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things were every instant catching my attention, and enchaining my observation. Butterflies became abundant, especially the very beautiful little Hairstreaks (Thecla), species of great delicacy and beauty, whose hind wings end in one or two lengthened tags. They are frisky little creatures, very fond of chasing each other through the air, and tumbling about with surprising quickness of evolution. When at rest, they often rub the surfaces of the hind wings upon each other, up and down alternately, and after a flight often return, like the flycatchers among birds, to the same spot from whence they departed—a projecting twig, or the topmost leaf of a bush. They were chiefly of one species (Thecla falacer, Boisd.), accompanied by several Polyommati. I did not find the Theclæ numerous anywhere, but at that particular spot near King's Landing.
Beautiful flowers, of varied colours and fragrant perfume, thronged the edges of the forest, and the road-side : especially in the corners of the fences, which are almost wholly made of rails set up in the zigzag fashion so general in the north, commonly called a Virginia fence. In the angles of these fences, there is always a dense and rank mass of vegetation, and many handsome flowers attain a luxuriance there which is not seen elsewhere. The beautiful scarlet woodbine (Caprifolium sempervirens) grew in profuse splendour among the bushes; its flowers being no less remarkable for fragrance than for elegance of form, and brilliancy of colour. I found that it possessed attractions not only for man; for having gathered a spike, it was visited, even while in my hand, by a fine yellow butterfly (Colias Eubule, Boisd.) which instantly began probing the deep tubular blossoms with its sucker; so eager was it to gratify its appetite, that without any trouble I caught it in my fingers.
Many romantic spots occurred in the course of my walk, especially where some little brook crossed the road, making, where it emerged from and again entered the forest, pretty shady glens, so sombre with the bushes, whose over-arching tops touched each other overhead, and whose verdant and leafy branches seemed like an impenetrable wall, that the rays of an almost vertical sun were effectually shut out.
In these cool retreats—and I saw several such-the Emerald Virgin Dragon-fly (Agrion Virginica) delights to dwell. All the Dragon-fly tribe, being water-insects in their first stages, are observed to prefer hawking in the vicinity of water, as affording in abundance the prey which they pursue ; but the open pond, or broad river, is most generally their resort. But he who would see
the Emerald Virgin must go to some such hidden brook as I have described, over which as it flows silently, in a deep soft bed of moss of the richest green, or brawls over a pebbly bottom, with impotent rage, three or four of these lovely insects may be seen at almost any hour on any summer day. It is, indeed, a fly of surpassing elegance and beauty; the male, especially, whose long and slender body is of a metallic green, so refulgent that no colour can convey an idea of it. This green hue becomes a deep blue, if held so as to reflect the rays of light falling on it, at a very obtuse angle--a property common to the green hue of many insects, and some birds. The eyes are glossy, round, and prominent; the wings broad, filmy, and minutely netted, of a uniform purplish black. The female might easily be supposed to be of a different species: it is much duller in colour, the body being nearly black, having little of the bright-green reflection; the wings are browner, and they are all marked with a rhomboidal white stigma, near the tip, which is wholly wanting in the male. Their mode of flight is graceful, but rather slow, so that they are easily captured ; and they will not leave these their favourite haunts even though pursued. I have no doubt they are born and die within the limited space of a few yards.
The refreshing coolness of these wild woodland-bowers was so tempting that I could not resist taking refuge in them from the burning heat without ; and thus I contracted an acquaintance with these “demoiselles." I encountered a stream, however, of higher pretensions --Mush Creek—which I crossed by means of a very primitive bridge, the trunk of a tall forest-tree, which had been cut down so as to fall across. On this tree, basking in the sun, lay a large snake, of a dusky-brown hue, about four feet in length, which, on my disturbing it, instantly plunged into the middle of the stream, and dived to the bottom. As the water was turbid, I saw no more of it. It was, no doubt, the species commonly called the Copper-belly (Coluber porcatus, Bosc.), which is numerous, but harmless. I afterwards observed a snake, probably of the same species, swimming swiftly in a clear stream, close to the surface, but entirely submerged; occasionally it stopped, protruding its head and neck about the surface to look about.
In the fields of some large estates through which the road led, I saw, for the first time, negro-slaves performing the labours of agriculture. They were ploughing between two rows of cotton, which was just appearing above ground. The ploughs appeared to me to be rude and ineffective, the share doing little
more than scratching the soil : each was drawn by a single mule.
It was revolting to me to observe women engaged in this laborious occupation, whose clothing-if the sordid rags which futtered about them deserve the name—was barely sufficient for the claims of decency. Poor wretches ! whose lot is harder than that of their brute companions in labour ! for they have to perform an equal amount of toil, with the additional hardships of more whipping and less food. But perhaps you will say that I am not yet competent to speak on this subject :-perhaps I am not, therefore I defer it till a longer residence here has given me opportunities of more mature observation.
To return, then, to the wild and the free. Within a neglected pasture-field lay the carcase of a hog, which already diffused far and wide an odour anything but delectable. On this delicate morsel a pair of those obscene but useful vultures, the Turkey Buzzards (Cathartes aura), were regaling themselves; but, on my approach, they threw out their sable wings, and, lazily rising, flew slowly and heavily to a neighbouring tree, where, out of danger, they could still keep their banquet in view, and from whence they doubtless descended as soon as the coast was clear.
Both raspberries (Rubus idæus) and strawberries (Fragaria Virginiana) I found ripe on the banks beside the road; but I understand they are now going out of season.
I was the more pleased to see them, as being old acquaintances, and reminding me of the north.
Beguiled by these not very important but pleasing observations, a few only of which I have attempted to recount to you, rendered tenfold more interesting by the charm of absolute novelty that attended everything here, the day waned away unperceived. When I arrived at the hospitable mansion of my friend, the afternoon was considerably advanced ; and I found that I had accomplished the tortoise-pace of one mile per hour. Here, however, I am at length writing to you these rough notes of my woodland ramble. If it afford you half as much pleasure to read it as it afforded me to walk it, I shall feel well repaid. I regret that I had not arrived here a couple of months earlier : the opening of the spring is the most interesting season of the year, when after a suspension, more or less absolute of activity and life, all nature springs into fresh existence : the gate of Eden is as it were reopened, and birds, insects, and flowers, renew their Creator's praise. The commencement of this activity I have unfortunately missed : I have come in the very height of the spring, if it be not already verging into summer. However, be it mine to notice what still remains to be observed, instead of regretting that which is past, and which cannot be recalled.
P. H. G.
CHRISTMAS MORN IN SWEDEN.
I had fallen asleep at last on that Christmas night. When I awoke the white clear light that had filled my room was gone. I knew the morning had begun, and started up to light the lamp; it was already half past five o'clock. My Swede was to come at six to take me, as he said, to see the churches. I was ready then.
Thoughts, that can travel swifter even than electric telegraphs, had already gone to a dear and distant land ; had already been breathed still further—to heaven—from whence a blessing might be sent where I could only send a thought.
Then there was the slipshod sound of goloshes coming up the long stone stairs. Men never go without goloshes here, as much from fear of dirtying floors within doors as from fear of cold without them. A fine young English officer caused my hostess to shake her head by entering my rooms without having a pair of goloshes at the door.
“Ah, these English !” said she, "what a droll people they are ! They go without goloshes."
However in the present case the goloshes were duly stepped out of in the little shut-up hall, or corridor; and then as I was in an inner room and could not be seen from the outer one, a voice spoke out there and said
“I told my brother, madame, yesterday, that he must say to you what they always say in England at Christmas time, that is, "My compliments of the season to you!' but I forgot to say it to you myself when I was with you on Christmas-eve. I hope you will pardon me, madame.”
“Oh, it is time enough to say it. Christmas-day, not Christmas-eve, is our great festival," I answered from the other room.
"Is it so? oh,” said the punctilious Swede, quite relieved, " then I will say it now, if you will allow me.”
will allow me.” So the tall figure drew itself up, and making a very low bow to the door, said, "My compliments of the season to you, madame."
And I came to the door, and making an equally low courtesy, said as formally, “My compliments of the season to the Royal Secretary ;" for that was the good man's office, and it is by the title or office, and not the name, that Swedes must be addressed.
Being then quite convinced that we had maintained the English fashions, he offered his arm to conduct me out on the icy staircase, and bitterly-chilling passage.
It was now much darker than at night. We went over the frozen streets; the firm snow, that lay an immense depth upon them, crackled crisply beneath our tread. Many figures were moving through them; ladies with women-servants carrying lanterns were hurrying to church ; it is one of the rules of Swedish propriety that a lady cannot or should not, walk out after nightfall without a lantern: if the streets were in a glare of light—if the moon shone clearer than the sun at noonday now often does—if the Northern Lights shoot their gloriously coloured radiancy along the elevated horizon, this symbol of female respectability must precede a lady's steps, casting its bewildering glare upon your eyes. I made the royal secretary a substitute for the lantern, and thus enjoyed the scene without suffering its inconvenience; for even the streaming light of these lanterns on the snow and ice is a charm, the more to a stranger like myself.
All the Stockholmers seemed to be astir. Wolf- and dog-skin clad coachmen were waiting, half-frozen, beside their carriages; but most persons were on foot; scarcely a sledge was yet in motion, nor was the musical tingle of their bells yet heard. A flood of light guided us to the first church. There was no gas, and therefore the aspect was the more curious. That immense church was literally studded with candles, common tallow candles, which flared and glared in the cutting air.
Sweden, being an exclusively Protestant country, the churches more nearly resemble ours than other churches on the Continent do. But the pillars of this church were wreathed with candles, the galleries bore a double line of them : the brilliant altar with its fine picture and enormous candlestick, as well as the gilt and decorated pulpit, shone in candle-light. I think I counted more then twenty before the altar : in fact, the whole church was dressed with lighted candles, just as ours are at Christmas with holly and ivy.
But if the profusion of candles was extraordinary, that of human beings was more so. An entrance within the church was difficult when we arrived, and before many minutes passed, I could see, far down the street and around the door, a mass of people either trying to move on or standing quietly anxious at the porch.