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the cloud-formed bow of iris.* We are often reminded that Lord Bacon uncovered his head to the rain. I will out-do the reverent lover of Nature by offering homage to the rainbow. I rejoice in the prismatic glitter of its million disjointed water drops, for the rain is a present harmony emblematic of the eternal harmony in which all created things are as component colours. How much more homage, and of another sort, shall we pay to Him who, having created all things in wisdom, now sitteth on the throne judging His creatures in righteousness, while holding the universe in the hollow of His hand?
*Captain Scoresby was the first to use a telescope to view the prismatic hues of dew on a grass-plot, and the method is one of the prettiest ever devised in the study of natural philosophy.
FIDO and I have been companions so many years that we have learnt each other's language, and have succeeded in establishing between us a telegraphic system, as a resource upon occasions when language is of no avail. We are just now enjoying the warmth of the fire, and the light of the lamp, quite ready for fun, if either should give the hint; yet sedate and quiet, and mutually thoughtful. Fido has serious objections to the noise the birds make. He dares not attempt to put a stop to it. He bears with it for my sake; but I know, by his looks, that he wishes the birds were fast asleep, as they were an hour ago, when all was quiet, and we were taking tea together in the lower room. There is a drop of bitterness in the cup of life given to every creature, and the drop in Fido's cup is to see my attention divided when the birds wake up at lamp light, and make a polyglot fuss and clatter. Old Poll is exercising her lungs in selling bonnet boxes, and calling me an "Old Silly." The canaries are singing lustily one against the other, having enjoyed an hour's nap in the dark, during tea-time. "Trot," the sulphurcrested cockatoo, has taken his usual license of springing on my shoulder, and tapping his great black horny beak
on the tip of my nose-a performance which we call "knocking at the door;" and "Rosy," the rose-billed parakeet, is having a noisy quarrel with Patty, the redheaded parakeet, about getting on the top link of the chain, which is suspended in the bird-room for their scansorial exercises. Rosy has touched the topmost link, and her long tail is in Patty's way of reaching it, so they are scolding each other most vociferously, and the excitement is shared by the rest of the family, and a terrible screaming and trumpeting is the result. It so happens that Trot is permitted to do things forbidden to the rest. He is allowed to pull my hair, nibble my ear, and thrust his mandibles into my waistcoat pocket, in a search for nuts; now that a small confusion has arisen, he joins the chorus, and is shouting at the top of his voice, and displaying his daffodil crest, like the war gear of a white Indian. Why I note these things is that they make Fido sad. Fido is jealous. Fido desires to monopolise my affections, and though he is on the best of terms, apparently, with the birds, I believe that in secret he would like to make savoury meat of them. But if some intruder were to enter the house in the night, and attempt to carry off one feathered pet from the family, would Fido rejoice to see one rival taken? Not he. Woe to the marauder while Fido has the use of his limbs and fangs. But this noise must be stopped, and it is but short work under my system of discipline. One smart clap of the hands will suffice to demand attention. There-all is quiet, and into their several cages they go with wonderful celerity. Even Trot is disposed of, for I am tired of his impudent fidgetting. Now it amuses
me to see the culprits looking through their prison bars with envious looks at Fido. Poll says, in a serious voice, "Naughty Dog." Betty says, "Hang that Fido ;" and my pretty, amiable, forgiving "Dyardac" (self-christened) whistles the chromatic scale in a low, sweet tone, as if engaged in a music lesson. Now Fido knows that certain speeches refer to him, and with a flip of his ears, he springs up with his fore-legs on my knee, and fixing his bright eyes full on mine, sets his tail wagging at a rate of rapidity which threatens to wag it off. Now Fido speaks. You, my reader, would call it "a whine;" but the words are, "You don't mean to hang Fido, do you?" Being in a mischievous mood, I pucker my mouth, frown slightly, and mutter "Well, we shouldn't miss him much, he's a noisy dog." Fido plunges forward with a force that nearly throws me from my seat; he is at my neck—not to harm me, but to put his warm face against mine, and say, in a louder tone than before, "You'd never forgive yourself." "No Fido, no; good dog."
Little events of this kind are fully as suggestive to me of the diversity of talents with which animals are gifted as the most curious anecdotes that abound in the books. If I am in the garden, and I tell Fido to the cap is brought me as a matter of course.
fetch my cap,
If I were in
a strange place, and threw down my purse, telling him to mind it, I should know it to be as safe as in my own pocket, though Fido is neither powerful, nor savage, nor best fitted for encounters, of all the dogs I know. The real source of enjoyment in companionships of this kind is the establishment of a mutual sympathy and under
standing; and I never kept an animal yet, not even a slow worm, but in course of time something of a mutual understanding was established, and thenceforward our communion bore more or less resemblance to a conversation. To talk with parrots and dogs is neither impossible nor difficult, but you must first learn to talk to them; after which the other is a work of time. The curious narratives that are related, as of the man who took a thorn from a lion's foot, and another who was on such terms with an oyster that it followed him about like a dog, have one common basis, the establishment of a conversational intimacy, if not in sounds, then by the language of the eyes. I am satisfied that Fido knows all my thoughts, and I am also satisfied that I know most of his; that is, so far as the thoughts of either party relate to things in which we are mutually interested. Now that our caresses are over, and the birds are getting drowsy again, Fido sees that I want half an hour's quiet, and he prepares himself to take a nap.
I like sitting here with these pretty creatures for an hour or two at night. The greetings I get on entering the room compensate for all the vexations and anxieties of the day; and I sit sometimes for hours, asking them mysterious questions about the origin of things, and the properties of life. I cannot say that their answers are such as can be written down literally as delivered, but they satisfy me, and if there is any one less perspicuous than the rest, Fido is interpreter, and explains the thing aright.
A friend who drops in at this moment with a message of good news asks me why I sit here, with a large fire