"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the materials for an unpublished study of ants; and his bees proved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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