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CHIRP THE FIRST. The winter of 1878 was certainly an unusually dreary one, and so thought a remarkably fine young Blackbird, as he perched one morning on the bare bough of a spreading lime-tree, whose last brown leaf had fallen to the ground some weeks before. With the exception of the Scotch firs and other fortunate evergreens, there was nothing to be seen on all sides but leafless branches standing out sharply against the cold, grey sky.... more...

In coming before the public with a newly made edition of my writings, what can I say to my reader at this stage of our acquaintance that will lead to a better understanding between us? Probably nothing. We understand each other very well already. I have offered myself as his guide to certain matters out of doors, and to a few matters indoor, and he has accepted me upon my own terms, and has, on the whole been better pleased with me than I had any... more...

Chapter 1 "Good cheer! Good cheer!" exulted the Cardinal He darted through the orange orchard searching for slugs for his breakfast, and between whiles he rocked on the branches and rang over his message of encouragement to men. The song of the Cardinal was overflowing with joy, for this was his holiday, his playtime. The southern world was filled with brilliant sunshine, gaudy flowers, an abundance of fruit, myriads of insects, and never a... more...

AUTHOR'S PREFACE. I have long regretted my inability to issue a revised edition of 'Nests and Eggs.' For many years after the first Rough Draft appeared, I went on laboriously accumulating materials for a re-issue, but subsequently circumstances prevented my undertaking the work. Now, fortunately, my friend Mr. Eugene Gates has taken the matter up, and much as I may personally regret having to hand over to another a task, the performance of... more...

We were neither "rapid" nor "gay," and it was still only the first week of June; if we were summer boarders, therefore, we must be of some unusual early-blooming variety. First came a lady, in excellent repute among the savants of Europe and America as an entomologist, but better known to the general public as a writer of stories. With her, as companion and assistant, was a doctor of laws, who is also a newspaper proprietor, a voluminous author,... more...


CHAPTER I IS THERE MONEY IN THE POULTRY BUSINESS? The chicken business is big. No one knows how big it is and no one can find out. The reason it is hard to find out is because so many people are engaged in it and because the chicken crop is sold, not once a year, but a hundred times a year. Statistics are guesses. True statistics are the sum of little guesses, but often figures published as statistics are big guesses by a guesser who is big... more...

THE DISOBEDIENT WOODPECKER ONG, long ago, at the beginning of things, they say that the Lord made the world smooth and round like an apple. There were no hills nor mountains: nor were there any hollows or valleys to hold the seas and rivers, fountains and pools, which the world of men would need. It must, indeed, have been a stupid and ugly earth in those days, with no chance for swimming or sailing, rowing or fishing. But as yet there was no... more...

CHAPTER I. Jenny Wren Arrives. Lipperty-lipperty-lip scampered Peter Rabbit behind the tumble-down stone wall along one side of the Old Orchard. It was early in the morning, very early in the morning. In fact, jolly, bright Mr. Sun had hardly begun his daily climb up in the blue, blue sky. It was nothing unusual for Peter to see jolly Mr. Sun get up in the morning. It would be more unusual for Peter not to see him, for you know Peter is a great... more...

CHAPTER I FIRST ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE BIRDS It is in spring that wild birds make their strongest appeal to the human mind; in fact, the words "birds" and "spring" seem almost synonymous, so accustomed are we to associate one with the other. All the wild riotous singing, all the brave flashing of wings and tail, all the mad dashing in and out among the thickets or soaring upward above the tree-tops, are impelled by the perfectly natural instinct... more...

IN THE SNOW It was a bright, wintry day. The frost jewels sparkled on the snow. The winds blew cutting cold from the north. Phyllis, in her scarlet coat and cap, and long, warm leggings, waded in the deepest drifts she could find. Out by the garden fence was the greatest drift. After floundering through it, Phyllis climbed up and perched on the top rail of the fence. She sat quite still, for she was almost breathless after her struggle in the... more...