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A CONCISE ABRIDGMENT OF NATURAL HISTORY.
family held a distinguished rank. At the Constantine, desirous of employing a part age of twenty-five years she brought into of his riches in building churches, priothe world the immortal Constantine.-cipally in the Holy Land, Heleva seized, Though Helena was tenderly beloved by with transport, the opportunity of visiting her husband, yet when he was created the sacred place. During the course of Cæsar in conjunction with Galerius Maxi- | her voyage, she did not pass a sivgle day min, he was compelled by the orders of without satisfying her fervent charity. In Dioclesian and Maximin, then Emperors, one place she gave money to the poor, at to repudiate her.
another garments: many did she deliver Helena remained in ignorance of the true from prison, many from the painful slavery God till her son Constautive ascended the of working in the mines, and others from throne, and it was to him she owed her the misery of exile. On her arrival at Je. conversion. She was then sixty-four years rusalem she caused the temple of Venus to of age ; and she instructed a considerable be pulled downl, which had been erected pumber of Pagans in the Christian faith, on Mount Calvary; and underneath, it is amongst whom were several members of | said, she discovered fragments of wood the imperial family. Tenderly attached from the Cross of Christ, of which she sent to her grandson Crispus, whom Constan a considerable quantity to Constantine, totine his father bad created Cæsar, Helena | gether with the tails, and she remained could not forbear to complain bitterly of some time in Palestine to build the superb the injustice of the Emperor in putting i church of the Holy Sepulchre. She super. this young Prince to death, who gave the intended the works of the other cburches fairest promise of becoming all that was that the Emperor ordered to be built at great. Constantine, who never departed Bethlehem and on the Mount of Olives, in from the respect be owed his mother, || honour of Christ's ascension, and the place judged of the extent of his crime by the sanctified by his birth. tears and anguish of Helena, and sought Heleva rejoined the Emperor at the end to console her by decorating her with the of the year 327, and expired soon after, title of Empress: he had also her image surrouuded by her grandchildren, amongst engraven on the gold coin of the empire, whom were two Cæsars. Her body was and gave up to her the disposal of all carried to Rome, and buried amongst those his treasures. Helena only made use of of the Emperors. Her funeral was celethis privilege to distribute blessings among brated by her son, with every outward the indigent, and to ornament the sacred pomp and mark of magnificence, and a suvessels of the different churches. Modest perb monument erected to her memory. in her elevated state, she never appeared | She had lived to be above fourscore years in public in gorgeous apparel, but was clothed in the most plain and simple manner.
A CONCISE ABRIDGMENT OF NATURAL HISTORY;
IN A SERIES OF LETTERS FROM A LADY TO HER DAUGHTER.
and has not unfrequently found its way MY DEAR CAROLINE,-I shall now into cellars, in order to supply itself with introduce to you an animal, 'the victim of food, or as a shelter from the cold. In the mistaken prejudice, whose aspect is more early part of spring it retires, like the frog, loathsome than the frog, but whose timidity, to the waters, where it deposits its eggs, harmlessness, and usefulness, in destroying which, when batched, are like the tadpoles noxious insects and poisonous weeds, give of frogs, and go through much the same it every claim to our protection; this is changes. The most remarkable thing in
this unsightly creature's history is its longe THE TOAD.
vity-its life generally extending to fifteen I is found in gardens, woods, and fields, ll or twenty years; and we have very au.
thentic records communicated to the writers, of the toad, who will swallow down dozens of natural history, of a toad, in Devon- of spiders, without being affected by any shire, having lived, in a kind of domestic venom : but lizards, after biting a toad, state, for above forty years: it had laid bave been known to become paralyzed, aside that shyness which is its peculiar cha- and to appear dead for as much as two racteristic, and would come out of its hole hours; a dog, too, bolding a toad, after be regularly, at the approach of its master, in has seized it, a little while in his mouth, order to be fed: it grew to an immense will be affected with a slight swelling on size, equal to those I have myself-seen in his lips, and the saliva will run profusely the island of Jersey, and which are enor from his mouth; yet this is nothing more mous; they would impede our paths, by than from the acrimonious acid which the half-dozens, when we took our evening toad exudes from the skin, whenever it is walks in the pleasant green lanes, which frightened or agitated : be assured, then, my render Jersey, were it not for these evening dear Caroline, that the common toad is a nuisances, a delightful summer island: but creature perfectly innoxious. the poor things are quite harmless, and Ugly as this creature may appear, its were much more fearful of us, I believe, eyes, perhaps, are the most beautiful of any thap we (especially if we made use of our other living creature. They are of unreason) could be of them : the most unplea common brilliancy, and are surrounded by sant sensation they caused me was, when la reddish gold-coloured iris; and the pupil, happened to set my foot on one of them; || when contracted, appears transverse. for the toad is extremely susceptible of The most extraordinary circumstance atfear, and not nimble like the frog.
tending this animal is, its having been found Curious stories are told of the enmity of inclosed, or imbedded, without any seemthe spider to the toad; Erasmus, whom I ing passage for air, not only in woody should be sorry to doubt, relates the follow substances, but even in blocks of stone ing story :
and marble. Dr. Shaw, the famous zoo. “A monk had in his chamber several logist, expresses his doubts on that subject; bundles of green rushes, wherewith to and thinks, if a toad had been so overtaken strew his chamber at his pleasure. One
as to have been inclosed by the growth of day, after dinner, he fell asleep on one of wood, it yet could ouly live so long as there those bundles, with his face upward; and was some passage for air, and, of course, while be slept, a great toad came and sat for the ingress of insects on which it could on his mouth. When some of his comrades occasionally feed. A curious experiment saw this, they knew not how to act; for it was made by a Monsieur Herrisant, bewas then the foolish belief, that to pull longing to the French academy, which raaway the toad would have been certain ther makes me willing to embrace the opi. death to them, so prejudiced was the igno- nion of Dr. Shaw. In the year 1771, on rant people against the poor animal; but pulling down a wall at a seat belonging to then, to let her stand on the monk's mouth the Duke of Orleans, and which had been was worse than death. One of them spy- | built forty years, a living toad, it was assert. ing a spider's web in the window, whereined, had been found in it; its hind feet comwas a large spider, advised that the monk pletely imbedded in the mortar. M. Herrishould be carried to that window, and laid sant, therefore, in the presence of the acawith his face right under the spider's web.demicians, inclosed three toads in as many As soon as the spider saw the toad, she di- | boxes, which were immediately covered rectly wove her thread, and descended un with a thick coat of mortar, and kept in it down upon the toad, when she so se the apartments of the academy. On openverely wounded it, at three different times, | ing these boxes eighteen months after. that it swelled and died."
wards, two of the toads were found still This tale, though from such good author- living; these were immediately re-inclosed; ity, I must say, I feel inclined to doubt.-- || but on being again opened three months That there is an enmity between the com- | after, were found dead. These experimon toad and the spider, is beyond a doubt; | ments cannot be regarded as conclusive, but then it appears to be more on the side Il and only serve to shew, that the toad, like
other amphibia, can support a long absti- come, sometimes, more remarkable than the nence, and requires but a very small quan principal fabric. To speak yet more nartity of air.
rowly, there never was any thing ugly or You start--you shudder-you look with misshapen but the chaos: wherein, nota kind of borror on the toad; nor are you withstanding, to speak strictly, there was singular in this respect; I am sorry to say, no deformity, because no form ; nor was it that many very sensible people have been yet impregnate by the voice of God. Now guilty of feeling the same antipathy against nature is not at variance with art, por art this poor, defenceless, and inoffensive crea with nature; they being both the servants ture: you, like a silly girl, when I have of his Providence. Art is the perfection of tried to reason you out of your repugnance, ! nature; were the world now as it was on have always cried out, “ Oh! but it is so the sixth day, there were yet a chaos.ugly!" Let me conclude this subject with Nature hath made one world, and art anthe remarks of an elegant writer of the other. In brief, all beings are artificial; seventeenth century, and treasure them up for nature is the art of God." in your memory, deducing from them a re In my next letter I will give you some quisite aud important lesson.--" There is a account of your favourite amphibia, the general beauty in the works of God, and, lizard tribe. Continue to improve yourself therefore, no deformity in any kind or spe- under your worthy governess, for the short cies of creature whatsoever : I cannot tell time that you will now be under her fosterby what logic we call a toad, a bear, or an ing care : few women who undertake the elephant, ugly; they being created in those education of youth are so well qualified by outward shapes and figures, which best ex depth of understanding, elegant manners press the actions of their inward forms. and accomplishments, with true maternal And having past that general visitation of tenderness, for the arduous task; emulate God, who saw that all that he had made her virtues, and strive to attain ber acquirewas good, that is conformable to his will, ments, and you will fulfil every wish of your which abhors deformity, and is the rule of fond and affectionate mother, order and beauty; nature so ingeniously
ANNA. contriving the irregular parts, as they be.
“What charms can this, as it is called,, hundreds passed us; and who, like us, the gay world, have for you? You, who have victims of satiety, came in search of novelty glided through all its mazes, and enjoyed where that deity was least likely to be its pleasures, even to satiety? Leave, then, found-at the edge of the basin, or the a place no longer endeared to you, either beaten track from Piccadilly to St. James's by friendship or by love, and retire to gate: whose faces I had viewed from year scenes more congenial with that time of to year-altered, indeed, somewhat by time, life to which you are arrived a time of and, like the streamers and ribbands on life which longs for repose; and, with a their bonnets, were still of the same matelittle world of your own, make some pas-l, rial as they were twenty years ago, but va. toral spot your home, where you may be ried in colour by time or circumstance.hold what you never have beheld the sun What! leave the charms of town? the rise and set in all its magnificence. Except | Theatre? the Opera ? and continued vawhen your body and mind have been under riety? Yes, we were not long in taking the dominion of enervation, you have re Meanwell's advice. A chaise was soon at tired to your rest at a time when Covent our door, for the baggage was not long Garden's laborious sons are beginning the knocking dowu to the best bidder, and my day of labour."— This was the advice of || better half, a designation I am wont to give Meanwell, as we sat together in ove of the her when in my best humour, bad vot a capacious chairs of the Green Park, wherell murmur of dissent; and a few weeks saw
us settled in a pleasant house pot far from, of poverty, not prudence; and my wife's
boovet, à la Flora, purchased at Madame To one who had scarce ever emigrated de Chevin's, in Paris, was deciared to be a farther than Richmoud, or beheld a molefright, because, at that time, it was the or a viper, except at Exeter 'Change, it was first arrival in Cno wonder if, at first sight, the country
To six months time we were left to our seemed, in the commencement of autumn, own cogitation, and, like the jessamine at the only desirable place of existence To our door, 10 “ waste our sweetness in the the admirer of picturesque scenery, the
desert air." As one of my alives for resublimity of the views rouud K-could tiring to the couutry was economny, silly not fail to fill the heart with the most en mau that I was, I confessed it; and rather thusiastic pleasure; in fact, at first we ac choosing to act frankly than muvolve myself tually trod on fairy ground-the Regent's in an air of mysteriousness, or by living as Park was nothing to it. But views cannot others did, run headlong into ruin, i bad always be enjoyed : rain will fall-books the courage to give such omers as my will tire—and, as I am Deither painter mor forefathers were glad to give, and such as poet, I did sometimes long for Hook hani's, the forefai hers of those, who now turned the Ring, and Almack's rooms.
It is good
up their nose at it, could never taste.to know some one, said my wife, just to At first, the hop merchant's wife, whoni I vary the scene: so we returued the many could not shut out, for she would play at calls we had been honoured with, and ac friendship, pretended that my meals were cepted some of the many civilities slowered the only ones for comfort; but she, with upon us, as new comers.
the lawyer, whose father was once a reWe had hoped to find in the connection spectable shoemaker, now came no more, wbich we thus made, if it were not the very and a power of professions were all forgot. first in point of consequence, it were, at
ten. I returned them to him, for I kuew least, so in intellect. As I had deterioined, he would waut them at the next general before I left the capital, to avoid the over election ; aud now when I offer my mution growu and wealthy tradesmen, and rather and plain port, I save it through the medi. to encourage the acquaintance of such per um of a prior engagement, sons whose miuds were well cultivated : Sometimes, indeed, a newly-arrived cu• in this, my prejudices pointed out the sub rate, or the surgeon, will condescend to altern in the army, the half-pay vary offi taste my beef; and the exciseman wunders cer, or the vicar; in one word, men who I never invite him ; but as ) war, and war could vever raise my envy, whose talents I only, with vulgarity and rudeness, he inust could love to see rewarded, and who would excuse me; the man, I am toid, woullers not tempt me, by their style of living, to at this, because, he says, he is a richer man outrun the constable ; and from whom I than I am. Several others came, but as I might gain the advantages of the know-fouud I had beeu harbouring facetious ledge of science they could impart to me. spies, I no longer invited those who came But, alas! I found that the dissipated habits only to report progress of the new comer. of London, at serood hand, had reached : Reckless, at length, of joming any parties this quiet spot. The wealth of trade had but those in which I might encounter my corrupted the place ; every one was striving wiue-merchant or my lwen draper, who for the top of the ladder, aud kicking away
were uneducated men, I chose to stay at the steps which had raised them. The so home I was, at first, surprised to bind the cial and frugal meal for two or three, with il company of these meu courted by those a few glasses of port, was discarded for a whose family was much superior to my dinner of three cousses, with Freuch wines, ow, but I forgot that where the honey is, and ten couple; and by the time we had there will the thies be also : and finding i beeu here four months, no one dined with could not obtain the society i wished for, I us again, and few cared to visit me, who applied to my owu resources for amuse. appeared veither willing to Hatter their ca ment. There was, however, I acknow. pacities, nor add to their cousequence. My || ledge, some cause for this to the new thread-bare coat was set duwu for the effect Il settler. I had been guilty of many very No. 114.-Vol. XVIII.
imprudent actions. I had differed in opi-, mine arrived from abroad.
His figure, nion with many, on things I had seen, and which is not like mine, extremely short and which they had not. I could not assent to meagre, has a dignified air; the hard sertheir criticisms on literature, music, or the vices which he has seen has embrowped drama-criticisms wbich they drew from his cheeks, which, with his style of dress, the partial newspapers they had taken the has given him a foreign air-but it is that trouble to read-the Courier, the Exu
of a travelled gentleman. I made a few miner; it is true I opposed to these the sacrifices on his account-gave a dinner of Weekly Messenger, but I pinned not my
two courses to get him connection-and entire faith on the sleeve of the editor of this encouraged him to attend the racethis, although I knew his opinion was often ball, gaily dressed ; to this he had append. irrefragable: and I was condemned to hear
ed the order of some foreign club: this those artists suspected of a want of talents,
was, perhaps, silly, but he is yet a young which I had been taught to idolize in Lon
man; and the wish to be respectable among don-suspected of a want of abilities, by strangers
, may be construed into an unparthose who had never seen the effect of donable weakness. I was, immediately, their exertions. Besides this, I was con
however, elevated to the dignity of brother victed of being seen walking with the edi- to a foreign knight. In vain I told them tor of a paper, and arn-in-arm with a he was only the son of a private gentleman: painter. No wonder, then, that we were -he was overwhelmed with attentions; left to our own insignificance; and if any while the many apologies showered on my passing stranger demanded who we were,
wife for past coolnesses, were highly divertno one acknowledged us, save our butcher | ing. Where, then, was it that all the reand our baker, whose bills we were un straint, deemed once so proper to strangers, fashionable enough to pay. However, we had melted away? I was wearied with in• only became, in consequence of this, better troducing persons to my august brother : customers to the music shop. I blew my | the girls were mad to dance with him—the flute till I went vearly into a consumption, | mammas to talk to him. He received an and then
Delia accompanied my voice invitation to a ball, at a great house, where on her piano; almost as well as any young || I had never been ; a card for a dinner party, Jady could here.
from a total stranger; nay, a general invi. I do not say that envy, hatred, and || tation from Mrs. Prolific and her six daughmalice, reign with more arbitrary sway in ters; and my wife was offered the use of that the country than in London, but I will say || lady's carriage, at all times and all seasons. that the mind, undiverted by the every day | But, to conclude, will it be believed, that occurrences of a market-town, has more my brother, after all this, after declaring time to cultivate the bad passions, and the honours he bore were only those of a where there is a stronger competition for private club, put on for a youthful frolic, consequence, it will exert itself for mas.
was still adored, because unbelieved he tery; and that the person unoccupied by a
But, alas! in a few days came a variety of objects, will make employment | frost-a cutting frost. The waiter of his for itself in scandal and slander. In the inn had declared, that he was always dicountry, the idler will live a month upon an rected to, plain Mr. Nickintop. The postintrigue or an elopement. In London, so master corroborated this, as did also Wilmany incidents follow each other, that the liam. He is now passed unnoticed; and breath has scarce time to dilate on each re the frippery of what was thought a foreigo volving circumstauce: he requires not the court, has for ever deprived him of expeminutiæ of circumstance to entertain him, riencing the notice of what he is entitled because a fresh tale is every day thrown to-as the son of a private gentleman, and out, to entertain the whole of public opi a man of no contemptible property and atnion. But to return: I had resided here tainments. about thirteen months, when a brother of