14 SEPTEMBER 1901, Page 17



Sra,—If you are still open to animal stories you will perhaps receive the following. Some weeks ago, while guest in a country house near Drorford, Hampshire, as I was entering the door a squirrel ran across the gravel sweep, and as he did so a sparrow flew down and pecked him with timorous fury; they disappeared in the shrubbery, and at tea I told what I had seen, and asked if squirrels ever stole birds' eggs. My host said, "They are akin to the rat, and it is very possible." The sequel came a few days after on a glowing July morning at 5 am. There was an agitated chattering of birds, and going to the window, on the horizontal bough of an aged fir- tree I saw a squirrel in keen excitement, with rapid motions from side to side, showing fight against half-a- dozen agonised birds, who swept around him, but without daring to touch their agile enemy, whose erect bristling tail, showing the pale, fawny down of the under fur, gave an appearance of white heat that was absolutely fiend-like. All on the aide of the birds, I unwisely made a noise with the hope of driving off the squirrel, but it only scattered the scared nesters and left him crouching against the grey bough and measuring with a glittering eye the chance of further interference. After a long pause he sat up and again waited, then made a sudden rush into the ivy, which hung• thick over the gaunt limb, and immediately reappeared, the pure oval of an egg shining in his paws. A dead silence reigned as under my involuntary shelter he sat upon his haunches, the wicked tall waving with all innocence above his head while he sucked in perfect enjoyment; about half way through his

breakfast he ran to an upper branch and finished as he swung in calm triumph above the scene of the struggle. The birds made no sighin' or sobbin' as at the death of poor cock robin, but remained hidden and speechless.—I am, Sir, &c.,

Harecombe, Crowborcrugh, Susses. M. E. BRIDGE.