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Behold it new dressed three times in the space of three weeks or a month. It begins again to eat, and might then pass for a different creature, so unlike in head, colour, and form, to what it was before. After having again eaten for some days, it falls again into a lethargy, in recovering from which it changes once more its coat. That is the third skin it has thrown off since it came out of the shell. It still continues to eat some time, then renouncing all food, it prepares itself a retreat; and draws out of its body a silk thread, which it wraps round itself, mnich as we wind thread round an oval piece of wood : this consists of extremely fine silken threads. It rests quietly in the bag it has spun for itself, until the end of a fortnight, when it would break through, and make its way out, if it was not prevented by putting it into an oven, or in the heat of the sun, in order to kill"it. These silk bags are thrown into hot water, and stirred about with birch twigs, to loosen the ends of the silk, which are afterwards "wound on reels made for the purpose. Einni !,
Thus it is to a worm, or à caterpillar, that we owe the luxury of our clothing. This reflection ought to humble us. Can we be vain of the silk with which we are covered, when we consider to what we owe it, and how little we ourselves contribute towards it! Let us reflect, that even the most despicable things have been created for the advantage and use of mankind. A worm, which we scarcely deign to look at, becomes a blessing to whole provinces, a considerable object of trade, and a source of riches. 1: 4 3 13
WHEN the sun reflects its rays on drops of water which fall from the clouds, and we are placed with our backs to the sun, and with the clouds opposite to us, we observe a rainbow. We may consider the drops of rain as little transparent balls, on which the rays fall and are refracted.. From thence proceed the colours in the rainbow. They are seven in number, and in the following order; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and violet. These colours appear so much the more lively, according as the cloud behind is darker, and the drops of rain fall the closer. The drops falling continually produce a new rainbow every moment; and as each spectator has his particular situation, from whence he observes this phenomenon, it so happens, that two men cannot, properly speaking, see the same rainbow. This meteor can only last while the rain continues to fall.
To consider the rainbow merely as a phenomenon of nature, it is one of the finest sights imaginable. It is a picture the most beautifully coloured of any the Creator has given us. But when we reflect, that God has made this meteor a sign of his pardon, and of the covenant he vouchsafed to make with mankind, we find subject for more than one edifying reflection. There cannot be a rainbow when it rains over the whole horizon. Every time, then, that this beautiful meteor appears, we may be certain that we have no deluge to apprehend, as in a deluge it must rain violently from every part of the sky. Thus, when the sky is only covered with clouds on one side, and the sun appears on the other, it is a sign' that these dark clouds will disperse, and that the sky will soon become serene. This is also the reason why we
cannot see a rainbow unless the sun is behind us, and the rain opposite to us. The sun and rain' must appear at the same time, in order to form a rainbow. No colours would be seen if the sky was too light; therefore, where it appears, the horizon must be covered with dark clouds, Neither could the colours in the rainbow exist without the refraction of the rays of the sun upon it.
The construction of the birds' nests discover many curious objects, which cannot be indifferent to a reflecting mind, desirous of information." Who is there that would not admire those regular little edifices, composed of so many different materials, collected and put in order with so much care and judgment, constructed with such industry, elegance, and neatness, without any other tool than a bill and two, claws. : It is not so wonderful, that men can erect great buildings according to the rules of art, when we consider, that the artists are endowed with reason, and have abundance of tools and materials for it. But that a bird, unprovided with any thing for the purpose, except its bill and claws, should be capable of uniting so much regularity, solidity, and judgment, in the construction of its nest, is what we can never too much admire. Nothing is more wonderful than the nest of a goldfinch. The inside of it is lined with cotton, wool, and fine silky threads. The outside is woven with thick moss, the colour of which resembles the bark of the tree on which the nest is laid, in order that it should be less observed
and exposed to the eyes of passengers. There are some nests, in which the hair, the down, and the straw, are curiously laid across and interwoven. There are others, wherein all the parts are neatly joined and tied together with a thread, which the bird makes for itself, of flax, tow, and horse-hair, and more generally of spiders' webs. The blackbird and lapwing plaster over the inside of their nest with a thin coat of mortar, which cements and keeps together all the bottom parts; and then, while it is fresh, they stick some moss to it, in order to make it warm and close. The swallow's nest is of a different construction from the rest. They neither require sticks, straws, nor ligaments; they know how to compose à sort of cement, with which they make themselves nests, perfectly secure, neat, and convenient. Their method of moistening this cement is by going frequently to dip their breasts into the water, and then shaking it off upon it, till it is thoroughly steeped, after which they work it up together with their bills. But the most extraordinary of all the nests are those which certain Indian birds suspend with great art upon the branches of trees, in order to secure themselves from the pursuit of several animals and insects. In general, each species of birds has its particular manner of placing its nest. Some build them on houses, others on trees; some under the grass, others in the ground: but all in the manner best adapted for their security, the bringing up of their young, and the preservation of their species. 19 (litused Grabspravne
Is it not clear, that in all their work birds propose to themselves certain designs? They make the nest hollow, almost like the half of a globe, in order that the heat may the better concentre there. The outside of the nest is covered with materials more or less coarse, not only to serve as a foundation, but to keep out the wind and the insects. The inside is lined with more delicate materials, such as wool and down, to make it soft and warm for their
young ones to lie on. Is it not a kind of reason, which teaches the bird to place its nest so as to be sheltered from rain, and to be out of the reach of destructive animals? Where do they learn they are to have eggs, and that these eggs would require nests to prevent them from falling, and to keep them warm?--that the heat would not concentre round the eggs if the nest was" larger; nor hold all the young ones if it was smaller? How do they know the proper size of the 'nest, and the number of young that are to be born? Who teaches them not to mis take the time, and to calculate so exactly, that they never lay their eggs before the nest is finished? Nothing that has been hitherto said in answer to these questions is satisfactory. But of what nature soever these faculties of the birds may be, they are certainly the effects of a superior power and wisdom.
Reflections on a Flower-garden. * 1919:30*
See and behold the flower-garden, and reflect on the number of different beauties 'assembled together in this little space! The art and industry of man have made it a beautiful scene of the finest flowers. But what would it have been without care and culture? - A wild desert, full of thistles and thorns. Such would youth' bé,' if not properly educated. But when they receive úseful instructions, and are under wise direction, they are like lovely blossoms, which delight with their beauty, and will soon produce fruit beneficial to society. Behold the night violet or the julian flower,' which towards evening scents our gardens with its perfume, in which it is