“I think frogs are very interesting creatures too,” said Tom.
“So they are,” said Charley. “I often stand by our pond down there and watch them. The pond is in a damp part of the garden; just what frogs like. In the spring there’s a lot of that spotted, jelly-looking stuff, which is the frogs’ spawn, or eggs, about the pond.
“By-and-by, in about a month or so, a tadpole comes out of the egg. There are swarms of them wriggling about the water, with heads and bodies and tails, but no legs. In about six weeks more the legs begin to grow, and gradually the tadpole changes into a frog. See what a number of young frogs there are hopping about here on the edge of the pond! They are just out of their tadpole stage. They’ll eat just what toads eat, so they do no harm in a garden.”
“I think I’ll take some home with me and put them into the little pond in grandpapa’s garden,” said Jack; “for I shall like to watch them growing.”
So Jack caught a few carefully, and tied them loosely in his pocket handkerchief.
“Well,” said Tom, “I think we must say good-bye, Charley; it’s about time for us to go home.”
“We must not forget the box of birds’ eggs; and thank you,” said Jack.
“No,” said Charley; “I’ll fetch the box and go home part of the way with you. It’s a very fine evening for a walk.”
A TALK WITH AUNT LIZZIE.
“I can show you the spot where the hyacinth
Hangs out her bell blossoms of blue,
And tell where the celandine’s bright-eyed child
Fills her chalice with honey-dew,—
The purple-dyed violet, the hawthorn and sloe,
The creepers that trail in the lane,
The dragon, the daisy, and clover-rose, too,
And buttercups gilding the plain.”
After the boys had started for Charley Foster’s, the little girls went upstairs into what was once the nursery, where Tom and Katey kept all their toys and books and learned their lessons; in fact it was still the children’s room.
Katey showed her cousins her various belongings, and said, “I’m afraid I have not anything so pretty to show you as Tom’s birds’ eggs. I thought I would make a collection of wild flowers and leaves, and press them and fasten them on to paper. So I began with the leaves of the forest trees, and here they are.”
The children looked through the sheets, on which were pressed the leaves of the oak, the elm, the birch, the willow, and many others besides, all so different in shape.
“The leaves are very well,” said Katey, “but not the flowers. I soon left off pressing them, for the poor flowers looked so wretched, so unlike the living ones, that I did not care to go on.”
“I have felt just the same about some of the things in the museums in London,” said Mary. “They may interest grown-up people, but not us. They are so dried and withered, that they don’t give you much of an idea of what they were in life. Who would ever guess what a man was like by seeing a mummy? and some of the things are no better than mummies.”