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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/530

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

My plate was brought on to the lawn, and on it were the remains of the fowls; and the dog was carried out with all care to enjoy his meal on the grass. Poor old thing! His tail wagged with a steady flap, his eyes glistened softly, his neck was outstretched, and his nose was agitated with a delicate twitching till he was placed beside his repast. Then he fell-to, and with admirable judgment selected the most meaty morsels to commence with.

It was lucky that he had finished two pinions, for "the Philistines were upon him." A pea-hen close by heard the crunching. She listened. Curiosity seized her, and she looked at the eater, first with one eye, then with the other. (That was mere coquetry, as it gave her an opportunity of showing off the graceful movements of her neck.) She approached a few steps with stagy dignity; she saw there was food, and the bird of Juno, forgetting her state, ran with an ungainly and slop-slap step toward the plate.

The bird was large and powerful, and the dog was small and an invalid. He therefore secured the best advantages that the circumstances afforded, and sneaked off on three legs with a drumstick.

"Gristle?" quoth the pea-hen; "excellent! Tendon? better still."—Gaup, gaup.—"A small bone? 'twill do me no harm." Down it went.—"A little picking?"—peck, peck.

"Thou cannibal!" thought I, "those are the remains of thy companions of the farm-yard. That fly is not so unnatural, after all. I will let it go."

My resolution was short-lived. Two hours ago there were but a spider and a fly and a piece of paper in the glass jar. Now my friend the spider was evidently getting hungry, and he was exerting himself. Two strong cords were drawn from the paper to the bottom of the jar, and Esau meant business. His spinnerets were turgid, his aspect was determined, and steadily and slowly he commenced to make a web. Now and then the fly took a walk and broke through a strand or two. They stuck to his legs, and annoyed him. With a little difficulty the films were got rid of, but consternation began to seize the fly's mind, and he resolved to move from the scene of operations. He took up his quarters on the muslin which covered the neck of the jar.

Next morning the fly's head hung like a Bulgarian atrocity in the web, his body lay at the mouth of the spider's den. During the night Esau had made a cavern of cobweb.

It is the duty of the historian to adhere to the truth, even if it casts a slur on his favorite theories, and blasts his reputation as an observer.

Esau was not a male: he was a lady.

One day, while feeding the beast, I noticed that the den in the corner had been extended into a passage with two openings, and in the passage wall was a spot thicker and more opaque than the rest of