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There are five senses. 1. Sight; 2. Hearing; 3. Taste; 4. Touch ; 5. Smell. In other words we have five different ways of getting to know what is passing around us; five different ways of receiving pleasure—and five of feeling pain ; five of finding out what is good and safe for us—and five to help us to learn what to be on our guard against. If we see a mad bull coming, we try our best to get out of his way. If we hear him roaring, we do the same. If we eat something which has a very bad taste, we leave it, knowing it has in some way been spoilt for food. If we put our fingers on a wasp and it stings us, we take care never to go too near an insect of the same kind again. If we touch one leaf of a nettle and it stings us, we do not insist on gathering a whole bunch of nettles. If we smell a very pleasant smell, we like
. it; if a very bad one, we go away from it, if we can. But we ought to do much more; we ought never to smell anything which makes us uncomfortable without trying to find out where the smell comes from, and doing our very best either to remove what causes it ourselves, or to get some one else to do so. For these bad smells always show the presence of something hurtful to health and life. We are so made that we cannot keep well without a large quantity of good fresh air, and when the air smells bad, it is poisoned, and we cannot breathe it without danger. Breathing bad air makes us weak, and ready to catch all kinds of illness.
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Day dawned with the weather dull, but the wind fair, and we pulled up anchor and left the Magdalene Islands for Labrador. About ten o'clock, we saw a speck in the distance, which I was told was the rock; the wind now rose, and I could soon see it plainly from the deck, the top covered as it seemed with snow. The pilot said that the snow, which seemed two or three feet thick, was the white gannets which live there. I rubbed my eyes, and took my spy-glass, and instantly the strange picture stood before me. They were indeed birds, and such a mass of birds, and of such a size as I never saw before. We were all astonished, and all said that it was worth coming many hundred miles to see such a sight. The nearer we got to them, the more surprised we were to see such an enormous number of these birds, all quietly seated on their eggs.
The air for a hundred yards above, and for a long
distance around, was filled with gannets on the wing, which, from where we stood, made the sky look as if it were filled with falling snow-flakes, and the rock look as if it were hid by a thick fog. The wind was too high to allow us to land, but we wished so very much to do so, that we made up our minds to try.
We got into a boat and got near the rock, but could not land. The air seemed quite filled with birds ; but for all that, there seemed to be as many as ever on the rock. As we got nearer to the rock, we could see that the birds sat so close as almost to touch one another, in regular lines. We fired a gun at them, but that did not disturb those which were not touched by the shot, for the noise of the birds stunned all those out of reach of the gun. But in the part where the shot hit the birds, they flew off in such numbers and in such a fright, that whilst eight or ten were falling in the water dead or wounded, others shook down their eggs, which fell into the sea by hundreds on every side.
The top of the main rock is a quarter of a mile wide from north to south, and a little narrower from east to west ; it rises three or four hundred feet above the sea, and it is very difficult to climb up it. The whole of it was perfectly covered with nests about two feet apart, in rows as regular as a potato field. The fishermen kill these birds and use their flesh as bait for cod-fish. The crews of several vessels join together and arm themselves with clubs. When they reach the top of the rock, the birds rise with a noise like thunder, and try to fly away in such a hurry, that they knock each other down. The fishermen beat and kill them until
they have got a large supply. Six men in this way have killed five or six hundred in one hour. The birds are skinned and their flesh cut into pieces, and the bait keeps good for a fortnight.
Slightly altered from the Life of Audubon.
Every valley drinks,
Every dell and hollow :
Green of Spring will follow.
Yet a lapse of weeks
Buds will burst their edges,
In the woods and hedges ;
Weave a bower of love
For birds to meet each other, Weave a canopy above
Nest and egg and mother.
But for fattening rain
We should have no flowers; Never a bud or leaf again
But for soaking showers;
Never a mated bird
In the rocking tree-tops; Never indeed a flock or herd
To graze upon the lea-crops.
Lambs so woolly white
Sheep the sun-bright leas on, They could have no grass to bite,
But for rain in season.
We should find no moss
In the shadiest places,
Pied with broad-eyed daisies :
But miles of barren sand,
With never a son or daughter,