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narrowest space possible, which is ever so faintly less coloured than the substance of the lip. This makes the mouth appear larger than it really is; the bow, too, is more flattened than in the pure Greek lip. It is beautiful, but not perfect, tempting, mischievous, not retiring, and belongs to a woman who is never long alone. To describe it first is natural, because this mouth is itself the face, and the rest of the features are grouped to it. If you think of her you think of her mouth only-the face appears as memory acts, but the mouth is distinct, the remainder uncertain. She laughs and the curl runs upwards, so that you must laugh too, you cannot help it. Had the curl gone downwards, as with habitually melancholy people, you might have withstood her smile. The room is never dull where she is, for there is a distinct character in it-a woman-and not a mere living creature, and it is noticeable that if there are five or six or more present, somehow the conversation centres round her.

There was a lady I knew who had lips like these. Of the kind they were perfect. Though she was barely fourteen she was the woman of that circle by the magnetism of her mouth. When we all met together in the evening all that went on in some way or other centred about her. By consent the choice of what game should be played was left to her to decide. She was asked if it was not time for some one to sing, and the very mistress of the household referred to her whether we should have another round or go in to supper. Of course, she always decided as she supposed the hostess wished. At supper, if there

was a delicacy on the table it was invariably offered to her. The eagerness of the elderly gentlemen, who presumed on their gray locks and conventional harmlessness to press their attentions upon her, showed who was the most attractive person in the room. Younger men feel a certain reserve, and do not reveal their inclinations before a crowd, but the harmless old gentleman makes no secret of his admiration. She managed them all, old and young, with unconscious tact, and never left the ranks of the other ladies as a crude flirt would have done. This tact and way of modestly holding back when so many would have pushed her too much to the front retained for her the good word of her own sex. If a dance was proposed it was left to her to say yes or no, and if it was not too late the answer was usually in the affirmative. So in the morning, should we make an excursion to some view or pleasant wood, all eyes rested upon her, and if she thought it fine enough away we went.

Her features were rather fine, but not especially so; her complexion a little dusky, eyes gray, and dark hair; her figure moderately tall, slender but shapely. She was always dressed well; a certain taste marked her in everything. Upon introduction no one would have thought anything of her; they would have said, "insignificant-plain;" in half an hour, "different to most girls;" in an hour, "extremely pleasant; in a day, "a singularly attractive girl;" and so on, till her empire was established. It was not the features-it was the mouth, the curling lips, the vivacity and life that sparkled in them. There is

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wine, deep-coloured, strong, but smooth at the surface. There is champagne with its richness continually rushing to the rim. Her lips flowed with champagne. It requires a clever man indeed to judge of men; now how could so young and inexperienced a creature distinguish the best from so many suitors ?


THE cawing of the rooks in February shows that the time is coming when their nests will be re-occupied. They resort to the trees, and perch above the old nests to indicate their rights; for in the rookery possession is the law, and not nine-tenths of it only. In the slow dull cold of winter even these noisy birds are quiet, and as the vast flocks pass over, night and morning, to and from the woods in which they roost, there is scarcely a sound. Through the mist their black wings advance in silence, the jackdaws with them are chilled into unwonted quiet, and unless you chance to look up the crowd may go over unnoticed. But so soon as the waters begin to make a sound in February, running in the ditches and splashing over stones, the rooks commence the speeches and conversations which will continue till late into the following autumn.

The general idea is that they pair in February, but there are some reasons for thinking that the rooks, in fact, choose their mates at the end of the preceding summer. They are then in large flocks, and if only casually glanced at appear mixed together without any order or arrangement. They move on. the ground and fly in the air so close, one beside.

the other, that at the first glance or so you cannot distinguish them apart. Yet if you should be lingering along the by-ways of the fields as the acorns fall, and the leaves come rustling down in the warm sunny autumn afternoons, and keep an observant eye upon the rooks in the trees, or on the fresh-turned furrows, they will be seen to act in couples. On the ground couples alight near each other, on the trees they perch near each other, and in the air fly side by side. Like soldiers each has his comrade. Wedged in the ranks every man looks like his fellow, and there seems no tie between them but a common discipline. Intimate acquaintance with barrack or camp life would show that every one had his friend. There is also the mess, or companionship of half a dozen, a dozen, or more, and something like this exists part of the year in the armies of the rooks. After the nest time is over they flock together, and each family of three or four flies in concert. Later on they apparently choose their own particular friends, that is the young birds do so. All through the winter after, say October, these pairs keep together, though lost in the general mass to the passing spectator. If you alarm them while feeding on the ground in winter, supposing you have not got a gun, they merely rise up to the nearest tree, and it may then be observed that they do this in pairs. One perches on a branch and a second comes to him. When February arrives, and they resort to the nests to look after or seize on the property there, they are in fact already paired, though the almanacs put down St. Valentine's day as the date of courtship.

There is very often a warm interval in February,

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