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You said, Father, that you would talk more fully about the living creatures, which are on the face of the earth.
I will now. Let us go for a walk, and we shall find some of the subjects of our conversation.
Are not some plants very much like animals?
Indeed they are, Frank; the vegetable and the animal kingdoms approach very near to each other. It is sometimes difficult to say, where the one ends, and the other begins.
One should think, Father, that the sensitive plant in our garden, knew that we touched it; how it shrinks in an instant!
It does; but still, in general, the difference is very great between plants and animals. Plants are stationary, animals move where they please.
The number and variety of animals, Father, appear to be very great.
They do; and there is a beautiful chain, or gradation, in the animal world, from the little creature which the eye cannot discern, up to man; and from him perhaps, to the
highest angel which lives and exults in the divine presence.
But man is the principal animal in the lower creation.
Assuredly; and he makes all the other creatures subservient to his interest.
In Thomson's Hymn, Father, which you gave me to learn, he says of man, that he is "at once the head, and heart, and tongue" of the creation; and the poet calls on him to crown, with his homage, the general song of praise.
He ought to do so; but, alas! he does not. God complained of his ancient people, that they were more ungrateful and stupid than the ox or the ass. If it be reasonable that a servant should serve his master, it is much more so, that man should serve the Being who formed him, and who supports him every moment,
Are not animals divided into five classe Father?
They are often thus divided; but Dian us, of whom I have often told you. 1-3 ranged them more scientifically, recollect what the commen division, ate
Quadrupeds, birds, amphibicus came, fishes, insects and reptiles,
QUADRUPEDS, are a large and useful cinco of animals; they have all four feet, as the name intimates; they bring forth their young
alive, and suckle them. There is a great variety in this class of animals. There is the porcupine, which is covered with quills; and there is the seal, which has fins, as well as four feet: how different are these from the horse or the cow.
And are they not formed, Father, according to the situations in which they are to live, and the way in which they are to get their food?
They are; the pig and the mole have long anp sharp snouts to turn up the ground, in search of roots which they eat. The lion has a thick strong jaw, to break in pieces the bones of his prey. The dog has a thin long nose, that he may trace the object of his pursuit at a considerable distance. The teeth and the stomachs of quadrupeds also, are suited to their respective habits. This is likewise the case with their legs and their feet. The legs of the elephant were, no doubt, formed to bear its massy weight; and those of the deer and the hare, it is equally evident, fit them to escape from their enemies by flight.
And the claws of the cat, Father, to seize on the mice or the rats.
True, Frank; things could not have happened thus by chance. His hand who is infinite in wisdom, is every where displayed. But what did you say was the next class?
Yes; and these are more in number than quadrupeds. And how admirable is their clothing! All the power in the world could not have formed a feather. What a warm garment is that of a bird, and yet how light! Near the skin, the feathers consist of fine down; those employed in flight, are strong and hollow, that they may be light and suited to the purpose.
And birds, Father, have a little vessel of oil, to rub over their feathers, to keep them smooth, and to prevent the rain from penetrating into them; I often see the fowls in our yard, and our canary bird, spreading this
This is a wonderful provision; and the fowls which live much in the water, have a large supply of it. These also have webbed feet, to enable them to swim; whilst other birds have feet which enable them to cling to the branches of the trees.
The nests of birds, Father, are very surprising.
They are, Frank; that of the wren, which we noticed in our late walk, was very beautiful, and a large building too, for such a little creature; and how suitable, since she lays a great number of eggs, and her body is so small, that it will not cover them all at
The rook's nest, which was in the tree the storm rooted up in the park, was not warm, and it was all made of little bits of stick.
The rook is a large bird; it lays but four or five eggs, and these she can readily keep
How many eggs, Father, does one of our hens lay?
I can't tell you, Frank; I believe though, that if a hen should have plenty of food, she would lay nearly one hundred. This is a very kind appointment of Providence, that whilst birds of prey produce only a few young in a season, those which are useful to man, bring forth a large number. But let us notice your third class.
AMPHIBIOUS ANIMALS, Father, or animals which live both on the land, and in the water.
Generally, they are of little, and many of them of no value to man; as the alligator, the frog, the otter, the river horse, and some others.
But the fourth class, FISHES, Father, are of the greatest service.
They are; they furnish through all the year an abundance of wholesome and palatable food. It is a perpetual harvest, provi ded immediately by God, without the care of man; he has only to reap the abundant