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success. But the best feathers are still those produced in the south of Africa.
the present writer to see the lady whose | where it is carried on with more or less character had just been torn to tatters, or was in process of tearing, enter the room with unsuspicious confidence, and meet with the warmest of receptions. At first one is startled: upon reflection one understands that this system of "murdering characters to kill time," is after all mere amusement (for the murderers), and a clinging to use and wont.
It will be objected that there are narrow circles and parish politics everywhere, and that gossipry is not the exclusive privilege of the German. True, but it is only when for years and years the same local twaddle repeats itself, the same personalities and pryings prevail, that the mischievous and offensive results become overpowering. It will be asked how it is, then, that young English ladies are so enthusiastic for Germany and the German life? Simply because they are English; free to take all that is pleasant, and there is much that is pleasant, nay, even precious in that life; untrammelled by all the social tyranny that cribs, cabins, and confines the ordinary German woman; bound by no obligation to do as others do; free to come, and go, and enjoy; not dreaming in their easy philosophy of life of the horror with which such comings and goings, sayings and doings, are regarded in strictly German circles, nor how loud the reprehension, how utter the condemnation, that watches and follows their unsuspecting footsteps. An English girl would revolt from the tyranny of small things that encompasses a German girl's life; she would start aside like a broken bow, rebel overtly, and probably prefer the life of a governess (and that is saying much), with a sense of work, and independence, and personal identity, to carry her onwards, to the dull routine of comparative comfort and superlative nonentity.
From Chambers' Journal.
OSTRICH-FARMING IN AFRICA.
WITHIN the last seven or eight years, an industry has sprung up at the Cape of Good Hope, which, on account of its novelty, and the important results it produces, is worthy of notice. It is that of keeping ostriches in a state of semi-domestication, for the sake of their feathers, which have latterly become more and more scarce, and consequently more valuable. From the Cape, the business of ostrich-farming has been introduced into South America,
Like many other important undertakings, ostrich-farming, if not actually the result of an accidental discovery, at least received a great impetus from an apparently trifling circumstance. A few years ago, one of the native traders in ostrich feathers and eggs, having more eggs than he could conveniently carry, left four or five of them in a cupboard adjoining a bakehouse in some Algerian village: on his return, about two months afterwards, he was surprised to find the broken shells of his ostrich eggs and a corresponding number of young ostrich chicks. birds were, of course, dead, from want of attention; but the fact was undeniable that the fresh eggs of two months ago had, under the influence of the high temperature, actually produced fully developed chickens. This circumstance came to the knowledge of an officer of the French army, M. Crépu, who immediately perceived the practical results that might ensue from a careful following-up of the hint thus strangely given. He set to work to devise artificial incubators," for the purpose of hatching ostrich eggs, while at the same time he procured some pairs of adult birds, with a view to rearing them in a state of semi-domestication.
It is needless here to enter into particulars of the difficulties M. Crépu had to encounter. Suffice it to say that, after many disappointments, he had the satisfaction of finding a live ostrich chick actually hatched in his apparatus; and thus his assiduous efforts were crowned with triumph. About fifty-three or fiftyfour days is the full term of incubation, which may be slightly accelerated or retarded by a trifling change in the heat to which the eggs are subjected, although the smallest excess or want of heat beyond a certain limited range is fatal. But to such perfection have artificial incubators now been brought, that the whole "sitting" of eggs may be hatched with more certainty than if left to the natural care of the parents.
The baby chick when it makes its début is about the size of a small common fowl, and begins to pick up food at once. The nature of the food suitable for both the brood and the adults was a principal difficulty in the first attempts at the artificial breeding of the ostrich; but a careful study of the habits of the birds in a wild state has resulted in the discovery of the best kind of diet suited for the welfare of
their domesticated brethren. The princi- | soil—that is, sand and pasture with facilipal food given to the young birds is lu- ties for growing the proper food-concerne and thistles, and tender herbs and veniences for shelter and water. A wellgrasses indigenous to the country. Old conducted "farm" would require perhaps Birds are fed on more matured shrubs and £3,000 capital to begin in a small way. plants, the leaves of which they strip off The industry at the Cape is barely eight with their beaks. They are also fed on years old, and much has to be learned by Indian corn, known at the Cape as "meal- a beginner; loss and disappointment are ies." frequently experienced at first; but the occupation is considered a very profitable one, and is certainly healthy and agreeable; yet nowhere are patience, sagacity, and perseverance more necessary than in the conduct of a good ostrich-farm.
It will be interesting to note that when the full number of eggs has been laid, the old birds invariably place one or two of them outside the nest- the nest consisting naturally of a hollow scooped out of the sand by the action of the legs and A healthy bird of a week old is worth wings of the birds. It has been found £10; at three months it will be worth that these eggs are reserved as food for £15; and at six months, £30 and more. the chicks, which are often reared, in a Feathers may be plucked from the ostrich natural state, miles away from a blade of when a year old, and each year's crop grass or other food. As soon as the will be worth about 17 per bird. At chicks emerge from the shell, the parent five years, the breeder begins to pair his ostrich breaks one of these eggs, and the birds, and each pair will yield from eighyolk is eagerly eaten up by the young teen to twenty-four eggs in a season. ones. They are, therefore, both her- is necessary to keep the adult birds in bivorous and carnivorous; but it is not separate paddocks, which are generally necessary to gratify their appetite for surrounded by wire-fencing. The ostrich flesh, as they thrive excellently on the herbs above mentioned. Of course, where food is supplied in abundance, this precaution on the part of the parent birds of providing meat for their offspring is not necessary, and each egg so left is therefore wasted. Considerable loss also occurs in the number of addled eggs, when they are left to be hatched by the parents. It is said that the ostrich is able to discover when an egg becomes addled, and that it immediately ejects it from the nest; thus showing an amount of wisdom which has hardly been attributed to a bird which is popularly supposed to thrust its head into a bush, when being hunted, in the vain hope that, as it cannot see, it cannot be seen by, its pursuer.
is liable to sudden fits of jealousy. In such a case, frequent quarrels would ensue if the birds were all together in one inclosure, with the result, if not of black eyes, at least of damaged feathers, and perhaps broken legs, and even death to one of the combatants. The blow from the leg of the ostrich has been computed to be fully equal to the force developed by the kick of a colt seven months old. But whatever be the exact force produced, it is very severe, sufficiently so to break a man's leg.
The ostrich, however, both male and female, is quite an exemplary parent, notwithstanding the popular rumour that, like the crocodile, it leaves its eggs in the sand, to be hatched simply by the action These observations were first made in of solar heat. Father and mother take it Algeria, but it is at the Cape that they in turn to sit on the eggs, and when the have been turned to practical account, and ostrich takes his female companions out a very perfect system of ostrich-farming for their evening promenade in the desert, has been established there. Different one of them always remains by the nest. practices prevail at different establish- This fact is sufficient to induce many ments. The birds are allowed occasion- breeders to leave the eggs to be hatched ally to sit; but the success which has attended the use of artificial contrivances is so great, that fewer losses occur by this means than under natural circumstances, and the use of incubators is becoming very general. The chicks produced are so healthy as to show that they do not suffer from this mode of treatment.
The general arrangement of ostrichfarms is very similar in all cases. The desiderata are plenty of space, suitable
in the natural way, and merely to devote their energies to the rearing of the young birds and the collection of the feathers.
These are operations which require very great care. Regular supplies of food · about two pounds a day to each adult-are necessary, shelter must be provided for the night, and to shield the birds from the violent storms which frequently burst over the southern part of Africa; and there must be supplies of sand or pebbles, which the
birds swallow, as aids to digestion. Pep- valuable are they. "Bloods" will fetch sine is unknown among those birds of the from forty to fifty pounds sterling per desert, and they introduce a quantity of pound-weight in the wholesale market; hard substances into their gizzard, to assist and from this price they range as low as them in grinding up their food; just as five shillings per pound." the dyspeptic featherless biped takes his morning bitters to help the secretion of the gastric juices. It is very amusing to watch the flock of young birds as the attendant enters to scatter their breakfast. The moment he appears with his load of "green-meat," the youngsters of the ostrich family trot up to the entrance, and caper and dance about in the most grotesque manner, and devour their food with evident relish. They are generally tame, and to a certain extent tractable; but as they grow old they sometimes evince a sourness of temper which is anything but encouraging to the formation of a near acquaintance with them.
The quality of the feathers produced by tame ostriches is fully equal to the best collected from "wild" birds, while the general average is much higher. withstanding the increasing yield, prices are rising instead of falling; indeed, good ostrich feathers are now thrice as dear s they were fifteen years ago. But it is more than probable that as the production increases the price will eventually fall. Even with reduced prices, the profits would be sufficiently large to render ostrich-farming a very profitable undertaking, and, as each year will increase the experience of breeders, the difficul ties will be gradually diminished, and As the feathers are picked they are losses more easily avoided. As it is, this sorted according to their quality and puri- strange industry- the domestication of ty of colour. The pure whites from the the wild birds of the desert, once regardwings are called "bloods," the next qual-ed as types of liberty and intractability ity, "prime whites;" "firsts;" "sec- is at the same time one of the most interonds;" and so on. The tail feathers are esting and most profitable of the African not so valuable, and the more irregular the trader. markings of the coloured varieties, the less
THE Times correspondent at Shanghai gives | some interesting details of the latest advances towards western civilization attempted by the Japanese. The first and most important is the effort, which really appears to be made with some adaptive skill as well as prudence, to introduce parliamentary institutions into Japan. An Assembly and a Senate have been constituted at Yeddo. The former was opened by the mikado in person on the 20th of June; it is not founded on a representative basis, nor has it legislative power, though it is believed that the leaders of the Japanese Liberals aim at ultimately giving it both the one and the other. They understand, however, and it is very creditable to them if they do, that "the chasm which divides feudalism from popular government cannot be passed at a leap." The new Assembly is, therefore, merely a gathering of the provincial governors or prefects at Yeddo, with the privilege of originatiug and discussing such projects of law as may occur to them or be submitted to them by the government. The mikado in his "speech from the throne " explained the views of his ministers. He said:
Our object in opening in person this the Provincial Parliament has been to secure by its means the thorough
discussion of all matters affecting the interior economy
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II. AT QUEENSFERRY.
The blackbird sang, the skies were clear and clean.
We bowled along a road that curved its - spine
Superbly sinuous and serpentine Thro' silent symphonies of glowing green. Sudden the Firth came on us— sad of mien, No cloud to colour it, no breeze to line, A sheet of dark, dull glass, without a sign Of life and death, two shelves of sand between.
Water and sky merged blank in mist together, The fort loomed spectral, and the guardship's spars
Traced vague, black shadows on the shimmery glaze.
We felt the dim strange years, the grey strange
The still strange land unvexed of sun or stars,
Where Lancelot rides clanking thro' the haze.
The sky saggs low with convoluted cloud, Heavy and imminent, rolled from rim to rim,
And wreaths of mist beveil the further brim
Of the leaden sea, all spiritless and cowed.
The rain is falling sheer and strong and loud, The strand is desolate, the distance grim With stormful threats, the wet stones glister dim,
And to the wall the dank umbrellas crowd.