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150

Kitchen Scavengers. “eating dirt " be not a prerogative of man; but some insects have tastes more gross even than such a diet suggests.

There is a race of them, much persecuted, but very useful : I mean cockroaches, who are kitchen scavengers. They come out of their holes when the sleepy cook has gone to bed, and clear up every little scrap of fat she has dropped upon the floor around the grate. When shut out of the places where food is kept they do positive good, though it must be confessed they are rather unprepossessing scullery-maids, and their fear of the light makes one naturally suspect their motives.

Other insects, however, which attach themselves to our household, are unequivocal nuisances. Still it is curious to see animals finding a relish in such dry victuals as cloth, hair, and the like. There is one kind, too, which not only manages to fill its belly with horn, but thinks it quite a prime dish.

Others, like the rover or wandering beetle, kill and eat their prey outright, while the flea and his cousins cut and come again.

But about these beetles, the following anecdote rests upon the authority of a reverend doctor, who

gave it in perfect faith.

The Doctor and his Beetles.

151 A friend of his, after a beetle hunt, brought home twelve, one considerably larger than the others. Having, as he believed, killed, he pinned them to the bottom of a tray in his cabinet, turned the key, and presently went to bed.

Next morning, on looking at his specimens, he was surprised to find eleven of the pins standing empty. It turned out that the big beetle, recovering himself, and feeling very hungry, had struggled up, and, though still transfixed, had gone round and eaten his fellow-captives clean off their pins. There he was, sitting in the corner, looking very guilty, and tight about the waist.

The times at which insects feed are different. It is quite a mistake to suppose that the sun calls the whole world into life. A very large number of small animals, as well as great, go forth only by night; lie a-bed all day, and, as soon as it begins to grow dark, set about foraging for food.

Our friend the grub, indeed, knows no repose, but munches away perseveringly, let the world make what arrangements it likes about the division of time. He knows no failure of appetite, and fears no nemesis of dyspepsia. With the best larder, the most

152

A merry Maggot. cunning cook, the strongest digestion, or the most successful antibilious pills, the greatest, richest gourmand among men is no match whatever for a merry maggot.

( 153 )

DOGS I HAVE KNOWN.*

*

HOPE you like dogs; if you don't, skip this paper, and improve your

self farther on; I dislike having an unsympathising reader to sneer at my honest affection for them. They were among my earliest friends. I remember--and it's one of the first essays I can call to my remembrance ---trying to write the news to an absent friend, and putting it down thus :-“ Bo is well ;” nor did I quite believe my meddlesome informant, who told me my dear dog-friend always spelled his name “ Beau.” However, the public continued to call him “Bo," without correction, and I therefore very fairly thought myself right throughout. He was red and white

This paper was written long before I saw Dr. John Brown's delightful book, and therefore is no attempt at an imitation of his chapter on “Our Dogs.” I cannot rival him: I wish I could. If he, however, should read this, he will see in it, I am sure, the heart of one who loves dogs and himself.

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rather ignorant, now that I come to look back on him by the light of experience gained in the society of clever dogs; but then he liked me, and does not that atone for many deficiencies? He had sense enough to discern attractions in me. Just fancy if our friends could not like or love us without giving good reason to the world for their predilection, or suppose we felt uncomfortable and suspicious at the consciousness of being liked by dull, unaccomplished people! Not that Beau was dull; anything but that: he barked and capered incessantly; so fond was he of lively exercise, that he made quite a beaten path in the shrubs all round a largish garden; and, as soon as he was let out of the house for a walk, he would make the round of the premises before beginning to frisk. In this tour he generally surprised thrushes and blackbirds, which flew out, making a great noise among the laurel-leaves with their opening wings. When he returned from the home-circuit, he cut a caper, and was then ready to walk out, as a sober dog should. He never learned any tricks, or did anything wise or mischievous. Beau lived till I got into the first Latin exercisebook; then my brother and I buried him under a yew-tree, and set up a whitewashed

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