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PASSING THE GLACIER DES BOSSONS.
steadily ascending; and at last the glacier was so broken, and the crevices so frequent and hugely gaping, that the guides tied us and themselves together with cords, leaving a space of about eight feet between each two men, and prepared for serious work.
The traveller who has only seen the Mer de Glace can form no idea of the terrific beauty of the upper part of the Glacier des Bossons. He remembers the lower portions of the latter, which appears to rise from the very corn-fields and orchards of Chamouni, with its towers and ruins of the purest ice, like a long fragment of quartz inconceivably magnified ; and a few steps from the edge of the Montanvert will show him the icy chasms of the Mer. But they have little in common with the wild and awful tract we were now preparing to traverse. The Glacier des Bossons, splitting away from that of Tacoonay, is rent and torn and tossed about by convulsions scarcely to be comprehended; and the alternate action of the nightly frost and the afternoon sun on this scene of splendid desolation and horror, produces the most extraordinary effects. Huge bergs rise up of a lovely pale seagreen colour, perforated by arches decorated every day with fresh icicles many feet in length; and through these arches one sees other fantastic masses, some
THE BIRD'S QUESTION.
thrown like bridges across yawning gulphs, and others planted like old castles on jutting rocks commanding valleys and gorges, all of ice. There is here no plain surface to walk upon; your only standing-room is the top of the barrier that divides two crevices; and as this is broad or narrow, terminating in another frightful gulph, or continuous with another treacherous ice-wall, so can you be slow or rapid. The breadth of the crevice varies with each one you arrive at, and these individually vary constantly, so that the most experienced guide can have no fixed plan of route. The fissure you can leap across to-day, becomes by to-morrow a yawning gulf.
THE BIRD'S QUESTION.
The gray bird ate his fill,
And wiped his hooked bill.
And set his head aslant,
Asked, " What does Charlie want ?"
THE BIRD'S QUESTION.
And go to sleep;" but o'er and o'er
He asked the self-same thing.
Then, smiling, to myself I said :
How like are men and birds ? We all are saying what he says
In action or in words.
The boy with whip and top and drum,
The girl with hoop and doll,
The question of Poor Poll.
We fain the bag would cram; We sigh above our crowded nets
For fish that never swam.
No bounty of indulgent Heaven
The vague desire can stay : Self-love is still a Tartar mill
For grinding prayers alway.
The dear God hears and pities all;
He knoweth all our wants;
His love with holds or grants.
And so I sometimes think our prayers
Might well be merged in one; And nest and perch and hearth and church
Repeat, “ Thy will be done.”
THE HOOPOE. This is a bird of very strange appearance. It has been noticed for many centuries, and was called by the old Greeks Epops. The name by which it is now known was perhaps given to it from the cry of the male bird — “Hoop, hoop!" The bird breeds in Egypt, is well-known in continental Europe, and comes as far north as Russia, Sweden, and Denmark. It is generally found in the British Isles in Autumn.
On the Bordeaux side of the Garonne, and near the city, are large spaces of marshy ground, through which run numerous ditches, ending in the river; and here poplars and willows are planted for the sake of
their twigs, which are used in tying the vines. These poplars and willows being topped, grow very thick, and as they decay in the centre in a few years, are attacked by many different kinds of insects. Here the hoopoes are frequently seen, peering into the rotten wood, and feeding on the food thus readily, and abundantly found.
One gentleman, who was very fond of birds, once reared two young hoopoes. They became very tame, and followed him about everywhere, and when they heard him at a distance, showed their joy by a particular kind of chirping. They were very docile. If he only spoke a word, they left his shoulders, on which they were fond of perching, and retired. They were very quick, would watch his eyes to see what kind of temper he was in, whether sad or pleased, and act accordingly. They ate beetles and May-bugs, but would not touch earth-worms. They beat their food into a long ball, threw it up into the air, and catching it, swallowed it lengthwise. If it fell across their throat, they threw it into the air again, and again tried to catch it. Instead of bathing, they rolled in the sand.
One day he took them into a field, and watched them. They seemed greatly to fear ravens, and even pigeons. As soon as either of these birds came in