« AnteriorContinuar »
few hundreds of thousands see him, but every eye shall see. Some could scarcely get a glimpse of Queen Victoria, but e-rery eye shall see Jesus. The precise time of Her Majesty's coming was announced several weeks before-hand; but Christ shall come as a thief in the night. Neither did Her Majesty's coming materially alter the circumstances of the beholders; but Christ will come, "To raise to glory all
Who fit for glory are," and to appoint the sinner his portion in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. Many who will read these lines made great preparations to meet the Queen, and will you make none to meet the Judge of all the earth? If not, your conduct in this matter will riso up in judgment against you. Her Majesty knew but few of the thousands that greeted her; Jesus will know all, and the past history of every one.
Soon the trumpet will sound, and the judgment be set, and the books be opened, and the dead will be judged out of those things which are written in the books. Again, I say, prepare. Even Her Majesty herself will have to appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, and nothing but an interest in his blood will avail for either kings or queens, peer or peasant, teacher or scholar. Again, I say, prepare; for,
"He comes I be comes 1 the Judge severe;
STORIES OF EAGLES.
I Saw an eagle to-day passing southwards, apparently on his way from the mountains of Sutherland or Caithness, to the more southern heights of the Grampians. The bird was flying very near the ground, making his way against the wind, and pursued by a whole squadron of grey crows, who had found out that he was a stranger, and taking advantage of the unconcerned contempt with which he treated their attacks, kept up a continual clamour and petty warfare against the royal bird. The eagle, as he came over the more enclosed part of the country, flew higher, as if suspicious of concealed foes amongst the hedges and enclosures. I have almost every year during my stay in Morayshire seen the eagles occasionally passing, at the beginning of winter invariably going southwards, and again early in the spring on their return northwards; in windy weather flying low, but when calm, cleaving the air at a great height. The eagle's flight, when passing from one point to another, is peculiarly expressive of strength and vigour. He wends his way with deliberate, strong strokes of his powerful wing, every stroke apparently driving him on a considerable distance, and in this manner advancing through the air as rapidly as the pigeon or any other bird which may appear to fly much more quickly.
Notwithstanding the facility with which he flies when once fairly launched, like many other heavy birds, a very slight wound disables him from rising into the air when on level ground. Even after having gorged himself to excess (and there is no greater glutton than this king of the air) the eagle is unable to rise, and falls a victim occasionally to his want of moderation in feeding. When in Sutherlandshire I twice fell in with instances of eagles being knocked down, when unable to rise from over-eating. On one occasion a curious kind of character, who acted the part of hanger-on to me in my deer-shooting excursions, brought home an eagle which he had killed with his stick before it could rise from the ground. This man, who was dumb, and was supposed (very erroneously) to be half-witted also, had a great penchant for assisting in beating the woods for roe or deer; and from long acquaintance with the country, and from a propensity (very common to people similarly afflicted) for wandering about, he had a perfect knowledge of every corner of the extensive woods on the property, and also a most shrewd guess as to where the deer would be lying, and in which direction they would break cover. Though generally of a most morose and even malicious temper, Muckle Thomas, as they called him, entertained a great affection, in his way, for me; and every morning was to be found seated in front of the windows, smoking a solitary pipe, and nailing to see it' I wanted him. Though dumb, he was not deaf, and understanding what was said to him, could make himself quite intelligible by signs, assisting my comprehension by drawing, in a rude way, figures on the ground with the long staff which he invariably carried. One morning I had sent him to look in a certain part of the woods to see if any deer's tracks were visible. In an hour or two he returned with something large bundled up in his plaid, which he opened, and cast down his load at my feet with a look and grunt of trinmph. After some explanatory signs, &c., I found out that he had come on the eagle, who bad so completely gorged himself with a rotten sheep in the wood that it could not rise.
Another instance occurred in the same country. A shepherd's boy found an eagle gorging itself on some drowned sheep in a water-course, and being, like most herd-boys, as skilful as David in the use of sling and stone, he had broken the eagle's pinion with a pebble, and had actually stoned ihe poor bird to death. In this case the eagle was taken at peculiar disadvantage, being surprised in a deep rocky burn, out of which he would have had difficulty in rising quickly, even if he had not dined so abundantly. When wounded by shot or even after escaping (but maimed) from a trap, the eagle is often unable to rise. A curious anecdote was told me by a friend. An eagle had been caught in a vermin trap, and, by his struggles, had drawn the peg by which the trap was fastened to the ground, and had flown away with it. Nothing was seen for some weeks of eagle or trap, till one day my friend seeing some strange object hanging from the branch of a tree, went to examine what it was, and found the poor bird hanging by his leg, which was firmly held by the trap. The chain and peg had got fixed amongst the branches, and the poor eagle had died miserably from starvation in this position, suspended by the foot. Though certainly the eagles in some localities commit great havoc amongst the lambs, and also destroy the grouse when no larger game offers itself, it would be a great pity that this noble bird should become extinct in our Highland districts, who, notwithstanding his carnivorous propensities, should be rather preserved than exterminated. How picturesque he looks, and how perfectly he represents the genius loci, as, perched on some rocky point or withered tree, he sits unconcerned, in wind and storm, motionless and statue-like, with his keen, stern eye, however, intently following every movement of the shepherd or of the sportsman, who, deceived by the bird'sapparent disregard, attempts to creep within rifle-shot Long before he can reckon on reaching so far with his bullet, the bird launches himself into the air, and gradually sweeping upwards, wheels high out of shot, leaving his enemy disappointed and vexed at having crept in vain through bog and over rock in expectation of carrying home so glorious a trophy of his skill. 'When intent on seizing game, the eagle frequently will venture within a short distance of the grouseshooter or deer-stalker. I have seen him pounce, (no that is not the proper word, for he rather rushes,) down on a pack of grouse, and, with out-spread wings, he so puzzles and confuses the birds, that he seizes and carries off two or three before they know what has happened, and in the very face of the astonished sportsman and his dogs. The mountain hare, too, is carried off by the eagle with as much apparent ease as the mouse is borne away by the kestrel.
The marten and the wild cat are favourite morsels. A tame eagle which I kept for some time killed all the cats about the place. Sitting motionless on his perch, he waited quietly and seemingly unheeded till the unfortunate animal came within reach of his chain. Then down he flew, and surrounding the cat with his wings, seized her in his powerful l talons, with one foot planted firmly on her loins, and the other on her throat; and nothing more was seen of poor grimalkin except her skin, which the eagle left empty and turned inside out, like a rabbit-skin hung up by the cook, the I whole of the carcase, bones and all, being stowed away in the bird's capacious maw. The quantity of meat taken from i the stomach of an eagle killed on the mountain is sometimes perfectly incredible. I regret not having taken a note of the weight of mutton I once saw taken out of one I had shot.— Wilsi Sports and Natural History of the Highland*.
THE NEGLECTED VINE.
Lately I visited the house which I and my family occupied, over the front of which there grows an excellent vine. But on inspecting the tree it wore the appearance of being neglected. The branches had not been pruned nor trained; and though there was fruit to be seen, it was so secluded from the influence of the sun, that though the season had been fine, the grapes, instead of being black, were green and sour. Here, then, I had an illustration of the evil effects of negligence, which, for the benefit of my youthful friends, I will endeavour to improve. We find, then, that the vine must be well cultivated, in order that we may have good fruit, and fruit in proper season. So it is with the young. They need education and discipline, otherwise they will not bring forth good fruit; and we are told that every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, will be hewn down and cast into the fire. When the vine-dresser formerly trimmed this vine it appeared to me a pity to cut oft" such fine shoots and branches; and he seemed to be cutting oft* all my hopes of fruit, as he pared the tree almost to the ground. I thought I would have spared many a fine runner that his unsparing knife laid at my feet. I felt in my mind he was unmercifully severe; but he assured me that it was quite necessary. I afterwards discovered the propriety of his proceedings. The vine brought forth plentifully, aud yielded us pleasant fruit.
Solomon, the son of David, has said "Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it." It is the duty of parents and teachers to train up the young, as we do the vine. There are many wild shoots of self-will, cross-temper, unkindness, disobedience, and pride, that must be cut off. To do this sometimes requires painful correction. But this will be for much profit in the end. Youth would like to run wild—to have their own way in every thing—to suffer no smart—and to be indulged in every whim, however extravagant and costly it may be. But were such wishes gratified, it would bring bitter fruit to the parents and guardians who allowed it;