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Joins in the common cry, and halloos loud,
SOMERVILLE It is usually in October that the bee-hives are despoiled of their honey. As long as flowers are plentiful, the bees continue adding to their store; but when these fail, they are obliged to subsist on the produce of their summer labours; from this time, therefore, the hive decreases in value. Its condition is judged by its weight. The common way of procuring the honey is by destroying the industrious collectors of it, with the fumes of burning brimstone. This cruel necessity may, however, be prevented by using hives or boxes so contrived as to exclude the bees from the different partitions as they become filled; or by employing fumes that will stupify without killing them. In this case enough of the honey must be left for their subsistence during winter; but this is found to deduct so materially from the profits, as, in a pecuniary point of view to render it a much less eligible way than the usual one.
In most of the wine countries of Europe the vintage takes place in October. The grape is one of the latest fruits in ripening. When gathered they are immediately pressed, and the juice is fermented like that of apples in making cyder. A great variety of wines are produced from the different kinds of grapes, or the diversity of climates where they grow. In England this fruit does not ripen with suficient constancy to be worth cultivation for the purpose of making wine.
This month is particularly chosen, on account of its mild temperature, for the brewing of malt liquor designed for long keeping, which is, therefore, commonly called old October.
The first of the month is the day appointed, by act of parliament, for the commencement of the decoy business, which about the close of October is at its height. The extensive marsh-lands of Lincolnshire are the tract that is chiefly resorted to in this country by the wild ducks, and other water fowl, and prodigious numbers of them are annually taken in the decoys.
A decoy is generally made where there is a large unfrequented pond surrounded by wood, and backed by a marshy and uncultivated country. In different quarters of
the pond are constructed pipes as they are called, or narrow ditches, covered with a continued arch of netting suspended on hoops, growing narrower as they advance into the wood, and terminating in a purse net. On both sides of the pipe are reed-hedges with intervals between for the decoy-man to observe what is going on; a number of decoy ducks are also procured, which are taught to lead wild ones into the snare.
As soon as the evening sets in the decoy rises and the wild fowl approach the shores to feed during the night; the flapping of their wings may be heard in a still night to a great distance, and is a pleasing though melancholy sound. The decoy ducks soon meet with the wild ones, and conduct them to the inouth of the snare : the man behind the reeds then throws into the pipe some hemp-seed, of which these birds are very fond, and are thus tempted to advance a little way under the netting. A very small dog well trained for the purpose is next ordered to play about before the screens, and bark at the ducks, who, vexed at being disturbed by so petty an assailant, advance to drive him off. When they have by this means been seduced a considerable way up the tunnel, the decoy duck, by diving, gets out of the arched net, and the man coming from behind the hedge appears at the entrance of the pipe: the wild fowl not daring to rush by him, immediately dash forwards into the purse, where they are taken.
The London market is principally supplied from the Lincolnsbire decoys; ten of which, near Wainfileet, have been known to send to the metropolis, in a single season, thirty-one thousand two hundred ducks, teals, and wigeons.
The farmer continues to sow his corn during this month ; and wheat is frequently not at all sown till the end of it. When the weather is too wet for this business, he ploughs up the stubble fields for winter fallows. Acorns are sown at this time, and forest and fruit trees are planted. At the very close of the month a few flowers still cheer the eye; and there is a second blow of some kinds, particularly the woodbine. But the scent of all these late flowers is comparatively very faint. The greenhouse, however, is in high perfection at this period; and by its contrast with the nakedness of the fields and garden is now doubly grateful.
This is the month of forest splendour. Generally, towards the end of October, the trees put on their last grandeur. They burst forth into all the richest and warmest colours, and for a while cast a glory on the landscape that is unrivalled. Then how delightful to range freely through wood and field ; to see the wind come, driving the manytinted leaves before it; to tread on their rustling masses in the still glades; and feel the profound language of the season-of all that is solemn and pure, and yet buoyant, in the heart! The hops are fast getting in; the vines on the continental plains and hanging slopes are yielding up, amid songs and shouts, their "purple vintage. Orchards are cleared of their fruit, and towards the end of the month the people are busy in the potato-fields. Once more the hind, released from the cares and toils of harvest, is busy turning up the soil with the plough, getting in the wheat for next year, and ditching and banking, in meadow and in field. The gathering and hoeing of potatoes, carrots, beet-root, and Swedish turnips, find much employment. Besides the sowing of wheat, beans and winter-dills are put in. Timber-trees are felled, and others planted, and the farmer repairs his gates and fences; and all wise people lay in plenty of fuel for winter. Winter! winter! it is continually crowding into our minds, though we do not see it with our eyes. But in the brightest hours, the very seeds are on the wing, to fly away and bury themselves each in a suitable spot for the resurrection of the next spring.
Lightly doth it float;
Little do we note.
Far and wide it flies,
Through the shining skies.
Oh! 'tis pleasant folly!
Then comes melancholy.
RAINY DAY IN AUTUMN.
But away with melancholy! The thistledown will fly, and the thistles will spring up where we hoped for roses ; but never mind ; let us pay the penalty of our permitting them to grow, and go on, strong in the sense of the great Providence which wheels round the mighty world, and all its seasons; who causes the dark day to follow the bright one, and the bright to follow the dark.-Howitt's Country Year-Book.
A RAINY DAY IN AUTUMN.
Over the hills and over the plains,
Till every wave,
Like a coward slave,
But what care I
For the frowning sky,
For I can dream,
And, dreaming, deem
When rare old books,
From shadowy nooks,
Then what care I
For the frowning sky,
For I can dream,
And, dreaming, deem
THOMAS BUCHANAN READ.
About the 16th, the general migration of swallows and martins has taken place, though a few may still be seen at times, more particularly if a southerly or westerly wind continue to blow for long together.
THE DEPARTURE OF THE SWALLOW.
Who beheld it?
Which way sailed it ?
But who doth hear
Its summer cheer