페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

The flight of some birds is very rapid. Birds of prey sometimes fly at the rate of sixty miles an hour. Fifty years ago an experiment was made in London with fifty-six carrier pigeons brought from Liege and thrown up. One of them flew the three hundred miles in less than six hours, and most of them reached Liege within two hours afterwards. A hawk went seven hundred miles at the rate of forty-five miles an hour. A hawk from Fountainbleau was found at Malta next day, and, as it never flies at night, its actual rate of progression when on the wing was probably more than seventy-five miles an-hour.

Their flight is sometimes much assisted by the wind, which, when blowing a hurricane, moves at the rate of from eighty to a hundred miles an-hour.

A gentleman declared that he once travelled in a balloon at the rate of ninety miles an-hour, which shows how migratory birds may be carried along.

QUESTIONS:-1. In what manner do swallows fly? 2. What has been noticed about the flight of old and young birds? 3. About the flight of males and females? 4. What has been remarked about the notes of different birds? 5. For what purpose do birds migrate? 6. What do you understand by the term "migrate"? 7. Describe the various modes of progression of birds. 8. Name the birds that do not fly. 9. What happens to some sea-birds when on land? 10. Describe the flight of poultry, of magpies, of pigeons, of starlings, of the wood-lark, ana of the cormorant. 11. At what rate do birds of prey fly? 12. Give an account of the experiment made in London with fifty-six carrier pigeons. 13. How is their flight sometimes much assisted? 14. What is stated about the rate of travelling in a balloon?

[blocks in formation]

ONE bitter winter evening, a few years ago, a railway train with many carriages was making its usual trip out of the City of Baltimore, in America. There were several hundred passengers of both sexes and of all

ages.

Some hours after midnight, the most of the passengers had fallen asleep. The carriages were quiet, except the noise of the train, and now and then the wail of a child or the hushings of its mother. Out of doors the night was cold, with gusts of snow and sleet. With great speed the train rushed along the rails through the pitchy darkness.

The guard was, as usual, keeping a good lookout. On rounding a corner, he was startled at seeing, just in the line of the track, at some distance in front, a torch whirling rapidly through the darkness. At the same time, he observed a burning pile on one side of the line, throwing up a fierce blaze and showers of sparks, which the wind tossed and drove in all directions.

Warned by these signals, the driver slackened his speed, and, as he came near the place, brought the train to a full stop. By the light of the fire,

an Irish woman was seen swinging the torch with all her might; while three or four children were hard at work, throwing armfuls of brushwood on the fire.

It was a wild spot, where the line, having been cut into the side of a deep mountain, ran along the edge of a steep precipice of great depth. It soon appeared that a large mass of earth and rock had been loosened by rains from the side of the mountain, and had fallen on the road, completely blocking the track. Had not the train been stopped, it must have been hurled, with all its human freight, clean over the side of the precipice.

The woman, who lived in a small cottage near the railway, had noticed what had happened. Knowing that the train would come along in the course of the night, she had waited, in the storm and the darkness, to give warning of the danger, having kept her children from their beds to gather fuel for the fire which was to attract the notice of the driver.

[blocks in formation]

Although we have so little strength

And little wisdom, too.

It wants a loving spirit,

Much more than strength, to prove
How many things the least may do
For others by his love.

66

QUESTIONS: -1. Where is Baltimore? 2. What is meant by "making its usual trip"? 3. What sounds might be heard from the carriages? 4. What is meant by keeping a good look-out"? 5. Why did the guard keep a good look-out? 6. What did the driver of the train do, when he observed the torch and the fire? 7. Who was waving the torch? 8. What made her do so? 9. What had happened to the line? 10. What would have been the consequence if the train had not been stopped?

com-plete'-ly hap'-pen-ed prec'-i-pice dark'-ness hush'-ings

WORD LESSON :

ap-peared'

arm'-fuls

round'-ing

[blocks in formation]

carrying off water. thaw'-ing, frost giving way.

roused the passengers

THIS narrow escape soon from their slumbers, and a sum of money was collected to reward the poor woman and her children. She expressed her thanks for the gift, but added at the same time: "It was not for the hope of reward, but for the sake of him there that I did it."

With these words, she pointed to the guard, who, with the passengers, had formed a circle round the woman.

"For my sake?" asked the guard, in great

surprise. "I do not know you, and I do not think I ever saw you before."

On hearing her story, it turned out that the woman had a husband, who had been for some time in ill health, and that on several occasions the guard had done him some little acts of kindness and attention.

Gratitude for these small favours had kept this poor woman and her children out in the storm all that dismal night. A few small acts of kindness on the part of the guard had been the means of saving his life, and the lives of all the passengers under his charge.

may have the chance

It is not every one that of thus saving many lives. But every one may daily do such little acts of kindness as this guard, of whom I have told you.

One thawing day in spring, the streets were filled with melting snow, and the gutters were choked and overflowing. A lady was standing on the pavement wanting to cross to the other side. of the street, but a stream of water rushed along the gutter so wide that she could not step over it. Half-a-dozen boys stood at the opposite corner, laughing at her difficulty.

One of the boys, stepping from among his companions, and too manly to care for their laugh, took a board that was lying over the gutter where he stood, carried it across the street, and, laying

« 이전계속 »