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varnishes, cements, and the like. An oil distilled from turpentine is employed in medicine, and is much used by painters for mixing up their colours. What remains after getting this oil is common resin. All these substances take fire very easily, and burn with a great fame; and the wood of the pine has so much of this quality, when dry, that it has been used in many countries for torches.
Har. I know deal shavings burn very briskly.
Geo. Yes; and matches are made of bits of deal dipped in brimstone.
Tut. True, and when it was the custom to burn the bodies of the dead, as you read in Homer and other old authors, the pines and pitch-trees composed great part of the funeral pile.
Har. But what are pitch-trees ? Does pitch grow upon trees ?
Tut. I was going on to tell you about
that. Tar is a product of the trees of this kind, especially of one species, called the Pitch-pine. The wood is burned in a sort of oven made in the earth, and the resinous juice sweats out, and acquires a peculiar taste and a black colour from the fire. This is tar. Tar when boiled down to dryness becomes pitch.
Geo. Tar and pitch are chiefly used about ships; are they not?
Tut. They resist moisture, and therefore are of great service in preventing things from decaying that are exposed to wet. For this reason, the cables and other ropes of ships are well soaked with tar; and the sides of ships are covered with pitch mixed with other ingredients. Their seams too, or the places where the planks join, are filled with tow dipped in a composition of resin, tallow and pitch, to keep out the water. Wood for paling, for piles, for coverings of roofs and other purposes of the like nature,
is often tarred over. Cisterns and casks are pitched to prevent leaking.
Har. But what are sheep tarred for after they are sheared ?
Tut. To cure wounds and sores in their skin. For the like purposes an ointment made with tar is often rubbed upon children's heads. Several parts of the pine are medicinal. The tops and green cones of the Spruce Fir are fermented with treacle, and the liquor, called spruce-beer, is much drunk in America, particularly for the scurvy.
Geo. Is it pleasant ?
Tut. Not to those who are unaccustomed to it. Well..I have now finished my lesson, so let us walk.
Har Shall we gothrough the grounds?
Tut. Yes; and then we will view some of the different kinds of Fir and Pine more closely, and I will show you the difference of their leaves and cones by which they are distinguished.
There the hoarse-voic'd hungry Rook,
THESE lines Mr. Stangrove repeated, pointing up to a Rookery, as he was walking in an avenue of tall trees, with his son Francis.
Francis. Is that a Rookery, papa ?
Mr. St. It is. Do you hear what a cawing the birds make ?
Fr. Yes—and I see them hopping about among the boughs. Pray, are not Rooks the same with crows ?
Mr. St. They are a species of crow; but they differ from the carrion crow and raven in not living upon dead flesh, but upon corn and other seeds, and grass. They indeed pick up beetles and other insects, and worms. See what a number of them have lighted on
yonder plowed field, almost blackening it over.
Fr. What are they doing?
You see the men in the field do not molest them, for they do a great deal of service by destroying grubs, which, if they were suffered to grow to winged insects, would do mach mischief to the trees and plants.
Fr. But do they not hurt the corn ?
Mr. St. Yes, they tear up a gond deal of green corn, if they are not driven away. But, upon the whole, Rooks are reckoned thefarmers' friends: and they do not choose to have them destroyed.
Fr. Do all Rooks live in Rookeries?
Mr. St. It is the general nature of them to associate together, and build in numbers on the same or adjoining trees. But this is often in the midst of woods or natural groves. However they have