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when it was fine; but he soon changed his opinion after he had been a few times wet through. At last he became a little peevish, and said “he hated rain.” “Ay! ay!” said his father, “but you do not hate fruit and flowers, and good eating of all sorts. Now, if there were to be no rain at all, you would be starved to death. The earth would become a barren waste; the cattle would die for want of food; and you, also, would perish from the same cause. In those hot countries which your mamma has described to you, and where they scarcely ever have any rain, the trees, plants, and grass are every night refreshed by plentiful dews; so plentiful, that you would be astonished if you could see the quantity that falls in one night. If it were not for this moisture, all the vegetation would in a few days be as completely burnt as if you were to put a plant into our oven. It is a much more dreadful thing to have too little, than too much rain. In the Bible you will meet with several descriptions of the effects of drought; and they are very terrible. If you could once know what it is to be in severe want of rain, you would ever afterwards consider it a great blessing, and not be out of humor because it wet you. Come, let us set about our work.” So they digged up a bed, and prepared it for some of their spring crops; and the following day being fine, they sowed a fresh crop of beans in it. While they were employed, Adam asked why this month was called FEBRUARY. His father told him it was so called in honor of the goddess Juno, one of whose names was FEBRUA, given to her because she was said to preside over purification * a
• Februa signifies expiatory sacrifices, and February was so called because in that month, which was anciently the last of the year, expia. Lory sacrifices were offered for the sins of the whole year.-Eds.
SOWING BEETS AND PARSNIPS.
custom which prevailed among the Romans during this month, and lasted for twelve days.
They then prepared a bed for beet-roots, parsnips, and carrots, by digging it over again, and very deep; then, with a dibble, Mr. Stock made holes, at least a foot deep, and three inches wide at the top, at regular distances, nine inches apart, which holes he filled with light rich earth, and in each he placed two seeds, about an inch from the top. Adam inquired why his father made these beds so differently from turnip, radish, or cabbage beds; and why he put two seeds to each hole? His father told him, that a friend of his, who was very particular in his garden, always sowed his beets, parsnips, and carrots, in this way;
“ And he advised me to try it: cannot you guess why?” Adam thought for a minute as he leaned on his spade, and looked at the newly-made bed, and then cried out—“Oh yes! to be sure I can the holes are filled with light earth straight down, that the roots may find their way easily, and so grow that way instead of going out on each side like two legs. Oh! what funny dumpty carrots I have seen! Oh! and you put two seeds in case one should fail.” “Right,” said his father, and if both should come up, the bed will be more easily thinned than if they were to be sown 'broad-cast,' as we sow radish.” These were for the general crop; those sown in the last month were for an early one, and for a delicacy. They then sowed some cabbages, and afterwards planted out some which had been sown in the last autumn.
Adam was allowed to do this after being shown the distance he was to keep between them, and how to manage the line. This job pleased him. They also sowed some lettuce seed, and fresh mustard and cress. The cauliflower plants, too, which were under the
WALK TO HAWTHORNDELL.
glasses, Adam put out in the same manner as he dia the cabbages; leaving only two or three under each glass, that they might ripen as early as possible. Also celery, leeks, parsley, and onions; and peas for a se
Towards the end of the month, as those which had been sown for the first crop had come forward, Mr. Stock showed Adam how to earth them up with his hoe; desiring him at the same time to be very careful not to draw the mould too high up the plants. They then sticked them ; Mr. Stock looking at each row as Adam finished it, to make such alterations as were necessary; for it is not to be supposed that he did every thing in the best possible manner at a first trial : however, he was a good boy, and managed very well, because he tried to do as well as he could whatever he attempted.
One day, after they had finished their dinner, Mr. Stock observed, that as it was fine overhead, and there had been a brisk drying wind for two or three days, they might all safely take a walk. So they went to a very pretty little dell, which was sheltered with beautiful trees, and almost covered with flowering shrubs and underwood. This was a favorite place with them. Whatever flowers they wanted, they knew that they should be plentifully supplied with, if they went to Hawthorndell. However, at this time they were disappointed at not finding any other than daisies, which Mr. Stock told Adam the old writers used to call “day's-eyes.” The children were not satisfied with only one sort of flower; they wanted their old favorites, the primroses and violets, cowslips and buttercups: their father, however, told them that they had not yet begun to lift up their little heads after the winter weather. “If you look about carefully," said
he, “I dare say you will find all the plants you were speaking of, preparing to come into flower. And that is a pleasant sight. Then is it not delightful to see the trees all around us putting forth their tender buds, all preparing to come out into fresh green leaves as soon as the days shall become a little longer ? Is it not pleasant, also, to consider the wonderfully curiou 5 manner in which those large leaves, that we are daily in the habit of looking on in summer, are folded up in that small bud? The bud in itself is a beautiful natural production; its shape is very elegant. The color is generally delicate-a light brown, tipped at the end with a soft green.
And the bud of the horse-chestnut is richly colored; at the same time it is protected from the rain and damp, by being covered over with a natural varnish, something like turpentine, which no wet can penetrate. Have you not found that the buds of the chestnut, sycamore, and of some few other trees, stick to your fingers when you have touched them?” Adam answered that he had; “But,” said he," papa, if that turpentiny stuff is of use to the chestnut buds, why have not all trees their buds covered, too ? " "If it had been necessary for them to have been so supplied,” said his father, " they would certainly have been protected in like manner. I should suppose that the leaves of other trees are less tender than those of the chestnut and sycamore, and perhaps would not suffer so much from wet. But you may depend upon it that a wise reason is to be given for the very smallest act of the Creator, even for the different covering of the buds of trees.” After they had collected a variety of branches to take to their mamma, as they knew she would admire them, they returned home. In their way, they heard the pleasant song of the wood-lark; and amongst a
flock of sheep they observed that pretty lively little bird, the water-wagtail, running about in the most busy manner imaginable. The children wanted to know what he was doing. “He is catching the small insects or gnats,” said their father, “which throng where sheep are closely assembled. The water-wagtail is one of those birds which leave our country during the winter, for a warmer climate; this is called migrating. This one has returned to us very early.” As they approached the sheep more closely, they had an opportunity of beholding the bird's skill in catching its prey. When they had proceeded a little farther, they heard the loud and rich song of a throstle, or thrush, which was in a hazel-tree in flower, at the back of a little mud cottage. The children wondered whether it was happy because it was singing. “I dare say it is,” said their father. “Some people, however, do not believe that birds are more joyful when they are singing, than when they are silent. But, as we cannot be sure of this, the best way is to believe that which is most pleasant; and I am sure it is pleasant to fancy that a bird, when singing, is happy." Bella wanted to know what beautiful little bird it was she saw flying out of the hedge. “There it is now, papa, in that tree. Oh! what a pretty red breast it has, and white and green wings!”
" That is a chaffinch,” said her father. “It has a merry little note, foretelling the approach of summer; and which is different from its song at this time of the year. It is a curious circumstance, that the hen chaffinch should migrate, and that the male bird should remain here: but so it is. At the close of the year the female has been traced through Holland into Italy. Do you know, Adam, where Italy and Holland are ?” “O