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have a smaller proportion than any other centripetal, recognizing no unity under a alien element except the British, while supreme temporal head. It cannot, thereof the insane, judging from Minnesota, fore, be used as a potent political force. they seem to have a larger percentage Their nearest approach to a widespread, than the Germans or British. Unfortu
Unfortu- peculiar society that can be utilized by nately, in ordinary statistics of this na- a skillful “ boss” is a national musical ture, the second generation is usually union. . put down as native-born, with no hint as As Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes 'to parentage beyond some peculiarity of they fast disappear; merging, not into
Scandinavians, but into Americans. They Several forces are at work against earn their rights as such, and are proud any distinct permanent influence of the of the possession. They readily fit into Scandinavian elements of our population. places among our better classes, and, Some of these I have already touched without hammering or chiseling, give upon, as rapid and thorough Americani- strength and stability to our social struczation and stanch Protestantism. The ture, if not beauty and the highest culDanes, Norwegians, and Swedes are ture. Because of their habits of thought, particularly free from other than tradi- their respect for education, and their tional ties binding them to the mother conservatism, the difficulties of adjusting countries. None of the three northern ourselves to their presence are at a minikingdoms is great or powerful in the
The Scandinavians will not furaffairs of Europe. Patriotism is a sen- nish the great leaders, but they will be timent of the parish or the homestead in the front ranks of those who follow, more than of the nation. No dramatic striving to make the United States strong outbursts of national sentiment on the and prosperous, — "a blessing to the other side rekindle the old enthusiasms common man.” As Americans, they will here. No great causes centring in the be builders, not destroyers; safe, not brilOld World continually demand the in- liant. Best of all, their greatest service tense sympathy and financial aid of any will be as a mighty steadying influence, class of the Scandinavians, knitting them reinforcing those high qualities which we closely together. Their church organi- sometimes call Puritan, sometimes Amezation is decentralized, centrifugal, not rican.
Kendric Charles Babcock.
WHIMSICAL WAYS IN BIRD LAND.
“O irritant, iterant, maddening bird ! ” surprise, no one seemed to notice it. A
ONE lovely evening in May, I was catbird on the fence went on with his walking down a quiet road, looking, as bewitching song, and a wood - thrush in ,
, usual, for birds, when all at once there the shrubbery dropped not a note of his burst upon
the sweet silence a loud heavenly melody alarm. Chack! chack! chack! too! “ They have heard it before ; it must too ! t-t-t! quawk! quawk!” at the top be a chat,” I said ; and lo! on the top of somebody's loud, resonant voice, as if twig of a tall tree, brilliant in the setting the whole bird world had suddenly gone sun, stood the singer. Never before had mad. I looked about, expecting to see I seen one of the family show himself a general rush to the spot; but, to my freely; and while I gazed he proceeded to exhibit another phase of chat man- very good imitation of a watchman's ners, new to me, — wing antics, of which rattle. I hastened toward the spot, and I had read. He flew out toward anoth- was again treated to that most absurd er treetop, going very slowly, with his wing performance, followed by an exhilegs hanging awkwardly straight down. bition of himself in plain sight, and then At every beat of the wings he threw a circling around my head, till, tired of them up over his back till they seemed pranks or satisfied with his survey, he to meet, jerked his expressive tail down- dropped out of sight in the bushes. ward, and uttered a harsh “chack,” al- Here, I said to myself, is a chat of most pausing as he did so.
“ Not only
an unfamiliar sort; just as eccentric as a chat, but a character," was my verdict, any of his race, and not at all averse to as I turned back from my stroll. being seen ; wary, but not shy; and at
For several years I had been trying once I was eager to know him, for the to know the most eccentric bird in North great and undying charm of bird study America, - the yellow - breasted chat. lies in the individuality of these lovely Two or three times I had been able to fellow-creatures, and the study of each study him a little, but never with satis- one is the study of a unique personality, faction, and I was charmed to discover with characteristics, habits, and a song one of his kind so near the pleasant old belonging exclusively to itself. Not even family mansion in which I had estab- in externals are birds counterparts of one lished myself for the summer. This another. Close acquaintance with one house, which had been grand in its day, differentiates him decidedly from all his but, like the whole place, was now tot- fellows; should his plumage resemble tering with age, was an ideal spot for a chat of his brethren, — which it rarely bird lover, being delightfully neglected does, — his manners, expressions, atti
and gone to seed. Berry patches run tudes, and specific “ ways” are peculiarwild offered fascinating sites for nests; ly his own. moss-covered apple-trees supplied dead The blackberry patch pointed out by branches for perching; great elms and the chat occupied the whole length of a chestnuts, pines and poplars, scattered steep little slope between a meadow and over the grounds, untrimmed and un- the orchard, and at the lower edge rested trained, presented something to suit all against a fence in the last stages of detastes; and above all, there existed no crepitude. During many years of neg
, nice care-taker to disturb the paradise lect it had almost returned to a state into which Mother Nature had turned it of wildness. Long, briery runners had for her darlings.
bound the whole into an impenetrable It was a month later than this before mass, forbidding alike to man and beast, I discovered where the chat and his and neighboring trees had sprinkled it mate, the image of himself, had taken with a promising crop of seedlings; or, up their abode for the season, and then as Lowell pictures it, I was drawn by his calls to another old
“The tangled blackberry, crossed and recrossed, tangle of blackberry bramble at the upper edge of the orchard. “ Quoik !” A prickly network of ensanguined leaves." he began, very low, and then quickly As if planned for the use of birds, at added, “Whe-up! ch’k! ch’k! toot! one end stood a delectable watch-tower toot! too! t-t-t-t-t!” concluding with a in the shape of a great elm, and at the other a cluster of smaller trees, apple, faction of seeing the singer uneasy, and ash, and maple. These advantages had of feeling sure that, as the children say, not escaped the keen eyes of our clever I was
1 The actual watching of this bird was done my own that, after this explanation, I take by a trustworthy observer of my own train- the liberty of telling the story in the first pering, but by close study of her daily notes and records I have so nearly made the experience
“ very warm.” little brothers, and it was a centre of Day after day, in fair weather or foul, busy life during the nesting season. in cold or heat, I took my way down the
The first time I attempted to find the lane, and seated myself as comfortably chat's nest, the bird himself accompa- as circumstances would admit, to spy nied me up and down the borders of this upon the brown-and-gold family; and well-fortified blackberry thicket, mock- day after day I was watched in turn, ing at me, and uttering his characteristic sometimes by the singer, restlessly flying call, a sort of mew, different from that from tree to tree, peering down to study of the catbird or the cat; at the same me from all sides, and amusing me with time carefully keeping his precious body all his varied eccentricities of movement entirely screened by the foliage. Well and song, if one may thus name his vohe knew that no clumsy, garmented hu- cal performances. Occasionally madam man creature, however inquisitive, could condescended to entertain, or, what is penetrate his thorny jungle, and doubt- more probable, tried to perplex me by less the remarks so glibly poured out her tactics. She scorned the transparent were sarcastic or exultant over my fail- device of drawing me away from the ure; for though I walked the whole dangerous vicinity by pretending to be length, and at every step peered into the hurt or by grotesque exhibitions. Her bushes, no nest could I discover.
plan was far more cunning than these : Somewhat later I made the acquaint- it was to point out to the eager seeker ance of the domestic partner of the chat after forbidden knowledge convenient family. She was less talkative than her places where the nest might be, - but spouse, as are most feathered dames, certainly was not, — and so to bewilder a nice arrangement in the bird world, for the spy, by many hints, that she would what would become of the nest and nes- not realize it when the real passage to tlings, if the home-keepers had as much the waiting nestlings was made. The to say as their mates ? She sat calmly wise little matron would alight on the on the fence, as I passed, or dressed her fence and look anxiously down, seeming. plumage on the branch of a tree, utter- ly about to drop into the nest ; then, as if ing no sound except, rarely, the common she really could not make up her mind mewing call. She was a wise little thing to do so while I looked on, fly to a black
When I caught her carrying a lo- berry spray and do it all over again. cust, and at once concluded she had young In a moment she would repeat the perto feed, as quickly as if she had read my formance from an elm sapling, and again thoughts she let her prey drop, looking turn anxious and lingering glances in at me as who should say, You see I am still another direction. Then, as if now not carrying food." But though I ad- she surely must go home, she would slip mired her quick wit and respected her in among the bushes, apparently trying motive, I did not believe the little mo- to keep out of sight. At last, having ther, and despite the attractiveness of the thoroughly mystified me, and confused head of the household I kept close watch my ideas past clearing up, with a dozen or upon her, hoping to track her home. I more hints, she would fly over the small soon observed that she always rose from elm and disappear, in a different directhe tangle at one spot near the elm; but tion from any one of the places she had vainly did I creep through what once with such pretended reluctance poiuted might have been a path between the out. Nor was the nest to be found by blackberries, though I did have the satis- following any of her hints.
One day, when the beguiling little destruction of all natural beauty, and dame had exasperated me beyond endur- especially the cutting down of everything ance, I suddenly resolved to track her that interferes with the prosperity of cabto the nest, if it took the whole day. So bages and potatoes, blessed is untidiness when she flung herself, in her usual way, to the lover of Nature. So long as I over the small elm, I instantly followed, study birds I shall carefully seek out the in my humbler fashion. Under the fence farmer who has lost his energy, and alI crept, through the patched-up opening lows Nature her own inimitable way in the cows had broken through, and up his fields and lanes. The fascinations of the path they had attempted to make. that neglected corner cannot be put into Now I fully appreciated the wisdom of words. The whole railroad embankment the bird in the choice of a nesting-site. which bordered it on one side, stretchThe very blackberry bushes appeared to ing far above my head, was a mad and league themselves together for her pro- joyous tangle of wild-grape vines. In tection, stretching long, detaining arms, the shade of a cluster of slender trees and clutching my garments in all sorts was a spot enriched by springs, where of unexpected and impossible ways; and flourished the greenest of ferns, sprinkled while I carefully disengaged one, half a with Jack-in-the-pulpits and forget-medozen others snatched at me in new quar- nots. This was the delight of my heart, ters, till, in despair, I jerked away, leav- and my consolation for the trials connecting a portion of my gown in their grasp. ed with chat affairs. Thus fighting my way, inch by inch, I Alas that the usual fate of Nature's progressed slowly, until the chat's becom- divine work should overtake it ; that ing silent encouraged me to Aling pru- into a “shiftless" head should come the dence to the winds, and pull aside every thought that railroad ties and fallen bush at the risk of tearing the flesh off trees make good firewood, and without my hands on the briers.
too much trouble can be dragged out by At last a nest! My heart beat high. horses! As a preliminary calamity, halfI struggled nearer, cautiously, not to starved cows were turned in to nibble the alarm the owner; for though I must see grass, and, incidentally, to trample and the nest, I had no desire to disturb it. crush flowers and ferns into one ghastly I parted the vines and looked in. Emp- ruin. And at the same moment, as if ty, and plainly a year old !
inspired by the same spirit of destrucForgetting the brambles, in my disap- tion, some idle railroad hand, with a pointment, I turned hastily away, when scythe, laid low the whole bank of the bush, as if in revenge for my dis- grapevines. Ruthless was the ruin, and covery of its secret, seized my garments wrecked beyond repair the spot, after in a dozen places; and, suffering in gown man's desolating hand passed over it ; a and temper, I tore myself away from the scene of violence, of dead and dying birds' too zealous guardians and wan- scattered over the trampled and torn-up dered up the lane.
sod; “murder most foul ” in the eyes of The lane was an enticing spot, with a Nature-lover. I could not bear to look young blackberry runners stretching out upon it. I shunned it, lest I should hate tender green bloom toward whom they my fellow-man, who can, unnecessarily might reach, and clematis rioting over and in pure wantonness, destroy in one and binding together in flowery chains hour what he cannot replace in a lifeall the shrubs and weeds and young trees.
time. What happiness to dwell in the grounds Nor was that the full measure of sufferof the “shiftless " farmer! Since tidi- ings inflicted on the lane - and me. That ness, with most cultivators, means the beautiful green passageway happened to VOL. LXXVII. - NO. 463.
be a short cut from the meadow, and retiring. In my daily walk they were horse-rake and hay-wagon made the not so easily found ; indeed, sometimes ravage complete. The one crushed and they were not to be seen at all.
When dragged out every sweet-growing thing I did discover them, they seemed very spared by the previous devastators, and much engaged in private affairs, with no the other defiled with wisps of dead time for displays of any sort. No more grass every branch that reached over its droll performances on the treetop, no grateful shade. It was pitiful, as much more misleading antics in the blackfor the exhibition thus made of a man's berries; the days of frolic were over, insensible and sordid existence, as for the the sober duties of life claimed all their laceration of my feelings and the actual energies, and they went about silently ruin wrought.
and stealthily. Of course I was sure A pleasanter theme is the love-making something had happened to induce this in which I chanced to catch the beautiful change,
change, - no doubt nestlings, and a but bewildering pair in the blackberry great and absorbing determination grew bushes. Madam, hopping about an old in my mind to find that nest, if I suffered apple-tree, was apparently not in the least in body and estate from every bush in interested in her lover, who followed af- the patch. ter, in comical fashion, with ludicrous Let the story of my encounter be and truly chatlike antics, every feather veiled in oblivion. Suffice it to say that raised, crouching, with head turned this perseverance under such difficulties deway and that and neck stretched out, and served, and met, reward. In due time changing his position at every hop with I saw the bird fit away, and my eyes the most dramatic action. If modern fell upon the nest. No birds, but four theories are true, and bird eccentricities pearls of promise within. of dress and behavior are assumed to
“Think on the speed, and the strength, and the please and win the mate, what must we glory, think of the taste of our demure little sis- The wings to be, and the joyous life, ters in feathers ?
Shut in those exquisite secrets, she brooded." Did I ever assert that the chat is shy? I looked, but did not touch; and I deThen am I properly punished for not parted content. A few days later I made appreciating his individuality, by having another call. Again I flushed the mo to admit that this pair possessed not a ther from the nest, and this time looked trace of the quality. The singer seemed upon a brown mass of wriggling baby to be always on exhibition ; and as for chats. Meanwhile, since life had become his spouse, though she performed no evo- so serious, the chat sobered down into the lutions, she came boldly into sight, pos- dignified head of a family, and joined tured in the most approved Delsartian his mate in hard work from morning till style, uttered a harsh purr or jerked out night. a “mew,” with a sidewise fling of her But summer days were passing. Danhead which showed the inside of her delion ghosts lined the paths, wild roses mouth to be black, — all for my benefit, dropped their rosy pink and appeared and without the slightest embarrassment. in sombre green, and meadow lilies She made it obvious to the dullest un- peeped out from every fence corner. A derstanding that while she did not like few days after my grand discovery, I spies, nor approve of human curiosity in went one evening to the blackberry tanneighborhood matters, she was not in the gle, and was greeted by gleeful shouts least afraid.
and calls from the bird of late so silent. As the days passed on, a change crept There he was, his old self, his recent over the chat family ; they became more reserve all gone. My heart fell ; I sus