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I may perhaps send you, my dear girls, the graduations of this new thermometer in my next.
I now sped my way homeward, under the freshest and finest foliage, exhilerated by the sing
Black spruce and the white one half of an inch. Balm of Gilead fir, three eighths of an inch. Mountain ash in full leaf, and sprung four inches. Hawthorn in full leaf, and green since March 15. March 31, flowers formed, but not fully blown. Evergreen oak, acorns formed, and as large as Jamaica pepper corns.
Laurel bay flower beginning to open.
The leaf buds of the lime trees large and beginning to open, some of the lower branches green with the new leaf.
The winter of 1778-79 was mild in Scotland, beyond all recorded example, and was proportionably favourable to the aged and infirm, few of such died at Edinburgh during the course of that winter. On the last day of the year 1778 there was a violent hurricane at Edinburgh, and a still greater on the 13th of January following, when a stack of wood preparing for the hall of the college of physicians was blown about St 'Andrew's square, at one o'clock in the afternoon, like the fhavings of a carpenter's yard, and one of the battens was driven through the cross lights in a corner house like a javelin !
Additional information respectin this singular season by the Editor.
The whole of the winter 1778-79 was so remarkably mild, that there was not even an air of frost that could hurt even the most tender vegetables that grow in this climate. Pease, beans, and other vegetables, the seeds of which were shed in autumn, sprung up and grew without a check during winter; and in the month of February, in fields of wheat that had been sown after beans, the beans were seen standing thick among the wheat in full blossom. Gooseberries were so forward, that during the month of April many of them had been pulled for tarts; as they had by that time attained the size they usually reach in June; and garden pease were in many places in full blossom in April.
No frost was experienced till the night between the 2d and 3d of May, when it froze so keenly as to produce many disastrous effects. The writer of this article had at that time some pease in full blossom;
ing of birds, and the bleating of the flocks, when suddenly I spied a fhepherd coaxing an ewe to receive and suckle lamb that seemed to be a stranger. I accosted him, and he told me that was actually the case, and that the lamb in question had an unlucky dam, that could give no milk, while the ewe had lost her darling by the fox on the night preceding.
I saw him rub the lamb acrofs her teats before he presented it to suckle, and then the ewe received and entertained it as her own, being deceived by the smell. A little farther on I heard a long descant on a cow that had had three calves at a birth, and was amply suckling them all. They were all females, otherwise I fhould have inquired for a free marten of a new description between two bulls, of which I never knew an instance. The season is nowise remarkable as to its forwardness on this 14th of April, a day interesting to you and your family by the birth of your mother.
Last night I heard the nightingale, however, for the first time. It is not indeed long since we have
but to his great mortification, when he went into the garden on the morning of Sunday the 3d of May, he found them all lying flat to the ground, as if they had been cut over by a scythe; and not one of them survived it. The gooseberries, unless where the bushes where accidentally screened by clothes or mats spread over them, were all thrown to the ground, quite wallowed. The hawthorn hedges, which were then in full leaf, were all scorched as if they had been put into the fire. The grafs was destroyed, and almost every green thing withered: but as it came fine weather afterwards they soon regained their wonted vigour. The summer that followed was remarkably warm; and the effects of the frost, unless upon the fruit, were soon forgotten,
had that bird in this neighbourhood, and we owe it I imagine to the contiguous cultivation that connects us with the south.
It is a strange theory to deem the nightingale a bird of passage, when we have all the other wagtail tribe for the winter. The nightingale is local, and concealed by the modesty of its plumage; it goes, like other creatures, where it meets with fhelter and good entertainment.
I am now preparing for my fete on the birth day of Aurelia, which is on the 21st. It shall be in the hall of ancient virtue, and there fhall be a concert. I will then in secret pour out libations to Jupiter, the deliverer and avenger of wrongs ;but enjoy the present.
I have sent you a puzzle for Mr Matho when you see the Mifs Woodfords, in an inscription which is placed in my hall, under the statue of Helvidius Priscus, which with the aid of his famous Lexicon, he may be able to explain.
Deo optumo maxumo, omnipotenti,
The above is exactly copied without correction or alteration of any
OBSERVATIONS AND OPINIONS OF J. W. SPENCER.
Continued from p. 99.
Ir is about one hundred and thirty miles from Rome to Capua, and near twenty more from that to Naples. I have taken up my residence at a delightful village about half way betwixt them, where my stay will be determined as it was at Geneva. Abbe Raynal on my first tour asked how long I was to stay there, I said that I did not know how long, but I would stay till I was weary of the place, "'Tis the best rule in life," said he. He could only mean that it was a very good one.
I might swell this article to a great length, by telling you that this country, famous for its pastures, derives its name from the Greek word Italos, signifying an ox, by mentioning its divisions and subdivisions; its ancient inhabitants the Aborigines, Pelasgi, Rutuli, &c. and matters of that sort; but I don't mean any thing of the kind. 'Tis my journey and opinions that I write, and not the ancient history or the present state of the countries through which I pafs.
I always smile when I hear one pretend to despise or ridicule accomplishments he does not pofsefs. There is a gentleman here who plays well on the violin; he laughs at his friend, and says he is a pedant, because he understands Greek and Latin well
enough to relish the beauties of their poets. The scholar smiles at the musician; the painter laughs. at both; and all three at the historian. "Never, (they say,) never will we stuff our brain with such idle nonsense. Can any thing be lefs important than the knowledge of what is past ?"
Ye country surgeons, grave fhopkeepers, men of sedentary lives, watchmakers, and American refugees, I call upon you all to consider this, and to make the application if ye understand my drift.
The face of nature is always gay, and ever smiling in these happy regions. The soil is fertile, and produces every grain, and every fruit that the influence of a genial sun can pour into the lap of plenty. Every little stream has been sung in days of old, and every field is clafsic ground It is pleasing to consider how the climate of this country has changed for the better within these two thousand years. I think I could account for it were this a proper place. Virgil hath given directions how to protect flocks and herds from snow and frost, that can no longer be useful in this part of Italy; and to hear Horace talking of snowy Soracté, and ligna super foco large reponens, one would imagine he was far to the northward of the Alps.
Generally speaking, there is in all mankind a very unaccountable affection for their native country*. Polished European, Caffre, Greenlander, Indian, Samoiede, and Otaheitan, this amor patriæ is common to you all! But for it many a dreary hill
*Nescio qua natale solum dulcedine cunctos
1 Ducit, immemores non sinit efse sui. OVID EP. lib.i 1.35.