Her heart is entirely cold. Her affections are interested and temporary. She has little part or sympathy in your enjoyments. She purrs when you rub her back, but scratches you if you do not rub it in the right place. She performs you no service, but the cruel one of torturing the little mice-the fero cious wretch! She likes comfort, too. No sly monk ever stretched himself in quiet before the comfortable blaze, and fed on the fat and cream of the land, with more hearty zest. But you get no thanks-and you scarcely, with all your caresses, bolster up anything like a real acquaintance with the creature. She has her own secret haunts, where you cannot trace her. She flies you when she is full. She cannot conceal the ingratitude of her cold and lonely nature. She communes with, you know not whom, in strange hours and places. Now you find her watching on the house-roof. Well! What has she to do there? Go down into the cellar an hour after, to search for something thrown aside amid old lumber, and you behold her two great green eyes, all fiendish light and fire, blazing on you from the innermost recess of the darkest hole-in unreachable places-alone-crouching, wait ing. What the deuce has any honest person to do there? You behold her sometimes stealing silently, stealthily, like some one on a guilty and mysterious mission, amid the cobweb hung beams of the garret; and, if you have a room devoted to yourself-a pantry with sweetmeats and treasures all the keys in Christendom won't keep her from a secret, close, thorough scrutiny, till she knows what every jar, and pot, and pan, and escrutoire contains as well as you do. Are these the manners of a straight-forward,
open minded animal ?
THE DOG.-How unlike is the reputation of the cat to that of our good-natured and honest friend the dog! Of the latter, what noble and heroic deeds are related! How he has saved the master that was drowning him, and licked the hand that had shot him in the act of his duty! How many skulking robbers he has arrested-how he has fought and died in defence of those he loved-how many children he has dragged out of ponds and rivers! What is there in man superior to his courage-his forgiveness-his magnanimity-his fidelity-his sagacity-his gratitude! How beautiful, too, he often is! What a face he has, sometimes, when he looks into his master's eyes for approbation! Give him but a smile a word-a caress,
In treating of Cochin-china fowls, I approach them with diffidence, knowing how many different opinions there are, and with what tenacity they are held. It will be necessary to go back some years, in order to get at the root of the erroneous ideas afloat with respect to them; and to discover how it is that, while other fowls have their admitted points whereby they are distinguished (and which are allowed by all to be the standard by which they may be judged,) in these there is such diversity of opinion.
They were first possessed by Her Majesty, and soon known as uncommon birds. Great efforts were made to get possession of one of them, or even of an egg. Many were successful in the latter, and the produce, whether cock or pullet, was mated to anything that seemed to resemble it. Thus, the Cochinchina cocks found often a Dorking partner; and the Cochin-china hen a Malay mate. These have been bred, and bred again, during the first four or five years of the demand; and at each breeding the quantity of pure blood has been increased by the thoroughbred partner in the first instance being mated with his or her own progeny, till at last the cross had become only a stain, and this so slight as to be imperceptible, except to any one who has studied them closely. These birds have been sold as pure, and the purchasers finding that from them they get some clean legged, and some five-clawed, believed such to be correct specimens. But it is an undoubted fact, that a cross is never to be depended upon; and that just when it is expected all the impure blood is got rid of, it reappears in the extra claw of the Dorking, and in the peculiar head and clean leg of the Malay.
This is not all. When it was found there was a ready sale at large prices for Cochin-china fowls, every captain trading to that country was loaded with commissions to bring some home; and now, when a motley and mongrel group is condemned, the owner very often meets you by saying" they must be pure, for they are imported birds." This may be quite true; but they are not the Cochin-china fowls appreciated in England. To get those, the party bringing them over should be a
to the toes. Very particular fanciers require that the outer toe of the feet should be much shorter than the others; and that the web between the toes should be larger than in other fowls. Flesh-colored legs are admissible, but
judge, or should have them well described to him, before he leaves England. I do not mean to say the fowls are not brought from Cochin-china; but I do say they are not the sort of fowl belonging to that country which is in repute here. There are there, as here, diver-green, black, or white, are defects. No other sities of breed; but there is only one breed which we hold in repute.
The Cochin-china cock is a bold, upright bird; with erect, indented single comb, rising from the beak over the nostril-projecting over the neck, and then slanting away underneath, to allow the root to be fixed on the top of the head. The beak is strong and curved, the eye bold, the face red, the wattle pendant, and the ear-lobe very long-hanging much lower than in other fowls. He is a bird of noble carriage, and differs from most other fowls in the following points: he has little tail; indeed, in very fine specimens it may be said they have none. They have the hackle large and long, it falls from the neck to the back, and from its termination there is a small gradual rise to where the tail should be; but where its apology, some glossy, slightlytwisted feathers-fall over like those of an ostrich. The last joint of the wing folds
that the ends of the flight-feathers are concealed by the middle ones; and their extremities again are covered by the copious saddle. The next peculiarities of these birds are, what is technically called "the fluff," and the crow." The former is composed of beautifully-soft, long feathers, covering the thighs till they project considerably, and garnishing all the hinder parts of the bird in the same manner; so much so, that to view the widest part of the Cochin-china cock you must look at him behind. His crow is to the crow of other cocks, what the railway whistle is to that of the errand boy in the streets; it is loud, hoarse, and amazingly prolonged. They seem to delight in it; and will continue it till they are on tip-toe, and are compelled to exchange their usual erect position for one in which the neck is curved, and the head brought down to the level of the knees. Viewing the broadside, it will be seen that there is in this bird a deficiency of breast. It slants off in a straight line, from the end of the neck to the beginning of the fluff that covers the upper part of the thigh.
The pullet has most points in common with the cock. Her head is beautiful, the comb small, very upright, with many indentations. The face, if I may use the term, is intelligent. Her body is much deeper in proportion than that of the cock. Her fluff is softer, having almost a silky texture; her carriage is less erect. She has none of the falling feathers at the tail; but the little she has are upright, and should come to a blunt point, nothing like the regular rounded tails of other hens. In both, the legs should be yellow; well feathered
bird shows its shape in feathers so plainly as this does; and with an old-fashioned small triangular pieces of wood, it would be Chinese puzzle, composed of a number of easy to give a good notion of a Cochin-china hen. In buying them, avoid long tails, clean all, take care the cock has not, nor ever has legs, fifth toes, and double combs. Above had, sickle feathers.
I have endeavored to describe the best birds of their species. Such may be always obtained, and afterwards bred, but they will be the pickings of the yard.
Next as to color. Yellow, buff, and nankin are the favorites; and I think them certainly more beautiful than the darker, grouse, partridge, and chesnut birds. But I do not believe they are types of greater purity. The earlier imported, were darker than the later ones; and the cross has produced birds of exceeding beauty.
They are very good layers; and I have proved they sometimes lay twice in a day. I have known two instances of it; but I think the explanation I can give, will bear out the opinion that it is not in the nature of any hen to do so. The fowl in question more than once laid early; and again (in summer) just before dark. One, probably, at four in the morning, and another at eight in the evening. Thus, two eggs in sixteen hours; but she never laid the following day. Several times she did this; but very often the second egg had an imperfect shell, yielding to the slightest pressure. They seem to lay at a certain age, without any regard to weather or time of year; beginning soon after they are five months old. I have had pullets of that age laying regularly in very cold frosty weather, when those of the same age, of other breeds running with them, showed no signs of following their example.
They do not lose their qualities as they get older, but they lose their beauty sooner than any other. Every year seems to increase the difficulty of moulting. I am convinced the age of beauty in a Cochin-china fowl is from nine to eighteen months. After this the hens become coarse, their feathers grow with difficulty, their fluff is a long time coming, and the beautiful intelligent head is exchanged for an old careworn expression of face. I am also sure that the tails of the cocks increase as they get older. I have always found them hardy. The little naked ostrich-looking chickens will do well even in bleak spots, and without any unusual care. They are excellent mothers. I know an in
stance when one of these hens began laying again while her chickens were small, and regularly led them to her nest every day, keeping them there while she laid. I believe from this breed, there are more cocks hatched, in proportion to the pullets, than any other. Too much cannot be said in favor of their gentleness and contented disposition. A fence four feet high suffices to keep them from wandering, and they allow themselves to be taken from their perch and replaced,-to be handled, exhibited, or made any use of, without the least opposition.
THE LATE BIRMINGHAM POULTRY SHOW.
In our able contemporary, "The Field," we find an article on the late exhibition of Poultry at Birmingham. Being too ill at the time to attend personally, we give an abstract of the particulars, furnished by a reporter for this well-timed periodical. The "show" deserves chronicling in our pages.
mals which have hitherto occupied the remainder of the hall.
"All who admire fine poultry, or wish to make choice among the finest, should pay a visit to the Birmingham show; choice, however, would prove no easy task, where all are so good. It would be difficult to find whiter-faced Spanish fowls than those of Captain Hornby, which took the first and second prizes in the first class. The beautiful Dorking fowls which took the prizes, must have felt that they escaped an additional test, from those which belonged to the Hon. and Rev. Stephen Willoughby Lawley having been disqualified from taking prizes, on account of their owner acting in the capacity of judge. Both Dorkings and Game fowls were splendid collections; but as usual, the Cochin-China exceeded even these older favorites in attracting numerous spectators around their pens. The Malays were considered better than have lately been exhibited. The Hamburghs and Polands in all their varieties were very pretty, and Class 46 (for any other distinct breed) was not forgotten either in entries or prizes, with its array of Cuckoo, White Poland, Rumpless, Frizzled, Silk, Andalusian, and black Cochin-China fowls. The Gold-laced and some other Bantams were good; and the collection of pigeons, though not large, was both good and pretty.
"The judges of poultry were the Hon, and Rev. Stephen Willoughby Lawley, Escrick Rectory, near York; G. R. Andrews, Esq., Dorchester; the Rev. Robert Pulleine, the Rectory, Kirby Wiske, near Thirsk; and Mr. John Baily, Mount-street, Grosvenorsquare, London. Mr. T. L. Parker, Birmingham, and Mr. Hale, Handsworth, were judges of the pigeons."
"That our domestic fowls are no longer the insignificant, neglected, unnoticed little beings that they were a very few years since, is sufficiently proved by the interest excited in the 37,002 persons who visited the 1,223 pens of fowls, pigeons, geese, ducks, turkeys, and guinea-fowls, collected in Bingley Hall for exhibition, on the 14th of December. In 1850, 556 pens were exhibited under 21 heads or classes. In 1852, both entries and classes are considerably more than doubled; improvement in merit has kept pace with this advance in number; but there is one circumstance even more pleasing to those who take an interest in poultry, than this progress in number and goodness, because it is one which offers a hope of even greater success for the future-we mean the increasing attention which ladies are bestowing on this branch of domestic economy. The useful will not be too much sacrificed to the ornamental; and while we feel great pleasure in seeing our Cochin-China's with small tails and perfect combs-our Dorkings compact, square-built and five-toed, and our spangled Hamburghs with the most exact arrangement of bars upon the wings-January. and all other perfections, it will not be forgotten that these favorites rear us delicious fowls for the table, give us a most abundant supply of eggs, and prove themselves amiable and estimable in every relation of life.' "The poultry, which occupied a large portion of the building, was arranged in four alleys with ranges of pens, also around the walls of that portion of the interior. These alleys became at times so much crowded with visitors, especially on Thursday, the market day, that there appears some danger of the fowls eventually banishing the beautiful ani
METROPOLITAN POULTRY SHOW OF 1853.
THE First Show of the Society for establishing in our Great Metropolis an Annual Exhibition of Poultry, Pigeons, and Rabbits, took place on the 11th of the present month
The Society enjoys the patronage of many noblemen and gentlemen of distinction, including the Duke of Rutland, the Marquis of Salisbury, the Earls of Derby, Stanhope, Cottenham, Stradbroke, Harrington, Ducie, Clarendon, Lichfield, and Stamford; Lord Feversham, Lord Hastings, Lord Sandys, the Marquis of Granby, and Lord Guernsey. One of its main objects is, according to the rules, " to afford an opportunity to the public to improve their collections." It is, therefore, provided that all the specimens figuring in the Show shall be offered to competition by