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THE NATURALIST, THE CHILD,

AND

THE HUMMING-BIRD

THE NATURALIST, THE CHILD, AND

THE HUMMING-BIRD.

A NATURALIST, passionately devoted to his scientific pursuits, had a little daughter who often looked with wonder upon the curious things that lay about her father's house. The strange stuffed animals, the fossils, and other objects which made up his collection, had a fascination for this child, whose name was Mildred; but she had tried in vain to make out their meaning. She had once or twice asked her father—now, alas! her only parent

to explain them to her. He was an affectionate father, provided for his child's little wants, loved to play with her; but either because he did not think science suitable for the mind of Mildred's sex, or because he thought his daughter too young for such studies—perhaps for both reasons—he had put her off on those occasions; once, indeed, so sharply-dearly as he loved her, but being very busy at the time—that she never asked such questions again. Mildred's unsatisfied and growing curiosity, left thus to find its own answers, found strange and unhappy ones. The big saurian figures took on a kind of life, and surrounded her pillow with fantastic shapes; the stuffed animals prowled, the huge birds with beaks like swords flitted about her little chamber; skulls grinned, claws clutched at her; and when the child was supposed to be fast asleep, she was really passing hours of excitement and dread amid these queer creatures, to which her fancy had given life. She dared not tell her sufferings to any one, but they told on her : her father saw with anxiety and alarm his once bright and lovely Mildred had lost her childhood, and become a pining girl, drooping in health and spirits, despite his care for her. At last she became a confirmed invalid ; yet none of

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“The big saurian figures took on a kind of life, and surrounded her pillow with fantastic shapes.'

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