Frank, the Young Naturalist

Publisher: DigiLibraries.com
ISBN: N/A
Language: English
Published: 5 days ago
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CHAPTER I.

The Home of the Young Naturalist.

About one hundred miles north of Augusta, the Capital of Maine, the little village of Lawrence is situated. A range of high hills skirts its western side, and stretches away to the north as far as the eye can reach; while before the village, toward the east, flows the Kennebec River.

Near the base of the hills a beautiful stream, known as Glen's Creek, has its source; and, after winding through the adjacent meadows, and reaching almost around the village, finally empties into the Kennebec. Its waters are deep and clear, and flow over a rough, gravelly bed, and under high banks, and through many a little nook where the perch and sunfish love to hide. This creek, about half a mile from its mouth, branches off, forming two streams, the smaller of which flows south, parallel with the river for a short distance, and finally empties into it. This stream is known as Ducks' Creek, and it is very appropriately named; for, although it is but a short distance from the village, every autumn, and until late in the spring, its waters are fairly alive with wild ducks, which find secure retreats among the high bushes and reeds which line its banks. The island formed by these two creeks is called Reynard's Island, from the fact that for several years a sly old fox had held possession of it in spite of the efforts of the village boys to capture him. The island contains, perhaps, twenty-five acres, and is thickly covered with hickory-trees; and there is an annual strife between the village boys and the squirrels, to see which can gather the greater quantity of nuts.

Directly opposite the village, near the middle of the river, is another island, called Strawberry Island, from the great quantity of that fruit which it produces.

The fishing-grounds about the village are excellent. The river affords great numbers of perch, black bass, pike, and muscalonge; and the numberless little streams that intersect the country fairly swarm with trout, and the woods abound in game. This attracts sportsmen from other places; and the Julia Burton, the little steamer that plies up and down the river, frequently brings large parties of amateur hunters and fishermen, who sometimes spend months enjoying the rare sport.

It was on the banks of Glen's Creek, about half a mile from the village, in a neat little cottage that stood back from the road, and which was almost concealed by the thick shrubbery and trees that surrounded it, that FRANK NELSON, the young naturalist, lived. His father had been a wealthy merchant in the city of Boston; and, after his death, Mrs. Nelson had removed into the country with her children, and bought the place of which we are speaking. Frank was a handsome, high-spirited boy, about sixteen years of age. He was kind, open-hearted, and generous; and no one in the village had more friends than he. But his most prominent characteristic was perseverance. He was a slow thinker, and some, perhaps, at first sight, would have pronounced him "dull;" but the unyielding application with which he devoted himself to his studies, or to any thing else he undertook, overcame all obstacles; and he was further advanced, and his knowledge was more thorough than that of any other boy of the same age in the village....