WHAT WILL HE DO WITH IT? 317
tune of an old English border-song. The deer lifted its antlers from the water, and turned its large bright eyes toward the oppo- site bank, whence the note came — listening and wistful. As George's step crushed the wild thyme, which the thorn-tree shad- owed — " Hush," said Waife, " and mark how the rudest musical sound can affect the brute creation." He resumed the whistle — a clearer, louder, wilder tune — that of a lively hunting-song. The deer turned quickly round — uneasy, restless, tossed its antlers, and bounded through the fern. Waife again changed the key of his primitive music — a melancholy belling note, like the belling itself of a melancholy hart, but more modulated into sweetness. The deer arrested its flight, and, lured by the mimic sound, returned toward the water-side, slow and stately.
" I don't think the story of Orpheus charming the brutes was a fable — do you. Sir ? " said Waife. " The rabbits about here know me already; and if I had but a fiddle I would undertake to make friends with that reserved and unsocial water-rat, on whom Sir Isaac in vain endeavors at present to force his acquaint- ance. Man commits a great mistake in not cultivating more in- timate and amicable relations with the other branches of earth's great family. Few of them not more amusing than we are — naturally, for they have not our cares. And such variety of character, too, where you would least expect it ! "
George Morley. "Very true: Cowper noticed marked dif- ferences of character in his favorite hares."
Waife. " Hares ! I am sure that there are not two house- flies on a window-pane, two minnows in that water, that would not present to us interesting points of contrast as to temper and disposition. If house-flies and minnows could but coin money, or set up a manufacture — contrive something, in short, to buy or sell attractive to Anglo-Saxon enterprise and intelligence — of course we should soon have diplomatic relations with them ; and our dispatches and newspapers would instruct us to aT in the characters and propensities of their leading personages. But where man has no pecuniary nor ambitious interests at stake in his commerce with any class of his fellow-creatures, his informa- tion about them is extremely confused and superficial. The best naturalists are mere generalizers, and think they have done a vast deal when they classify a species. What should we know about mankind if we had only a naturalist's definition of man } We only know mankind by knocking classification on the head, and studying each man as a class in himself. Compare Buffon with Shakspeare ? Alas ! Sir — can we never have a Shakspeare for house-flies and minnows ? "