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migration will not be stayed by the other great
impulse, usually so powerful, of love to their
offspring; and such late broods are left behind
if they are not matured enough to accompany
their parents. In these cases, then, the young
are pitilessly deserted, and, if very helpless,
they necessarily and rapidly perish, and their
putrid carcases or mouldering skeletons may be
sometimes found on searching the nests in late
autumn. If, on the other hand, they are more
advanced, though not sufficiently so to
undertake migration, they may subsist for some
weeks, if the weather remain mild, for food is
in sufficient abundance. But ultimately, if still
unable to leave, they succumb, and fall into the
torpidity, which is not, as has been imagined,
their protection during winter, but only the
first stage of their certain destruction.


SOME one has said, that a young mother is
the most beautiful thing in nature. Why
qualify it? Why young? Are not all mothers
beautiful? The sentimental outside beholder
may prefer youth in the pretty picture; but I
am inclined to think that sons and daughters,
who are most intimately concerned in the matter,
love and admire their mothers most when
they are old. How suggestive of something
holy and venerable it is when a person talks
of his "dear old mother." Away with your
mincing "mammas," and "mam-mas"
suggestive only of a fine lady, who deputes her
duties to a nurse, a drawing-room maternal
parent, who is afraid to handle her offspring for
fear of spoiling her fine new gown. Give me
the homely mother, the arms of whose love are
all embracing, who is beautiful always, whether
old or young, whether arrayed in satin, or
modestly habited in bombazine. Though I have
lately glorified aunts somewhat at the expense
of mothers, I am not insensible to the supreme
claims which the latter have upon our love, our
gratitude, and our respect. There are more
ways than one of looking at things: and there
are many aspects of mothers which are entirely

Maternal love is a mystery which human
reason can never fathom. It is altogether above
reason; it is a holy passion, in which all others
are absorbed and lost. It is a sacred flame on
the altar of the heart, which is never quenched.
That it does not require reason to feed it and
keep it alive is witnessed in the instinctive
maternal love which pervades all animal nature.
Every one must have instinctively felt the
aptness of the scriptural illustration of maternal
solicitude, which likens a great love to a hen,
which gathers her chickens under her wing.
The hen's maternal care, so patient, so unselfish,
is a miniature replica of Nature's greatest
work. No doubt, it is carried on and on ad
infinitum, until we want a microscope to see it.
There are myriads of anxious mothers in a leaf,
whose destiny is to live for a single day and then
die for ever; as there are millions of anxious
mothers in the human family whose span of
life is threescore years and ten, with a glorious
eternity lying beyond. The mother is the
mainspring of all nature, the fountain of all pure
lovethe first likeness on earth of God himself.
Man did not deserve to have the first entry
into the garden of Eden. Burns, with his great
sympathetic soul, seems to have felt this when
he sang of Dame Nature,

                         Her 'prentice han'
                         She tried on man,
               And then she made the lasses, O!

It was the only way of explaining the matter
while adhering to the Mosaic history. If I
were a follower of Dr.Colenso, and ventured
to interpret these things in my own way, I
should say that if the writer of that history
had been a woman, she would have brought
Eve on the scene first and devoted a rib to
Adam; and if I were a Frenchman, I should
say, that it was not polite of Adam to take the
pas of a lady. But I am neither, and I will
say none of these things, for I am

               Orthodox, orthodox,
               Wha cam' in wi' John Knox,

and I will not sound an alarm to my conscience
with any "heretic blast," whether it come from
the "west" or the south. I will not even say

       What is nae sense ma?n be nonsense.

The theory that we derive our intellectual
qualities from our mothers, while we are
indebted to our fathers only for our physical
attributes, is most agreeable to all the natural
instincts of man. It is so rational a theory
that one wonders why those clever old fellows
the "ancients" did not perceive it. It is upon
this theory that we trace the genius of our
great men to the influence of their mothers.
The same theory, taken inversely, would also
account for the fact that great men very rarely
have great sons. Genius is not hereditary
through the fathers, but through the mothers.
The popular perception of this law of nature
finds expression in the common remark that a
child is "the image of his father," and has the
"amiable disposition of his mother," or perhaps
vice versรข as to the disposition.

It is not altogether because our mothers are
of the "gentler" sex that we fly to them for
sympathy instead of to our fathers. It is
because there is a more intimate relationship
between us, because the strings of our nature
are more in unison; because we are more nearly
flesh of their flesh, and blood of their blood.  In
the old patriarchal times the father was the
principal person, the sole and undivided head of
the family. The mother was a secondary person
altogether. One cannot help feeling that the
mothers of the Old Testament occupied a
somewhat undignified position in the family. The
state of affairs in patriarchal society is fully
explained when we call to mind that the head of
the family was generally a "sad Turk."