Sunday, February 19, 2006

26May1857, Nests and Eggs

FALCONHURST, May 26th, 1857.
—Mr. Hunt saw me again : went through some of the Commandments, and spoke about Amelia, whom he saw, and advised me to go on speaking to her. A very nice talk. We have got in the garden seven nests, all eggs except the linnet's. Besides those mentioned elsewhere, a coletit's lying on its side on the ground wherein we found first two, then three, then four, then five, and now six lovely eggs, pure white, with red spots on the thick end. And I found a perfect little chaffinch nest, in a Portugal laurel, with three eggs, and there is another with three eggs in a little cedar. There was a sparrow's near this one, but alas ! four pretty eggs disappeared mysteriously. We have taken the cuckoo's egg from the robin, for it would only turn the little robins out. Alack ! to-day an egg vanished from my nest, and horror of horrors ! abominable Gip, Edward's dog, caught and killed a darling linnet, now full-fledged and able to flutter about. A most mysterious event has happened with regard to the nest in the cedar. The three eggs were hatched a few days ago, first two, and then the third. Visiting it on Monday, I found but two birdlings, the nest weighed down on one side, and the third suspended by its poor little claw to a branch below, quite cold and dead. Having fully ascertained this tragical fact, and in vain tried to recall the little thing to life, I buried it, and settled to my Prescott's " Peru " in the library, when Behemoth and Cecil appeared frantically at the window. " Lucy ! Lucy ! it's alive, and we've put it back in the nest." " Alive ! " quoth I, " why I've buried it ! " They stuck to their assertion, having found a little nestling under the little cedar, in a weak state but alive, of exactly the appearance of the other two, which after a little warming, they put in the nest, where it recovered. Behemoth disinterred my little bird, and produced it studded with bits of mould, to prove the truth of my words. And the event remains a mystery, making us believe that take 1 from 3, 3 remain, or else, that transmigration of souls—and bodies too—exists among birds. . . .
(By the bye, I have had two rides with Edward, on a little mouthless, perverse creature, whom I force with some difficulty to follow my way, not her own.) We had a delightful picnic tea in the wood. Our own fire, boiling, etc.

No comments: