Letters From An American Farmer By Hector St. John De Crevecoeur

 -  Who can listen unmoved, to the
sweet love-tales of our robins, told from tree to tree? Or to the - Page 10
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"Who Can Listen Unmoved, To The Sweet Love-Tales Of Our Robins, Told From Tree To Tree?

Or to the shrill cat birds?

The sublime accents of the thrush from on high, always retard my steps, that I may listen to the delicious music." And the Farmer is no less interested in "the astonishing art which all birds display in the construction of their nests, ill provided as we may suppose them with proper tools; their neatness, their convenience." At some time during his American residence he gathered the materials for an unpublished study of ants; and his bees proved an unfailing source of entertainment. "Their government, their industry, their quarrels, their passions, always present me with something new," he writes; adding that he is most often to be found, in hours of rest, under the locust tree where his beehive stands. "By their movements," says he, "I can predict the weather, and can tell the day of their swarming." When other men go hunting game, he goes bee-hunting. Such are the matters he tells of in his Letters.

One difference from the stereotyped "sensibility" of the old world one may discover in the openness of Crevecoeur's heart; and that is the completeness of his interest in all the humbler sorts of natural phenomena. Nature is, for him, no mere bundle of poetic stage- properties, soiled by much handling, but something fresh and inviting and full of interest to a man alive. He takes more pleasure in hunting bees than in expeditions with his dogs and gun; the king- birds destroy his bees - but, he adds, they drive the crows away. Ordinarily he could not persuade himself to shoot them.

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