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Lady Glanville's will on the ground of lunacy, of which the only evidence was her fondness for collecting insects. I thought with myself, what would be said of my father, with his well-stored cabinet, if such an inclination is to be attributed to such a cause.
PAPA. I hope the science of Entomology is now better appreciated than it was in Lady Glanville's time; and that the light which has been thrown on it, not only by her friend Ray, but by Linnæus and several other naturalists, both in our own and in foreign countries, has so displayed its charms and recommendations, that those who pursue it are no longer in danger of being accounted fools and lunatics. Fond as I am of natural history in all its branches, I must acknowledge that this branch of it has obtained the greatest share of my attention. Botany and Mineralogy have each their pleasures and advantages; but nothing inanimate can, in my opinion, excite an interest at all equal to that produced by beings endowed with vitality; which "are not only alive themselves, but confer animation upon the leaves, fruits, and flowers that they inhabit, which every walk offers to view; and on which new observations may be made without end."
MAMA.-Entomology appears to me to open a much larger field for research and discovery than any other division of natural history. A new plant or animal is seldom to be met with, even by those who have opportunities for the most extensive enquiries; discoveries in mineralogy are still less frequently to be hoped for; but the study of insects presents an inexhaustible fund of novelty. Every stone, every tree, every pool is continually affording fresh objects of curious investigation; and however often our researches may be made, we shall never find that we have exhausted the store of insect productions; still hundreds will remain, concerning which we have ascertained little besides the bare fact of their existence, and hundreds more which have altogether eluded our most diligent enquiries.
PAPA. And novelty is by no means the only, or the principal attraction which the study of insects affords. To say nothing of the admirable economy and instinctive skill which numbers of them exhibit, the great variety and beauty of their forms and colours are in themselves a sufficient source of pleasing amusement. As an eminent entomologist observes, "these little creatures appear to have been nature's favourite productions; in which, to manifest her power and skill, she has combined and concentrated almost all that is either beautiful and graceful, interesting or alluring, or curious and singular in every other class and order of her children. Το these, her valued miniatures, she has given the most delicate touch and highest finish of her pencil. Numbers she has armed with glittering mail, which reflects a lustre like that of burnished metals; in others she lights up the dazzling radiance of polished gems. Some she has decked with what looks like liquid drops or plates of gold and silver; or with scales or pile which mimic the colours and emit the ray of the same precious metals." "Nor has she been lavish only in the apparel and ornament of these privileged tribes; in other respects she has been equally unsparing of her favours: to some she has given fins like those of a fish, or a beak resembling that of birds; to others horns nearly the counterparts of those of various quadrupeds. The bull, the stag, and even the vainly-sought-for unicorn, have in this respect, many representatives among insects. One is armed with tusks not unlike those of an elephant; another is bristled with spines as the porcupine and hedgehog with quills; a third is an armadillo in miniature; the disproportionate hind legs of the kangaroo give a most grotesque appearance to a fourth; and the threatening head of the snake is found in a fifth.”
ANNA.I did not know, papa, that insects were so curious and beautiful, or that the study of them was so interesting. I hope you will make me more acquainted with them.
PAPA.-In introducing you to an acquaintance with insects, my love, I should introduce you to an acquaintance with the first geometricians, the first architects, the first miners, the first weavers, the first paper-makers, the first employers of diving bells and air pumps, indeed with the first practisers of various arts which man ignorantly supposes to be exclusively his own.
ANNA. You excite my curiosity, papa, more and more; I hope you intend to gratify it.
PAPA.-I shall most willingly gratify it, my love, as far as it is in my power; and I can without hesitation assure you, that in entering on the study of insects you will find a richer mine both of amusement and instruction open to you, than any other department of natural history can furnish.
ANNA. Do you think, papa, that insects are more interesting than the Zoophytes we have lately conversed on?
PAPA. The interest, my dear, is of a different nature. Zoophytes are merely animated masses of matter, claiming attention chiefly by the simplicity of their structure and their various points of resemblance to the vegetable kingdom. They are utterly destitute of intelligence, and are endowed only with the very lowest degree of instinct; but insects exhibit, in connexion with the most exquisite beauty of form and colour, not merely instinct in its highest perfection, but signs by no means equivocal of the possession of as great a share of intellect as is enjoyed by many animals of the superior classes.
MAMA.-Insects may be considered as the most useful, and at the same time, the most destructive part of the animal creation.
PAPA. Indeed they may. They hold a kind of universal empire over the earth and its inhabitants: and while, on the one hand, they not unfrequently lay waste large portions of it, bringing famine and pestilence in their train, on the other they do much, by eating that
which, if left to decay, would fill the air with impurity, to render it habitable; and become well deserving of the appellation they have obtained of "the great scavengers of nature."
HENRY. The metamorphoses of insects are to me the most wonderful occurrences in nature.
PAPA. They are truly astonishing. That the creature which, a few months ago, was a worm-like caterpillar, slowly crawling on the plant whence it derived its nourishment, should be now furnished with embroidered wings
"Through fields of air prepared to sail,"
is such an astonishing event, that, were it not for its continual recurrence, and the minuteness of the objects on which it takes place, it would be viewed by all with the most eager curiosity and amazement. I have little doubt, that the first idea of the marvellous metamorphoses which the poets recount, originated in an observation of the wonderful changes effected in the insect world; at any rate they furnished the ancients with an argument for their belief in the possibility of such miracles.
HENRY.-I have met with the remark, that the stories related of the Phoenix had probably the same origin.
PAPA. It is by no means unlikely. The account of the death and revivification of the Phoenix, in many of its particulars, greatly resembles what occurs in the metamorphoses of insects. It appears to me, too, that there is ground for the supposition, that the doctrine of the Metempsychosis, or transmigration of souls from one body to another, took its rise from the same source. the Institutes of Menu, which the Hindoos hold in high veneration, it is declared, that "a priest who has drunk wine, shall migrate into a moth or fly, feeding on ordure. He who steals the gold of a priest, shall pass a thousand times into the bodies of spiders. If a man shall steal honey, he shall be born a great stinging gnat; if oil, an
DESCRIPTION OF BRITISH TREES.
oil-drinking beetle; if salt, a cicada; if a household utensil, an ichneumon fly."
ANNA. But you have not yet described these metamorphoses to me, Papa.
PAPA.-Nor have I time now, my love, to enter fully into the subject. I can only briefly tell you, that all insects pass through four states-the egg; the larva, or grub; the pupa, or chrysalis; and the imago, or perfect insect. At some future opportunity I will describe these changes to you more at large. Z. Z.
DESCRIPTION OF BRITISH TREES.
THE Scotch Fir, Pinus Sylvestris, is our only native. species of Fir or Pine, and is of the Class Monadelphia Polyandria of English Botany, the Monoecia Monadelphia of Linneus.
"This is called the Scotch Fir, because it grows naturally on the Highlands of Scotland, where the seeds, falling from the cones, come up and propagate themselves without any care. But it is not in Scotland only that these trees thrive naturally; for they grow spontaneously in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. And though from the above instances it would seem that they delighted principally in those northern parts; yet when the plants are properly raised and planted out, no climate can come amiss to them, for they will thrive and grow to be good timber trees in almost any part of the temperate globe. The timber of the tree is what we call Deal, which is sometimes red, sometimes yellow, but chiefly white."-Hunter.
A Fir or Pine is easily known from other trees by its narrow, bristle-like leaf, the seed in the form of a cone, and generally a considerable degree of formality in its growth, though often, as in the Cedar, extremely picturesque. In our plantations we have a great variety of the Pinus, under the names of Fir, Cedar, Pine, and Larch: they are mostly ever-greens, though the Larch is not so,