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dead and dying, was left in front of the Russian
oc-curred', took place; happened. mel'-an-chol-y cat-as'-troph-e, sad calamity.
Brig-a-dier', the officer who commands a brigade.
ef-fect'-ive, fit for duty.
re-doubt', a little fort into which
soldiers may retire for shelter. dis-cre'-tion, prudence; good sense. spec'-ta-cle, sight. belched, poured forth. di-min'-ished, lessened.
ac'-cur-a-cy, certainty of aim; correctness.
ha'-lo, an appearance like a circle or
gleam of light.
bat'-ter-ies, the places from which guns are fired. car'-cass-es, dead bodies.
sa'-bres, swords with broad and heavy blades, curved backwards at the point.
dem'-i-gods, beings endowed with
power more than human. re-treat', turn back. e-nor-mous, very great. en-coun'-ter, fight. cred'-ence, belief.
en-vel'-oped, surrounded and closed them in.
a-troc'-i-ty, great cruelty. par'-al-lel, thing equal or like. mis'-cre-ants, vile bad men. vol'-ley of grape and can' - is-ter,
the firing of the big guns loaded with shot like clusters of grapes, and of tin canisters with wooden bottoms filled with shot. rem'-nants, remains.
EXERCISES.-1. The Latin prefix extra- means beyond; as extraordinary, beyond ordinary; extramural, beyond or without the walls; excessive, beyond bounds; extravagant, going beyond bounds.
2. Analyse and parse the following: 'Demigods could not have done what they had failed to do.'
3. Make sentences of your own, and use in each one or more of the following words: Compel, occur, encounter, diminish.
BIRDS OF SPRING-I.
[The following extracts are by Richard Jefferies, author of the Gamekeeper at Home, Wild Life in a Southern County, and many other works, descriptive of the varied aspects of country life, and of the haunts and habits of wild animals. The extracts are from a paper contributed by him to Chambers's Journal.]
1. The birds of spring come as imperceptibly as the leaves. One by one the buds open on hawthorn and willow, till all at once the hedges appear green, and so the birds steal quietly into the bushes and trees, till by-and-by a chorus fills the wood, and each warm shower is welcomed with varied song. To many, the majority of spring
birds are really unknown; the cuckoo, the nightingale, and the swallow, are all with which they are acquainted, and these three make the summer. The loud cuckoo cannot be overlooked by any one passing even a short time in the fields; the nightingale is so familiar in verse that every one tries to hear it; and the swallows enter the towns and twitter at the chimney-top.
2. But these are really only the principal representatives of the crowd of birds that flock to our hedges in the early summer; and perhaps it would be accurate to
say that no other area of equal extent, either in Europe or elsewhere, receives so many feathered visitors. The English climate is the established subject of abuse, yet it is the climate most preferred and sought by the birds, which have the choice of immense continents.
3. Nothing that I have ever read of, or seen, or that I expect to see, equals the beauty and the delight of a summer spent in our woods and meadows. It is a delight made of green leaves and grass, and sunshine, blue skies, and sweet brooks. There is nothing to approach it; it is no wonder the birds are tempted to us. The food they find is so abundant, that after all their efforts, little apparent diminution can be noticed; to this fertile and lovely country, therefore, they hasten every year.
4. It might be said that the spring-birds begin to come to us in the autumn, as early as October, when hedge-sparrows and golden-crested wrens, larks, blackbirds, and thrushes, and many others, float over on the gales from the coasts of Norway. Their numbers, especially of the smaller birds, such as larks, are immense, and their line of flight so extended that it strikes our shores for a distance of two hundred miles. The vastness of these numbers, indeed, makes me question whether they all come from Scandinavia. That is their route; Norway seems to be the last land they see before crossing; but I think it possible that their original homes may have been farther still.
5. Though many go back in the spring, many individuals remain here, and rejoice in the plenty of the hedgerows. As all roads of old time led to Rome, so do bird-routes lead to these islands. Some of these birds appear to pair in November, and so have settled their courtship long before the crocuses of St Valen
tine. Much difference is apparent in the dates recorded of the arrivals in spring; they vary year by year, and now one and now another bird presents itself first.
6. One of the first noticeable in southern fields is the common wagtail. When his shrill note is heard echoing against the walls of the outhouses as he rises from the ground, the carters and ploughmen know that there will not be much more frost. If icicles hang from the thatched eaves, they will not long hang, but melt before the softer wind. The bitter part of winter is over.
7. The wagtail is a house-bird, making the houses or cattle-pens its centre, and remaining about them for months. There is not a farmhouse in the south of England without its summer pair of wagtails, not more than one pair as a rule, for they are not gregarious till winter; but considering that every farmhouse has its pair, their numbers must be really large.
8. Where wheatears frequent, their return is very marked; they appear suddenly in the gardens and open places, and cannot be overlooked. Swallows return one by one at first, and we get used to them by degrees. The wheatears seem to drop out of the
night, and to be showered down on the ground in the
morning. A white bar on the tail renders them conspicuous, for at that time much of the surface of the earth is bare and dark. Naturally birds of the wildest and most open country, they yet show no dread, but approach the houses closely. They are local in their habits, or perhaps follow a broad but well-defined route of migration; so that while common in one place, they are rare in others.
9. The hedge-sparrows, that creep about the bushes of the hedgerow as mice creep about the banks, are early in spring joined by the whitethroats, almost the first hedgebirds to return. The thicker the undergrowth of nettles and wild parsley, rushes and rough grasses, the more the whitethroat likes the spot. Amongst this tangled mass he lives and feeds, slipping about under the brambles and ferns as rapidly as if the way was clear.
EXERCISES.-1. The Latin prefix in- (which has also the forms il-, im-, ir-, em-, en-), before verbs, means in, into, upon; as inject, to throw into; illumine, to throw light on; import, to carry into; irradiate, to throw rays upon; irrigate, to run water into; embrace, to take in the arms; encourage, to put courage into.