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to his drink : for he will take none but the cleare est water, and from rivulets with which be is acquainted.
in their earliest youth, asses are sprightly, and even handsome; but either from age or bad treatment, they soon become slow, indocile, and headstrong. Pliny tells us, that when the young one is taken from its mother, she will go through fire to recover it. The ass is also strongly attached to his master, uotwithstanding he is usually ill treated; he will smell him afar off, and can distinguish him from all other men; he also knows the places where he has lived, and the ways which he has frequented'; his eyes are good and his smell acute. His hearing is excellent ; which has contributed to his being numbered among timid animals. When he is overloaded, he shews his sense of the injury by lowering his head, and bending down his ears: when he is greatly abused, he opens bis month, and draws back his lips in a most disagreeable manner, which gives him an air of derision and scorn ; if his eyes are covered, he remains motionless.
The ass walks, trots, and gallops, like the horse; but all his motions are smaller, and much slower; not withstanding he can run with tolerable swiftness, he can gallop but a little way, and only for a small space of time, and whatever pace he uses,
if he is hard pressed, he is soon fatigued.
The ass is three or four years in growing, and lives twenty-five or thirty years. He sleeps less than the horse, and does not lie down to rest except when excessively tired.
NATURAL APPEARANCES OF THE YEAR AS DIS
PLAYED IN THE DIFFERENT MONTHS.
Civilized nations in general have agreed to date the commencement of the year on the first of January, within a few days after the wintersolstice, or shortest day, which always takes place on the 21st of December.
In the month of January, the weather in the British islands, is commonly either a clear dry frost; or fog and snow, occasionally intermingled with rain. Nothing can be more wonderful than the effects of frost; which, in the space of a single night, stops the running stream in its course, and converts the lake, that was curled by every breeze, into a firm plain.
Water when frozen is expanded; that is, it takes up more room than before. If a bottle of water, close corked, be set to freeze, the bottle will be broken for want of room for the water to expand in. Even cannons filled with water, plugged up at the muzzle and touch-hole, have been burst by an intense frost. This property of frost produces a beneficial effect to the farmer; for the hard clods of the ploughed field are loosened and broken to pieces by the swelling of the water within them when it freezes, and thus the earth is prepared for receiving the seed in spring.
The water of clouds freezing slowly, crys. tallizes in little icy darts or stars, forming by their assemblage the beautiful flakes of snow. Its whiteness is owing to the smallness of the particles into which it is divided, for ice when pounded becomes equally white. Snow is very useful by protecting the plants it covers, from the severity of the frost. Hail-stones are drops of rain suddenly congealed into a hard mass, so as to preserve their figure. They often fall in warmer seasons of the year, as even then,' the upper regions of the atmosphere are very cold. When dew or mist freezes, as it fre. quently does, on every object on which it falls, it becomes hoar frost, producing figures of incomparable beauty and elegance.
As the cold of this inclement season advances, the birds collect in flocks, and rendered bold by want, approach the habitations of man. The wild quadrupeds also are driven from their accustomed haunts; hares enter the gardens to browse on cultivated vegetables, and, leaving their tracks in the
snow, are frequently hunted down or caught in snares. The hen-roosts are pillaged by foxes, polecats, and other small beasts of prey, wbich breed in this country ; but, in these islands, we are happily unacquainted with the ravenous troops of wolves, bears, and other fierce creatures, which, urged by famine at this season of the year, often terrify the villages in the mountainous and woody regions on the continent.
The domestic cattle require all the care and protection of the farmer. Sheep are often lost in sudden storms, by which the snow is drifted into hollows so as to bury them a considerable depth beneath it; yet they have been known to survive many days in this situation. Cows receive their subsistence from the provision of the farm-yard; and early lambs and calves are kept within doors, and tended with nearly as much care as the farmer's own children.
The plants at this season are defended by nature from the effects of cold. Those called herbaceous, which die down to the root every autumn, are safely concealed under ground; and the shrubs and trees that are exposed to the open air, have all their soft and tender parts closely wrapped up in buds, which by their texture, resist the effects of frost, and are hence apıly termed by Linnæus, the hibernacula (or' winter-quarters) of the young shoots.