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scenes which every month contributes to diversify, must, consequently, be of various kinds, all suitable to the season. The vivid beauties of spring, the glowing skies of summer, the fading scenes of autumn, and the dreary aspect of winter, excite, respectively, vivacity, languor, solemnity, or dejection. Summer, refulgent child of the Sun,' has retired with his ardent look' from our northern regions, and each gaudy flower disappears. Rural scenery, however, is much enlivened by the variety of colours, some lively and beautiful, which are assumed, towards the end of the month, by the fading leaves of trees and shrubs.
How sweetly pleasing to behold
How mixed the many chequered shades between
Striking as these appearances are in our own fine forests, in different parts of England and Wales, particularly in some mountainous districts, yet they bear no comparison to those which a land wild and savage must ever present to the eye of the enraptured traveller. These peculiar beauties disappear at the approach of civilization. In Europe, the soil abounds only in plants which are of use to man. Domestic vegetables, by the aid and protection of the cultivator, have so trenched upon the domain of the wilderness, that space is scarcely left for the existence of those for which man has no call. The primeval forests of the Gauls and Germans have disappeared. Forests at this time of day are mere formal plantations of large extent. They are intersected in all directions by roads and paths; are explored without difficulty; and the wild animals no longer find safe refuge in them. Generations of trees are renewed in quick succession, on a soil which the industry of the proprietor keeps in constant requisition, and it is mere chance
when a single stick is left to end its career by old age. Far in the north there are several forests which still preserve some traces of the primeval vegetation of Europe. In these the oaks, spared by the axe, acquire an enormous size; while others, worn out by age, fall of themselves, are decomposed, and help unceasingly to augment the surface of the soil covered with high mosses and thick lichens, that preserve a prolific moisture.
None, however, approach in magnificence the forests which shade the equinoctial regions of Africa and America. One is never satiated in admiring there the endless multitude of vegetables brought into near contact with each other, and mingled promiscuously together; so different among themselves, and often so extraordinary in structure and produce; those enormous trees still exhibiting no symptoms of decay, though their age goes back to a period at but little distance from the last revolution of our globe; those towering palms, contrasting by their simple forms with all that surrounds them; those extensive climbers; those ratans which, knitting together their long and flexible branches by numberless knots and turns, encircle as one group the whole vegetation of these extensive regions. To clear a path through these, neither fire nor axe is sufficient; the one extinguishes for want of circulation in the air, the other is broken or blunted by the hardness of the wood it meets. The soil cannot afford place to the numberless germs which it developes. Each tree disputes with others, which press from all sides, the soil it wants for its existence; the strong stifle the weak; while rising generations obliterate even the slightest trace of destruction and death: vegetation never flags; and the earth, so far from becoming exhausted, acquires new fertility from day to day. Hosts of animals of every kind, insects, birds, quadrupeds, reptiles, beings as diversified and strange as the vegetation of the place itself, retire themselves under the vast canopy of these an
tient thickets as into a citadel proof against the attack of man'.
Partridges (tetrao perdix) are in great plenty at this season of the year: they are chiefly found in temperate climates, but no where in such abundance as in England. Partridges pair early in the spring: about the month of May, the female lays from fourteen to eighteen or twenty eggs, making her nest of dry leaves or grass upon the ground. The young birds learn to run as soon as hatched, frequently encumbered with part of the shell sticking to them; and picking up slugs, grain, ants, &c. While the corn is standing they have a secure retreat from their numerous enemies; but when the harvest is gathered in, they resort, in the daytime, to groves and covers. At night, however, they return to the stubble to avoid foxes, weasels, &c. and there nestle together. From man they have no means of escape; for they are traced to their hiding-places by pointers, and are often inclosed in nets, and taken by whole coveys.
When milder autumn summer's heat succeeds,
The affection of the partridge for her young is peculiarly strong and lively. She is greatly assisted in the care of rearing them by her mate: they lead them out in common, call them together, point out to them their proper food, and assist them in finding it by scratching the ground with their feet; they frequently sit close by each other, covering the chickens with their wings like the hen. In this situation,
1 See M. Mirbel's General Views of Vegetable Nature, in the Quarterly Journal of Science and the Arts, vol. ïï, p. 41.
they are not easily flushed; and the sportsman, who is attentive to the preservation of his game, will carefully avoid giving any disturbance to a scene so truly interesting. Should the pointer, however, come too near, or unfortunately run in upon them, there are few who are ignorant of the confusion that follows. The male first gives the signal of alarm by a peculiar cry of distress, throwing himself, at the same moment, more immediately into the way of danger, in order to deceive or mislead the enemy; he flies, or rather runs, along the ground, hanging his wings, and exhibiting every symptom of debility, in order to decoy the dog to a distance from the covey: the female flies off in a contrary direction, and to a greater distance, but, returning soon after by secret ways, she finds her scattered brood closely squatted among the grass; and, collecting them in haste, she leads them from the danger, before the dog has had time to return from his pursuit.
The fowler, as he stands and meditates
'Tis done-shot through the heart, she reels, she falls,
There are in blow, in this month, nasturtia, china
'For this and other pleasing illustrations of Natural History, possessing much poetical merit, we refer the reader to Mr. M'Quin's Description of Three Hundred Animals.'-See also, 'The Partridges,' an Elegy, given at the end of this month's Diary.
aster, marigolds', sweet peas, mignionette, golden rod, stocks, tangier pea, holy-oak, Michaelmas-daisy, saffron (crocus sativus), and ivy (hedera helix). Among the maritime plants may be named, the marsh glass-wort (salicornia herbacea), and the seastork's bill (erodium maritimum), on sandy shores ; and the officinal marsh-mallow (althea officinalis) in salt marshes.
Herrings (clupea) pay their annual visit to England in this month, and afford a rich harvest to the inhabitants of its eastern and western coasts.
Various of the feathered tribe now commence their autumnal music :
The thrush, the blackbird, and the woodlark now, Cheerer of night, their pleasing song resume; The stone-curlew his chattering note repeats; And the wood-owl continual breaks the depth Of sylvan darkness with discordant moans. Among the few insects that appear in this month, are the phalana russula, and the saffron butterfly (papilio hyale). The snake sloughs, or casts its skin.
The oak begins to shed its acorns, and the beech nuts fall; both of which are termed mast. A luxurious pasturage is afforded for such hogs as are kept on the borders of forests, for about six weeks, from the end of September. The method of treating hogs at this season of migration, and of reducing a large herd of these unmanageable brutes to perfect obedience and good government, is very curious. (See our last volume, p. 272.)
1 Mark how the bashful morn in vain