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PART 1.

BELOW.

THE FOURTH ORDER OF REPTILES.

CHAPTER I.

THE NYMPHETS IN EMBRYO INTRODUCE THEIR FOND

PARENTS, THEMSELVES, AND THEIR GUIDE AND
COMPANION, GREAT-HEART.

SPO POTTIE!” exclaimed our father, as he whiffed

from his pipe. “My dear ?" more politely questioned our mother, looking up from the rushes she was busy on.

“ Great-heart wants to take Trixie and Dot back with him, up above, on a visit. He told me so before he left last time. Shall we let them go ?”

“Never with my permission !” hotly responded our mother.

"Nor, until well considered, with mine. Yet, think-with Great-heart ? " And our papa leapt

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across and kissed the clammy forehead of his spouse affectionately.

She pondered, the while tapping her feet together, or scratching her head pensively.

“ Yes, yes; I know, I know," slowly and somewhat testily exclaimed she at length. “ But to what end should they go?

In due course they will get their full powers; then will be time enough, and it will be all right. Why tell the little ones now of things they need never know ? Why show them that they may never see? Why, thus early, open their eyes, when it is so well they should be shut? To what end, I ask?"

Thus, too, have I argued, my Spottie. In this wise have I questioned Great-heart. But our friend has but one serious answer for me

“And that?"

Better to see now than later ; wiser to warn now than then; healthier to prevent than to cure; to early engraft the good within them that it may shine forth more brightly in their future, for the good of others."

“And is Great-heart right?” were the words that fell slowly from our mother's lips.

“We have never found him aught else," was the reply.

know how much we owe to him.' Our mother became excited.

Also you

“Ah, Croaker, dear! Full well do I know what we owe to Great-heart, the good, kind, and generous. Most surely am I aware that but for him we should not be here, that our dear ones might be cast adrift, perchance into the cruel Above before their time. Yet, in this thing is he right ?”

We have as yet found him wrong in nothing," was Croaker's reply.

“True, we have never found him wrong in his advice or counsel. But oh, if harm were to come to those darlings,—if they should fall sick, if I were never to see them again !” sobbed the good creature as she hid her face in her web-feet.

“It is Great-heart that takes them," was the answer from our father, as he kissed her.

True, it is Great-heart that takes them," reechoed she. “So I suppose I must consent. But, dear, let us speak with him again, let us be sure that he thinks it for their welfare that they go...."

“Of that, Madame Froggie, you can have a full and satisfactory reply now, here upon this spot, from the 'good, kind, and generous Great-heart,' who takes this early opportunity of wishing you and your most worthy husband a very good morning. He accompanies the salute with the gift of a bloom of precious water-lily plucked from the stream, previous to his morning 'header. Laying this token at your feet, he can only repeat that he contemplates returning shortly to his mother-earth, and that it will give him great pleasure to be accompanied by his little friends and admirers Trixie and Dot. He further begs to add that as far as his humble opinion goes, it will be for their good that they should come back with him.

He pledges himself to return the dear little tadpoles, God willing, safe and sound, in the course of a few months, to their native slime and bulrush.”

And here was Great-heart right in the midst of us again!

The familiar tone of his speech will show you on what footing he stood down here below. Yet our parents were this time rather taken aback by his abrupt appearance. He came upon them, you see, in the middle of this talk about us, nor did the good folks know exactly how much he might have heard of it. Not that they for one moment mistrusted Great-heart, or fancied he could play the eavesdropper. Far from that; he was the soul of honour. But we all know that any sudden interruption to a purely domestic chat, like this was, takes one aback a little. Our parents were accordingly rather flustered. Besides, our mother had wept, and women-why not, therefore, frogs ?-hate to be caught in tears,-everyone knows that.

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