« EdellinenJatka »
me, he made the signal of silence, and then beckoning me to approach—inquired, in a soft whisper, whether I did not hear the sparrows hum? I told him, that I did indeed hear a humming noise ; but believed, that it proceeded from a solitary bee, which was hovering over the adjoining shrubs. Chagrined at my discovery, the Baronet turned from me, in displeasure, and went into the house.
Many were the visits, which, in the course of this day, were made to the new hive. It was soon discovered, that the sparrows had been so far impelled by the pressure of ea:isting circumstances, as to go abroad in the morning, in quest of necessary food; and it was hoped by the philosophers, that, as is the custom of bees, they would return before the decline of day, to deposit their yellow spoils. But, alas ! faiiacious is the hope of mortals The shades of evening arrived, and night succeeded, spreading her dark mantle over the face of Nature, but not a sparrow appeared 1
Miss Ardent, whose knowledge extends to all the particulars of rural economy, on perceiving the vexation of her brother, suggested the idea, that the sparrows had probably swarmed on some tree in the neighbourhood, where they might remain in safety till the following day; “and then,” continued she, “if they shew any inclination to fly off, they may easily be fixed, by beating the fryingpans, as they do to a swarm of bees.”
This hint from Miss Ardent, re-kindled the expiring flame of hope in the breasts of the philosophers.—Next morning, which proved a very rainy one, word was brought, that a number of the fugitives were seen in a hawthorn-tree, at the bottom of the lawn—thither the philosophers instantly repaired, each armed with some culinary instrument, which, as soon as they reached the place, they began to beat, in such a manner as might have arrested the Sun in the entrance of the jaws of the Crocodile !
Lost was the labour of the philosophers who, in this instance, exerted their talents in vain. Instead of gathering together in a cluster as was expected, no sooner did the discordant sounds from the instruments of the philosophers reach the hearing of the sparrows, than away they flew to another tree. Thither they were again pursued, but still the more noise that was made, the less did the sparrows seem inclined to listen. The master of the bees, declared, that he had never seen a swarm so unmanageable :
Wet, and wearied, Sir Caprice and his learned guests, at length returned into the house. Miss Ardent, and Mr. Axiom, thought it a good opportunity to laugh at the system of the young philosopher; who, on his part, defended the infallibilty of his Idol, by declaring, that the experiment had not been fully made :-that the habits of old sparrows were not easily conquered;—but that young ones, or young birds of any kind, he was still convinced, if taken before their habits were sufficiently formed, would be
WOL. II. 13
found to obey the necessity of existing circumstances, exactly as did the little useful insects, of whose instinctive sagacity, ignorance had said so much. The hint was not lost upon the Baronet. A reward for nestlings, of every description, was again offered: and again attended with the wished-for success.-Ah! how many loving pairs among the feathered tribes, were, for the sake of this experiment, bereft of their infant families : The groves resounded with the plaints of woe But little pain did the sorrows of the mourners give to the heart of the young systemist. By his advice the little birds, after having had their bills rubbed with honey, were shut up in the hive, with a portion of the same sweet food, for their subsistance. On the evening of the third day, which was the conclusion of their destined term of probation, the entrance to the hive was opened, but not a bird came forth; every method was taken to entice them abroad— but in vain. At length, by the assistance of the servants, their habitation was so far raised, as to enable the philosophers to take a peep within. Sight of horrours! and smell, still worse than the sight ! The lifeless corses of the three hundred half-fledged nestlings lay at the bottom of their hive, in a promiscuous heap.–“They have effectually swarmed at last !” said Mr. Axiom.— Neither the Baronet, nor the young philosopher staid to make any remark—but every one putting his fingers to his nose—impelled by the necessity of existing circumstances, hurried from the dismal scene.” Such, Maandaara, are the illusive phantoms which the all pervading spirit, the sovereign Maya, presents to the perception of metaphysical Philosophers : May Ganesa, averting calamity, preserve to thee the use of thy senses : And may the poojah performed for thy friend, by the holy Bramins of Almora, preserve his mind from the contamination of systems : What can I say more ?