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In many places where the broom abounds, it appears at a little distance like a large green ball; all the blossoms and tender leaves within reach being nibbled off by the sheep and rabbits. The bee, too, may be often seen on the broom sucking out the sweet juices and loading its bag with a store for winter food.
The pale green caterpillars of the “hair-streak" butterfly, shaped very much like a wood-louse, may also be often found, by sharp eyes, feasting on its leaves in the months of April and May.
The broom belongs to the same tribe of plants as the pea and bean of our gardens.
One kind is used for making a yellow dye, and is called “Dyer's broom."
A plant of this family-called Furze, or Gorse—is found on commons and moors. It has a strong woody stem, with many sharp thorns or spines, growing from it. From each of these long spines, smaller ones grow in little bunches.
The flowers grow on short stalks from the large spines; the outer leaves have a brownish down upon them.
In some sorts, the spines are absent, and their places are taken by small roundish, dark leaves. This is the sort which is commonly grown in gardens.
“What is Pam thinking about ?”
Pam is a little black dog, who comes to see me sometimes; and while I was writing yesterday, he was sitting at my feet, breathing so quietly that he might have been taken for an image of a dog, instead of a living dog.
He was not moving a limb, and blinked his eye-lids so gently, that it seemed as though he were afraid of disturbing me by even the rustling of his eye-lashes.
A little girl was playing in the room, and it was when she saw the earnest expression of his dark, bright, questioning eyes fixed upon me, that she came and laid her hand upon my arm and asked me: “What is Pam thinking about ? ”
Are any of you saying, “ What a fool“ish little girl! How could she talk of “a dog thinking ?” Well! I am not a little girl!. perhaps I should appear an old woman to you. So, I hope your respect for people older than yourselves will prevent your calling me foolish, if I agree with my little niece, who believed that the dog was thinking.
I am sure that dogs do think: not quite in the same way that you and I do; they have not the same powers given them ; but they certainly think.
When their thoughts turn upon us
human beings, who ought to be so much wiser and better than they, I am afraid that sometimes, if we could know their thoughts, we should not find them quite pleasant to reflect upon.
Why do boys chase and worry and beat dogs ? Very often, it is because they are unkind and cruel, and do not mind giving pain. I hope, however, that it is oftener, because they forget that dogs can and do suffer as much as, or more than some human beings.
Not only do they suffer bodily pain, but they go through the same agony of grief for the loss of those they love; of anxiety, if they see their friends in distress, and of great fear of coming danger to themselves.
I once saw a dog, crouching and shrinking into a corner, trying, as it seemed, to make himself as small as possible, and shaking all over. And this was at the sight of a boy with a stone raised in his hand !
I am glad to say that, in this case, the stone was not meant for the dog;
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but the dog thought it was. Very likely the poor creature had been struck before by a stone that was thrown by a boy! Dogs are generally too sensible to be afraid of any thing which has never hurt them.
I could tell you a great deal about the usefulness of the dog; how faithfully he guards his master's property; how nobly he struggles to save drowning persons, or persons buried in the snow; and how grateful he is to those who are kind to him. If you knew only half of what I could tell you about dogs, I think you would scarcely be able to help loving them. I am sure you would always treat them gently and thoughtfully.
Do not let your kindness to dogs be only a selfish sort of kindness; do not give them pleasure only because you hope to receive something from them in return. I should like you to be kind to animals for their own sakes !
Be kind to them because pleasure and pain have much the same effect upon them as upon you and me, and because
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