Billeder på siden

of crystal whiteness, but they are made to contribute to the manufacturing activity and the wealth of an important district.

The beauty of the Kirkstall ruins is enhanced by fine masses of ivy, which here and there clothe it from the ground to the uppermost fragment.

MAKING A NEEDLE. I wonder if any little girl who may read this ever thought how many people are all the time at work in making the things which she every day uses. What can be more common, and, you may think, more simple, than a needle? Yet, if you do not know it, I can tell you that it takes a great many persons to make a needle; and it takes a great deal of time, too. Let us take a peep into a needlefactory. In going over the premises, we must pass hither and thither, and walk in the next street and back again, and take a drive to a mill, in order to see the whole process. We find one chamber of the shops is hung round with coils of bright wire, of all thicknesses, from the stout kinds used for codfishhooks to that for the finest cambric needles. In a room below, bits of wire, the length of two needles, are cut by a vast pair of shears, fixed in the wall. A bundle has been cut off: the bits need straightening, for they came off from coils.

The bundle is thrown into a red-hot furnace : then taken out, and rolled backward and forward on a table until the wires are straight. This process


called “rubbing straight.” We now see a m grinding needles. We go down into the base and find a needle-pointer seated on his bench takes up two-dozen or so of the wires, and rolls between his thumb and fingers, with their er the grindstone, first one end and then the We have now the wires straight, and pointed a ends. Next is a machine which flattens and g the heads often thousand needles an hour. 01 the little gutters at the head of your needle. comes the punching of the eyes; and the bo does it, punches eight thousand in an hour, a does it so fast your eye can hardly keep pac him. The splitting follows, which is runr fine wire through a dozen, perhaps, of thesi needles.

A woman with a little anvil before her between the heads and separates them. Th now complete needles, but rough and rusty what is worse, they easily bend. A poor n you will say. But the hardening comes They are heated in batches in a furnace, and, red-hot, are thrown into a pan of cold water. they must be tempered; and this is done by 1 them backward and forward on a hot metal The polishing still remains to be done. On a coarse cloth, needles are spread to the num forty or fifty thousand. Emery dust is strewe them, oil is sprinkled, and soft soap daub spoonfuls over the cloth; the cloth is then hard up, and, with several others of the same thrown into a sort of wash-pot, to roll to and 1

twelve hours or more. They come out dirty enough ; but after a rinsing in clean hot water, and tossing in saw-dust, they look as bright as can be, and are ready to be sorted, and put up for sale. But the sorting and the doing up in papers, you may imagine, is quite a work by itself.

THE CHIMNEY-SWALLOWS. The following interesting description of a visit to a tree where the chimney-swallow resorted, is given by a distinguished American :

On my arrival at Louisville, Ky., I was shown a tree where the chimney-swallows enter for the purpose of roosting.

I found it to be a large sycamore, nearly destitute of branches, and some sixty or seventy feet high, and between seven and eight feet in diameter at the base. At the distance of forty feet up, it was five feet in diameter, and there a hollow branch, of some two feet through, had been broken off, leaving a stump projecting from the main trunk. Through this hollow branch the Swallows entered the tree.

After being shown this tree, I rode home; but returned to it again late on an afternoon in the month of July. The sun was going down behind Silver Hills; thousands of swallows were flying closely above me, and three or four at a time were pitching into the hole like bees hurrying into their hive. I leaned my head against the tree, listening to the roaring noise made within by the birds as they settled and arranged themselves. When i was quite dark, I left the place.

Next morning I arose early enough to reach the tree long before the least appearance of daylight and placed my head against it. All was silen within. I remained in that posture probably twenty minutes, when suddenly I thought the tree wa giving way, and coming down upon me. Instinct ively I sprang from it; but when I looked up at i again, I was astonished to see it standing as firm a


But the swallows were now pouring out in a black continued stream. I ran back to my post, ant listened with amazement to the noise within, whicl I could compare to nothing else but the sound of : large wheel revolving under a powerful stream. I was yet dusky, so that I could hardly see the hou of my watch; but I estimated the time which they took in getting out at more than thirty minutes After their departure, no noise was heard within and they dispersed in every direction with th quickness of thought.

I determined to examine the interior of the tree and for this purpose hired a man to cut a hole at thi base. The shell was only eight or ten inches thick and the axe soon brought the inside to view disclosing a matted mass of decayed feathers, &c I had a passage cleared through this mass for abou six feet. This operation took nearly the whole day and knowing by experience that the birds shoul notice the hole below they would abandon the tree I had it carefully closed.

The swallows came as usual that night, but I did not disturb them for several days. At last, provided with a dark lantern, I went with my

friend about nine o'clock in the evening, determined to have a full view of the interior of the tree.

The hole was opened with caution, and I crawled through, followed by my companion. All was perfectly still. Slowly and gradually I brought the light of my lantern to bear on the sides of the hole above us, when we saw the swallows, clinging side by side, covering the whole surface of the excavation. But in no instance did I see one bird above


Let us now make a rough calculation of the number of swallows that clung to the side of the tree. The place covered by the birds was at least twenty-five feet in height, and fifteen feet in breadth : supposing the tree to average only five feet in diameter, there would then be three hundred and seventy-five square feet of surface. Allowing each bird to cover a space of three inches by one inch and a half,—which is more than the space, judging from the manner in which they were packed,-and each square foot would contain thirty-two birds. The number of swallows, therefore, that roosted in this single tree at once, was nine thousand.

Day after day I watched this tree; and about the middle of August not more than two or three hundred swallows came there to roost. On the 18th of the same month, there were only a few scattering individuals

, and these seemed hurrying southward. In September I entered the tree at night, but not

« ForrigeFortsæt »