15 JUNE 1850, Page 12


A young lady, residing with her family at Toulouse, amused herself by collecting birds and teaching them to perform feats, gradually advancing in interest and difficulty according to the aptness of the pupils. After a curriculum of four years so far had the limits hitherto assigned to bird- intelligence been exceeded, that the preceptress was advised to remove so learned an establishment to Paris. This was done last winter ; and the success was such sate encourage a visit to London. At No. 2 Baker Street, Portman Square, Mademoiselle Vandermeersch and her feathered corps have taken up their abode ; and on several occasions a private exhibi- bitionof their attainments has been given. A cage divided into four compart- ments, each contsieinry a bird, is placed on a table. A moveable tray, the length of the cage, is iraced in front. The tray contains some hundred cards placed edgeways; some bearing the marks of common playing-cards, others bearing the letterset' the alphabet, others the months, others numerals, others scraps of poetry,-others pictures. These are the materials upon which the birds exercise their skill. Mademoiselle takes the tray, and asks three or four of the company to pick out a playing-card, each with instructions not to reveal the marks. She then places the tray which contains the remaining cards in front of the cage. One of the birds is liberated by raising a slit; he receives his instructions, commences hopping about upon the cards, and looking very knowingly as he moves along ; he stops, and commences a vigorous tugging at a card ; he succeeds in extricating it, hops back to his compartment; and the card on being looked at is found to correspond with one of the cards held by the spectator who selected it. The performer is then liberated to have his reward in the shape of a seed ; which he enjoys with great relish, and goes back again. Another liberation takes place; ano- ther card is tugged out ; and so on tifi the number held by the company is exhausted. A watch was presented to one of the birds, and he was de- sired to tell the hour : ho pulled out a card which bore the figure 3, and it was the right one. One of the company was asked to pronounce a word. " Chaise " was mentioned. A little fellow about the size of a linnet was liberated: he tugged out the C, then the h, and then the other letters till the spelling was complete ; receiving each time a seed for his trouble. On being asked to tell the number of letters the word contained, the wizard tugged out a card bearing the figure fi. The gentleman who mentioned the word thought the performer had made a mistake—he thought there was only five letters; but on counting his fingers he found the bird was correct. Sometimes, when a card was thrown up with its back uppermost, another bird was called upon to turn it over. Occasionally a mistake was made; but no sooner was it men- tioned than the necessary correction took place. For example, a bird was asked to subtract 6 from 7: he added them instead, and produced a card bearing the figure 12. He was told that subtraction, not addition, was wanted; and, after looking anxiously at his feet as he hopped along, he stopped at a card, tugged it out, and it bore the figure 2. One of the birds took leave of the company in a pretty verse which he selected from the cards, and which expressed the thanks of his interesting mistress to her visitors.

The collection consists of thirty-one birds, all more or less advanced in their education. The exhibition has not yet extended beyond attendance at private parties.