Flying the kite is a pleasant amusement for boys, and when we see the kites flying high in the air, we are always reminded of a kite whose history we heard when a little child, and which we give our readers. Shortly after the close of the Revolutionary war, there was a little boy whose parents had left their home and friends in England on account of their sympathy with the struggle of freedom for their rights in America. Their first home was in Norfolk, Va.
This little boy was very much delighted with the American eagle, and he determined to make a kite as much like his favorite bird as he could. He had a friend who was a painter and gilder, and a person of great ingenuity. Together they contrived a beautiful kite, representing an eagle of gigantic size. It was painted and gilded in the most beautiful manner, and a small but very brilliant lantern was attached to it just below the breast.
They kept their secret very carefully, never suffering any one to enter the room while it was making.
On a dark, cloudy, windy night, the kite was flown. Its mechanism was so perfect that it sailed very beautifully. The lantern illuminated every part, and it made a very brilliant appearance. Crowds of people thronged the streets, wondering what the strange visitor was. Some were alarmed, and thought it was an omen of fearful events.
Great was their admiration when they discovered that the wonderful bird was the ingenious contrivance of a little boy; and they could scarcely be convinced that what looked so much like a real bird was only an ingenious combination of sticks and painted paper.
There are a great many novel sights in the streets of London, for the cheap entertainment of the people. The family circle of different animals and birds is an admirable illustration of the peace which should pervade among families. The proprietor of this novel menagerie calls it, “The Happy Family.” The house in which they are kept is a simple constructed cage. It is a large square hen-coop, placed on a low hand-cart, which a man draws about from one street to another, and gets a few pennys a day from those who stop to look at the domestic happiness of his family. Perhaps the first thing you will see, is a large cat, washing her face, with a number of large rats nestling around her, like kittens, whilst others are climbing up her back and playing with her whiskers. In another corner of the room a dove and a hawk are setting on the head of a dog which is resting across the neck of a rabbit. The floor is covered with the oddest social circles imaginable—weazles and Guinea pigs, and peeping chickens, are putting their noses together, caressingly. The perches above are covered with birds whose natural antipathies have been subdued into mutual affection by the law of kindness. The grave owl is sitting upright, and meditating in the sun, with a keen-sighted sparrow perched between his ears trying to open the eyes of the sleepy owl with its sharp bill.