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The genial climate and transparent atmosphere de-

Chap VI.}
lighted those who had come from the denser air of England. Every object in nature was new and wonderful. The loud and frequent thunder-storms were phenomena that had been rarely witnessed in the colder summers of the north; the forests, majestic in their growth, and free from underwood, deserved admiration for their unrivalled magnificence; the purling streams and the frequent rivers, flowing between alluvial banks, quickened the ever-pregnant soil into an unwearied fertility; the strangest and the most delicate flowers grew familiarly in the fields; the woods were replenished with sweet barks and odors; the gardens matured the fruits of Europe, of which the growth was invigorated and the flavor improved by the activity of the virgin mould. Especially the birds, with their gay plumage and varied melodies, inspired delight; every traveller expressed his pleasure in listening to the mocking-bird, which caroled a thousand several tunes, imitating and excelling the notes of all its rivals. The humming-bird, so brilliant in its plumage, and so delicate in its form, quick in motion, yet not fearing the presence of man, haunting about the flowers like the bee gathering honey, rebounding from the blossoms into which it dips its bill, and as soon returning ‘to renew its many addresses to its delightful objects,’ was ever admired as the smallest and the most beautiful of the feathered race. The rattlesnake, with the terrors of its alarms and the power of its venom; the opossum, soon to become as celebrated for the care of its offspring as the fabled pelican; the noisy frog, booming from the shallows like the English bittern; the flying squirrel; the myriads of pigeons, darkening the air with the immensity of their flocks.

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