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In the fine days of the summer, in that time of cheerfulness and joy, every thing is in motion; every thing throughout the animal world is full of life and activity; but there are no creatures so active as the little republic of bees. At least, of all the insects round us, there are none we can better learn to be acquainted with, or which can afford a more pleasing scene. The bees assemble in great numbers, either in hollow trees and cavities, or in a sort of baskets, called hives, where they are collected by the art of man. They disperse on all sides, and, by means of their trunk, they gather honey and wax from the stamina and juice of the flowers. When their harvest is made, they convey it into their storehouse, which they fill from top to bottom with cells, in form of hexagons. They inhabit some of these cells; others are designed to receive the eggs, and to lodge their young; and the rest serve as magazines to deposit their winter's provision of honey in. Amongst these bees, which form altogether but one family, there is one larger than any other, which is a female, and therefore called their Queen. To her alone all the young bees born in the hive owe their birth. From the eggs sbe laid in the cells there come out worms, which the working bees feed with their trunks. Afterwards this worm remains nearly fifteen days to all appearance dead in its cell, which is closed with a little wax lid. In this inanimate state it is called nympha.. When its time is accomplished it opens its tomb, and comes out in the form of a young bee. The bees have two horns on their heads, which guard their eyes, and warn them of dangers. They have fangs or claws they make use of in their work, and a trunk, or hollow tube, which they can draw in and out of its case as they please. This instrument, supple and moveable in every way, reaches to the very bottom of the cup of the flowers, where they gather their honey, and passes through the case into the bag of honey placed within their bodies, from whence the honey is afterwards poured into the cells of the storehouse.
The bees have six feet: with the two first, and their fangs, they form the wax or meal of the flowers into little balls; and with their middle feet they put them into a hollow, shaped like a spoon, which they have in their hind feet, which are also furnished with hair, in order to retain the wax, and prevent it from falling when they are flying. Laden thus they return to their cell, without losing their way, though they are sometimes several miles from it. When they arrive, they find other bees waiting for them, to assist them in unloading their booty, and then they all work in common, to employ those provisions for the general use of the hive. They stop every crevice with wax, to keep out any foreign animal; but leave openings for themselves to go in and out. The queen, and the working bees have, at the extremity of the body, a sting enclosed in a case, which they make use of to wound or kill their enemies: but the wound they give is generally fatal to themselves, when the sting is drawn from their body
Every thing in those little animals must excite our admiration; the formation of their limbs, so regular and so well adapted to their kind of life; the care they take of their young; the art with which their cells are built, their activity, their industry and intelligence. Let us never pass by a bee-hive with indifference. Let us admire them, and 'this admiration may lead us to more sublime thoughts. If we love to reflect on our Creator, we shall find him here. This interesting scene will lead us to him; and we shall adore his wisdom, his power, and his goodness, in the production of these little creatures.
THOUGH these insects are so disagreeable to the lovers of gardens, they nevertheless deserve our attention. Caterpillars generally live upon our trees, and we have such an aversion to them, that wherever we meet with them we destroy them. This is the reason we do not deign to honour them with a look, and still less to examine them attentively. And yet there is no doubt but these insects may very agreeably amuse the attentive observer of nature. Let us here try to prove it. Perhaps, by raising the curiosity of those who have hitherto neglected them, they may be induced not to trample them under foot, without first observing their wonderful formation, and taking from thence occasion to look up to the Creator. The number of species of caterpillars already known aniounts to more than three hundred, and there are new ones daily discovered. Their shape, their colour, their form, their inclinations and way of life, all differ in some respects; but this circumstance they have in common, that they are composed of rings, which, by moving to and frø, carry the body wherever they want to go. Nature has given them two sorts of feet, which have each their particular use. The six fore feet are a sort of hooks, which they make use of in taking a fast hold and clinging to any thing. The soles of the hinder feet are broad, and armed with little sharp
nails. With the hooks they draw to them the leaves, the grass, and whatever they want for food, and they fix the fore-part of their body with them, while they are drawing up the hind rings. The hinder feet serve to keep them firm, and to hold by whatever they are to rest upon. When they are on a branch or leaf, they can seize on food at some distance; for by hooking themselves on with the hind-feet, they stand up, and raise the fore-part of their body, move it about, and poise it in the air on every side, get considerably upon the leaf, reach their food, and take it with their claws. However adapted the body of the caterpillar is to its several wants, it is remarkable that its state is but transient, that the limbs last but a certain time, and that this creeping worm becomes a chrysalis without feet or motion, till it is metamorphosed into a creature classing with the inhabitants of the air. Were it for this reason only, the caterpillar would be worth our attention. Towards the end of summer, and often sooner, after having satiated themselves with verdure, and after having changed their coat several times, they cease to eat, and begin to build a house, in order to end their life in it with the caterpillar state, and to be afterwards transformed into butterflies. The chrysalis is full of a sort of thick milk, which serves for food to the butterfly till it comes out. When it is entirely formed, and its parts arrived at consistency, and that a gentle warmth invites it to quit its prison, it makes itself a passage through the end of the chrysalis that is largest and the thinnest. The head (which has always been turned towards that end) disengages itself, the horns lengthen, the feet and wings spread out, the butterfly takes wing and flies away. It preserves none of its former state. The caterpillar which changed into the chrysalis, and the butterfly, that comes out of it, are two animals totally different. The former is rough, hairy, and limits itself to a gross food; but the other is adorned with the liveliest
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colours, and goes from flower to flower, freely enjoying all nature, of which it is itself the ornament. Will not this description reconcile every one to these insects, and put an end to all aversion to them. Perhaps some may still think they have a right to ask : To what púrpose, after all, are these caterpillars? Would it not be better to be entirely free from them? No; on the contrary, it is certain, that the world would not be as perfect as it is, if there were no caterpillars in it. Take away these insects, and you deprive the birds of a considerable part of their subsistence. As the birds were to feed on caterpillars, it was just that the Creator should ordain for their food the leaves and plants, to which they have as good a right as us. It is true that the voracity of these animals makes them sometimes troublesome to mankind; but this is an evil which the Creator permits with much wisdom. For the mischief the caterpillars sometimes do, may serve to humble us, and make us recollect the uncertainty of all our earthly possessions. And even supposing we could not penetrate into the reasons for forming such creatures, we should not therefore have a right to deny their utility. We ought, on the contrary, to take occasion from thence to acknowledge our ignorance, and trust in the wisdom of Him who formed all things, zi, i 'in',
atsid. : LESSON LXVII.'.
The Nightingale. The nightingale is a musician of the first rank amongst the inhabitants of the air. When all the birds, who during day entertained us with their notes, cease to be heard, it is then that the voice of the nightingale is raised, to animate the woods and