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Ofan Old Farm; 

Leaves from the Note-Book of 
A Naturalist. 

By Henry C. McCook, D.D., 

Author of "^4 Ndtural History of the Agricultural Ants of Ti;.V((S, 
'■'The Honey and Occident Ants,^^ etc., etc. Vice-President of 
the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 
Vice-Director of the American Entomologi- 
cal Society, etc. 




J 885. 




ciias. f. roper & co. 
New York. 

To THE Memory op 



Whose Enehoy, Intelligence 

AND Delicate Culture, Lofty charactek, 

Exalted Aims and Maternal Devotion, 

ADDED Honor to Womanhood, 

and gave Her Motherhood an Imperishable Influence 

AND Charm, 


In Grateful and Loving Homage 




Within three weeks of the first issue of "Ten- 
ants of an Old Farm" the large edition ])repared for 
the Holiday Trade was exhausted, and nearly as 
many more could have been sold had they been 

Dr. ]\IcCooK tliinks that this prompt demand for 
a bool? traversing the field of Natural History is 
largely due to the influence of the ' ' Agassiz Asso- 
ciation." However that may be, there is no doubt 
that the tendency of the day in books for youth is 
towards matter of genuine worth and permanent 
interest, and books which combine these elements 
with the attractive holiday guise of interior illus- 
tration and outward decoration find a sure demand. 
The very cordial and yet discriminating reception 
accorded by the press to this. Dr. McCook's latest 
work, shows that his careful original investigations 
and his clear scientific methods of presenting their 
results have been appreciated, while the glow of 
enthusiasm which pervades his style and commu- 


nicates something of his own fervoi' in his fascina- 
ting subject secures the interest of his readers. 

This second Hohday Edition has been prepared in 
response to a decided call, and in the belief that 
the value of the work and the inspiration it gives to 
a stiidy of the diminutive spry existences of house, 
garden, and meadow, will make it a permanent 
favorite, and that, not only among earnest and in- 
telligent youth, but among entomological students 
of the higher gi-ades. 

Fords, Howard, & Hulbert. 

New York, Jan. 10, 1885. 


The purpose of this book is to present a series of 
exact truths from Natural History in a popular form. 

The author firmly believes that study of the struc- 
ture, conditions and behavior of all created things 
highly tends to elevate human character. Under such 
conviction he consented to write a number of essays 
upon insect life with a particular view to his own 
specialties — ants and spiders. It was agreed that these 
essays should express the latest and best results of 
scientific research, and thus have a real scientific 
value and standing. As to form, the papers were to 
be adapted to the taste and understanding of lay or 
non-scientific readers. 

This original plan was afterward so far changed, 
under the persuasion of friends, as to give the essays 
a colloquial form, introducing thereinto something of 
that interest which attaches to the play of various 
human characters. 

The author is free to confess that the change was 
made after much hesitation on his part. Like most 
naturalists, he thinks that the truths of N'ature are 
attractive enough in themselves and need not the 
seasoning of fiction, even of so mild a flavor as offered 
by the "Tenants." Moreover, he seriously distrusted 


his ability to cast tlae natural facts at his command into 
an}- narrative form that would reasonabl}' satisfy the 
just demands of literature. Nevertheless, as those 
whose judgment he most trusted believed that such 
a form would give his studies a wider circulation, 
a kindlier welcome, and so a larger influence, he ven- 
tured upon the proposed change. 

Whatever may be the verdict on the above point pro- 
nounced by those who may read these pages, this at 
least should be said : the facts in Natural History here 
presented may be accepted as correct, or as nearly so 
as is allowed one who works in such a field. Most of 
the facts given have come under the writer's own ob- 
servation. Where he has gone to other naturalists for 
information he has used the utmost care to be accurate. 
These remarks apply also to the popular superstitions 
concerning insects for whose expression " old Dan"' and 
" Sary Ann" have been invented. Indeed Dan is not 
so much an invention as an adaptation of a real char- 

The plan as originall}- proposed included references 
to all works consulted, and credit to every author cited. 
It is a cause of serious regret that this feature had to 
be dropped as obviousl}' out of place in a scientific 
pastoral like the " Tenants," however proper in a series 
of scientific essays. All the heartier, therefore, are the 
thanks here rendered to the earnest, loving and labor- 
ious naturalists who have contributed b}' writings and 
word of mouth to these pages. 

It only remains to lie said that the numerous illustra- 


tions (with a single exception) have been prepared 
expressly for this work, and (with very few exceptions) 
have been drawn from nature or after the author's 
sketches from nature. They are not only original — 
many of them presenting subjects in natural history 
that have never before been illustrated — but are cor- 
rect, and, for the most part, artistic, although scientific 
verity has been the chief aim. To Mr. Edward Shep- 
pard and Mr. Frank Stout, who made the larger part 
of the natural history drawings, especial recognition is 
due. The admirable comical adaptations of Mr. Dan 
Beard are, of course, sui ycneris, and are not without 
real value in illustrating the text which they brighten 
with the play of mirth. The absence of his skillful 
hand from the closing chapters is owing to an accident 
which threatened the loss of his eyesight, a calamity 
that happily has been averted. 

In the belief that this book contains enough original 
observations to make it valuable to working naturalists, 
an index of the scientific matter has been prepared. 

Philadelphia, September, 1881, 



Chapters. page 

I. Transformed and Transferred . . 9 
II. Renewing Old Acquaintance . . .13 

III. The Tenants Preparing for Winter . 2G 

IV. Winter Tenants of Our Trees . . 39 
V. Moths at the Fireside .... 03 

VI. Pellionella and Pomonella — A Chroni- 
cle of "Old Clo's " and Windfalls . 84 
VII. Measure for Measure . . . . 102 

VIII. Insect Troglodytes 131 

IX. Cave-dwelling Insects .... 143 

X. The History of a Humble-Bee . . 163 
XI. Insect Engineering — Bridge -building 

and Ballooning Spiders . . . 185 

XII. Argonaut and Geometer. . . . 30G 

XIII. A Battle, a Conquest, and a Night- 

Raid— The Cutting-Ant of Texas . 230 

XIV. A Tour Through a Texas Ant-IIill . 353 
XV. The Cricket on the Hearth . . . 277 

XVI. Music-Making Insects .... 299 

XVII. " Sermons IN "—Ants . . . .320 

XVIII. Seventeen Years Under Ground . . 353 

XIX. Housekeeping in a Basket . . . 377 

XX. Sartor Insectorum 400 

XXI. Nature's First Paper-Makers . . 426 

XXII. New Tenants and Old Friends . . 448 



1. Aririo{)e and Snare 

2. Studying Bunk Argiope's Snare 

3. Cocoon of Argiope Riparia 

4. A Brood of Spiderlings on their First Outin 

5. Spiders at Cape May 

6. " Collecting a Specimen " . 

7. " Scalpage " .... 

8. Snare and Egg-sacs of Caudata . 

9. Caudata's Cocoons, with Scalpage 

10. Egg-sac of Banded Argiope 

11. Snare of Argiope Fasciata 

12. Decoration of Fasciata 
13a Polyphemus Moth (Female) 
136 Larva of Polyphemus Moth 
ISc Cocoon of Polyphemus Moth 
14-. Dame Nature Strips Young Polyphemus for Rest 

15. Pupa of Polyphemus . 

16. Cecropia Moth (Platysamia cecropia) 

17. Pupa of Butterfly Vanessa 
Cluster of Cynthia Cocoons 
The Sparrows' Sparring Match . 
The Rape of the Yarns 
Cocoon of Cecropia Moth 
Cecropia Cocoon Partly Dissected 
Potato-worm, Larva of Sphinx Quinque-maculata 
Pupa of Potato-moth 

35. Sphinx Quinque-maculata 
20. Riddle of the Sphinx . 
27. The Shadow of a Moth 

Death's Head Moth and Larva 

The Mistress's Contribution 

A Case of " Old Clo's " and Charity 

Burrow of Apple-worm 

32. Cocoon, Pupa, Female and Larva of the Codling 

Moth, and a Parasitic Ichnuemon Fly 

33. A Mothical Version of Tell and the Apple 







34. The Geometrid Horror 103 

35. Tussock Moth, Orgia Leueostigma, Male, Female and 

Larva . . . . 105 

36. Cocoon of Tussock Moth . . " . . . .106 

37. Our Imported Protectors 109 

38. A Mother Moth 110 

39. A Geometrid Turnvereiu Ill 

40. Orchard Moth 113 

41. The Clothes Barker's Paradise 115 

42. Ancient Cave-dwellers 133 

43. Cave-dwellers, Ancient and Modern .... 127 

44. Turret Spider's Nest and Tower .... 131 

45. Cotton-lined Nest of Turret Spider . . . .133 

46. A Mother Spider and her Brood .... 137 

47. " She had so many children, she didn't know what to 

do" . . : 138 

48. Seaside Residence of Turret Spider .... 149 
40. Entrance to the Humble Bees' Cave .... 145 

50. The Mole Cricket — its Cave and Eggs . . . 149 

51. Queen, Male, Workers Minor and Major of Hnrable- 

Bee {Bonibtis ^Virginicus') ..... 153 

52. Wild Aborigines Exterminated by the Enticements of 

the Jug . . . • 156 

53. Cave and Cell-nest of Humble-Bees .... 159 

54. The Dude of the Beehive— Poor Drone ! . . .161 

55. Humble-Bee Upholstery- Worker Burrowing for Root- 

lets, and Queen Covering her Nest .... 165 

56. Mattress-making — " Tucking up the Tufts of Up- 

holstery " 167 

57. Apiarian Enemies and Friends 172 

58. Curtain of Wax-workers 175 

59. Face of Humble-Bee— Showing Tongue . . .177 

60. Mrs. Bumble Fills the Honey Jars .... 179 

61. The Basket Bee • . 180 

62. Hind Leg of a Working Humble Bee, to Show the 

Basket . . .' 181 

63. The Basket-burdened Bee comes Home . . . 182 

64. A Spider's Suspension Bridge 190 

65. Kiting the Cataract 195 

66. Ballooning or Flying Spiders 197 

67. Ballooning Spider Preparing to Ascend . . . 199 

68. The Original Brookline Bridge — " Engineer Arachne 

Makes the First Crossing 201 

69. Silken Bridge Built by Baby Spiders . . . .204 

70. Water Spiders and their Egg-Sac Caisson . . . 208 


71. Putting Spokes to the Wheel 

72. The First Radii 

73. Alternate Apposition 

74. Spiral roundations— Putting in the Spirals 
7.5. Araehne's Pearls — Viscid Beads . 

76. Preceptor to His Majesty : Robert Bruce and the 


77. "Nobody in, Sir, Pass On !" 

78. Winged Female, Male, Soldier and Worker-Major of 

Cutting-Ant (Attafervens) .... 

79. Mound-Nest of Cutting-Ant 

80. Procession of Parasol or Cutting-Ants . 

81. The Parasol Ant — An Emmet Robinson Crusoe 

82. Defoliated Twig of Pride-of-China-Tree 

83. Ant Making a Cutting from a Live Oak Leaf 

84. Head of a Cutting Ant . .... 

85. Ants Bewitching Cows 

86. Knights of Myrmecology Storming the.Ant-Hill 

87. View of Trench Exposing the Interior of Cutting-Ant 


88. Cave of the Cutting-Ant, Showing the Leaf-Combs 

89. Pride-of-China-Tree Stripped of Leaves on One Sid 

by Cutting-Ant 

90. An Underground Route of Cutting-Ants 

91. The Gate Closed ...... 

92. The Gate Open 

93. Preparing to Close the Nest .... 

94. An Emmet " Dumping" — A Mason Squad at Work 

95. A Patent Ant Exterminator .... 

96. The Cricket on the Hearth .... 

97. White Crickets, Male and Female 

98. Black Crickets ( (7)-?/Zi?«s »i».7e7') .... 

99. The Wliite Cricket's Serenade .... 

100. Dan's Ideal Cricket on the Hearth — Sarah Blows the 

Conch-shell for Dinner 

101. Katydids, Male and Female .... 

102. Cicada, Female and Male ; Locust ^dipoda Carolina 

103. The Music of Boyhood — A Reminiscence 

104. The Blue Church 

105- The Grasshopper's Dirge . . • . 

106. Agricultural Ants Engaged in Cutting Grass 

107. Front Yard Roads of Ants' Nests 

108. Ant Clearing in a Weed Forest 

109. Undergrade Ant-road in Fairraoiint Park 

110. Granaries, Showing Seeds and Stores . 










111. Mound-nest of Occident-Ant .... 

112. Interior Plan of Storerooms and Galleries . 

113. Open Granary of Harvesting-Ant . , 
Hi. Occident-Ant Gathering Sunflower Seed 
11.5. Granaries of the Pennsylvania Harvester 

116. Egg-nests of Mother Cicada . • . . . 
117- A Leap for Life — the Cicada Underground . 

118. Fleeing from the Flood — Cicada Towers 

119. Out of the Shell at Last ..... 

120. Basket on Pine ....... 

121. Basket-worm Drawn Up to Feed or Spin 

123. Prospecting Bag-worm 

123. Feeding on Pine •...•.. 

124. Cutting a Twig of Arbor Vitie .... 

125. How the Bag-worms Walk and Climb . 

136. Sewed Leaf-nest of the Insular Spider {Epeira insn 
laris) ......... 

127. Leaf-nest of the Shamrock Spider (ISpeira trifolium) 

128. Nest of Leaf-cutting Bee 

129. Rolled Leaf- nest of Tortricid Moth 

180-131. Work of Leaf-rolling Moth .... 
133. Nest of Leaf-rolling Caterpillar .... 
133. Showing How the Leaf is Curled .... 
ISi-lS.?. Female and Male of the Tent-caterpillar Moth 

136. Nest of the Tent-caterpillar Moth 

137. Nest of the Ringed or Rust-red Wasp {Folistes amm 

latus) . • 

138. Nest of American Hornet ( T't's/x? maculata) 

139. Interior of Hornet's Nest, Showing the Combs . 





140. Wasp's Nest with Tubular Entrance . . . 445 




At last the old farm-house at Highwood had a tenant. 
For years it had stood vacant, thanks to the conserv- 
ative spirit of the owner, a wealthy rural manufac- 
turer, who refused to lease it save on condition that all 
its antique style and fixtures should be maintained. 
Tlianks, also, to the luxurious notions of American 
housekeepers, no acceptable tenant had yet been found 
willing to submit to the conditions. 

With that steadiness which marks the return of un- 
inhabited places to a state of nature, the house and its 
surroundings had fallen into decay. The premises were 
in sad contrast with the thrifty appearance of the place 
in the day of good Farmer Townes, who had lived in it 
from his infancj^ until death. Thus by a kind destiny 
Highwood was reserved for us. Very cheerfully we 
covenanted v/ell and truly to preserve to the place all 
its primitive features. The ancestral shrines of the 
Lares and Penates of the old Quaker farmer and his 
Quaker forefathers should not be disturbed by the in- 


vadiiig family of " world's people." On the other hand, 
the proprietor, heart-sore over the advancing decay of 
his property, willing to serve a friend, and, at the same 
time seat him in his own near neighborhood, under- 
took to introduce enough modern improvements to 
bring into Highwood a reign of comfort and health. 
Therefore, we signed the lease and became the Tenants 
of the Old Farm. 

On the first day of October we took possession. A 
briglit, warm morning, well worthy to open the door of 
that month whose varied beauties and rich vitality 
make it the halcyon season of our American year. 
"Old Dan," a colored laborer, met us at the road-side 
gate with pleasant smile, polite bow, and a hearty 
" Welcome to Highwood !" The broad lane through 
which wc drove was skirted on either side l)y a row of 
trees — on this side locusts, a favorite wood with our 
fathers ; on the other, cherries, a canny or benevolent 
mingling of the useful and ornamental, for which the 
country-side boys had inwardly blessed the memory of 
Friend Townes. 

Hugh Bond met us at the yard-gate. " Our fanner " 
we called him ; our man-of-all-work he was, in fact, to 
be. He greeted us with a qui(>t ''Good morning," be- 
coming equally an independent freeman and an honest 
employe, and proceeded with much satisfaction to show 
us the " improvements " that had been wrought. They 
were visil)lc enough to our eyes, but why should we 
recite them here ? SufTice it to say the old trees near 
the front had 1)een spared, but trimmed high up to 


admit the sunlight to the chill stone walls ; a new porch 
guarded the threshold, instead of its tumble-down pre- 
decessor ; inside, the wainscoting had been repaired, 
walls neatly papered, and, finally, modern grates filled 
most of the wide chimney-places, a concession to the 
scarcity of wood and the abundance of coal. With 
warm carpets under foot, the household furniture in 
place, the pretty curtains at the square, small-paned 
windows, and the general air of coziness and home that 
filled all the house, like the odor of Mary's ointment, it 
was indeed a transformation. What eye could have 
seen through and beyond all the cheerlessness, disorder 
and dirt of the miserable farm-house that I looked at a 
month ago, the possibilities of so bright a home ? 
Whose heart had the cunning to devise, whose hands 
the deftness to bring about this change ? — whose but 
the dear housewife's, who beamed amidst it all with a 
face from which, for the hour, happiness and content 
had driven the anxiety that had stopped thereon too 
often during the last year ? Yes, the magic wand that 
had summoned back the exiled fairies of home was the 
touch of the New Mistress of the Old Farm. 

"A year of retirement and rest will restore his vigor 
and save him for the future." 

That was the ultimatum of Doctor Hayes. Promptly 
the mistress assented. The master yielded to the 
inevitable only after a long, hard struggle. Do you 
wonder ? An active life planted in a great city and 
come to the meridian of manhood, has many and 
strong roots. They run deeji, they branch widely, they 


clasp and entwine tightly a nuillituile of persons, ob- 
jects, causes, plans. It is no light work to tear them 
up on sudden notice and transplant them to a rural 
home. But we have paid this penalty to over-work, 
and now for a year shall ivy the virtues of" vegetat- 
ing." To work in the field or sleep in the house ; to sit 
or walk or ride or recline ; to keep the mind pleasantly 
occupied and the body in the open air ; to drift on easily 
with time and chance, and to — wait ! Such is the life 
Avhich the Doctor bids me live. Well, a worse prescrip- 
tion perhaps might have been prepared. I shall take 
my medicine honestly, for, in sooth, one cannot — as 
with other doctors' nostrums that I wot of — throw this 
remedy out of the window. 



" We are not the only tenants of this Old Farm !" 

"Indeed!" said the mistress, resting the feather- 
brush a moment, for she was dusting the bric-a-brac 
upon our little parlor mantelpiece — "indeed ?" 

The first utterance was exclamatory, the second in- 
terrogatory, and the two together, taken with the 
glance cast at her spouse, expressed surprise, incred- 
ulity and inquisitiveness in due proportion and succes- 

I stood at the open door, fencing out with my walk- 
ing-stick our watch-dog "Dolf," who was always in- 
clined to run into the forbidden precincts of the parlor. 
We were outfitted for a long walk, Dolf and I. 

" It is quite true," I said, solemnly ; " we are not the 
only tenants. There are a score — a hundred — in fact I 
know not how many races of inhabitants here, all to the 
manor born, and with a pedigree ante-dating William 
Penn and his charter, his treaties and his aboriginal 
treators. They are the real ' original inhabitants ' — 
the birds and beasts and flying-creeping things. I 
made the discovery yesterday. I am going to make 
the acquaintance of my fellow-tenants to-day. Good- 
b}^, my dear. Come, Dolf!" 



Wc walked out, leaving the mistress brushiug tin; 
mantelpiece, with a brightened look, for, thank God ! 
her spouse had found at last a congenial outdoor 
occupation. Not a new one, however, ])y an}- means. 
Months afterward I learned that in the conspiracy for 
my health between doctor and wife there had been 
strong reliance upon a revival of the early tastes and 
pursuits of a naturalist, which had been pushed to the 
wall by engrossing business, to tide over a crisis, send the 
invalid into the health-giving fields, and hold him there 
content during the interval of rest. 

"It was a happy moment indeed," the mistress 
said, " when the returning interest in your old studies, 
announced at our parlor door, showed me that the spirit 
of languor and decline had given back before a rising 
current of vitality. It was a I'ed-letter morning, that, 
in my life, and the rainbow of hope bent above the 
old form-house the livelong day." 

Meanwhile, quite unconscious of the little woman's 
secret joys, master and dog were tramping across the 
meadow toward the small stream that threads the farm 
known as Townes' Kun. The feathery grasses grew high 
along the banks ; clumps of tall reeds stood in the little 
basins like squads of grenadiers ; tufts of golden rod and 
wild asters, weeds and youngling bushes overhung the 
narrow channel. Yesterday I had found there, as I had 
carelessly strode on, the snare of a friend of other days, 
the Bank Argiope — Argiopc riitarm. I stooped to look 
and admire the comel}' spider hanging upon her white 
central shield. (Fig. 1.) 




You do not believe, perhaps, in tlie sudden birtli of a 
soul into a new passion, or its sudden palingenesis — its 
i-ebirth — into an old love and life ? Nevertheless, as I 
kneeled in the grass before that web of silken threads, 
brought out in detail against the background of a black 
slouch hat held behind it, the old passion came back as 
with a Ijound, and seated itself in my heart. Mam^ 
years before this, during a brief enforced idleness, in a 
moment like the present, when the body was drifting 
deviously before an aimless wind, a similar vision had 
awakened, as by a new birth, the first special love of a 
naturalist. Memory now recalled vividly the whole 
outward details of that scene, indeed my very thoughts 
and feelings. "Was it merely a trick of mental associa- 
tion? "When forests of black-jack oak succeed burned 
pines on a Jersey barren, and chestnut groves follow a 
spruce-clearing in the Alleghanies, botanists suggest 
that it is simply a return to an earlier state, permitted 
by a removal of the restraining conditions. Do old 
mental moods, long buried under other courses ot 
thought and emotion, spring up in full foi-ce again when 
overlying habits are set aside ? But this is a digression 
into the field of philosophy. "We return to our meadow 
and the Bank Argiope. 

She is among the most beautiful of our native spiders, 
and is our largest species of orbweavers, Avitli the ex- 
ception of the Plumefoot Nephila {NepliUa phmiipes) of 
the far Southern states. She is quite continental in her 
lialiitat, as I have traced her westward through 
Michigan. lUinois, Wisconsin, Neltraska, Id tlu' llocky 


Mountains, northward to Vermont, and southward as 
far as Texas and Florida, She has adapted herself to 
the widely-separated conditions of this immense terri- 
tory without any perceptible variation in form or habit. 

Let me describe her : her cephalothorax (united head 
and chest, or head-thorax) is robed in a beautiful 
silver-drab, so that thus far she has adopted the tradi- 
tional color of the Society of Friends. But in the rest 
of her body she is not so orthodox, for the abdomen 
is beautifully marked with black, yellow and brown. 
Her eight legs are dark orange, ringed with brown and 
black. She has no fixed popular name, although I have 
heard her called the large meadow^ spider. She belongs 
to the group known as orbweavers {Orhitelarke), because 
of the wheel-shaped geometric snare which they spin. 
There is a peculiarity in her snare, as it is generally 
formed, which at once marks it. In the centre, or hull, 
is woven a thick white silken oval patch, from the top ot 
which extends upward a ribbon of like material. From 
beneath runs downward a zigzag cord, which resembles 
more closely than anything I know in natural spinning- 
work, the "winding-stair" up which the unhappy fly 
was "dragged into the dismal den," according to the 
plaintive school-book classic of the " Spider and the 
Fly." Argiope loves such sites as the reedy banks of 
Townes' Run, and one will often see her web swnuig 
among the tall grasses and bushes, while the occupant 
hangs head downward upon her central shield. 

I had unfolded a light camp-stool and was seated con- 
tentedly sketching this pretty object when alight tread 



was heard iu the grass, and a woman's voice sahited 
me. Al)by Bradford is a bright New England girl, of 
good family, good education, good manners, and good 
looks withal. She had held a position under the govern- 
ment in Glen Mills, just beyond, where the paper used 
m national bank notes had been made. "When that 
most convenient medium of exchange, the fractional 
currency, was so unwisely abolished, Abby's occupa- 
tion was gone, but an engagement to teach Highwood 
district school recalled her from her Massachusetts 
home. After the fashion of the country-side, she must 
find a home in one of the rural families, and very gladly 
wife had welcomed her to the Old Farm. Iler presence 
would relieve the solitude of our counti-y-place, which 
was our advantage ; and a kindly home with congenial 
friends was hers. We shall know her better by-and-by, 
but I may say here that w-e had cause often to con- 
gratulate ourselves upon the good fortune that brought 
the school-mistress into our family. 

"What!" she said, when we had exchanged greet- 
mgs, "ai'eyou sketching? I did not know that you 
were an artist." 

"I am not an artist," I answered; "but necessity 
has forced upon me a little rude skill with the pencil. 
Will you see my work V" I gave her the note-book, 
and pointed to my subject hanging among the golden 
rods and grasses at our feet. 

"A spider ? Oh, the ugly creature !" 

The young lady stepped backward a pace with this 
characteristic exclamation. As though to resent the 


insult put upon her, the Bank Argiope began to shake 
her shield, commencing slowly, and waxing faster and 
faster in her movements until the whole web w^as in 
violent oscillation. 

" See !" I said, "You have wounded the creature's 
vanity, or, at least, you have awakened her fears. Wait 
until she has quieted, then look closely and see if either 
her person or work is worthy of so harsh a criticism. 
There, the web is still now — what say you ?" 

"I do declare,'' answered the honest maiden, ", it 
isiVt so ugly after all, and the net is really a work of art. 
Certainly, I should know better than to speak lightly of 
any of Nature's children ; but then, you know, spiders 
do seem an exception. Everybody fears and dislikes 

"Yes, you doubtless speak for your race. There is 
perhaps no creature with which man is intimately asso- 
ciated that has come in for a larger share of aversion 
than our humble friend Arachne. Like most human 
prejudices, this is an undeserved and unreasonable feel- 
ing. The spider is a true philanthropist. She is, with- 
out reservation, a friend to our race, destroying noxious 
insects by myriads, and making in return no impost or 
levy upon oui orchards, vineyards, cupboards or cellars. 
She is not the only example of unrewarded merit — of 
an ill name earned by a supposed ugly visage ; in short, 
of a prophet without honor in his own country. Spiders 
are not all so very ugly, either, as you have con- 
fessed. The fact is they have been deteriorated by too 
close contact with luan. The house and cellar spi- 




ders, the occupants of our own homes, with which 
we oftenest meet, are precisely the ones least at- 
tractive to our eyes. If you will take the pains to 
search the flowers and shrubs, forests and ferns, you 
shall fmd (hat there are spiders with as fair an exterior, 
in point of color, at least, as more favorite animals. 
Even birds, be it remembered, have their buzzards and 
vultures ; and at all events, as long as ladies will insist 
upon shuddering at sight of the most beautiful animal 
in creation — the serpent — we may feel justilied in disre- 
garding their prejudice against poor Arachne. How- 
ever, when you know her better, I am sure you will 
like her more." 

"Mr. Mayfield," cried Abby, '' I must protest now ! 
Surely j^ou are not in earnest when you call the serpent 
beautiful ? I might come over to your opinion as to 
spiders and insects, but — snakes I Ugh !'' 

"What is this?'' Tasked, touching a spiral bracelet 
upon her wrist. " A mimic silver serpent ! And this ?" 
I added, lifting the links of a gold watch-chain, coiled 
at her waistband. "And this?'" pointing to coils of 
brown hair upon the back of her head. " Here is your 
own witness that serpentine forms, at least, are not 
lacking in beauty. Ladies do not decorate their persons 
with ugly things." 

The play of mind upon Abby's face was a pleasant 
study as she followed these sentiments, evidently quite 
now and startling. The mantling ciieeks and kindled 
iirown eyes betrayed tiie mixed nature of her fi'elings— 
the pleased surprise of novel thought ; the confusion 





of a mind detecting itself in error— doubt and keen in- 
quiry, as though the latent sophistry of my remarks 
were suspected but not seen. I followed up my advan- 

" Cast your eye along this little stream as it skirts 
yonder hill-side and pursues its winding course across 
the niradow. Has it not taken upon itself the external 
and formal limitations of your ' ugly snake '? If a poet 
were to speak of it as 'crawling,' or of its ' serpentine 
way,' would he not be borrowing terms from the snake's 
natural action to express his idea of beautiful foi'm and 
motion ? The progress of a serpent over the ground or 
through the water is the very ideal of free, graceful 
movement. Then, as to its anatomy — but, come, I 
must not be too fierce an iconoclast, or I shall cause 
a reaction in your thoughts against my animal friends, 
and quite spoil any good effect that I may have wrought 
in their behalf. This is your Saturday holida}' ; can 
you join me for one hour in a morning stroll along the 
run ? I promise you some new and I hope agreeable 





'^ Stop ! Look into this clump of grasses and tell me 
what you see." 

'• I see nothing of special interest," said the school- 
mistress. " The bearded heads of the grass have been 
twisted together by some passing animal, I suppose, 
but that is all. Ah, no! I see now. Here is a beautiful 
little pear-shaped nest hung among the foliage. I have 
seen similar ones in New England, though I am sure I 
cannot guess wRat it is unless it be the cocoon of a cater- 

"Xo, it is the egg-sac, or, as it is technically called 
(althougii somewhat loosely), the ' cocoon ' of our Bank 
Argiope. It has evidently just been made ; we shall 
find the mother near by. Ah, here she is ! Alarmed by 
our approach she has liidden among these leaves. Ob- 
serve how the abdomen has shrunken as compared with 
the specimen Ave first saw, who was distended with 
eggs, which, by-and-by, she will dispose of in a like 
cocoon. Excuse me a moment ; I must capture this 
little mother before telling more of her story." 

Taking a paper box from my satchel I opened it, 

placed the two parts on opposite sides of the spider, 

gently approximated them until the body was inside, 


lightly pressed the struggling legs until they too were 
pulled within, then closed the box and put it in my 
pocket (Fig. 6.) 


FIG. 6. — "collecting a specimen." 

"Isn't that cruel?" abruptly asked my companion, 
who had watched the process of "collecting a speci- 
men " with curious eye. 

" Cruel ? ^0. I should be sorry to give needless 
pain to any creature ; nor do I feel entitled to use my 
lordship over the life of the humblest insect except for a 
sutficient and benevolent end. As a priest in the temple 
of IN^ature I may dedicate this victim to Science. I shall 
see that she has a painless death. Moreover, her days 
are already numbered by the irrevocable decree of 
N'ature ; after the spinning of a cocoon the mother- 
spider hangs u,pon it or near it for a few days, and then 

" I have noticed," remarked Abby, plainly not quite 
satisfied that I had made out a good case, but willins; to 



change the subject, " that spiders are nearly always 
found alone. Do they never go in pairs or groups ?" 

" In a few species the male and female dwell together ", 
you will sometimes see broods of younglings massed to- 
gether in little balls, or seated on their webs in little 
clusters (Fig. 4) ; you will even see large colonies of adults 
as on the boat-houses of Atlantic City and Cape May — 
each on an independent web, however (Fig. 5). But as 
a rule Arachne, in her social habits, is the very opposite 
of the social ants, bees and wasps. She is a solitary 
body, and welcomes all visitors as the famous Buck- 
eye wagoner, Tom Corwin, advised the Mexicans to 
welcome our invading army, ' with bloody hands to hos- 
pitable graves. ' Nevertheless the maternal instinct is 
quite as strong within her as in any other animal. 

"Here, now, is our Argiope's cocoon. See what a 

pretty shelter-tent has been made by lashing these 

plants together (Fig. 3). Guy ropes of silk are attached 

to the cocoon at various points over the surface, and at 

the opposite ends fastened to the foliage. Thus the tiny 

basket swings secure amidst the most rigorous winter 

storm. Our mother-spider, indeed, might sing over her 

cradle the famous nvirsery rhyme : 

" ' Rock-a-by, baby, on the tree top, 

When the wind blows the cradle will rock.' 

•' However, there would be little likelihood in her case 
of such a melancholy conclusion as the lullaby has : 

" ' When the bough bends the cradle will fall, 
And down comes cradle, baby and all !' 

" You have doubtless heard of Indian wicker-work 


water-vessels, I have seen a large woven l)owl in which 
meats were boiled, the water having been heated by hot 
stones. They were perfectly water-tight. Tliat is an 
admirable example of ingenuity in weaving ; but Bank 
Argiope has approached it. The outside of her cocoon 
is usually tough and glazed, and effectually repels moist- 
ure. I have opened many and never found the slightest 
evidence that rain or snow or sleet had made an entrance. 
It is a strong case of forecast, certainly, although I am 
not prepared to say that the forecast abides in the brain- 
cells of the mother aranead. At all events, mother-love 
has met the difficulties as if they had been antici- 

" Perhaps," suggested Abby reverently, "we are here 
on the track of an infinite forecast ? How is the in- 
terior of the egg-sac furnished ?" 

" Suppose we look. We may devote this example to 
science and dissect it. As I open it Avith my knife, thus, 
you observe that the glaze lies upon the surface of a soft, 
yellow, silken plush, the whole forming the outer wall. 
Within that there is a mass of purple silk floss — raw 
silk, you might say — which evidently acts as a blanket- 
ing to the egg mass within. The eggs are yellow globules, 
sometimes several hundred in number, deposited under- 
neath a plate-like cushion, and swathed with a white 
silken sheet. Thus the young spiderlings are snugly 
blanketed and tucked away aw'aiting their deliverance 
from the nursery at the coming of spring." 

"But does the mother leave the little fellows there 
without any provison for them ?" 


" Well, a spider, unlike true insects, does not undergo 
transformation from a worm, through the chrysalid to 
the imago. It hatches out like a bird, and has no need 
to have stored within its cell a supply of nutrition as 
with voracious grubs. It can wait until its exode, when 
it is able to spin its own web and provide for its own 
larder. Therefore, the mother shows a true forecast of 
the situation and wants of her offspring when she fails 
to store food within the cocoon. Besides, there is a 
suspicion — though I am not prepared to affirm it — that 
the little ogres eat each other up, as necessity requires, 
an exigency of spider infancy which is provided for or 
against in the great number of eggs laid and young 
hatched out." 

" Dear me, what a situation that for the baby spider- 
lings ! To be shut within those inexorable walls and 
wait until one's turn comes to be served for dinner 
to one's sister or brother ! It is to be hoped that Nature 
has kindly made the little fellows unconscious of their 
destiny. However, if one half is true that I hear of this 
human brotherhood of ours, it is not so very unlike the 
spider's baby-house. The big brothers eat the little 
ones, and the monopolies swallow all!" 

"What! so young and already a cynic? But you 
mustn't let your moralizing blind your eyes to the facts 
of life all around you. Look into that bush that you 
are passing. I see there one of my special friends whom 
I want you to know. Do you find her ?" 

"You mean this pretty little cobweb? But it is 
small and delicately wrought, and half hidden among 



the leaves. How could you see it from where you stand, 
eight or ten feet distant ?" (Fig. 8.) 

" Nothing marvelous in that, I caught the sheen ol 
the white web in the sunlight which fell upon it just at 
the right angle, and a glance was enough for recogni- 
tion. There is a multitude of spider webs that are re- 
vealed only tlms, or on a dewy morning by the drops ol 
moisture entangled in them. Let me show you how I 




recognized the species. Observe tliat a pcgment of the 
web is quite cut out at the top, through the centre of 
which a thick line is stretched. This peculiarity is 
caused by tlie little moihar [Cuftophor a caudata) \;\\(ii\ 
she begins making her cocoons. She cuts out the spirals, 
as you see, and in the clear space hangs a straw-colored, 
pear-shaped cocoon, no larger than a pea. At first it is 
a clean silken sac, but as the mother preys upon the 
small insects that fall into her snare, instead of casting 
out the dry shells, as is common, she hangs them upon 
her cocoon, which is soon decorated with gauze wings, 
shining black heads and bodies (Fig. 9) until the origi- 
nal color quite disappears. By-and-by a second cocoon 
is added ; a third and a fourth follow, and I once found 
a string of eight. Each cocoon is treated in the same 
manner, until, like a genuine savage of the (jenits homo, 
the tiny Amazon has decorated her home and her 
balnes' homes with the scalps of her victims. Ilei'c 
she hangs on the hub of her snare, holding on to 
the lower part of her precious string of beads witli a 
little white ribbon woven into the net beneath her. It 
was this ' scalpage' that enabled me to know my small 
acquaintance so readily." 

Leaving our aboriginal Caudata undisturbed in her 
wigwam to the full enjoyment of her cradles and scalps, 
we resumed our walk. Finding myself presently alone 
I turned and saw Abb}' intently peering into a pyramid 
of grasses which I had almost trodden under foot. 

" Here is surely something of value," she cried. "At 
first 1 thought it was an egg-nest of Bank Argiope, but 



it 18 (luite dillbivnl whe'u I look closely. Maj^bc it is 
the work of a young mother ? Ah ! I see by your smile 
that I have blundered." 

"I was thinking of your last remark ; and, after all, 
when I reflect, it is not so unnatural a conclusion. 
There is Caudata, who, after having made half a dozen 
cocoons, might be considered an 'experienced' mother. 
But Argiope never makes but one. Her maternal love 
and energy center upon that single work, and then she 
dies. But upon the discovery itself I must congratu- 
late you ; it is a noble find — the cocoon of the Banded 
Argiope {Argiope fasciatu) — which I have never met but 
once. And now, with a boast of clear-sightedness fresh 
upon my tongue, I have fairly run over this rare speci- 
men 1 Well, it is not the first time that I have had 
illustration of the old adage : 

" ' A raw recruit, 

Perchance, may shoot 
Great Bonapakte !' 

You have pi-oved jourself an apt recruit in the entomo- 
logical field, and have done good service. You have 
shown a true eye also, for this is not the egg-nest of 
Biparia, but of one of her congeners, the Banded Ar- 
giope (Fig. 10). Here she lies, or hangs rather, holdiug 
even in dealh, to the frail hammock of a few lines spun 
against the dry grasses. She is a beautiful creature, 
covered with a glossy silver-white fur coat, with bands 
of black and yellow across the abdomen, from which she 
gets her name. How fortunate ! here is another snare, 
spun in the weeds ut the edge of the run !" 



"And here is a third," echoed Abby, "with the 
spider hanging at the centre." 

" Good ! Now we can study the web, which is a 
very pretty object." (Fig. 11.) 

" It is quite hke the snare of Bank Argiope, I think — 
mine is at least ; but yours, how daintily the central 
part lias been decorated ! Why is that ?" 



'' I oanuot speak with certainty. Tliis snare, as you 
remarked, resembles that of Riparia, although the cen- 
tral shield is rarely so prominent, and the ' winding 
stair ' is less frequent. The decorations of w^hich you 
speak ai*e more geuerall}'^ found on Fasciata's nest. 
They are semi-circular, zigzag ribbons and cords of silk 
spun in pairs or triplets on either side of the hub. Some- 
times they go quite around it (Fig. 12). They certainly 
give the snare a dainty appearance, but I imagine they 
are not for decoration — as the scalpage of Caudata 
really seems to be — but to strengthen the snare, and per- 
haps to form a sort of barricade to protect the owner 
from assault of enemies. I must collect this cocoon 
before we go further ; it may be long before I meet 
another specimen. There, dead tnother and her future 
progeny arc safely boxed, and we may walk on. 



The stream at this point entered the sdge of the wood, 
cutting its way through by a glen or ravine, on one side 
of wliich the land rose gradually, on the other rather 
abruptly. Both sides were covered with bushes and a 
young growth of trees, whose branches spread above the 
run, forming in summer time a dense shade, within 
which and the shadow of the rocks that jutted into the 
stream grew numbers of tall ferns. 

" On the skirts of this wood," I said, " we should find 
cocoons and crysalids of the Lepidoptera — moths and 
butterflies — in abundance. Let us search these young 
oak trees. I dare say we shall see something interest- 
ing," I had already caught a view of several of the 
objects for which we were now looking — the winter 
tenants of our trees^jut waited for my companion to 
observe for herself. Tliere is a special pleasure in the 
consciousness of original discovery, and a sense of per- 
sonal proprietorship which adds much to the interest 
with which the mind regards things. One's own find- 
ings are, therefore, the most fruitful in thought, acd the 
best texts for instruction. I had not long to wait ; 

Abby's mind was quite intent upon the search, and soon 




lAfi >^~' 





/ /, 


lier keen eyes discerned the forms of several cocoons 
pendant among the branches of an oak. 

"I have them !" she cried. "Curious things they 
are, to be sui'e, and a curious story, no doubt, you have 
to tell about them." 

"Curious, certainly, to those who have thought 
little of such things ; and yet it is only a small chap- 
ter of a great book that lies open everywhere — open, 
but unread. Such things as I have to tell are curious 
only because people have not looked into the commonest 
facts around them. This is the cocoon of the Polyphe- 
mus moth (Fig. 1.3c). You observe how snugly the 
leaves have been tucked around it. Teor them away 
and there appears a yellowish, oval, silken case, inside 
of which the pupa is stowed. The thread of which this 



cocoon is spun is continu- 
ous, and easily unwound 
like that of the ordinary 
silk moth, Bomhyx mori. It 
has a rich gloss, and high 
hopes have been entertained 
that it could find extensive 
use in commerce. A New 
England gentleman suc- 
ceeded in rearing the in- 
sects in large numbers, so 
as to obtain wagon loads of 
cocoons. His ' plant ' pre- 
sented a truly animated ap- 
pearance, with not less than 
a million worms feeding in 
the open air on bushes cov- 
ered with a net." 

"A sight more attractive to the entomologist, or 
silk-grower, I should think, than to the general public," 
remarked Abbj-, 

" Very likely, but I have observed that a dollar dis- 
cerned in the distance has a wonderful efllect in bright- 
ening even a vista of caterpillars. Prospect of cash 
converts unreasonable sensibilities quite as quickly as a 
naturalist's enthusiasm. However, the general public 
has a deep interest in everything relating to silk culture, 
for although it may l)e a ' disgusting ' fact to some 
minds, yet it is a fact that we owe our most beautiful 
habiliments to the labor, pains, and eventually the 



sacrificed life of tlie despised silk-worm. The larva of 
our Polyphemus moth is thick, fleshy, striped obliquely 
with white on the sides, with angulated segments or 
'joints,' ou which are tubercles surmounted by a few 
soft hairs. They are hatched about the close of June 
from eggs laid singly by the mother moth on the under 
sides of leaves. Ten or twelve days intervene between 
the deposit of the eggs and the hatching of the larva. 

" Then begins the feeding, which is not a simple eat- 
ing, but a storing of food that must sustain nature 
during the long winter sleep, and in some cases, as with 
Cecropia, for example, during the life of the perfect in- 
sect when it has transformed. Not only that, but it 
must take in enough to supply the curious natural 
workshop within it with the crude material from which 
comes the silken fibre that turnishes its winter home. 
Those are busy days, therefore, for the 3'oung worm 
during the long svnnmer. 

" But it has periods of rest from its voracious eating. 
Late in the afternoon of a summer day, if you would 
peep among the leafy barricades of these oak-boughs, 
you might see our worm undergoing the tedious process 
of shedding its own clothes, or moulting. As the grub 
grows, the outer skin tightens and hardens ; since it 
cannot yield, and as the creature must grow while it 
eats, the only thing to be done is to get rid of the im- 
pediment. Therefore Dame Nature, like a careful 
nurse, strips the young Polyphemus and puts it aside 
to rest awhile. 

" Somethiuij analogous occiirs to the human intellect 


from time to time, althougli ' Bourbons " and ' old 
fogies' are said to be exempt from the process of 
moulting. On the other hand, there are some men who 
have such marvelous facility at making an intellectual 
moult, that one hardly knows where to find them on 
great questions. 

"Our Polyphemus grub is content with five moults, 
ten days intervening between the first four, and twenty 
between the last two. During the intervals it resumes 
the serious duty of life — eating." 

" How many leaves can one larva eat ? " asked Abby. 
"It seems to me you must exaggerate its voracity, or 
its ravages would be more noticeable. Surely, the little 
creature within this case couldn't have been very for- 
midable as a gourmand." 

" Have you ever ol)served one at its meals ? No ? 
AV'ell, then, you have something yet to learn as to the 
l)roportions of a healthy appetite. The hungry ' small 
boy ' is hardly to be named for gastronomic practice 
beside our Polyphemus. Mr. Trouvelot, a Massachu- 
setts observer, has determined that a grub fifty-six 
days old has attained 4140 times its original weight, a 
progress in avoirdupois which implies a corresponding 
vigor in table-fare. Or, to put it in another way, a 
full-grown larva has consumed not less than one hun- 
dred and twenty oak-leaves, weighing three-fourths of 
a pound, liesides the water which it has drunk. Thus 
the food w liicli it has taken in fifty-six d;iys equals in 
weight eii/liti/six tliousand ibuci the primitive weight of 
the worm ! You may imagine the destruction of leaves 



which this single species of insect could make if onlj^ a 
hundredth part of the eggs came to maturity. A few 
years would suffice for the propagation of a number 
large enough to devour all the leaves of our forests." 

"But you have not told me yet how the caterpillar 
eats itself within this cocoon. I feel very much as the 
somewhat undex'-wise and stuttering King of England, 
George II., is said to have felt when he first saw an 
apple-dumpling. ' P-p-pray, wh-wh-where, where got 
the apple in ?' How got tlie pupa inside this case ?" 



"You understand, of course," I replied, ''that this 
hard and apparently lifeless object (Fig. 15) which we 
call a pupa did nothing to inclose itself. The larva 
'got' itself 'in,' and then be- 
came a pupa. A few days be- 
fore it had been seized by a 
strange restlessness ; it wandered 
about uneasily ; it refused to eat. 
What vision of its coming change 
had iS^ature given the worm ? I 
believe human beings also are 
sometimes impressed in some 
such way before great crises. I 
have myself experienced, on the 
approach of such occasions, those 
indefinable, restless sensations 
which the moth larva seems to 
exhibit. Its first step toward 
forming a cocoon, after a site had 
been chosen, was to wrap the stem, as you see here, 
and lash it to the twig above. Then, sinking to this 
point, it gradually drew around it the adjacent leaves, 
making a tin\^ arbor or ci'll, which you observe is the 
framework of the cocoon. "Within this it began to spin, 
drawing its silken threads from point to point as it 
moved around the cell. Layer succeeded layer, each 
overlapping its predecessor, until the grub was quite 
shut in, and. iMially, this silken case was completed. It 
then ceased work, and, yielding to the strange drowsy 
spell which Nature casts upon its kind, it fell into this 

FIG. 1.5. — PUPA OF 


pupal state, wherein it will remain nntil late in May or 
early June next, wlien it will emerge as a perfect 

"Well, well," exclaimed Abby ; "it is an ' oft told 
tale,' but it seems more wonderful to me to-day than 
ever before. Of course it is a ridiculous fancy ; but 
do you know I can't help Avondering if the moth knows 
itself when it emerges ! I mean, does it have any 
recollection of its larval and pupal estate ? What do 
you think ? It's a foolish notion, I daresay !" 

"Not at all; others have had the same thought. 
But who can say ? Perhaps when im have passed 
through some such transformation, we may have more 
light on this and other of Nature's mysteries ; but until 
then we must be content to guess at the possible expe- 
rience of a moth. All we can say is that the mother 
insect always comes to the tree, whether oak or maple, 
on which it was reared as a larva to deposit her eggs. 
Possibly the ghost of a faint impression of the acrid 
flavor of oak-leaf may haunt the pairs of nervous 
ganglia that serve for brains in a Polyphemus, and so 
may urge the creature to haunt its larval resorts. One 
would think, however, that all sense of its old person- 
ality had been buried and left in this pupal sarcopha- 
gus. But then, again, who knows ? We might as well 
call the mental processes of both grub and imago 
instinct, and pass on." 

"I have another question," said the schoolma'am. 
"You see I am moved by lii^ ancestral traditions, if 
the moth is not, and ask questions like a genuine 


Yankee. Where are the spinning organs of the hirva ? 
The spider has hers, I know, at the apex of the 
abdomen, in several little nianunals or spinnerets. 
How is it with the caterpillar?" 

" The position of tlie spinning organs is precisely 
reversed in the silk-worm. The silk glands consist of 
two long, flexnons, thick-walled sacs situated on the 
sides of the body, and opening by a common orifice on 
the under-lip, or laljium, usually at the end of a short 
tubular protuberance. They are most developed just 
when they are most needed — when the larva approaches 
the pupa state. And now, suppose we dismiss our 
Polyphemus and turn to others quite as " 

" There, excuse me ; you have reminded me of some- 
thing I wanted to ask. Why is this moth called ' Poly- 
phemus ?' Is it such a horrible one-eyed ogre as the 
giant who handled so roughly the great Ulysses and his 
companions V' 

"I am afraid that I cannot fully satisfy you until we 
return to the house and show you a figure of the insect 
— possibly not then, for scientific names are not always 
readily accounted for. But we shall have better oppor- 
tunity by-and-bj', as we walk homeward, to tallc over 
this matter of scientific names. Meanwhile, let us ex- 
amine these elder-bushes along the fence-side. I hope 
to find an old friend — ah, there you have it, I see. It 
is the Cecropia moth — Platysamia cecropia. It has 
nearly the same habits as the Polyphemus ; indeed, the 
story of that insect's life will stand, with a few varia- 
tions, for all. Elder, willow and maple are the favorite 


food-trees of Cecropia — in our neighborhood, at least. 
There is a clump of young spicewood trees, and yondei 
are some sassafras saplings. Let us examine them. 
What have you found ?" 

"• Here is a cluster of seven or eight hanging neai 
together ! They are long, tapering cocoons, prettily 
rolled in leaves and bound to the twigs by beautifully 
wrapped silk. See, in this one the coil extends several 
inches up the stem and around the twig. What is the 
use of all this precaution ? Wouldn't the insects come 
out on the ground quite as well ? Indeed, I should 
think that it would be colder up there exposed to wind, 
rain, hail, snow, and frost, than down among the dr}- 
grass and leaves." 

'' The question of temperature hasn't so much to do 
with the matter, I imagine ; the pupre stand an intense 
degree of cold, even those of the butterflies (Fig, 17) 
which are usually naked. These have 
been kept in an ice-house for two 
years, and when removed to a warm 
place came out all right. Cold and 
damp weather retards the process of 
transformation ; but the cocoons do 
well enough on the ground where they 
fall, as many do ; although, on the 
whole, I think they are better on the pj^, 17.— pupa of 
branches, certainly thev are safe there nuTTERFLv va- 

' -^ ~ NESSA. 

from the trampling feet of cattle." 

However, there are, no doubt, wise reasons for what 
you iiave aptly styled all this precaution, some of which 


I can suggest. For one thing, cocoons temper the 
rapid changes in the atmospheric temperatflre. A long, 
steadily cold winter seems to be less destructive to the 
enclosed pupce than a very changeable one of a lower 
average temperature. Hence the value, in a changeable 
climate, of such enswathments as help to graduate the 
weather variations. 

Then, again, cocoons are of use in preventing the loss 
of moisture by pupoe. For example, the pupa of a Ce- 
cropia or Polyphemus moth exposed to the atmosphere 
without its natural covering will, as a rule, dry up or 
produce an imago which will not have moisture enough 
in its tissues to properly expand its wings. 

Once more, cocoons conceal the inmates from their 
natural enemies. If they be noticed they are seen not 
to be edible, and the tough parchment enswathment 
protects from any but a deliberate and vigorous siege. 
Moreover, the odor of the pupa, by which many 
enemies would be attracted to it, is probably largely 
confined within the cocoon by their structure. You 
must take my suggestions with some allowance, how- 
ever. I confess that I am not in a position to be very 
positive upon this interesting query, which involves 
some puzzling and seemingl}' inconsistent facts. But to 
return to our Cynthia cocoons, let me call your atten- 
tion again to the manner in which the larva has 
wrapped the leaf-stalks entirely around and carried the 
windings clear up to the twig on which the leaves hang. 
One is almost led to think that the worm wrought with 
some knowledge that leaves have the habit of dropping 


fi-oiu the trees, and secured itself against any such acci- 
dent by lasteng the petiole tightly to the limb." 

'' Well — but — surely, you don't thing that the worm 
really did know that ! " exclaimed Abby, 

As 1 did not venture upon an answer, somewhat fear- 
ing the questions that the quick-witted maiden might 
shower upon me, the schoolma'am dropped the matter 
and started another quer}-. 

''Why should these cocoons be swung aloft in this 
fashion, instead of being tied directly to the limbs ? 
Does the pensile condition give them any special pro- 
tection V" 

"That is partly, perhaps mainlj', due to the peculiar 
character of an ailanthus leaf-stalk, which you can 
readily observe. Yet I can suggest one probable 
advantage. There is a cousin-german of these speci- 
mens — Samia cynthia — who usually builds upon the 
ailanthus tree. I have gathered a brood of twenty- 
three cocoons hanging upon a small branch. The 
ailanthus leaf, 3'ou know, falls early, and you may 
observe the cocoons (Fig. 18) pendant in clusters from 
tlie bare boughs of the trees along our city streets. 
I have seen the sparrows pecking at them, and was 
reminded of the days wheii I tried to gain health and 
muscle by a daily boxing-match with a sand-bag hung 
in the back yard. Of course the bag swung away at 
every blow, only to come back again. I never had an}' 
damage from the sand-bag, which, I suppose, was the 
main point ; but, on the other hand, the sand-bag 
never got an}* damage from me, siuq)ly because it 




wouldn't stay to get it, Tliat was precisely the case 
with the ailanthus cocoons ; they gave way before the 
bills of the mischievous, chattering sparrows, who 
could, therefore, make no impression on them. 
Those cocoons were even more carefully attached than 
these of the Prometheus, the twigs on which they 
hung being wrapped for ten and tw^elve inches from the 
stem, which was also carefully bound about WMth a 
quite decided ribbon of fine yellownsh white silk. The 
leaves and leaf-stalk w-ere tightly wrapped to the 
twig, and thus all were carefully suspended aloft, 
where they hung through the entire winter. Now, I 
do not know from actual observation that the spar- 
rows wished to tear open the cocoon for the sake of the 
contents, but I have thought that, in early spring, at 
least, their motive may have been to get material for 
their nests." 

"Why should the sparrows wish to obtain the con- 
tents of a cocoon ?" asked Abby. " Could they eat the 
pupa ?" 

" That they could, for the pupa is little more than a 
mass of vital juices, contained within a not very tough 
crust. I have said that I have no positive evidence to 
convict our English sparrows of preying upon the 
Cecropia pupse, but I cannot say us nuich for some 
other birds. There is at least one bird, the hairy 
woodpecker (Picus villosus Linn.), from whose beak the 
staunch cocoon of the Cecrojna oflers no protection 

"I have noticed (Uic dl' thcsi' l)ir(ls, during the carlv 


^^JM^b\ 'J>M^ 

^rill-S-' Ll.^^^ 


FIG. 19. — THE sparrow's SPARRING MATCH.— p 52. 

months of winter, clinging to a twig, pecking away at 
the parchment-like covering of a cocoon attached 
thereto in a manner that anmsed me very much, and I 
was hugely enjoying its (as I supposed) vain attempts 
to penetrate it. But when it lioi)ped to an adjoining 
limb, shook itself and exhibited the well-known natural 


behavior of a bird that has just banquutecl, I began to 
think its powers had been vastly underestimated. By 
the aid of a ladder the cocoon was obtained and found 
not only to have been punctured, but all the soft and 
liquid parts extracted. A% there were other cocoons 
attached to the same tree which, upon examination, 
proved to be vuiinjured, I was led to believe the bird 
had found a weak part in the one which it had pene- 

"After a few days another cocoon was found to be 
punctured, this time fairly upon the crown and appar- 
ently in the strongest part. I now saw what had 
before escaped my notice, viz. : that by the situation of 
the first cocoon it was accessible to the bird only from 
below, which accounted for the puncture being near its 
base, close to the twig, A short time afterward, on 
passing another tree, out from among the branches 
Hew the little murderer, and, as usual, a pierced cocoon 
was found, the puncture yet wet with the juices of the 
pupa, showing that I had surprised the bird while at 

"In the month of January in the succeeding year, I 
again found the winged destroyers at work, and could 
easily distinguish the dry, rattling sound, the death 
knell of the beautiful moth, the larva of which seems 
to be as destructive to vegetation as the imago is 
innocent. So far as I have been able to observe, the 
l)irds (111 not attack these cocoons until winter, when 
other insect food is not so easily obtainable. Tn fact, 
this .seems to be a source of sul)sistence stored up for this 


season of the year, always fresh, and, to all appear- 
ances, at all times available."* 

"But, even if we should acquit the sparrows of mur- 
derous intent in their assaults upon cocoons, we may 
fairly conjecture that they are influenced by desire to 
gather material for nest-building. 

"I have specimens of the nests of a Vireo taken in 
Fairmount Park, wliich are largely constructed of 
silk stolen from cocoons and webs of spiders. One 
may imagine the vigorous but unavailing protests of 
the despoiled spinster against the rape of her fair silken 
yarns, but what could she do against the thieving 
birds ? Her stationary domicile and cocoon Avere far 
more exposed to the winged robbers than the oscillating 
house of the moth, pendant from the trees. 

'• But we have quite spent our hour afield. We will 
walk homeward through the ravine, and collect such 
specimens as we may on the way. I dare say we shall 
find enough material to supply a theme of conversation 
for a pleasant evening at home." 

" You promised to initiate me into the mysteries of 
scientific names when we started homeward," said 
Abby ; " cannot your fulfill your promise now ?" 

"There is not much mystery in the matter," I 
replied, "and I shall have little difficulty, I think, in 

[* Among the many letters called out by the original chapters of ' 'Tlie 
Tenants, " as published in The Continent, was one from 3n'. F. Jr. 
Webster, Assistant Entomologist of tlie State of Illinois, who forv.'arded 
me the above facts concerning the hairy woodpeeUer, as observed l)y 
him, and printed in the American Naturalist. They arc confirmatory 
of my allusion to the sparrows, and I here take the liberty of adding 
them to the Tenant's Experience. J 


inti-odiK'ing so apt a candidate as yourself. The fact is, 
objects in natural liistor}' are named precisely on the 
same principle that prevails in the bcstowment of in- 
dividual names among men. An animal or plant has 
a (jcmric name that corresponds with the gens, sir, or 
family cognomen of a man, and a specific name that 
corresponds with his baptismal, Christian, or individual 
name. There is this difterence, that the order of the 
names is reversed, the gens name of an animal being 
placed first instead of last. However, there are some 
nations, as the Hungarians and, I believe, also the 
Chinese, who follow the very order that naturalists 
have established ; and in our directories, ledgers and 
other lists of names we Americans do the same. Thus 
you might see your own gens or family name, 13r<u{ford, 
preceding your individual name Ahby, and so on 
through all your clan. If you were to w'rite such a 
list and a list of insects in opposite columns you would 
at once see the analogy, thus : 

'■ BuADFOKD, Abby, Argio2ie riparia, 

Bkadfoku, Geokge, Argiopcfasciata, 

Bkadford, Maut, £o>nbijx rnori, 

BuADKOKD, John, Telca jwlyphenms. 

" That is a simple enough arrangement, and natur- 
alists invariably adhere to the rule to give only the 
two necessary names to one animal. Certainl}', some 
of their titles are sufficienth' formidable (chiefly be- 
cause they arc new to us), but you will now never see 
any multiplication of scientific names upon one poor 
little creature such as many human babies are com- 

FIG. 20.— THE KAPE OF THE TARNS.— 7J. 57. 



pcllecl to receive : Angelina Seraphima Celestiana Jane- 
Eliza Brown ! In sooth, scientific nomenclature is not 
tlie greatest offender in the matter of long and sound- 
ing titles." 

" Where do the naturalists get their names ?" asked 
Abb}-, after heartily enjoying my sally, which her ex- 
perience with the names of her school-children enabled 
her to fully appreciate. 

"The rule is to derive the generic name from the 
Greek, and the specific name from the Latin, or to con- 
vert the former into a Greek form and Latinize the 
latter. It is further the custom, which is not, how- 
ever, invariable, to construct the names from some 
marked characteristic of the animal. Take, for ex- 
ample, our spider friend Argiope riparia. The generic 
name is taken from mythology, after a fancy that long 
prevailed among naturalists, and which is especially 
marked in the science of astronomy, as you will see 
by x'ecalling the names of the planets. Argiope 
(ApyioTC?/) was a Greek nymph, and the fancy of tlie 
araneologist who created the genus led him to give her 
name to it. The specific name riparia was given by 
Ilentz to our fine species, because he frequently found 
the creature along the banks of streams, and riparia is 
the Latin adjective that describes this fact. In the 
same way the other beautiful species was named 
Argiope, of course, because she belongs to the same 
gens, and fasciata (Latin for handed) because of the 
black bands or stripes laid over her silvery abdomen, 

" Take the next example on our list ; the scientific 


name of the silkworn is Bomhyx mori. The generic 
title is simply the CTi-eek name for that insect [l56nfiv'E, 
homhi/x), which very properly is given to the gens 
of which it is the best known member. In other 
words, like distinguished sovereigns and citizens it es- 
tablished a ' house ' bearing its own name. The 
specific name mori is the genitive case of the Latin 
word rnorum, a mulberry, and those who have ever fed 
silkworms can see the reason for such a title for that 
individual member of the ' house ' of Bombyx. 

"Now as to polyphemus; its specific name was 
probably given, as you guessed at first, because, at the 
time of its discovery, it was supposed to be the giant 
among the moths ; or, perhaps, because of the large 
eye which marks each wing of the perfect insect. 
Specific names are often given in honor of naturalists 
or others whom the naturalist wishes to compliment. 
For instance, I might be pleased to name some spider 
or bug after my friend Bradford, in which case I should 
Latinize the termination, and call it Bradfordii., or if 
after Miss Abby herself, Bradfordm^ perhaps, which is 
the female termination of the Latinized Bradfordius. 
Such are the general rules governing scientific nomencla- 
ture. There are exceptions and violations. But here 
we are at home !" 

" Thanks !" said the schoolnia'am. " I see now what 
I never knew before, that in science, at least, there is 
much in a name." 



"There is a peculiar pleasure in the hearth when 
the first autumnal frosts' call for fires. That is, if one 
has an open grate or an old-fashioned fireplace. !Modern 
stoves and furnaces have 1 urned all the poetry out of 
the songs and traditions of the ' fireside.' 

" It requires a more vivid imagination than ordinary 
mortals are blessed with to throw the charm of ' ingle- 
side,' nnd all that, around a hole in the wall covered 
by an iron filagree gate through whose perforations a 
hot air-blast is pufflng. As to stoves, if we except the 
good old 'Franklin,' and all of that ilk, there is 
nothing to be said about or for them save that they do 
'keep us warm.' " 

So the Mistress discoursed as Dan piled up the hick- 
ory-wood upon the great back-log already smoldering 
upon the sitting-room hearth. In the general repairs 
which the old farmhouse had undergone this room was 
preserved from the intrusion of a coal-grate, and its cav- 
ernous depth dedicated to the ancient Lar of tlie and- 
iron and crane. Behold us, tlien, the entire Ilighwood 
family, seated before the first fire of the season, rejoicing 
in its genial light and warmth. The specimens gathered 




ill the morning walk are laid upon the table, together 
with (livers books of reference. The Mistress, the 
schoolma'am and myself have seats at the table ; Hugh 
Bond, the fanner, sits at the chimney side ; at his feet 
sits his youngest boy, Harry, and opposite him are his 
son Joe, a stout lad of seventeen, and his daughter 
Jenny, a young woman of nineteen, who is established 
at Highwood as one of our handmaids. Old Dan, some- 
what more modestly, sits on a cricket at the side of the 
door that opens into the kitchen. 

In the days of Farmer Townes the room in which 
we sit was the " living-room " of the family, the 
kitchen serving for the dining-room as well. We have 
made the best of the builder's plans, and converted it 
into a dining and sitting-room jointly and severally. A 
snug and comfortable place it is, too, with its great 
wood fire roaring in the chimney ! 

We are a democratic company, observe, and Avhy 
not ? for we are gathered for the study of natural sci- 
ence, and science knows no caste ; besides it is the 
good wife's doing, and came about in this Avise : 

The advent of the master and schoolma'am, as they 
entered the gate after their morning walk, with hands 
full of divers specimens and others fluttering from the 
master's hatband, had created quite a sensation at 
Highwood. It Avas midday, the dinner-hour on an 
American farm, a custom come of descent doubtless 
from the European "dejeuner," Avith Avhich meal, at 
least, both in character and time, as noAv served upon 
the Continent, it precisely corresponds. Tlie entire 


household was therefore on the premises, and were all 
on the alert to know what such strange procedure 
might portend. Dan shook his head significantly, and 
evidently considered it a natural outcropping of my 
malady. Sarah, the cook, thought that " yarbs '• for 
medicine might be at the bottom of the business, until 
Hugh explained that something more than plants had 
been carried home. He had a fixint glimmer of the 
facts, for some one had told him that his " boss used to 
be a great bug-hunter." Joe, Jenny and their little 
brother Harry, a bright twelve-year-old boy, with that 
strong sympathy with nature which marks young 
people, were full of curiosity which (with Harry espe- 
cially) overflowed in a very freshet of questions. The 
Mistress had noted all these things as she moved back 
and forth, and at her request an invitation was carried 
to the whole domestic company to join the evening con- 
versation. All accepted heartily except Sarah, a middle- 
aged white woman, childless and a "grass-widow," 
who declared that she "didn't see no use in any sich 
nonsense." Nevertheless, as she sat in the shadows 
beside the kitchen-stove she cast many surreptitious 
looks through the open door upon the group at the 
table, and kept a wide-oi^en ear turned in the same 

"Suppose you begin the conversation," said Abby, 
" by telling us the use of these cocoons. What ends do 
they serve in nature ? I was much interested in your 
statements this morning, and would like our circle to 
have the benefit of some of them at least." 


" Very good. I will answer b^- asking Bond a 
question : "What is tlie use of the straw^ coverings 
wiiich you were wrapping around the rose-bushes this 
morning ?" 

''Why, sir," replied Hugh, smiling at such an 
apparently simple question, " that's plain enough. It 
saves the bushes from the frost." 

"But surely the frost gets through the straw at 
last, and the bushes must be quite as cold during 
winter as tJic outside atmosphere ?" 

'"Y-a-a-s," Hugli returned; "but then the straw 
kind o' tempers it, too. You see, the cold w^orks in 
gradual like, and allows the plant to git used to it. 
Besides that, I've been told that the l)ushcs ' sweat ' 
jist like animals, and the heavy straw swathing keeps 
in that nateral warmth. Still, 1 don't know 'bout that. 
I reckon the rabl)its has somethin' to do with the busi- 
ness, too ; leastways, I take pretty good care to wrap 
the lower parts a leetle closter. But, to tell the truth, 
sir, I never thought much about the why and wherefore. 
I puts a coat on the tender bushes pretty much as I 
puts one on myself" 

" Well, Hugh, you have given a good enough starting 
point for my answer. Tlie cocoons, like the straw 
wraps, teniper the rapid changes in the atmosphere. 
A long, steady winter seems to be less destructive to 
the inclosed jiupa than a very changeable one of a lower 
average temperature. Hence the value, in a change- 
able climate, of such wraps as help to graduate the 
weather variations. Here now is this Cecropia cocoon. 





(Fig. 21). I strip aside the leafy covering, and expose 
a stiff, parchinent-lilce case, as waterproof as a rubber- 
coat. Inside, you see an egg-shaped object, completely 
covered with a thick blanketing of flossy silk. (Fig. 22). 
The silk overlays a second parchment case, which I 
cut away, and come to the baby moth, tucked in its 
cradle, sound asleep. This is what we call the pupa. 
There it is !" 

The whole party had eagerly watched the progress of 
the scissors as I dissected the cocoon, and the young 
people had become so much interested that they left 
their seats at the fireside, and approached the table. 

" Dear me !" said the Mistress, laughing, " that quite 
equals the care which German mothers show their 
babies in winter. I have seen them lying upon a 
feather bed, and another bed of eider down or feathers 
laid upon them as a covering. Their rosy little fat faces 
peeped out of their knit woolen caps, and showed pink 
and chubby like a premium peach in a bunch of cotton." 

"I wonder," said Abby, "if the Indian mothers 
didn't get their style of wrapping up their papooses 
from the Cecropia moth ?" 

" "Who knows ? Dame Nature has given many a good 
hint to men, and the squaws might have gone further 
and fared woi'se. But to proceed with our lesson : here 
is one of Harry's contributions. He dug it out of the 
potato-field for me this afternoon. I didn't give him 
the name of the baby insect, or I fear that he would not 
have been so friendly toward the ' poor wee thing,' for 
it is an old acquamtance — ' the potato-worm.' " 



"Hi !" cried Dan, sitting bolt upright on his cricket, 
" doan' mean ter say, Mars Mayfiel', dat daVs de nas'y 
big green catumpill'r 't eats de tater wines? 'Taint 
nothin' like it, shore !" 

"Yes, Dan, this is the potato-worm, the tomato- 
worm, or the tobacco-worm, just as you choose to call 
it. You all know it — a large green caterpillar, with a 
kind of thorn on the tail, and oblique, whitish stripes on 
the side of the body. It grows to the thickness of the 
fore-finger, and the length of three inches or more 
(Fig. 23). It comes to its full size from the middle of 
August to the first of September, then crawls down the 
stem of the plant, and buries itself in the ground. 


There, iu a few days, it throws off its caterpillar skin, 
and becomes this bright brown crj-salis." (Fig. 24), 

''If you please, Mars MayfieP," interrupted Dan, 
"whar's de 'coon? Dat's no 'coon at all; I 'speck 


Harry's done shucked it, and I'd like powerful well to 
know all 'bout dat tater-worm." 

'•I didn't neither!" answered Harry, warmly. 
"That's all there was of it ; Mr. Mayfield stood by 
Avhile I dug, and knows it's so." 

'•Quite true, Harry; but, Dan, can jou tell why 
Bond don't wrap up the mots of his bushes in straw, as 
well as the branches ?" 

" Why, Mars Mayfiel', 'v course de ground keeps 
de roots warm widout de straw." 

" Precisely ; and so it is with the cry sails. As the 
larva goes into the ground, to 'transform,' as we say, 
instead of hanging on the tree like this Cecropia. it has 
less need of the protection of a cocoon. Although we 
shall sec by-aud-by, that crysalids can get on very well, 
even when hanging naked on the trees. 

"But look at this," said Abby, pointing to the long, 
stem-like appendage at one end of the crysalis. " Your 
crysalis must have been suspended to the trees at some 


time, for here is the very stem by wliicli it hung, just 
like those of the Polyphemus and Cynthia moths." 
Thereupon she handed the object to the mistress, who 
examined it carefully. 

"Why, father," she remarked, "I fear that Abby 
has caught you napping this time." 

" That is right," I answered. " I am glad tliat your 
minds are alert and not disposed to take too much 
without question. Let the crysalis pass around the 
circle, and then I will show you the imago or perfect 
insect. Here is a figure of our potato-worm full tledged. 
A fine large moth it is, you see. It has dropped its 
humble name now and is known as Sphinx qninque-ma- 
culata, or, in plain English, the Five-spotted Sphinx." 
(Fig. 25.) 

"Well, well," said the Mistress, a little impatiently. 
"What has that to do with this 'stem' that we were 
talking about ?" 

"Patience, my dear, I am coming to that; but I 
want j'ou, first, to see the insect's tongue. Come, Abby, 
you have the first look ; do you see the tongue ?" 

" Not I ! and it's not to be seen, for the back of the 
moth is toward us." 

"Then let the others try." 

All studied the picture and came to the same conclu- 
sion — no tongue was to be seen. 

" I must put spectacles on your eyes, I find. You see 
this long, delicate, curled organ rising out of the head 
and extended over the flower into which it is about to 
be thrust ? — this is the insect's tongue," 


" TlMt the tougue?" 

"The tongue?" 

"The tongue!" 

So the query and exclamation ran from one to an- 
other, or, rather, rose from all in chorus. 

" Yes," I answered, " that is the tongue, and Madam 
Sphinx certainly can't complain of its brevity. Here, 
now, is where your 'stem' comes in. The long, slen- 
der object which j-ou mistook for the cord by which a 
cocoon hangs is a tnnyue-case. It is bent over, as you 
see, from the head so as to touch the breast onl}' at the 
end, causing the crysalis somewhat to resemble a 

My discourse was here interrupted by an unctuous 
roll of laughter proceeding from the kitchen door, " IIo, 
ho, ho!" 

All eyes were turned upon Dan, who Avas rocking 
back and forth upon his stool, in an ecstacy of merri- 
ment. Soon the entire group was laughing in pure 
sympathy, for no one had suspected the cause of Dan's 

" Beg pardon, Mars Maylier," he said, at length. "I 
done forgot iny manners, dat's a fac' ; but it come over 
me so Sudden ! I'se ies' thinkin' dat ef all de lonc- 
tongued folkses could git dat kin' uv a spectakle-case 
to stow away dar tongues in. "i would be mighty 
handy round our kitchen o' nights ! ]);iv's Sarey Ann, 
now, " 

Another out1)reak of hearty laughter interrupted 
Dan's remarks, the point of which every one appre- 


ciated ; for, with all her excellencies, our cook carried 
a sharp tongue, and Avas prone to use it freely, as Dan 
had more than once complained, upon ''de kitchen 

''Uan Davis," cried a wrathful voice from out the 
shadows of the kitchen, "you'd better curl up a rod or 
two of your own tongue, I reckon." 

Dan hitched his cricket around, half rose, and looked 
into the kitchen. " Tore goodness sake, Sarey Ann, I 
nebber s'posed you's a lestenin' to our nonsenses 'bout 
the bugs. Hi den ! You've been keepiu' the lef year 
open all de time ?" 

"Sit down, Dan," I said. "I'll intercede for you 
with Sarah, although you certainly deserve a little 
tongue -lashing this time. Let us get back to our 
crysalis. It remains in the ground through the winter, 
below the reach of frost, and in the following spring the 
crysalis-skin bursts open, the large moth crawls out of 
it, comes to the surface of the ground, and, mounting 
upon some neighboring plant, waits until the approach 
of evening invites it to expand its untried winus and 
lly in search of food, which it sucks from the tlowers by 
means of its tongue. The tongue can be unrolled to 
the length of five or six inches, but, when not in use, is 
coiled like a watch-spring, and is alniost entirely con- 
cealed between two large and thick feelers, under the 
head. The niotli measures across the wings about live 
inches ; is of a gray color, variegated with blackish 
lines and bands, and on each side of the body there are 
live round, or rectangular, orange-colored spots en- 


circled with blacl\. These are the markings that have 
given it the name of tlie Five-spotted Sphinx." 

" Wliy should it be called a sphinx at all?" asked 

" The larva, when disturbed, has the habit of raising 
its head aloft and curving several of the first segments 
of the body (see Fig. 23). The fancied resemblance of 
this attitude to the Egyptian Sphinx has suggested its 
scientific name." 

" That is very good," said the Mistress, "very good, 
indeed, and I am sure that it will help me to remember 
what you have said. Is that what has been called a 
scientific use of the imagination ? If so, I suppose we 
might complete the fancy, and think of the famous 
'Riddle of the Sphinx,' as the continually repeated 
question of the farmers, ' What be them worms made 
for, anyhow ?' " 

" Are not these large moths very rare insects ?" asked 
Abby. " I don't remember ever to have seen one." 

" On the contrary, they are quite common," I replied. 
" You will find them even within the city limits, where 
they feed on the Jimson (Jamestown) weed, which 
grows abundantly on vacant lots. But they are night- 
feeders, keeping close under the cover of the leaves and 
branches during the day, and only flying abroad after 
nightfall. For this reason we rarely see them. You 
have seen the small species of moths fluttering around 
the lights on a summer evening, but the large species 
do not often venture through the windows. The fact 
is, there is a night-world of all sorts of creatures living 



close around us, little known by most men, and, indeed, 
their presence little suspected." 

"It's a mighty good thing," remarked Dan, " dat 
dem mo'hvs doan fly inter de winders often." He 
placed his elbows on his knees, leaned forward, rested 
his chin upon his fists, shook his head oracularly, and 
assumed a very solemn air. " ISTo, it ain't bes', noways, 
to have too much to do wid dem critters. Dar was my 
brudder Wash, 'fore I cum up from ole Marylan' ; de 
berry week 'fore he died one ob dese big mo'hvs flew 
inter de winder, flickered aroun' de candle, and 'fore we 
know'd brushed it right out. Dar we wur, all in the 
dark ; an' I tell you, a fearder set there never was. I 
'member dat night to dis day ! We knowed we w\as 
warned, an' dat some 'v us mus' go. But which ? — 
Good Lor', dat was de question I Shore 'nough, a week 
arter dat, Wash was taken sick an' died. He knowed 
he had to go w'en he was tuk, an' jis lay down and kin' 
o' faded out. No ! It doan do to have too much to do 
wid dem mo'hvs. 

" An' dat ain't all," continued the venerable servant, 
perceiving that w'e were all encouraging him to continue 
his discourse. " Dat ain't all, needer. Dar's one ob 
dem mo'hvs dat goes flyin' roun' wid a reg'lar raw- 
head-and-bloody-bones on it, like de pirate flag ob Cap- 
tain Kidd. Dey calls it de ' Death's-Head Mohf,' or 
somethin' like that " 

" Did you ever see one, Dan ?" I asked, interrupting 

The old man started, spread his open palms upward, 


rolled his 03^08, sliook his head, and, with a voice that 
almost tremhled with fear, replied : 

" See one, did you say ? Doau iiel)l)cr ask dat ques- 
tion, Mars Mayfier. Ob course, I nebber did ! De 
good Lor' 'n mercy forbid dal ! Amen. AVhy, it's all 
a man's life's Avorth to see a Death's-IIead Mohf. Mor' 
'a dat " — here he lowered his voice to a deep whisper — 
" dey do say dat the good Lor' lie uel)ber made dat 
critter at all ! De ebil sperrits — de berry ole debbil 
heself — 'ceived de idee, an' fabricated dat ting in de 
darkest night obde year. Doan loll me ! I doan want 
to see no sech doin's, Doan you show me dem picters, 
needer. Ko good luck '11 ebber come from paintin' 
dem tings. IIow d'ye suppose de man dat drawcd 'em 
ebber libbed to do it widout some powerful conjurin' 
and cahoots wid de ebil sperrits ? Dar's bad work 
about dem books, I'se afeared." lie pointed to the 
work on natural history that lay on the table, open at 
a page whereon several moths were figured. 

"An' that's as true as preachin' !" 

It was Sarah's voice that broke tlie silence that fol- 
lowed Dan's discourse, which found cnnlulous hearers 
among a good majority of our company. The cook had 
gradually hitched her chair nearer and nearer to the 
door, until, quite nnable to withstand the ftiscination of 
Dan's superstitious remarks, as he lowered his voice 
she rose from her seat and now stood in the doorway. 
Her nice was flushed with excitement, was wrought up 
into an expression of terror, and as she spoke she 
stretched out her arms like a prophetess. 

FIG. 27.— THE SHADOW OP A MOTH.— «. 77. 



"Dan never said InuT words, though lie isn't over- 
stocked with sense, for that matter. There's bad luck 
in them moths any way you take "em. I never 'low a 
caterpillar to git into the house, and I wouldn't for the 
world. I tell you, I run for tlie broom quicker when I 
see one a-coming. Why, if it spins its nast}' cocoon in 
the house it's a sure sign that death'll come, and no 
tellin' who'll be taken. If it gils in your clothes- 
press, or anjAvhere, and spins on your dress, it's a 
certain warnin' that you'll wear a shroud before the 
year's out. I've heerd that often, and jest know it's 
true. I don't like all them things that Mr. Mayfield 
has brought into the house, an' 1 told 'im so, too ! 
There, I've said my say !" 

Whereupon the good woman again retired to the 
shade of the kitchen-stove. 

I glanced around the circle, and observed that the 
countenances of my little audience showed varied emo- 
tions. A mingled expression of amusement and disap- 
probation sat upon the face of the Jtlistress ; cvidentlj' 
her ideas of domestic discipline had received somewhat 
of a shock. Abby could scarcely suppress the laughter 
that pla3'ed around her lips. As for the rest, they 
looked perplexed and sober, and it was easily seen that 
the superstitions of Dan and Sarah had disturbed them. 
Of course, I could not let the matter pass without some 
explanation, and, as though divining my purpose, the 
mistress disposed of Sarah by sending her into the cel- 
lar for cider and apples. 

" AVe have l)een very Ibrtunate this evening," I 


began, "in having living examples of the qnecr no- 
tions which many people have formed abont these poor 
niotlis. Of conrse, they are mere superstitions, and 
very absurd. You needn't shake your head, Dan, it is 
quite true ; I shan't try to straighten out such an old 
felloAV as you, but wc mustn't let these young people 
ftxll into any such foolish beliefs. In earlier times 
people knew so little about natural histor}', and were so 
iilled with superstition generally, that they conceived 
all manner of ridiculous ideas of the living things 
around them, and their relations to man and his des- 
tiny. We have learned better now ; we know these 
birds, and beasts, and creeping things quite well ; for 
naturalists have studied their habits, and have inter- 
preted, in a simple and natural way, many of the 
strange sounds and sights that filled our forefathers 
with awe. Let us dismiss all such idle fancies." 

" But what is this story of Dan's, about the Death's- 
Head Moth ?" asked Abl^y. " I have heard something 
of that kind before." 

"Here is the insect," I answered, turning to a figure 
in the book before us. " These white markings on a 
dark thorax certainly have a striking resemblance to a 
skull and cross-bones, and this has given the insect its 
name [Acherontia atropos) ; l)ut, like all similar resem- 
blances, it is simpl}' one of the accidents of I^^ature. It 
is a European moth, and Dan very accurately illustrates 
the feelings with which it was formerly, and, indeed, is 
now, regarded by many people. Latreille informs us 
that the sudden appearance of these insects in a cer- 



FIG. 28. — death's head moth axi> larva. 

tain district of France, while the people Avere suffering 
from an epidemic disease, was considered by many per- 
sons the cause of the visitation. There is a quaint 
superstition in England that the Death' s-IIead Moth 
has been very common in Whitehall ever since the 
' martyrdom ' of Charles I. 

" The insect is widely distributed. I have seen fine 
specimens from Germany, Africa, and Asia, in the col- 
lections of Mr. Titian Peale and the American Ento- 


mological Society. (Fig. 28.) It is a fine insect, 
perhaps tlie largest in Europe— the spread of wing 
sometimes reaching six inches. Tlie larva is enor- 
mously large, sometimes five inches in length, and, 
like our Five-spotted Sphinx, feeds upon the potato- 
plant. The jessamine is also a favorite food-plant. 
But here is Sarah, with sweet cider and apples, and 
I see that Jenny is bringing us some cake. Suppose 
we give ourselves a short recess, in order to enjoy the 



" Permit me to add my contribution to the museum," 
said the Mistress, entering the room. She bore in her 
hands a rug, which she luuig over the back of a chair 
close to the light. The little napless patches showing 
here and there like islands in an ocean, revealed the 
presence of that enemy of the housewife, the clothes- 

"Ah! here we have something interesting," I ex- 
clainifd. " There is no one of all the Lepidoptera whose 
habits better repay study than this little fellow." 

"What a pity," interrupted the Mistress, "that so 
many very interesting people and things in this world 
have the misfortune to be such miserable transgressors ! 
Now, here are tliese little wretches who play such havoc 
with our carpets, furs and cloths, so attractive in their 
characters that you natural philosophers all go off into 
enthusiasm over them. How do you account for such 
a seeming contradiction ?" 

" I allow that the little fellows are great rogues, and 
suppose it must be Nature's way to reconcile us to their 
mischief by bestowing upon them such cunning habits. 




Besides, what right have we to complain ? We slaughter 
birds and beasts for feathers and furs ; we kill the silk- 
moth to get us a gown, and then think it hard if this 
poor worm makes a few raids for food and clothing upon 
our stolen finery ! No, no ! we must be just, at least. 
However, let us look at this rug closely, and I think we 
shall conclude that we have been well repaid for all our 
loss here. 

" There are several species of moths similar in habits, 
whose caterpillars feed upon animal substances, such as 
furs, woolens, silk and leather. Moreover, they are 
dreadful den>redators in the naturalist's cabinet, devour- 
ing his specimens remorselessly, so that you see I liave 
had occasion to practice the toleration and charity 
which I preach. And wliy not ? The creatures are 
only fulfilling the mission imposed upon them by the 
great Author of their being— to purify the world of its 
dead tissues. 

" You might add to their virtues," suggested Abby, 
sarcastically, " the fact that they contribute largely to 
increase the stock of the ' old clo's ' merchant, and thus 
confer indirectly a favor on the poor by cheapening 

"Thank you!" T replied. "Any championship is 
welcome to a losing side, and many a true word has been 
spoken in jest." 

" These moths belong to a family named Tinea by 
entomologists, such as the tapestry moth {Tinea tapet- 
zeWa), the fur-moth {Tinea pelUonclla), cabinet-moth 
{Tinea destructor)^ and clothes-moth {Tinea vestianella). 


The species which lias been at work upon this rug is 
probably Pellionella, the onl}- ' clothes-moth ' known in 
the United States the larva of which constructs a case 
for its occupancy. 

" The moths themselves are very small, expanding 
their wings not more than eight-tenths of an inch. 
They are thus well fitted for making their way through 
minute holes and chinks. If they cannot find such a 
tiny avenue into wardrobe or bureau, or fail of the 
opportvuiity of an open drawer or door, they will con- 
trive to glide through the keyhole. Once in, it is no 
easy matter to dislodge them, for they are exceedingly 
agile vermin, and escape out of sight in a moment. 
The mother-insect deposits her eggs on or near such 
material as will be best adapted for the food of the 
young, takins; care to distribute' them so that there may 
be a plentiful svipply and enough of room for each." 

"Isn't that a bit of pure maliciousness?" queried 
the Mistress. "The mother, I suppose, scatters her 
eggs so that her ravenous caterpillars may do all the 
damage possible by attacking many parts of a garment 
at the same time." 

" That is a bit of pure maternal instinct," I answered. 
"The mother-moth wisely arranges that all her off- 
spring shall have a fair outset in life — enough to eat 
and wear. When one of this scattered faniil}' issues 
from the egg its first care is to provide itself with a 
domicile, or, if you please, a dress. It belongs to that 
class of caterpillars that feed under cover. I once 
placed one upon a desk covered with green cloth and 


set myself to watch it. It wandered about for half a 
day before it began operations. At last, having pitched 
upon a proper site, it cut out a filament very near the 
cloth, in order, I suppose, to have it as long as possible, 
and placed it on a line with its body. It then immedi- 
ately cut another, and placing it parallel with the first, 
bound both together with a few threads of its own siik. 
The same process was repeated with other hairs, till 
the little creature had made a fabric of some thickness, 
and this it went on to extend till it was large enough to 
cover its body. Its body, by-the-way, as is usual with 
caterpillars, is employed as a model and measure for 
regulating its operations." 

" That's a vei-y human trait," said the Mistress ; "my 
mother invariably used part of her body as a yard- 
stick, measuring light material with outstretched arms, 
or with one full-length arm, counting from chin to 

"Mother Bond does that still,'' ventured Harry. 

'• Ah, well," I said, " i)i'rhaps by-and-by we may find 
some starting-points for a bond of sympathy between 
the ladies and even a clothes-moth ! But to proceed. 
My caterpillar made choice of longer hairs for the out- 
side than for the inside, and the covering was at last 
finished within by a fine and closely woven tapestry of 
silk. I could only see the progress of its work by look- 
ing' into the o]iening at eitlier of the ends, for the cov- 
ering was quite opaque and concealed the larva. In 
weaving this lining the creature turns around by 
doubling itself and bringing its head where the tail bad 


Fia. 30. — A CASE OF "old CLO's " AND CHARITY. — ^p 

been, the interior being left just wide enough for this 

" Its dress being in this way complete, the body quite 
covered, the larva begins to feed on the material of the 
cloth, which you see is its ' bed and board ' and ward- 
robe besides. Soon, like a growing boy, our young Pel- 
lionella outgrows its clothes. As it has no father's or 
big brother's worn suits to furnish material, and iiq 


mother who has learned the art of Burns' Scotch Cotter 
to 'gars auld claes look amaist as weel's the new,' it 
proceeds to enlarge its own garments. It sets to work 
as dexterously as any tailor, slitting the coat or case on 
the two opposite sides, and then adroitly inserting be- 
tween them two pieces of the requisite size. It man- 
ages all this so as not to expose its body, never slitting 
the whole length of the coat at once." 

" Why," exclaimed Abby, " the worm has learned the 
mj'stery of a gore I Here is certainly a fair beginning 
for that bond of sympatb}' of which you spoke be- 
tween the clothes-moth and the dressmaking part of 
womanhood !" 

"Shall we congratulate the moth or the mantua- 
maker on the connection r"' I asked. 

"Really, I am not quite so sure with an answer 
as I would have been a few moments ago. My re- 
spect for the little wretches has vastly increased. I 
don't know how I shall muster courage to kill them 
hereafter !" 

" By taking advantage of this pecular genius for 
patching," I continued, " or for (lorcs.^ as Abby puts it, 
clothes-moths have been forced to make their tubular 
coats of divers colors and patterns. By shifting the 
caterpillar from one colored cloth to another the re- 
quired tints are produced, and the pattern is gained ])y 
watching the creature at work, and transferring it at 
the proper time. For example, a half-grown caterpillar 
may be placed upon a piece of bright green cloth. 
After it has made its tube, it may be shifted to a black 


cloth, and when it has cut the longitudinal slit and has 
tilled it up, it can be transferred to a piece of scarlet 
cloth, so that the complementary colors of green and 
scarlet are brought into juxtaposition and ' thrown out ' 
by the contrast with the black. In this way the little 
worm, by friendly human manipulation, may by-and-by 
find itself arrayed, like the favorite son of Jacob, in 'a 
coat of many colors.' 

"The moth-worms pass the summer within these 
silk-lined rolls, some carrying them about as they move 
along, and others fastening them to the substance they 
are eating. Concealed within these movable cases, or 
lint-covered burrows, they ply their sharp reaping-hooks 
amid the harvest of napery throughout the summer. 
In the fall they cease eating, make fast their habita- 
tions, and lie torpid during winter. Early in spring 
they change to crysalids within their cases, and in about 
twenty days thereafter are transformed to winged 
moths, which fly about in the evening until they have 
paired and are ready to lay eggs. 

"We are indebted to the Mistress for another contri- 
bution to our collection," I continued, picking up an 
apple from the dish. " This little brown hole in the 
side of our noble fruit suggests the story of a life. Do 
you know what made this opening, Joe V" 

" Oh, yes, sir," was the ready response, " it is where 
an apple-worm got in, and you'll find it at the core." 

" Partly right and partly wrong. The apple-worm 
did make the hole, but this is not where it entered the 
fruit, and we shall not be likely to find it inside, al- 




though it is just possible that we may. However, let 
us cut the apple in half and see. Here, you observe, is 
a little burrow curving through the core between the 
eye (Fig. 31) and the hole in the skin, and branching 
oft' at the center, piei'cing the 
apple again at a point above. 
The worm that ate out this bur- 
row is the caterpillar of the 
codling-moth, Carpocapsa pomo- 
neUa. It is a small insect, its 
wings expanding three-fourths 
of an inch ; they have the ap- 
pearance of brown watered silk, 
and on the hinder margin of 
each of the forewings is a large 
oval brown spot, edged with copper-color. The hind- 
wings and abdomen have the lustre of satin." 

"Why is it called the cocZ?i'»r/-moth ?" asked the 

"Suppose we refer that to the Schoolma'am," I 

"Suppose we refer it to the dictionary," said 
Abby, taking down the book from the shelf. "Here 
it is " : 

" ' C'odlin^ or codling ' — spelled with one d, by-the- 
wa}- — ' An immature apple.' And here are uses of the 
word, one by Shakespeare : ' A codling when 'tis al- 
most an apple ;' and one by King, ' In cream and cod- 
lings reveling with delight.' I confess that is quite 
new to nie. ;My notions of the word S£),vored chiefly of 


our New England staple, codfish— cod^m*/, a young cod. 
What a useful book a dictionary is !" 

"Yes, when one has learned the art of using it. Had 
you looked further you would probably have found that 
cod is an old word for pod. An apple is simply an edi- 
ble pod, the case that contains the seed of a tree. Now 
we may get back to our story. 

" Pomonella is an immigrant, not a native American ; 
she was imported to this country about the beginning 
of this century, and has so well improved her time and 
opportunities that her progeny may be found in nearly 
the whole of North America.'" 

"Whence did she come ?" asked Abby. 

" From Europe, directly, at least, to us." 

"There! I am glad to learn that," returned the 
Schoolma'am. " I shall make good use of the fact when 
I next hear of America's viciousness in sending the 
Colorado potato-beetle to England." 

"Well," said the Mistress, " didn't we send the 
potato first ? Surely, our cousins should share with us 
the entomological ' trimmings.' " 

" All of which," I resumed, " would scarcely recom- 
pense our apple-growers for great loss inflicted upon 
their orchards. There are two broods of insects every 
year. The early brood appears about the time of apple- 
blossoms, having spent the winter in the larval state. 
In spring the larvte change into brown crysalids ; 
shortly after, the moths appear. The female moths 
seek the young fruit just as it is forming, and deposit 
their tiny yellow eggs in the calyx or eye, that is, the 


blossom end of the apple. CJuly one egg is laid on each 
apple, but as the mother has about fifty eggs to dispose 
of, you may suppose that a few wide-awake and healthy 
females can make sad havoc with a crop." 

" Ain't the same apples visited by more'n one 
moth ?" asked Hugh. 

"Sometimes two worms will be found in one apj^le ; 
but this is quite rare, and the fact conmionly illustrates 
the force and wisdom of the maternal instinct that 
directs the moth. 

" The eggs begin to hatch in about a week after the}^ 
are laid, and the little caterpillars produced from them 
immediately burrow into the apples, making their way 
gradually from the eye toward the core. The caterpil- 
lar is of a whitish color ; its head is heart-shai^ed and 
black ; the top of the first ring or collar and of the last 
ring is also black, and there are eight little blackish 
dots or warts arranged in pairs on each of the other 
rings. As the larva grows the body becomes ficsh- 
colored, the black parts turn brown, and the dots dis- 
appear. In the course of three Aveeks, or a little more, 
it comes to full size, and meanwhile has burrowed to 
the core and through the apple in various directions. 
The larva is so small at first that its presence can 
only be detected by the brownish powder that it 
pushes out in eating its way through the eye. This 
is made up of the ' castings ' or exuviie of the worm, 
and is a sure sign of infected fruit, as it often clings 
to the apple." 
" True enough !'' exclainu'd Hugh. " I've often seed 



them reddish- b r o w n 
grains on worm-eaten 
apples, but never know'd 
w'at it was. But w'at's 
the idee in dumpin' 
'em out this a- 



" Simply a wish 
to get rid of the 
refuse. Our cater- 
pillar is a very tidy housekeeper, 
and cleans its little habitation 
with a zeal that the ladies at 
least will commend. As it grows 
older it enlarges its quarters to 
suit its increased size, and gener- 
ally makes a second opening or 
door through the 

... „ , , FIG. 32. — COCOON, PUPA, FEMALE 

Side ot tne apple, larva of the codling moth, 

out of which fraof- a parasitic ichneumon-fly. 



nients of food are cast. The eflect of all these opera- 
tions is to ripen the apple before its time, and hence 
we have what are known as 'wind-falls,' although 
the wind is not necessary to bring down the precocious 
fruit, for it tumbles in the stillest weather. These 
worm-eaten apples are gathered up liy basketfuls, and 
are among the earliest brought to our markets." 

" That is so," said Hugh ; " aud, now I think of it, 
we get sucli good prices for these early wind-falls that 
I doubt Avhether the apple-worm does as much harm 
as I'd thought. Many's the hard word I've said 
agin the little beggars, an' I reckon I'll take some of 
'em back." 

"What has become of the worm?" asked Abb}-, 
who had been carefully picking out the burrows in the 
cut apple. " There is certainly no trace of larva or 
cry sails here." 

" True, aud for a quite sufficient reason. When the 
apples drop, and sometimes while they are still hang- 
ing, our codlings escape through the opening in the side 
(Fig. 32) and creep into chinks in the bark of the trees, 
or into other .sheltered places, which they hollow out 
with their teeth to suit their shape. Here each one 
spins for itself a cocoon or silken case as thin, delicate, 
and white as tissue paper. This is disguised or pro- 
tected on the outside by attaching to silky threads small 
fragments of the bai'k of the ti*ee or other available 
particles. (Fig. 32.) 

"Three days after the completion of the cocoon the 
larva chaugeji to a crysalis. The i)upa is a pale yellow 


color at first, which deepens in a day or two to pale 
brown. Two weeks thereafter tlie transformation is 
complete, and the imago or perfect moth escapes. This 
event occnrs abont the middle oi* latter part of Jnly, 
Then follows the wedding-day, and in a few days more 
the female begins to deposit her eggs for the late brood 
of larv?e, the late apples being generally selected for this 
pni'pose. These larvae mature during the autumn or 
early winter months. Sometimes they crawl out or 
swing themselves out before the apples are gathered, in 
which case they seek some sheltered nook under the 
loose bark of a tree, or other convenient hiding-place. 
But if carried with the fruit into the cellar, they of 
course spin their cocoons upon the boxes, bins, barrels, 
or walls." 

" I have it now !" exclaimed Hugh, abruptly. " Beg 
your pardon, sir, but I'd been try in' to think, w'ile you 
was tellin' about them cocoons, w'ere I'd seen sich ob- 
jecks, 'n I jest happened to remember. Las' winter I 
found hundreds of 'em spun up betwixt the staves and 
hoops of the apple bar'ls. I noticed 'em as a cur'us 
thing, but didn't know w'at to make of 'em, and never 
tho't of 'em ag'in until now. Them w^as apple-worms ; 
I'm sure of it now." 

''I have no doubt of it, Hugh; and you provided 
them with snug winter-quarters, and then allowed them 
to escape, to come out last spring by companies to infest 
the apples. But you'll know better another time, I 
dare say." 

"That I will, sir; and I'll pass the hint around 


among my neighbors, too. There's a worm that l)ores 
into the pears, pretty much in the same way as the 
apples. Is that the same varmint ?" 

"Yes; the applorworm is very destructive to the 
pear, and is also found on the wild crab, and occasion- 
ally on the plum and peach. And now I believe that I 
have finished the story of Pomonella and how she 
punctures our apples." 

"A very pretty tale it is, too," said Abby, looking 
up with a bright smile. " One of my classes was read- 
ing yesterday the legend of William Tell and the 
Apple, and I have just been wondering whether some 
of our myth-hunting critics and historians might not 
find the origin of that favorite story in the adventures 
of a codling-moth ! I can fancy the mother Pomonella 
personating the tyrant Gessler, and imposing upon our 
Caterpillar — the William Tell of Insect-world, you 
know — the destiny of forever piercing apples I" 

"But what will you have to represent the Switzer's 
little boy?" I asked. 

"Oh, the apple-bough, of course; and how nicely 
the idea of youth's immature age harmonizes with our 
definition of a ' codling ' — the punctured, immature 

"At all events," said the Mistress, when the laugh 
at Abby's sally had ceased, "your mothical Tell main- 
tains the legendary hero's reputation for archeiy. It 
rarely fails to, 'bring down' the apple. But, really, I 
didn't know that our schoolmistress had such a genius 
for the so-called ' higher criticism !' " 



His h^t>v7 



"Can you tell, please," asked Hugh, \yho had not 
quite grasped our by-play and evidently wanted some- 
thing more practical, "how to get rid of the worms? 
I've tried smokin' them out, burnin' Aveeds under the 
trees, but that don't seem to amount to much." 


"Of course, an}- smoking, to Ije eftl'ctive, should be 
done in the season -when the moths are laying their 
eggs. That may smother or drive away the mothers. 
I would recommend carefully scraping off the loose and 
rugged bark of the trees in the spring, in order to de- 
stroy the crysalids. Perhaps the most effective plan is 
the old-fashioned band-trap. A band of old cloth or a 
twist of common brown paper is wound around or hung 
in the crotches of the trees, or wrapped about the trunk. 
In these the apple-worms will conceal themselves, and 
thus great numbers of the larva and cocoons may be 
taken and destroyed from the time when they first 
begin to leave the apples, during the last of May, until 
the fruit is gathered. Of course, the bands should be 
often examined. There is one precaution, however, 
that is certainly very useful. As the larvse leave the 
fruit soon after it drops from the trees, the wind-Mien 
apples should be gathered up daily and such immediate 
use made of them as will be sure to kill the insects 
before they have time to escape." 

"Oh, dear!" cried Abb}', laughing, "that means 
fresh — c/cZer .'" and she pointed to our empty glasses. 
"Shan't I help you to a little more? You must be 
thirsty from talking." 

" Certainly ; you shall not destroy my relish for the 
drink even though you make it sure that Hugh and 
Dan did put a few worm-eaten apples into the mill. I 
am reminded of a remark that I recently heard Dr. 
Joseph Leidy make at a meeting of the Philadelphia 
Academ3- of Natural Sciences. He had been making a 


commuuicatiou upon a certain large parasitic worm 
whose 'host ' is our famous 'Delaware shad,' and con- 
cluded by saying that a portion of the fish — which I 
forbear to name out of respect for the epicures— that is 
considered the most delicious morsel of all, owes its 
delicate flavor to the presence of this parasite ! ' I 
suppose,' said the distinguished naturalist, 'that our 
shad-loving friends would cease to relish this tidbit if 
they only knew the facts. But, then, why should they ? 
— for the parasite is composed of pure shad, and nothing 
more.' So I say of " 

" Oh, you needn't explain," interrupted the Mistress, 
"the application is quite obvious. But for the benefit 
of the rest of the family, if not for your sake, I beg to 
say that Hugh has strict instructions to use only sound 
apples for cider." 

" True enough, ma'am," said the farmer ; " and you 
may be sure that we are all very careful. Miss Abby 
says that takin' care of win'-falls means cider. Not at 
all, ma'am ; it means good feed for the pigs and for the 
cows, too, for that matter." 

"I recant, I recant," cried Abby ; " and so encour- 
aged, I also will renew my glass." 



" I HOPE j-o's gwine to hab mo' ob dem talks 'boout 
de insecks, Mars MaytieP." 

So Dan greeted me a few days after our first fireside 
meetiug. He twirled his battered hat brim tlu'ough 
his horii}- hands, then ru])bed a white palm against the 
back of his grizzled locks, ducked his head forward and 
continued: " I doan jes kno' w'at yo 'd call 'em, sah, 
but Sar}^ Ann 'lowed dey's say-an^-saijs. ' An' w'at are 
say-an''-says, Sary Ann?' says I. 'Wal,' says she, 
'day's a sort ob free an' easy kine o' talk, w'ar yo 
says, an' den I says, an' all jine in an' helps de talk 
along. Now dat 's a powerful pleasant kine ob affar. 
Mars Mayfield, an' suits us 'ns lieap better 'n loafin' 
rouu' de kentry store, an' sich. So we uns — dat 's 
Hugh's folks an' Sary Ann an' me — we makes bold to 
ax yo, wouldn't yo 'low us de priv'lege ob jinin' in de 
say-an^-saiis, in case yo gwine to hab mo' ob 'cm, an' 
we sincerely hope yo is." 

"Why, Han, I haduH thought much about it," I 

answered. "But you maybe .sure if there should be 

any more ' say-an'-says,' you all will be welcome to the 


"T'ank yo, sah ; we 's all powe'ful 'bleegcd to yuh, 



FIG. 34. — THE GEOMETRID HORROR. — p. 104. 

an' hopes we '11 hab de pleasure ob yo company at 
anoder conbersashull family fireside say-an'-say, bery 

Although I laughed at Dan's magniloquence, I was 
more gratified at that hearty honest approval of my 
humble dependents than I had often been before at 
commendations of cultured friends. To be sure, I 
learned by-and-by that the Mistress was also in the 
plot, and that Dan's praises were in good part an echo 
of her promptings ; but the pleasure of the moment 
was not dimmed by that knowledge. Thus it came 
about that the next Saturday evening found our house- 


hold gathered in the old sitting-room for another ento- 
mological ' seance. ' Where Sarah had picked up that 
word, and how she had managed to transform it. we 
never learned, but we were all so impressed with the 
superiority of her version, that the cook's title was at 
once naturalized, and ' the Tenant's Sa3'-an'says ' be- 
came one of the current phrases of our little realm when 
we were in a merry mood, 

" I have here a specimen," I began, "plucked from 
a straggling sprig of wood-wax or dyer's weed {Genista 
tinctoria) which represents a very familiar race of cater- 
pillars, the Geometers, or span-worms. They are so 
called from the mode of walking peculiar to the larvae. 
Most of these have only ten legs, six of which are 
jointed and tapering, under the fore part of the body, 
and four fleshy prop legs at the hinder extremity. 
There are no legs 'on the middle of the body, and con- 
sequently the caterpillars are imable to crawl in the 
usual manner. When one wishes to advance it grasps 
the object firmly with its fore feet, and then draws up 
the hind feet close to them, not unlike the attitude 
of a cat which meets a strange dog. The hinder 
feet then take a firm hold and the body is projected 
forward until the fore feet can repeat the process. 
This mode of progression is popularly called ' loop- 
ing,' and the caterpillars are called ' loopors.' 

" The Geometers live as larva* on trees and bushes, and 
most of them undergo their transformations in the 
ground, to reach which by traveling along the branches 
and down the trunk by their peculiar gait would be a 



long and todious journey. But they are not reduced 
to this necessit}', for they have the power of letting 
themselves down from any height by means of a silken 
thread whicli tliey spin from their mouths while falling. 
Whenever they are disturbed they malve use of this 


faculty, drop down suddenly and hang suspended till 
the danger is past, after which they climb up again by 
the same thread." 

" These, then," said the Mistress, "are the little 


creatures that used to make a, promenade along our 
streets in summer a horror to ladies before the advent 
of the sparrows V" 

" The very same ; but I doubt whether citizens have 
made a favorable exchange for the pretty hairy creeper, 
the caterpillar of the Tussock-moth {Onjijialeiu^osligma), 
(Fig. 35), that now fills the squares, fences and walls 
with its knobby white cocoons." (Fig. 36). 

'' Why, don't the sparrows eat 
//;o», too?" asked Abby. 

"Ah, a mere question of taste. 
The soft, smooth, Geometers ai'e 
a dainty bit to the birds, and the 
plumed crawlers are not at all 
to their liking. Why, I have 
seen the very bird-boxes in the 
jniblic square covered with the 
Tussock-moth's cocoons— crown- 
ed with their white egg-masses. 
Were the caterpillars crawling 
at their verj" doors, and their 
hungry fledglings gaping for food, 
^^'^' the iiarent birds would come 


MOTH, NATURAL SIZE, liomc witliout suppllcs ratlicr 
than forage upon the Orgyia 
worms. So the larvK breed securely and in yearly 
increasing numbers. 

" If a little wise energy and forethouglit could be 
shown by the city authorities in this matter, the evil 
could soon be remedied. The chief f '. : es of these cocoons 


fire tlie iron fences around the squares, the trunks of trees, 
the walls and fence cornices of adjacent properties. If 
tliese were thoroughly cleansed, tlie cocoons scraped out 
and burned in winter, there would be a scant crop of 
span-worms in summer. For several years I have 
watched these troublesome cocoons advancing a little 
further each season up the trunks of the trees and mul- 
tiplying along public places, and I have more than once 
predicted that the nuisance would ere long be well-nigh 
intolerable. But an American city, like Issachar among 
the tribes, is a ' strong ass crouching down between two 
burdens,' who sees 'that rest is good ' and ' bows his 
slioulders to bear,' and hardly even exercises the healthy 
Anglo-Saxon right of grumbling at official ignorance 
, and neglect. So canker-worms — not those alone which 
are comparatively harmless, but those of the moral, 
social and political sort — breed in public places, crawl 
unmolested through every highway and byway, and spin 
and nest in all departments of communal administration 
and life. Alas ! Well, 'a stitch in time saves nine.' " 

"And there are some citizens," cried the Mistress, 
apparently quite oblivious of my figurative speech 
and philosophy, and reverting to tlie encroacliments 
of the Orgyia, " who allow those dreadful worms 
to crawl up their very walls and doorways and build 
cocoons under the mouldings and ledges of doors and 
windows quite unmolested. I see hundreds of them 
housed in such places the entire year. Such house-keep- 
ing ! I can't understand how ladies will tolerate it." 

"Perhaps," suggested Abby, "they tolerate the 


worms oiitot'the s;iiuu luercifuluess from which they feed 
the vixeuish sparrows who refuse to kill the worms." 

''A truce to our moralizing," I said ; '' let us return 
to our span-worm hanging from the tree. The manner 
in which it ascends its thread is most interesting. In 
order to do this it bends back its head and catches hold 
of the thread above its head with one of the legs of the 
third segment of the body. It then raises its head and 
seizes the thread with its jaws and forelegs, and by 
repeating the same operations with tolerable rapidity it 
soon reaches its former station on the tree. 

There is another interesting habit which these Geom- 
eters possess ; when not eating, many of them can rest 
on the two hindermost pairs of legs against the side of a 
l)ranch, and stretching out the body nearly horizontal!}', 
remain in that position for hours, so that they might easily 
be mistaken for the twig of a tree. If Joe and Harry 
would like to get some slight idea of the muscular force 
required to perform this action, let them grasp an up- 
right pole with their hands and try to hold the body 
out horizontally. The feats of trained gymnasts in the 
circus ring or turnverein are fairly outdone by these 
despised s2)an-worms. I think that you will agree with 
me that they are interesting little fellows. Moreover, 
notwithstanding the disgust with which, as the Mistress 
sajs, the city folk used to regard them as they dropped 
from the trees, I venture that there are plenty of people 
who would rather welcome their presence than other- 
wise. Perhaps some of our young people can tell us 
why V" 



"I can, sir," 
Harry answered 
promptly. "Jenny 
used to say that it 
was a sign we were 
goin' to git a new 
coat when one oi 
t li e m caterpillars 
was seen steppin' 
off distance on our 



English Sparrow to Irish Guardian of American Peace — " Do your 
own nahsty work, sir ; H'english sparrows, sir, didu't come 'ere to eat 
hup your nalisty H'american worms 1" 

arms or back. We call them 'measurra' worms'" on 
that account." 

" Yes, that is the idea : a new coat when seen meas- 
Liring the arms or back, a new pair of gloves when seen 
looping on the hand, and so through the whole suit. 
I fear that, like many another local prophet, their 
promise is better than their fulhllment. However, we 



cannot deny that in tlie proper season they are very 
diligent in suggesting tlie subject of new clothes to all 
passers-by who credit their prophetic oftice." 

"A quality, by-the-way," said Al»by, "which they 
share in common with the ' Barkers' in front of ]\Iarket 
Street and Chatham Street clothing stores. And, like 
'Barkers,' I imagine that their attentions are more 
respected by country folk than city people." 

"Here is another of the Looper tribe, or rather a 
mother-moth, which fortunately I have been able to 
collect. I have two specimens, and the}' are mounted 
upon this bit of cork. Pass them around the circle and 
'st all have a good look at them. They are not very 
familiar creatures in their 
moth or perfect form, but 
they are quite too well 
known in the larval state. 
Come, Miss Abby, j-ou seem 
to be studying that speci- 
men very closely, and mean- 
while Hugh is anxious to 
see it, and will be much 
more so when he learns what 
it is. AVhat is the matteC 
now V" I asked, as the 
Schoolteacher shook her 
head and handed the insect to Hugh, with an incri'dul- 
ous' Humph!' "My poor moth appears to have ex- 
cited your indignation!" (Fig. 38.) 

" Truly so," replied Abby. "I confess myself a tyro 


>"%5x -a»«<-^.»^' - 

I — \ MOTIIEIi . 




FKi. o'J. — A GEOMETUIU TCKNVKKEIN.— ^). 108. 

in all branches of entomology, and it would be a sorry 
victory for a specialist who should impose on me. But 
really, I think that I have learned enough even within 
the last few days to prevent you palming that creature 
upon me as a iiioth. Why, it doesn't resemble that in- 
sect in the least." 


" So say I," echoed the Mistress. 

" And what says Hugh ?" I asked, as the sturdy fel- 
low turned the insect around slowly and carefully scru- 
tinized it on all sides. 

"Well, sir, I — I begin to find that 1 know so leetle 
'bout the commonest sorts o' critters that I don't like 
to venture a 'pinion. But cj that 's a moth, I reckon 
you 've pulled its wings off. 

"Not a bad guess," I said, laughing. " But I assure 
you that it is a moth, and that I have not pulled its wings 
off. However, not to keep you in suspense, I may tell 
you that in certain ^^l)ecies of moths the female is iciug- 
k'ss. The pretty feathered caterpillar that we spoke of 
a little while ago as now infesting our puljlic squares 
has a wingless mother. This is another example ; it is 
a veritable moth, the female of a species known as the 
orchard moth [Anisopteryx pometaria^ Harris), a variety 
perhaps of the vernal moth {Anisaptyrex vernata^ Peck). 
It is the mother of our northern canker-worm." 

" The canker-worm? Indeed !" exclaimed Hugh. " I^et 
nu! look at the creatur' again, please. .Well, well ! who 
would have tho't such pestiferous gangs uv varmin "d 
a-sprung from a mite uv a beast like that !" (Fig. 40.) 

"For my part.'' said the Mistress, "I think her 
quite ugly enough to be the mother of any kind of 
odious creature. Moreover, I shall owe her an addi- 
tional grudge because our good professor here used her 
to victimize so mercilessl}' his confiding pupils. Think 
what our Schoolma'am — " 

"Oh, dear, no!" inlcrrupled Al>l)y, smilin^i^ good- 


naturedl3\ "I decidedly deserved it; and, loesides, I 
practice similar modes of impressing facts upon my 
pupils, and as it serves admirabl}', I can't complain in 

this case. I am sure 
that I, at least, will not 
forget that some mother- 
moths are wingless." 

''Very good, then; 
since I am full}' ab- 
solved, I may resume 
our story. I captured 
these specimens as they 
were making their way 
' '. up one of our apple 

'"'4^»/^ I a trees, having just left 

,n the "I'ound in which 


LESS FEMALE, WINGED MALE, they had maturcd. It 


was formerly supposed 
that the canker-worm moths came out of the ground 
only in the spring. It is now known that many of 
them rise in the autumn and early part of the win- 
ter. In mild and open winters I have seen them in 
every month from October to March. They begin to 
make their appearance after the first hard frosts in the 
Fall, usually toward tlie end of October and continue to 
come forth in numbers according to the mildness of 
the weather after the frosts have begun. 

"However, their general time of rising is in the 
spring, beginning about the middle of March, and they 
continue to come forth for the space of about three 


weeks. The sluggish females instinctively make their 
way to the nearest trees, and creep slowly up their 
trunks. Their husbands, having better facilities for 
traveling, inasmuch as they are winged, delay their ad- 
vent a few days, when they also leave their earthen 
cells and join the females, tluttering about and accom- 
panying them in their ascent. 

" Soon after this the females lay their eggs upon the 
branches of the trees. They place them on their ends 
close together in rows, forming clusters of from sixty 
to one hundred eggs or more, which is the number 
usually laid by each female. The eggs are glued to 
each other and to the bark by a grayish varnish which 
is impervious to water ; and the clusters are thus 
securely fastened in the forks of the small branches, or 
close to the young twigs and buds. The eggs are 
usually hatched between the first and the middle of 
May, or about the time that the red currant is in 
blossom and the young leaves of the apple-tree begin to 
start from the bud and grow. The liltk' canker-worms, 
upon making their escajoe from the eggs, gather upon 
the tender leaves and begin to eat. If there comes a 
snap of cold, and during rain}- weather, they creep for 
shelter into the bo^om of the Inid, or into the tlowers 
when Ihey appear. The leaves first attac^ked will be 
found pierced with small holes ; these become larger and 
more irregular wlien the eanker-worms increase in size, 
and at last nearly all tln' pulpy parts are consumed, 
leaving little more than the midrib and veins. 

"The worms when well f » d grow to be an inch long; 


' ' ' ■' /// ' ' ' 

§\l§ii\\\ki^im 1 1^' 



they quit eating when nbout four weeks old, and begin 
to leave the trees ; some creep down by the trunk, but 
great numbers let themselves down by threads from the 
branches, their instinct prompting them to get to the 
ground by the most direct and easiest course.'" 

" Oh. yes," said Joe, "• I have seen them hanging tiiat 
way from the branches that jut across the r(jad. It 
kept us dodging to get rid uv 'em as we drove along." 

"Aye, and I doubt not you helped nature in disturb- 
ing the little fellows along the road-side, for they lay 
hold upon passing objects and are carried goodly dis- 
tances before shaken off. When they reach the ground 
they immediately burrow in the I'artli to tlic depth of 


from two to six inches, and make little cavities or cells 
by turning around repeatedly and fastening the loose 
grains of earth about them with a few silken threads. 
Within twenty-four hours afterward, they are changed 
to crysalids in their cells, where, as we have seen, they 
transform in the autumn and winter as well as spring. 
They usually come out of the ground in the night, when 
the females may be seen straggling through the grass 
from various points of the area bounded by the spread 
of the branches, and making toward the trunk." 

"You didn't tell us what becomes of the mother- 
moths," suggested Harry. 

" There is little more to be said about them, for they 
are very short-lived ; when they have laid their eggs 
they begin to languish, and soon die." 

" You spoke of the worms takin' to the apple-trees," 
said Hugh, " but I find thet they aren't very pertikler in 
their tastes, so 's they kin git a holt 'v suthin' thet 
damages the farmer. I 've found "em on the cherry and 
plum, and they 're special fond uv the elm." 
~ " That is true ; and you might extend their bill of fare 
to some other cultivated and native trees, as well as 
many shrubs." 

" Is this the canker-worm of which we read in the 
Bible V" asked the Mistress. " It seems to have been a 
great scourge to the people of Palestine and those parts." 

" It is not easy to answer that question. The exact 
meanings of words used in the Hebrew Testament to 
express all forms of animal life, are hard to determine. 
Some have supposed the word translated ' cankei*- 


worm ' to refer to the locust or at least to the larva of 
the locust ; but the words rendered ' palmer-worm' and 
' caterpillar ' seem to have had reference to some species 
of canker-worm.''' 

"I should like it amazingl}' if you could tell me liow 
to get rid of the varmin," remarked Hugh. 

"Practical entomology is not much in my line," I 
answered, "and I fear that such a theme would not 
greatly interest the majority of our little circle. But I 
can tell you of an ancient remedy that was supposed to 
be very effective. In the early part of the seventeenth 
century the peasants in many places in Germany took 
this mode : they pulled a stake froni a hedge, looped 
around it a rope which they rapidly drew back and 
forth until the friction kindled it into a flame. This 
they carefully fed with stubble and dry wood. "When 
the bonfire had quite burned out the peasants collected 
the ashes and spread them over their garden vegetables, 
confident that by this means they could drive away the 
canker-worm. This fire they called the 'Xodfeur,' 
or, as we might sa}^, the ' jSfeed-fire.' " 

"You don't mean to say, sir," asked Hugh, "that 
you think the Nodfeur ashes really did any good in 
keeping off the canker-worms?" 

"Why not?" I inquired. 

"Tut, tut!" exclaimed the Mistress. "I am sure 
you don't indorse any such nonsense. It was pure 
superstition that prompted the custom, and you haven't 
much of that element in your mental make-up, I know 
well. ■' 


"The question.'' I rejoiiR-d, '• was not whether tlie 
eustoni originated in or wns maintained b}' superstition, 
but whether the Nodfeur aslies were benefieial ; and I 
answer that confidently in the airirniative. If one were to 
spi'inkle such material upon the veo;etables when covered 
with the morning dew it wf)uld adhere to the leaves and 
thus make them distasteful to the caterpillars. This 
says nothing of the effect of the ])otash in the ashes, 
whi(;h may l)e injurious, nor of the dislike of larva? and, 
indeed, of many insects to move over surfaces covered 
with pulverized matter. I attribute nothing at all, of 
course, to the effect of the/(t/r/(, but much to the protec- 
tion given by making the natural food-plant ol)noxious 
to the Avorms. 

"There is anolher element wliich enters into the 
utility of this and all like remedies. IMany 3'ears ago 
I read an incident which illustrates my thought. I re- 
peat it from memory, and cannot vouch for all the de- 
tails, but give the substance of the story as I remember 
it. A noble German lady found that despite her best 
endeavor there was a vast wastage in her household and 
a consequent trenching upon her limited income. At 
last she went to a hermit famous for godliness and 
wisdom, and asked for a charm to protect her frora 
this grief. The good man gave her a little sealed box, 
containing the required charm, instructing her to place 
the same in one corner of every room in her house and 
out-buildings once every day, varying as much as pos- 
sible the hour of her daily visit. He bade her, also, 
return at the end of a year to report results. 


"A year passed and the lady returned with good 
news and a grateful offering. The charm had wrought 
wonders. Her household was never in such goodly 
condition, the wastage had stopped, the continual anx- 
iety over insufficient income had ceased, her husband 
was delighted, her neighbors full of praise. She begged 
for a renewal of the charm, declaring that she would 
not be without it for much mone}^ 

" The monk broke the seal and showed the contents 
of the box. It was empty! 'See,' he said, 'there is 
no charm here ! That which has wrought the good re- 
sults over which you rejoice, has been your own care 
for every part of your house. As you went to each 
room you saw what was needed and supplied it, wh?i,t 
was wrong and righted it. Your eyes were upon all your 
men and maids, as well as on their work every da}-, and 
they felt the influence of this oversight. There has 
been no other charm than this, and you need no other. 
Go, lady, and henceforth hold faithfully to the rule and 
habit of the past year, and be assured that your home 
will be a well-ordei"ed, prosperous and happy one.' " 

"Truly," said the Mistress, "that was a wise old 
monk. I can vouch for it that a constant personal 
inspection of all one's house, especially of the cuddies 
and corners, will work like a charm toward good 
housekeeping. But really, I don't quite take the ap- 
plication of your story to the German peasants and 
their canker-worms." 

" Indeed ! Then you are not apt as usual to see a 
point. In fighting insect pests it is precisely as in 


h()ii8L'l<et'i)ing'. The con^^l;lllt ovei^ight of every plant 
discovers the destroyer and leads to its prompt destruc- 
tion. The man who daily visits his growing vegetables, 
with or without ashes or other preventive, will see the 
canker-worms and kill them. Nor does once going over 
the crop serve. The worms are legion ; each day has its 
own host, wiiich must be met that day before devasta- 
tion begins. I have the notion that the old-time 
Nodfeur custom may have looked also to this point. 
Perhaps some wise observer, who knew that men will 
often maintain good habits l^etter under the spur of a 
superstition than the stimulus of simple good sense and 
experience, may have set his neighbors to defend their 
crops by the invention of a bit of supposed harmless 
superstition. Or, more likely, the superstition gradually 
grew around what was originally only a wise rule of 
successful horticulture." 

"Well, sir," remarked Hugh, "You 're quite right 
in thinkin' that constant watchin' is tlie great thing in 
raisin' garden sass. I 've had the best kind o' luck in 
the very worst years for worms and bugs, jist l)y goin' 
over and over the wines. I knock off the critters into a 
pan an' then kill 'em. It 's a good deal o' trouble, but 
ef a man wants wegetables he 's got to do it, I reckon. 
There 's alius a few days w'en the varmin is particlar 
bad, an' by standin' to 't mornin' and evenin' durin' 
those days a feller '11 come out party Mcll." 

CHAPTEE yill. 


One of our favorite walks, during these autumu days, 
leads across the meadow, down the hill-slope, over the 
brooklet, and so, by a rocky steep beyond, through a 
thick woods to the banks of Crum creek. On the oc- 
casion of which I am now to write my companion was 
an elderly clerical friend, the Eev. Dr. Goodman. The 
Doctor is a noble example of the old-time clergyman. 
His tall, sturdy frame, scarcely bowed by his seventy 
years, is always robed in becoming black, iiever, in any 
contingency, omitting the indispensable dress-coat. His 
full curly white hairs fall upon his neck beneath a 
broad-brimmed black hat, a compromise between the 
Quaker pattern and a Yankee wide-awake. His strong, 
benignant face is clean-shaved, andhis well-turned chin, 
just verging upon the " double," is lifted above a broad, 
white choker, between the wide-apart points of an old- 
fiishioned standing collar. In these latter days his 
waistcoat has expanded somewhat above a growing 
rotundity, and beneath it a goodly fobchain protrudes. 
The gold watch to which it dangles, and the portly 
gold-headed cane which he carries, are both the gifts 
of his warmly-attached parishioners. His salary is 
modest enough, though somcAvhat more generous than 

Goldsmith's pai'son, "passing rich with forty pounds a 



year ;'' Init as his church owns a coz}' manse and ample 
glebe, he lives contentedly and even comfortably, with 
his wife and two daughters. His home isatMarple, six 
miles across the hills, and he has driven over to spend a 
night at the Old Farm and renew a i)leasant friendship 
formed during seasons when one summer had been spent 
within his parish. 

As his rumbling old carryall turned down our avenue 
behind the fat, chestnut-bay horse whose lazy jog-trot 
is known through all the country side, the familiar sight 
stirred up very pleasant thoughts. 

"My dear Doctor," I exclaimed, greeting him at the 
gate, "you are welcome, indeed ! To what fair fortune 
are we indebted for this pleasant surprise ?" 

The good minister was altogether too guileless to ward 
off this direct query without uncovering the truth. He 
blushed, hesitated and glanced appealingly at the Mis- 
tress, who had now joined in the greeting. 

"Ah ! 1 see how it is," I said, coming to the relief of 
the embarrassed parties; "another conspiracy in my 

"Just so, just so!" exlaimed the Doctor, nodding 
his head with unction, while his fiice beamed a happy 
smile. " And I 'm heartily glad the cat's out of the 
bag, although I suspect tlm particular cat is a very 
harmless kitten ! However, it 's all right now, and I 've 
come to spend the evening with you." 

So I knew that the hand of the little JNIistress, the 
true guardian angel of those invalid days, had touched 
the spring that moved the Doctor liitherward ; as, 



iiulcecl, it had similarily done ou 80 man}- kindred occa- 

The Doctor, like most of his profession, has always 
had an intelligent interest in natural science, and, more- 
over, cultivated a speciality in ethnology and arche- 
ology. He is deep in the problem of man 's antiquity ; and 
what with works on " Preadamites," "Cave-Hunting," 
"The Epoch of the Mammoth," "The Story of 
Earth and Man," "The Eaces of Man," etc., has 
a busy time in keeping his friends of the modern school 
in harmony with his older friends of the Usherian 
Bible chronology. He brought over with him, on his 
present visit, a recent work on " Early Man in Europe," 
which we had abundantly (not to say thoroughly) dis- 
cussed during the evening after the lamps had been 
lit and afire kindled on the hearth. "Just for the 
wee bit blinkin' o' the ingle," wife said, "and to 
mellow the night chill of the advancing fall." The 
frontispiece of the Doctor's book is some ideal scene of 
troglodytic life. It is a night scene : a fire is burn- 
ing in front of a rocky cavern, around which the dusky 
forms of a primitive family are grouped ; a full moon 
shines in the background, and in the foreground a pack 
of hungry wolves are pushing up over the rocks as near 
as they dare come to the fire, which thus, in more than 
one sense, protects the unconscious cave-men (Fig. 42.) 
The picture, at least, succeeded in stirring up the im- 
aginations of our Mistress and the inquisitive School- 
ma'am, so that the Doctor had lull rtiom to expand 
upon his favorite theme. 


"Well, Doctor," I said, when we had finished morn- 
ing worshiji, "I have something to show yon down here 
that will gratify yonr antiquarian interest in your fellow- 
men. Moreover, I think I can put you on the trail of 
a race of troglodytes of even more ancient descent than 
those of whom you told us last nightT" 

" Indeed ! But — tut ! you are trying to quiz me, I 

" Not in the least ; get your hat and cane, and let us 
walk over to the creek ; you shall judge if I am not 
in good earnest. " 

"Well, well, I confess that I am incredulous still; 
but it 's a fine morning for a walk, at any rate, and 
there 's nothing gives such interest to a journey as 
some pleasant motive and destination." 

"There \s a deal of deep philosophy in that remark," 
continued the good man after a pause, during which he 
had arrayed himself for the excursion, "a philosophy 
that one does well to apply to all the pilgrimage of this 
life and its final destination, which I hope may be a 
happy one for us all. Ah ! excuse me, I really did not 
mean to preach !" And he did not, for the blush 
mantled his face, and he looked askance at me as though 
anticipating my displeasure. We were now fairly 
afield, and our thoughts turned again upon the troglo- 

"There is one thing," I said, "that puzzles me in 
your view of the early cave-men. May I ask how you 
reconcile it with your belief as to the condition of the 
original pair of Eden ?" 


"To be sure! There's no eontradiction at all. 
Adam and Eve were very in-iniilive, indeed, in their 
habits. Their moral nature was unclouded — therein 
lay their original perfectness. They were civilized 
men in that respect ; in other particulars they simply 
had the rudiments of civilization. "With natural in- 
telligence such as man now possesses, with knowledge 
of fire, and situated in a soft and congenial climate, 
they rapidly developed, as we see in the family of Cain, 
the arts of herding, music, and smelting metals.'' 

"Well, but were they troglodytes? Did they have 
those horrible struggles with the wild beasts of the 
earth hinted at in 3'our boolv ?'' 

" Certainly not ; their onvironment saved (hem from 
such necessities. But then some of their posterity, as 
they scattered over the earth, relapsed from many of 
the acquired arts of civilized men. as they became vicious 
in morals, and falling upon adverse surroundings, it is 
not strange that they should have been troglodytes or 
cave-men of the rudest type — quite as savage as tribes 
of which we know to-day. But — pray, what is this ? 
A grave, here in the meadow ?" 

We had been quietly jogging along the i"»ath. and now 
stopped beside a marble slab fixed in tiie midst of the 
field, that might easily have been taken for a grave- 
stone. It was eighteen inches in height, six in thick- 
ness and seven in width. It sloped with the descent of 
the hill, and around its base clumps of grass, clover and 
sheep-sorrel had gathered. 

The Doctor no time in ilonning hi.s .spectacles. 




and kneeling down beside the stone read the inscrip- 
tion : 

.3 fine 




"This is your antiquarian rarit}^, is it '?" he asked, 
rising. " It is certainly worth seeing ; and now let us 
have its story, although I could guess the nature of it. 
I believe the name is that of one of our good old Quaker 
fomilies, and the date carries us so near to the era of 
the settlement of our State that I readily conjecture the 
fact here commemorated." 

" Yes, I see that you have easily guessed the truth, 
although it is often puzzling enough to those less fam- 
iliar with our pioneer history. Tliis farm was first 
brought under culture by Jane Townes, one of the early 
Quaker emigrants, who, with her three sons, came over 
to Friend William Penn's colony soon after the great 
founder's landing. The husband and father died on ship- 
board during the voyage to America ; but the widow, with 
genuine pluck and faith, took up the burden of colonial 
settlement, and bought a plantation which included in its 
bounds our old farm. On this spot they made their first 
dwelling ; they dug into the slope of the hill just here, 
threw out rough supports much like the props in a coal 
drift, and banked up the wdiole, thus making what was 
known as a 'cave.' Here the widow with her sons 
lived until timber could be cut from the thick woods 
that covered the site, and hewn and buildcd into a log 
house. One of her descendants had this cave-stone 
erected to mark the site of what was the first home of 
a white family in this neighborliood. The present stone 
farm-house has not yet seen its first century, having 
beenbuilt A. D. 1792." 

" Well, that was a courageous woman certainly !" ex- 


claimed the doctor, ' ' and hm- pluck de.scrv^es a much better 
monument. However, I have no doubt she and her boys 
enjoyed their rude life quite as much as their descendants 
do these days of civilized abundance. There is a streak 
of the nomad in most men. Where was ever the boy 
who didn't long for a Robinson Crusoe's cave ? There 
was always a fascination for me, when a lad in Ohio, 
in certain caves among the rock}' masses of the Tvittle 
Beaver. In those days the chief charm of a fishnig 
jaunt was the fire and the noon lunch in caverns or 
under jutting rocks. I am sure that I should have 
greatly enjoyed those old pioneer days, so I will waste 
no pity on the hardships of good Jane Townes. But 
I must claim the other part of your promise. AVhere 
are the traces of those cave-men more ancient than 
the men of the Dordogne ? I am eager to inspect 

"Not so fast, Doctor. I did, indeed, promise you a 
sight of most ancient cave dwellers, but I said not a 
word of cave-DiCH. My troglodytes are of the insect 
world, and, see there ! Your foot has well nigh trodden 
upon the entrance to one of them." 

The Doctor started back suddenly and looked down- 
ward. I stooped at his side and pointed out a little 
structure of straw that marked the cave of a turret 
spider, Tarentula arenicola. (Fig. 44;.) 

"Come, my good friend, '"I continued, "don your spec- 
tacles once more and join me in this search. Here is one 
of my ancient cave-dwellers, and I warrant that its 
ancestors were here to gaze in dumb wonder at the in- 


trading cave dwelling and log cabin of the Quaker 
jiioneers. " 

" Ah, you rogue !" said the Doctor, as he adjusted his 
glasses, "3'ou quite deceived me, I confess ; but I par- 
don you in advance, for I dare say that you Avill 
abundantly reward my curiosity, although in another 

The object to which our attention was directed re- 
sembled in miniature a chimney of mud and sticks, such 
as one may see upon log huts on the frontier. A circu- 
lar opening in the ground an inch wide was sunk 
downward quite out of sight. Around this on the 
surface was built, in the form of an irregular pentagon, 
a little chimney or turret, composed chielly of bits of 
gi'ass-straw and stalks of weeds, crossed at the corners 
and raised one above another to the height of nearly 
two inclies. The inside of this tube was lined with a 
thin sheeting of silken web which was carried for a 
little distance below the surface. Particles of earth 
were intermingled with the sticks. 

" Do you mean to say," exclaimed the Doctor, " that 
this is the nest of a spider ?" 

" You shall sec for yourself," I answered, " for I have 
brought with me the means for exploring the interior 
of our cave-dweller's home. But first we may as well 
save this part of the nest as a specimen for our cabinet." 

T tilled the turret with a tufl of cotton to prevent it from 
breaking up under the handling, then carefully cut it 
away from the surface with a large knife and laid it in 
a pnper box. Next I quite filled up the hole, which 




extended ten inches .straight downward, with cotton, 
whicli was gently pu.'^hed down with a stick. 

" Pray why do you do that ?" asked the Doctor. 

" I have three purposes : one is to prevent the broken 
soil from foiling in upon the spider who is down there 
at the bottom of the cave ; another is to mark the 


track of the tube as the earth is cut awa}" ; a third to 
prevent the spider's escape. 

"By the way, I was once led upon an interesting ob- 
servation by this mode of tilUng up tlie burrows. 
Having a desire to keej) a turret spider under close 
stud}', I cut out a burrow and took it home, preserved 
entire in the midst of the sod in which it had been dug. 
The spider was shut in by the cotton forced into the 
opening, and was kept in by a cotton plug in the lower 
part of the tube. Having snugly domiciled the exile 
by inserting her nest into fresh soil and sod packed in a 
half-keg, I removed the cotton from the upper part of 
the burrow, and left the occupant to work according to 
her own fancy. I was compelled to be absent for three 
days, and when I left home the spider was engaged in 
pulling out the cotton plug which had been placed in 
the bottom of the tube. Several pellets were airead}' 
scattered around the turret. On my return I found the 
tower strangely transformed ; the whole interior was 
lined with the cotton, which extended an inch or more 
below the surface and lipped over the top-wall. This 
novel lining was laid on as smoothly as though done by 
the delicate hand of an upholsterer." 

" Yer}- strange, indeed !" the Doctor exclaimed. "A 
most admirable instinct ! Although, perhaps, it is 
hardl}' after the manner of what I have thought an in- 
stinctive act to be. Certainly there could have been no 
hereditary tendency to such a use of the cotton libre. 
What think you?" 

" Undoubtedl}' our spider had come upon now cxpe- 





<^^^' k_ 


rience and readily adapted herself to it. It is impossi- 
ble to think that she ever before had knowledge of 
cotton and its uses for wadding. Her first purpose was 
evidently to remove the material from her burrow ; but 
by the contact of her highly sensitive feet and mouth 
organs with the soft fabric the suggestion was raised that 
it might be utilized for lining her nest instead of silk. Or 
perhaps we may say that the sensation produced l)y 
handling the soft cotton started a train of associations 
that led the animal to deal with a sul)stance quite 
foreign to her, precisely as she habitually deals with the 
silk which she secretes. Whether the two theories do 
not amount to the same in the end is a point which I 


will not attempt to decide. "We arc verging upon the 
deep and somewhat strange waters of animal meta- 
physics, and perhaps had hotter not venture further." 

''At all events," said the Doctor, with some warmth, 
as though he were heating down an old adversary in his 
own thought, "I will never again say that a spider 
doesn't think I Here certainly is an order of mcntalism 
which seems to difTer from human thinking more in 
degree than in kind." 

In the meantime I plied the spade carefully, until at 
last the bottom of the tube was reached. 

*■' There she is !" cried the Doctor, who keenly watched 
the digging. 

A brown head emerged from a mass of dust-covered 
cotton, followed by the legs and body of a large spider. 
The body was an inch in length, but the eight long, ex- 
panded legs gave one the impression of greater size. 
The specimen w^as a female of a velvety brown color, 
marked with light gray along the back. 

" Yes, there she is," I responded; "this is one of 
my troglodytes ; and now you have seen for yourself 
that this pretty nest in my box was really made by a 

" It is certainly true, although it passes all my notions 
of spider-craft. What is the use of this cave-nest ?" 

"I cannot answer very confidently. The deep bur- 
row is at least a winter home, and. no doubt, a good 
one, since the temperature within it is much higher 
than at the surface. Moreover, it afTords protection 
against many enemies, from wlu.m the animal finds 


i"eady refuge by running into its stronghold. The 
object of the cliimuey is less apparent. It probably 
serves as a watch-tower from which the keeper may 
observe the aijproach of her enemies and her prey. 
Her favorite position is a crouching posture on the 
summit of her turret, with legs drawn up and head 
peering over the edge as though on guard. A little 
elevation of this sort is a great temptation to grass- 
hoppers and other insects, who are prone to alight upon 
or crawl up it, and thus become easy victims to the 
vigilant tower-keeper. On the other hand, if anything 
approaches that threatens harm, the wary sentinel re- 
treats to the depths of her cavern. I suppose that the 
turret serves a further use in protecting the interior 
from being flooded by the water that gathers upon the 
surface after rain."" 

" Have you any knowledge of the mode of building 
practiced by this little architect ?" 

" Yes, I have kept individuals in confinement and 
watched their habits, but the best account of their 
l)ehavior has been given by my friend, INIrs. Mary Treat. 
When the burrow is about two inches deep the spider 
begins upon her tower. A stick is placed at the edge 
of the tube, and lashed down with a strong thread. 
Another is laid in similar position until the margin is 
surrounded ijy a four or five-sided foundation. The 
builder then descends to the bottom of her tube and 
brings up pellets of earth which she places atop, and 
on the inside of the sticks, pressing them down with her 
body as she passes around the circle. Then follow 


other layers of sticks alternated with pellets of clay until 
the tower is raised sometimes as high as two and a half 
inches above the ground. The inner surface is smoothed 
and lined with silk, and the turret is complete. While 
excavating the burrow the bits of clay as they are bitten 
loose are compressed within the mandibles into small 
balls, carried to the top and shot off from the walls 
with sufficient force to carry them a foot distant." 

Our spider had now crawled out from beneath the 
dusty ruins of her home, and sat motionless upon a 
heap of dirt. The Doctor's eye caught sight of a 
spherical egg-sac as large as a grape which was lashed 
to the spinning-tubes at the end of the abdomen, and 
an explanation was asked. 

" This species, like most of her family, carries her 
cradle, as you see. She rarely, if ever, abandons it, 
and will give up her life in its defence with the utmost 
abandon. For at least two months she has dragged 
that silken ball around with her, while the tiny eggs 
first placed within it have grown until they ai"e now 
just ready to burst forth as baby spiderlings. If we 
capture this mother, and place her in a jar, we shall, 
in a few days, see a transformation. The egg-sac will 
have opened, a brood of a hundred or more younglings 
will have issued forth, and have swarmed upon their 
mother, hanging in a close cluster upon her abdomen, 
which will be quite hidden by the wriggling mass of 
wee bodies and legs. The mother will, of course, seem 
greatly enlarged by this addition, and will present the 
appearance of a horrible, hairy, nondescript monster. 




She may be seen thus hanghig in her favorite posture 
upon the outer wall of her tower, her abdomen all 
a-quiver with the crowded life -of her brood. " (Fig. 40. ) 
"Dear me!" said the Doctor, laugliing, " what a 
destiny that must be ! Surel}-, that is a progeny suf- 
ficient to satisfy the cravings of the most capacious 
mother-love. One might fancy that the Mother Goose 
rhymster had this spider matron in view in the famous 
nursery couplet : 

' There was an Old Woman who lived in a shoe, 
And she had so many children she didn't know what to do.' " 

"The turret spider," I continued, "seems to know 
what to do with her children. During the first three 
weeks the little things are piled all over the head and 
back of the mother, often appearing to blind her. They 



seem ambitious to reach the highest point, and jostle 
and crowd one another in their efforts to be at the top 
of the heap. This the mother patiently endures for a 
time, but when the younglings thicken too closely over 
her eyes she reaches up her forelegs, scrapes ofl' an arm- 
ful and holds them straight in front of her as if discip- 
lining them by reproving looks, Sooij she releases 
them by slowly opening her legs, whereupon the spider- 
lings quietly take their places around the edge of the 
tower, where they usually remain until the mother goes 
below, when they all follow. Upon her reappearance 
they are again mounted upon her back." 

" How do the little fellows keep their position so 
firmly ?" asked the Doctor. 

"The body of the mother is covered with soft hairs 
to which her babies hold by their feet, or fasten them- 
selves by delicate threads spun from their spinnarets. 
When they are two weeks old they " molt " or cast their 
skin, a process which spiders undergo several times un- 
til they are quite mature. The molting of the young 
turret spiders is a curious sight. They stretch a line 
across the back of the mother's abdomen to which they 
fasten themselves. Then they begin to undress. The 
skin cracks all around the chest — the cepholotorax — 
which is held by the front edge alone ; next the abdo- 
men is freed, and then comes the struggle to free the 
legs. By dint of regular pullings, repeated at short 
intervals, the old skin is cast in fifteen minutes or more, 
and the spiderling appears undressed but quite ex- 
hausted. It lies limp, pallid and motionless for a little 


while and tlieii gnulually resumes its activity. Some- 
times the mother's back will l)e covered with taut lines 
decorated with these cast-off molts, reminding one of 
the dainty pieces of a baby's toilet hung up to dry in 
the laundry." 

"How long does the mother keep her l)rood around 
her ?" asked the Doctor, 

" When the young are about three weeks old a few 
begin to leave the maternal care. They have been long 
enough 'tied to mother's apron string,' to quote a 
common saying that has quite as much Hxct as figure in 
it for our spiderlings. They climb up a grass stalk, then 
venture upon a higher weed or shrub, thence they 
reach the trunk of a tree, and, grown bolder now, climb 
out upon the branches. xVfter another week the mother 
shows a disposition to send her brood adrift. The time 
for 'weaning' has come, and occasionally a little one 
is reminded of this fact by being tossed away into the 
grass; A bright, warna autumn da}' follows, and then 
the entire brood, moved by the resistless instinct of 
migration, leave their mother without furtlier ci'rcmony, 
run here and there upon plants and trees, or are dis-- 
iributed over the vicinity by aeronautic thght, that 
strange habit so stronglv analogous to ballooning as 
practiced by nun. Later in the season or in the spring 
one will find a number of tiny burrows, the very coun- 
terpart of the mother's, in which the young have set up 
housekeeping, or cave-keeping rather, for themselves. 
As they grow in size the burrows arc enlarged, imtil at 
last the babes have themselves become mothers and re- 



\ l-^o' 


peat among their own broodi^ the maternal instincts 
that fostered tlieir baby days." 

"• There is an interesting variation in Arenicola's 
mode of building her turret which I have often ob- 
served along the jSTew Jersey seaboard. Around the 
edge of the burrow, which is always driven straight 
downward by tlie spider, is heaped a foundation of 
tiny pebbles. These are usually white quartz, gathered 
from the surrounding sand. Upon this foundation the 


tower is erected, and the varied material gives a pretty 

" If one carefully dig the sand away from the burrow, 
. having first taken the precaution to drop a twig within 
it (see Fig. 48), he may expose the interior. The sandy 
walls of the excavation appear to be kept in place by a 
slight secretion of silk which melts into the interstices 
of the sand, and has sufficient consistency to maintain 
it intact. Supported thus upon the twig the wall looks 
something like the leg of a wee lace stocking dusted 
over with sand. I have succeeded in exposing unbroken 
fully two inches of this interior coating ; but it required 
the most dainty manipulation." 

"Truly," observed the Doctor, patting the ground 
with his cane meditatively the meanwhile, "the 'see- 
ing eye' is a rare gift. Now, I have wandered and 
loitered over those seashore sands many scores of times 
and never saw such an object as that. 1 think that my 
next vacation jaunt will bring me a fresh enjo3'ment in 
looking up these troglodytic friends of yours." 



" Hello, Harry ! The Doctor wants to see a ])um- 
ble-bees' nest. Can you tind one for him ?" 

Harry, who was crossing the field within easy call, 
ran eagerly toward us at this greeting, for the very 
name bumble-bee has a stirring influence upon a lad 
who knows anything of the country. If there were a 
" bum-bees' " nest anywhere in the neighborhood I knew 
that Harry might be trusted to point out the locality ; 
and accordingly the lad was soon at our side, his 
face aglow with a sense of importance and anticipated 

The Doctor, however, war, taken somewhat by sur- 
prise. "My dear sir," he cried, "I am not the least 
aware of any such want as you have expressed. On 
the contrary, I heartily excuse Harry from all service 
in the way of humble-bee hunting." 

" No, no, Doctor. You cannot escape so easily. You 
are committed to a search after the most ancient cave- 
dwellers, and it would be too bad to omit such distin- 
guished representatives as the humble-bee. Here is 
Harry quite ready to encourage your antiquarian tastes, 
and he would be disappointed now were you to turn 

back. Can you lead us to a bumble-bees' nest, Harry?" 



" Yes, sir," answered the boy Avith alacrity. " There's 
one just beyond here in a big tussock on the edge of the 
swamp-grass. Joe and I found it las' July, when they 
was a-niowin'." 

" And resisted the temptation to clean it out ? That 
was a marvelous example of self-denial for a growing 
boy. How did it happen ?" 

" AVe did mean to fight it, and was jest gettin' ready 
when father 'lowed ef we 'd Avait till frost come we 'd 
have the nest without gettin' stung. But that wasn't 
the reason zactly," added the lad. "J don't mind bee- 
stings much, though some folks 's mighty feard uv 'em. 
Here 's the nest, sir." 

Harry had well described the site, which is indeed a 
favorite one for these insects, who love to burrow in 
moist, low mcadoAV land, near a great tuft of grass or 
tussock. Yet they give themselves a good deal of lati- 
tude in the choice of their subterranean homes, and 
often aflfect a grassy bank or laAvn. 

Harry pushed aside the grass and showed us the 
entrance or gate to the cave — a round hole half an inch 
in diameter. The droning huzz-z-zz I of a bee's wings 
warned us that one of the workers appi'oaehed her nest. 
Slie circled around us cautiously and somewdiat ex- 
citedly. There was a groAving sharpness in the note of 
her hum which warned the Doctor to start back and 
pull tlie limp brim of his hat about his ears. Harry 
laughed, and sat still, simply Avillidrawing his hand 
from the opening. The bee gradually narrowed the 
circles of her tlight, and after a few turns above the 



HUMBI E bee's cave 

gate, as is her hal)it when 
home-comhig, settled upon 
the ground and crept down 
the tube witli a final l)uzz of 
satisfaction. She had thus 

unwittingly identified the site for us and confirmed 

Harry's report. (Fig. 49.) 

"Now, Doctor," I remarked, "here is an ojjpor- 


tuiiity to prove your devotion to science. Our little 
cave-dwellers are wont to defend their household 
treasures with some acrimony." 

"My dear fellow," said the clergyman, "I pray you 
have me excused ! I am too old and clumsy to engage 
in a battle with bumble-bees. If you stir up those 
mettlesome little beasts I shall certainly run away. 
Good morning !" 

"Hold, hold, Doctor ! I promise to spare you. But 
how shall we learn the m3'steries of this cavern-home 
unless we take some risks in the work of exploration ? 
Really, I am anxious, on my own behalf, to see the 
interior of a bee's nest ; for 1 haven't seen one since my 
boyhood, and in those days there was rather too much' 
excitement in the assault and defense to permit a care- 
ful study of the architecture." 

Here Harry spoke. " I kuov/ where they 're two 
other nests inside the yard, back of the house. Pap 
was telling Joe and me t' other da}' that avc 'd hav' tuh 
clean 'em out anyhow, sence the folks 'ad come. So ef 
you 'd like to see a nest we '11 open one now for you, 
jest as leav 's not." 

"Ah, that will do tinely," 1 said; "so you see, 
Doctor, we shall get the spoils of victory without the 
perils of war." 

''True enough," was the reply. "But isn't that 
vei'y much like the patriotism of the great showman, 
Artemas AVard, who exhibited such self-sacrificing 
willingness to have all his wife's relations go to war V" 

"Perhaps it is," I answered, smiling, "but we may 


trust our boys to come out of the conflict without any 
serious hurt. They are experienced hands at bee- 
nesting, I warrant. And now, if you 'II consent to 
spend the day with us, we '11 defer our cave-hunting 
untd evening. What say you ?" 

The Doctor, who was quite prepared to humor my 
fancies and encourage me in these agreeable Held pur- 
snits, readily consented. Therefore, dismissing Harry, 
we turned our steps homeward. 

As we walked over the moist, soft ground that skirts 
the edge of the Kun, my friend noticed a ridge of loose, 
fresh earth heaved up along the low bank. " I see that 
a mole ),as been at work here," he remarked. 

"Let us look a little more closely," I said. "The 
burrow which this ridge covers is certainly much like a 
mole's, but smaller than that animal makes. I suspect 
that we are on the trail of another of our insect cave 
dwellers-the mole-cricket. Yes, it is so, and here be- 
neath this stone the burrow terminates." I turned 
over the stone, and exposed a simple opening into the 

" Where is the cricket ? " asked the Doctor. 

"That is more easily asked than answered; some- 
where near the bottom of his cave at this hour of the 
day, too far down for us to reach. But if you will 
visit his burrow with me this evening, I may satisfy 
your curiosity. The mole-cricket is a nocturnal insect 
and will not be cauglit near the door of his den until 
dusk. If one will then push a long grass stalk into the 
opening the irritated inhabitant will probably grasp it, 


and grass and cricket may be drawn out together. 
Our American species is known as the Northern 
mole-cricket [GrijUotalpa borealis). although, in fact, it 
inhabits nearly the whole of the great plains, from 
Louisiana to Massachusetts. Sometimes the bulk of 
the soil beneath the sod and stones for a rod from 
the water's edge will be found completely honey- 
combed with their burrows. They seldom penetrate to 
a depth of more than six or eight inches, rarely to a 
foot beneath the surface. The burrows are about one- 
third of an inch in diameter, entirely irregular in direc- 
tion, and often tcrniiuate abruptly. Wlien the ground 
is hard, the burrows arc brought so near the surfoce as 
to raise long ridges of mould, which, when dr}', fre- 
quently fall in and expose the interior." 

"Does the mole-cricket chirrup like the traditional 
hearth cricket? " 

"It does chirrup, or rather creak, but its note is dif- 
ferent, i-esembling the distant sound of frogs, but some- 
what feebler. It is most frequently heard about dusk." 

"Why is the insect called a mole-cricket ?" 

"From the very fact, in part, that caused you to mis- 
take his burrow^ for a mole's. The general shape of 
the insect contributes to this likeness, as well as the 
strange developnient of the fori' limbs, and the ju'culiar 
formation of the first pair of feet, which are not unlike 
the corresponding members of the mole. There are 
other points of resemblance which are most extraor- 
dinary. Like the mole, the mole-cricket passes neai'ly 
the whole of its life underground, digging out long pas- 






sages by means of its spade-like limbs, and traversing 
them in search of prey. Like the mole, it is fierce and 
quarrelsome, is ready to figlit with its own kind, and, 
if victorious, always tears its vanquished opponent to 
pieces. Like the mole, it is exceedingly voracious, and 
if confined without food with several of its own species 
the strongest will devour the weakest. We may close 
the, analogy by saying that, like the mole, it is useful 
enough in the fields, where its tunnels form a kind of 
subsoil drainage, but is equally destructive in the gar- 
den among young plants and flowers, upon whose roots 
it feeds. The European species [GrylMnlpa ridr/aris) is 
often quite a pest, but our American species has not yet 


developed tsiicli destruetive habits, perliaps from luck 
of opportunity. " 

"Well, well," cried the Doctor, "I quite join you in 
declaring this a most extraordinary creature. These 
are Avondiirful resemblances to exist in animals so widely 
separated as a cricket and a mole — an insect and a 
vertebrate. '' 

"Perhaps," I suggested, tlnnking to draw the Doc- 
tor's theological fire, " the insect is a far-away ancestor 
of the vertebrate ? At least, an evolutionist might 
have no difficulty in accovniting for such resemblances 
by some application of his theory." 

The Doctor glanced slily at me, smiled, and answered : 
"Ah! you shall not disturb my equanimity so. Evo- 
lution is no tlieological hete noir to me. ISTot that I be- 
lieve it, at all ; on the contrary, I think it is yet an un- 
proved hypothesis. But, considered as a vuthnd of 
creation simply, I am willing to leave it wholly in the 
hands of the naturalists and philosophers. Of course, 
that materialistic view of evolution, which dispenses 
with a Divine Creator as the First Cause of all things, 
has no place in my thought. That is not for a moment 
to be tolerated ; but, as for the rest, why should Chris- 
tian people disturb themselves ? Science has not yet 
.said her last word, by any means, and wc can well 
aflford to wait. The only absolute condition that I 
name is, that evolutionists shall still heart il}- join us in 
the opening sentence of the Creed : ' I believe in God, 
the Father Almighty, ISIaker of Heaven and Earth.'' 
But, Mr. Maylield, we are not driven of necessity (o 


evohitiuiiism to account for such striking analogicjs in 
the animal kingdom as those between the mole and the 

" Indeed ! What other theory can so well satisfy the 
demands of science ?" 

" The theory which lies at the root of all Monotheism, 
viz.: the origin of all things in One Divine Mind. The 
critic will trace with reasonable certainty the literary 
remains of an ancient author Ijy the characteristics of 
style. Amid a number of claimants he will separate 
the genuine products from the apochryphal 1)\' those re- 
semblances which naturally and inevitably mark the 
productions of one mind. Now, why should I not rea- 
son in this wise of the One Great Over-Mind and the 
products of His thought ? Is it strange that, if all things 
are created by the Almighty God, there should be trace- 
able amongst them even through an infinite wealth and 
variety of wisdom, taste and skill, a manifest likeness ? 
Nay, it would be strange w'ere it otherwise. Belief in 
the Unity of God the Creator leads logically to such 
analogies as we have been speaking of Sometimes, as 
with our mole and cricket, the analogies lie close to the 
surftice ; again, they run deeper, or ai-e wholly hidden 
even from star-eyed science. But, in any case, I 
cannot see, from this stand-point, that the theory of 
evolution has any advantage over a theory of special 
creations. However, there is no need that the tw^o 
theories should fall to blows. Let us have Patience and 
Charity. There is a deal too much dogmatism on both 
sides. Let us wait and look further. Truth is one and 


of OiR'. By and by wl; !^h:lll lind tlie links tlial l)in(l 
all natnral facts into one chain, and that shall lead — I 
never for a moment doubt it ! — over whatever trail, by 
whatever method, straight to the Hand Divine."' 

The face of the good old man had khuUed mider the 
play of thought. He had brushed back his felt hat, as 
was his habit in animated conversation, until his broad 
l)r()w was fully exposed. He walked on, erect and 
vigorous, punctuating his periods by sounding thumps 
upon the path with his gold-headed cane (another pecu- 
liar habit), keeping his eyes the while well aloft as 
though communing with the clouds. Gradually the 
glance fell until it reached the plane of my face, when, 
with a bright smile, the Doctor added : 

" There, you have tempted me to express sentiments 
that I rarely trouble others with. You may put it 
down as one more of the wonders of that extraordinary 
mole-cricket that he should thus lift the llood-gate of 
garrulit}^ from an old man's lips." 

"My dear Doctor," I said, "I thank you from my 
heart for this expression of your views. It Avould be 
well for all concerned were such reasonable and cliari- 
table opinions more commonly held and frequently 

" Now for the bumble-bees !" 

The iarm-house awoke from the profound stillness 
which, according to the law of the Mistress, daily in- 
vited to a refreshing afternoon nap. Al)by and the 
children were home from school, Hugh and Joe were in 
early from the held, and I sunnnoncd all hands to the 




raid upon the l)ees. The nest was found upon the lawn, 
just be3fond the clump of shade trees where the yard 
begins to roll downward toward the meadow and the 
spring-house ran. One of the gates opened directly into 
the sod by a circular hole, rimmed around about by ex- 
cavated soil. It was prettily embowered beneath the 
tufts of orchard grass and sprigs of red clover, which 
indeed wholly concealed it. 

"How cunningly this is hidden!" exclaimed the 
Schoolma'am ; "pray, how did you happen to find it, 
Harry ?" 

"I jest stumbled on it, ma'am. I stopped here one 


day, and while moving my feet back and forth, lirs' 
thing I knowed two or three bees came up out 'v the 
grass and began buzzin' 'round me. I knowed what 
that meant, stooped down and found this hole." 

" So ?" said the Schoolma'am. " The bees then were 
themselves the tell-tales and betrayed their own nest. 
They hadn't imbibed the peaceful principles of the old 
Friendly proprietor, or they might have escaped this 
impending doom. Heigh-ho!" 

" Very likely, Miss Abby. But we can moralize by 
and by. Where 's your other nest, Harry ?" 

It was pointed out at the edge of an uncovered hot- 
bed which had been set into the l)ank about eight feet 
from the pretty gate which we had just examined and 
admired. A hole as big as one's fist penetrated the 
bank at the side of the bed-frame, into which several 
bees entered while we looked. Tlie first opening was 
evidently the natural architecture of the bees, but 
this seemed to be the burrow of a mole which had 
been utilized by the insects. "We decided to begin 
operations at the first gate. The partv gatliered around 
at various distances, regulated by the various degrees of 
respect entertained for the acculeate ability of the 

"Hello, Joe, bring on the jug!" called Harry; 
" we 're all ready." 

" Jug ? What's that for ?" asked Abby. 

"Dear knows!" said the Mistress; "but the boys 
have been exploring the premises for a black jug — it 
must be a black one, they said, or it wouldn't answer." 


Tlie lads had evidently succeeded in their search, for 
Joe appeared, carrying a black jug, half filled with 
water. He laid it on its side, with the mouth close to 
the gate. 

" All right !" he said. " Go ahead now. I warrant 
the bees won't hurt us very much." 

I thrust a tuft of cotton into the opening, and then 
cut out the sod around, thus preserving intact the natu- 
ral gate to the nest. When this .was removed, and the 
gallery beneath uncovered, the mystery of Joe's jug 
was immediately explained. One after another a troop 
of yellow-backed bees issued forth, mounted on wing 
with angry whirr, coursed a few narrow circles, then 
dived into the open mouth of the jug, where they were 
immersed in the contents. 

"Oh, Joe," exclaimed Abby, "this is a base mode 
of warfare. It equals the Avickedness of our white an- 
cestors, who have literally exterminated the wild 
aborigines by the enticements of the jug. Fie ! lie ! 
Why don't you fight them like a man ?" (Fig. 52.) 

"Hugh Bond declared these bees trespassers," cried 
the Mistress from the safe shelter of a neighboring pine 
tree, "and I have heard him affirm that all trespassers 
ought to be 'jugged.' Don't mind what Miss Abby 
says, Joe." 

"Alas!" said the Doctor, also inclined to draw a 
moral from the novel proceeding, " how often is Indus- 
try, symbolized by the Inisy bee, utterly wrecked, and 
its fruits desolated by the perfidious habit of which 
the 'jug' is the emblem !" 



"Doctor, Doctor !" called the Mistress, "how dare 
j^ou ? That 's my vinegar jug !" 

" Pardon, madam," said the Dominie, " I meant no 
harm ; hut I perceive that it is true, as our old writing- 
copy affirmed, ' Comparisons are odious.' " 

In the meantime, quite unmolested by the bees, we 
had followed the underground gallery, which soon 
widened into what was evidently the burrow of a mole. 
It led in a zigzag course toward the hot-bed frame. 

"Why, Harry," I said, "your two nests will turn 
out to be one, I think." 

So it proved. After tracing the burrow for a dis- 
tance of five feet, Ave came upon the nest. It lay in a 
cavity seven or eight inches in diameter, the floor of 
which Avas eighteen inches from the surface. 

As the yellow cells of the bumble-bees showed amid 
the torn shreds of their gray mattress of curled hay, 
the boys cried out : 

" Here it is ! Here it is !" 

The Mistress left the shelter of her tree, with head 
wrapped in a scarf; the Doctor pulled his hat-brims 
around his ears ; Julia threw up her check apron until 
it wholly enveloped her head ; Abby wore her hat, and 
had twisted a kerchief around her neck. What they 
saAV through the broken Avail of the cave Avas a round 
bundle of dry chopped grass, about the bigness of one's 
head, lying on the floor, sprinkled with the yellow soil 
fallen from our digging. 

" Look out now !" 

Haifa dozen bees rose from the pulverized ruins of 


tliL'ir home ; shook oft" the dust from their wings, and 
«hirtcd toward the group of curious observers There 
were screams and a quick dispersion. The Mistress 
and Jenny ran away witliout ceremony. Al)by took a 
step or two Ijackward, and tlien stood her ground, tak- 
ing the precaution, however, to clasp her skirts tightly, 
while her head rapidly oscillated in the vain endeavor 
to follow the insects' flight. The Doctor retreated with 
some show of dignity, as became his cloth, but hugged 
his cheeks tightlj^ with his soft hat. Uuluckily for him, 
black seems to aftect a humble-bee as red does a bull ; 
and several of the irate workers, attracted by the 
clerical sable, charged straight upon the dominie. This 
was too much, even for his dignity; so, standing no 
further ceremony, he turned and fled, holding his hat 
down with one hand, and with the other wildly beat- 
ing a handkerchief about his face. The scene wvas 
laughable enough, but the boys ran to the rescue. The 
bees abandoned the Doctor and fell upon them, but 
were soon beaten down by the paddles with which they 
were armed. 

The danger was over, and the party returned with 
much merriment to the cave. The nest was taken out, 
laid upon a cloth, and the swathing of curled hay 
removed. This exposed a spherical cluster of oval- 
shaped cells about four inches in diameter. The cells 
were of various sizes ; the largest not more than three- 
fourths of an inch long and one-half inch thick. They 
were made of thin 3-ellow wax covered with brown 
blotches, and were so tightly fastened to one another 




by wax cement that they were separated with difficulty. 
Sorae of the cells were open ; most of them were closed. 
Of the latter some were filled with a number of small 
yellowish-white grubs of various sizes ; others contained 
but one grub each ; a large white one, which was 
doubtless a young princess in training for futui'C queen- 


Here and there was a cell tilled with 3ellow wax; 
and there were several small clusters of dirty gray cells 
filled with honey. 

"Is that all there is of the nest?" asked Abby. 
Really, I am disappointed. This doesn't compare with 
the honey-bee's comb for beauty of structure." 

"This is all ; certainly the architecture cannot com- 
pare with that of the honey-l)ee, but there is much to 
admire in it after all. The humble-bee is not a child of 
civilization, and its ruder craft is very well adapted to 
its wilder life." 

"Look at those cunning little bees," said the Mis- 
tress, "crawling over the cells. I suppose they are 
lately hatched and half-grown, and they don't seem 
to shun you at all ! why is that ?" 

"You forget," I answered, "that there is no such 
thing as a half-grown bee except in the larval or 
grub condition. The larvre feed enormously, but when 
they pass into the pupal state and transform, the}' come 
out into the imago or perfect insect, full grown. There 
is no increase in stature after that. These white- 
headed forms which you have called ' half-grown ' are 
the small workers or minors. These, a size or two 
larger, are the male bees or drones. There is nothing 
very courageous in handling them, for they are stingless. 
Nature has left them absolutely without means of of- 
fense and defense." 

" Look at them I" cried Abby, indignantly. " They 
are crawling around and around over the broken colls 
lapping uj) the honey ! Stingless, hey ? Lazy, greed3' 



1. - 


drones ! See, too, how bright, clean and pretty they 
look — a sort of apiarian ' dude,' I do declare !" 

"Come, come, Miss Abby," said the Doctor. "Every- 
thing after its kind, you know. Nature makes no mis- 
tftkes even in the creation of drones. 



"I WONDER if we have killed the queen-bee? Ah, 
no ! here she is, burrowed in tlie grass under tlie cells." 

Disturbed by my intruding finger the royal lady 
issued from her retreat, and began promenading the 
top of the cells with restless steps. She was at least 
three times as large as the nurse-bees, being fully an 
inch and a quarter long. She was an object of great 
interest to all our party, and as she at once set to work, 
quite oblivious of our presence, to straighten out the 
damage done to the cells, she received numerous com- 
pliments whose edge was greatly sharpened against the 
disparaging contrast with the unfortunate drones. 

"We are fortunate in possessing the queen," I re- 
marked. "We can now hive our colony and observe 
the bees' habits more closely." 

" Couldn't you have done that without the queen ?" 
asked Abby. 

"The colony might have kept together for a little 
while united in care of the grubs ; but the queen seems 
to be the bond of union with these insects. The whole 
life of the family centers upon the rearing and care of 
the j^oung, to which duties the queen-mother is very 
necessary. Besides, I fancy tliat her experience. 


energy and aid are important factors in leadership and 
labor for the mechanical duties of the family, such as 
excavating and upholstering the cave and building the 
cells. But you shall have a chance to observe these 
matters for yourselves presently." 

A rough hive was soon made as follows : One side of 
a small packing-box was filled with loose sods cut out 
in digging for the nest ; the other side was partly filled 
with soil, on which the cluster of cells was laid in the 
midst of its swathing of curled hay. A large pane of 
glass was laid atop of this, leaving openings for the 
bees to escape into the air. The hive was placed near 
the original site of the nest, and we stationed ourselves 
close by to watch. As the afternoon was now well ad- 
vanced some of the worker bees were coming home. 
They were titterly confused at not finding the gate of 
their nest, flew round and round, settled here and there 
in vain search and rose again to resume their restless 
circles. Not one entered the box until 1 finally re- 
moved the glass. In a few minutes thereafter half a 
dozen large workers, with the little bags upon their 
legs laden with yellow pollen, dropped into the nest and 
settled down beneath the cells without any sign appar- 
ent to us of excitement or surprise. 

Meanwhile, however, the queen was laboring with vast 
energy. She seized bits and bunches of the upholstery 
in her mandil)les, and pulled and pushed with her feet 
with the intention of burying the cells. Small workers, 
nurses or "minor workers," about half the size of the 
queen, who diflered from the major workers in size, 


being at least oiie-tliird smaller, IbllDwed tlic lead of 
the queen. There were few of them left, but they 
worked energetically. Then the big workers caught 
the infection. With the pollen still clinging to their legs, 
they laid heartily hold of the upholstery and dragged 
away along with the rest. They burrowed under the 
mass, and worked from beneath, pushing up the pliable 
fibres, pulling and tugging, scratching and kicking, the 
whole heap all the while gradually shifting toward and 
gathering around the cells. 

" Look at that bee !" said Abby. " What is it doing 

A large worker had climbed upon the fresh cut edge 
of the sods that filled one side of the box. It seized 
bits of soil with its jaws and cast down pellets from the 
slope ; it grasped the fine rootlets that everywhere in- 
terlaced the sod and bit at them with great ftuy. 

" What can the creature mean ? Is it insane with 
despair over the ruin of its home V Look ! there goes 
another one. It, too, has been seized with the rabies." 

A second l)ee had mounted the sod wall, and seizing 
upon the soil, cut out pellets with its mandibles until 
its head was buried. In went the short fore-feet, with 
which the insect dug like a dog in a rabbit-burrow. I 
took out my watch to time the insect miner, and in less 
than two minutes it had buried its entire body in the 
hole. (Fig. 55.) 

"Dear me!" exclaimed the Mistress. "There is 
energy for you ! That is certainly mining extraordinary. 
A Lehiirh coal-digger or a Leadville .^silver-miner might 



well envy such force and skill as these. What a pity it 
should be so ill employed, for this work seems utterly 
without purpose ; is it so ?" 

" Wait a while," I answered. "Patience and watch- 
fulness solve many mysteries in the behavior of nature. 
I dare say we shall by-and-by find some reasonable 
issue to this work." 

So it proved ; for before the evening ended the 
mystery was disclosed. We discovered that the object 
of the bees was the garnering of the fine roots running 
through the sod. These were pulled out in quantities, 
raked down the slope by the hind feet, and added to the 
mass of upholstery. Next morning when I visited my 
hive I found the cells quite covered ; the summit of the 


conical uioiindlct thus formed was composed of fine 
fibres of the excavated rootlets, while the edges of the 
sod were stripped of the same. Cells, larvsB, drones and 
queen were quite out of sight, buried and domiciled 
within the grassy mattress that bunched out above 
them. Here and there workers would jDush out their 
black heads from the mound, like boys playing hide-and- 
seek in a hay-mow, and pull them back again. Others 
would slowly scramble forth and busy themselves at 
tucking up the tufts of upholstery, or if my approach 
had been uugeuLle, would rise like alarmed sentinels 
and hum around the miniature hay-cock that held the 
tx'easures of their home. At several places in the mound 
Uie openings through which these bees came were well 
nigh formed into regular tubular gates by the compact- 
ing of the fibre. 

•'Come," said the Doctor, as we sat on the porch 
after tea, enjoying the soft auluimi evening, "we ought 
to round out our bee-hunting with the story of how a 
nest is founded. What say you, Mr. Mayfield ?" 

" I am quite at your service, and the story is not 
long, though somewhat curious. At the end of f:\H 
nearly all the humble-bees die. The males invariably 
perish, l)ut one or two of the iemales or young queens 
survive, and pass the winter in a state of hibernation. 
In early spring the queen awakes from her winter's 
sleep beneath the moss or leaves, or in deserted nests, 
or sheltered spots, such as hollow trees or hay-stacks. 

" She may then be seen prowling abov'e the ground, 
settling here and there, and flying off again with gi 




monotonous, steady hum. Her secretiveness at this time 
is immensely developed, and the slightest suspicion of 
being watched will send her far off with an eager, angry 
flight. She will never dig an inch of soil as long as she 
sees any suspicious object, and will often make her way 
under a tuft of herbage, and remain there concealed 
until, she fancies that danger has passed. 

" Her resting place is frequently selected in the 
abandoned nest of a field mouse ; sometimes beneath an 
old stump ; sometimes, as with our nest, she sinks a 
tube directly into the sod, and avails herself of the 
burrow of a mole, either before or after, to secure 
entrance and exit to and from the cave which she digs. 


ImuuMliately she collects a small amount of pollen 
mixed with honey, and in this deposits from seven to 
fourteen eggs, gradually adding to the pollen mass until 
the fn-st brood is hatched. 

"She does not wait for one brood to be hatched before 
laying the eggs for a second. The eggs are laid in con- 
tact with each other, in one cavity of the mass of pollen 
with a part of which they are shghtly covered. As 
soon as the larvje are capable of motion and commence 
feeding they eat the pollen, by which they are sur- 
rounded, and, gradually separating, push their way in 
various directions. Eating as they move, and increas- 
ing in size quite rapidly, they soon make large cavities 
in the pollen mass. When they have attained their full 
size they spin a silken wall about them, which is covered 
by the old bees (after the first brood has matured) with 
a thin layer of wax, which soon becomes hard, forming 
the cells which we saw. The larvse now gradually 
attain the pupa stage, and remain inactive until their 
development. They then cut their way out, and are 
ready to assume their several duties and stations as 
workers, males or queens. As the colony grows the 
nest is rapidly enlarged, until in the early fall it has 
grown to the size which we saw. 

" In which estate." suggested Abby, " they are ready 
for the final and chief end of beehood — to yield a mo- 
mentary pleasure to a destructive boy armed with jugs, 
paddles and wisps of hay." 

" Or," I added, " to gratify the curiosity of a raiding 
naturalist and his friends." 


" Well answered, Miss Abby," said tbe Doctor, " for 
you and I are xjarticcps criminis with the boys and the 
naturahst, and are estopped from all complaint. Why 
is it that the humble-bee is such an Ishmaelite among 
the insects ?" 

"But is he an Ishmaelite?" I responded. "He is 
doubtless an AduUamite — a cave-dweller and a sort of 
outlaw ; but while every man's hand appears to be 
against him, I cannot concede that his hand is against 
every man. He is a peaceful, well-nigh harmless fel- 
low, and would do little damage were he let alone. 
When the scythe or mowing-machine rushes over his 
nest in the meadow-grass at hay-harvest, he makes a 
good deal of fuss, of course — as who would not under 
like circumstances ? Sometimes he inflicts a sting ; but 
these are not crimes sufficient to call down the univer- 
sal wrath of man. As for the few cells of honey in his 
nest, they alone would scarcely tempt even boyhood to 
the onset. It's a case of persecution, and I speak a 
good word for our wild friends — the Indians of the bee 
race. I am not even sure that the humble-bee is not 
belied as to its stinging propensity. At least I have at 
various times sat down by a nest, quietly thrust in my 
naked hand, removed the mattress and examined the 
interior at my leisure. The bees bustled out and buzzed 
around, but I sat perfectly still and received no harm." 

" Has the humble-bee any natural enemies ?" asked 
the Doctor. 

" Thank you for the suggestion — Yes ! There is one, 
at least, whom I am glad to classify with its human 


foes — the skunk or pole-cat. It is not a very goodly 
fellowship, certainly, but that is the fact, boys and 
pole-cats are fellow-soldiers in their raids upon the 
humble-bee. The skunk hunts the nests, and tears 
them up for the sake of the larvie particularly, of which 
it is very fond. The nests of yellow-jackets, which are 
also made on the ground, are raided in the same way 
by this animal." 

" Why don't the bees sting 'em off?" asked Harry. 

" Doubtless, they do try ; but the assaults are usually 
by night when the insects are a little dazed, and before 
they can recover from their surprise the mischief is 
done. Besides, the fur jacket of the beast is a good pro- 
tection against so short a sword as a bee-sting." 

"I should think," said Abby, "that the mere 
presence of such an ill-odored animal would sufiice to 
disperse such respectable creatures as bees. Faugh !" 

"But then," I answered, joining in the laugh which 
followed the Schoolma'am's closing interjection, "you 
must remember that the skunk is not always mal- 
odorous. Like some unsavory human kind, of whom I 
wot, it is by no means ill-looking, and knows how to 
conceal its obnoxious traits. The powerful perfume 
which it carries in the little pouch which nature has 
provided for that purpose, and which is the animal's 
weapon of defence, would not be used against such in- 
significant assailants as bees. That is used for more 
formidable enemies, as man and dogs. Besides, I have 
known very fastidious gentlewomen who could pat and 
fondle the skunk's soft coat with great pleasure." 


"Oh, Mr. Maylicld!"' cried Abby, "You are surely 
joking with us ! How could they bear — " 

"Come, come, my deai-. " interposed the Mistress, 
who at ouce saw the point of my quizzing, "you quite 
forget that the fur of our unsavory friend has been 
lately much used for ladies' mufts." 

"I cry quarter!" exclaimed Abby, when the merri- 
ment had subsided, "I Avas fairly trapped. And now, 
as I am especially interested in changing the subject, 
please tell me how the skunk manages to get at the 
bees ? If the nests ai"e all hidden like this one just 
dug out by us, with narrow approaches several feet 
under ground, it would be a heavy task to burrow to 

"I think I kin answer that question," Hugh res- 
ponded, "fer down in the meadows, and in the tussocks 
along the stream, you commonly find 'em right on top 
uv the groun', in an old mouse nest, or a little hol- 
low half's big as one's head. They build ther combs 
in these hollows, and cover 'em with ther little straw 
heaps, an' seem lo git along right well. Uv course, the 
grass shelters 'em a good 'eal. I never seed a nest 
like this un in the yard, dowai ther. I think, however, 
them 's a diflert sort o' bees from these uns, ain't they ? 
They 'pear bigger and yallerer. " 

"You have observed quite accurately, Hugh. My 
friend, Mr. Ezra T. Cresson, tells me that there are 
more than forty species of humble-bee known to inhabit 
North America. I have heard countrymen call the 
species of which you speak the swamp-bee ; its scientific 



name is probably Bomhiis .se^mraiM-s, Cressou. The spe- 
cies which we have been o))serving is Bomhus vir- 

"While speaking of the enemies of the bees, we must 
not forget to mention the field-mice, who, although they 
yield nesting material to their wild insect friends, make 
ample reprisals l)y destroying the honeycombs. The 
late Mr. Darwin made a curious allusion to this fact in 
his book on the ''Origin of Species.'' A\^e may infer, 
he says, as highly probable, that were the whole genus 
of humble-bees to become extinct or very rare in Eng- 
land, the heart's-ease and red clover (which they fertil- 
ize by carrying pollen from flower to flower), would 
become very rare or wholly disappear. The number of 
humble-bees in any district depends in a great degree 
on the number of field mice which destroy their combs 
and nests; and Colonel Xewman, who has long at- 
tended to the habits of humble-bees, believes that more 
than two-thirds of them are thus destro3'ed all over 
England. Now, the number of mice is largely de- 
pendent, as every one knows, on the number of cats. 
Colonel Newman says that near villages and small 
towns he has found the nests of humble-l)ces more 
numeraus than elsewhere — a fact which he attributes 
to the number of cats that destroy the mice. Hence it 
is quite credible that the presence of a feline animal in 
large numbers in a district might determine, through 
the intervention first of mice and then of bees, the fre- 
quency of certain flowers in a district ! I do not know 
whether the above curious chain of facts holds equally 


good in America as in England ; but it probably obtains 
to some extent, at least." 

"Blessings on poor Tabby!" exclaimed the Mistress, 
stroking the sleek fur of the fine Maltese cat that lay 
purring in her lap. "Here is another to add to the list 
of your domestic virtues — we owe to you our beautiful 
red clover fields !" 

" Yes," said Abby ; "but don't forget to dispense a 
little gratitude to the poor humble-bee, who is the 
principal benefactor, after all. I shall tell these strange 
news to my farmer lads, and try to persuade them 
against persecuting so useful a friend. But the average 
schoolboy, I fear, is proof against persuasion when a 
humble-bee's nest is in question." 

"Perhaps," I suggested, "schoolboys are natural 
checks upon the undue increase of the insects, just as 
cats are upon mice. But let us take up again the con- 
struction of the bee's nest, whose description we had 
not quite completed. Hugh spoke about meadow bees 
weathering the season very well without any covering 
but the straw-heap and the overhanging herbage. 
There is something more than this. Do you notice in 
the nest which we excavated that a slight shell or 
casing at the right side of the cells was formed be- 
tween the cells and the outside upholstery ? This is 
made by spreading a coating of wax on the inside of 
the mat, wliich hardens around the straws and forms 
about the cells a waterproof envelope. The mattress 
may he removed from this without breaking it, leaving 
the cells quite inclosed by it. Tiiis is doubtless a vain- 




able protection against the rain." (See Fig. 53, 
chap, ix.) 

" Where do the bees get this wax ?" asked Joe. 

"A proper question, certain!}- ; I wonder it has not 
been asked before. The bee secretes the wax from its 
own bod}'. On the under side of the abdomen are six 
Uttle flaps, not unlike pockets, the covers of which can 
be easily raised witli a pin. Under these flaps is secreted 
the wax, which is produced in tiny scales or plates, and 
may be seen projecting from the flaps like little half- 
moon-shaped white lines. A scale of wax is drawn out 
from the abdominal ring by pincers fixed at the joint 
of one of the hind pair of legs, and is carried to the 
mouth. It is there worked up by the mandibles and 
tongue, and undergoes some important change. "When 
secreting the wax the wax-workei's of the honey-bees, 
at least, have a curious habit of hanging in a chain-like 
cluster, holding fast one another's legs. This is called 
a curtain. 

Plenty of food, quiet and warmth are necessary for 
the production of wax, and as it is secreted very 
slowly, it is extremely valualjle and used with great 
economy. How wax is formed within the body of the 
bee I cannot explain any more than I can toll how tlie 
liquid silk is produced within the spider's silk glands. 
The Author of Nature has endowed these creatures 
with such gifts and the power to use them — I go no 
further. V>\\i it is a wonderful substance ; soft enough, 
when warm, to be kneaded and spread like mortar, 
and hard enoujrh when cool to bear the weight of brood 


and honey. Moreover, it is of a texture so close that 
the honey cannot soak through the dehcate waUs of 
the cells, which are perfect, natural honey-pots. 

" Tell me something," said the Mistress, " of the way 
in which l^ees gather honey. I have often seen them 
humming around and diving into flowers, but they 
move so rai)idly that I could never fairly observe their 

" It is done in this way : the bee has at the end of its 
face a long, hair-clad pro- 
boscis or tongue which it 
inserts into the recesses of 
flowers, brushes out the 
nectar, passes the laden 
tongue through its jaws, 
(Fig. 59) scrapes off" the 
sweet liquid and swallows 
it. Just within the ab- 
domen the a3sophagus ex- 
pands into a little sac called 
the crop or 'honey bag,' 
and into this the nectar is 
passed. If the bee wants 
to eat, it opens a minute 
valve which divides the 
crop from the stomach, 
which is just beyond it, and lets out enough to satisfy 
its hunger. As long as the valve is closed the nectar ac- 
cumulates, and when the crop is filled the bee flies home 
and regurgitates the collected sweets into one of the 

fig. 59. — face of humble- 
bee, showing tongue, 
(from nature.) 


honey cells. The liquid enters the crop as nectar ; it 
comes out honey — by what process is a secret, even to 
the bee !" 

"I don't quite understand that," said Harry. 

" Then let me try to illustrate." I took from the table 
a drop tube or pipette, such as is commonly used by 
apothecaries and microscopists. It is simply a glass 
tube narrowed at one end and inserted into an india- 
rubber bulb. Pressing the bulb between finger and 
thumb, I plunged the tip into a tumbler of water, which 
as the pressure was removed rushed in and filled the 
pipe. "Observe now what happens," I said, holding 
aloft the charged pipette ; " when I press upon this bulb 
every movement of my thumb find finger forces a drop 
of the liquid to gather at the nozzle of the pipette and 
finally to drip away. Do you understand how that 
happens, Hari'y ?" 

"Yes, sir, I think I do," rejoined the lad. "Wen 
you sqeezes agin' the rubber bulb it presses on the air 
inside, and that pushes agin the water in the pipe and 
forces it out of the nozzle." 

"That's quite plain ; is it ?" 

"Yes, sir ; quite." 

" Very well, then ; let us suppose that this nozzle is 
the bee's mouth ; this glass tube the bee's oesophagus, 
through which the nectar passes into this rubber bulb, 
which we will call, if you please, the honey -crop. Now 
our bee has a full crop and wants to get it emptied into 
the honey-ccU. All she has to do is to squeeze the crop 
tightly enough." 



"Does she do it with her paws?" ex- 
claimed the lad, his face all aglow with 
the interest and excitement of his new thoughts. 

"iSTot quite that, Harry," I replied, smiling; "but 
that 's the principle. Instead of squeezing the crop 
with her hands, she causes the muscles which surround 
it to contract, and that presses tightly upon it. Just as 
my hand is opened and shut at once by certain muscles 
that expand and contract — thus !— so the bee's crop is 
pushed together and filled out again by the muscles that 
surround it. ]^ow, suppose my fingers to represent 
those muscles ; they tighten upon the crop — so ! (squeez- 
ing the bulb), and then what happens ?" 



"•I see it ["exclaimed Hany. " The honey is squeezed 
into the tube, and up, up, till it comes out uv the 
noz — the mouth, I mean — ^just like the water-drops. I 
understand, trul}' !" 

" Does all honey go through that process — down the 
bee's throat and up again ?" asked Abby, 

" All genuine honey does. But over-fastidious people 
can find plenty of the counterfeit article. Though I am 
no wise certain that the}' will find anything that goes 
through a process of manufacture as thoroughly clean 
and wholesome as the original." 

''We have had so many wonders this evening," 
said the Doctor, "that I am doubtful if we can .in- 
wardly digest much more ; but there is one point 
further that I would like you to clear up for me. ^Vhat 
is the bee-basket in which the pollen is carried home ?" 


"I'd like to know 'bout that myself," said Hugh. 
"I've often heerd l)ee-raisers talkin' uv the 'basket,' 
and one; day tried to study it out from some dead 



But nary basket could I see nuther on head ur tail ur 
back. That 's alius been a myste'y to me." 

"Very well, then, my good fellow, I promise that 
you shall understand it this 
time. You all remember 
that I called your attention 
to the fact that some of 
the humble-bees that came 
in when we were hiving 
our captured nest had large 
balls of flower dust or pol- 
len on their hind-legs." 

" Yes, we remember 
that," answered Abby. 
" Some of them were yel- 
low, others whitish and 
gray. Was that pollen ?" 

" That was pollen, and a 
brown, resinous substance 
called propolis^ more tena- 
cious and extensible than 
wax, and well adapted for 
cementing and varnishing. 
Here are several dead bees 
which I will pass around the circle. Now let us turn 
to our manilla ' l)lack-board ' on the table while I 
draw, much enlarged, one of those hind-legs. The 
shin or middle portion, you see, is flat, of a triangular 
shape, is smooth, shining and slightly hollowed on 
the outer side. This horn-like substance forms the 

FIG. ()2. — HIND LEG OF A 



bottom of the basket. Around the edges of this plate 
are placed rows of strong, thickly-set, long bristles, 
which curve inward. These are the walls of the 
basket, and there ! we have the structure quite com- 
plete. Now take this pocket-lens and tell me if you 
see the basket upon those specimens of bees." 

The ]\Iistress and Abby, the Doctor and Hugh — all 
succeeded in making out the much talked of receptacle, 
and the rest were contented with the rough drawing. 

" But how does the bee get her materials into her bas- 
ket ?" asked the Doctor. 

"Ah, I was prepared to hear that. The material is 
collected gradually with the mandibles, from which the 
short fore-legs gather it. Hence it is passed backward 
to the middle-legs by a series of multiplied scrapings 
and twistings which I can't pretend to detail. In the 
same way it is sent back once more to the hind-leg, and 
is scraped and patted into the basket, where it is secured 
from falling out by the walls of bristlef^ whose elasticity 
will even allow the load to be heaped beyond their points 
without letting it fall. When the busy harvester has 
gathered as much as her basket will conveniently hold, 
she flies away home and empties her load by a reversal 
of the process which filled it. In this work, however, 
she is often aided by her fellow-workers." 

"I believe," said the Doctor, " that I better under- 
stand now the force of the vei'se concerning the bee 
which has crept into the Septuagint version of Proverbs, 
sixth chapter and eighth verse. This version was made 
from the Hebrew for the Greek-speaking Jews of Alex- 


andria, but the verse has not heen found, I beheve, in 
the original text. It runs thus: " Go to the hee and 
learn liow diligent she is and what a noble work she 
produces, whose labors kings and private men use for 
their health ; she is desired and honored by all, and 
though weak in strength, yet since she values wisdom, 
she prevails." I suppose some bee-loving rabbi must 
have felt jealous of the prominence given to the ant by 
tlie Wise King and added a comment which future gen- 
erations felt bound to accept as good Scripture. At all 
events, it is good sense." 

"And yet," remarked Abby, "when a man lacks 
wisdom, is a bit hair-brained and visionary, we say that 
he has a ' bee in his bonnet.' How is that ?" 

"It is inconsistent enough," replied the Doctor; 
" but our Scotch friends are responsible for the proverb. 
I suppose it is a case of giving one a character from a 
single quality, and that by no means truly characteris- 
tic. Certainly, I at least shall think of something more 
tlian mere 'buzzing' when I remember the bee." 

The full moon had now risen, and its silver light 
could be seen in the distance shimmering upon the 
broad Delaware and the Jersey coast bejond. The 
Doctor had declined our invitation to spend another 
night with us, and made ready to return to Marple. 
Followed bv cordial good-byes, the good man, with his 
old carry-all and chestnut-bay liorse, drove away under 
the moonlight, and the farm-house settled down to rest. 



October is the golden month of the American calen- 
dar. There is au indescribable mellowness in the 
atmosphere, as though the year had centered all the 
luscious fruitage of her ripening upon this halcyon 
season. The air is warm, but crisp with ozone. At 
times the sky is clear as in midwintSr ; again the land- 
scape is wrapped in a soft haze through which distant 
objects loom with indistinct outlines like the remem- 
bered objects of one's dream. All healthful life in 
N"ature finds a joy in ver3r being, none the less because 
there hangs upon all things a prophetic tone of coming 
dissolution. The melancholy days ai'e not yet quite 
" come," but are coming, and are near. The leaves are 
adding to their summer green the first tints of russet, 
yello^v, and scarlet that shall by-and-by enfold them in 
their dying glory. The insect-world is still full of life ; 
but already in many species motherhood has paid to 
posterity the last penalty of Nature, and in many others 
the reservoirs of life are running low. But the waning 
and the waxing of life go on together. Parents are 

dying, but children are gaining in vigor. Multitudes 



have been .seized l)y the strange instinct of migration, 
and are being swept by its resistless force into the cur- 
rents of a new and independent existence. And 
thereby hangs tlie tale which this chapter is in part to 

On such a morning as I have described Dan entered 
the kitchen precincts with a rueful face. 

" Wat's the matter ?" asked Sarah sharply. "You 
look like the final judgment had come. Is your ole 
woman dead, or 've ye lost your 'baccy pouch ?" 

" Dar's no 'casion for levity, Sairy Ann," said the old 
man solemnly. "T'lngs 's bad null", and y '11 see it 
byne by." 

" Goody gracious me ! Do sj^eak up, man, and let 's 
know the wust on 't at wanst ! Wat 's happened ?" 

" Wy sumfin mighty awful 's happen'd, I cl'ar to 
goodness dat Mars Mayfield's done gone — cl'ar — crazy!" 
Dan lowered his voice, and spoke in a husky sort of a 
growl which he doubtless meant for a whisper. 

"Crazy?" screamed Sarah. "Wat on airth — " She 
stopped short in her sentence, for at that moment the 
Mistress entered the room. She had heard the ominous 
word on Sarah's lips and saw the terrified look upon 
both countenances. Iler face blanched, and she sank 
into a chair overcome by an indefinable dread of some 
unknown peril. Her thoughts had run directly to her 
husband, who an hour or more ago had gone into the 
fields. Many readers will sympathize with the ISIis- 
tress, though none, perhaps, can give any belter reason 
than she why such unreasonable anticipations of evil to 


the best beloved should inevitably arise on occasions of 
sudden alarm. 

The Mistress is not a woman to give way long before 
an vmseen trouble. In a moment she had rallied, and 
demanded the cause of the excitement which she had 

Dan doflfed his hat, thrust his great gaunt hands 
through his matted hair, and began a stammering ex- 

'• "W'}' — w'y, you see, Miss Mayfiel', I war gwine froo 
de meadow while ago, and I sees Mars' Mayfiel' out 
dar standin' by de fence-jjos'.- He had 'is little spy- 
glass'n 'is 'an, and wur a-spyin' somethin' 'r odder. Jes 

The Mistress started to her feet. 

" Has he been hurt y Tell me !" 

"Hurt ? No, miss, not a' tall ; nuffin 'v the kin', I 
do shore you. 'Z I wur sayin', jes den I seed 'im 
jump de fence like a Avil' colt an' break off ober de 
meadow like mad. He ran back and forrud, zigzaggin' 
across de fiel' in de mos' cur'us way. Den he stopped 
stock still, and went back to de fence and spied at an- 
other pos', and off he goes ag'in like mad — " 

The old man emphasized the last word, cast a pecu- 
liarly sad look toward the Mistress, and then went on, 
with the circumlocution which his tender heart had 
suggested : 

" Off he shoots agin, I say, jes like mad, and goes 
froo wunst more dem wild zigzaggin' motions. I stood 
'n watched 'im a w'ile, and then, clar to goodness, 


Misses, 1 done got right sick a seein' poor Mars' May- 
fieP tuk that a-way — so cur'us Uke — 's tho' he'd done 
loss 'is senses, and so I jes come straight home, and — " 
"Oh, fudge!" 

The Mistress broke in abruptly upon Dan's story. 
Her face had undergone a strange transformation 
as the narrative proceeded. Its whiteness slowly 
flushed into crimson ; its lines of anxiety gradu- 
ally relaxed into curves of mirthfulness. Then came 
another change — tears mounted to the eyes, and, as 
they trickled out upon the cheeks, Dan had reached the 
climax of his story, and, the good woman broke out into 
her hysterical cry of mingled anger, amusement and 
joy. Without another word she turned and left the 
kitchen, leaving Dan overwhelmed with amazement. 

" Lawh bress yer, honey!" he said at last. "De 
news 's been too much for her. It 's done turned her 
own head, too !" 

Sarah was not much clearer than Dan in her view of 
the situation ; but she saw, at least, that the old ser- 
vant had made some sort of a mistake. She, therefore, 
came to his relief in her usual sharp way. 

" There, Dan ! Go 'long, now, to your work. You've 
been makin' a fool 'v yorself agin', 's usual. An' 
w'at's wuss, you 've gi'en the Mistress a powerful bad 
skeer. Purty feller you are, makin' out that your 
betters is crazy ! I reckon you 're an old crank yourself, 
an' orter been sent to the 'sylum long ago. Go 'long, 
now, to your work !" 
The irate cook flourished her jjau so vigorously that 


Dan thought her advice was worth heeding, and 
walked off slowly, shaking liis head, and muttering 
" 'Bout half de worl' is half cracked, anyhow, an' dat 
ole Sairy, de cook is de wuss one among 'em." 

This is the story that the Mistress had to tell when 
we had drawn up our chairs to the sitting-room tal)le 
for the weekly conversation about our insect Tenants. 

The subject was Insect Engineering, and some of my 
field studies of the aeronautic flight of spiders, by way of 
preparation for our talk, had been the cause of Dan's 

"Well, Dan," I said, for the old man was at his 
chosen seat on the cricket b}^ the inner door, and 
appeared to enjoy the Mistress's account of his blunder 
as much as the rest of us, "you 're not so much to blame 
after all." lean easily think that the strange attitudes 
of an entomologist, while in hot pursuit of his favorite 
study, would api)ear to })ersons who know nothing of his 
tastes and habits like the wild behavior of a madman. 
Besides, it is not the first time that I have been thought 
a little unsound on account of my natural history 
studies. Years ago when I first began to follow my 
specialties with some zeal, our good Mistress there — as 
she afterwards told me — spent many days in anxiety, 
and passed many hours in tears over what she supposed 
a development of insanity. 

"Why, Mrs. Mayfield," exclaimed Abby," could you 
have been so foolish ?" 

"It was even so," wife answered, "and the recollec- 
Jiioia of that fact proved a great comfort to me this 



morning ; for it helped me to interpret the behavior that 
led Dan quite astray." 

"lam reminded," I remarked, "of an incident re- 
lated to me b}^ Professor Hayden of the Geological Sur- 
vey, One day while engaged in geological studies on 
the great American plains, he found himself widely 
separated from his party, and started out in search of 
it. Presently, the outlines of human forms appeared 
upon the horizon, and thinking them to be his friends 
he turned his steps toward them. As he drew nearer 
he perceived that they were a band of Indians. Greatly 
alarmed, for there were hostile tribes in the vicinity, he 
turned and fled. But the Indians already had seen him. 
At best he was no match in speed for them, but he was 
now weighted down with specimens of various rocks and 
fossils, and was soon overtaken and surrounded. He 
was bidden to dismount, and immediately the savages, 
who had also dismounted, began to strip him of his 
personal possessions. Knife, hammer, watch, disap- 
peared. Then the red hands w^re plunged into his 
pockets and withdrawn full of— stones ! Again and again 
this was repeated ; pockets, pouch, saddle-bags, all were 
emptied, and, as the pile of rocks grew upon the ground 
beside him, his plunderers broke into a loud laugh. 
Tlien they looked at him carefully, touched their fore- 
heads significantly, as much as to say "he is crazy," 
and with that strange reverence for the insane, which 
characterizes our American Indians, they respectfully 
returned to him all his goods, mounted their broncos 
and rode away. I suspect that the savages are not 


the only persons who reason that one who can devote 
himself to collecting "rocks and bugs " is crazy. For 
m}^ part, I have about concluded that I was much nearer 
perfect sanity in the days spent as a naturalist than 
than afterward, when breaking down my health by hard 
work in collecting a fortune." 

"But tell us," asked Abby, "what you were doing 
in the meadow when Dan saw 3'ou. I don't wonder, if 
his description is correct, that he did think you a little 
' cur 'us.' " 

"Dan's description," I replied, laughing, "was a 
very good one, from the standpoint of an outside 
observer. The explanation is this : I had stationed 
myself by the fence to watch the ' flying spidero ' as 
they are popularly called. This has been a golden day 
for the young balloonists, and they have been improving 
it finely. As I walked out this morning I saw long, 
white filaments of silk streaming from fence-posts, tall 
stalks of grass, clumps of weeds, shrubs, almost every 
elevated object in the fields. I knew by this token that 
the balloonists were abroad and busy. As I passed the 
Run I saw just at the point where it widens into the little 
pool an object of great beaut}^ It w^as a tiny and deli- 
cate, but perfect, and quite strong suspension bridge." 
(Fig. 64.) 

"A bridge!" exclaimed Abb}'. "It is some of 
Harry's work, I warrant. He is the handiest boy in 
school with his jack-knife, and beats even our New 
England lads, which is saying a good deal." 

I smiled and glanced at Harry, whose face colored 


under his partial teacher's praise. "Well, my boy, 
what say you ? Was it your work ?" 

"No, sir; I uever ! I've got a 'flutter wheel' up 
there by the riffles, but nary bridge. I duuno who did 
it at all." 

"1 quite believe you, Harry. Let me show you how 
the bridge was made, and that will help us to find the 

In lieu of a blackboard I had provided a package of 
wide Manilla wrapping-paper and crayons. These 
served admirably for the rude outline sketching, by 
which I hoped in future to make our conversations 
somewhat more interesting to a mixed company, such 
as ours. 

" Here is the run ; on this clump of cat-tails was fixed 
one of the anchorages ; on the opposite bank, a-top of 
this cluster of flags, was the other abutment. Here 
from side to side was stretched a foundation line, and 
just below it another." 

"What sort of stufl" were they made of?" asked 
Hugh Bond. 

"To be s^ire, I should have mentioned tliat before. 
They were silken lines. Between tlie two, near the 
middle point, was constructed a series of truss-like sup- 
ports, something like this." 

The family group had gathered about the table, and 
bent over, eagerly watching the movements of my pen- 
cil. Before I had finished the sketch two or three voices 
exclaimed in chorus" : 

" A spider's web ?" 


" Yes, the snare of an orb-weaving spider. Tliat is 
the suspension bridge wliich attracted my attention tliis 
morning, and I certainly ihXuk it a very pretty and in- 
genious one. A little further down the stream where 
the bank rises higlier and is crowned on either side with 
sumach and blackberry vines, another orb-weaver had 
stretched lier cables, and when I first noticed her was 
running along one line toward the center. She hung, 
head downward, and moved one leg after another in a 
hand-ovec-hand sort of way. When she reached the 
middle point of the line, she began spinning a round 
web like this which I have drawn." 

"■ IIow did she git those lines across the run ?" asked 
Hugh ; " that puzzles me. She didn't SAvim across 
with it, 1 reckon ? Though I have seed spiders swim- 
min' or runnin' on the water." 

"Not this kind, Hugh. Our spider laid the main 
cables of her bridge in a quite different way. The fact 
is she proceeded much in the manner of Charles EUet, 
the engineer who built the first susijcnsion In-idge over 
Niagara river in 1840. The first difficulty to be over- 
come was to get a string across the chasm, A reward 
of five dollars was offered for the first string landed on 
the opposite shore and this brought a host of kite-tlyers 
to the scene. The kites fluttered like a flock of birds 
across the whirling flood and soon entangled on the bank 
beyond. The first string thus stretched, a wire was 
next drawn across, and heavier wix-es in succession fol- 
lowed until the. great foundation tfables were laid at 
length, and thence the weaving of the substantial wire 



bridge became compara- 
tively easy." (Fig, 65.) 
" You don't mean to 
tell us that .spiders 
really fly kites?" asked Abby rather doubtingly. 

" Well, it amounts about to that ; although, properly 
speaking, they fly cords instead of kites. As a rule, 
there is no object at the end of their lines which corre- 
sponds to the kite itself, although I have sometimes 
seen even that closely represented by broadened bits of 
silk, hammock-shaped ribbon, attached to the filaments 
spun out by orb-weavers when preparing for aeronautic 
flight. However, the principle upon which a spider 
stretches her bridge-lines across a stream, or practices 
ballooning, is precisely that upon which American boys 
and Chinese men fly their kites ; so that the engineer of 


the Niagara bridge and the spider-engineer of the silken 
bridges over Townes' llun operated upon the same prin- 

"But tell us how it was done," said Abby. "I 
haven't the most remote idea how such a creature can 
fly either a 'kite' or a 'string,' much less how it can 
go 'ballooning.' " 

" I will do so, and that brings me to the starting point 
of Dan's morning experience. When he saw me I was 
standing by a fence-post watching a small saltigrade 
spider mount into the air. Its head was toward the 
wind, its eight feet spread out in a circle, its abdomen 
turned in the direction of the wind and elevated about 
45°. From the little rosette of spinning mammals at 
the end of the abdomen issued several very delicate fila- 
ments whicU were caught by the breeze and floated 
upward to the length of several feet. The legs of the 
animal gradually bent l)ackward and downward, and 
then — pop ! with a quick vault the wee creature was off 
and away. (Fig. 6G.) 

"I leaped the fence, followed at full speed, trying to 
keep my eyes upon the reronaut, which, of course, at 
times compelled me to run back and forth, and at zig- 
zag, as Dan put it, over the meadow. This had to be 
repeated with a number of specimens ; but in the course 
of the morning I succeeded in confirmuig and complet- 
ing observations which I had made years ago." 

"But, tell us," Ab1)y asked, "how the spiders got 
started in their flight over the meadow, and what that 
has to do with your suspension bridges ?" 




" Pardon me. I had taken too much for granted, 1 
see. The spider, cUngmg to the post, sets its spinning 
apparatus in operation ; the Uquid silk, as it issues from 
silk glands through the many tiny tubes on the sjoin- 
nerets, is immediately hardened at contact with the air, 
is caught by the wind and drawn out into long threads. 
Presently enough thread is spun out to overcome by its 


buoyancy the weight of a spider, precisely as the buoy- 
ancy of a balloon overcomes the weight of the ajronaut 
and his car, and permits them to ascend into and float 
upon the air. At that moment, wiiich the spider re- 
cognizes by the upward traction of the threads, she 
leaps up and is carried off in the direction of the wind. 
Immediately after mounting she turns around, grasps 
her thread-balloon with her feet, spins out a little basket 
or mesh of connecting lines which her feet clasp, and 
then emits from her spinnerets another pencil of deli- 
cate threads. She now rides on a tiny net, hung back 
downward between the two long, floating filaments, 
and is carried before the wind 'where it listeth,' until 
the balloon strikes and entangles upon bush, tree, or 
other elevated object, when she dismounts and sets up 
housekeeping for herself." 

"Have the spiders any control of their own descent ?" 
asked Abby, " or are they wholly dependent upon the 
action of the wind ?" 

" I should have answered, before this morning, that 
they are entirely at the mercy of the wind. But I 
have now seen that which changes my opinion. One 
of the balloonists whom I carefully observed to-day, 
secured its own descent by gradually drawing in the 
floating lines until they gathered in a minute white 
pellet above the mandibles. As the lines shortened 
the buoyancy decreased, the weight of the spider yielded 
to gravitation, until gradually she was drawn to the 
ground and alighted on the grass. If this observation 
shall be confirmed as a truly typical one, we must concede 




that the little aranead produces, by lengthening hbr 
lines, a result similar to that of the human teronaut who 
throws out his ballast of sand ; and, by gathering in the 
lines, accomplishes what ballooning man performs when 
he pulls the valve and permits the gas to escape." 
"To return to our bridge. The orbweaver when 


building a snare proceeds, in the main, after the manner 
of the ballooning saltigrade. She stations herself upon 
a leaf or branch, or top of a twig, opens her spinnerets 
and emits a thread which the wind takes up and carries 
out until it entangles on some adjacent object. At 
other times she drops from her perch, spinning after 
her a thread, to the end of which she hangs in a little 
meshed basket rapidly woven. While swinging in this 
position she emits her trial lines as before. 

" Now, let us suppose our orbweaver seated upon this 
tall cat-tail, seeking to make her web (Fig. 67). The wind 
blows straight across the Kun, and carries out her thread. 
It catches upon the opposite clump of flags, a fact which 
the engineer at once perceives, and draws the line taut. 
She pulls upon it with her feet to test it, then ven- 
tures upon it, and rapidly runs across, dragging after 
her a second cord, which unites with and strengthens 
the first. 

" I chanced to be in New York when Farrington, the 
engineer, made the first voyage upon the initial cables 
of the Brooklyn bridge across the East Kiver, and, upon 
invitation of a friend, went down to witness the transit. 
As I watched the bold fellow hung far aloft and moving 
above the sea waves beneath, I was so forci])ly re- 
minded of this behavior of my spider friends which I 
have just been describing, that I could not forbear 
pointing out the likeness to my friend, a distinguished 
engineer, very much to his disgust (Fig. 68.) 

"The cable which the spider has thus formed is 
strengthened by several overlays, made in successive 





trips back and forth, until it is strong enough to serve 
as a fovuidation cable. A second cable is stretched in 
a similar manner, and then the little architect proceeds 
to weave in her snare." 

" How long are those foundation lines ?" asked the 

" That depends upon the direction of the wind and 
character of the site. If there are elevated objects 


quite near in the direct course of the threads the lines 
will soon entangle and be short ; but if there be a wide, 
open space before the lines they will stretch out for a 
goodly distance. Our Townes' Run bridge cables were 
not above ten feet long, but I have seen such lines 
twenty-five, thirty, and even some of forty feet in 
length stretched from tree to tree across a country 

"I mind seein' one, sir," said Hugh," right licrc on 
the old farm much longer than them. I was crossin' 
the yard a leetle arter sun-up w'en I seed suthin' 
gliutiu' in the air like a fine wire. It stretched from 
a bush, aside the kerriage-entrance, across the track. 
I didn't see the ends of the thing, just the middle jmrt, 
and I thot at wunst that some rascal had been stretchin' 
a wire across the road to knock ofi" the hats of horse- 
men — it was about that height. I was mighty angry, 
'v course, and went to pull down the wire, w'en lo, an' 
behold, it wur a spider web ! I felt powerful small at 
bein' fooled so, but somehow the thread seemed 
magnified by the sun, an' I only seed it now an' ag'in 
as the light twinkled on it. However, I concluded to 
measure it. 1 followed it Avith my eye clare to the top 
'v the old sycamore tree, and calkerlated that it was 
more 'n a hundred feet long. I never thot much about 
it, and never said nothin' till now. I 've often seed 
them stringin' webs around the place, but nt'ver one 
anythin' like \s long as that "n. I never know'd how 
they wur made nuthcr ; an' I 'm very nuicli obleeged 
to you fer tellin" us.'' 


"And for my part, I am greatly obliged to you, 
Hugh, for your fact, wliicli is really a valuable contribu- 
tion to our knowledge, as I also have never seen nor 
heard of a spider\s bridge-line as long as the one you 
describe. There are many such facts, by the way, 
picked up b}' non-scientiflc observers in ordinary life, 
which would be of greatest value to the naturalist 
could they be made known. 

"While we are on this sul^ject I may say that 3'oung 
spiders often manage to string out structures that 
oddly resemble a bridge in miniature. After emerging 
from the egg-nest or cocoon, they spend a short season 
in colony, hanging together in little balls. (See chapter 
iii.) Soon they begin to move, and as they go they 
drag after them fine filaments of silk. A hundred 
spiderlings, more or less, passing from point to point, 
and back and forth among the bushes by single bridge- 
lines, and keeping close together, will not be long in 
la3dng out a series of lines and ribbons that remind one 
strongly of the roadway, trusses and cables of a bridge. 
One of the most curious miniatures of this sort which I 
have known Avas once made in my study. A package 
of cocoons, spun by an orbweaviug spider, sent me 
from California, was laid upon my table. One morning 
upon entering the room, [ found that the spiders had 
hatched and issued from the perforations in the lid of 
the package, which was a large cylindrical tin fruit- 

" From the summit of this can, as from a bridge-pier, 
the spiderlings had flung their lines to books and 



paper boxes laid along the table, and which thus formed 
a series of piers and abutments. They had already 
woven a sheeted way, several inches wide, that stretched 
above the middle of the table for five feet. Thence it 
spread upward to the window curtain iu diverging 
threads, among which many of the wee adventurers 
hung (Fig. 69.) I kept the bridge for several days, dur- 
ing which time the "roadway" received many addi- 
tional strings, and some of the baby bridge-builders 
spun delicate little cob-webs along the edges and among 
the trusses of their l^ridge, and separatinof themselves 
from their fellows, set up housekeeping for themselves." 



" Why should your engineer friend have been dis- 
gusted at you for pointing out an analogy between the 
works of man and those of the spider V" asked Abby, 
al)ruptly. "For my part I think the likeness is very 

"■ Precisely my thought," said the Mistress. "It is 
wond(!rful ! It seems incredil)le that such human-like 
behavior should belong to so lowly a creature. I verily 
believe that I shall never again brush down a cobweb 
without compunction !" 

"I count that saying a triumph, indeed," I remark- 
ed with pleasure; " coming as it does from one who 
is the pink of perfection as a housekeeper, and withal 
full of natural prejudices against 'bugs,' it shows how 
much prevalent dislike of the living things of nature 
arises from lack of knowledge of their interesting habits. 

" I am happy to say that my friend, the engineer, 
soon came to the same view, lie had concluded hastily 
that I had l)elittled the greatest engineering work of the 
age by an unworthy comparison, and the suggestion that 
man had been the copyist of the aranead. On the con- 
trary, 1 showed him that these were only indications, 

independently reached, of the one great Over-mind of 


nature, working similar ends by analogous principles of 
action implanted within creatures most widely sepa- 
rated in organization and endownnents. Surely there 
could be nothing humiliating in that ?" 

" We were presently joined by a party of gentlemen, 
among whom was one of Mr. Roebling''s assistants upon 
the Brooklyn Bridge. He was greatly interested in our 
conversation, and I ventured to carry my analogy a 
little further. This gentleman, on a previous occasion, 
had given me a detailed account of the building of the 
caissons upon which the immense stone piers had been 
constructed. I asked him : 

"Am I right, Mr. Assistant, in supposing that the 
principles upon which these caissons have been built are 
those of the diving-bell and compression of air ?" 

" Yes ; I suppose that we might say that very truly." 
" Well, then, I will venture to say that I can find the 
same principles embodied in, I will not say anticipated 
l)y the work of a spider. 

"Well, sir," said the Assistant, "you may, doubt- 
less, succeed ; but haven't you undertaken a pretty 
heavy contract ?" 

" You shall judge the issue. Here now," taking a 
note-book from my pocket, "is a rough sketch of the 
cell or nest of the water spider {An/i/roneki aqwitka)^ 
which is found in some of the streams of England. It 
is an egg-shaped silken sac, about the size of an 
acorn, which is ^voven upon water-plants underneath 
the surface. In the bottom part of the cell is a small 
circular opening. The; cell, as fii-.-^t WM)ven, is simply a 




flat, empty sac, with the mouth dowinvard, and as the 
spider is an air-hreathing animal, is, of course, useless 
as a domicile in that condition." 

The gentleman followed ni}' sketch with as much 
interest as you all show in this craj'on outline. (Fig.70.) 

"Now, look here !" said my friend. "You're not 


goini^ to tell us that your spider will introduce air into 
that cell?" 

"That is precisely what I shall tell 30U. Can you 
guess how it will be done ?" 

" I have been trying to think ; but I haven't the re- 
motest notion how the creature could proceed. I can't 
imagine what implements it possesses for inflating such 
a structure in such a site." 

"It is done thus : The spider ascends to the surface 
slowly, assisted by a thread attached to a leaf or other 
support belon^ and at the surface of the water. When 
it nears the top it turns, Avitli the extremity of tlic 
abdomen upward, and exposes a portion of the body to 
the air for an instant. Then with a jerk it snatches, as 
it were, a bubble of air, which is attached beneath to 
the hairs that cover the abdomen, and is held from 
above by the two liinder legs, which are crossed at an 
acute angle near their extremity. This crossing of the 
legs occurs at the instant the bubble is seized. The 
little creature then descends more rapidly than it 
mounted, regains its cell, always by the same route, 
turns the abdomen within the mouth, and disengages 
the bubble. This is repeated many times until the 
sac is filled and rounded out Avith air. This cell serves 
the water spider as living-room, dining-room and nur- 
sery. Here she spins her saucer-shaped cocoon, fixing 
it against the inner side of the cell near the top. Out 
of it, by and by, issue a hundred spiderlings, who spend 
their babyhood in this ingenious home, literally 
' Rocked in the cradle of the deep.' 


"Xow, gentlemen," I asked, "have I proved my 
proposition ?" 

"You have come prett}^ near doing it, at all events," 
said the Assistant. 

"Truly," said my friend, "if your fticts are quite 
authentic, as I am bound to believe, your spider pets 
are worthy an honorary place in the guild of civil en- 
gineers. Indeed," he added, laughing, "I think that 
I shall suggest this animal as the most suitable emblem 
for our Philadelphia Engineers' Club." 

"I am sure that we all agree with those learned 
gentlemen," remarked Abby. 

" Thank you," I returned ; " I think I shall confirm 
your good opinion b}' going back to the geometric 
spider, whom we left crossing her completed bridge- 
cable to begin the building of her snare. The manner 
in which this is done is most interesting, especially to 
one who has a taste for mechanical work. A point 
near the center is usually chosen — though not always — 
and the spider proceeds first of all to lay out an irregular 
polygon of lines which serves as the foundation or frame 
work of the orb. Here it is," pointing to the crayon 
figure sketched upon the paper; " and you can see that 
such an arrangement adds to the elasticity of the orb, 
and so increases its power to resist the force of the wind 
and of struggling insects. 

"Next our engineer proceeds to lay in the radii or 
'spokes' of her wheel-shaped wel). T do not mean to 
say that she has an invariable order of action, but com- 
monly she will start with a central diamc'tcr; as ac 




(Fig. 71), at or 
near the middle 
point of whicli 
she gathers or 
spins a little tuft 
of white silk, 
which I mark 11. 
From this point 
she proceeds to 
put in what we 
may call her first 
radius, H K. I 

will draw this figure (Fig. 72) to show how this is 
done. She drops her spinnerets upon the central tuft 
(H), and draws out a line which she seizes hy one of 
her hind claws and holds out from her hody. She 
then begins to ascend the upper part (a) of the diameter 
a c, and thence passes along the inner foundation line 
K [Ki, Fig. 71) to the point K. All this time she drags 
after her the line which I represent by this dotted line 
X, holding it far enough aloof to keep it from entan- 
gling with the thread over which she moves. At K 
(Fig. 72) she stops, pulls this di'ag- 
line taut, fastens it down to K, 
and thus has her first radius K e 
H. She now returns to the middle 
point H, either along the new ra- 
dius c, or by the round about 
„.-, course of Ji and n. Her next ra- 


RADIX. dius is laid in precisely the same 


wiw, except that it is spun on the opposite part of the 
snare. Thus, returning to our first figure (Fig. 71), 
she will start from H down the diameter a c to tlie line 
m n, dragging after her, as before, a loose thread which 
slic tiglitens, fastens liere at 11, and thus gets her second 
radius. Hence, she will make tlic radii II i, H m, 
HI), and so on, around the circle." 

"I notice," said Hugh, "that 30U have drawn those 
spokes alternately. That is, you put one on this side 
ahove, and the next on the other side below. That 
looks mighty workman-like, sir, jist as though a 
mechanic had laid it out. I've done a good deal in tin- 
keriu' at carpentry myself, and ef I were building that 
kind uv a concern with lumber, or rope, either, I reckon 
that'sjitst the way I'd set to work. Does the spider 
go at it in. that judgmatical style, or is it only your way 
uv put tin' it to us ?" 

" I am glad you raised that point yourself/' I replied, 
" for I had intended to notice it. The spider invariably 
puts in her radii in that manner, laying them by what 
I have called alternate apposition. I will illustrate this 
bv another figure. 1 once watched an orb-weaver 
throughout this part of her spinning-work, and drew 
out my note-l)0()k and numbered the radii as they were 
made. Before it occurred to me to do this, the lines 
A, B and D had been spun. The others were ]ilaced in, 
in about the following order : First, III (Fig. 7?>) ; then, 
on the opposite, TI2. Next, again opposite, you see, 
113, and after that 114. 5 and 0, 7 nnd S. and 10. and 
so on through all the seventeen radii wliich I counted. 




You observe that 
there was a con- 
tinual altei'nation 
of the lines, and 
for the most part 
a double alterna- 
tion — t hat is, 
they were op- 
posed to each 
other not only as 
to the sides — 
right and left— 
but as to the top 
and bottom. You 
can all see that 
this order kept 

the web equally braced and well trimmed from the be- 
ginning to the end of the work." 

" I see that very clearly," remarked Abby, "although 
I confess that I have little taste for mechanics. But 
that isn't all of the web, is it ? Where are the little 
ladders that run up and down from the center ? 
You pointed them out to me in the snares of Bank 
Argiope and Caudata. Besides, I remember them by 
some of my experience in broidery, as this kind of 
snare has been very popular in fancy needle-work." 

"The 'ladders,' as you call them, the spider makes 
immediately after the radii, and there is proof of good 
engineering in this part of her work also. When the 
radii are quite done she braces them around the ends, 


where they converge upon the center by a series 
of .spiral hnes. Tlien she prepares to put in the 
rounds of her 'ladders,' which, however, are one con- 
tinuous line that passes spirally across all the radii 
a number of times, thus forming a series of concentric 

" These spirals are often very numerous ; I ha\'e found 
as many as fifty or sixty, but generally the nuni))er does 
not exceed thirty. They are covered with minute 
beads of a very sticky substance, which give to the web 
its efficiency as a snare. Insects Hying against tlie 
lines are innnediately entangled, and Ix'fore they have 
time to struggle free, the watcliful spider pounces upon 
them. As the subsistence of the aranad depends upon 
these spiral lines their structure becomes a matter of 
great importance, and is conducted with becomirjg 

" First of all a foundation or frame-work is spun, 
which we will call the spiral foundation. This consists of 
several concentric lines, usually about six or eight, which 
are also spirals, but are quite dry, tliat is, without 
viscid beads. The spider attaches a thread a short dis- 
tance from the center, and moves around, crossing the 
radii at each circle a little further toward the circum- 
ference until slie has covered sutlicient space. She 
thus produces a series of spirals whose bounds mark 
out the surfiice over which her beaded spirals are to be 

"Here, for example, we have our radii, braced by 
these cross lines marked Z (Fig. 74). Here at O th« 


fk;. 74:. — ,>riu.vL ^•ou^'DATIO^■s — itt- 


engineer begins 
and moves up- 
ward (we will 
say) and out- 
ward until she 
spins the lines 
marked I, II, 
III, ly, etc. 
These are the 
spiral founda- 
tions. Xow the 
movement is 
reversed. The 
spider begins 

at the outer margin of her spiral foundations, and from 
that point carries a lino around, moving at each round 
a little nearer the center. She stops at the inner line 
Avhere her foundation spirals had begun (I, Fig. 74). 
The series thus formed constitutes the spiral space, 
and the lines of this space are the ' rounds ' of what 
A bby called the 'ladders.' In fact, a section of this 
part of the web is quite like the shrouds or rope-lad- 
ders of a ship. But woe to the voyager who tries to 
climb them ! They are covered with a substance as 
sticky as that which has given the ancient mariner his 
favorite nickname of 'old tar,' for these are the viscid 
spirals of which I spoke a moment ago. 

" In spinning this series, the foundation spirals are 
used precisely as a scaffolding is used for erecting a 
house. I will not explain the process at length, as I 


fi'iir these; delail^^ are already tiresome to some of you, 
but will only say that the spider moves along the radii 
and the dry foundation spirals at right angles to them, 
dragging after her the viscid line, pulling it taut when 
she comes opposite the point from which she started, 
very much in the method observed when she makes 
the radii. Curiously enough, as she completes the 
spirals, she bites away the foundation spiral behind, 
just as I have seen builders remove the top timbers of a 
scaffolding as soon as the upper parts of a wall are sufli- 
ciently advanced toward completion. 

"Tell me," said Abby, "a little more about these 
beads. What are they made of?" 

" They are secreted by the spider from glands that lay 
along with the silk glands in the lower part of the body 
near the spinning mammals. I have never been able to 
separate these glands from those that hold the liquid 
silk, and they are forced out b}' the spider through the 
spinning-tubes precisely as is the material which forms 
the web work. They probably have special tul)es 
through which they are secreted. I do not know the 
composition of the beads ; but ' Stickwell & Co.' never 
made anything more viscid. I have kept beaded Avebs in 
good condition several months. The material looks like 
gum, but darkens a little with age. It reflects light, 
and I suspect that, along with the open meshes of the 
net-like snare, they in this way help to deceive insects 
approaching on wing with the imi)r('ssion that no 
obstacle lies in their course." 

"How can the spider make so many beads?" 



asked the Mistress. "There must be an iimneuse 
number of them ! IIow large are they ?" 

"To begin with your first question, the beads are 
very small. Let me draw a few strings for you. Here 
are four sections (Fig. 75, I, II, III, IV) that will give 
you some idea 
of their relative 
size and ap- 
pearance. For 
the actual size 
we must use a 
pocket-lens or a 
microsc op e ; 
but, perhaps, I 
can show it 
thus: This last 
line (iv, Fig. 75) 
I will represent 
here (a. Fig. 
75) in natural 

length. The divisions on the line iv, marked by little 
points, correspond with those on the line a." 

" And all those beads are crowded inside that little 
line ?" 

" Yes ; but what they lack in size they make up in 
number. I once numbered the beads on a web of 
ordinary size by actually counting those upon a given 
section, and multiplying the result by the number of 
sections. I estimated that there were over 140,000, and 
in some snares the number must be much larger. It 



used to be cited as an example of the wonderful in- 
dustry and skill of the spider that she could nianufac- 
turc so vast a quantity of these objects in so short a 
time. In point of fact, however, I believe that the 
beads form themselves in a ver}- ordinary way. As 
they issue from the tubes they gather naturally into 
minute drops ; the effect, perhaps, l)eing aided l)y the 
twisting of the threads in the quick-moving fingers of 
the spinster. However that may be they are truly 
Arachne's pearls, even though like some of those worn 
by her sisters of the human species (if rumor speak not 
falsely) they are only made of paste. But I have ex- 
hausted my subject, even if I have not my class, and 
will say good night to our cunning little builder and her 

" Was it a geometric spider ?" asked Abby, '^Avhose 
perseverance, according to the tradition, had such an 
influence upon the Scottish monarch Bruce V The 
story recently occurred in a reading-lesson of one of 
my classes, and I wondered at the time Avhat kind of 
spider had the honor to teach royalty such a royal 

" I cannot promise to answer your question accur- 
ately ; but, at all events, let us hear the story. It is 
long since I heard it, and we all will be interested in 
the teUing." 

" The narrative runs somewhat in this wise : While 
wandering on the wild hills of Carrick, in order to 
escape the emissaries of Edward, Robert Bruce on one 
occasion passed the night under the shelter of a jioor. 





(U'serted cottage. lie threw hiinjself upon a ln'up of 
straw, aud lay upon his back, with liis hands placed 
under his head, iniable to sleep. His gaze was tixed 
upward among the rafters of the hut, which were 
festooned with cobwebs. His mind brooded upon the 
hopelessness of the patriotic enterprise in Avhich he was 
engaged, and the misfortunes that already had be&Uen 
him. From this train of thought he was diverted l)y 
the efforts of a spider, who had begun to ply its voca- 
tion with the first gray light of morning. The object 
of the animal was to swing itself by its thread from one 
rafter to another, but in the attempt it frequently 
failed, each time vibrating back to the point whence it 
had started. Twelve times did the little creature try 
to reach the desired spot, and as many times was un- 
successful. Not disheartened by its failure, it made 
the attempt once more, and lo ! the rafter was 
gained ! 

" ' The thirteenth time !' cried Bruce, springing to 
his feet. ' I accept it as a lesson not to despond under 
difficulties, and shall once more venture my life for the 
independence of my country. ' He renewed the strug- 
gle, and this time won success." 

The narrative greatly interested our circle, and had 
warm commendation. 

"Now comes the question," I said, "whether 
Bruce's spider was an orb-weaver ? Miss Abby's ver- 
sion differs from that which 1 remember, which made 
the spider's effort one to raise a heavy insect of some 
sort to the roof. Such an incident is more natural, and 


the details seem better to correspond with one of our 
connnon species of hne-weavers. I have never seen 
any sort of spider trying to reach distant points by 
'oscillating threads, but have often ol)served them sway- 
ing in the wind. But the lesson is worth heeding, liy 
whatever species taught, and even though it be a fable, 
which is not unlikely, our race has a decided tendency 
to associate its heroes with such incidents. The story 
of Bruce and the spider, for example, has its counter- 
part in that of Timon and the ant. 

"This tendency is well illustrated by another series 
of incidents in which an orb-weaver is, without doul)t, 
the spider referred to. A friend of mine once told me 
that one of his ancestors, during the massacre of 
Wyoming, had been saved from death in this way : He 
tied before the savages, and was pursued closely by a 
warrior, whom he succeeded at last iu eluding, and took 
refuge in a hollow tree. He had scarcely entered ere a 
spider began to spin a web across the opening, and 
wrought so vigorously that in a short time she had 
woven a beautiful round snare that completely covered 
the hole into which the fugitive had crept. The web 
had just been completed, and the spider settled in the 
center, on the watch for prey, when the pursuing Indian 
appeared. He peered under and into every place that 
could possibly afford shelter to a man, and, at last, 
came to the hollow tree. He glanced at the unbroken 
\wh and the spider quietly seated upon it, concluded 
that no one could liave crept into that spot, and hurried 
on. My friend gave name, date, species and location of 



FIG. 77. — "nobody in, sir. pass on! — p. 221. 

tree, all with accuracy of detail, and declared that the 
tradition had been handed down with such positiveness 
as to render it absolutely certain. 

" I questioned tlie story on the ground that it had 
been told of so many persons, at various periods, that 
it liad become apocryphal. He promised to follow up 
the tradition and give me the full proofs, but unfortu- 
nately died shortly after, before his purpose had been 

" I have read a like incident as occurring to some of 
the martyrs or persecuted saints," said the Mistress. 
"Who was it — do you remember?" 


"The story is told of some persecuted Protestant 
leader during Reformation times, whose refuge was an 

" Saint Felix of Nola had a similar adventure, as re- 
corded in the 'Lives of the Saints.' Being hotly 
pursued b}^ his enemies, he crept through a hole in an 
old ruined wall, which was instantly closed up by the 
spinning-work of spiders. His pursuers, never imagin- 
ing that anything could have lately passed where they 
saw so compact a spider's web, after a fruitless search 
elsewhere returned in the evening without their prey. 
Felix found among the ruins between two houses an 
old well half dry, in which he hid himself for six 
months, during which time he was cared for by a 
devout Christian woman. 

"Long before that Mohammed had the same ex- 
perience Avhen fleeing from the Koreishites with Abu- 
beker. The two men, says the tradition, hid them- 
selves for three days in a cave, over the mouth of 
which a spider spread its web and a pigeon laid two 
eggs there, the sight of which prevented the pursuers 
from searching within, and thus the prophet and his 
friend were preserved. 

" But the earliest incident of this sort which I recall 
is told of David, the King of Israel. The Jews have a 
tradition that when he was fleeing before Saul he took 
refuge within one of the spacious limestone caverns 
found in southern Palestine. The friendly spider there- 
upon appeared precisely as in the other cases ; the pur- 
suers passed on, and the fugitive escaped." 


" Do you believe that any of these incidents really 
occurred ?" asked Abby. 

"There may have been in some one case a basis of 
fact for the tradition. It is certainly not improbable. 
But for the most part I count the stories mere fictions, 
or perhaps fables, intended to teach a lesson of respect 
for the most despised creatures of God ; or perhaps to 
illustrate tlie Divine Providence. Be that as it may, it 
would hardly do for fugitives in our day to rely upon 
any such interposition, for men have now learned 
pretty well how rapidly a spider can spin her snare, 
and he would be a dull fellow who could be balked of 
his victim by a mistake on this point." 

" Wal now, Mars' Mayfiel'," remarked Dan, " I doan 
tink so poreley uv de spiders as uv mos' oder insec's. 
De fac' is, dey's mighty peert critters, and dey eats up 
de bugs powerful. Dey doan do no harm at all, dat I 
eber seed, 'ceptin' a bite wunst in a Av'ile. Some 
folk 's awful feard to have one git on 'em ; but I often 
heerd in ole Marylau' dat you mustn't nebber kill a 
spider dat lights on your close ; kaze ef yo' do yo' 
destroys de presents dey's a-weavin' fur you. But I'm 
not so shore 'bout dat ; I've had a heap o' spiders light 
on me, and de presents es a-been skeerce as duck teeth 
fur all dat. Mebbe it'll be all right' dough nex' Christ- 
mas. De luck mus' change some time, I reckon." 

The old fellow bent himself over ui)on his folded arms, 
rolled his white eyes in a knowing and comical way 
toward the Mistress, rocked his body to and fro, and 
broke into one of his soft, unctuous laughs. 


'• AVhat Dan means," said Sarah, taking up the con- 
versation, "is them little hits of spiders — hahy spiders, 
I 'spose they are. 'T any rate they're wee things that 
drop on you from the ceiling or trees by long threads, 
I've heerd 'em called money-spinners^ and they say 
they'll bring good luck if you don't kill or hurt 'em, or 
brush 'em oft' when they're first seen. If you do take 
'em off" your-clothes you must throw 'em over the left 
shoulder, an' that saves the luck. I wouldn't kill one 
of them monney-spinners on no account ; but law sakes 
alive ! that's nothin' to do with the big spiders that spin 
cobwebs in the corners ! There's no good luck in them; 
an nobody but a sloven 'ud let 'em stay around. I 
sweep 'em out without marcy." 

"But, Sairy Ann," said Dan, "you neber oughter 
kill a spider inside de house. Ef you mus' do't, w'y 
do't out'v doors. Et's jes' pullin' down your own house 
to kill a spider indoors." 

" The notion about the money spinners," I remarked, 
"is, or Avas, quite prevalent in England and Scotland, 
and I have often heard it here in America. I never 
quarrel with it, for it goes some length toward preserv- 
ing the best of our animal friends from senseless hatred 
and destruction. I recall another use of the superstition 
made by a quaint old divine : ' When a spider is found 
upon your clothes,' he says, ' we used to say some money 
is coming toward us. The moral is this : Such who 
imitate the industry of that contemptible creature may, 
by God's blessing, weave themselves into wealth and 
procure a plentiful estate,' " 


" The mosl curious thing to mc about spiders," re- 
nifirked Hugh, " is w'ere they come from ; I've known 
a house to be cleaned thorough from top to bottom, 
and almost in a night a new crop sprung up. You 
w'itewash a fence or a wall till there's not a cobweb 
to be seen, and it's no time afore they're spun up 
ag'in, bad as evei". I've hear'n that spiders breed from 
some kind of seeds that putrefy in the air, or spring up 
spontaneous from any sort of corruption. It does look 
somethin' like it, but w'at puzzles me is that they breed 
so rapid on places that have jest been swept an' 

"There, Hugh," I answered, "you have touched 
upon a ver}' old conceit. It was a favorite theor\' among 
ancient Avriters that spiders, and, indeed, many other 
creatures, were generated spontaneously from deca}-- 
ing objects. That arose quite natui-ally from seeing 
such matter usually covered with insects. The rapidity 
with which multitudes swarm to decomposing sub- 
stances must have appeared wonderful, as it still 
appears to people who had no knowledge of the hordes 
who lurk in trees, bush and weeds, and burrow in every 
inch of soil. They ai'c natural scavengers, and the 
presence of corrupt matei-ial nltracls them immediately 
in immense numbers to the work for which they arc 

" Some devour the substance, some remove it, 
some bury it, many at once deposit in it eggs, or even 
bring forth worms which fill it with living creatures in 
an incredibly short space of time. The ancients, igno- 


rant of these facts, believed that such animals had been 
spontaneously generated." 

"But, father," said the Mistress, "all this doesn't 
quite cover the point that Hugh has raised about the 
spiders. That does seem strange ; although, of course, 
I know that they are bred from the eggs, and don't 
spring out of dust and decay." 

"I will come to that," I answered; "and I can best 
illustrate it by an incident that occurred last summer. 
I spent a week with a party of friends fishing upon the 
St. Lawrence River. Our fishing ground lay between 
Alexandria Bay and Lake Ontario, a region which in 
summer time abounds with spiders, who are nested 
along the shores and among the trees that cover the 
beautiful Thousand Islands. The skipper of our steam 
yacht, who soon discovered my entomological hobby, 
related an experience very much like Hugh's. 

" ' I can't imagine where all the spiders come from,' 
he said. ' Every morning I find their round welxs spun 
all over the l)oat in amazing quantities. 1 have them 
cleaned out carefull}^ and the next day there tliey are as 
thick as ever ! They keep it up that way all summer, 
and the spiders are just as thick at the end of the 
season as the beginning. Where do they come from? 
How do they get aboard the boat ? I never found any- 
body who knew, and if you'll solve the mystery I'll be 
obliged. ' 

"Fortunately, I was able to give a satisfactory expla- 
nation. It chanced that on ni}- way to Alexandria Bay 
X took the evening passenger boat that plies between 


that point and the raih-oad terminu.s. The shadows 
began to lengthen as I sat in the stern of the steamer 
watching tlie charming panorama of green shore, 
rocky islands, and lovely villas nnfold while we steamed 
through the transparent stream. 

" Suddenly a dark object passed between me and the 
scene. It was a huge Furrow spider {Epcira strix), lay- 
ing out the foundation" lines of her snare. She had 
dropped from the cornice of the upper deck to the bul- 
wark, and was mounting again when I caught sight of 
her. Another and another followed, and before we 
landed several webs were spun against the roof. I 
peeped under the railing against which my seat was 
placed, and found a number more cozily ensconced 
within their tough silken tubes awaiting the nightfall 
to begin operations. 

"Our skipper's yacht I soon found to be occupied by 
a colony of the same species, and I solved his mystery 
by calling attention to the fact. 

"These spiders, at various times, have come aboard 
on little silken balloons, which, as they were borne 
across the river, struck upon your boat. The tiny 
aeronauts dismounted, and took up their (piarters. 
They rarely appear in daytime, but at night, after you 
have landed and gone home, they creep out, spin 
their webs, and feed upon night-flying insects. In the 
morning, before you are ready to sail again, they are 
1)ack to their dens and tents in crannies under the 
mouldings. Your men brush down their webs — that's 
all ! The spiders weave them next morning, quite un- 


concerned, and so the year wears on. They even breed 
on your yacht, I Ihul, and have probal:»ly been suc- 
ceeded by their oll'spring in this ' hfe on the ocean 
wave.' " 

"'Well, well,' said the skipper, 'that's a kind of 
stowaway I never heard of before. I shall know now 
how to make a clean sweep of them hereafter ; but, 
really, I don't know that I shall do so, for such cute 
little beggars are almost entitled to a free passage.' 

"'True enough,' I replied, 'and, moreover, they 
quite earn their way by ridding the vessel of more 
objectionable entomological passengers, who are popu- 
larly supposed to have free lodgings on water craft !' 

"'Oh! as to that,' was the quick response, 'we 
don't have any such shipmates aboard this boat 1' " 



The morning following our last conversation was one 
of rare excitement at tlie old flxrm. One of our most 
esteemed household pets is Dolf, the dog. He is a cross 
hetween a bulldog and a shepherd, is an admirable 
watchdog, a devoted friend and follower of his master, 
and has conceived a warm attachment for the School- 
ma'am. As to the rest of the household, and visitors 
generally, he is kind enough, or rather harmless by 
reason of supreme indifference. However, he has an 
inextinguishable jealousy of those of his own kind w'ho 
may enter upon what he considers his lawful domain. 

I was, therefore, not so much surprised as agitated 
to hear issuing from the front porch that peculiar com- 
bination of sounds — snarling, snapping, yelping, tear- 
ing, scratching, wrestling — wliich acc()mi)anies a dog- 
fight. I was engaged at the time in the back yard, 
with Penn Towues, a thrifty young farmer and de- 
scendant of .June Townes, the i)ioneer, who had ridden 
over from his neighboring place on some matter of 
business. Unfortunately his dog had accompanied him, 
a fact which I had not observed until the clamor on the 

front porch announced it. I rushed to the scene of 


battle, picking up a croquet mallet as I ran. Young 
Townes followed, armed with his riding-whip. The 
discords of the fight grew fiercer, and then for a moment 
ceased at the sound of a woman's voice, heard above 
the din in sharp command. 

My heart leaped to my throat. What woman could 
be so hardy as to interfere in such a contlict ? "We 
turned the corner of the house, and saw Abby Bradford 
standing between the two dogs. She had grasped them 
by the leather collars around their necks, and held them 
aloof by main strength. The animals stood at full 
height upon their hind-legs, and struck at and struggled 
to reach each other with their forepaws and fangs. 
They Avere face to face, with glaring eyes and foaming 
mouths, while horrible growls issued from between 
their white teeth. 

It was a splendid sight : the maiden's erect form^ 
whose every muscle Avas swollen by the eftbrt to hold 
the fierce beasts at bay, crowned b}' the pale face, set 
with the intensity of emotions, under whose play every 
feature was illumined with new beauty. It is strange 
how a human face lights up and transforms under the 
agitations of a high and courageous deed ! I have 
never seen a sharper and more significant contrast 
between the moral faculties as represented by man, and 
the animal passions characteristic of the brutes, than 
that exhibited by the tableau which came into view 
that morning as we entered the front yard — those ram- 
pant and angry dogs struggling in the hands of that 
brave, comely young woman 1 


Tliifs tlioiight was involuntary and instantaneous. It 
was as fully rounded before my mind in that moment, 
while runnnig in full heat, as now, Avhile I quietly 
write under the shadow of my tent-studio beneath 
green trees. But there was no dela}' in action ; indeed 
there was need of haste, for the large annuals, doubly 
strengthened by their anger, had well-nigh exhausted 
Abby's strength, and were once more striking each other 
with their fangs. She relinquished her hold, and between 
whip and mallet the young farmer and I parted the 
dogs at last, and Dolf was sent growling to his kennel. 
Then we turned to Abby, who, meanwhile, had stood 
intermingling with the angry shouts of the men and the 
yelps of the dogs, earnest pleas that the poor brutes 
should not be injured. 

"Are you hurt V' I asked. 

"Why, no! That is, I think not. Really, I hadn't 
thought of that. But I am not sure." 

She lifted her hand ; it was covered with blood from 
a cruel wound in the thumb. 

"Ah, I remember now. It was Dolf who bit me ; 
but he didn't mean it, poor fellow ! lie loves me too 
well for that. I don't think I am much hurt." 

"Not hurt, honey?" cried old Dan, who had jusl 
arrived panting and excited. "Not hurt?" throwing 
up his hands and showing the whites of liis eyes ; " look 
at dat blood den I Drat dat ole dorg ! Ile'd orter be 
massacreed, chawin' on sich a lily han' as dat ! IIol' 
on dar a minit ; I'll fix dat bleedin'." 

He ran to the arbor vitie hedge, where numbers of 


the specked Tubeweaver {A(jalcna nocvia) yearly spin 
their broad snares, and scooped up several of the 
sheeted webs. 

"Hole up dat ban' now, honey ; col)wcbs is famous 
for stoppin' blood. Dis'll do it shore ! Doau you 
worry now. Ole Dan '11 make it all right. Dar now, 
dat'll do." 

As he cooed on in this way he applied the web like a 
plaster to the torn flesh. His rough surgery was hap- 
pily successful in stanching the blood. 

By this time the whole family had assembled, Abb}' 
herself being far the least agitated of the group. Such 
home remedies as were available were applied to the 
wound, and Joe was posted ofl' for the doctor. The 
household was luianimous in upbraiding the bold girl 
for her act, and just as unanimous in admiration of her 

Xo one was more enthusiastic in praise than Penu 
Townes. "It was the pluckiest thing I ever saw," he 
averred, " whether done by man or woman." He was 
sincere in regrets and apologies for his own share in the 
misfortune by allowing his dog to follow him, and rode 
home evidently much disturbed. 

This is how our Schoolma'am and Farmer Townes 
became acquainted, and it thus happened that two new 
members were introduced to our family conversations. 

On the evening of the accident Penn called to inquire 
about Miss Abby, who, being quite able to answer for 
herself, did so, evidently much to the young man's 
satisfaction. A few days thereafter he called again, and, 


as the next evening was our time for AVeekly Conversa- 
tion, he expressed a lively interest in the matter, and 
begged permission to attend. Of course we readily con- 
sented, although the Mistress somewhat abated my zeal 
over the acquisition of a new proselyte to entomology 
by suggesting that, perhaps, the chief object of Penn's 
interest belonged to a higher order of creatures than 
insects ! But that is a way which our lady friends 
have — they seem to think that no subject can have 
such attractions to men, particularly young men, as 
themselves ! Be that as it may, Penn appeared in our 
next circle, and as the invitation had been extended 
to all his family, he brought with him his mother. 

Mrs. Townes is a plain Friend, adhering closely, but 
without rigidity, to the doctrines, manner, dress and 
speech of her ancestors. She had already sliown a 
neighborly interest in us, and with a love of nature and 
natural science which is characteristic of the Society to 
which she belongs, entered heartily into our conversa- 
tions. Her kindly ways had gained for her among 
"Avorld's people" throughout all our country side the 
familiar title of " Aunt Hannali." We readily dropped 
into the usage, as it seemed a happy compromise 
between the jilain " Hannah " of her co-religionists, 
which appeared to us lacking in respect, and the formal 
" Mi*s. Townes," which was somewhat distasteful to her. 

"Among the tenants of our old farm," I said, " there 
are none more numerous than the ants. I shall liavc 
something to say about them by-and-by, but to-night 
I slinll spoalc about some of their cousins-german who 


live in Texas. One summer I visited that State to 
make some studies upon a certain ant," 

''Does tliee mean to say," interrupted Aunt Han- 
nah, "that thee went all that distance, two thousand 
miles, just to study a single insect ?" 

"Certainly he did," the Mistress answered, "in the 
blazing heat of summer, too. He lived like an Indian, 
worked like a negro, spent no one knows how much 
money for traveling, outlit, wages, etc., then fell to 
work and wrote and published his book at his own ex- 
pense, all for the sake of one miserable little ant that 
stings like a wasp, and is a nuisance in Texas harvest 
lields. You wouldn't ask such a question. Aunt Han- 
nah, if you knew the naturalists better. Why, they 
are the veriest race of Paul Prys I ever saw. Talk 
about the curiosity of women ! I don't believe there's 
a woman in Christendom that would go through so 
much labor, danger and expense just to peek and pry 
into the secrets of an ant-hill. But, there ! Excuse 
me, dear, I fear this is an outbreak of the old- 
fashioned prejudice. You know I am now only too 
happy to see you busy among your Inigs." 

The company had a hearty laugh at the Mistress's 
somewhat vivid portraiture of a naturalist, in which I 
joined with zest. 

"I shall not be oftended," I said, "at such good- 
natured truth-telling as that. I assure you that I 
think none the loss of myself for that old-time infotua- 
tion. Moreover, I cordially agree with the conclusion 
of the matter. Men are more curious than women 


many times over. I have often said it, and for that 
very reason have maintained that the sterner sex will 
always be the superior naturalists. But a truce with 
this ! AVe are making no progress with our story. 

" I made my camp in a mesquit grove on the plateau 
of Barton Creek, a branch of the Colorado, a few miles 
beyond Austin, not far from the government trail to 
San Antonio. Here I found the insects which I sought in 
abundance, and spent several weeks studying them. 
But I shall not speak of them now. I found also 
another interesting species, the Cutting or Parasol Ant, 
whose habits I investigated. They furnish a remark- 
able example in one insect of both the cave-dwelling 
and engineering habit of which we have been recently 
conversing. In the first place we want to make the ac- 
quaintance of the ant itself. In this box, which I have 
had sent me from my collection in the Academy of 
Natural Sciences, are pinned specimens of the various 
castes or forms that may be found in one of the Cutting- 
Ant nests. 

"Is it possible that these are ants?'' cried Abby, as 
the box was opened. "Why they are larger than a 

" Yes, these largest forms are the females or young 
queens, the next in size are the males. These wingless 
fellows with the large heads are the soldiers, and others, 
running down through several forms to these tiny 
creatures no bigger than our little brown garden ant, 
are the workers. This diilerence in size among the 
individual castes of one species, in one common domi- 


FIG. 78. — WINGED fe:male, male, soldier axd worker- 
major OF CUTTIXG-ANT {Attafcrvcus). 

cile, is one of the most cui'ious fiicts in natural his= 

"A word about these winged ants?'' asked Abby. 
"I do not quite understand. I have often heard 
people speak of a winged ant as though it were a special 
kind. But you speak of winged and unwinged forms in 
the one nest. Please explain." 

" The males and young females of ants are always 
winged. In this respect they resemble their hymen- 
opterous allies, the bees and wasps. When they ai*e 


inutuivd, thuy swarui or go forth ou their iimrriage 
flight, as it is called. After this, the males all perish 
or arc devoured by various animals. The young females 
tear off their wings and hurrow in the ground. They 
are then queens, and become mothers and founders 
of new colonies." 

" But why do they tear off their wings ?" asked Abby. 
"The queen bumble-])ee that we saw the other da}' had 
her wings quite like all the other bees." 

"Yes, the workers of bees and wasps are all winged, 
and their mode of life, while gathering food afield as 
well as at home, for the most part requires and is accom- 
modated to a winged state. It is different Avith ants, 
who are largely scavengers and burrowers, having no 
use for wings except during the marriage flight, for 
which purpose solely they seem to be provided. The 
queen ant doubtless finds the beautiful appendages to 
her wardrobe entirely too cumbersome for her Avorkaday 
life, and therefore puts herself into plain attire." 

"There, Aunt Hannah," suggested Abby. "You 
see you can 'go to the ant' to find a justification for 
your notions about plain dressing." 

" Thank thee, Abby, for thy good Avord," said Aunt 
Hannah, smiling. "But thee forgets that the queen 
bee and all her busy workers, who have quite as good 
a name for the virtues of industry and economy, keep 
their gay apparel. Friends are not so severe in their 
views of dress as they used to be, and perhaps there is 
less need of their testimony. At all events, to return 
to thy analog}', if it seems becoming to the queen ant to 




cast off her gaudy ornaments, Ave 
will not say that the queen bee 
who adheres to her wings is without 
natural, becoming and industrious Avays. My plain 
bonnet suits me very well, Abby, but perhaps it might 
not be so becoming to thy beauty. Though, I think 
thee would make a very pretty Quakeress, too !" she 
added, with a pleasant smile, and kindly glanced at the 
blushing Schoolma'am. 

We cordially enjoyed this good-humored sally, and 


with u word of comineiulatiou tor Aunt Hannah's 
generous opinions, 1 resumed my narrative. 

" Tliere were several large colonies of cutting-ants at 
j)oints sufficiently near camp for purposes of study. 
The surface architecture presented two typical forms. 
One of these was that of a mound twenty-one feet long 
and about four feet high, which had been accumulated 
around a large double-trunk live-oak tree {Quercus 
r I reus), which stood on the side of a road. (Fig. 7i).) 
The second form was located on a high, llat, up- 
land prairie, and was a bed of denuded earth, about 
nine by seven feet in dimensions. It was placed in 
the midst of the grassy open, but not far from a young 
grove of forest trees, 

" Over the denuded surface were scattered between 
twent}- and thirty circular, semi-circular, and S-shaped 
elevations of fresh earth-pellets. The circular mound- 
lets had the appearance of a cuspidore, the resemblance 
being stronger by reason of a round, open entrance or 
gallery-door in the center. All had been naturally 
formed l)y the gradual accumulation of the pellets of 
sandy soil, as they were brought out by the workers 
and dumped upon the circumference of the heap. The 
moundlets were from three to four inches high, massed 
at the base, and gradually sloi)ed oil' toward the top. 
I found several of these ' beds,' as the Texans call them, 
and this is doubtless the normal form of the external 
architecture of the formicary. The live-oak mound 
was prol^ably formed by accumulations around the tree, 
caused by the bordering road wliich restricted the limits 


of the gates, and so threw separate 
moundlets back upon each other. 

" My first view of the mound led 
me to fear that I had made a seri- 
ous mistake and pitched my camp 
near an abandoned nest. There 
was not a sign of hfe. The mound 
was covered over with earthen 
knobs or warts of various sizes, but 



the action of a recent shower upon the black soil gave 
the hill the appearance of an old one. Here and tLre 
were scattered over the surface small, irregular heaps 
of dry leaves, bits of leaves and twigs. Otherwise the 
mound seemed lifeless, deserted. 

" My next visit was in the evening. After supper I 



left one of my men to guard camp and build a camp- 
fire, and took another with me carrying a lantern, to 
the live-oak nest. An amazing change had occurred ; 
instead of silence and seeming desolation a scene of 
thronging life and stirring activity was presented. 
Hosts of ants of various sizes, and in countless numbers, 
were hurrying out of open gates into the neighboring 
jungle, and two long double columns were stretched 
from bottom to top of the overhanging live-oak ; one 
column ascended, the other descended the tree. The 
ants in the descending column all carried above their 
heads portions of green leaves, which waved to and fro 
and glanced in the lantern light, giving to the moving 
host a weird look as it mov'ed along. It seemed like a 
procession of Lilliputian Sabbath-school children bear- 
ing aloft their banners. It is this habit which has 
given the insect in some quarters the popular name of 
the "Parasol Ant." 

" But what could the creatures want with parasols ?" 
asked Abby, " There was neither sunshine nor rain to 
protect themselves from ?" 

" We shall see the use of these leaf-cuttings presently. 
The name parasol is of course based upon a popular 
fancy, as these ants when seen abroad are usually ac- 
companied—like that friend of our boyhood, Robinson 
Crusoe — with their odd-looking umbrella-like append- 
ages." (Fig. 81.) 

"Do they hold them in their hands?" asked Aunt 

" N'o, in their jaws or mandibles ; an odd place to 



carry a parasol, perhaps, but they manage it well. I 
will show you how this is done when I have explained 
the leaf-cutting habit. I observed very fully at the nests 
around ni}^ camp and in vegetable gardens near Austin 
the mode of cutting and carrying leaves. In order 

better to see the process I 
thrust leafy branches of 
live-oak into the mound 
near the gates. They 
"were soon covered with 
ants, and as the lantern 
could thus be used con- 
veniently, the operations 
of the cutters wei'e com- 
pletely in view. The cut- 
ting is done in this way : 
The cutter grasps the 
leaf with outspread feet 
and makes an incision at 
the edge by a scissors-like motion of her sickle-sluaped, 
toothed mandibles. She gradually revolves, steadily 
cutting as she does so, her mandibles thus describing a 
circle, or the greater portion thereof. The feet turn 
with the head. The cut is a clean one quite through 
the leaf." 

"How largo a piece do the insects cut out ?" Aunt 
Hannah asked. 

" The cutting is about the size of a ten-cent piece or 
sixpence, and is usually rotnidish in shape, though often 
irregular. Tlie cutter woulil sometimes drop with the 




excision to the the ground, sometimes retire when the 
section had dropped, and sometimes seize the section 
and carry it down the tree or branch." 

'' I was greatly interested to notice here an apparent 
division of labor. At the foot of one tree was a pile of 
cut leaves, to which clippings were being continually 
added hy droppings from above. Carriers on the 



ground took these up and Ijore them to the nest. The 
loadhig of the sections was accomphshed in this wise : 
the piece was seized witli the curved mandibles, the 
head elevated and the piece thrown back with a quick 
motion. Let me draw for 3'ou the head of an ant and 
you will see how this is done. A deep furrow runs 
along the entire medial line, except the part at the very 
end of the lace called the clypeus. At the edge of 
this furrow, on cither side, and on the prothorax pro- 
jecting over the neck are prominent spines, which you 
will notice if you look again at the specimens. (Fig. 84.) 

" I have a cousin who once lived in Texas," remarked 
Penn, "and he has told me that things down there have 
a wonderful tendency to be jagged and thorny. How 
is that ?" 

" Certainly it is so with many plants and animals. 
Both species of ants studied by me, the cutting {Attn 
fcrverifi) and agricultural {Pogonorjvjrmcx harhaltis) are 
marked with strong spines. TIicu there are spinous 
spiders, though we have some of them on our old farm 
too ; horned toads hopping everywhere, horned lizards 
running swiftly over the ground, prickly cactus plants 
grown Into great bushes, thorn trees of many sorts, the 
soap i)lant, the splendid Spanish bayonet, certainly well 
named, and, not to be tedious, the fanious wide-liorned 
Texas cattle herding in thousands on the plains. 

" The spines upon our cutting ant together with the 
furrow seem to serve a very good purpose. The 
worker seizes the leaf-section and l)y a quick motion 
lodges it on edge within the furrow and between the 


spines. This is done, at least, in some cases. The 
cutting and carrying were not done, so far as I saw, by 
the smallest castes. The soldiers also rarely engaged in 
this work but were seen to precede the excursion columns 
as they moved out and up the tree, and afterward to 
return as though engaged as scouts or pioneers. They 
are grotesque-looking creatures as they move along 
with a rolling gait, shaking their big heads and waving 
their antenme. 

Here Dan joined in the conversation. 

"Mars Maylier, I doan see how you could abar to 
mix up wid deni ants in dat away. I wouldn't do it 
for no mone}'. Dey's entirely too wise for scch brute 
critters. Tain't naterl wisdom nohow. How yo' s'pose 
dey do all dem tings jes by 'msels ? Doan tell me ! 
My ole mammy done tell me often : ' Nebber 'stroy de 
ants, houey. Dey'z all fairies ; eb'ry one of 'em fairies; 
'n ef yo' interfar wid' em dey '11 'witch our cows so dat 
dey'Ugive no milk.' Dis's a great dairy county, Mars 
Maytiel', 'n I tell yo' dar's powerful need of bein' cau- 
tious 'bout meddlin' too much wid tings wat's got 
secli onnaterl ways. 'Sense nic, sah, but dat's my 

"All right, Dan," I responded; "this is 'Liberty 
Hair on our Conversation nights, and we want every 
one to feel free to speak upon the subject before us. 
Besides, I have now said all that 1 intend to-night, and 
will gladly hear others." 

"Daniel," said Aunt Hannah, "doesn't thee know 
tlint tliat is superstition '? No such power as thee 


spoke of is given to any creature. The insects have 
natural power to harm us, and they do it pretty freely, 
some of them, but they have nothing more, and thee is 
too old to believe and utter such unwise things. Where 
did thee learn such things ?'■' 

"1 am afraid, Aunt Hannah," said I, answering for 
Dan, " that our friend is too old to rid himself of these 
notions, and I have already put our 3'oung people on 
their guard. I don't wonder, however, that Dan has 
picked up that superstition about ants bewitching cows, 
for he is from Maryland, you know, and such an opinion 
does certainly prevail in the neighborhood of AVashing- 
ton, and throughout Virginia." 

This little episode concerning the occult powers of 
nature brought Sarah to the front, as such subjects 
were pretty sure to do. Standing in the kitchen door 
with hands under her apron, she attacked Aunt 
Hannah's position with much emphasis. "Super- 
stition ! There it goes ag'in ! Folks is got so awful 
larned nowadays, that they're not content onless 
they're upsottin' some belief 'r other that connnon folks 
liold, an' their feythers afore 'em. Xow, for my part, 
I heUcvc 'n witches. More 'n that, I believe that not 
only dumb critters but human l)ein's, too, arel)ewitched 
— lots of 'em ! That's not to say, however, that Dan's 
right about them ants. I don't believe ther's any 
harm in 'em at all. Dan got the curt afore the horse, 
as he ginrely does. I believe there's good luck in ants. 
They're most industrious critters, trig and tidy as a 
posey. An' w'at's more, Scripter connuends 'em, and 




sots 'em up as an example for usn's — barrin' always 
them pesky little red house-auts w'icli I don't believe 
Scripter ever meant to include. Doesn't the Bible say 
' Go to the ant, thou sluggard — consider her ways and 
be wise ' ? Now you don't think the Bible'd speak 
tiiat-a-way 'v witches, do you, Dan ? Of course not, 

" I ahccu/s hecrd there 'z good luck in ants. My 
granmam told me — she was an Englishwoman — that it 
was writ in the Royal Dream Book that to dream of 
ants or bees showed that you'd live in a great town or 
city, or in a large fiimily, and that you will be indus- 
trious, happy, well married, and have a large family." 

"Well, Sary Ann," answered Dan, rising from the 
cricket and placing himself in a safe position by the 
back kitchen door, " ole Dan, mel)be, doan' git t'ings 
alius perpendickler ; but I reckon he'd git it "bout right 
this time ef he'd 'low that you didn't never dream uv 
ants!" With this retort he disappeared, wafting back 
to the disconcerted cook — whose matrimonial venture 
had been notoriously unfortunate — a triumphant and 
aggravating " He, he ! ho !" 

" Thee must excuse Daniel," said Aunt Hannah, who 
felt bound to apologize for the old man's familiar ways. 
"Thee knows he has been employed in the family for 
half a century and more, and like most old servants, he 
is disposed to take many liberties. Indeed, he feels a 
sort of proprietorship in the old place." 

"Don't trouble yourself, Aunt Hannah," responded 
the Mistress. " Mr. Mayfield is anxious to call out all 
the curious notions aud superstitious which prevail about 


insects among all classes of persons, and he has encour- 
aged all our people to talk freely. They are not likely 
to step much beyond the bounds of propriety, and I 
don't care to restrain them." 

"Yery well; thee will find Daniel a good, faithful 
fellow, but much tainted with curious African supersti- 
tions, and sometimes over-free with his opinions. 
Good-night, and many thanks for this pleasant evening 
and thy kind invitation to return. Come, Penu, if tliee 
has finished explaining that ant-hill to friend Abby, 
we will CO.' 



" What do the cutting-ants do with the leaves 
which they carry into their holes ?" The evening's 
conversation began with this question. 

" I was very anxious to answer that inquiry, you may 
be sure, and there was only one way to do so — I must 
dig up the nest. My three assistants were armed with 
pick and shovel ; I was provided with trowel, knife, 
pocket-rule, and my little satchel, tilled with boxes, 
bottles, and various odds and ends for collecting speci- 
mens and other work. Camp-stool and drawing 
materials stood at the road-side. We knew that the 
insects would swarm upon us in innumerable legions 
when we assaulted their home, and that their sharp 
pincers would be formidable weapons. We therefore, 
like ancient knights, girt ourselves with armor for the 

" Handkerchiefs and scarfs were bound around 
face and ears under our hats ; bandages swatlied our 
necks tightly ; trousers wei-e thrust into boot-tops, 
and these tightened to the legs ; hands were gloved 
and wrists bandaged ; indeed, every opening tln-ough 
the clothing by which the angry ants might find way 
to the body was protected by wrappings. Thus ar- 
rayed, I led my little army to the assault. 


Two men were detailed for the digging, one to the 
work of brushing olf the ants with leafy branches and 
wisps of grass. Two trenches were made ; one ten 
feet long and five feet deep, and a second at right 
angles to it, and wide enough to allow free entrance for 
purposes of study. We were not disappointed in our 
calculation as to the reception which the ants would 
give us. The swift use of the spade and the general 
convulsion of their emmet world did, indeed, daze thexn 
for a little while , but they were not long in rallying. 
Hundreds — thousands — hundreds of thousands poured 
out of the excavations. I never saw anything like it. 
I was amazed at the extraordinary number of creatures 
inhabiting that one hill. The knight of the whisk was 
overwhelmed with the duty of keeping the assailing 
legions from his comrades of the spade. I came to his 
help. We were both driven to our utmost. The dig- 
gers were literally covered with ants ; and when the 
insects liad mounted as far as their necks, they were 
compelled to leap from the trench, and join their own 
labors with ours in freeing them from the attacking 

"It does seem too bad," exclaimed Aunt Hannah, 
" that thee should have felt bound so to destroy the 
poor creatures ! Didn't thy conscience hurt thee some 
for such wholesale spoliation and killing ?" 

" Not in the least— certainly in the case of cutting- 
ants, who are fearful pests to the farmers, as we shall 
see by-and-by. Do you feel any scruples at your hus- 
band's slaughter of the potato-beetles?" 

^ '=^^ — — — /" _ — _ \^ ~ ^1 


" Joseph doesn't have any, at all events," said Aunt 
Hannah, smiling. 

"Besides that," I continued, "the naturalist, as a 
priest in the temple of nature, must have some power 
over the life of the lower creatures. I didn't kill any 
more ants than were actual^ necessary for study. If 
we hadn't killed them they would have driven us from 
the held ; for I assure you, Aunt Hannah, they don't 
practice your gentle Quaker principles of non-resist- 
ance. But to go back to my story. 

"By dint of perseverance we finished our trenches, 
and had beautifully exposed the interior of the formi- 
cary. We were not long in reaching the caves in which 
the ants dwell. Then came my turn to enter the 
trench, for the rude strokes of spade and pick could not 
be trusted to the delicate work of making out the 
forms and jiroportions of the rooms and roadways of 
the formicary. It is no easy task to trace these 
through the inside of a crumbling ant-hill, and it re- 
quired careful work. Down into the trench, therefore, 
I nuist go, and as I had to work slowly and at close 
quarters, picking away piece by piece, measuring, tak- 
ing notes, gathering specimens, I was flxr more exposed 
"than my assistants. Indeed, it required the united 
efforts of all three to keep the aiits away from my face. 
As for the rest of my body I bade ,them let that go, 
although occasionally a soldier ant would thrust his 
sharp sickles even through mj^ clothing, and force me 
to give him attention. However, our punishment by 
these insects was mild as compared with that of the 



agricultural auts, who have stings as sharp and viru- 
lent as hornets. 

"The interior of the formicary may be briefly de- 
scribed as an irregular arrangement of caverns com- 
nuuiicating with the surface and with each other by 
tubular galleries. These caverns or pockets were of 
various sizes, three feet long and less, and twelve inches 
\.ep by eight inches high, and less. Now we come to 
lAe question of how the ants dispose of the leaves which 
they collect. 

"Within these caverns were masses of alight, delicate 
leaf-paper wrought into what may properly be called 
'combs.' Some of the masses were in a single hemi- 
sphere, lining the central parts of the cave ; others 
were arranged in columnar masses two and one-half 
inches high, placed in contact along the floor. Some 
of these columns hung-likc a rude lioney-comb or wasp's 
uest from roots that interlaced the chamber. The 
material was in some cases of a gray tint, in others of 
a lead-brown color and was all evidently composed of 
the fibre of leaves." (Fig. 88.) 

"You speak of this material as leaf-paper,' said 
Abl)y. " Do you mean that the leaves were fastened 
together like pieces of paper, or that they were ground 
up and made into a true paper?" 

" The fibre of the leaves had actually been reduced 
to pulp, and spread out into a papery mass, which had 
dried into the shapes described." 

" But how could this have been done ?" 

"Undoubtedly by the joint action of the mandibles 



and salivary glands. The former organs are powerful 
instruments that readily grind up the leaves, which are 
kept moist and pliable by the latter organs. This is, in 
fact, a rude process of paper-making, and it is not sur- 
prising to find the habit in the ants, since it exists in 
great perfection among their close relations, the wasps. 
"On examination, the pulpy masses proved to be 
composed of cells of various sizes, irregular in shape, 
but maintaining pretty constantly the hexagon. Some 
of the cells were half an inch in diameter, many one- 
fourth inch, most of them one-eighth inch, and cpiite 
minute. Some were one inch deep, and usually nar- 
rowed into a funnel-like cylinder. Large circular open- 
ings penetrated the heart of the columns. Ants in 
great number, chiefly of the small castes, were found 
Avithin the cells ; in the first large cave opened Avere 
also great quantities of larvte." 

" Does thee know what these leaf-combs are used 
for?" asked Aunt Hannah. 

" I believe that they are the living-rooms of the ants, 
particularly of the grubs and younglings. The eggs, I 
think, are deposited within the cells, and are there 
hatched. The paper is so fragile that it breaks under 
the most delicate handling, but the ants ran over it 
with impunity. However, Mr. Belt has started the 
curious theory that the leaf-paper masses are a sort 
of mushroom garden, wherein a minute fungus is pur- 
posely cultivated by the ants for food. That, if true, 
would certainly show a rare degree of intelligence, 
though by no means beyond the emmet capacity. I 


subnulled some of my specimens to the microscope, 
and they did show fungus growtlis, but that is only 
what might be expected in such dark, underground en- 
vironment. I believe that the chief food of the ants is 
tlie juice of the leaves which they gather, although they 
are not confined to that diet. I saw one immense 
cohunn, for example, engaged in j)lundering a granary 
of wheat, which was being carried away, grain by grain, 
to the nest." 

"Have they any preference among the trees Avhich 
tliey defoliate ?" asked Abby. 

"Yes; a decided preference. The principal leaves 
gathered at my camp were those of the live-oak. The 
great tree above the mound was, in some parts, stripped 
to the very top. The young saplings in the neighbor- 
hood were in great part or wholly stripped. Some wild 
vine unknown to me was an especial firvorite, but some 
plants stood in the little tliicket around quite untouched. 
I thought it curious, by-the-way, that the workers 
showed a preference for beginning their operations at 
the topmost or outmost twigs of the branches. A 
cliina-tree which I observed showed one side nearly 
stripped of leaves, while the other side was untouched. 
(Fig. 89.) 

"I visited the grounds of an intelligent nurseryman 
near Austin, and learned from him many interesting 
facts. The ants prefer trees with a smooth leaf, are 
severe upon grapes, peaches, china-tree, radishes ; take 
celery, beets, young corn and wheat, plum, pomegran- 
ate, honeysuckle, cape jessamine, cape myrtle, althea. 




Ou the other hand, they do not hke lettuce, won't take 
the paper mulberry, nor figs and cedar, except the bud 
ends in the scant days of winter. They love sugar, 
grain and — tobacco !" 

"Tobacco!" exclaimed Aunt Hannah; "can such 
an unnatural taste exist in a pure state of nature ?" 

"Oh, for that matter," remarked Abby, "I think 


it far more fitting material for an ant's jaws than a 
man's !" 

" They certainly seem to find a use for it," I resumed, 
" for the nursery man assured me that the ants made 
foraging excursions even into his house, entered his 
desk-drawers, and carried away a portion of his chew- 
ing tohacco before the robbery was discovered. He had 
to be very careful thereafter where he deposited the de- 
lectable weed." 

"Truly," cried Abby, " wondei's never cease to be 
explained. It has always 'been a mystery to me how the 
tobacco-chewing habit could have originated among 
men. But here we have it ! It comes down by long 
descent from some far away emmet ancestor of ours !" 

"Tut, tut, Abby," interposed Aunt Hannah. 
"What does thee mean by such nonsense?" 

"Nonsense! Why should you call it that?" re- 
torted Abby, while her e3'es twinkled merrily. "It 
was only a few days ago that I read, floating through 
our daily papers, a saying of one of Mr. Mayfield's dis- 
tinguished ant-loving friends to the efl'ect that if one 
were to judge from intelligence and general affinity of 
social haljit and organization alone, man might more 
readily be derived from an ant than from an ape. So, 
there ! My remark has the wisdom of the evolutionists 
behind it, and a specialist's justification besides." 

" We cannot stop to settle the wisdom of Abby's re- 
mark," I observed, "or even whether she is in jest or 
earnest. But I wnll cordially endorse Sir John Lub- 
bock's remark, with a good deal of emphasis, however, 


on the if. I was frequently surprised at the abiUty of 
these cuttuig-ant masons to excavate vast halls and 
subterranean avenues. I visited several holes in the 
vicinity of Austin, out of which 'beds ' or nests of ants 
had been dug by an old man who used to follow the 
business of an ant-exterminator. These holes were 
nearl}' as large as the cellar of a small house. One 
such excavation, about three miles from the city, was 
twelve feet in diameter and fifteen feet deep. At the 
lowest point the main cave or chamber had been found 
which, I was told, was as large as a flour barrel. In 
this central cavern were many winged insects, males 
and females, and quantities of larvae. It was the head' 
quarters of the formicary, whence, in various dii'ec- 
tions, radiated avenues through which the workers 
issued upon their numerous raids. 

"I was struck by the engineering skill displayed in 
laying out these avenues. Take this example. The 
nest of Avhich I speak was situated 669 feet from a tree 
that stood in the front yard of a gentleman's house. 
The tree had been stripped bare of leaves b}' the cutting- 
ants ! Assisted by a young civil engineer, I took the 
range of the underground way traversed to reach this 
point, and from the survey, an accurate route was con- 
structed by a friend in the office of the Pennsylvania 
Railroad. This is a copy of it (see page 264.) You 
see that the course varies little from a direct line. 
There were no turnings or twistings, but the tunnel ran 
from point to point straight as an arrow flies. In this 
respect the map is true to the facts." (Fig. 90.) 



" That is an important explana- 
tion," Abby remarked, "for I have 
learned to take all maps that issue 
from railroad offices with great 
allowance for a scientific use of 
the imagination. It is surprising 
to see how straight their lines run 
between main points on the maps, 
and hoAv many curves, SAveeps and 
deflections there are when j'ou come 
to ride on their trains !" 

As Abby's sally evidently touched 
a common experience it was greeted 
with hearty merriment. "I can 
vouch for the accuracy of this chart, 
at all events," I said. "And this 
is all the more remarkable when you 
remember that the lines were run 
nndergroicnd. In some places the 
tunnel Avas as deep as six feet be- 
neath the surface, the average depth 
being al)Out eighteen inches. At 
the 'Exit Hole,' 484 feet from the 
nest, the tunnel was two feet deep. 
1 am not prepared to say upon 
what principles these lines were laid 
out by the ants, but 1 venture the 
opinion that they show as good evi- 
dence of thorough engineering in 
going directly to their points of des- 


tination, as do the fixmous underground railways of Lon- 
don. Besides this main way which I haved escribed, there 
were two branch tunnels which deflected from the 
trunk-line near the country road, in order to gain en- 
trance to a peach orchard one hundred and twenty feet 

"How did you trace these tunnels ?" asked Penn. 
"It must have been an immense work to dig after 

" The work had been done by the planter, who, de- 
termined to exterminate the nest, had traced it up with 
the help of laborers. Much of the way was actually 
dug out, and the trench was visible when I visited the 
place. As to the rest, it was only necessary to sink 
holes here and there along the estimated course, and 
when the tunnel was struck, take another bearing. 
The nest was finally reached, and the great pit was 
there to show how extensive the colony had l)een. 

" In view of such observations as these, I am quite 
prepared to believe the story related by Dr. Lincecum, 
who long observed the habits of the cutting-ants in 
Texas, that they on one occasion tunneled heneeUh a 
stream in order to reach a garden that lay on the 
opposite side. There is one other remarkal)le habit 
which I observed before the mound nest near my 
camp had been destroyed. It relates to the opening 
and shutting of the gates which communicate with the 
interior. I soon found that dooi's were opened and 
closed before and after every exit from the nest. The 
process is a long, careful, and complicated one." 



'■" What did the gates look hke ?" asked Harry, 

"They are simply little heaps of dry leaves, twigs, 

and such like refuse, which are seen scattered here and 

there over the mound as one approaches it in day-time. 

(Fig. 91.) When I first saw them, as I have told you. 



I was completely deceived, and thought them nothing 
more than accidental accumulations. I found out, 
however, that these piles were raised above the surface 
opening of the galleries that penetrated the mound, 
and that they filled the mouths to the depth sometimes 
of an inch and a half. The leaves and chips were in- 
termingled with pellets of soil, and occasionally below 
them the gallery was quite sealed with pellets. The 
galleries frequently slant inward from the gate, and at 
as great an angle as forty-five degrees. Sometimes 
they deflect a .short distance from the top. Tliese con- 
formations allow more readih' the process of closing, as 
they give a purchase to the material used, 

"The doors are opened about dusk. First npjiear the 


minims, tlie very small forms, creeping out of minute 
holes, which they have doubtless made by working 
inside, and deporting from the heap grains of sand. 
Presently larger forms follow, carrying away bits of 
refuse, which they drop a couple of inches more or less 
from the gale. This is a slow process, and apparently 
nothing is accomplished for a long time. But evidently 
the whole mass of plugging is thus gi'adually loosened. 
Then comes the final burst, with soldiers, majors and 
minors in the lead, who rush out, bearing up before 
them the rubbish, which tlies here and there, and in a 
few moments is cleared away from the gallery and 
spread around the margin of the gate. (Fig 02.) These 


chips are doulitless gathered together for this purpose, 
and are among the treasured properties of the ants 
being kept near by for such service. I easily identified 


many pieces as being thus used several days in succes- 

" Tlie doors remain open to give exit and entrance to 
the swarnis of leaf-gatherers until morning when tliey 
are gradually closed, the process continuing in some 
cases until 10:30 a.m. In shutting up the house the 
minors appear to begin by dragging the scattered refuse 
tQward the hole. One by one they are taken in, and the 
ingenuity shown in tliis is very great.' My field note- 
book is full of sketches showing the progress, step by 
step, of gate-closing, and the admirable manner in 
which tiie workers proceed by properly adjusting the 
longest stalks and leaves that can stretch across and 
wedge into the moutlj of the gallery, and then laying 
the shorter one atop of these. (Fig. 93.) 

" But I cannot dwell upon these details. As the hole 
gradually fills up, the smaller castes of workers ap- 
pear upon the field and take up the work to which their 
slighter frames are adn pted. The last touches are care- 
fully and delicately made by the ininims who, in small 
squads, fill in the remaining interstices with minute 
grains of sand ; and finally the last laborer steals in 
behind some bit of leaf, and the gate is closed. It then 
presents to the casual observer the appearance which I 
have described, and which is shown in the cut, of a 
small heap of dry chips accidentally accumulated upon 
the ground." 

I was delighted to note the interest with which my 
friends followed this description, and how eagerly they 
liung upon my words. Several drew a deep breath and 


ultered various exclamations as 1 coiicliuk'd, and when 
1 called attention to a figure which I had drawn, show- 
ing a gate when closed, and the same when opened, 
even Sarah left her recess in the shadow of the kitchen 
door to look at it. 

"An' what do they go thro' all thet hother for?" at 
length she asked. I iiesitated a moment, but observing 
that the question voiced the wish of others, was about 
to speak, when Dan took up the answ^er for me. 

"Bress yo' heart, honey," he said. " What do //o' 
shet yo' doahs fer ? Ef eber dar wur a 'tickler body on 
dat subject uv shettin' doahs, it's yo', Sairy Ann. 
An' I's done said, many en' many's the time, dat de 
'mount uv bother 't yo'd make 'bout dem ole doahs 
nv yo's, is onreasouable out uv all perportion." 

" Onrcasonable !" cried Sarah, quite thrown off lier 
guard. '•That's the way with you men — alius the 
way. Do ye call 't onreasouable to keep flies out of 
the kitchen w'en ther wuss 'n the plagues uv Egypt ; 
an' to keep draughts off 'n the l)read dough, an' — but 
w'ats the use 'n talkin' V" She had retreated to her 
kitchen door by this time, and turned to hurl at her 
venerable tornietitor a question which she was wont to 
sliout at him many times a day. " I'd Jist like to 
know w'at doors 'er made fer, ef not to shet ?" 

" IIo, ho," langhed Dan, clasping himself in his 
arms, and rolling his l^ody in his usual way when 
greatly amused ; '' ho, ho ! I )at's zactly wat de ants tink 
about it, Sary Ann ! Wy didn't yo' start out wid dat 
quest'n, an' den yo' needn't 'v axtd nulliu' 'tall." 


AVheu llic ainui^einent which this little episode pi'O- 
diiced liad subsided, I resumed : 

"At first I contented myself witli looking for these 
gates in the near vicinity of the central mound or bed, 
but I soon found that there were many more openings. 
Indeed, one scarcely knew where he might stumble 
upon a group of the little miners crowding in busy 
groups out of holes in the grass, cai'rying pellets of 
earth, the product of their underground excavations. 
I never saw any but the smaller forms or minims en- 
gaged in this service of digging. They were night 
workers, and at times, as I moved over the ground 
thirty or forty feet from the central live-oak mound, I 
would see shining in the lantern-light among the grass 
a white ' dumping ' which showed where a bevy of 
masons w^ere at work. They had tapped the white 
adobe clay that lies several feet underneath the upper 
soil, and the nature of the pellets which the}' were cart- 
ing out showed that they were cutting rooms and gal- 
leries in that stratum. The accumulation outside the 
opening presented quite the appearance of a mimic 
railroad dumping, with a gang of laborers at work ; the 
minims issued from the cavernous shadows trembling 
under the weight of the white pellets borne before and 
above their heads, crossed the heap until the edge was 
reached, and then ' dumped ' their load. It was quite 
a comical sight to see some of them at this point. 
They raised themselves upon their hind legs, thrust 
their heads over the edge, and with a saucy jerk flung 
down the bit of clay. Others would put a fore-paw to 



either side of tlie foce, and striking forward with the 
legs, accelerate the movement of the pellet. Others, 
again, contented themselves with simply thrusting the 
head beyond the margin of the dump and dropping 
their load from the jaws. Here is a sketch of one of 
these mason groups engaged on a dumping." (Fig. 94.) 
" Certainly these little fellows have amazingly inter- 
esting parts," remarked Penn Townes ; "but they 
must be a great plague to the horticulturist. Is noth- 
ing done to destroy the creatures ?" 

"Oh, yes, there are various ways for their destruc- 
tion ; indeed the formidable nature of the insects' 
depredations has developed a class of men whose 
special business is to exterminate them. I heard of 
one at Austin, who had long followed the business of 
digging out nests, and was known as the ' Old Ant 
Man.' I saw some of his work— great holes, the size 
of a small cellar, from which vast formicaries had been 
literally dug out. I heard of another person who, 
being of an inventive turn, had devised a machine 
which dispenses with the laborious method of the old 
Austin ant man. I was fortunate enough to get one 
of his circulars, and here it is, with the wood-cut to 
illustrate the mode of operation. The cut, to be sure, 
is of a most primitive type, and looks as though it 
al;:o might have been manufactured by the inventor of 
the macliine. But it is very interesting, if not artistic, 
for it gives us some iiisight of an ant-bed, as seen by 
an experienced practical observer. Of course he has 
only made a rough diagram of a nest-interior, but you 



see that it shows a network of galleries, uniting caves of 
various sizes, just as I have described it. (Fig, 95.) 
" The ■ Insect Destroyer ' works about in this wise : 

fig. 95. — a patent ant extekminatok. — from thr 
inventor's circular. 

alternate layers of in;nited charcoal and sulphur or 
similar materials are laid in a hollow dug around one of 
the gates, and surrounded by a 'smoke chambei*. ' Tn 
one case a bellows, in another an air-pump, is attached 
to this chamber, and as the combustibles are blown 
into a flame, the gas thus generated is also forced down 
the galleries into the rooms, and of course suflbcates 
the ants. The inventor, as you sec, here advertises 
' the largest bed of Cutting Ants completely destroyed 
in twenty to forty minutes.' " 

" Dear me !" exclaimed Al)by, " that is surely a IVll 


destroyer ! He must have got this hint of exter- 
minating emmet cities by raining fire and brimstone 
upon them, from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah ! 
But see ! here is a conlirmation of your account of the 
location of gates at distant points ; our Texas artist has 
put httle putls of smolve curling up from holes way out 
here in the field." 

" Does the machine work satisfactory ?" asked Hugh. 

"Eeally, I cannot tell you, though I tried to ascer- 
tain that fact. But, if you have a mind to experi- 
ment, note the advertisement : ' Price, for Farm-Eight 
and Machine, all Complete, $20.' " 

" Ther's nothin' to expurmint on," answered Hugh, 
laughing, '" aroun' this ole farm, 'eejit mole runs and 
a few rat holes aroun' the barn ; an' I reckon it iid 
hardly pay to import a colony uv cuttin' ants jest to 
expurmint on them.'''' 

" I am sure that I wouldn't begrudge the money," 
said Aunt Hannah, " if the inventor would guarantee 
that his machine can smoke out our red house-ants," 

"Red ants, Aunt Hannah !" exclaimed the Mistress. 
" You surprise me ! I thought there wasn't enough 
encouragement in the way of stray crumlis of any sort 
around your house to justify even a red ant in venturing 
upon the premises." 

"Catherine Mayfleld," responded Aunt Hannah, 
with a little show of warmth, "■' thee must know that 
the matter of dirt has nothing to do with the presence 
of ants. They are tidy creatures enough and know 
how to pick up a living is the tidiest housekeeper's cup- 


boards. There are some insects, I grant thee, whose 
presence is a proof of uncleanhness, but it is no discredit 
to any houseekeeper to have red ants at times." 

"An' that's the mortal truth. Aunt Hanner," re- 
marked Sarali, who had been again aUured from tlie 
kitchen shadows by the nature of the conversation. 
" I've tried no end uv scourin' an' scrubbin' ; an' after 
I'd lied my closets all swep' an' garnished, and pol- 
ished to boot, along ud come them pesky mites uv 
critters, like the cast out devils in the Scripter, an' ud 
enter in bringin' ther neighbors with 'em, an' make 
things wuss 'n ever. For my part I don't see w'at sich 
anymiles wuz made fer, nohow ! ' ' Having thus deli versti 
her mind and started a problem that has puzzled wiser 
heads, she returned to her seat at the kitchen stove. 



The subject of two of our most interesting Conver- 
sations — the Music of Insects — was introduced by a 
casual discussion between Sarah, Hugli and Dan. The 
autumn air, ever since our advent to the old farm, liad 
been full of the shrilling of crickets, and the noisy 
vocalization of katy-dids. As the Fall advanced the 
notes grew fewer and fainter. Silence fell upon the air 
after the light, early frosts, which was broken once 
more Avhen the returning warmth of October's mellow 
suns allured the insects from their refuge in holes, under 
stones and in crevices of trees. Tlie call of the katy-did 
at last ceased ; the crickets creaked on through the 
dreamy haze of Indian summer, then fell into silence 
over all the fields, leaving only here and there a for- 
tunate adventui'er to push his way into human habita- 
tions, and from the shelter of friendly wall-crannies or 
the warmth of a log-fire figure with his monotonous 
chirrup as the "Cricket on the Hearth." (Fig. 96.) 

One evening Hugh and Dan were sitting on the bench 
beside the back-kitchen door, smoking their pipes and 
exchanging views upon the merits and demerits of in- 
sects of various sorts. One of the pleasant results of 

our Conversations has been to supply our regular and 



occasional workmen with a theme for intelligent discus- 
sion. We have been surprised — as they themselve& have 
been — to see how much they have been stimulated to 
observe the natural objects and phenomena which con- 
tinually fall in their way. Before this fall these had 
been nearly disregarded, or passed with a careless eye, 
and usually with a wrong idea of their nature and re- 
lations. Now, everything about the farm, especially of 
an insect kind, is sharply scrutinized. These obser- 
vations are compared and canvassed among them- 
selves, and often referred to me for decision and further 

We congratulate ourselves on this result, because 
whatever quickens the intellectual life of working 
people, or induces them to close and careful observa- 
tion of matters around them, and deepens their interest 
in the world through which they move, goes very f\ir to 
raise the quality of the laborers and enhavice tlie value 
of tiieir service. Certainly, this is an incidental result ; 
one, indeed, that we had not counted much upon ; but 
the fact that the happiness and intelligence of my 
hum])le friends have thus been promoted has been a 
strong stimulus to me to persist in my course. 

One of these discussions was in full progress between 
Hugh and Dan on the evening to which I alUide. 
Sarah was busy at the kitchen table that stood by I lie 
open window just above the bench on which the men 
sat, and so could join in llie conversation without inter- 
rupting her work. A lull in tlie talk gave her an oppor- 
tunity to change the subject to one on wiiich she 



evidently had strong views — crickets. She took her 
stand ou the kitclien stoop, for hetter effect in uttering 
^ her opinion, and with hands 

'^'7 ^ (one of A\hicli gia'^ped the dish- 

towtl) le^tnig ni a fa\orite at- 
titude upon h( 1 hip*-, '^lie began : 
"• It'b all A\eii} A\ell to talk 


about the peert habits an' sich uv 
them critters, but ther's one inseck 
that I hain't no use fer no how, and 
thet's the cricket," 

"W'y, w'at's the matter 'th the cricket?" asked 

"Its etarnal creat, creaA-, cree-eek ! That's w'at's 


tlie matter ! I can't abide it. 'T seemed to me that 
ther wus a dozen uv 'em in my room last night, an' I 
never closed my eyes a blessed minit fer the noise they 
made. Tho', fer thet matter, I reckon ther' wan't 
more'n one atter all. But, lawsamassy ! w'at a cree- 
crcc-cree-in'' it did keep up !" 

The cook bent forward, and made such an odd, em- 
phatic, and indignant imitation of the cricket's chirrup 
that the men laughed aloud. 

" Oh, yes ; it's mighty nice fer folks as sleeps like 
posts 'n pillars to laugh at others, but if you wus as 
restless o' nights as I am, an' 'ad been robbed uv a 
whole blessed night's sleep, ye'd laugh on t'other side 
uv your mouths, I kin tell you.'' 

Sarah was notoriously a sound sleeper, but that fact 
did not prevent her from indulging an infatuation 
which has fallen upon many wiser people, of lengthen- 
ing a few wakeful moments into as many hours. It is 
curious how people lose the power of computing time 
in the dark ! 

"But that isn't the wust o' crickets — ther noise 
ain't," continued Sarah. " I'd most as lief hear a hoot- 
owl ur a whip-poor-will under my windy a-nights as 
liev a cricket a-crcak-creakin' in my room. It's an 
omen uv death to some one uv the family, ur some near 
relation, and it jest sets me all uv a chill to hear 'em. 
I'd like to kill tho who> nasty, coftln-creakin' brood ! 
Thet's my opinion about crickets !" 

" Well, Sarah !'" s:iid Hugh, putting a cloud of smoke 
into the air, " if that is so, I guess there mus' be an 


awful mortality goin' on party stiddy among folks's re- 
lations in these parts, fer I never know'd a Fall around 
here that the crickets didn't holler like the nation. 
W'y the fields's full uv 'em, and some uv 'em alluz 
manage to creep in doors. Now, fer my part, I alluz 
heerd tell that the cricket was rather lucky'n other- 

"So'tis, Sary Ann, so't is," said Dan. " Yo's all 
out dar 'boout de crickets." 

" Wat do you know about crickets, Fd like to 
know ?" exclaimed Sarah, evidently scenting a contro- 

"I knows a heap, Sary Ann — a heap!" was the re- 

The old man took a deep whiff of tobacco, then folded 
his arms over his knees, lowered his body upon his 
arms, and shutting his eyes, dropped into a droning, 
subdued tone, as though he were speaking to some one 
in the air. 

"Wen I was a pickaninny, in ole Marylan'," he 
said, "not mo'n knee high to a duck, my mammy — a 
Virginny woman she wuz — wunst cought me killin' a 
cricket. I kin see des's plain's day de awful look on 'er 
face es she grabbed me, en signed de cross ober me, en 
den shuk me tel I farly chatter'd. 

" 'Doan ye nebber do dat agane, chile,' she said. She 
wuz so skeered thet she panted fer breaf, and could 
skarcely speak a word. 'I know ye done 't widout 
a-thinking, but hit's awful wrong to kill crickets, 
'spec'lly dem as 's in dohs, Dey's de sperits uv ole 


folkes, Iwncy !' She di'appcd her bref en spoke'n a 
wiiisper 'et farly made my blood run cold. ' Dat's w'at 
dey is, chile — ole folkses w'ats dead'n gone, en done 
come back to sit in dar ole corner by de kitchen hearth. 
Dey hadn't otter be harmed, cu woe's dem w'at kills 
'em.' Dat's jes w'at she said, en I 'member hit es 
though it happened yestahday." 

Dan slowly raised himself, took a deep, long pull at 
his pipe, then closing his eyes, again resumed in a low, 
solemn tone: "Dat — bery winter^ — in;/ mamm;/ died! 
an' to make t'ings wus-'n-wus, de ncx' summer ole 
Mars sot all his niggers free, 'en we uns uz moved up 
hyar inter Pennsylvany. Hit alius 'peared to me, ahter 
dat, ez dough I wuz 'sponsible somehow fer po' 
mammy's def, en fer hevin' to leave ole Mary Ian', too. 
I's been back dar sence, but my ole 'oman she wouldn't 
sta}- ; but dar's no kentry like a-dat. Dat's w'y I says, 
Sary Ann, et I knows a heap al)oot crickets. An' I 
does, I kin tell ye !" 

Sarah was silenced. She was so keenly sensitive to 
the class of emotions that Dan's tale Avas calculated to 
stir up, that she sat down upon the stoop quite sub- 
dued. Hugh Bond, however, was not mucli given to 
superstition. He had, indeed, imbibed some of the 
notions current among his class, but held them in a 
very superficial Avay, more as an indifferent habit of 
thought than with any sincerity of faith. Dan's story, 
therefore, made no serious impression upon him. In- 
deed he was rather amused by the manner of his old 
companion, and the eflect of his tale upon Sarah, 


At last he broke the silence : 

" Well, Dan, that's certainly a solemn account of 
things. But, accordin' to my mind, you hain't made 
out a very clear case agin the crickets. It looks to me 
about as broad's long, an' a leetle more so. If the 
crickets wuz responsible fer affairs at all, the loss uv 
your mannny is purty well balanced by the freein' uv 
all your master's slaves. You don't 'pear to reckon 
much on that, I 'low ; but, I rether 'spect thet you 
wouldn't find many uv the party to agree with you ; 
an' I "magine you'd sing another tune yourself ef you'd 
had to take the changes and chances uv a slave's life. 

"I remember hearin' somethin' uv this talk about 
crickets w'en I was a boy, but as I recolleck it was kind 
of betwixt an' between your notion and Sarah's. It 
was about like this : If crickets has been livin' in a 
house fer a long time, an' then up an' leaves uv a 
sudden, it's a sign that some evil '11 befall the family, 
p'r'aps the death uv some member. But then, on the 
contrary, the return uv these ins'tcks after they've been 
absent is a sign uv good luck ; in ftic', I alius heerd 
that the very presence uv crickets wuz counted lucky. 

"But the way I look at it, there's a heap o' humbug 
about the whole thing, not to call it wus'n that. Now, 
jist think a minit. Here we are, callin' ourselves 
Christian folks, an' believin' in a Providence thet rules 
the world. An' yit we sit down an' talk uv the Father 
Almight}^ Ruler uv Heav'n an' earth turnin' roun' and 
killin' ofl' a poor ole woman all along uv an innocent 
baby killin' a cricket. Fer my part I liain't no notion 


that the Lord consults crickets ur any other sort uvbug 
about the gover'ment uv human beins. But supposin' 
we ax Mr. Mayfield about this matter. He's chock full 
uv all kin's uv inseck larnin', an' '11 straighten it out 
fer us." 

So it came about that the crickets were made the sub- 
ject of an evening's discourse, and the topic broadened 
out into "Insect Music." Fortunately, Dr. Goodman 
had an engagement to preach and conduct a children's 
service in the "Blue Church," a free place for public 
religious service in our neighborhood, and as he was 
to be our guest, drove over Saturday afternoon, and 
was thus present at our Conversation. 

" Without stopping at present," I began, " to settle 
the points raised concerning the popular notions about 
crickets, I would like you first of all to know something 
about the natural history of the insects themselves. 
They belong to the sub-order Orthoptera, which maybe 
briefly characterized as having free biting mouth parts, 
with highly developed organs of nutrition and diges- 
tion. The first pair of wings arc somewhat thickened 
to protect the broad net-veined hinder pair which fold 
up like a fan upon the abdomen, and tlie hind legs are 
large and adapted for leaping. The larvre and pupa? are 
both active, and closely resemble the imago or perfect 
insect. All the species are terrestrial, having no quali- 
fications for water life, and the most typical forms have 
remarkable powers of flight, besides leaping powerfully. 
The grasshopper is the type of the group, and some of 
its best-known forms are the crickets, grasshoppers, 



locusts, mole-crickets, katydids, cockroaches, walking- 
sticks or spectres, and mantis or soothsayers." 

"Why are these insects called Orthoptera ?" asked 


"The word is composed of two Greek words— ort/ws, 
straight, and pteron, a wing. The Doctor is quite 
familiar with the first of these in the theological com- 


pound — orthodoxy. The name ' straight wings ' is 
given heeause their wings, when not in use, are folded 
lengtliwise in narrow plaits like a fan, and aie laid 
straight along the top or sides of the back. You will 
notice this by looking at these prepared specimens, 
which I have brought for our use this evening. We have 
several species, natives of our section, representing 
three genera, and besides these the common European 
house-cricket [Gri/lhts domcsticus), which has figured 
so largely in song, stoi-y, and superstition, has been im- 
ported and domesticated in some parts of the country. 
These differ quite widely in their habits, some being 
solitary, some social, some dwelling in the ground, 
some living upon trees, some nocturnal, others loving 
the day. 

" The story of their development is about as follows : 
Most of them deposit their numerous eggs in the 
ground, making holes for their reception with the long 
spear-pointed piercers with which the females are pro- 
vided for this purpose. The eggs are laid in the 
autumn, and do not appear to be hatched until the fol- 
lowing summer. One of our species, the White Climl)- 
ing Cricket {(Ecanthus nireus), differs from her sisters in 
egg-placing {ovipnsithni). She makes several perfora- 
tions in the tender stems of plahts, and in each punc- 
ture thrusts two eggs quite to the pith. These are 
hatched about midsummer, and the young immediately 
issue from their nests and conceal themselves among 
the thickest foliage of the plant. This kind of cricket 
inhabits the stems and branches of shrubs and trees. 


concealing itself in the day time among the leaves or in 
the flowers. It is to this hahit that the generic name 
is due (CEcanihus)^ a word which means inhabiting 
flowers. (Fig. 97.) 

" After hatching, the young crickets, in common with 
all the Orthoptera, very closely resemble the adult in- 
sects in form, and differ from them chiefly in wanting 
wings. They move about and feed precisely like their 
parents, but moult or change their skins repeatedly be- 
fore they come to their full size. This corresi^onds to 
the grub or larval stage in other insects. 

"The next stage is also quite different from that of 
moths, butterflies, and beetles. These insects, you 
have already learned, pass into a state of inactivity and 
rest, in which they lose the grub-like or larval form 
which they had when hatched from the egg, and be- 
come the pupa or crysalis. This resembles a little 
more nearly the mature form, but is soft, whitish, and 
with the undeveloped wings and legs incased in a thin, 
transparent skin, which impedes all motion." 

"Do we understand you to say," asked the Doctor, 
" that the cricket does not pass through the crj'salis 
stage ?" 

" Precisely. On the contrary, in the pupa state 
crickets do not difler from the j'oung and from the old 
insects, except in having the rudiments of wings and 
wing-covers projecting, like little scales, from the back 
near the thorax." 

" And is that the case with all the Orthoptera V" 

"Yes; grasshoppers, katydids, locusts, and all the 


rest have the same pecuUarity in their developiueut. 
These Orthopterous pupre are active and voracious, 
and increase greatly in size, whicli is not tlia case with 
insects that are subject to a complete transformation, 
for such never eat or grow in a pupa state. If you will 
catch a dozen grasshoppers and locusts at a venture, 
in a mid-summer field, you may easily notice these 
differences in size and in the length of wings, showing 
the adult from the less mature forms. When fully 
grown the Orthoptera cast off" their skins for the sixth 
or last time, and then appear in the adult or perfect 
state, fully provided with all their members, with the 
exception of a few kinds, which remain wingless. In 
fact, the slight changes which crickets and all the Or- 
thoptera undergo in their progress to maturity are 
nothing more than a successive series of moultings, 
during which their wings are gradually developed." 

" I have seen it stated," said Abby, " that we have no. 
house-crickets in America. And indeed I cannot re- 
member ever to have heard them in-doors in my native 
State, Massachusetts." 

"Dar's plenty uv em in ole Marylan', 'tany rate," 
observed Dan ; " dat am a fac', I shore yo' — fiel'-crickets 
en house-crickets, too. En es to Ix'in' liyar in Pennsyl- 
vany, jes yo' ax Sary Ann dar ! Wy deys lots on 'em 
in dis hyar ole place !" 

" Yes, and there is nothing better known to the coun- 
try people of our border states than the ' Cricket on the 
Hearth ;' 1 have often met them in the "West inhabiting 
chimney places and firsl-lloor apartments ol" dwellings. 


My experience of old Pennsylvania houses in autumn 
is not very extensive, but I have met them here, and 
know^ certainly that they abound." 

"I have never passed a winter," said the Doctor, 
" without hearing their music in our parsonage, and I 
have often heard it in my various preaching tours 
while domiciled in country hotels and houses." 

"Hark!" cried the Mistress, springing to her feet. 
The suddenness of the movement and the sharpness 
of the exclamation startled us all into silence. Every 
eye was turned wonderingly upon the Mistress, who 
stood erect in the ruddy glow of the hickory-wood fire, 
pointing with one arm toward the upper corner of the 

'"'' Crick-crr-rv-ick I — rr-r-rick /" 

The silence was broken by a shrill, creaking note 
issuing apparently from a pot of artificial flowers that 
stood on one side of the broad stone mantle-piece. 

It was the " Cricket on the Hearth !" 

A merry laugh and a hearty round of applause from 
clapping hands greeted the advent of the little musi- 
cian whose timely note had now settled the question 
which the Schoolma'am had raised. 

Old Dan looked up from his low perch, and rolled his 
eyes and rocked his body in ecstasy. " Dar it be, dar 
it be !" he exclaimed. " Dar's good luck shore to de noo 
family in de ole house. De sperits uv de ole folks lies 
come back, en dar's a blessin in it ! Hi, yi ! Ho, ho, 
ho !" 

Dan's speech awoke a fresh burst of merriment, in 


the midst of which Aunt Ilamiah'.s reproving voice was 
heard : " Daniel, Daniel ! thee is too provoking with thy 
childish superstitions. Thee has been taught better 
than that by the good Friends who once sat by this 
hearth-stone, and whose spirits are in a Better Home 
or they would surely grieve over thy folly." 

"Well, Aunt Hannah,"' I said, interrupting the si- 
lence which this remark had caused, "wemusn't be too 
hard upon Dan. You know the proverb, ' It's hard to 
teach an old dog new tricks.' At all events we are 
much obliged to our little friend in the chimney corner 
for this very remarkable and timely contribution to our 
conversation. For my part I shall accept it as a good 
omen, without endorsing Dan's peculiar notion as to 
' sperits.' " 

Aunt Hannah shook her head soberly ; but the Mis- 
tress looked up with a happy and approving glance, 
and I turned once more to our subject. 

"Crickets, are for the most part, nocturnal and soli- 
tary insects. That is, they live alone, concealing them- 
selves by day, and come from their retreats to seek their 
food and their mates by night. They sit at the doors of 
their caves and chirrup away for hours together. The 
hearth-cricket belongs to this class. Our common 
species are the short-winged Gryllus {Gr)jlhis ahbreviattis 
Serville), which is about three.-quarters of an inch long, 
of a black color, with a IjroAvnish tinge at the base of 
the wing-cover, which is sometimes wanting in the male ; 
the Black Cricket, or Pennsylvania Gryllus (Grullus 
Pcnnsylranicus Burmeistcr), which is quite black, and 



measures six-tenths of an inch in length (Fig. 98) ; and 
Gryllus neglectus Scudder, whicli differs from the last- 
named by having a shorter ovipositor. 

" Then there are the field-crickets. Besides the white 
climbing cricket {(Ecanthus)^ which I have mentioned, 


there is a wingless species (JVe?)io7j««s riitaiM.s), the Striped 
Cricket. It is very small, about four-tenths of an 
inch long, and varies in color from dusky brown to 
rusty black. This is a social species whose individuals 
associate in great swarms, feed in common, frequent 
our meadows and road-sides, and so far from shunning 


daylight, seem to be as food of it as other crickets are of 

" Now we are ready to consider how and wh}- the 
crickets make their music. The old insects, for the most 
part, die on the approach of cold weather ; but a few 
survive the winter by sheltering themselves under 
stones, or in holes secure from the access of water. Of 
these are the solitary stragglers who make their way into 
our houses, and warmed up b}' the genial fire to some 
dim suggestion of summer, are awakened into a sense 
of their forlorn estate, and creak out their loneliness to 
some imagined mate. The same sounds are heard over 
all our fields, and almost without cessation from twi- 
light to dawn during our autumn months. There is no 
music in summer, for pairing does not l)egin until Fall, 
and the cricket's music is a love-call. It is the male's 
signal to his mate, and if ever there was a persist- 
ent, vociferous and self-satisfied serenader it is he." 
(Fig. 99.) 

" Do 30U tell us that the female doesn't sing ?" asked 
Abby, with some surprise. 

"Neither males nor females sing., for the insects 
have no vocal organs. But the gift of music, such as it 
is, is bestowed upon the male alone. Whether Madiun 
Cricket is a loser thereby may be doubted, but the 
human species is the gainer ; ^or, if Nature had en- 
dowed both sexes with the power of shrilling, the night 
discords would have been scai'cely bearable." 

"Does that fact api)ly to all Orthoptera ?" asked the 




" Ye?, grasshoppers, katj'-dids and locusts all keep 
their music-making among the males." 

"What a strange contrast with the human family 1" 
said Penn. " With us now the sweetest singers are 
alwa3S of the fairer sex." 

" Are 3"ou quite sure of that ?" suggested the Doctor. 
"Is not that statement drawn from your courtesy 
rather than from the actual facts ? If one were to fol- 
low the subject throughout the various races of men, or 
even trace it among civilized nations, it might be found 
that at least the chief music-makers of our own species 
are of the male sex. Certain!}', it cannot be questioned 
that the great masters of music are and have been men. 
In the more perfect and complex organization of man- 
kind it is a matter of course that the song-gift should be 
largely shartnl by the female ; but the primative order 
of Nature, as Mr. Mayfield has shown it to us in the 
male insects, is probably so far preserved as to give man 
superiority over woman as a music-making creature — 
a superiority which is most unquestionable in the mat- 
ter of instrumental music. It occurs to me, however, 
that there is here an analogy even more curious and 
striking. It is remarkable that among mankind also 
music has ever found and still .finds one of her widest 
spheres of use in affairs of the heart. It is the natural 
expression of the deepest passion that men as well as 
insects know — love. The soul of music is emotion, and 
the profound passions of love, religion, and joy of victory 
have ever been voiced in rythmic speech and melo- 
dious notes," 


"I have been thinking," observed Penn, apparently 
addressing himself to his mother, "that if music has 
such a noble origin and use in nature as to utter the 
love of one creature for another, the testimony which 
our people — the Friends — bear against it might well be 

" Our people," answered Aunt Hannah, " bore their 
testimony chiefly against the unspiritual and carnal use 
of music in the worship of God, and I do not perceive 
that the world has ceased to have need for a clear testi- 
mony in that particular. Perhaps our fathers carried it 
a little too far when they opposed the private use of 
music, but thee knows that human nature is apt to go 
to extremes, and the wise and good men of old chose 
to be at least on the safe side. 

"I will not pretend to give an opinion upon the views 
of our learned friend the Doctor. They may be true ; 
but I can say that I know people who have a very in- 
tense power of loving who have no music in their souls ; 
and some who can sing to the fullest admiration of the 
world's people who are as shallow in their aflectional 
natures as a babbling brook. Now, I wouldn't expect 
thee, Penn, if thee should ever fall in love, to vent thy 
feelings in a moonlight serenade, for thee knows thee 
can't tell 'Yankee Doodle' from 'Old Hundred,' or 
'Home, Sweet Home' from 'Rosin the Bow.' " 

Penn blushed deeply under this home thrust, while 
his mother continued : " And yet I know that thee has 
a very deep and tender nature. But all this is out of 
place, perhaps, and, if I am not mistaken, out of point, 



too. For what ai'gument can one draw to any sul)ject 
pertaining to music from the discordant, ear-piercing 
creaking of a cricket ? Quaker as I am, I would be 
sori-y to dignify such noise by so higli a title." 

" Oh, no !" exclaimed the Mistress, " don't say that ! 
On the contrary, I love the cricket's chirrup, and think 
it \evy sweet music, indeed. But there is no account- 
ing for tastes, and no reconciling them in this matter 
as in many others. What is music for one person is 
clamor and discord to another." 

" Dat is jes so !" said Dan, who appeared to be much 
impressed by the last remark. ''I was remarkin' dat 
t'other day wen some one sayed dar wahn't no music 
en a conk-shell. Now, fer my part, w'en I's hungry 
and tired wurkin en de harves' fiel' and Sary xinn comes 
out to de ba'n ya'd, an blows dat conk uv hern fer 
dinna', an' de toot-too-too ! comes a roUin' ober de fiels, 
hit seems to me dar's no music out ob Canaan et's sweet- 
er 'n dat. DaVs de kin' ob cricket on de hearf dat suits 
my taste — jes' at dem times." 

Sarah scarcely knew whether to receive as compli- 
mentary or the reverse Dan's comparison of herself and 
her conch-shell to an insect that she detested ; but 
finally joined in the laugh which the conceit had occa- 

By-the-way, this old-fashioned dinner-call which used 
to be popular among farmers' wives in early days in 
Pennsylvania, is one of Sarah's particular vanities. 
The conch is her own propert}', and she brought it 
with her to our service, pleading for its use at least 


when the workmen were afield. The oddity pleased 
the Mistress, and indeed we all now have a sort of pride 
in Sarah's shell, which she soinids not only with thorough 
gusto but with the skill of a Triton. In my rambles I 
have often heard with high satisfaction its midday or 
evening notes, mellowed by distance and associated 
with home and good fare, echoing over the meadows 
and through the waving corn. 

Sarah keeps it suspended upon a rustic bracket of 
oak-forks above the kitchen hearth, so that Dan's 
metaphor had a special appositeness which the family 
at least appreciated. 

" Isn't it time for us to go back from our digression V" 
I suggested. "If you are quite satisfied with your 
philosophizing over the cricket's music, suppose we 
turn our attention to the question how the music is 



The instruments by which the male cricket produces 
the sounds whicli have given such celebrity to this 
insect, form a part of the wing-covers. The base or 
horizontal and overlapping portion of these organs 
near the thorax is convex, and marlved with large, 
strong, and irregularly curved veins. These veins run 
tlu'ough the middle portion of tlie wing. When the 
cricket chirrups or slirills he raises the wing-covers a 
little and shuffles them together lengthwise, so that the 
projecting veins of one are made to grate against tliose 
of another. If we seek an analogy for this action 
among musical instruments we must select the violin, 
whose sounds are produced by the rubbing of the bow 
against the strings, or the banjo, harp and guitar, 
whose sounds are evoked by striking tlie fingers upon 
the strings. In fact it is quite as much like a file or a 
watchman's rattle. 

" Do all insects make their music in the same way ?" 
asked Abby. 

"The sound-producing organs are constructed on the 
same general principle, but there is mucli difference in 
details. In the katydid for example, the musical in- 
struments are a pair of taborets. Most of you are quite 


familiar with the note of this insect, whicli is one of the 
best known sounds of our autumn evenings. The ap- 
pearance of the insect is less familiar. Here it is. (Fig. 
101). This is a large insect, measuring from the head 
to tlie ends of the wing-covers more than an inch and a 
half ; the body is an inch long, is of a pale green color, 
the wing-cover and wings being somewhat darker. Its 
thorax is rough like shagreen, and has somewhat the 
form of a saddle, being curved downward on each side, 
and rounded and slightly elevated behind. The wings 
are rather shorter than the wing-covers, and the latter 
are very large, oval and concave, and inclose the body 
within their concavity, meeting at their edges above 
and below, something like the two sides or valves of a 
pea-pod. The veins are large, very distinct, and netted 
like those of some leaves. There is one vein of larger 
size running along the middle of each wing-cover resem- 
bling the mid-rib of a leaf. 

"The taborets are formed by a thin and transparent 
membrane, stretched in a strong, half oval frame in the 
triangular overlapping portion of each wing-cover. 
AVlien the male wishes to sound his call, ho opens and 
shuts tlie wing-covers so that the frames of the taborets 
rub rapidly and violently against each other. The 
mechanism of the taborets and the concavity of the 
wing-covers reverberate and increase the sound to such 
a degree that it may be heard in the stillness of the 
night at the distance of a quarter of a mile. 

"The music of the katydid is certainly remarkable 
considering how it is j>roduced. It consists of two or 

Pia. 10, -KVT^Bin, : .rAiP (, pppk M.nuO ano rKMAr... 




ihree distinct notes, almost exactly resem))lin!j; articu- 
lated sounds. These correspond to the rapidity with 
which the wing-covers arc shifted across each other, 
and the note produced is very well expressed in the 
popular name of the insect." 

" Are the katydids nocturnal insects like the cricket ?" 
asked Abby. 

"Yes ; during the daytime they are silent, and con- 
ceal themselves among the leaves of trees ; but at the 
approach of twilight they quit their lurking-places and 
mount to the tops of the trees in which they live. 
Then the males begin the tell-tale call with which they 
enliven their silent mates. The noisy babble breaks 
forth from neighboring trees, mitil all the groves at last 
resound with the rival notes of ' Katy-did it, hitijdid ." 
The amorous concert continues the live-long night, and 
at the break of day the serenaders creep back to their 
leafy covert." 

"What is the scientific name of the katydid ?" asked 
the Doctor. 

"It is somewhat formidable — Pintijphijlhon pers})iciJ- 
latiim ; but the generic name, which means hroad-vhuj, 
is quite expressive, as you may see b}' a glance at Hie 

"The story of katydid's development is but a repeti- 
tion of the cricket's. It is found in the perfect state 
during the months of September and October, at which 
time the female lays her eggs. These are about an 
eighth of an inch in length, and resemble tiny, oval 
bivalve shells in shape. The insect lays them in two 


contiguous rows along the surface of a twig, the bark of 
which has been previously shaved off or made rough 
with her piercer. Each row consists of eight or nine 
eggs, placed somewhat obliquely and overlapping each 
other a little, and they are fastened to the twig with a 
gummy substance? In hatching, the egg splits open at 
one end and the young insect creeps through the cleft. 
Its history after that, as I have said, quite resembles 
that of other Orthoptera.'" 

" Are the katydids and crickets injurious to vegeta- 
tion ?" asked Penn. 

" The katydids do little harm ; l)ut crickets when 
they abound do much injury, eating the most tender 
parts of plants, and oven devouring roots and fruits 
when they can get at them. Melons, squashes and po- 
tatoes are often eaten by them, and the quantity of 
grass that they destroy must be great, judging by tk-ta 
immense numbers which are sometimes seen in our 
meadows and fields. They are not strict vegetarians, 
however, but devour other insects when they can over- 
power them." 

" Are not crickets, like katydids, named from the 
character of the note which they sound?" inquired 

"Undoubtedly," answered the Doctor ; "and it is a 
curious fact, and one quite suggestive as to the natural 
oi-igin of a certain class of words, that the note of this 
insect has suggested its name in several other lan- 
guaores. The French cri-cri, the Dutch l-rekel, the 
Welsh crkeJl and criceVa, are, like the English cricket, 


evidently tlerivcd Irom tlu' r/vY/A'-ing sounds which the 
insect makes. ' ' 

"• Speaking of this community of ideas among va- 
rious nations reminds me," I said, " of an odd trick at 
which I savvHarr}' and cue of liis Httle friends engaged 
a few evenings ago while crossing the Brook ^Meadow. 
They were fishing for crickets " 

"Fishing!" exclaimed the Mistress. "Didn't 3-ou 
tell us that they and other Orthoptera were not at all 
adapted to the water, which they shun ?" 

"True ; and I am glad that the lesson is so well re- 
membered. Th(! boys' fishing ay^-s confmed to the 
earth-holes in which the crickets live. They had ants 
and flies fastened to a long straw, which they thrust 
down the hole. The cricket is a combative as well as a 
musical animal, and can often be brought out of his den 
simply by intruding the naked straw ; but bait proves 
an additional attraction. JSTow, the point worth noting 
about this is that the French children amuse them- 
selves by the same method of capturing crickets. In- 
deed, the fact has given rise to a proverb quite com- 
mon in France, il est snt comnie un (jrillon — he is silly as 
a cricket ! More than that, as early as the days of 
Pliny a similar practice was in vogue, for that author 
tells us that the maimer of hunting and catching these 
insects was to tie a fly at the end of a long hair and let 
it down into the cricket's hole, first taking the precau- 
tion to blow away any dust that might prove a refuge 
for the bait. The cricket spies the fly, seizes and clasps 
it around, and so they are both drawn forth together." 


"That is certainly a curious coincidence," said the 
Doctor. "And it is a most interesting point to con- 
sider wliether tliis and sucli like tricks and games of 
children have been preserved and distributed by tra- 
dition, through all these years, and among the various 
peoples where they obtain, or whether they have sprung 
up spontaneously in the youthful minds of various na- 
tions and ages. In either case we have a fact looking 
towards the common origin and unity of the human 

"Don't forget, Mr. Mayfield," suggested Hugh, 
"that leetle question between Dan and Sarah as to 
w'ether crickets bring good or bad luck." 

" Thanks for the suggestion ; I have not forgotten 
it. But as this subject is rather more in the line of Dr. 
Goodman's studies than mine, I took the liberty of re- 
ferring it to him. Are you ready to respond. Doctor ?" 

"To be quite candid," he answered, "I have not 
been able to do very much, although I know there must 
be a great deal of material scattered through literature, 
if one could only lay hands on it. However, I have 
brought a few notes. Gilbert AVhite, in his ' Natural 
History of Selborne,' an old-fashioned but to me still 
delightful book, speaks of crickets thus : ' They are the 
housewife's barometer, foi-etelling her when it will rain, 
and are prognostics sometimes, she thinks, of ill or 
good luck, of the death of a near relative, or the ap- 
proach of an absent lover. By being the constant com- 
Xianion of her solitary hours they naturally become the 
objects of her superstition.' This appears to decide the 


controversy in favor of both parlies, a highly satisfac- 
tory decision." 

"There," exclaimed Sarah, whose interest in this 
point had once more withdrawn her from the shadow 
of her kitchen door, " didn't I tell you so, Dan ? The 
cricket's chirp is a sign uv ill luck — the deatli uv a near 
relation. I knowed I 'uz right I" And she returned in 
triumph to her seat. 

" Hoi' on, Sary Ann!" said Dan, "dat's no fa'r ! 
Didn't dat aufer 'low dat de cricket brot good luck, too. 
Doctor ?" 

"• Yes, he certainly does ; and here's more on your 

side of the question, Dan. Milton, in his ' 11 Penser- 

oso,' chose for his contemplative pleasures a spot 

where crickets resorted, and he speaks of that insect's 

note as the one token of merriment in the place : 

' Where glowing embers tlirough the room 
Teach light to couuterfeit a gloom, 
Far from all resort of mirth, 
Save the cricket on the hearth.' 

" Is that the origin of the popular phrase ' Cricket on 
tlie hearth V " asked Abby. 

"Really I do not know; Init it is the source from 
which it is generally (pioted. In the same strain, and 
more decidedly, the poet Cowper writes, in his ' xVd- 
dress to a Cricket,' chirping on his kitchen hearth : 

" ' Wheresoe'er be thine abode 
Always harbinger of good.' 

" The best-known allusion is found in recent litera- 
ture. Most rea<lfrs of Charles Dickens will remember 


how he embodies the popular superstition in his httle 
tale ' The Cricket on the Hearth, ' When the carrier's 
young wife liears the famihar note iu the chimney- 
place, she exclaims : ' It's sure to bring us good for- 
tune, John ! It always has been so. To have a cricket 
on tlie hearth is the luckiest thing in the world !' That 
seems to be the most prevalent superstition. I also 
find reference to the j)eculiar form of tlie superstition 
which Hugh Bond remembers. Sir William Jardine 
alludes to it in TJie Mirror as common in Dumfries- 
shii'e. These are the most interesting points which I 
have been able to note." 

" Sary Ann !" exclaimed Dan, wheeling his cricket 
around, and gazing into the kitchen shadows, "Sary 
Ann, did yo lieah dat ?" There was no reply. 

"■ Sary Ann," persisted the old man, " Is yo' done loss 
yo' tongue ? W'y doan yo' speak up, den ? Hi ! Didn''t 
Itole yo'' so?" 

But there was no response. Sarah had appropriated 
her portion of the decision, and was too well i-atisfied to 
review the case. Well, she is not alone in this attitude : 
Why should a man care to hear more testimony, or to 
have more light, when his opinio i has once been reason- 
ably well confirmed ? 

Dan, unable to evoke any response from the oracle of 
the kitchen, turned back to his place, made a significant 
gesture upward with his eyes and hands, and chuckled 
softly to himself. 

"Are there any superstitions associated with the 
katydid?" asked the Mistress. 


"■ I am afraid that 1 must refer that question to Dan," 
I answered, laughing. "The only items in that line 
whicli I ever heard or saw, 1 received from him. 
Come, Dan, here's a good chance to air your ghostly 
learning. Tell us what you know about katydids." 

Dan was never known to deny himself a good oppor- 
tunity to talk, and readily assented ; but he felt bound 
to free himself from what he considered an imputation 
of illicit knowledge. 

" De good Lor' forbid. Mars Mayfiel'," he began, 
" dat I should have anythink to do wid ghos'es. I 
nebber seed a ghos', bress de Lor' ! I's heern tell uv 
folks as ud done got dey knowledge from de ebil 
sperits ; but, sah, I nebber eat ob dat forbidden fruit. 
No, sah, nebba !" 

He placed his hands on his knees, sat bolt upright, 
and uttered the last words with great emphasis, and a 
comical show of dignity. 

"All de larnin' I has 'boot dese tings I done larned 
from ole Marylan' and Virginny folks. I come up hyar 
w'en I wuz a pickaninny ; but I went back to de ole 
state, and lived dar five year. Dat's whar I larned aboot 
sich tings ; not from ghostesses, fore goodness. Mars 
Mayfiel'! Aboot dem katydids, 'taint much et I know, 
but dis is hit : If a katydid comes inter de house, dat's a 
sign, dey say, et a visitor'll soon come widout boin' 
'spected. Ef it sings in de house, dat's a sign some ob 
de fiimily'll be shore to hah de gif ob music, like de 
banjo or pianner, ur dat like. 

"DtMi, dar wuz a cur'us story 'boot two sisters wat 


fell bof in lub wid one man. I doan' tink dis happen 
in ole Marylan', but in some kentry ober de sea, I 
reckon. De gemmen's name wuz Osca', an' de ladies' 
wuz Blanche an' Kate. Ob course, no man can lub 
two mars'rs, as de Scripter says, en it stans to reason 
he can't lub two misses, nudder. So Osca' falls in lub 
wid Blanche, an' Kate she gits soured, an' falls to 
hatin' her ole lubber. All ob a sudden Osca' done lay 
down an' died ; an' seein' dat, Blanche she goes clar 
crazy, fur she lubbed him powerful, an' raved, an' raved. 
Dar wuz a great mystry 'boot de whole aftah. Nobudy 
know'd anythink 'boot it but Miss Kate. She know'd 
mighty well, fur she'd a-killed Osca' herse'f ! 

" In dem fur-away times dey wahnt no true 'ligion 
as dey is nowadays, an' so de people ob dat kentry dey 
had a god w'at dey calls Jup'ter. Now, Jup'ter he 
sees how tings was a-goin', en he done tuk de sperit ob 
young Osca', wat Kate had a-murdered ; an' wat does 
he do but turn it inter a katydid ? An' he sots 'im up 
on de tree-tops war Miss Kate wuz a-walkin' wid some 
folks. Jes' den dey wur a-talkin' 'boot how suddent 
like de young man ud died ; an' some un 'lowed he 
reckoned Osca' mought've bin pizened. 

" ' Who could a done it ?' he says, awful solemn like. 
And nobudy answered ; 'kase, yo' see, dar wahnt no 
'spicions ob foul play 'gin Miss Kate in de least. Jes' 
den, in de mids' ob dat solemn silence, de new inseck— 
dat's de sperit ob Osca', yo' know -cried out from de 
tree-top, sharp, en loud, en suddent : ' KaU/ did it ! 
Katij did I she did I ' An' dat's de way dat mudda wuz 


a-found out, an' dat's how ebiy wicked deed hab a voice 
cryin' out somewhar agin it, Dar's no use in tallcin', 
mudda will out. Dat's all I know, ladies and gemmen', 
boot de Katydid." 

"What became of Miss Kate?" asked Harry, with 
a chiUrs natural yearning to hear the end of a 

" Bress yo' heart, honey, dat story stopped jes' a- 
dar. I nebber heerd no end to it at all. But as ]\Iiss 
Kate wur a white lady, I reckon nothin' wuz ebber 
done aboot it ; 'less dey woted her non compus, an' shet 
her up awile. But ef she'd a-been a cuUud pusson, I 
reckon yo' mout a-guessed dey'd a-niade sliort work ob 

" Well, Dan," said the Schoolma'am, " that is a very 
interesting romance, certainly, and it carries an ad- 
mirable moral. ^lay I ask if these notions are held 
entirely by your own color in Maryland, or do the 
whites also hold them ?" 

" De cuUud folks, Miss Abby," answered Dan, " hes 
many cur 'us notions, dat's a fac, 'boot insecks, en 
aligators, en rabbits, en bars, en all sorts o' beastis. 
Some ob dem, I reckon, come frum dey native kentry, 
whar de sperits hes nioh' to do wid ^ech critters, I 
s'pose, dan ober hyar in dis Christian Ian'. But den 
de white people has some ob dem berry sayins, too. 
Hit's not all jes' niggah larnin, Miss Abby, no how." 

It was now time, I thought, to bring back our con- 
versation to the sphere of Natui'al History. Taking 
another insect box from the table, I oj)C'ned it and 

c\ \N L^T- p \^gev^\ 4v ------- ^ ^.t.:^ " 





began: "•Here are specimens of the most famous of 
all the music-making insects — the Ilarvest-tly, or 
Cicada. Look at them, Hugh, and then liand the 
box to your neighbor." (Fig. 102, upper figures.) 

Hugh glanced at the pinned specimens, and at once 
exclaimed : " Wy, sir, these haint harvest flies — they're 

"Are you quite sure, Hugh ?" 

"Oh, yes, sir! I've seen thousands uv 'em — the 
seventeen-year locust. An' ther's anotlier kind thet 
comes every year, or mebbe they're only .sort o' strag- 
glers. But I know 'em well, sir." 

Several of the company were quite as positive as 
Hugh in their identification of the insect, and for a 
moment I found my entomological reputation in peril. 

"Well," I resumed, "having sutRciently enlisted 
your attention, I may assure you that 30U are both 
right and wrong. You are right, according to the 
popular name of the insect, but utterly and grossl}'^ 
wrong as to the true title. There is about as much 
likeness between this creature and a locust as between 
a horse and a cow. There are few American entomolo- 
gists who have not often been compelled to explain 
the wide and fundamental difterence between these so- 
called "locusts" of the United States and the " true 
locusts " of Holy Scripture and our Far West. The 
latter (Fig. 102, below) really do often "eat every tree 
which groweth for you out of the field," as they did in 
the days of the plagues of Egypt ; while the former 
having no Jaws to eat with, and onlv a beak to suck 


sap with are physically iucapahle of eating anything 
at all. 

"The two kinds of insects do not even belong to 
the same order, or to the same grand group of orders. 
The former are "Suckers" {Haudellata) ; the latter 
are " Biters " {MandihuJata). The former belong to the 
order Homoptera, the latter to the order Orthoptera. 
The former have their front wings glassy and trans- 
parent ; the latter have them more or less leathery and 
opaque. The former have a mere apology for antenna?, 
which the general observer would entirely overlook ; 
the latter have quite conspicuous and rather long 
antennae. In short, what people call "locusts" in 
America are called "Cicadas," or " Harvest-flies," iu 
Europe ; and what in the Old AVorld are known as 
"locusts" are called " grasshoppers" in the United 
States. This popular error has been the cause of 
much confusion, and is greatly to be regretted ; but 
one almost despairs of correcting the absurd blunder, 
at least in this generation. 

" We have three or four species of Cicada in our coun- 
try ; two of these appear annually : a small spring 
Cicada {Cicada riino.m)., which begins to be heard a 
little before the middle of June ; and the large autum- 
nal species {Cicada pnmiosa)., which is probably the 
best known of all. Then we have two periodical species : 
that remarkable and famous insect tlie so-called seven- 
teen-year locust {Cicada septemdecim)., and its close 
ally, the thirteen-year Cicada {Cicada tredecim). Few 
animals have so remarkable a history as the two last 


named, l)ut before we con^^ider that, lei lis look at their 
musical organs, and compare them with those of the 
cricket and katydid. 

'' The males alone ai'e musical, and their well-known 
rattling buzz is a love-call to their silent mates. The 
instruments by which the sounds are produced are a 
pair of kettle-drums, as they may be called, situated 
one on each side of the body. These can be plainl}' 
seen here just behind the Avings. These drums are 
formed of convex pieces of parchment-like membrane, 
gathered into numerous fine plaits, and are lodged in 
cavities on the sides of the bodies behind the thorax. 
They are not played upon with sticks, of course, but by 
muscles or cords fastened to the inside of the drums. 
When these muscles contract and relax, which they 
do with great rapidity, the drum-heads are alternately 
tightened and loosened, recovering their natui'al con- 
vexity by their own elasticity. Our Cicada may, there- 
fore, be called a drummer." 

"But Mr. Mayfield," interrupted Harry, "a drum- 
head don't tighten and loosen in that way. You 
tighten it up, and keep it tight, or it wouldn't drum at 

"Of course, Harry," I replied, "we can only speak 
in figures when we compare the sound-producing or- 
gans of insects to musical instruments of any sort. All 
I mean is that the principle upon which the Cicada's 
note is produced is like that upon which sounds are 
brought out of a drum-head. Let us see if this is not 
so. Here is a sheet of tin which I have laid upon the 


table to illustrate my point. It is not flat, but is bent 
into little rolls and hollows. 1 put my finger upon one 
of the elevated parts, and pusli it down, and remove 
my finger, so. It makes a loud, rattling noise. I re- 
peat the motion rapidly a number of times, and you 
hear a succession of these sounds." 

" Certainly they are distinct enough, but they can 
hardly be called inuskal,'''' remarked the Mistress, 
laughing, as the loud clatter of the tin sheet resounded 
through the room. 

" True enough ; but is a kettle-drum any more so ?" 
queried Aunt Hannah. 

" I am not so much concerned about the testhetical 
part of my illustration," I replied, "as the practical. 
Now, Harry, observe, when the drumstick falls upon the 
tight drum-head, it pushes it down just as my finger did 
the tin sheet ; when it is lifted the drum-head springs 
up again, and that motion produces a sound not vuilike 
that which I have just made. As the skin out of which 
the drum-head is made is stretched over a hollow cylin- 
der, or ' barrel,' the vibrations of the air are greatly in- 
creased, and so also is the intensity of the sound. Do 
you understand that, Harry?" 

" I think I do, sir," said the boy. 

" Very well ; it is quite in this way that the Cicada's 
note is produced. These convex membi'anes or drums 
of which I spoke are the drum-heads. But where 
are the 'barrels' over which they are stretched? 
Here they are. There are certain cavities within the 
body of the insect which may be seen on raising two 


larg(! valvfs beneath the bell}^ and which are separated 
from each other by thin partitions having the trans- 
parency and briUiancy of thin and highly polished 
glass. In most of our species of Cicada the drums are 
not visible on the outside of the body, but are covered 
by convex triangular pieces on each side of the first 
ring behind the thorax, wliich must be cut away in 
order to expose them. Now, if we raise the large 
valves, of which I spoke, there is seen close to each side 
of the body the little opening like a pocket in which 
the drum is lodged, and from which the sound issues 
when the insect opens tlie valve." 

" Sir," said Harry, "you have shown us the drum- 
head and the drum-barrel, but where are the drum- 
sticks ?" 

'' You forget ; I liave already spoken of them. They 
are the muscles or cords fastened to the inside of the 
drums, by which the heads are made to rapidly tighten 
and loosen. Unfortunately, I cannot show you these 
without better optical aids than we have here ; but you 
must take their existence on faith or anthorit}', as one 
has to do very many things in Natural History. The 
eOect of the rapid alternate tension a!ul relaxation of 
these drum-stick muscles and the membrane attached 
to them, is the production of th(^ rattling buz/, which 
constitutes the familiar music of the cicada. And now 
that I have given my illustration, I shall ask Harry to 
give one which he has prepared at my request." 

Harry blushed and hesitated, but fiually took from 
liis pocket an iustrument with wliieh my own boyhood 


had been quite familiar. It wasalil tie hollow tube of tin, 
over which a stiff piece of writing-paper was stretched 
and securely fastened. This Harry called the "buzzer." 
Through two holes in the paper was drawn a horse- 
hair, which at the other end was looped around a stick. 

Harry took his stand in the middle of the room, 
touched the tip of the stick to his lips, and then rapidly 
whirled the implement through the air. The hair 
straightened out, the buzzer i-evolved, the loop tightened 
upon and moved around the stick, and amidst the laugh- 
ter and plaudits of our company ; the room was filled 
with a shrill, quivering, rattling noise : 

" Cr-reek I Cr-r-eck ! cryee-ee-ee-e-e-ick-i-i-ii-ii-ee-ee- 
eek .'" 

The sound thus produced was an admirable imitation 
of the cicada's note, and Harry's illustration was 
warmly applauded as a great success. 

"]*^ow," said Abby, "you must explain for us the 
philosophy of Harry's toy. How does it make this 
noise ?" 

" The principle is a very simple one. The horse-hair 
loop rasps against the stick as it is twirled around, the 
vibrations thus produced are carried along the hair to 
the stiff paper, which acts as a sounding-board to them. 
The tube or little box serves as a resonator, to increase 
the intensity of the tone. The notes, of course, arc 
varied according to the velocity of the 'buzzer.' The 
toy may be nia,de with a spool, the liole Ihrough which 
is sufficient to make a oood resonator." 

The Doctor had followed Harry's movements with 



[ SJSim^mMmm^mmMmmm!mmim msKim&mimsmmi^^i^^miSM:'s^m 


unusual interest. There was a pleasant, very pleasant 
smile upon his lips, and as he yazed into the embi'rs of 
the hickory-wood tire there was a far-away cast in the 
eyes. He drununcd upon the table with his fingers in 
an abstracted way. and at last oxelainied : 

"• Well, well, well ! I had dreamed myself (juite into 


boyhood once more. The old log .schoolhouse seemed 
to be rising there out of the ashes, and I could fancy 
myself standing among the plavvnates and companions 
of three-score years ago — alas ! few of them remain now 
in the flesh ! — whirling my toy 'locust,' and watching 
the hosts of insects creep out of the ground and emerge 
from the cracked shells which we gathered in handfuUs 
from the trees, among whose branches noisy males were 
rolling their rattling drums ! (Fig. 103.) Sixty years I 
Has it been so long ago ? How vividly this little toy's 
familiar music has revived the memories of those days. 
Ah ! — But excuse me, friends, for obtruding these re- 
collections upon you. Really, I was carried away for 
the moment !" 

He bowed several times in a gentle and deprecating 
wa}' toward the circle, but amid the radiance that 
glowed upon his face, I could see two round tears 
twinkling through his eyelids. Dear good man ! Alas, 
he, too, since then, has joined the playmates of those 
early days in 

" The innumerable caravan which moves 
To that mjsterious realm where each shall take 
His chamber in the silent halls of death." 



On Sunday morninu- we worshiped in the " Blue 
Churcli." Doctor Goodman ]>reached to a little com- 
pany of the count ry-folk a sermon whose character was 
well described by a plain old Scotchman whom I over- 
heard as the congregation was retiring : '" Ah. tliat was 
one o' the comfortiu' an' helpfu' sort !" 

I had observed, during one of my summers at Marple, 
that the Doctor delivered his sermons, which he read 
quite closely but with remarkable earnestness and force, 
from manuscripts of a uniform number of pages, bound 
up like a school copy-book. 

"Why do I do this ?'■ he said, laughingly, in answer 
to my question. "Well, the truth is, I find myself 
compelled to put a bridle upon my lips. As I grew 
older, I noticed that I was inclined to prolong my ser- 
mons to a wearisome length. I therefore took to read- 
ing ; and in order to keep within duo bounds I made 
trial of the exact number of pages required to occupy 
the half hour. I tlien had a lot of these " copy-books " 
made, each containing that trial numljer of pages. 
Now when I havi' IiIUmI my l>ook I stop work, and go 
into my pulpit quite assunil that I will not trespass 


upon my people's patience. Isn't that a pretty good 
device to keep a garrulous old parson within bounds ?" 

The hearty laugh with which the Doctor put the ques- 
tion sliowed how niucli he enjoyed the trick by which 
he had tlanked the inlirniities of gathering years, and 
held the interest of his auditors. A wise winner of souls 
was lie ! 

But on this occasion the " copy-book " was left at 
honij, and in simple words, delivered with quiet ear- 
nestness and a tenderness that touched all and melted 
many hearts, he held up to the people the great love of 
the All-Father. The text was, " Yea, I have loved 
thee witli an everlasting love.'- When it was announced, 
the Calvanists in the congregation nudged each other, 
and with significant nods of the head and brightened 
eyes intimated that they expected a sermon upon 
''Electing Love," and heartily approved it. The Ar- 
minians, on the other hand, ior the congregation w^as a 
mixed one, bristled up, set their faces with a pugnacious 
cast, and looked at the preacher with the tixed, hard 
gaze of those who mean to hold fast their own opinions 
against all comers. 

As the sermon advanced these countenances changed ; 
lines of elation and approval, of combativeness and 
dissent alike foded out, and the faces upturned toward 
the pulpit wore a common look (varying with thepoints 
of the discourse) of interest, assent, hope, religious joy. 

One might, perhaps, have found the Doctor's theo- 
logical bent b}' slight logical soundings ; but it did not 
so lie upon the surface as to mar the satisfaction of any 


auditor. The Eternity and Inliuity of Divine TiOve— 
that was his therne. Man pre-existant in the loving 
thought of God throughout the everlasting past ; man 
surrounded hy the loving care of CJod in the present ; 
man throughout the everlasting future, inuuortal in the 
rest of God ; man's Redeemer, the highest commenda- 
tion of the divine love — these are great thought", but 
simply presented, with quaint and apt illustration, they 
were not beyond the conception of the humblest mill- 
hand in the meeting. 

The morning sermon was a happy preparation for the 
afternoon service, which, as the Doctor announced, was 
especially for the young people, although adults wei'e 
also invited. He well knew that grown-up folk enjoy 
and profit by such services quite as much as their 
juniors. They drink in greedily addresses made to the 
young which they would have resented highly if made 
to themselves. What a curious compound human 
nature is ! 

At three o'clock of the afternoon the approaches to 
the church were lively with little troops of children, 
whose bright dresses showed against the green meadows 
as they came across lots. Farmers came in their bug- 
gies, germantowns and farm-wagons, until the cozy 
horse-sheds in the rear of the edifice were full, and 
hoi'ses had to be unhooked and hitched to the wheels of 
vehicles halted here and there over the yai'd. 

Many of these comers were casual attendants, having 
various places of worship scattered throughout the 
country-side, but had gathered to the "Doctor's appoint- 


nient," as is the goodly fashion ot our rural parts, 
without respect of religious preference. Even the 
Friends, who had held their morning worship in the old 
Springfield Meeting-house, sent a fair delegation, al- 
though some were still of too tender conscience to wait 
upon the preaching of a "hireling minister." Among 
these was Aunt Hannah ; but it cost the good woman 
a sore struggle to stay at home, be it said to her credit. 
Penn Townes, however, was not prevented by such 
scruples from stopping his smart open buggy at the old 
farm-gate and driving Abby Bradford to the meeting. 

The regular attendants at the Blue Church were the 
teachers and the children of the Sunday-school. The 
latter were gathered chiefly from the families of the oper- 
atives in a woolen-mill that stood in an adjacent valley, 
and a fine paper-mill that occupies a romantic site on 
the banks of Crum Creek. A few kind and Christian 
hearts had been moved with pity over these scattered 
sheep of the Good Shepherd, and had organized for 
them a Sabbath-school, which has been maintained, 
often under sore difficulties, for a number of years. A 
part of the good Doctor's missionary work was to look 
after this school, which, however, was strictly a 
"Union" school, without any denominational bias or 
connection wliatever. 

The building in which this assemblage was held is 
worthy of brief notice. It was erected by one of the 
numerous descendants of Jane Townes, and set apart for- 
ever to the worship of the Almighty without cost or let 
to any of whatever denomination, with one important 


exception. Just in front of the pulpit hangs a framed 
card ou which the patron's wish is prhited, with tliis 
proviso : that uo one who denies the proper divinity of 
our Lord Jesus Clirist or the doctrine of the Atone- 
ment shall ever be permitted to preach in the place. 
The house was built at the time when the contiict was 
at its height that divided the Society of Friends into 
the so-called "Orthodox" and ''llicksite" camps. 
The feelings awakened by that controversy are crystal- 
ized in this proviso, and the "Townes Free Church " is 
free only to orthodox preachers. However, as there are 
very few persons of a difierent religious bent in the 
whole country-side, the prohibition has not proved of 
much practical disadvantage. 

The house is built of a blue limestone wliich, in 
spite of the ill-fitting coat of whitewash that now 
covers it, shows plainly enough the reason for its popu- 
lar name, " The Blue Church." It is a plain rectan- 
gular edifice, with a pitched roof, without spire or 
belfry. There is a door at either gable, over one of 
which is placed a rude water-shed. A plain porch 
covers the front door, which is shaded by a horse- 
chestnut, upon whose lower branches hangs a hornet's 

On either side of the door is a marble tombstone. 
In the norlh tomb repose the ashes of the venerable 
builder of the church. A plain slab rests upon low 
marble walls, and bears the name, age, and fjUowing 
insrriptiou : "Where lie was born, there he lived and 
div^d. An honest man and a useful citizen." There is 


added tlie familiar passage from Job : '' I know that my 
Redeemer llveth." 

A fine large willow tree stands in front, and over- 
hangs this grave. The tomb on the opposite side is a 
slab raised upon six marble pillars, and bears the name 
of a favorite cousin of the patron. Those tombs serve 
as seats for the rustic congregation while waiting for 
the commencement of service, and tramps who camp of 
summer nights in the horse-sheds play cards upon them 
in the moonlight. The entrance to the church is from 
the Baltimore Pike by a large wooden gate hung in the 
stone wall that encloses two sides of the lot. One cor- 
ner of the churchyard is devoted to burial purposes. 
Here stands another large weeping -willow, and tall 
bushes of osage orange and sumach overshadow the 
wall. Short mounds of buried children fill the space, 
though larger graves show where the " rude forefatliers 
of the hamlet sleep." In the rank grass and among 
the vines that here creep over the ground and swathe 
the graves dwell undisturbed hosts of insects, especially 
crickets and grasshoppers. (Fig. 105.) Among these 
the great green grasshopper abounds one of the noisiest 
of our musical insects, and day and night alike his 
shrilling is heard among the graves, making this rural 
"God's-acre" a very garden of insect song. 

The plain stone building is a pretty object, standing 
in its two-acre field, embowered among trees. Just 
across the meadow is a farm, once a country seat of an 
eminent president of the Pennsylvania Kailroad. Ad- 
joining that, the cupola of "8h;uly-bauk," a line 

' ' SEHMOJVtS 7iV • ■ —AJVT8. 


I'm. 105. — THE grassiioppek's dikge among the graves. 

country home, rises above the tops of a noble grove of 

lu.side, the buildhig is exceedingly plain. It is fash- 
ioned after the manner of a Quaker meeting-house, hav- 
ing a " gallery," or long rows of elevated seats along the 
middle, opposite the door. A pulpit is arranged at the 
central part of the gallery, beneath wliich is a chancel- 
like space, whei'e stand a reed organ and a superintend- 
ent's Comfortable sofa-benches, with reversible 
backs, are ranged in front and on either side of the 
pulpit. In front of the chancel stands a large cannon 


stove, loug pipe penetrates the ceiluig. The 
walls are unadorned, and the whole interior is plain 
enough to suit the severest taste. 

It was well ornamented, however, on that day, lor as 
we entered, bright faces were turned toward us from 
every seat and aisle ; even the door spaces were 
crowded, and anxious eyes peered in from groups that 
stood in the churchyard outside. In the " gallery," at 
one side, stood a tall easel, on which was placed a pack- 
age of large white card-boards. 

This addition to the usual furniture of the place had 
excited much curiosity among tht audience — young and 
old. Indeed, the curiosity had begun earlier in the 
day, among the family at the Old Farm ; for, as Hugh 
lifted the mysterious parcels into the farm-wagon, 
among the chairs on which his family were seated, there 
were many wondcrings over them. 

' Wat on yarth is de Doctor gwain to do wid dem 
<ings ?" asked Dan, who was perched on the driver's 
seat, and faced quite about to watch Hugh's proceed- 
ings. "Whew! dat now%" as the heavy packet of 
card-board was lifted in, " 'pears 's dough it mought l)e 
Moses' Table ob de Law. But as fer dat," looking at 
the easel, " I can't make nuffin out on 't. Dat 's w'at 
(le iVIisstis had her pieter ob de Wirgin Mary and di' 
bal)y Jesus on — her 'Donna, she calls hit. But ^Slassa 
sakes ! de ole Doctor 's down on 'Donnas an images an 
all seeh wanities in de house ob de Lord ! lie haint 
gwain to fall down befo' no sech golden calf, is he r"' 

Aljl)y, too, was on the qui vive ; but if the Mistress 

" SERMOJYS m''—ANTS. 329 

guessed the Doctor's purpose, she kept her own coun- 
sel, and put off the inquisitive Schoolma'am with the 
remark that neitlier the Doctor nor her husband had 
taken her into confidence. 

Tlie dominie's little secret was soon disclosed. "When 
several songs had been sung by the children, he rose to 
make his address. After a few sentences of kindly 
commendation, he said : 

"And now, my dear young frieiids, I have prepared 
for you an especial treat. You have often heard my 
voice telling you of the goodness and wisdom of our 
Grod, I shall let another speak for me to-day — a dear 
friend, whom, I am sure, you will be glad to hear." 

In the brief pause that followed many eyes roved up 
and down the front benches in quest of some known 
minister or public speaker who miglit undertake such a 
duty. It was very plain upon the faces before me that 
the matter was yet wholly in doulit. 

"Who could it be?" wiiispered a farmer's wife at 
my sidf!, as she plucked a clove-seed from a small store 
stowed in the finger of a glove, and bit off the end. 

Xo one ventured an opinion, and the Doctor con- 
tinued : " One of the greatest of English po.ets has said 
that we may find 

" ' hooks in the running brooks, 

Sermons in stones and good in everything.' 

" I believe that thoroughly. The Bible is a book of 
Nature. The inspired writers, through whom the Holy 
Spirit spoke, were in full sympathy with the world of 


created things around them. Birds, beasts, flowers, 
trees, mountains, brooks, stars, moon and sun, clouds, 
rain and snow, waving crops of gathered grain, all were 
seen by them with interest and pleasure, and made to 
speak for them some truth or lesson of daily life. 
Well, if all these things have in them a sacred thought 
for us, shouldn't we try to find out what that thought 
is ? I have often taught you out of this Revelation of 
Inspiration "' — and he laid his hand upon the Bible ; " I 
have asked another to teach you this afternoon out of 
the Revelation of Creation. If it be true that we may 
find 'sermons in stones,' I think it is equally sure that 
we may find sermons in insects. I have therefore great 
pleasure in introducing to you my very dear friend, Mr. 
Fielding Mayfield.'' 

There ! the Doctor's seci-et was out. Yes, I had at 
last consented, after much hesitation, to talk to the 
young people about some of the Bible insects. All 
other difficulties being removed, the Doctor had over- 
come my scruples as a layman against seeming to con- 
duct a religious service by declaring that he was to be 
and would be the officiating clergyman, and that I 
surely might, at his appointment and request, address 
the children. It was my own suggestion that the mat- 
ter be kept secret, for I wished thus to avoid the attend- 
ance of hiuch curious people as might have been attracted 
simply by the luiusual naturi> of the address. 

The announcciinent was followed by a buzz of whis- 
pered wonder and expectation. As I sat opposite some 
of th(^ members of the old-furiu family, T could note 




the eftect upon tliem. The Mistress flushed, turned pale, 
then flushed again, and I caught tlie light of a tear 
twinkling in her eye ere she dropped her face upon her 
fan. Abby started as though struck, looked at me, 
then at the Mistress on one side, then at Peuu Townes 
on the other, clasped her hands — T thought at first she 
meant to clap them — drew her lips under her teeth as 
though to suppress an audible utterance of surprise, 
and at last a radiant smile broke over her glowing face. 
Old Dan sat on the corner of a bench before the stove, 
bowed over on his arms and rocking his body to and 
fro. As the Doctor spoke my name he sat bolt upright, 
dropped his broad palms with a loud smack upon his 
knees, rolled his eyes to their full rotundit}% pursed up 
his thick lips, and blew through them till he fairly 
whistled. As I rose to go into the galler}^ I heard him 
say in a deep sotto voce : 

"Bress de Lor'! Mars Mayfier ! Well, dat takes 
de cakes !" 


" I am sure you are all surprised," T began. " to hear 
my name s])oken as one who shall address you to-day. 
You cannot bo more surprised tliai: T was when our 
good friend the Doctor first asked me to occupy this 
place. I have never before addressed a religious meet- 
ing of any kind. Perhaps I speak this to my shame ; 
but my duty has never seemed to lie in tliat direction, 
and I mention it now simply to say that the whole re- 
sponsibility of my appearance here on this holy daj' as 


an instructor in sacred truths must be placed upon this 
good man who is to-day our IMshop. 

" Some of you, perliaps, liave lieard that many years 
ago I gave a large part of my time to the study of in- 
sects — those little creatures Avho are popularly known 
among us as ' bugs. ' I am sorry that people do not 
speak more correctly in this matter. There are indeed 
some insects who are properly called by that name ; 
but all insects are not bugs, indeed a very small 
proportion of them belong to that group. These 
favorite studies of mine have led Dr. Goodman to ask 
me to speak about the insects of the Bible. 

"Among those which the Good Book mentions is 
the ant I have known city children who never saw an 
ant, or at least had no notion at all what that insect 
looks like — in fact, couldn't tell an ant from a grass- 
hopper. But among these country children before me 
I am sure that there is not a single one who doesn't 
know just how an ant looks. However, I will ventui'e 
to show you a picture of one." (Fig. 106.) 

I turned the outer card upon the easel, and amid 
many half-suppressed "Oh's!" exhibited a colored 
figure. This, by-the-way, was one of a series of draw- 
ings which I had prepared at one time for a course of 
lectures. They had received a resurrection from the 
store room of my city business place where they had 
long been buried amid sundry rubbish, and were for- 
warded to me by express when the Doctor's request 
gave occasion for their use. 

" These figures show two ants known as the Acrricul- 


tural Ant of Texas, oftener called by the people of that 
State the ' Stinging Ant,' because its sting is as severe 
as a hornet's. They are cutting down a blade of grass. 
One has laid his sharp jaws at the very root of the 
plant, while the other appears to be swaying down the 
leaf in order to increase the effect of the cut. If this 
is done on purpose, as it seemed to me when I drew it, 
the ants are working on the same principle that you do 
when in early autumn you go out with a hatchet to 
clear away the rank growth of vines along the roadside 
and fences. 

" The next picture will show you the olyect which 
these little workers have in view. (Fig. 107.) They are 
making a clearing, as I have seen pioneers do in Westemi 
States when they entered the great forest and began to 
hew down the trees. Many years ago all this beautiful 
country around us was covered with a dense forest, and 
when our forefathers came they chopped away the 
trees and made clearings for their houses and fields. 
Now, our Agricultural Ants like to have a clear space 
or yard around their doors, and here they are cutting 
down the "trees," as these grass stalks must seem to 
them. You notice that these clearings differ in shape 
from our yards and fields, for they are circles or elipses, 
and are always made as you see them here. It is sur- 
prising to note what vigor the little pioneers have in 
keeping their yards clean. The weeds and grasses grow 
very rank in the rich soil and warm sun of Texas, and 
sometimes when pushing my way through them I have 
come across these circular clearings surrounded on all 



sides by the weedy jungle, and not a scrap of vegeta- 
tion of any kind upon them. Here is one of these 
jungle-nests. (Fig. 108.) 

" The door or gate of the nest is in the center of the 
yard. It is a single, or sometimes a double, opening, 
which leads down into the ground, where are a series 
of rooms and galleries that I shall presently describe. 
Long roads, usually three or four in number, and occa- 
sionally as many as seven, lead from the yard into the 
surrounding grass. They vary in length from forty feet 
or less to three hundred, and are kept smooth and 
clean. Indeed, our farmers would do well to take pat- 
tern after these wise little fellows in the matter of 
road-building and repairing, as well as in other things. 
You see these roads in the pictures, gradually narrow- 
ing as they run out into the grass. These are not the 
only ants that have the habit of road-building. We 
have ants in our own State who have great skill in that 
line of public industry ; and here is a pretty under- 
grade highway, made at Rockland, in Fairmount Park, 
by a large colony of ants dwelling there. (Fig. 109.) 
You see how daintily the roads are bowered by avenues 
of grass, moss, and wild-flowers. Having told you 
this much, I will now show you what all this has to 
do with our Sabbath lessons. How many of you have 
Bibles ?" 

The answer to this question quite startled me. From 
every part of the room — to the right and left of me, 
in front of the desk, and even from the chancel-space 
where the children were crowded directly beneath my 




face— more than a hundred hands shot iiji, and as 
many Bibles of various sizes and styles were held aloft. 
I suppose my surprise was shown upon my face ; the 
audience were infected by the speaker's attitude, and 
looked on silently at the strange scene. The children's 
faces were wreathed with smiles ; the superintendent 
looked up from his seat with a well-pleased counten- 
ance, and broke the stillness with the explanation : 

" We have a ' show of Bibles ' every Sunday, sir. It 
is one of our ways of teaching the children to own and 
use their own Bibles." 

"Many thanks," I said, "for this beautiful lesson. 
It is a new sight to me, and came as a great surprise. 
I never thought to, have such an answer to my ques- 
tion. I shall not need to ask this school again, how 
many have Bibles ? ]S"ow let us see what these Bibles 
have to say about ants ? 

"Turn to the sixth chapter of Proverbs," 
There was a rustling of leaves, like the moving of 
wind through the tree-tops, as the young hands turned 
over the pages of the Sacred Book. The sound gradu- 
ally died away, as one after another the children found 
the place, until all was still. 

"Now, please, read together the 6th, 7th and 8th 
verses. The Doctor will lead you." 

The old clergyman arose, and the scholars, well used 
to reading in concert, read with him, as witli one voice, 
the following words : 

" Go to the ant, thou sluggard ; consider her ways 
and be wise: which, having no guide, overseer, 'or 

340 Tenants of an old farm. 

ruler, provideth her meat in the ;<uminer. and iiatlieretli 
her food iu the harvest." 

" Very good ; turn again to the thirtietli chapter 
of Proverlx^, and read the 24th and 25th verses." 

The sound of lluttering leaves once more illled the 
liouse, and then the school read these words : 

" There be four thhigs which are little upon the 
earth, but they are exceeding wise. The ants are a 
people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in sum- 

"You thus see," I resumed, "that the wise man 
who wrote the Proverbs believed that the ants of 
Palestine had a habit of storing up seeds of grain dur- 
ing the harvest time. Xo one appears to have disputed 
this until about one hundred years ago, when an Eng- 
lish naturalist, Mr. Gould, who was also a clergyman, 
discovered tliat the ants of his country were not har- 
vesters. Otlier naturalists came to the same conclu- 
sion about the ants of other parts of Europe, and by- 
and-by it came to be the prevailing opinion among 
scientific people that no harvesting-ants existed. They 
said that Solomon, Yirgil, Homer, and all the ancient 
writers who spoke of such insects, wei'e in error ; in 
fact had mistaken the eggs or cocoons that ants are 
often seen carrying, for grains of wheat, which they 
somewhat resemble." 

"Well, in the course of time, a gentleman living iu 
Texas wrote up to our Philadelphia Academy of Sciences 
that there was a harvesting-ant in that State ! The 
account was not generally believed among naturalists. 


and I resolved to go down to that country and see for 
myself. I have already told you something of what I 
saw, and I will now go on with my story. 

" I pitched my camp on the hills of Barton Creek, be- 
yond Austin, the State capital, and sat down to watch 
beside one of these nests which I have shown you. 
Presently I saw an ant come up out of the gate, carry- 
ing in its jaws something which it dragged across the 
yard, and dumped upon a heap of similar objects, lying 
in the grass at one side. I took up some of these, and 
found them to be the husks of a sort of grass known 
as ant-rice, or needle-grass. That was proof number 

" Next, I noticed that the ant-workers were continu- 
ally running along the roads, across the yard, and 
disappearing through the gate with some kind of seed, 
which they bore in their stout mandibles or jaws. I 
tapped several of these porters on the back, in order to 
make them drop their burdens, which I then examined, 
and found to be whole seeds of the ant-rice. That was 
proof number two — the ants were actually carrying the 
grain into their nests. 

"Once more, I saw that workers Avere continually 
leaving the gate and traveling along the roads outward 
toward the grass. I stooped down upon hands and knees 
to follow one of these. Off it vent at a lively pace, fur- 
ther and further, until the roadway began to narrow 
into a thin line, when it darted off to one side, into the 
thick grass. It kept me on close watcli to keep the 
busy insect in sight. It twisted back and forth, around 


and around among the grass stalks, now and then stop- 
phig to put its jaws upon objects lying upon the ground 
which I soon discovered to be fallen seeds. At last the 
fastidious creature found one that suited her. She 
turned this wa}' and that, until it ajipeai'ed to be bal- 
anced to her mind, then wheeled about, and started 
toward home. 

"What a time she had with that seed! All sorts 
of little obstacles lay in her path — little to us, that is, 
but great to her. There were blades of grass bent 
down to the ground ; there were sticks, stocks and 
stones lying in the path ; there were close-growing 
tufts of grass like small thickets in the waj'. These 
were to be llaiiked, or climbed over, or pushed through, 
and right nobly the little carrier did her task. Now 
she went straight up and forward ; now she backed to 
this side, dragging her burden along ; now she sidled 
around the obstacle ; now she plunged into a hole, and 
after a moment's rallying bravely mounted the Avail and 
went on her way. So she journi'yed, winding her 
laborious path through the grass-forest of her harvest 
field until she reached the road. Tlien, conscious that 
her way was clear, she broke into a smart trot, and 
made straight headway for her nest, and soon disap- 
peared within the gate. The burden which she bore 
was a seed of ant-rice, and tliat was proof numljcr 
three that tliis ant, at least, as Solomon said, ' i)ro- 
videth her meat in the summer, and gatlieretli her food 
in llie harvest.' 

" My next work was to explore the inside of the nesl. 




or formicary, as it is called. This was no slight task, 
for several reasons. The yards are very wide, some of 
them fifteen feet in diameter, more than half as wide -as 
this house. They are made in a stiff", tough earth 
which is difficult to dig ; moreover, the ants carry a 
powerful weapon in the shape of a sting, which they ply 
with great fierceness when their nests are disturbed ; 
and I could not blame them for that, for there are few 
creatures on earth who will not defend their own home. 
I had, therefore, to hire a little army of men to help in 
the digging and to fight off" the angry insects that 
swarmed forth to attack us. I was severely stung a 
number of times, but persevered nntil I had satisfied 
myself that quantities of seeds were stored within the 
formicary. Some of those near the top were yet cov- 

>■ rtMrt'rtP^"' "!0f 



.J^ — ^' 


ered with husks, others further down were shelled, so 
that I could account for the heaps of husks which were 
placed around the margin of the yard. 

"The seeds were stored in small caverns or pockets 
several inches long and about an inch high. Some 
were circular, others semi-circular in shape. Here is a 
view of a group of these granaries (Fig. 110.) You are 
looking down from the yard into them, remember, and 
of course the roof has been omitted from the picture 
to show you the stores of grain garnered within. Here 
then was proof number four^the ants do store away 
the ant-rice and other seeds, for I found more than one 
kind within their little store-houses and barns. 

"But what do they do with these seeds? Are they 
really provided as 'meat' and gathered for 'food,' as 
the inspired writer says ? I had no doubt about that 
myself; but I wanted to prove it beyond question. Of 
course I could not creep down into the nest and live 
there long enough to see the insects at their meals ; nor 
would they come out-of-doors and have an emmet pic- 
nic in the open just to show me how they did. What, 
then, should I do ? I did this : I had a large number 
of the ants shipped to me from Texas, built for them 
small artificial formicaries in my library, and kept 
them during an entire winter under observation, I 
saw many interesting and cunning habits, which I have 
not time to relate to you, but among these was their 
food-habit. I observed that they did eat the seeds 
which I had taken from their nests, as well as other 
grains, such as oats. They lapped up the oily substance 



from tlie uut-like 
seeds, just as a cat 
does milk, and licked 
off the starchy 
grains, as I have 
seen children lick a 
candy-stick. Thus 
was added the last 
link to the chain of 
proof that our 
Texas Agricultural 
are real harvesting- 

" These are not 
the only harvesters. It was not hard to discover that 
two species with the same habit live in the Holy Land, 
where Solomon dwelt and wrote, and also in coun- 
tries where Homer andVirgil lived, who also had told 
about the harvesting-ants. You may be very sure, 

^"^ ^vUV ' I Au \ u .> ^ I . ^-- -J/ 11/ 






therefore, that these ancient writers made no mistake, 
and that the naturalists who voted them in error were 
wrong themselves. 

" We have other harvesting-ants in our own land. 
Two of the most common objects that attract the eye 
of a traveler upon the Great American Plains are the 
villages of tlae Prairie-dogs and the cone-shaped mounds 
of the Occident-ant. Here is one of these (Fig. 111.) 
They are covered with gravel, which the ants bring up 
from beneath, having dug them out in making their 
granaries and boring out pipe-like roads or galleries 
that unite them. The granaries are ranged in stories 
one above another, and I traced them as far as eight 
feet beneath the surface. This figure (Fig. 112) shows 
an interior plan of one of these nests, as it was seen 




after one side had been dug away, and this (Fig. 113) is 
one of the granaries cut out of tlie soil in whicli it was 
dug. These letters, E, E, (Fig. 112) show store-rooms or 
granaries in which quantities of seeds were placed, and 
these G, G, are galleries that connect them. T saw 
some of these Occident Ants gathering wild sunflower 
seeds in the Garden-of-the-gods, and our next picture 
shows her mounted upon the liower and tugging away 
at a seed with all her might. (Fig. 114.) 

"Indeed, we need not go to Texas or Colorado or 
Florida to find American harvesting-ants. Eight here 
in our own neighborhood, in the field in which this 
church stands, in the orchard-walk at Shadybank over 
the way, and in various places around the Old Farm 
where T live, there is a little black ant, the Penns3'lvania 
Harvester [I'litidole Pennsyh-anicKs)^ who harvests seed, 
and hei'e is a drawing of two of its granaries (Fig. 11").) 

''SERMONS IN''— ANTS. 349 

One of the worker-castes is a fimny-lookiug creature, 
having a very large head. It is known as the 'Soldier,' 
while the other forms are called ' workers. ' 


"And now, my children, having told you something 
al)out that habit which the good Book refers to, let me 
point you to the lessons which it is intended to teach. 
The first is a lesson of Honest Industry. Turn once 
more to Proverbs, Chapter xxx, and take up the Scrip- 
ture at the verse where we stopped before — the 9th. 
Eead, now, the 9th, 10th and 11th verses : 

" 'How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When 
wilt thou arise out of thy sleep ? Yet a little sleep, a 
little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep ! So 
shall thy poverty come as one that traveleth, and thy 
want as an armed man." 

" That is the lesson. If you love idleness and sleep, 
if you grow up to be sluggards, poverty and want will 
sweep down fast upon you like a swift traveler, and 
will conquer and destroy you like an enemy in arms. 
It is the hand of the diligent that shall wax rich. 
Learn to work honestly and lovingly, not simply to get 
your task done and pocket the pay for it, but as one 
who loves his business, and is determined to do his 
whole duty to his employer. Drive every nail, spin 
every thread, turn every furrow, sweep every room, 
dust every chair, wash every dish as in the sight of One 
who sees the slightest not and will try all your work. 
Quaint George Herbert has well sung : 


Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws 
Makes that and the action fine." 

The lazy person is always an unfortunate person, 
usually an unhappy and often a wicked one. The poet 
Spencer, in his ' Faerie Queene,' has well called ' Sluggish 
Idlenesse the Nourse of Siune.' 

" There is another lesion which I may venture to 
refer to, though I must ask the religious leader at my 
side to enlarge upon it. It is a lesson of forethought 
of that Future which lies before all souls. Old age, 
misfortune, and death hasten upon man like the AViuter 
of the year. Would you lay up in Heaven a store of 
good deeds — a treasure which cannot be stolen and will 
not decay ? Begin now ! ' Remember now thy Creator 
in the days of thy youth, ere the evil days come.' This 
is the harvest time for you — for us all. Use it to form 
a character that shall stand the test of an Eternal 
Judge, and to do deeds of goodness, righteousness, 
purity, truthfulness, honor, which shall bless not only 
yourselves but the generation in wliicli you live. A 
recent author thus begins his book : ' Some things God 
gives often, some he gives but once. The seasons come 
and go and the floAvers change with the months, but 
youth comes twice to none.' If the temptation should 
come to you to defer to another, and yet further, and 
yet more distant day, the duty of laying up store of 
spiritual wealth — noble character, kindly deeds and im- 
mortal Hope through the Saviour of all, then remem- 
ber the teachin;]: of our iiumble insect friends. 'Goto 

'' SERMONb IN' ■--ANTS. 351 

ihe ant, thou sluggard ! Consider her ways, and be 
wise.' " 

The Doctor followed with apt and tender words, the 
children sang a familiar refrain, and after pra3'er the 
meeting was dismissed. 

Was my address a success ? 1 wondered and greatly 

But t'he Doctor took my hand, and pressing it warmly, 
looked into my face with his honest, kindly eyes, and 
said: "Well done! you have taught us all to-day to 
' look from N^ature up to J^ature's God.' " 

When we had reached home the Mistress came to me 
and said : "It was a sweet surprise. I was never hap- 
pier than this day when I saw my husband standing 
with that holy man in the good work of helping those 
poor children to attain a happier future both here and 

Thus I was comforted. 



We were made happy by seeing the sleek sides of 
Dr. Goodmau's old horse, "Bob," stop before our gate 
on the Saturday afternoon preceding our next Conver- 
sation. The dominie had promised to join us, if possi- 
ble, in our concluding study of the natural history of 
the Cicada, and to contril)ute some notes upon its 
mythology and ethnology. In consideration of this, 
our Conversation was arranged to begin a little earlier, 
so that I might return with the Doctor to the Manse 
that night, and remain Avith him over the Sunda}'. 
Aunt Hannah and Pcnn were promptly in their places, 
so that our circle was complete. 

"The duration of life in many winged insects," I 
began, "is comparatively short, seldom exceeding two 
or three weeks in extent, and in many is limited to the 
same number of days, or hours. You need not be sur- 
prised, therefore, if I tell you that the Cicida, or Har- 
vest-tiy, lives only a few weeks after its transforma- 

"It always seemed very strange to me,"' said Aunt 

Hannah, "and sad, too, tliat such beautiful and perfect 

creatures should be doomed to so brief a life. 1 remem- 


ber to have had this thought when I read in au agri- 
cultural paper some time ago of the tribes of ephemei'al 
insects which are born, live merrily, grow old, and die 
within the compass of twenty-four hours. That seemed 
to me a great waste of jSTature's noble gifts, and I so 
said in the presence of one of our ministers. I was 
much surprised when at the meeting next First Day, 
she was moved to refer to this in a beautiful address 
upon the fleeting nature of our life, and the vanity of 
making so much of it, instead of preparing for a higher 
and nobler state of being." 

''I am not surprised, Aunt Hannah," I answered, 
" that you should have fallen into so common an error, 
and your minister was not the first to use the same 
as a text for moral lessons. The great Dr. Franklin 
once published an essa}', full of very instructive philo- 
sophy, which he put as an address into the mouth of an 
'Ancient Ephemera,' that had lived to the extreme old 
age of four hundred and twenty minutes ! Like your 
good Friend's remarks in the meeting, his moral 
reflections are admirable, but his entomology is de- 

There are, indeed, several flies, known as May- 
flies, or Ephemera that live but a very short time, 
and a few of them only for ten or twelve hours, in the 
xmnged state. But the larvae of these very same flies 
have lived in the water for nearly a year before they 
left their native clement and became denizens of the 
air. Of course they are insects quite as truly when in 
the larval as when in the imago state, and there is no 


basis of fact in the metaphor which nieaf^ures their life 
by a few hours." 

"Thee amazes me, friend May field !" exclaimed 
Aunt Hannah. " Thee is proving a veritable icono- 
clast with thy entomology. First thee has taken out of 
our mouths our life-long associations with the locusts, 
and now thee destroys utterly our notions about the 
Ephemera. I am glad thee has spared the good 
Friend's lesson, at any rate.'' 

" The destruction of ancient errors is not usually a 
grateful task, Aunt Hannah, especially when they are 
Avell imbedded in the minds of people. They become, 
by-and-by, as sacred as truth, and any disturbance of 
them pains and irritates like the return of healthy cii'- 
culation to a benumbed or frozen limb. However, as 
there is no special interest or principle attacked in this 
effort to bring in a true entomological nomenclature, I 
hope that my friends will be sparing of their indigna- 

" What I began to say is this — the Cicadas enjoy but 
a few days of life in the winged state, but in the case of 
the periodical species they are largely compensated by 
a remarkable length of life in their wingless and grub- 
like form. Seventeen years the one species, thirteen 
years the other, live underneath the ground. 1 can 
think of no parallel case within the whole range of 
natural history. In view of this amazing longevity one 
may well be sparing of sympathy with the winged mu- 
sicians over the brevity of their days. 

■' I^'t us trace their history from the deposit of the 


eggs until the emerging of the winged form. The 
abdominal part of the female Cicada, as you see, is 
conical, and on the under side is a longitudinal channel 
for the reception of the piercer. This organ is further 
protected by four short grooved pieces fixed in the sides 
of the channel. The piercer itself consists of three 
parts in close contact with each other — namely, two 
outer ones, grooved on the inside and enlarged at the 
tips, which externally are beset with small teeth like a 
saw ; and a central spear-pointed borer which plays be- 
tween the other two. Thus this instrument has the 
power and does the work both of an awl and a double- 
edged saw, or rather of two key-hole saws cutting 
opposite to each other. 

" When the time has come for the female to lay her 
eggs she selects a position near the tip of a twig. The 
seventeen year Cicada has a great preference for the 
oak, next to that probably the hickory, but oviposits in 
almost every kind of deciduous tree, and even in herba- 
ceous plants, and occasionally evergreens. I have 
known pruinosa to oviposit in a stem of golden-rod. 

" Her method is this : She places her head upward, 
that is, toward the terminal part of the twig, and with 
her piercer saws a longitudinal furrow in the wood. 
Then, with her ovipositor, she forces the eggs a little 
distance down below the external opening. The eggs 
are of a pearl white color, one-twelfth of an inch long, 
and taper to an obtuse point at each end. When in 
the act of cutting she clasps the branch on both sides 
with her legs, and then, bending down the piercer at 


an angle of about forty-five degrees, i-epeatedly thrusts 
it obliquely into the bark and wood in the direction of 
the fibres. At the same time she puts in motion the 
lateral saws, and in this way detaches little splinters 
of the wood at one perforation. The hole is bored 
obliquely to the pith, and is gradually enlarged by a 
repetition of the same operation, imtil a fissure is 
formed large enough to receive from ten to twenty eggs. 
The side-pieces of the piercer serve as a groove to con- 
vey the eggs into the nest, where thej* are deposited in 
pairs, side by side, but separated from each other by a 
portion of woody fibre, and they are implanted into the 
limb somewhat obliquely, so that one end points up- 
wards. When two eggs have been thus placed, the 
insect withdraws the piercer for a moment, and then 
inserts it again and drops two more eggs in a line with 
the first, and repeats the operation until she has filled 
the fissure from one end to another. Then she removes 
to a little distance and begins to make another nest." 
(Fig. 116.) 

" How long does it take her to do this ?" asked Penn, 
" She is about fifteen minutes in preparing a single 
nest and filling it with eggs." 

" How many of these egg-nests does she have ?" 
" It is not unusual for her to make fifteen or twenty 
fissures in the same liml) ; and one observer counted 
fift}- nests extending along in a line, each containing 
fifteen or twenty eggs in two rows, and all of them 
ai)i)arently the work of one insect. After one limb is 
thus sutliciently stocked, the Cicada goes to another, 




and passes from limb to limlj. and from tree to tree, till 
her store of four or five hundred eggs is exhausted. 
At length she becomes so weak by her incessant labors 
to provide for a succession of her kind, that she falters 
and falls in attempting to fly, and soon dies." 

" Poor thing !" exclaimed the Mistress. 

"Well, I say that it's a mighty lucky thing," Hugh 
remarked, " that so many of them twigs do wither and 
fall, and cause the eggs to die inside uv 'em. I reckon 
ther wouldn't be twigs enough to accommodate the 
risin' generations ef all them eggs hatched out." 

" Harris says that after oviposition the female saws 
the branch partly off below the eggs, so that the wind 
may twist off the tip end containing the eggs and let it 
fall to the ground. Certainly many of the punctured 
twigs do break off and die, and in years of invasion the 
oak forests often have a gloomy and disheveled ap- 
pearance from the number of branch-tips parti}- twisted 
of}', and hanging with their dead leaves ready to fall. 
]5ut it is doubtful if this is the result of a set purpose 
on the part of the mother Cicada, for a great majority 
of the incised twigs remain green and recover from 
their wounds. Indeed, it is probable that the eggs 
seldom hatch in those twigs which break off and l)ecome 
dry, and that the moisture of the living branch is 
necessary to the life and development of the egg. In 
the healing of the punctured parts of the limb a knot 
usually forms over each jnmcture." 

"Doctor," said Abby, who had been examining the 
little bundle of twigs by which I had illustrated my 


descriptions, "can you tell us what such destructive 
creatures were made for ?" 

"That is a question, I fancy, that falls within the 
province of the naturalist rather than the theologian," 
replied the Doctor, with a smile, wisely declining to 
enter into a problem of that nature. 

But Aunt Hannah was not quite satisfied with that 
view of the matter, and suggested her own opinion by 
a series of questions : " Does thee know, friend Abby, 
why the ten plagues of Egypt were sent upon that 
land ? or why the palmer-worm and the locust and the 
canker-worm and the caterpillar were sent upon Israel 
of old ? Does not the prophet Joel suggest an answer 
when he says, "For the meat offering and the drink 
offering is withholden from the house of your Lord ?" 

The Doctor, who was not proof against this challenge, 
removed the spectacles from his eyes, and with a little 
preparatory "ahem !" turned to answer Aunt Hannah. 
Fortunately we were brought back from this theologi- 
cal digression and saved the impending discussion by a 
bit of hard fact which Hugh Bond interjected. 

"As to them loc — beg y 'r pardon, them Harvest- 
flies, bein' destructive creeters, I never jes' see it, at all. 
Some folks allers make a poweful fuss over 'em w'en 
they come, and talk about the devourin' up uv every 
green thing, an' so forth. But my exper'ence is that 
ther bark 's wuss 'n ther bite. 

"Now, I never seed any leaves or other green things 
eat up by locusts uv that sort. They does cut off a 
power o' young shoots an' sich, an' sometimes, w'en 


tliey lights on a young fruit tree or sapliu'' they kills 
hit. But it don't do much harm in ordinar' fur to trim 
off the outer twigs uv trees. The trees make wood 
ag'in, an er not much the wuss fur wear. Ther 's a 
nation sight o' huzzin', an' cz Mr. Maytield says, the 
woods does hev a sort o' rag-tag look, but it 's more in 
sight an' souu' than in solid harm, I 'm a thinkin'. In 
fac', ther 's a good 'eal more noise 'u execution in an 
army of harvest-flies, jes' like an ole-fashioned militia 
trainin' sham battle." 

"• That is very true," I said, " and I 'm much obliged 
to you, Hugh, for saving me the trouljle of saying it. 
So you see, Miss Abby, that whatever general princi- 
ple may lie beyond the problem that you started, it has 
no basis of facts to rest upon in the case of the Cicada. 
It is chiefly an example of an iui-scientific use of the 
imagination, excited by that old and false name ' locusts.' 
Shakespeare has said that ' a rose by any other name 
would smell as sweet ;' but there is a great deal more 
ill a name than the poet seems to have thought. To 
(piote the language of one of my entomological friends, 
suppose that roses were popularly called by the name 
of that well-known plant that spreads its broad leaves 
along the wooded parts of our Run — the ' skunk-cab- 
bage ' — what lover would dare to present to his mistxess 
a bouquet composed of flowers bearing such an un- 
savory appellation ? Or what lad}-, if she had such a 
bouquet actuall}' presfuled to her, would trust her nos- 
trils within a foot of it ? Xow, because we in America 
have chosen to call what are, properl}^ speaking, ' Cica- 


das,' by the ominous name of Mocusts,' people have 
thoughtlessly jumped at the conclusion that tliey must 
have the same voracious appetite as the 'locusts,' 
whose dreadfully destructive habits are so -wgW de- 
scribed in Holy Scripture. However, this is aside 
from our natural history, to which wc had better return. 

'' The eggs of tlie harvest-lly hatch in about six weeks 
after being deposited. The young insect wlien it bursts 
the shell is one-sixteenth of an inch long. In form it is 
somewhat grub-like, being longer in proportion than the 
parent insect. It is furnished with six legs, the first 
pair of which are very large, shaped almost like lobster- 
claws, and armed with strong spines beneath. On the 
shoulders arc little prominences in the place of wings, 
and under the breast is a long beak for suction. The 
little creatures, when liberated from the shell or fine 
membrane which envelopes them after leaving the 
eggs, are very livel}', and their movements are as 
sprightly as ants. Now follows a very interesting act 
of instinct. There the wee bodies are, far up at the 
top of the tree; but Nature has decreed them a life 
under ground. How do they get there ?" 

'' Wy crawl down the tree," exclaimed Harry. 

"No; that would, indeed, seem au easy way. But 
many perils might lurk in that winding path along the 
twigs, branches, and trunk. Nature has provided a 
better wa}*. Tlie motlier Cicada has fortunately lO' 
cated her egg-nests near the tips of the outer limbs. 
And now, moved by a law which none of us can pre- 
sume to comprehend, the young insects run to the side 


of the twig and deliberately loof^en their hold. Their 
speciiic gravity is so small that they fall through the air 
as softly as a feather. On reaching the ground they 
immediately bury themselves in the soil, burrowing by 
means of their broad and strong fore-feet, which, like 
those of the mole, are admiral)ly adapted for digging," 
(Fig. 117.) 

"This is wonderfid !"' exclaimed Aunt Hannah, lay- 
ing down her knitting work. " AVho would have thought 
to find such vs'isdom in so insignificant a creature ?" 

" Wonderful, indeed !" added the Mistress, and Abby 
echoed the note. 

"But," queried the Doctor, " is it quite accurate to 
think of such behaviour as you describe as the result of 
wisdom in the young Cicadas ? Doesn't this look like 
a case of fore-ordination in Xature, which requires one 
to postulate an Outride and Inlinite Wisdom ?" 

" Let me read you," I I'esponded, taking a vohnue 
from the table, " what the eminent naturalist, Dr. Har- 
ris, says, an author to whom I am indebted for much of 
the information here given. This is Avhat he writes on 
this point : ' The instinct which impels them [the 
young Cicadas] thus fearlessly to precipitate themselves 
from the trees, from heights of which they can have 
formed no conception, without any experience or 
knowledge ^of tiie results of their adventurous leap, is 
still more remarkable than that which carries a gosling 
to the water as soon as it is hatched. In those actions 
that are the result of foresight, of memory, or of ex- 
perience, animals are controlled by their own reason : 




as, in those to which they are led by the use of their 
ordinary senses, or by the indulgence of their common 
appetites, they may be said to be governed by the laws 
of their organization. But, in such as arise from spe- 
cial and extraordinary instincts, we see the most strik- 
ing proofs of that Creative Wisdom Avhich has im- 
planted in them an unerring guide, where reason, the 
senses and the appetites would fail to direct them. The 
manner of the young Cicada's descent, so different from 
that of other insects, and seeming to require a sjiecial 
instinct to that end, would be considered incredible, 
perhaps, if it had not been ascertained and repeatedly 
confirmed by persons who have witnessed the proceed- 
ing.' And now," laying the book down, " let us go on 
with our history." 

"During their descent into the earth, the Cicadas 
seem to follow the roots of plants. They are found at- 
tached to those which are most tender and succulent, 
which they perforate with tlieir beaks, thus imbibing 
the vegetable juices, which constitute their sole nour- 
ishment." (See Fig. 117.) 

" Is not this an injury to the trees ?" askt'd IVnn. 

"Doubtless it often is ; and I am disposed to ])elieve 
that the chief injury done by the Ilarvest-tly is in this 
stage and manner. Indeed, an examination of the roots 
of a decaying fruit-tree has shown as the cause of dis- 
ease a host of young Cicadas clinging to the roots with 
their beaks piercing t lie l)ark so deep and lirnily as to 
keep them hanging for lialf an liour aficr removal from 
the earth." 


" How far down do the Cicadas go?" asked Penn. 
" I hare beard said that they burrow to an immense 
distance — ten or twelve feet from the surface." 

'" The question is fairly answered by the fact that the 
insects must live upon roots, which rarely descend very 
deeply. Our common annual Cicada, Pruinosa, of 
course lives in this condition for only a twelvemonth ; 
but the young Septemdecim spend seventeen years in 
these dens and caves of the earth." 

"What in the world do they do all that time?" 
asked Abby. 

"A hard question," I replied, "and one must frame 
an answer as much by fancy as by facts. At least we 
may say that they burrow back and fortli amid the 
maze of roots, and drink long and deep from the streams 
of savory sap, which they tap with their beaks. They 
thrive and grow in siz(!. They take no end of sleep. 
Doubtless the}' greet each other in their silent way and 
pass who knows what communications ? in the myste- 
rious language of the mute children of the insect world. 
Maybe they peep and mouse into the tunnels and caves 
of worms, snails, and countless other creatures who 
share with them these Plutonic abodes ; and per- 
haps vary the monotony of life, like civilized man, by 
wars of offense and defense. Shall I give further guess ?" 

"Xo, no !" tliat is quite enough," Abby laughingly 
rejoined, " to give one a fit of the blues at the very 
thought. I have often had my sympathies profoundly 
moved over the dreary fiite of my fellow-creatuies who 
spend their life 


' Uowii in a coal mine uiulerncatli the ground, 
Digging dusky diamonds all the year round.' 

" But here is a destiny -whose intolerable dreariness, 
even for a young bug, passes imagination. It paralyzes 
one's pity by its very magnitude. Dear, dear, what a 
monotonous flite !" 

" Xo doubt. Miss Abby, your sympathy would be 
quite wasted upon our Cicada pupa', wlio are enough 
lilve many of our ow'n species to hud a paradise in the 
most monotonous round of untliinking and inactive ex- 
istence. As the years roll on, the four small, scale-like 
prominences on the Cicada's backs, wliich represent 
and actually contain their future wings, begin to swell. 
The long period of pubation is nearly done. Indeed 
life, at last, is nearly over, and it is to end in a brief 
glory of sunliglit, wings, love and music. There is a 
strange stir in the thin blood of the insects that bids 
them mount upward. They cut their way through the 
soil by cylindrical passages, often very circuitous, the 
sides of which are firmly cemented and varnished so as 
to be waterproof. These buri'ows are about five-eighths 
of an inch in diameter, are filled below with eartliy 
matter removed by the pupa in its progress. They can 
be traced by the color and compactness of their con- 
tents to the depth of from one to two feet, according to 
the nature of the soil. The upper portion, to the ex- 
tent of six or eight inches, is empty, and serves as a 
Jiabitation for the insect until the period for its exit 
arrives. Here it remains during several days, ascend- 
ing to the top of the hole in line weather for the benefit 


of warmtli and air, and occasionally peeping forth, ap- 
parently to reconnoitre, but descending again on the 
occurrence of wet or cold weather. 

" The advent of hard rains sometimes develops the 
ingenuity of the pupte in a remarkable way. On one 
occasion, about the time of their first appearance in one 
of our neighboring counties, there fell a series of heavy 
rains. Evidently the expectant Cicadas were seriously 
threatened with a fate like that of the Noachian world, 
and so set themselves to build an ark of refuge. A 
floating retreat was beyond their powers, but they liter- 
ally rose superior to the situation, by carrying their 
burrows above the surface of the ground ! Here is a 
drawing of one of these finger-like turrets, showing 
the exit hole from which the pupa escaped when the 
waters had subsided. Here I draw a section view of 
the turret, which shows the mode of operation. The 
pellets of earth have been pushed up above the surface 
to the height of from four to six inches, leaving in the 
center a gallery about five-eighths of an inch in diame- 
ter a continuation of the underground burrow. The 
outside measurement is about one inch and a quarter. 
The tube from which the drawing is made was a little 
bent at the top, but many turrets were straight and 
several instead of being single branched near the sur- 
face from a main chamber below, and a pupa lodged in 
each branch. You can see that this tube is a continua- 
tion of the burrow, and that the pupa when disturbed 
by the over-wet soil had only to mount to the toj) of its 
tower and be safe. When the time for t-ansformation 



came, iL backed down the tube and escaped. (Fiii. lis.) 
"We have come now to the last stage in the history 
of this reii.arkable insect. The period for its great 
change has at length arrived. The seventeen years of 
grubbing in the darlv ground are over. The voice of 
Nature is calling within with resistless power, ' Come 
up higher !' The time appointed for escape is usually 
the night. There would seem to be good reasons for 
this, for a host of enemies await them, and at best a 
multitude will perish. Difterent quadrupeds attack 
them ; birds devour them ; cannibal insects, as dragon- 
flies and soldier-bugs, make them their prey ; even ants 
assail them with success, while hogs and poultry greed- 
ily feast upon them. 

" For several nights in succession the pupa; continue 
to issue from the earth. Above fifteen hundred have 
been found to arise beneath a single apple tree, and in 
some places the whole surface of the soil has been cut 
as full of holes as a honeycomb by the eager insects 
breaking through their prison wall from their long con- 

"•At what time of year does this occur?" Abbey 

" The date of egress varies with the latitude. In the 
South the pupa; escape in February and March ; here 
in Pennsylvania about the last of IMay, but in Massa- 
chusetts not until the middle of June." 

" But the yearly kind comes out later 'n that/' sug- 
gested Hugh. 

"Yes; Pruinosa begins to appt-ar with us abt)ut the 


close of July, and foi- this reason has been called the 
Dog-day Harvest-fly. After the egress they mount the 
trunks of trees or other convenient object, and fasten 
themselves securely by their claws. Then occurs that 
change which most country-living people have w\atched 
with wonder. After a brief rest the pupa^ begin to 
cast off their amber-colored skins. These have become 
hard and dry, and the work of emerging is not an easy 

" At last, after repeated exertions, the shell cracks, 
a slit is made lengthwise along the back, through which 
the cicada pushes its head and body. Next the wings 
and legs are withdrawn in succession from their sepa- 
rate cases. The pupa is an imago now ; at last it is 
free ! It leaves its empty pupa-skin almost entire still 
fastened to the tree, and crawling to a little distance 
awaits the completion of its great change. At first 
emergence the insect is wholly unfit for flight. It is in 
a sort of border state of existence betw^een its old earth 
life and its future air life, and is fit for neither. The 
wing-covers and w'ings are small and opaque, but, being 
perfectly soft and flexible, they soon stretch out to their 
full dimensions. The body is swollen to an unwieldy 
bulk, but in the course of a few hours the superfluous 
moisture has evaporated. The work of transformation 
is ended ; the creature is a perfect insect, with strength 
to mount upon wing and fl}*. (Fig. 119.) 

"Soon the rolling drums of the males are hoard 
sounding their love-call to their mates. In a fortnight 
the mother insect begins to lay her eggs, and in the 




spaoo of six weeks the whole generation has sunk into 
silence and death. This ends my story ; and now, 
Doctor, I yield theteaclier's chair to you." 

"My only difficulty in this case," the Doctor began, 
" is an ' embarrassment of riches,' for the Cicadas figure 
very freely in classic literature. They were especially 
in favor among the Greeks, who regarded them as 
sacred as the Egyptians did the Scarabaeus beetle. 
Indeed the Egyptians also evidently held the Cicada 
in reverence, for, in their hieroglyphics, a painted 
figure of that insect represented a priest and holy 
man, as well as a musician. I have been somewhat in 
doubt whether, in my selections, I may not have con- 
founded these insects with the grasshoppers ; but I 
think that in the following references the true Harvest- 
fly [Tcttix in the Greek) is intended. Among the 
Grecians the Cicada was especially sacred to the muse 
of song, and its note bears the same name as the sound 
of the harp. A Cicada sitting on a harp was the usual 
emblem of the science of music. The origin of this 
custom, according to Strabo, was this : Two rival 
musicians, Eunomis of Locris, and Ariosto of Rhegium, 
were alternately playing upon the harp in a musical 
contest when Eunomis unfortunately snapped a string 
of his instrument. Tiie accident would certainly have 
cost him the prize had not a Cicada, pitying the dis- 
appointed musician, flown to him, and, perching on his 
harp, supplied the place of the broken siring with its 
melodious voice. Thus it secured to him an easy 
victory over his antagoni.-t." 


"That was very good, iuJeed, for Eunomis," ex- 
claimed Abb}^, "but did the Cicada have no pity for 
poor Ariosto ? It was partial dealing, I think, for a 
divine insect." 

" True enough. Miss Abby ; but the gods of Greece 
had their special favorites among the mortals, very 
much like the occupants of the political Olympus in 
these degenerate days. You mustn't ask me to defend 
the rather eccentric behaviour of the classic deities ; I 
only tell the story as I find it. 

"The poets seem to have been as partial to the 
Cicada as the gods, for its praise is sung by nearly every 
Grecian bard from Homer and Hesiod to Anacreou and 
Theocritus. Here, for example, is the way in which 
the muse of Anacreon celebrates its virtues : 

" ' Happy creature ! What below 
Can more happy live than thou ? 
Seated oil thy leafy throne, 
Summer weaves thy verdant crouii. 
Sipping- o'er the pearly lawn, 
The fragrant nectar of the dawn, 
Little tales thou lov'st to sing, 
Tales of mirth — an insect king ! 

Darling of the tuneful nine, 
Phoebus is thy sire divine ; 
Phoebus to thy note has given 
Music from the spheres of heaven.' 

" You can readily see from this how the highest com- 
mendation of a singer was to excel the Cicada in song. 
Naturallj', the metaphor was carried into the realm of 
oratory, so that the music of Plato's eloquence was 


only comparable to the voice of this insect. Homer, 
in his lUiad, compared his good orators to the Cicadas, 
' which, in the woods, sitting on a tree, sent forth a 
delicate voice.'' 

" However, the complimentary bards do not have it 
quite all their own way, for here and there a protest is 
heard against the common praise. Virgil, in his 
Georgics, speaks of the Harvest-flies as insects of a dis- 
agreeable and stridulous tone, and accuses them of 
bursting the very shrubs with their noise. Whether 
this is a case of national jealousy, or evidence that the 
musical ear of Italy was as delicate then as now, I will 
not undertake to decide.'' 

"It seems impossible," the ^Mistress said, "that so 
cultivated a people as the ancient Greeks could have 
been so destitute of musical taste as to attribute such 
virtues to the discordant squeaking of a male Cicada. 
It is really hard to believe !" 

" Perhaps," the Doctor suggested, "you may prefer 
to explain the fact by a not uncommon social phenom- 
enon nowadays. Have you not observed that it only 
needs that a few people of approved position and taste 
should declare a thing 'divine,' in order to bring the 
mass of so-called 'society' on their knees before it? 
Pray, how could the Greeks oppose tiie dictum of their 
literary guild and autliorities of culture, combined 
with the tradition of their ancients ? It would have 
been higli presumption to trust their own ears in the 
face of such testimonies. But here is another ]irotest 
which, perhaps, will not commnnd the ladies' sympa- 


thy quite so readily. It is an old witicism, attributed 
to the incorrigible llhodian sensualist, Xenarchus, and 
gives a reason for the supposed happiness of the har- 
vest-flies very different from that of Auacreon : 

' Happy the Cicadas' Hves, 
Since they all have — voiceless wives V " 

"O the wretch !" exclaimed the Mistress, laughing. 

" To be sure, he was a wretch,"! remarked, "and a 
fals6 philosopher at that, for my observation has been 
that men are not only more curious, but more talkative 
than women. But I am obliged to the old cynic, never- 
theless, for his couplet shows that even at that early 
date the fact had been observed that the males alone are 
gifted with sound-producing organs." 

"I must not weary you with my quotations," the 
Doctor resumed ; " but I may tell you that the rage for 
decorating the person with images of insects, which 
prevails so widely just now, is only a revival of an old 
custom. The Athenian elders, even before the time of 
Thucidides, were accustomed to fasten golden images 
of the Cicadas in their hair, and the same were worn as 
ornaments on dresses. These were emblems of their 
claims to being Autocthones [Autox^ovE<;)., that is, 
as we would say, Aborigines, original inhabitants of 
the soil. The significance of the emblem lay in the 
belief that Cicadas sprung from the soil, an origin 
Avhich the Greeks might well be excused for attributing 
to tliem in view of their peculiar habits. 

" I add tliat the Greeks, notwithstanding tlieir ven- 


oration for these insects, made tliem an article of food, 
and accounted them deUcious. ^lian takes occasion to 
reprimand the men of his age for tlie fact that au ani- 
mal sacred to the Muses should be strung, sold, and 
greedily devoured ! It does seem to have been very 
improper and inconsistent behavior ; but the ancient 
Greeks are not peculiar among their fellows in devour- 
ing the objects of their worship, or, perhaps I should 
say, worshipping the objects that they devour." 



These house chronicles do not record all the conver- 
sations held around the great sitting-room fireplace 
during the year of which I write. Since undertaking 
to edit the notes accumulated at that time, I have been 
compelled to omit many subjects. I am not sure that 
the most interesting themes have always been chosen 
for these published papers. At least, it is safe to say 
that many that greatly interested our circle will not 
here appear ; for it only needed that we should unite 
our knowledge and experience upon the life-history 
of the humblest of the Insect Tenants of our Old 
Farm, in order to insure a fund of agreeable informa- 
tion. Certainly, some insects had greater attraction 
for us than others, but there was enough and to spare 
in the natural history of any one of them. Time and 
again our little circle learned the truth, well known to 
naturalists, that the objects which yield the richest 
store under investigation are those which lie nearest at 
hand. From such objects we selected our subjects, 
leaving many untouched : and from such selections 
agam these published notes have been gleaned. I make 
bold to speak of this lest some one should think that 

these scant studies cover the field of entomology. 



Nay ; it is true here, as Jerrold said of tlie soil of Aus- 
tralia, one has but to " tickle the face of nature with a 
hoe and she laughs with a golden harvest." We but 
touched the surface of the Insect World in our Conver- 
sations, and I am scarcely doing so much in these 

Meanwhile, the season steadily advanced. Thanks- 
giving Day came in with a whirl of tempest and snow 
that marked the advent of winter. Again the days 
brightened, and the earlj' weeks of December recalled 
the mingled softness and severity of Novembei*. Christ- 
mas came with its good cheer, and a sunny holiday 
week closed with a real Avinter storm, and a snow that 
whitened all the woods and fields. Shut in, as we 
were, by the heavy weather and our solitary site from 
the society of neighbors and friends, and thrown back 
upon our own resources for enjoyment, we came to 
look for the weekly or semi-weekly entomological meet- 
ings with increased pleasure. Surely there is a valuable 
hint here for many country homes. It is true that a 
specialist cannot often be found to lead the winter- 
night conversation ; l)ut the printed page of book or 
magazine may Avell take his place. There are few 
home circles where individual studies and observations 
could not add running comments of real value. 

It was rare for us to pass the appointed time without 
a Conversation ; and the preparation therefor — collect- 
ing and arranging specimens, making outline sketches 
and brief notes, gave to my mind an agreeable occupa- 
tion that was quite needful alike to ward ofl discontent 


and thoughts of Inisiuess affairs. Change and rest 
gradually wrought their helpful mission, and healthful 
days and sleepful nights slowly returned to me. 

To be sure, as the winter advanced, I lost the ad- 
vantage of field studies, with the open air exercise 
which they involved. There was, indeed, opportunity 
for looking into the winter habits of my insect friends 
which was improved with good results ; but for the 
most part we fell back upon the information gathered 
during summer and autumn. This was little detriment 
to our studies, as I had anticipated the difficulty, and 
assisted by my willing and active aids, had made large 
collections which could always be supplemented from 
the city museum. 

" What is the fun ?" asked the Mistress as 1 came in 
on one of these collecting days, bringing a handful of 

" Only another example of Dan's ' curus ' ways," I 
replied. " He has proved a real god-send to me, for I 
think it would be well nigh impossible in a month's 
journey to strike so rich a vein of superstition as lies 
under his black skin. He has given me a new insight 
of the strange relations between my entomological pets 
and my fellows, and shown me how deeply and strangely 
the world of men has been impressed by the insect 

"Well, and what new discover}^ have you made this 

" Something about these basket-worms. You know 
tiie large arlior vita' tree in the back yard has beei> 


badly infested by them ; the whole top was stripped of 
leaves, and the cone-shaped baskets were pendant from 
every branch. I fear the tree may be beyond help, but 
I resolved to try to save it by plucking and burning all 
the baskets. I ordered Dan to get the orchard step- 
iadder and help me in this work. I was surprised to 
see him hold back and seek to avoid the duty, but he 
tinally obe\'ed and gathered the branches into a hea]) 
as I clipped them from the tree. However, he kept 
muttering over his task, and shook his head continually 
in a most solemn way. I set this down as one of his 
oddities and took no notice of it. The tree was stripped 
at last and a great pile of basket-worms gathered. 

"Now, Dan," I said, "get a few kindlers and we 
shall make a little bonfire." 

" Yo aint gwine to burn up dese tings. Mars May- 
fiel', be yo ?" 

" Certainly ; why not ? Come, hurry up !" 

The old fellow took oft' his hat and stood twisting the 
brim around and around through his fiugers. He 
looked as solemn as the grave. I began to show some 
vexation, I suppose, for he said : 

" Mars MayfieP, I done sarve yo tro a. id faiful, alluz ; 
an' alluz meanter do my duty 's well 's I know how. 
But dar 's some tings wat a man haint no right ter do, 
nur ax anoder man ter do for 'im. An' dat's jes one 
uv 'em. Ef yo'll please 'scuse me from doin' dat, I'll 
be powerful lilceged ter yo. I ax yo pardon, but clar 
to goodness, Mars'r I can't do dat ling." 

I saw that he was in serious earnest, and relieved 


his anxiety at once. " All right, Dan, I won't ask 
you to do this work if you object so seriously. But 
what's your reason for declining ?" 

" I done got conscience agin it, sir." 

"Conscience! against killing these caterpillars that 
are destroying your trees ? You surely can't be in 
earnest, Dan ?" 

" Can't help it, sah. I'se dead in yarnest, I shore 
yo. It's jes dis a-way. Dem's wat we uns call fire- 
wood billies [billets] ; an' wat de ole folks saze is, dat 
dey is uufRn mo' nur less dan human critters wats'a- 
been punished fer stealin' wood wen dey wuz alive an' 
in de body. Dey's jes been turned inter dese billies 
deyselves, an' so dey go aroun' totin dey sacks ob 
leetle sticks, and hangin' dar in de win', col' an' chill 
enough de whole Avinter froo. 'Tempsychoses — dat's 
wat Latimore's ole Aunt Sue used to call it. Now, 
Mars Mayfiel', I 'low you doan bleeve dat ; but, yo' 
see, I dnes; an' I couldn't git consent nohow to 'gage 
in a-burnin' ob dem pore tempsychoses. Dey's pun- 
ished enough, I reckon, already •, an' dough dey is 
turned inter billies ob fire-wood, I doan want ter be de 
man wat put's de fire to 'em. We's all powerful weak, 
sah, an' like to go astray, an' ef ebrybuddy wat steals 
now-a-days done got turned inter billies, dar'd be a 
heap mo' tempsychoses hangin' 'roun' de trees, sah, 
dan dey is now. I doan' mean no disrespect, indeed I 
doan', but dat's w'y I can't 'bey dat order." 

"Well, I have had a similar experience with Dan," 
said the Mistress, laughing, when I had finished my 


istory. " A few days ago 1 asked him to carry a bundle 
up-stairs and put it into the blue-room. He refused 
politely enough but decidedly. I wondered at his 
rebellion and asked him for a reason.'" 

"I nebber goes inter dat room, Mis' MayfieP," he 
said, "an' I nebber did, and, please de Lor', I nebber 

"Why not, Dan ; what's the matter with the 
room V" 

"Matter enough, ma'am. How d'yo spose dem 
tracks got up on dat ceiling ? No dorg nur mann ebber 
walked ober de roof in dat away, head down'rd. No, 
no !" and he shook his head solemnly, " dar's been bad 
business dar. Yo' may depen' ! No mortals nebber 
made dem tracks ! An' ole Dan doan wan tcr git his 
head in-under 'em." 

The room which had thus excited Dan's superstition 
is a back chamber on the south side of the second floor. 
The ceiling has been preserved precisely in the state in 
which it was built a century ago. It is made of plain 
unpainted boards, which are really the floor of the 
loft above. The rough raftci-s upon which they are 
nailed show in all their virgin plainness. A small 
square boxed hole serves as a ventilator through the 
roof. The ancient side-door retains the old-fashioned 
"bobin " latch, and a very old chest of drawers adds to 
the quaintness of the chamber. 

As one enters the room and glances upward, he is 
surprised to find a number of dog-tracks upon the 
ceiling ! There they are, their strong leather-broAvn 


color showing distinctly even against the age-browned 
boards. How did the dog- tracks get there f In one 
corner of the roof are the indistinct outlines of a pair 
of naked human feet. Some one seems to have scrubbed 
there until they are recognized ■with difficulty, but 
human footprints they certainly are. 

The origin of these " tracks " has been for many 
years a fruitful subject for gossip among humbler 
country-side folk. But there is not much mystery 
about it according to the Townes family tradition. 
The board-yard at which the lumber was bought was 
also the tan-yard, and feet that had passed through 
the liquid tan had walked across and left their prints 
upon the boards which good Friend Townes had 
loaded up for his new^ house. No one thought worth 
while to plane them off, and so they were nailed down, 
tracks and all ! Many a tidy housekeeper had tried 
her hands and temper at the task of scrubbing off the 
marks ; but at last they came to be valued for their 
oddity. Kevertheless, there was this disadvantage, 
that in some minds the mysterious dog-tracks awakened 
nearly as much consternation as did the " handwriting 
on the Avail " at Belshazzar's feast. 

Poor Dan of course fell a victim to the mystery. 
Who would accept so simple an explanation as that 
which we have given ? Too plain entirely, that ! No, 
no ; the feet that left those prints upon the ceiling 
were not of mortal mold ! The room " wasn't zactly 
' /lOJiiec?, ' " Dan agreed, but he steadily refused to 
compromise himself with the " sperits " by entering 


it. (^iieer old Dan ! His clianiclor had a most har- 
monious setting" in such a quaint old house. 

In our conversation upon the " Tailor Insects," the 
basket or bag-worms had the first place. I had collected 
a number of interesting specimens from the old farm 
and from a grove at Shadybank, the home of one of 
my neighbors. These had been gathered from several 
species of trees widely differing in character — the 
arbor vitte, white pine, larch, cypress, Scotch syca- 
more, American sycamore or buttonwood, English 
walnut, silver maple and sugar maple. 

The caterpillar therefore has a wide range in the 
selection of its food-plant, and thus has immense ad- 
vantages in the struggle for life and the chance to 
increase man's struggle. 

"The basket-worm is the caterpillar of a species of 
moth sometimes known as the house-builder moth 
{Oiketici). The insects are also called Gancphorm, or 
basket-carriers, and the Germans call them Sack-tra(jei\ 
or sack-bearers. These specimens all belong to one 
species {Theridrypterix ephcmercrformis), which is widely 
distributed throughout our vicinity. 

" Let us take up our history of the insect at tlie point 
when it appears as a larva. So far as we know, the 
eggs are laid by the female within the case, and are 
there hatched out. The first act of the young worm is 
to spin around itself a silkin case, open at both ends. 
This becomes at last an extremely tough substance, 
narrow at the bottom, widened out at the middle, and 
again narrowed at the top into a tube, widest at tlie 





rim. Look at some of these cases ; most of them are 
of this year's brood, and contain a crysalis, from whicli 
an Ephemeraform Moth -will emerge next summer. 
Here is one that fed upon the pine ; you observe how 
the long needle-like leaves of the tree have been at- 
tached to the outside of the case, and hang down far be- 
low the end (Fig. 120.) Here is another that has been 
made upon arbor yitee, and the leaves and oblong 


cones of the plant completely conceal the silken en- 
velope. This tree or shrub is a favorite food-plant of 
this species, at least I have frequently found the worm 
upon it. Here is a third specimen, a small one, which 
is completely covered with the feather-like bracts of 




the Scotch sycamore. A few stamens and bits of twigs 
assist the ornamentation. The case hangs to the mid- 
rib, and the opening cut in the leaf, all around the 
case-stalk, shows where the insect has been feeding." 

" What is the use of these patches and bars ?" asked 
Abby. " Are they simply for ornament like the beads 
and buttons that ladies sew upon their dresses ?" 

" I suspect that the caterpillar has not yet reached 
the stage of development at which it is either troubled 
or gladdened by the aesthetics of dressmaking. The 
habit is probably protective. And yet one would think 
that the extremely tough case which envelops it would 
be quite sufficient armor against all assault of foes and 
stress of weather, Nevertheless, this leafy coat of 
mail, which, as you see, sometimes wholly covers the 
sac, must greatly add to the protective value of the cov- 
ering. The caterpillar has a soft, hairless body, and is 
thus more exposed to attack than many others ; but 
certainly Nature appears to have favored this creature 
far above its fellows." 

"How does the worm manage to trim her coat in 
this wise ?" asked the Mistress. 

" I have some drawings here that will enable me to 
answer you. But it will be necessary first to explain 
the manner of eating. The larva has perfect control of 
its own movements, notwithstanding the fact that it 
carries its house upon its back. It can tiirust its body 
out of the sac -mouth until nearly the whole of it is 
exposed, and twist and bend itself in all directions. 



"I have seen specimens that had dropped froni the 
trees hanging by a thread and squiriuiug, bending and 
snapping their bodies in the 
oddest wa3's, while the case 
spun around like an old- 
fashioned distaff, which in- 
deed it resembles. Now, 
when the caterpillar wants 
to feed it sti'etches out its 
head and neck, and moves 
them about until a satis- 
factory point has been se- 
cured. This it clasps with 
its pro-legs, which are hard, 
conical organs provided 
with sharp claws, and pulls 
up its body as you see at 
this figure (Fig. 121), and 
begins to spin. The spin- 
ning organs are near the 
mouth, and after several 
motions of the head, as 
though smearing the liquid 
viscid silk, the head is 
drawn back, thus drawing 
out a short thread. A simi- 
lar movement is then made 
against one side of the 

mouth of the sac. This process is repeated several 
times until a stout stay-line is spun by which the 



larva hangs securely. Now the creature is ready to 
feed. The behavior varies in this act, a good deal. 
For example, here is a sketch (Fig. 123) of a worm 
feeding upon the white pine. You may see the stay- 
line by which it hangs to one leaf, while it reaches 
to an adjoining needle, bites it off, and " sits " erect in 
its house comfortably chewing off the end which is con- 
tinually shored upward by the two pairs of pro-legs 
that appear above the sac. This specimen made a 
very comical figure, and reminded mc, when I drew 
it, of the attitude of a squirrel feeding on a nut. 

"But more frequently the worm feeds without sepa- 
rating the leaf from the point of suspension. In the 
sketch, for example (Fig. 121), which I use to illustrate 
the attitude in spinning, we have the same position 
precisely as that taken when eating. The caterpillar 
has made itself flist to the under part of the leaf, as you 
see, and is gnawing at the edge, moving its head around 
as it eats. When the sketch was taken the leaf was 
nearly consumed." 

" Can thee tell how the caterpillar is held within its 
house ?" asked Aunt Hannah. " Does it lash its body 
to the inside ?" 

" 1 never saw a fastening of any sort in the cocoons 
which I have opened. The larva can turn itself around 
easily in its case, and go out at either end, although 
the head is generally upward. It clings to the inside 
of the case with the hooks upon its hinder feet, and so 
tenaciously that I have never been able to force one out, 
always being checked by the fear of tearing the creatin-e 


in two. I come now to the mode of attaching the leaf- 
cuttings to the case. So far as I have observed, this 
is always done at or near the mouth of the sac ; at 
least I never saw a worm stretch its mouth backward 
and downward to sew a patch to the lower part of 
its case." 

" But how do they get there ? See here !" exclaimed 
Abby, "the leaves and chips are scattered all along 
the basket, from top to bottom. The caterpillar must 
have reached down to these points in order to fasten 
them there." 

Abby's opinion evidently had a unanimous verdict of 
approval from the members of the circle who were care- 
fully examining the baskets. I was therefore bound to 
defend my assertion. 

"You forget, I think, that the Ephemeraform larva 
is a growing creature, unlike the moth itself, which 
emerges a perfect insect of full growth. It begins as a 
small worm, eats small quantities, and, as you may ob- 
serve, down here toward the foot of the case sews on 
very small tags. But after it has fastened on these 
pieces — to the mouth, remember — it grows itself, and 
so also does the case, which it continually stretches and 
enlarges. You can easily see, therefore, that the 
mouth of the case is continually changing, moving up- 
ward as the worm feeds, just as does the opening of 
Aunt Hannah's stocking as she knits. The pieces 
sewed upon the cap of the case thus appear, in an adult 
caterpillar, precisely as they are here, scattered along 
the outside from top to bottom. Is that clear to you ?" 


"I quite understand it now," said Abby ; "but I 
am still at a loss to know how the pieces are put on. 
Can you explain that ?" 

"In part at least ; for I have seen the process in 
worms feeding upon arbor vita?. Take one example 
which may illustrate others. In this drawing (Fig. 
124) the worm has cleared a goodl}^ space around it 
and has eaten along a twig toward the outer point. 
Now, suppose that just wiiere its head is shown, 
it cuts quite through the twig, whether by accident 
or design I cannot say. Of course the outer part 
drops down. But. while eating, the worm frequently, 
quite constantly, indeed, spreads its viscid silk along 
the leaf and so keeps it attached on both sides to 
the upper edge of the sac, or to its own mouth- 

" Thus, the tip of the twig or leaf, when it is severed 
from the stem, instead of falling to the ground, simply 
drops alongside of the case to Avhich it is held by the 
slight filament that attaches it to the sac, or as in 
man}' instances, to the caterpillar's spinnerets. In 
either case, the twig, leaf, stem, or cutting remains, 
and after being drawn up, adjusted and tightened by 
the w'orm, sticks tightly. As the creature is con- 
tinually moving its spinning tubes around the top ot 
the sac, these fastenings are continually being 
strengthened. Thus one piece after another is added, 
and so the basket grows. No doubt the animal varies 
her mode of procedure, but so far as I have observed, 
(he process is as I have given it. 



" Can the basket-worms walk with such big packs 
upon their backs ?" asked Harry. 

" That they can, and make pretty good time, too, I 
once timed one that was climbing up a tent pole, and 


found that it traveled at the rate of three inches a 
minute, and could have made much better time, I am 
sure. It walked ten or twelve feet before it stopped, 
or rather, before I lost sight of it in a l)ranch that 
overhung and touched the tent. Two others were 
tried in the same way with about the same results. 
They are odd looking objects as they go along, with 
their baskets hanging down, held out at right angles. 


01 even, when small, turned quite erect. Here is a 
drawing of one climbing a leaf-stalk. (Fig. 125.) 

" But how do they manage to walk ? I can't under- 
stand that," said Harr}-. 

"The walking is done altogether with these three 
fore-legs. Let us suppose that the caterpillar has just 
made a step. Its head and the upper rings of the 
body are thrust beyond the case. It is holding by all 
its pro-legs. N'ow it prepares to take a step ; it re- 
leases first the second pair of legs, and immediately 
after the first pair, at the same time pushing its head 
forward. The rings of the body extend like the joints 
of a telescope, and when the two first legs are ready to 
be set down, the fore part of the body is well advanced. 
Then the larva pulls upon the third pair of legs which 
hold tightly to the surface, and by wrinkling up, or 
more properly contracting the rings of the middle and 
hind part of the body, it hitches them forward, and, 
of course, the whole case comes along. Tliat completes 
one step, and all others are made in the same way." 

''• Well, well," exclaimed the Mistress, when I had 
sent mj' sketch around the circle, " of all curious crea- 
tures which you have described to us, this basket- 
worm appears to me to bear away the palm for oddity. 
I begin to understand why one can be so patient and 
self-denying in nature studies. Eeally it must be a 
great pleasure to find out all these remai'kable things." 

"To me," said Aunt Hannah, " there is something 
more remarkable than thy husband's [):-ilience, or even 
th-^ habits of his insect fri(>nds." 



" Pray what is that ?" 

"It is tlie fact that these creatures have been hving 
their wonderful lives and working out their wise ways 
underneath my very eyes all my life time, and I never 
saw" them ! Since thee has spoken of it, Friend May- 
field, I remember having observed these objects hang- 
ing to the limbs of some of our own trees Avhen stripped 
of leaves in autumn. But it never occurred to me to 
examine them. Indeed, if I thought about them at 
all, it was only to suppose them some part of the tree — 


a cone, or something of that sort. I am ashamed, hu- 
miHatcd and amazed at my stupidity !" 

"An honest confession. Aunt Hannah," I said, 
"and if all who are in like condemnation would speak 
with like candor, there would be a great ' army of con- 
fessors,' I assure you. But so it always has been. The 
' seeing eye ' is one of the rarest gifts in this world of 

" Shall I tell you what I have been thinking about ?" 
asked Abby. 

"By all means ; something pleasant, I am sure, by 
your smiling face." 

"I was thinking of the Jubilee Singers." 

"The Jubilee Singers!" the Mistress exclaimed. 
" Of all things mundane, why of them ? Your power 
of association will certainly turn out to be a greater 
marvel than we have yet heard of." 

" I am quite in earnest,' Abby I'csponded. " There 
is one plantation song v/hich those colored students 
rendei-cd that I never understood until to-day. It 
flashed into my mind while Mr. ]\fayfield was telling us 
how the basket-worm walks. Do you remember the 
lines ?^ 

' Tm inchin' aloiiij liko a pore inch-worm, 
IiK'hiu' aloni^ to Jesus !' 

" Now, I used to think that over-rude, if not irrev- 
erent, even for a plantation hymn ; for it never occurred 
to me before that the figure is a true and highly ex- 
pi-essive one, drawn from the dail}- observation and 
adapted to the simple characters of those who sang 


it, albeit somewliat vulgar to our ears. What could be 
more appropriate than the phrase ' iuchin' along ' to 
describe the motion of your basket-worm and other 
gcometrids ? And what more natural and apposite 
metaphor could be found for the halting, hitching, 
timorous progress of some souls in the spiritual life ? 
If we grant that all objects in nature are of equal 
worth and standing, the ' inch-worm ' is entitled to 
a place among poetic emblems, and the rude plan- 
tation hymnists' figure is a literary gem. " 

" I find myself in the affirmative," I remarked, " on 
all these points ; at least I am not prepared to dissent 
from either the Mistress, Aunt Hannah, or Miss Abby. 
I suppose, therefore, that I may resume the story of the 
basket-worm, for I liave not yet quite finished. Some 
one asked me if the caterpillar has a covering to the 
mouth of its case. Ko, but it has several ways of clos- 
ing it. If it is walking along or feeding, at any alarm 
it instantly draws itself up and forces the open mouth 
closely against the stem or leaf, which then serves as a 

"That's just the way a snail does with its shell," 
suggested Harry. " I 've often seen 'em !" 

"Precisely. The soft body of the snail is thus 
pushed witliin its hard shell while the rock to which it 
clings closes the opening. If the caterpillar happens to 
be hanging by the stay-thread or loosens its hold upon 
the leaf, it instantly grasps the upper rim of the sac 
just within the mouth and pulls the edges together 
over its head, as Harry might close a grain-bag with 


his hands after backhig inside of it. When the worm 
rests from feeding it proceeds in this way, and sews the 
mouth up securely. It will often hang thus during much 
of the day time, and in the cool of the evening come out 
to eat, I have seen the branches of an arbor vitte tree 
fairly astir with the number of basket-worms that come 
out at nightfall to feed. Of course the exit is easy, for 
they have only to cut the inner fastenings with their 
sharp teeth. 

"When the larva is about to become a pupa it shuts 
up the case in the last way described, casts off its last 
larval skin, and, without making any other cocoon, 
awaits its transformation. 

"Do both sexes have the same bag or basket - 
making habit ?" asked Hugh. 

" Yes ; but here comes in another remarkable fact in 
the life-history of our insect. Like the Orgyia, of 
which 3-0U have already learned, the female of Ephe- 
meraform is wingless. Indeed, if you examine the 
specimen you will notice that she has the merest 
apologies for legs and antennae — in fact, closely 
resembles her larva. A more helpless creature it 
would be hard to find ; and so, like the discreet matron 
of Scripture, she is a "keeper at home," though, for 
that matter, there is nothing else for her to do. She 
never leaves her case, not even to receive her wooers, 
who must seek her inside her own house." 

"How, then, pray, does she ever find a mate?" 
asked the Mistress. 

" Ah ! she is a thorough model of maidcnl}- mod- 


esty in that respect, for the mate always tiuds her. 
Nature has given liim wings, decorated him with 
beautiful feathered antenna?, and made him in every 
respect a striking contrast to his fat, downy, grub-like 

"As soon as he has transformed, he abandons his 
secure castle and hies away to seek his true-love, which 
is now the one aim of his life. Undoubtedly, the re- 
tired habits of his ladye faire present serious obstacles ; 
but then, when was ever true lover daunted by difficul- 
ties ? Sooner or later he finds his mate, who. for her 
part, spends the short remainder of her life in laying a 
number of eggs within her basket home, wherein, by- 
aud-by, a lively brood of young caterpillars are reared. 
They have regular, restless Anglo-Saxon dispositions, 
and, as we have seen already, are not content until 
they colonize from the old homestead and set up house- 
keeping for themselves. It was at this point that we 
began the history of the basket-worm, and here we 
must now leave it." 



Our next meeting fell upon a genuine winter evening. 
Snow had fallen during the day, and although the moon 
rose full, j'ct ever and anon sharp squalls drove clouds 
along the sky, intercepting her rays, and dusting the 
fast whitening earth with feathery falls of snow flakes. 
Then the clouds scudded away, and the moonlight laid 
its glory upon the landscape. Looking out from our 
sitting-room window, we saw Luna's broad, jocund 
face hanging over a neighboring woods, and peering 
straight along the line of our wide avenue. In the 
open spaces the light sparkled among the snow crystals, 
which, as they drifted before puffs of wind, seemed like 
a phosphorescence of the frost upon a sea of snow. 
The lane and fields lay in a whiteness that was intense 
under the full moonbeams ; shadows of the trees 
stretching down toward us were deeper in tlie contrast, 
and as the branches swayed before the gust, they- 
shifted continually, so that their weird outlines looked 
like a dance of giants sporting on a crystal floor, and 
reaching forth their gaunt arms to catch the columns 
of drift that whirled by like veiled spirits of the storm. 

Inside the old farm house a cheerful home scene Avas 

presented. Dan thoroughly understands the well nigh 


lost art of "building" an open heai'th fire. Flush 
against the chimney' wall a great back-log la}', its heart 
already well uncovered by the gnawing flames, whose 
huge triangular bite was all aglow with rosy embers. 
Hickory sticks of various sizes, laid on in delicate grada- 
tion, were piled atop of the andirons in front of the 
back-log. How the big fire did leap and laugh, and 
spit and sparkle, and hiss and crackle as the flames ate 
their way into the wood ! The bed of coals beneath 
continually grew as splints and chunks fell off" from the 
fore-logs, curled up into glowing color upon the hot 
bed, and then melted away into the common mass of 
embers. In the hearth-corner the tea kettle kept up a 
genial sizz-z in answer to the kitten's purr, and the old- 
fashioned brazen standards of the irons seemed from 
their polished bulbs and rings to reflect the comfort, 
brightness and genial warmth of the whole precincts 
of the hearth. 

Winter snows are the true soil for the generous cul- 
ture of home. Home life, home love, home pleasures 
are indigenous growths in lands where the Frost King 
claims some season for his own. How one hugs his 
hearth-stone and feels his heart leap up with its fire- 
flames in gladness over his well-housed loved ones, 
when he hears the storm rattling at his window ! 

The table was wheeled in front of our fire, the lamps 
were lit and set upon it, together with boxes of speci- 
mens, books and the invariable folio of manilla paper 
for illustrations. Why is it that on such occasions the 
ladies are sure to find some pleasant and useful occupa- 


tion for their fingers ? Certes, the}' present a graceful 
and pleasing feature in the home circle, with pretty 
work-baskets at their sides tilled with its paraphernalia 
of thimbles, scissors, emery-bag, needles, pins, spools 
and divers odds and ends, with rolls of broidery bright 
with many hues on their laps, or tidy pieces of plain 
sewing, or meshed bands and bundles of knitting work, 
while trim fingers move briskly, and the tools of their 
delicate handicraft tinkle amid the music of their 
tongues. To say nothing of economies, these womanly 
ways are a vast contribution to the esthetics of our 
houses, and show in notable contrast with the ungrace- 
ful, even ungainly over-consciousness of hands and the 
mystery of what to do with them, which so often char- 
acterize the male portion of a family circle. 

These reflections were started by a glance around our 
sitting-room on that winter night. All the ladies had 
some pleasant work for their fingers ; even the click of 
Sarah's knitting-needles sounded out of the kitchen 
shadows. But the masculines betrayed by their awk- 
Avard attitudes and restless movements the need of 
some occupation for their hands to give their bearing 
poise and gracefulness. 

"Who will discover for man's fingers a suitable and 
congenial home emploA'ment besides rotating a news- 
paper and manipulating a cigar ? For such a genius a 
monument more enduring than brass awaits. 

" Thee spoke of insects se?aii<7," said Aunt Hannah, 
as we began our Conversation on Insect Tailors amid 
the above confreuial surroundings. " I have looked 



over these siieciineus, and 
have seen nothmg that 
can fairly be called by 
that name — at least ac- 
cording to our ideas of 
such work. I think I 
should speak of the bas- 
ket-worm's labor as past- 
ing rather than sewing. 
Nor do I see anything 
different in these nests of 
spiders, leaf-rolling cater- 
pillars and cutting bees." 

"That is true," I re- 
plied, "if we concede 
that sewing requires the 
use of a needle or needle- 
like implement. Our in- 
sects do not sew their 
nests together in the sense 
or fashion of the tailor- 
bird or fan-tailed warbler, 
for example. But sup- 
pose we defme sewing as 
the art of making an 
artificial covering for the 
body, then the basket- 
worm is a true insect 
tailor, is it not ? 

" Or, again, suppose we 


define sewing as the art of joining together separ- 
ate pieces of pliable material by means of threads. 
Then our basket-worm as well as these ,leaf-rollers 
and spiders are true tailors, for certainly they do 
unite leaves into nests by silken threads stretched from 
one to the other. (Fig. 120). Here in this nest of the 
Insular spider, made in a hickory leaf, you can dis- 
tinctly see the threads crossing the seam from side to 
side, from one end to the other. Here are some nests 
of the beautiful Shamrock spider, one spun among the 
leaves of some vine unknown to me (Fig. 127), the 
others made out of the leaves of a fern. They are beau- 
tiful objects even now as dried specimens, and were far 
more shapely when seen in nature. Xow, in these 
cases and all similar ones, the ends of threads have been 
made to adhere to instead of passing through pieces 
after having been drawn taut, but the eflect is pi-e- 
cisely the same in both modes — the threads pull the 
pieces or parts together, and hold them so. That, I 
think, may ftxirly be classified as tailoring, may it 
not ?" 

" Yes, but here is a difference," said Abby, joining 
in the discussion. " The art of the tailor or seamstress 
has for its object the clothing of the body. IN'ow, if we 
admit that the basket-worm's case is really such a cov- 
ering, a true coat or frock, if you please, you cannot 
say the same of these spider structures. According to 
your own showing they arc houses, not garments." 

"Well put. Miss Abby, and you shall be fairly an- 
swered. During the bright autumnal days I pitched 




my tent upon the lawn and used it continually for an 
office and outdoor library, so that by the physician's 
advice I might be as much as possiljle in the open air. 
My tent is seized — a house or shelter of various pieces 
of canvas wrought together by the tailor's craft. But 
what will you do with it if you refuse to allow the 
spider's nest a place among sewed structures because it 
is a tent and not a garment ?" (Fig. 127.) 


" Really, Al^by," smilingly remarked Aunt Hannah, 
"I think that we must admit that Friend Mayfield is 
right, and receive his insect friends into our worthy 
guild of spinsters, tailors and seamstresses. For one, I 
am better content with their association than I would 
have been before I was favored with a place at these 

" Thank 3'ou, Aunt Hannah. And now I shall pre- 
sent for the honor of membership a new candidate, the 
Leaf-cutter Bee {2Iegachile cenUincuIaris). You have 
better reason for denying her claims to place among the 
tailor insects than the others ; but on the strength of 
the importance which I know the cutting department 
to have in all sewing operations, I venture to include 
her within this group." 

"Oh, we will all vote to admit her !" exclaimed the 
Mistress. " Bees are such genteel insects, and so in- 
teresting withal, that any member of such a ' highly 
respectable family ' — to quote a favorite Philadelphia 
phrase — shall not go a-begging for a seat among the 
seamstresses. By all means, let us have the leaf-cutter 

" "Well, then, here she is — a thick-bodied insect with 
a large square head armed with stout jaws. She is not 
provided with a pollen-basket like the honey and hum- 
ble bees, but Nature has placed a thick mass of dense 
hair on the under side of the apex of the abdomen or 
tail, which she uses for the same purpose. 

We have two or three species connnon to the Eastern 
United States [Mcgachih ccnHincaJans, M. integrr, M. 


hrevis], having nearly the same habits, which indeed 
differ Httle from those of tlieir European congeners. 
The insect begins her nest by boring a hole about the 
diameter of her own body in the soft pith of an elder 
stem, or the soft wood of some old tree. Sometimes 
she digs a cylindrical hole in a beaten pathway. Some- 
times she economizes her labor by choosing the hollow 
of a tree, the shelter of a cornice, or the cavities of an 
old wall for her home-site. This done, she seeks her 
favorite plant, which is commonly a rose-bush, and 
begins to harvest leaves. 

"She makes the cut in almost the same way as the 
cutting ant, as I have heretofore described it. She 
flits from leaf to leaf, not that there appears to be any 
ground for a selection, but somewhat on the principle 
(whatever it is) that moves certain ladies in their 
shopping expeditions. At last she is satisfied, settles 
upon the leaf, clinging by her feet to its edges. Then 
she draws her scissors Avhich she carries not at her 
belt, but on the end of her face. In other words, she 
opens her mandibles, which are well ordei'ed tools for 
the purpose, and makes a slit into the edge of the leaf. 
Thence she moves rapidly around the major part of a 
circle, using her jaws as though one point of a pair of 
compasses and her feet as the others. The jiws work 
precisely like a pair of scissoi's, and with each forward 
slit the legs are hitched farther along, until the op- 
posite edge of the leaf is reached. Now she holds the 
cutting in her jaws, balances it while she poises her 
body upon fluttering wings, adjusts the severed piece 


between her hiud legs aud flies away to her hole. Here 
is a figure representing leaf-cutter bees engaged upon 
a rose-bush, and beneath them are samples of the 
cylindrical nests which they construct." (Fig. 128.) 

" How long does it take a bee to cut out one of these 
pieces ?" asked Penn Townes. 

" One individual whose movements were timed, cut, 
carried ten yards to her nest, fixed the leaf in its place, 
and returned to the rose-bush on which she was work- 
ing, at intervals of from half a minute to a minute, 
and kept this up during an entire morning." 

"Pretty rapid work that !" 

" Yes, and you will appreciate it more highly when 
I shall have told you how she disposes of the leaves. 
If yon turn to our figure (128) you will notice first 
that the leaves have been used to line the inner surface 
of the hole, and that they form a tube not quite three 
inches long, which consists of several 'joints,' as I may 
call them. If you will examine the joints you will 
perceive that each is made up of three or four pieces, 
and that the serrated edge, or natural selvage of the 
leaf, as the ladies might say, is invariably placed on 
the outside, while the cut mai'gin is put innermost. 
Do yon observe these points ?" 

" Yes, we all see." 

"Here is another fact, if I am not much mistaken," 
said Hugh. He had been examining the nest carefully, 
and, as it proved, witli a true mcchanic;\l eye. "If 
you take purticklcr notice, sir, you'll see that in 
formin' uv these jints the bee has been careful not 




to put a jinin over a jiniii. She has laid the middle 
or soUd part of every piece fernent a seam, an' I don't 
find nary seam that jines onter another seam. Bein's 
ther's so many pieces and seams, thet looks es though 
it mought a-been done a-purpose. Ain't it so ?" 

" You are quite right, and have proved yourself g, 


good observer, for this point has attracted the atten- 
tion of naturalists. It would really seem that the skill 
of an experienced joiner had been brought to bear upon 
this leafy tube." 

"How are the pieces held together ?" asked Abby. 
" I don't see any seam — I don't mean Hugh's sort, 
but the kind a seamstress makes. There's neither 
sewing nor pasting visible. Are the seams inside ?" 

"Now you have raised the point which I had in 
mind at the outset when I spoke of the doubtful claim 
of the leaf-cutter bee to a place among Tailor Insects. 
In point of fact there is no sewing here at all — not a 
thread used. The leaves are held in place by the 
natural spring of the leaf alouo. Here are a glass 
lamp-chimney, a pair of scissors, and some bits of 
paper. AVho will try her hand at building an artificial 
bee's nest ? Miss Abby volunteers ! Very well, Penn 
may help you if he will, and see how you two will get 
along at the mimic work of nest-making." 

The Mistress cast a sly glance at the Schoolma'am, 
whose pink cheeks reddened as she shook her head 
threateningly at me. Aunt Hannah looked up quickly 
from her knitting, and shot a disapproving glance 
across the table. It would have been an angry glance, 
perhaps, if the good lady could have nursed wi-ath, for 
the growing interest that Penn Townes took in the 
Yankee maiden was a sore trial to her. xVbby was, in- 
deed, all that her mother love could ask for her son, 
with one exception — religion. How could she bear to 
have her only child " turned out," deprived of his birth- 


right privileges for " marrying out of meeting ?" Slie 
who already sat in the front seats ? whose husband 
now sat side by side with the head of the meeting, an 
honored elder ? That long line of ancestral faithfulness 
and honor in the belief and fellowship of Friends, 
should it be broken oif and cease forever by the rebel- 
lious act of licr son V Poor, dear woman ! it had come 
to be a great concern upon her mind, and a bitter cross 
to carry. 

It was but human tliat we should sympathize with 
her struggles within these hei'editary bonds ; but for 
all that it was natural for us to wish success in our 
hearts to such a thoi'oughly Avell-appointed match. 
Yet between Abby's high spirit and old ideas of pro- 
priety, and Penn's affection for his parents and con- 
scientious regard for his ancestral form of Christianity, 
the issue seemed more than doubtful. But whither am 
I wandering ? 

Let us hasten back to the leaf-cutter bee and her 

"About ten or a dozen cuttings are reqv;ired to form 
one cell. Each cuttinof is bent into a curved form, and 
pressed into the burrow in such a manner that the 
pieces fit successively into or overlap one another, and 
form a small thimble-shaped cell, which is narrowed at 
one end, and gradually widened at the other until the 
width equals half the length. In this the mother bee 
puts a single egg and some bee-bread, a substance com- 
posed of pollen mixed with honey. jSText she covers in 
the opening with two or three circular pieces of leaf, so 


as to keep a baby bee within its own proper bounds, 
and proceeds to make another cell." 

" How many cells does she make, sir ?" asked Hugh. 

" The nest from which our illustrations were taken 
contained thirty cells. These were not arranged con- 
tinuously, but in nine separate rows or series of un- 
equal length. The longest row contained six cells, and 
was two and three-quarter inches long. The whole 
leaf structure was equal to a length of fifteen inches, 
and contained about a thousand pieces. I have often 
wondered at the rare patience of some of our lady 
friends in building a patchwork quilt out of no end of 
bits of silk and other stuff. But here is an insect who 
ma)'^ fairly rival them." 

" Here's your model nest," said Abby, who had by 
this time completed her task. " I should have found it 
a far easier work " — laughing — "if I could have crept 
inside my burrow, as the bee does, instead of limiting 
entrance to a finger or two. But I have been thinkiug 
that you liave assigned these insects the wrong trade, 
after all." 

" How is that ? AVhere do you place them ?" 

"With the upholsterers. These leaves are tapestry. 
The bee hangs them upon her walls and ceiling, and 
lays them as carpets upon her floors. Her handicraft 
is upholstery, and therein I vote to put her." 

"Very well, put the little artificer where you may 
she furnishes an interesting study. By-and-by her 
eggs become larvae, feed upon the l)ee-bread provided 
by the Torethought uttered through maternal care, 



fig. 129. — rolled leaf-nest of tortricid moth, 
(from nature.) 

spin a slight silken cocoon about the tapestried walls of 
their cradle-cells, go into the pupa state, and in a])out 
a month become mature bees, and cut their way out 
into the broad world to fill up their part of iN'ature's 
unending round." 


"Perhaps the most pei-fect examples of the tailor's 
art in the insect world are found among the Lepidop- 
tera. Butterflies, and especially moths, are famous for 
sewed habitations." 

" Moths !" exclaimed the Mistress. " You amaze 
me. I thought they flitted from flower to shrub, and 
build themselves no homes at all." 

" That is true of the imago or winged insect," I an- 
swered. " But you forget that the adult life of moth or 
butterfly is the shortest nart of its existence. In that 
estate it is reall}" an uninteresting creature, for the most 
part, and challenges attention chiefly by its form and 
colors. It is in tlie caterpillar state, the most odious to 
the ordinary observer tliat the naturalist finds the most 
interesting habits. Here, now, is a nest made proba- 
bly by the caterpillar of a species of Tortrix. I 
found it on the edge of the woods back of Asbury 
Park within sight of the ocean. I have seen multi- 
tudes of these globular nests about the size of an Eng- 
lish walnut, rolled up at the tips of the leaves of the 
great fern, Aspidiiim thelypteris (Fig. 129.) See how 
deftly the leaves have been rounded and sewed into this 
spherical mass ! And here is the little door out of which 
the transformed insect made its escape. Small forests 
of this fern grow in low and moist places along our 
Atlantic coast, and there 3'ou may find colonies of this 
leaf-roller or their abandoned nests in the months of 
July and August." 

"I have often noted those clumps of tall ferns in my 
sununer saunterings by the sea," remarked Abb^-; "but 


I never came across any of these beautiful objects, I am 

"Doubtless thee came across them, but never ob- 
served them," suggested Aunt Hannah; "but that 
was before thee had learned the value of the ' seeing 
eye ' by Friend Mayfield's Conversations. I warrant 
that hereafter thee will see more things in thy vaca- 
tion jaunts than thee ever dreamed of— at least, I can 
say as much for myself, I think." 

"1 stand corrected," returned the Schoolma'am, 
blushing. " But," she continued, " I have learned the 
value of a seeking tongue if not of the ' seeing eye '\ so 
I will e'en ask, what is the purpose of this nest, and 
how is it made ?" 

"A fair enough question," I answered ; "but I fear 
that I must somewhat disappoint your curiosity. 
However, I will tell you what I know about other leaf- 
rollers, and we shall thus, perhaps, easily infer how 
this pretty spherical nest was made. To begin with, 
this, like all nests of leaf-rolling caterpillars, is the 
home of a single insect. The mother moth deposits its 
eggs separately upon the food-plant of its young, 
appropriating a leaf to each egg. As soon as the cater- 
pillar is hatched it begins to spread its leafy tent above 
it, impelled thereto by the double purpose of securing 
itself from predatory birds and assailing insects, and of 
providing adequate food. It is not only important for 
it to feed, but to feed in safety. 

Sometimes the little hermit commences work upon 
the upper, sometimes upon the under surface of the 


leaf. Its mode of operation is generally very simple, 
and you will better understand it by looking at these 
figures (Figs. 130-131), wliicli show tlie nest of the Oak- 

(after RENNIE.) 

leaf roller in several stages of progress. The caterpillar 
fixes to the edge of the leaf a few short threads, which 
it spins from its mouth, and draws them to the op- 
posite edge ; or it stretches a thread from the tip and 
edges of the leaf to the mid-rib. Next it takes position 
at or near the middle of these lines and bears down or 
pulls down upon them. Of course the tightening of 
the threads naturally curls uj) the edges of the loaf. 
Do you understand that, Harry ?" 

" Well, I— I ," began the boy. 

"Speak straight out, lad !" said Hugh, "and don't 
be ashamed of honest ignorance. Let your yea be yca^ 
and your nay, im//, and don't worm around the truth 
when it's put straight to yc." 



Thus admonished by his father, 
Harry uttered an emphatic, "No, 

" Very well, let us try an ex- 
periment. I loop an end of these 
cords into the edge of this sheet of 
paper. So ! I take these pins and 
fasten the other ends of the cords 
into the sheet, thus — ^justfxr enough 
along to tighten the cords and litt 
up the edge of the paper a very 
little. Now take this stick and push 
down upon the middle part of the 
cords." (Fig. 133.) 

Harry followed my directions, and 
as the edges of the manilla sheet, 
drawn upon l)y the taut string, raised and curled 
over, his face lighted up with a bright smile, and he 
exclaimed : 

" Oh, it's plain enough now I I quite understand !" 

FIG. 132. — XEST OF 



" Very well,'' I coiiiinued, " let the stick drop do-i\-n 
to the paper. Here at the points where the cords 
touch I thrust pins through them into the table. Re- 
move your stick now, and there ! You see that the 
sheet reemains quite curled over. That is substantially 
the leaf-roller's mode of curling a leaf; except, of 
course, that, instead of pinning down its threads, it 
glues them down to the leaf; and, by a succession of 
like operations, succeeds in making one complete roll 
or cylinder, and then another and another, until its 
full growth is attained. 

"And, now, you want to know what the caterpillar 
does in its leafy tent ? Well, having made its home, 
it straightway proceeds to eat it." 

"Verily," said Aunt Hannah, who could not resist 
the opportunity to draw a moral lesson, "there are 
human beings who have the same unhappy faculty. 
Many a good house and fair farm have I known to dis- 
appear down the gullet of the glutton and wine-bibber. 
Truly, Holy Scripture well calls man ' a worm ' — 
although, perhaps. Friend Mayfield, th}' caterpillar 
doesn't exactly illustrate the mind of the Spirit in that 

The closing sentence was evidently forced into this 
apologetic strain by the smile which I could not re- 
strain at the quaint use which the good woman had 
found for my little leaf-roller. 

"Pardon me," I said, "your lesson is not less 
profitable because it awakes mirthfulness. ■ But really, 
Aunt Tlanuah, you have done the worm injustice by 


your metaphor. The creature never eats itself out of 
house and home after the fashion of our species ; it 
cuts windows and doors through its leaf partitions, 
passing thereby from one to another, but the instinct 
which urged it to its first act of protection prevents 
it from destroying its outer defenses." 

" In other Avords," said Abby, speaking up sharply, 
"a worm will do better for itself under the sway of 
Instinct than some men under the rule of Keason. 
Why is that?" 

"Excuse me. Miss Abby, if I decline to follow up 
your question fully. It would lead us into very deep 
waters, indeed, and we should perhaps need Dr. Good- 
man to bring us back to harborage. But let me say 
there is some strange element which somewhere in 
man's history has overpassed the bounds and bars of 
the common laws of Nature and found place Avithin 
him. It is peculiar to him — alien from his fellow- 
creatures of the lower orders. It has jarred his nature 
at many points, and made it discordant with the catho- 
lic Unity and Law. It has set him upon paths that 
lead to depths below the brutes. Sovereign of the 
creatures as he is, it has yet betrayed him into inferior 
traits, and shown him the baser and weaker vessel. 
At some point in history man's inner constitution has 
undergone a strange — a terrible revolution. When was 
it ? What is it ? I cannot say — at least I will not say 
now. I do not know " 

"Friend Mayfield, I know, if thee does not !" Aunt 
Hannah dropped her work into her lap, and broke into 


my unfinished sentence with very firm but tremulous 
voice. "It is an old, old truth. Why should thee 
spare to speak it ? 'God hath made man upright, but 
they have sought out many inventions.' That is the 
strange element, the fact, the revolution which you are 
thinkhig about ; sin hath entered in ! " 

It was plainly a truth in which Aunt Hannah did 
not glory, for as she finished her sentence and resumed 
her knitting, her mild eyes slowly fell, and tears 
trickled over the white cheeks and dropped into her 

It was an unexpected diversion from our theme, and 
an embarrassing silence came upon the room, whose 
solemnity old Dan interrupted in his own peculiar way. 
He had sunk from his cricket almost into the attitude 
of prayer, and, Avith hands clasped over his breast, 
swayed to and fro. 

"Good Lor', hab marcy !" he at last exclaimed. 
" Dar's no denyin' hit — we's all pore sinners, shore 
'nough, and is chock full uv upsottin' sins. Hit's jes 
dat, Mars Mayfiel', and nuffin else. As de good 
Book saze, hit 's de upsottin sins w'at 's done de 

" Shall we go back to our subject ?" I asked, after a 
moment's pause. 

"I was a-thinkiu'," said Hugh, " w'ile you and the 
ladies was talkin', that I 'd like to ax you a question 
about worms." The good fellow had evidently small 
interest in a discussion of that jihase of man's natural 
history which relates to human depravity. Indeed, he 



was on such honest and kindly terms with himself and 
all his fellows that it had probably never seriously oc- 
curred to him to think of himself as very much of a 
sinner. He had therefore engaged his thoughts upon 
another subject during our theological digression. "I 
was a-wonderin' w'at sort uv varmin is them apple- 
tree caterpillars. I allow they mought be tailor insects, 
too ? 'Tall events they 's mighty peert at spinnin' and 
leaf-curlin', and powerful destructive on the leaves. 
I'd' like to know w'at you make out'n them." 


"You are thinking of the tent-caterpillar," I an- 
swered, "and an interesting fellow he is, although his 
habits are certainly against him. We have two 
common species closely resembling each other in form 
and alike in habit. They are the apple-tree tent- 
caterpillar {Clisiocampa Americana), and the forest 
tent caterpillar {Clisiocampa sylvatica). The moth is a 
dull reddish or reddish-brown color, and the female 
measures about an inch and a half across the expanded 
wings (Figs. 134 and 135). The hollow tongue or tube 
by which moths imbibe their food is entirely wanting in 


this species, hence it has no power of taking food, and 
lives but a few days in the winged state, during wliich 
time the eggs are laid. A large number of the nocturnal 
visitors to our lamps during the evenings of July 
belong to this Clisiocampa, and so, without knowing it, 
you are all familiar with the creature, as you have seen 
its bewildered behavior when it enters our lighted 
rooms and flutters wildly about the often fatal flame. 

" The eggs are deposited upon the small twigs oi 
fruit trees in ring-like clusters, each composed of frohi 
fifteen to twenty rows, containing in all from two to 
three hundred. They are firmly cemented together, 
and coated with a tough varnish impervious to rain. 
The young larvre are fully matured in the egg before 
winter comes, and they remain in this enclosure in a 
torpid state throughout the cold weather, and hatch 
during the first warm days of spring. Their first meal 
is made of the gummy material with which the egg 
masses are covered, and their next of the tender buds 
just bursting. 

" Soon after hatching they begin to spin the tent-like 
shelter which gives them their name, by stretching 
silken threads from point to point across the forks of 
the twigs whereon they have been cradled. As they 
grow they spin new threads, laying them one atop of 
another, and extending them to adjoining twigs, until 
the spinning-work has become a close sheet by the 
repeated overlays. The structure is now more or less 
irregular in form, according to the relative position of 
the twigs which support it. Often the nest is located 





at the top of the twigs which, haviiig a general conical 
outhne, give it naturally the appearance of an old- 
fashioned Sibley tent or Indian wigwam. (Fig. 136.) 

" The resemblance is frequently very striking, as may 
be seen in this figure of a forest tent-caterpillar's nest 
which I saw growing upon a wild cherry-tree at the 
base of Bound Top on the famous battle-field of Gettys- 
burg. Numbers of similar structures were fixed among 
the branches of various trees, whose white texture was 
brought out sharply against the dark-green of the 
embowering leaves. As I turned from them and gazed 


upon the martial city — an encampment of the National 
Guards^ — whose canvas tents were pitched upon the 
battle plain and swelling ridge over which the gallant 
but fruitless charge of Pickett's corps was made, I 
could plainly see that likeness to which our tent- 
making caterpillar owes its popular name. The tent 
here figured was about ten inches in diameter across 
the base, and its height was nearly the same ; this is 
about the average size, but many of the tents are 

" The holes through which the caterpillars enter are 
near the extremities or angles of the nest, into which 
they retreat at night, or in stormy weather, and dwell 
when not feeding. They have regular times for feed- 
ing, and may be seen marching out of their tent-doors 
in processions usuall}' twice a da}', forenoon and after- 
noon. These processions move in single or double 
column, over sidewalks, along fences, trunks and 
branches of trees, until they reach their proper food- 
plant which they attack with a voracity that brings 
serious damage when the nests are numerous. 

" In five or six weeks they mature, when they leave 
the trees under the resistless impulse of Nature, and 
wander about in all directions seeking suitable places 
in which to hide during their crysalis stage. Pre- 
sently you will find them under the cap-boards and 
cross-rails of fences, in angles, recesses, and beneath 
projections of various sorts, spinning tough, yellow 
oval cocoons enclosed within a slight shelter of threads. 
Within these cocoons the larvai change to brown 


crysalids, from which the moths escape iu two or three 


"Well, SU-," said Hugh, "it's an amazin' pleasin' 

history that you've given us, but you'd make it a heap 

more interestin' to farmers ef you'd tell us wat to do 

to git rid uv the worms." 

"Against some of our insect enemies," I replied, 

"man struggles at great disadvantage. They attack 

him in such insidious guise at such unexpected times, 
at points so inaccessible, in forms so minute, in num- 
bers so immense, that the wisest and most diligent 
may be taken unawares. But our tent-caterpillars 
are no guerillas, but right honest and open foes. They 
pitch their camps under our very eyes and march out 
to assault like genuine soldiers in broad day. If a 
farmer does not exterminate them or hold them within 
harmless limits he suffers from his own laziness, in- 
difference, or neglect." 

"Well, yes, that's so, I reckon," Hugh responded. 
"But the plague on 't is that sech a feller's acres git 
to be a breedin' ground for all sorts uv nuisances, and 
the rest on us have to suffer with him." 

"True," I said, "and then there is no remedy but 
the law ; and the time will come, perhaps, when 
farmers— who have the majority of votes— will not 
think it beneath their dignity to enact laws concerning 
the destruction of insect pests." 


nature's first paper makers. 

Before snowfall one of the most beautiful walks 
from the Old Farm leads over the Crum Creek hills to 
the paper mill of Mr. Lewis Howard. The path 
threads the meadow by the Cave Stone, crossing 
Townes' Run, and so over the field along a pleasant 
lane to the woodland which is, in fact, the east bank of 
tlie creek. A wagon trail winds through the wood 
along the verge of the hill and enters the mill road 
flush upon the creek side. 

The stream in this vicinity is quite sinuous, and cuts 
its way by a steep channel among the hills which on 
either side form the banks. These are in many places 
so abrupt and heavily wooded, that one pushes his way 
with difficulty through the underbrush. Here is the 
'• forest primeval ;" here Nature is held in a virginity 
pure as that which the white man seized from the red 
Indian's hand. In this wild park Flora holds court, 
and beneath the boughs of chestnut, oaks, hickory, 
maple, beech, birch, dogwood and hemlock are gath- 
ered clumps of laurel, sumach, mammoth ferns, and all 
the wood plants and wood flowers of the whole region. 

It is a paradise of w-ood insects, too. The large black 
Pennsylvania carpenter ants march in columns along 


the great tree trunks, at whose roots heaps of chippiiigs 
he, showing the industry of the busy woodworkers 
within. The Fuscous ants [formica fusca) here delivered 
from the taint of slavei-y to tlieir Sanguine or Shining 
Masters, take on an air of forest freedom and build 
broad mounds fearless of remark instead of skulking 
within hidden dens ; beetles, crickets and numberless 
other insects push a thousand trails under the fallen 
leaves and branches. 

Here Arachne has gathei'ed many children as into 
a safe nursery. The Avoods swarm with spiders, 
whose webs of varied sorts and sizes hang from limbs, 
stretch over the water, overlace roots, rocks, crevices, 
hollow trunks, leaves and logs, and extend from branch 
to branch across every opening, flapping their sticky 
filaments in the passer's face. How often have I gone 
to this resort, when anxious to collect a specimen or 
verify or complete a study of aranead habits, confi- 
dent that somewhere in this narrow belt of forest my 
search would be rewarded ! 

At the point where the wagon trail leaves the woods 
the creek runs close along the mill road, then gradu- 
ally hugs the opposite hillside, leaving a narrow strip 
of flatland. It is bordered by a fine row of trees 
which overhang the water. The proprietor has an 
admirable peculiarity for an American. Some kind 
genius has written deeply upon the fleshy tablets of his 
heart the well known plea, " Woodman spare that 
tree !" — written so deeply, that he will never allow 
one tree to be cut down if there is any possiI)le way to 


avoid doing so. At the end of tliis row of trees the 
creek and road make a sharp angle or horse-shoe bend, 
and bring into view the FrankUn Mill. It is a large fine 
stone structure, set close against the hill and flanked 
on either side by pretty stone cottages for the work- 
men. The proprietor's mansion sets upon the crown 
of the knoll and overlooks the whole pleasing scene. 

It would be hard to find a mill site more charming 
and romantic than this. The overhanging trees flushed 
with the growing hues of autumn ; the rippling music 
of the creek, as it issues adown the deep ravine, 
mingling gradually with the thud of water-wheels and 
clatter of machinery ; the shout of a merry group 
of children jumping the rope before a cottage door ; 
the sun lying warm and bright in the lap of the beauti- 
ful glen shut in from all sights and sounds of the 
outside world — surely the venerable, kind-hearted pro- 
prietor who looks on such a scene from his house 
on yonder hummock, must feel that the lines have 
fallen to him in pleasant places ! 

We had taken this walk one day over the wilhering 
autumnal fields, among the rustling leaves, through 
the smell of wood-mold — how sweet to the forester ! — 
along the beetling banks of shady ("rum Creek, for 
the purpose of seeing the process of paper-making. 
Our next Conversation touched those natural paper- 
makers, the wasps ; and some of our circle wished to 
draw a comparison — or will it be a contrast ? — between 
the human and the insect methods. We are not to 
lead our readers through the details of the process as 


pointed out to us by my friend and landlord Mr. 
Howard, altliougli that might be new, and certainly 
would be interesting to many. It will suffice that 
the mode consists substantially in reducing vegetable 
fibre of wood, straw, cotton, hemp or flax into pulp, 
from which the moisture is excluded and the residium 
exposed to a pressure that reduces it to flat sheets. 
The quality, surface condition and size of sheets are 
matters quite apart from this essential process. 

Somewhat thus I briefly stated the results of our 
visit to the mill, at our conversation. "Have I put 
it correctly, Mr. Howard?" I asked, for that gentle- 
man, hearing what subject was to come before us, had 
asked leave to attend. 

" Yes, that is about the substance of paper-making," 
was the reply. "It seems a very simple one, as you 
put it, sir ; but — there's a whole sea of trouble between 
that brief statement and even such a result as this " — 
laying his hand upon our manilla illustration paper. 
" However, you have hit the fundamental principle of 
the thing pat enough." 

"Very well, that is all I care to do. Now, here is 
a wasp's nest (Fig. 137.) It was collected from the 
premises of the old Springfield Central school, where 
our friend. Miss Abby, is now engaged. The plain, 
square, two-story building, as you know, stands in an 
open, flanked by a grove of more than a score of tall 
oak-trees. The branches of these oaks are thickly 
colonized by ringed wasps — "Tailor wasps," I find 
they are called by the country-side people. On one 




tree I counted thirteen nests, and I am quite sure that 
more were hidden among the leaves. Every tree is 
occupied, and several nests are hung upon the black- 
berry vines that skirt the fence close by the wall. 
Thus, while some of the wasps swing their domiciles 
far aloft, fifty or sixty feet above ground, others 
choose sites nearer terra firma. This indifterence as 
to location is more or less evident among those who, 
like the famous Swiss Kobinsons, build their liouses 
in trees, for the nests are scattered indifterently 
throughout the branches, one of the largest which I 
have seen being pendant from a limb tliat bends (\u\iv 


low. The colony has occupied the school-house 
grounds for at least a half-century, for men who were 
boys that long ago remembered them well. I fancy 
that exposure to the raids of destructive boys during 
all these wasp-genei'ations has not been without eftect 
upon the insects, for most of the nests are placed well 
out of reach. Indeed, one wonders that any mother- 
wasps could be found so far freed from a strain of 
hereditary caution .as to venture a location within 
reach of puerile projectiles. 

"It is an interesting sight to observe the worker 
wasps gathering material for their nests, and it may 
be seen on any summer day along the lines of fences 
near the school-house. I have often tried to keep a 
worker under observation for a prolonged period, but 
have failed beyond a few consecutive moments. The 
creature is a perfect embodiment of restless activity. It 
alights upon a weather-beaten spot, and, bending down- 
ward its head, plies its strong jaws until a bit of wood 
is dislodged. Meanwhile, its wings are kept in a state 
of continual agitation, its abdomen curves and vibrates, 
and sometimes is turned up at rai angle of 45°. Its legs 
are incessantly lifted and set down, but stiffened out 
at the moment of dislodging the wood as they are 
braced for a strong tug. By the time one has well 
fixed his eyes upon the jmlpitating creature, it has 
spread its wings and is away. I follow it at full 
speed. Once more it alights ; it has struck a good 
spot for collecting material surely ! — a fine, whitish, 
weather-worn patch of wood whose fibres are exposed. 


This must be a real bonanza for the wasp ! But no ! 
She glides over tlie rail with fluttering wings, and is 
off to another place. Her actions, the reasons that 
seem to determine her choice and final decision are as 
incomprehensible to me as the proceedings of ladies 
when on a shopping expedition. 

■ " At last, however, she has gathered a little ball of 
wood-fibre ; she throws herself back upon her two 
pairs of hind-legs, and standing thus in a semi-erect 
posture, like a squirrel eating a nut, she adjusts the 
pellet to her jaws with her fore-paws and flies 
away with it to the nest. This is fastened to the 
branches by a central stalk which is firmly tied and 
pasted on. The stalk is usually directed upward, or 
somewhat inclined, so that the mouth of the cells is 
downward. The bottom parts of the cells are thus 
upward, and as tliey are united and covered with a 
paper floor the whole series forms a sort of hanging 
platform. On this platform a bevy of wasp-workers 
may usually be seen engaged in chewing up the woody 
fibres into pulp, or preparing Avax for the cell-covers, 
or grinding up ' pap ' for the baby grubs. "When the 
pulp is prepared it is pasted in thin flakes on the 
ledges of the cells, and spread and shaped chiefly by 
the action of the mandibles, although somewhat aided 
by the feet. A secretion from the salivarj' glands of 
the wasp, wliich corresponds with the ' sizing ' used 
by paper manufiicturers, helps to bind the fibrous 
pulp into a compact mass that quickly hardens into a 
rude but efficient ^tapier mache. 


"The nests ai"e circular or oval in shape and of vari- 
ous sizes. This specimen is seven inches in diameter, 
and I have seen one at least one-half larger. The size 
is determined by the number of young, for each of these 
cells contains a single larva." 

"Tell us, please, how the nest begins," said Abby. 
" Do the wasps live through the winter ?" 

" No ; the workers all die with the frost ; but a few 
of the females survive the winter. They hide in cran- 
nies : for example, under the eaves of your sclioolhouse 
roof, or other sheltered places, and live through the 
cold months in a torpid state. The warmth of spring 
summons them from their retreats, and they at once 
begin the foundation of a family. Having chosen a 
site they proceed to build a few cells in which they 
place eggs that in time become larvte. These are fed 
by the mother until ready to pass into the pupa stage, 
when the cells are sealed up, and so remain until the 
perfect insects emerge. The first born are workers, 
and at once take upon them the labors of the colony, 
leaving the queen to her proper duty of furnishing 
eggs. The nest grows by the addi^^ion of cells along the 
outer margin, into each of which as finished an egg is 
placed. The old cells also appear to be used, being 
cleaned out and again furnished with eggs as soon as 
the younglings are fairly out of the way. Thus the 
last baby waspling falls heir to the cradle of its prede- 
cessox*, as is often the case with our own infants." 

" What are these snow-white caps that cover so many 
of the cells?" asked the Mistress. "I notice that 


sonic of the cells are without them — these along the 

"The white caps are the 'seals' placed upon the 
cells when the larvai spin into pupa.\ Observe that 
many of these caps are quite cut around the edges, 
showing that tne young wasps have cut their way out. 
This specimen was gathered late in the summer, and as 
it lay upon a table in my library I could now and then 
hear the rasping of the wasps' mandibles as the}^ 
gnawed the seal away, and ever and anon would see a 
youngling creep out of a cell by pushing up the cap 
like a lid, and then feebly crawl off and stretch its 
wings. But most of the inmates died within the cells. 
Perhaps the dry, warm air of my study was unfavora- 
ble to their escape, or they may have needed the jaws 
of their nurses to aid their egress." 

''Are these caps made of paper, too ?" asked Hugh. 

" No, they are in part a covering which the larva; 
themselves spin, and in part, probablj-, a sort of wax, 
secreted and applied by the workers, very much as 
with the wax-workers among bees. I leave you now to 
study the habits of these ringed wasps for j'ourselves, 
when next summer comes, and turn to another insect 
belonging to the same group of social wasps. Here is 
a hornet's nest, the most famous of our American 
paper-makers — Yespa macidaia. " 

The specimen, which had been secured by the ener- 
getic search of Joe and Harry, was eighteen inches 
long and a foot in diameter at the thickest part. It was 
a pear-shaped structure, whose V)ulkler end was placed 




upward as it hung from a strong l)ranch that was 
quite wrapped around, and indeed had been somewhat 
overlaid by the layers of paper which formed the 
external envelope. At the bottom of the nest was a 
round opening which formed the .only entrance to the 
interior (Fig. 138). A second specimen, a little smaller, 
I had cut quite in two by a longitudinal slit, thus ex- 
posing the entire structure of the nest. 

" Here we may see the w^hole cunning workmanship 
of this active insect. You observe that the outer walls 
have been laid on in several layers or sections, more or 
less regular, and are composed of a strong, coarse gray 
paper. The partition walls are united at various 
points, leaving a great number of oblong air-cham- 
bers." (Fig. 139.) 

"Is the paper weather-proof?" asked Abby. 

" Try it," I said. A pitcher of water and a dish-pan 
were brought, and alter various experiments it was 
found that the water rolled freely from the roof, which 
scarcely absorbed the moisture and left the interior 
quite di'y. 

'•That is truly excellent," remarked Aunt Hannah. 
" I wonder that some enterprising genius has not bor- 
rowed a hint from the hornet and gone to building 
paper houses." 

" And why not ?" said the Manufacturer. " "We are 
utilizing paper more and more freely in the civilized 
arts, and have got even as far as to make railway car- 
wheels out of it ! Paper tiles or roofs, or even walls 
may surely be considered a possibility." 


"Very well," I resumed; "when that triumph is 
achieved let us moderate our human vain-glory at least 
so much as to remember that the hornets had by some 
milleniads the priority of man. Xow, look at the in- 
side furnishing of this nest. Here are six separate 
circles, terraces or stories of hexagonal cells arranged 
one above another, and united by tough paper stalks or 
pillars, which are placed at or near the center. Other 
similar columns are distributed at sundry points along 
the floor, thus contributing to its support ; they are 
formed of long fibres, and broaden out at each end, 
where they are attached above and below. Each one 
of the combs, as they are called, resembles the nest of 
the ringed wasp, which, you see, differs from the 
hornet in always building a single comb and never 
enclosing it within walls.'" 

" Why is this difference ?" asked Abb}^ 

" Ah ! who will tell us ? I have never been able to 
think of any reason based upon the idea of jirotection 
or any other probable necessity which conditions the 
hornet's life, but from which the wasp is free. It is 
one of those strange facts which mark the distinct in- 
dividuality of closely allied species, in accordance with 
the infinite variety seen in nature, and for which no 
apparent reason can be assigned." 

"Except, perhaps," suggested Aunt Hannah, rever- 
ently, " that infinite wealth of thought and skill which 
one must think to be tlie natural outcome of an Infinite 
Creative Mind." 

" A just remark, Autit Hannah ; but whatever ex- 


planation be suggested, the facts are sufficiently inter- 
esting. If you look again at this open nest you will see 
that the combs increase in size from the top to the 
center and then gradually decrease until this last of the 
series, Avhich is a very small affair. The insect, of 
course, began its nest at the top, and built dowuAvard, 
having just commenced this lower comb when the work 
of the colony was forever stopped by Jack Frost. This 
process, you observe, is the reverse of our human 
modes of building, and probably will never be adopted 
by us, notwitstanding the ingenious proposal of the 
Laputan philosopher mentioned in 'Gulliver's Trav- 
els ' to imitate this peculiar feature in the h.ornet's 
architecture by building the garrets of every house first, 
and then gradually working downward to the lower 
stories and cellars !" 

The laugh which this (piaint conceit awakened was 
interrupted by a remark from the Manufacturer : 

" I believe we do sometimes follow the hornet's order, 
in sub-aqueous architecture, for example, as when we 
build a bridge pier in mid-stream by caissons. Another 
example is found in the famous subterranean struc- 
tures of Rome, known as the Catacombs, which served 
the primitive Christians not only as cemeteries but as 
homes and temples as Avell. But — excuse me ! — I do 
not wish to play the part of Gulliver's philosopher." 

" ITave I not heard some such theory applied to the 
building of the Pyramids ?" asked Abb}'. " I do not 
recall the details, but the author starts out with a quo 
tation from Herodotus who cites a rumor or tradition 





that the great Egyptian edifices were begun at the 
summit and builded downward. Whether the notion 
were broached by a savant, a hobbyist or a crank, I do 
not remember, but it surely has a modern advocate 

Here Sarah ventured an observation : 

" I don't wonder at sich a pesterin' inseck as a 
hornet buildin' its house top eend fust, or any otlier 
cont7-ary way. Fer my part I don't want em buildin' 
round me nohow ! It's certain bad luck to have 'em 
make ther pesky nests in one's house, an' foret.'lls 
that the family '11 be sure to come to want. I'd jest 
like to have the hull lot here in one good bunch ; I'd 
chuck 'em into the stove and be done with 'em !" 

"Hi, Sary Ann, dat's no good!" exclaimed Dan, 
whose tongue was unloosed by the remarks of his 
kitchen familiar; "Dat's no good at all. Hit's no 
sort of conjurin' to kill do common brood wen dey's 
growed up. But dar's a powerful difference wen it 
conies to the fust wasp ol) dc season. Hit's mighty 
good liick to kill dat un, I kin tell ye." 

"Well, then, tell us, won't you," responded Sarah, 
with some tartness ; " there hain't no wisdom sittin' 
thora-rollin uvyourhcad an' turnin' upyour oye-balls." 

"Sary Ann," answered Dan, "dar's folkses wat has 
waspish tempera and a hornet's stinger fer a tongue — 
but dat's needer hyur nor dar. Wat I saze is dat hit's 
good luck to kill de fust wasp ob de season, kazc it 
foretells freedom from all enemies fer dat year, shore. 
Dat's all !" 


Sarah was not disposed to yield the point, especially 
as she was smarting under Dan's keen thrust. 

"Pshaw!" she exclaimed, "You culled pussons 
allez build your idees like a hornet does it's nest, 
upside down. Wat 7 're heern tell is Uiat the very 
sight in the house uv the fust wasp uv the season, let 
alone killin' uv it, is sure to bring bad luck. It's a 
sign uv an onpleasant 'quaiutance, and ther's no good 
luck in that, I''m sure !" 

The cook rattled her knitting needles vigorously, 
and shot a triumphant glance at her venerable an- 

But Dan was not to be suppressed thus, llevolving 
on his cricket, he turned full toward the kitchen door, 
and assuming a demure expression and subdued tone, 
replied : 

"Now den, Sary Ann, I 'low yo's right dis time. I 
gibs up de pint. I done remember, jes now, dat one 
tickler yaar I was so onlucky as to see de fust wasp ob 
de season ; dar was two ob dem in fac'. An' dat was 
de berry yaar I fust hab de honor to make yo' 'quen- 
tance, Sary Ann ! Ya-as, I guess yo's right dis time." 

He resumed his position on the cricket with a 
•solemnity that was not disturbed by the general mer- 
riment of our party. The Mistress, however, was 
plainly not amused. Her face was flushed and drawn 
into lines of disapprobation, as she turned upon me a 
glance of remonstrance. Indeed, it was only in the 
face of many protests that I had been able to carry my 
purpose to keep the room on Conversation Nights a 


" Liberty Hall," wherein all should be held equal and 
encouraged to the utmost freedom. With most of our 
domestic circle there had been no embarrassment, but 
Dan and Sarah had such an irrepressible tendency to 
carry their kitchen sparring into the conversations 
that the good housewife was often shocked. 

"• It will quite overturn my domestic discipline," she 
affirmed; "and destroy all dignity in our relations 
with the household helpers. It is preposterous to allow 
Sarah and Dan such liberties !" 

However, this course seemed to me the only one to 
evoke the peculiar notions that I wished to reach, and 
which come only with perfect freedom. So the Mistress 
yielded with what grace she could, although her pa- 
tience was sometimes sorely tried, as on this occasion. 
Perhaps, I may here say that the good wife's predic- 
tions were not fulfilled, for the spirit of our Liberty 
Hall evening never seemed to invade the ordinary ser- 
vices of the house and farm. But this may suffice for 

" We have not quite finished the natural history of 
the hornet," I resumed. " Almost as soon as the first 
cells ai-e formed in the early spring, the building of 
the nest-covering is commenced. At first it has the 
appearance of a miniature umbrella, but as the cell- 
work grows it is expanded and drawn downward until 
it quite encloses the combs. Tlielarvse, of course, from 
the reversed positions of the cells, live head downward, 
and this posture they arc said to retain by means of a 
gummy secretion at first, and afterward by the swollen 


front of the body which fills the open part of the cell. 
At till events, the little heads are conveniently placed 
for the nursing workers, who move over the surface of 
the comb pressing into open baby mouths the nourish- 
ing ' pap ' which has been prepared for them by the 
very primitive mode of chewing." 

"Does thee know what sort of food this hornet pap 
is composed of?" asked Aunt Hannah. 

"It is probably the juices of insects for the most 
part. The proper food of hornets, wasps and other 
Vespidse is somewhat in doubt. In spring and early 
summer they feed on the sweets of flowers, but later 
in the season develop a taste for fruit, and attack 
strawberries, plums, grapes, pears — even entering 
houses to help themselves to dishes on the table. But 
they are carniverous in their appetite also ; they will 
eat raw meat, as you may see by visiting our village 
butcher shops. They are insectiverous, too, and carry 
war into the insect world, their weapon not being their 
sting as with their relations the Mud-daubers and 
Digger Wasps, but their formidable jaws. They fall 
upon flies and butterflies, bite off their wings, feet 
and head and devour the trunk. They even destroy 
honey-bees, assailing them on their return from the 
fields laden with pollen. They throw themselves upon 
their victims, tear the abdomen from the thorax and 
and suck its contents. I have known persons who 
have turned this insect-devouring propensity of hor- 
nets to good purpose by hanging one of their nests in 
a house much infested b}' the common house fly, from 


which, 1 have been told, they soon make a thorough 
riddance of the annoying insects." 

This touched upon Sarah's department, and she ex- 
pressed her interest by saying : " I kin voucli fer part 
of tliem facts, anyway. Tlic hornet's do ketcli flies, 
I'll say that much for the pesky critters. I've often 
seen 'em pitch tlu'ougli tlie kitclien winders like mad, 
bounce upon the tiies and clear away with them. But 
lawsamassy, ther liaint no one goin' to get out a patent 
on that kind uv a fly trap ! Fer who'd want sech a 
reglar hostyle sallyport es that around, I'd like to 
know ? I reckon the remedy 'd be wuss 'n the cure." 

" I can't speak from observation," I responded, "but 
I have been told that the experiment brought no incon- 
venince ; tliat as long as the hornets were not meddled 
with, they molested no one. This much I can sa}', 
that in my numerous field excursions, I have never 
been meddled with by the stinging insects except when 
I gave them some provoking cause. However, I have 
no zeal to prove the usefulness of the hornet or press 
it into duty as a servant of man. But we wander from 
the point which I started to explain concerning the 
food of wasps. It is an open question with entomolo- 
logists whether all the insect food thus captured is used 
for the nurture of the larvse, or whether it is partly 
appropriated to the creatures' own use. I do not ven- 
ture an opinion on the subject." 

" They do say," remarked Hugh, returning to the 
point of usefulness, " that the smoke of a burned hor- 
net's nest is useful. I've hcerd horsemen .say that it 's 




good fer distemper, but I never tried it mj-self. Ther's 
a sa}in' too, w'ich I larnt w'eii a boy that they 're 
weather-wise and kin foretell w'at kind of a winter 
we're goin' to hev. It runs this a-way : 

' If hornets build low, 
Winter storms and snow ; 
When hornets' nests hang high, 
Winter mild and dr}'.' 

Howsomever, I reckon ther's not much in that fore- 
cast, kase the varmint seem to take it pretty much as it 
comes, some high, some low, in the sane season, I 
don't count so much on them sort uv sayins as I used 
to ; though insecks is powerful wise critters in many 
things, I allow." 

"Are the hornets spoken of in Scripture (Josh., 24, 
12, Dcut. 7, 20) the same insects as ours ?" asked Aunt 

" The Bible hornet is probably the common Euro- 
pean species, Ycspa crahro. It is quite like our own 
species in habits, but prefers to build in a hollow tree 
or similar site. It has been naturalized in America, 
and I have specimens of its combs from New Jersey. 
But our evening is quite worn away, and we must close 
this Conversation. Before we do so, however, I call 
your attention to this pretty nest, which somewhat n - 
sembles the hornet's. It is much smaller, being about 
the size and shape of a Bartlett pear. I found this spe- 
cimen in a low bush by the roadside just beyond our 
farmhouse. Its chief peculiarity is this tube about half 
an inch in diameter which forms the entrance or vesti- 


bule to the nest interior. The tube varies in length 

I have seen one six inches long. I know nothing of 
the habits of the little architect, but greatly admire the 
skill with which it shapes its paper nursery and domi- 
cile." (Fig. 140). 

Good-nights were then said, and as our friend the 
Manufacturer left he expressed a hearty satisfaction 
and pride in his mute fellow-craftsmen of the insect 
world, and gave a warm invitation to visit his mill, and 
compare his methods of paper making with that of the 
wasps and hornets. The invitation, by the way, was 
accepted, and the whole party had the pleasure of 
making a tour of the factory under the personal conduct 
of the proprietor. The visit had an interest which was 
much keener and more intelligent because of our even^ 
ing companionship with Nature's first paper makers. 



As I close these reminiscences I find myself wonder- 
ing on what principle the subjects here presented have 
been selected ? Somewhat at haphazard, no doubt. 
I am sure, at least, that the Conversations which 
I have written out by no means embrace the most 
interesting material. But where all is so full of in- 
terest, who will criticise my choice or censure my 
omissions ? When I look over my notes I see among 
the themes which engaged us such as these: "The 
Carpenter's Company " — relating to wood-working in- 
sects, as the Carpenter ants and bees ; " The Venerable 
Order of Undertakers," relating to the burrowing 
beetles and necrophagous insects ; " The Ancient 
Mariners," who gave us a pleasant evening with water 
insects; "Living Lamps," such as the lightnhig-bug 
and glow-worm ; " Insect Pets and Domestic Herds ;" 
"Kidnappers and Slaves," a story of the slave-mak- 
ing ants ; " Squatter Sovereignty," the mysterious 
history of insect parasitism ; " The Tyrant of Two 
Elements," a history of dragon-flies; "The Summer 
Tourist's Pest," an account of the musquito and its 
allies; "The Evolution of a Silk Gown," which can- 
vassed the life of the silk-worm. These are a few of 


our subjects ; I will enlarge the list no further lest 
some unpitying publisher should be enamored of it, 
and lure me to write another book ! The Conversa- 
tions were prolonged far into the summer, and had a 
new element of interest in the fact that we could 
follow our insect friends to the fields and ply our study 
of their curious habits there. 

At last the time came to close our pleasant con- 
ferences. The prescription of the medical man had 
this time, at least, wrought a cure. Eest, change of 
scene and habit, life in the pure country air, gave tone 
to shattered nerves, and brought once more the joy of 
health. Our year's lease of the Old Farm expired as 
tlie golden days of October fell upon the landscape. 
It was not without pain that we bade adieu to our 
rural friends and returned to the city. Our hearts 
had sent out many strong rootlets around the Old 
Farm which we were loth to break. But we left new 
tenants in the dear old place, and that comforted us. 
Shall I tell who the tenants are ? 

Love, which breaks through iron bars, can prevail 
even over the stronger barriers of religious prejudice. 
It was long before Aunt Hannah gave way, but at last 
she bowed to the inevitaljle, and Penn Townes married 
Abby Bradford. It was agreed that Penn would not 
forsake the Meeting, even though he should be " turned 
out,'" and that was some mitigation of the good 
woman's trial. There was one condition which the 
Mistress and I had named that was at length conceded. 
The young people were married at the Old Farm just 


biiforc we ceased to be its Tenants. Dr. Goodman 
otRciated, and a happier evening never brightened 
within the venerable walls than that Avhich saw the 
consummation of so fitting a union. 

A voice at my side has just said : " Tell them some- 
thing about all the rest, dear. People do love to hear 
what becomes of the folks in whom they are in- 
terested ?" 

It is the Mistress who speaks, older in years, indeed, 
but young as ever — younger than ever in the vigor and 
charm of that love whose devotion is tiie sweetest re- 
membrance of those invalid days at Ilighwood. 

Well, then, for the Mistress' sake, if not for the 
reader's, I will write the chronicle, which is neither 
long nor eventful. 

The last time that I visited the Old Farm was to 
attend a "house-warming," given on the occasion of 
Penn Townes entering into possession of the place, 
which he had bought. Thus, after years of alienation, 
it had come back to the family who reclaimed it first 
to civilization. The event Avas an auspicious one, and 
well deserved celebration. What a royal time we had 
with kindred and neighbors, old and young ! 

Abby, grown quite matronly, presided with that 
characteristic animation which marked her earlier 
years. Her fine brood of younglings thrive in the 
country air. The oldest bears the name of Hannah, 
a peace oflering, or, i)erhaps, I should say a thank- 
offering to good Mother Townes. The second, a sturdy 
lad, is proud to be called Fielding Mayfield Townes ; 


and somewhere in the series there is a little blue-eyed 
Kate, a namesake of the Mistress. 

" Was Penn cut off from membership for marrying 
out of Meeting ?" 

No; he is still "in good standing," at least in so 
far that he has not been formally "turned out." But 
if you ask me why, I can give you no light l)eyond the 
facts ; perhaps the subject is still under consideration 
by the Society. Be that as it may, there are few more 
regular worshipers at the Springfield Meeting House 
than Penn Townes, and when family duties will allow, 
Abby finds great pleasure in accompanying her hus- 
band, especially as the traditional " scuttle " bonnets 
have long since been eschewed by the younger women 
Friends. The elder children also are sometimes taken ; 
but such fidgeting as attacks the dear bairns during the 
solemn quietude that often pervades the Meeting is 
pitiful to see. To the mind of some of the stricter 
Friends, it seems something very like a temptation of 
the Adversary. But the major part, perhaps correctly, 
attribute it Avholly to Friend Abby's stirring Yankee 

Hugh has left the tenant house and occupies a farm 
of his own. Jenny lives at home, a soldier's widow. 
Joe marched off Southward in the rebellion days with a 
"Springfield rifle " on his shoulder — that weapon, by 
the way, was not named after our old Quaker Meeting- 
house — and returned with a major's golden leaf upon 
his shoulder-straps. And Avell he deserved the honor, 
his comrades all declare, Harry went into my count- 


ing-house, and some day soon will be the head of the 
firm. lie developed a strong taste for entomology, is 
an active member of the Academy of Natural Sciences, 
and a good authority in the American Hymenoptra. 

"Tell them what became of Sarah," the Mistress 
said, prompting me as I paused in my narrative. " In 
spite of her superstition and sharp tongue, I am sure 
she has some friends among your readers." 

Oh, to be sure. There is a spice of romance in her 
story, too. Sarah's 'matrimonial wenlur,' as she was 
wont to call him, turned up at last, and despite his 
long desertion, was welcomed and received bj' the faith- 
ful cook. Tom had been a memljcr of a Colorado bat- 
tery during the war, had saved most of his wages, 
gathered no end of good sense by his experience, and 
being thoroughly homesick, came back East. He 
found Sarah still officiating in the Old Farm kitchen 
under the new regime and the two ' tuk \\\) agin',' to 
use the quaint phrasing of the country-side. When 
Hugh vacated the tenant-house, the re-mated pair 
moved in, and there they dwell. Sarah has learned 
something as well as Tom, and carries a less waspish 
tongue than in earlier dajs. However, she has never 
given up her fancy for the conch-sholl, and winds its 
rude notes at noon and evening with a never-failing 

" Old Dan now," said the Mistress. "You musn't 
forget him." 

Forget old Dan ? No ! T have received too much 
genuine comfort from that odd patriarch to omit him 


from this chronicle. I last saw him on the occasion 
of the house-warming to which I have alluded. He 
spends his summers at the Farm, as a sort of family 
pensioner, and busies himself with such light chores 
as he takes a fancy to. He was engaged that day in a 
large potato field just across the lane in the congenial 
work of killing potato beetles. The story of that ser- 
vice is worth telling. 

"MarsPenn," said Dan, " w'y doan yo do suthin' 
'nother to kill dem tater bugs ? Dat patch '11 be clar 
cleaned out less yo do. Hit's done ruined now, nigh- 

"There's no use trying any more, Dan," was the 
answer. "I've spent already more time and money 
than the whole field '11 bring. 1 shan't try any more. 
The bugs are too much for us. Let the plaguey things 
have the potatoes ; they 're bound to, anyhow." 

"Xow den, Mars Penn, dat's jess too bad," re- 
sponded the negro. "Jess yo' lem'me try em onct. 
Gimme some Paris-green, and we'll see w'at ole Dan'll 
do wid dem pesky critters. We'll fix em yit ! Ho. 
ho ! nebber seed de bug dat got ahead ob old Dan ! 
Hi, yi !" 

The Paris-green was provided, and Dan was set to 
work, more to satisfy him than from any hope that he 
would be of real service. From that time on he gave 
his undivided attention to the " tater patch." Early 
in the morning when the dew Avas on the field, he was 
seen powdering the leaves of the infested tubers witli 
the poison. During the day he continued the assault 


with his tin pan, knocking tlie larviB therein and bear- 
ing away quantities to the kitchen door to become the 
victims of boiling water, furnished b}' Sarah. 

By-the-way, the two old antagonists still continue 
their intellectual sparring and chaffing, but withal 
are very good friends. Many a tit-bit the cook saves 
for the old man, and the warmest nook by the kitchen 
stove is his. 

As Dan went about his daily work of slaughtering 
Colorado beetles, he kept up a running series of ejacu- 
lations, mingled vauutings, and mild imprecations. 
Often he laughed softly as he slowly moved along 
crooning and talking to himself. The warfare with 
the bugs had raised his spirits, evoking the element of 
combativeness, and inspiring him with new vigor. 
But age is telling sorely on him, and rheumatism has 
added to the weight of years to bow his back very 
much. I leaned upon the fence and w'atched and 
listened to him as he approached the end of a row of 

"Hi, den! Yo' jess go inter dat pan!" knocking 
off a score of insects, in various stages of development. 
" Plenty of compan}^ dar, now, but not much to eat, 
hey ? Well, I'll git you sumpin to drink, bymeby I 
Ho, ho, ho ! Tea V — no ! Tater soup ? — not much I 
Yo' got too much ob dat aready. Hot water, sah I 
Bilin' !— ho, ho ! So yo' thot Dan couldn't circumweut 
tater bugs ? We'll see boout dat ! Bugs ?— hi ! I 
knows a heap more'n yo' tink boout dcm^ I kin tell yo'. 
I done gradcvvated long go. lleglar colledge larnt — ho. 


ho, ho ! Now, den, dat row's done, and de pan's 
boout full. Take 'cm oft^ to Sary Ann. Mebbe she 
want's 'em for bug soup ! Hi ! House warmin' ? 
Yes, sail ! I reckon ole Dan'll give dese yur gemmin a 
reglar old-fashioned one ; no mistake boout dat !" 

As he shuffled along, he gazed into the pan with a 
radiant look, and skimmed the edges with his gray, 
knobby hand to push back the crawling insects. Thus 
busied he was passing me quite unnoticed. 

"Hello, there!" I called. 

Dan looked up suddenly, then hobbled up to the 
fence, laid down the pan, and reaching out both hands 
gave me a hearty greeting. But the reader will not be 
concerned with our talk, and I shall only state the issue 
of the conflict with the beetles before bidding Dan 

"I sold a thousand bushels of potatoes off that field," 
said Penn Townes, whom I met in the city one day the 
next winter. " If it hadn't been for old Dan's deter- 
mined fight, I wouldn't have got as many as I 

The old man is living yet, and, for aught I know, is 
fighting potato beetles on the Old Farm even while I 
write these lines. 

There is one more friend Avhose memory craves a 
passing word. I drove one Sabbath day this summer 
to the Marple Church. The birds were warbling in the 
trees that skirt the churchyard ; the gi-asshoppers were 
shrilling from the waving verdure that grows rank 
among the graves ; little children were wandering 


among the tombs in their bright Sunday dresses ; ami 
in one corner, close by tlie road, a rustic couple were 
standing by two marble stones, spelling out slowly the 
inscriptions thereon. I drove my horse close to the 
fence, and uncovering my head, joined the countryman 
and his wife in their homage at the grave of Dr. Good- 
man and his wife. Twin headstones, precisely alike in 
form and finish, mark the respective places of rest. At 
the top of the stone which marks the wife's grave are 
the words : 

"The Morning Cometh." 

In like position at the top of the Doctor's monument is 
the inscription : 

"A Morning Without Clouds." 

The eye glances from one to the other, and the separate 
mottoes read as one sweet, suggestive sentence, "The 
morning cometh " — " A morning without clouds." 

Even so, dear friends, even so be it for us all ! 

Beneath the beloved name of pastor, husband, flilher, 
friend, is carved a text of Holy Scripture, never more 
fitly used in the elegiac inscriptions of churchyard, 
aisle and vault : 

"They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of 
the fu-mament ; and they that turn many to righteous- 
ness as the stars for ever and ever." 

[the end.] 


Afronautic flight of spiders, 140. 

Aiiisopteryx poinetaria, IV-i; A. vernata, 113. 

Ants, cuttingr, 230 sq.\ agricultural, 340; superstitions about, 347; 
agricultural, 331; stinging, 335; undergrade road of Formica 
Integra in Fairmount Park, 337; Solomon and ant; 340, 349; har- 
vesting ants, 341; Occident ant, 344, 346; Pennsylvania harvester, 
348; cai-penter, 436; fuscous and slave-making, 437. 

— Agricultural ants, cutting grass, 331; cleared disks or pavements, 

334; stinging ants, 335; ant clearing among weeds, 336; road- 
making, 337; gathering seed, 343; granaries, 343; mode of eat- 
ing, 345. 

— Cutting ants, 230; males, females, and workers, 337; queen strips 

off wings, 238; nests, 339; leaf -carrying, 343; mode of cutting, 
844; head of, 245; opening formicary, 353; caves of, 355; leaf- 
paper combs, 257; use of combs, 259; jaws or mandibles, 359; 
trees attacked, 260; engineering skill, 263; underground routes, 
264; closing gates, 266; opening gates, 267; gate engineering, 
268; digging and dumping, 271; modes of destroying, 374. 

^ Occident ants (Pogonomyrme.x occidentalis), mound of, 344; gran- 
aries and storerooms, 346; gathering seeds, 347. 

Argiope fasciata's cocoon, 35; snare, 37; decorations of web, 38. 

Argiope riparia, 14; description and distribution, 17; figure of snare 
and spider, 16; figure of cocoon, 31; cocoon, 30; name deriva- 
tion, 60. 

.^rgyroneta aquatica, 207. 

Apple-worm, 91, 94. 

Atta fervens, 246. 

Bag -WORMS, see Basket- worms. 

Ballooning spiders, 198. 

Basket-worms, superstitions about, 381 ; food plants, 384 ; specific 
name, 384; figures of baskets, 385 sy.; seeking food, 387; mode of 
attaching scraps, 388; manner of eating, 389; walking, 394; pro- 
tective habit, 397; wingless female, 398; mating, 399. 

Beads, viscid, of spiders, 317. 

Bee, humble, nest of, 145; history of, 145-184; see Humble-bee. 

Bee, leaf-cutting, description, 406; species of, 406; nest-making 
habits, 407; figures of nest, 409; furnishing the cells, 411. 

458 IJSDEX. 

Bridges, spiders', 192, 203; baby-builders, 204. 
Butterfly, pupa, 50. 

Camponotus pennsylvanicus, 426. 

Canker-worm, 112, 114. 

Carpenter aut, 420. 

Caterpillars, tent-making, 421. 

Cave men, 123. 

Cave spider.s, 131. 

China-tree defoliated by ants, 'i\^, 261. 

Cicada, figures of, 311; difference between, and true locusts, 312; 

species, 313; musical organs, 314. 
Cicada, life after transformation, 352; do. as larva?, 354; ovoposi- 

tors, 355; eggs, 355, 361; egg nests, 357; injury done bj', 300, 304; 

not locusts, 361 ; young burrowing, 302; special instinct in descent 

of, 304; living on roots, 305; life under ground, 366; advent, 367; 

turrets, 368; enemies, 369; egress, 370; shells of, 371; literary 

allusions, 372 sq. 
Clisiocampa (genus), 413. 
Clothes' moth, 85. 
Cocoons, use of, 66. 
Codling moth, 92. 
Crickets, noisy shrilling, 279; superstitions about, 282, 289; white 

cricket, 2S5; species of, 286; egg-laying, 280; transformation, 287; 

house crickets, 289; habits, 290; black cricket, 291 ; music, 292, 

299; injurious, 303; derivation of name, 303; combative, 304; 

literary allusions, 305; cricket on the hearth, 306. 
Cricket, mole, 149. 
Cutting ant, 330 sq. 
Cynthia moth, 53; cocoon, 63, 67. 

Death's-head moth, 77, 82. 

Enginekrino, insect, 185; of spiders, 192; cutting ants, 263. 

Epeira caudata, snare, 32; cocoon. 33. 

Epeira insularis, sewed nest of, 403. 

Epeira strix, 228. 

Ephemera, 353. 

Evolution, 150. 

Flying spiders, 192, 198. 
Formica fusca, 427. 
Formica Integra, -337. 

Garden spider, 200, 210. 

Geometric spider, 210; how snare is made, 211. 

Geometrid moths, 104, 108. 

Grasshopper. 281. 204. 326. 

INDEX. 459 

Gryllus domesticus, 286; G. abreviatus, etc., 290; G. pennsylvanicus, 
290; G. neglectus, 291; G. niger, 291. 

Harvest-ply, 312. 

Honey-bee, wax-workers, 175. 

Hornet, mode of building nest, 436; exterior of nest, 43.5; nest in- 
terior, 437; larvae, 442; prey of, 443; superstitions about, 445. 

House-builder moth, see Basket-worm. 

Humble-bee, entrance to nest, 145; queen and workers, 153; nest 
and cells, 159; mode of upholstering nest, 163-166; raising the 
young, 168; enemies, 170; wax-workers, 176; mouth organs, 177; 
regurgitating honey, 178; bee-basket, 180; leg of bee, 181. 

Katy-did, 284, 291; musical organs, 299; figure of, 301; nocturnal 
insects, 30i; development, 302; scientific name, 302; supersti- 
tions about, 309. 

"Locust" (so-called), see Cicada. 
Locust, figures of, 311. 
Looping caterpillars, 104. 

May-flies, 353. 
Megachile centuncularis, 406. 
Bleasuring-worms, 109. 
Mole-cricket, 147. 
Mole, 149. 

Moths, polyphemus,40sg'.; cecropia,48; spinning organs, 49; cynthia, 
53; silk, name of, 61; superstitions concerning, 77 sq.\ death's- 
head moth, 77, 82; clothes moth, 85; apple-worm moth, 92; 
geometrids, 104; Tussock, 105; anisopteryx, 112; canker-worm, 
112; orchard moth, 113; leaf-rolling, 413; eggs, 415; mode of 
rolling leaves, 416; tent-making, 421. 

Music, insect, 277, 294, 299. 

Nemobius vittatus, 291. 
Nodfeur, 117. 
Nomenclature, scientific, 58. 

CEcanthus niveus, 286, 293. 
Orb-weaving spiders, 200. 
Orgyia leucostigma, 105. 
Orthoptera, characteristics, 284, 286. 

Parasol- ant, 243, 336. 

Pheidole pennsylvanicus, 3. 

Platyphillum concavum, 302. 

Pogonomyrmex barbatus, 246, 333; P. occidentalis, 346. 

Polistes annulatus, 430. 

Pollen, bees gather, 181. 

-i'50 INDEX. 

Polyphemus inotli. 40; larva, 41; cocoon, 42; pupa, 40; name, 61, 
Potato-worm, 69; pupa, 70. 
Propolis, 181. • 

Seventeen-year locust, see Cicada. 

Sewing Insects, 404; .see Tailoring. 

Skunk, raids bees' nests, 170. 

Snares, orb-weaving spiders', 212. 

Sphinx quinque-niaculata, 69, 73. 

Spiders, argiope riparia, 14-30; webs spun over water, 25; collecting 
specimens of, 27; baby spiders, 31, 139; snare of ep. caudata, 
32; cocoons, ditto, 33; cocoon of argiope fasciata, 35 sq.; spin- 
ning organs, 49; tareutula arenicola, 129; turret spider, 131-141; 
aeronautic, 140; suspension bi'idges, 192, 202; flj'ing, 192; mount- 
ing into air, 190; ballooning, 199, 228; orb-weaver"s snare, 200, 
20-214; bridge lines, 202; babj^ bridge-builders, 204; water- 
spider's nest, 208; putting in radii and spirals, 214; spiral foun- 
dations, 215; viscid beads, 216; Bruce and the spider, 218; super- 
stitions about, 214; sewed nest of insular spider, 404; nest of 
shamrock spider, 405; webs, 427. 

Spinning organs of spiders and moths, 48. 

Tailoring insects, 402; insect sewing, 403: leaf cutter bee, 400; leaf- 
rolling moth, 413. 

Tarentnla arenicola, 129. 

Tent-making caterpillars, figures of moths, 421; ovipositing, 422; 
tent-spinning, 423; processions, 424. 

Theridopterix ephemerieformis. 384. 

Tinea pellionella, 80 ; T. pomonella, 93. 

Tobacco- worm, 09. 

Tomato- worm, 69. 

Troglodytes, 123. 

Turret spider, 130; nest and tower, 131; cotton-lined nest, 134; seek- 
ing prej-, 135; mother and cocoon, 137; baby spiders, 139; tower 
with stone foundation, 141. 

Tussock moth, 105. 

Vanessa, pupa of. .50, 
Vespa maculata, see Hornet. 

Wasps, nest of ringed wasp. 430; nest site, 431; gathering wood, 432, 

larvae, 433; cells~, 431. 
Wax, bee's, 175. 
Web, spider, how made, 213, 233. 

Yellow jackets, 170. 

Tenants of an Old Farm. 


The following extracts from reviews of this book show with 
what cordiality it has been received and how highly it is ranked 
by the reviewers. 

Of Scientific Value. 

" Of special value, for we have in it 
a popular account of scientific subjects 
by one wtio has liiuiself observed every- 
thing he describes. The scientific state- 
ments of the author are not only reliable, 
but coming directly from nature they still 
retain evidence of direct contact with 
life, which is so sure to disappear with 
too many repetitions."— Sc/cntr. 

" Desoribes with the precision of an 
accomplished naturalist." — Portland 
Dailu Adrei-tiser. 

" Latest results of scientific research 
and study. . . A great deal that is in- 
structive, besides l)eing curious and inter- 
esting." — PittftbiD-y ChroniclcTfleyraph. 

" The result of original investig^a- 
tions by one who is an authority." — Illus- 
trated L-IiriMiaii Wtekli/, N. Y. 

"Full of curious information, prin- 
cipally on the habits of ants, bees and 
other insects." — Buffalo Courier. 

"fiives a vast amount of informa- 
tion about all sorts and conditions of in- 
sects." — Worcester Dailu Spy. 

" Expresses the latest and best re- 
sults of scientific research, and thus pos- 
sesses a real scientific standing and val- 
ue." — Christian at Work, N. Y. 

"Embodies the result of aceiu'ate 
and minute observation, and cannot fall 
to be of as much value as interest to work- 
ing naturalists."— Bosfoji Christian Reg- 

" The readinfc of a few pajres in this 
work will serve as an admirable prepa- 
-ation for a stroll through fields and over 
1 lills in the country during a Sunday af ter- 
uoon." — Times-Star, Ciiieinnafi. 

" Accurate and scientific informa- 
Hon embodying the results of the very 
latest research in this department."— 
National Baptist, Phila. 


" Scientifically. Dr. McCooK is auth- 
ority on all these mattera."— Presbyter- 
ian, Phila. 

" ProbabW there is no one in Amer- 
ica who is better fitted In t;ui(li' tlir young 
in the studv of his s]i1iitc of nafuiiil his- 
tory, than the liev. Dr. IIe^ky ('. MrCooK 
of Philadelpl:ia."— S'. .s'. Times. 

"Of the highest order of interest. 
The author has made studies and draw- 
ings of the insects which can be found on 
any old farm, and has made discoveries 
which give him a high place among en- 
tomologists."— C/iica(/o Advance. 

" May be said to be a perpetual pass- 
port to the minor kingdoms of nature. It 
Is the work of an aecoiniilislicd and prac- 
tical naturalist who is hand ;hiiI {.'love (so 
to speak) with the populaee of the leaves 
and fields, the woods and waters."— .Y. Y. 
3Iail and K.rpress. 

" The author is not a mere compiler 
of other men's labors ; he is a close and 
patient observer, and his book has an orig- 
inal value." — N. Y. Home Journal. 

" He is rarely qualified for the task." 
—Troy Daily Times. 

" Dr. McOooK has already achieved 
an enviable reputation by his valuable 
contributions to science, and in this 
charming book, so full of amusement and 
instruction, he has given us another proof 
of his being one of the most clear, con- 
cise and attractive writers of the day."— 
Christian at Work, N. Y. 

" Dr. McCooK is an authority in all 
that relates to ants and spiders ; but the 
talks in this pleasant volume are not re- 
stricted to insects of these varieties, but 
include interesting and valuable instruc- 
tion concerning many other forms of in- 
sect lite."— Portland Press, Me. 

" Dr. McCooK is an enthusiastic 
naturalist, and in one particular branch 
of study— that of the habits of ants and 
spiders— stands as high as any living wri- 
ter, either English or American."— Boston 
Evening Transcript. 

"It is well known that Dr. McCook 
! is one of the few ministers among us who 
have made a specialty of studies in the 
natural sciences, and that he has in this 
line built up an enviable reputution be- 
yond our church and beyond our land."— 
Presbyterian Journal, I'hila. 

" His enthtisiasm in behalf of his in- 
dustrious friends is so great that he ac- 
tually pitched his tent in the midst of the 
huge' mounds of certain species in one of 
the Western States, and had to engage a 
small army of three men to drive off the 
attack nf the indifrnant ins/ets while he 
was stiidviiis the interior arraiiRenients 
of their i-'hiliorately coiistiui-tcd houses." 
—From ( ■iKuiihcrs's .hiuriKtl i Kdinl)urgh, 


"Mr. Mc'CooK has literall.v lived 
among his pets, has studied thenii by day 
and by night in ttieir natural state, has 
not scrupled to subject himself to their 
formidable stings, and lias deemed no 
pains too great to make the world ac- 
quainted with insects upon which he 
loolvs with a species of rcs|icctfal vener- 
ation. He is. in tnitli. a veiitabU' enthu- 
siast, and it would indeeii seem as though 
ants, bees and wasjis, all lieldiiging to the 
same order of insects, iiossessid a fasci- 
nation for the true natural. st far greater 
than that excited by larger animals."— 
The Westminster Rex-iew (British). 

"(;'est M. Mc'OooK qui, le premier, 
a fait connaitre le genre de vie de ces in- 
sectes dune maniere veridique et suftis- 
amment complete." — Prof . Hejtki de 
Sat-sstre ((ieneva) in his abstract of 
Dr. .\If < ooK's books (Les Fourmis Amer- 
icaines) in Ai-rln'ces des sciences phij- 
siqiies ct ndtunilcs, t. X. 

Deligh tfnUi/ Ilea ddhle. 

" A cliarining account of a series of 
excursions over woodlawn and meadow, 
and is full of a great variety of informa- 
tion about all sorts and conditions of in- 
sects, written by a naturalist of acknowl- 
edged authority."— Boston Post. 

"A cliarming book." — Detroit Free 

"Never read such a fascinating work 
of natural Iiistory."— ilfessta/i's Herald, 

" Is set fortli witli a clearness, a sim- 
plicity, and often with a quaint humor 
that make it thoroughly fascinating in 
the reading.— iiostoH Saturdau Evening 

" An example of how a sul)ject tliat 
is not in itself especially attractive can be 
made altogether interesting by one wlio 
understands it thoroughly."— i'/uVfuJe/- 
jj/tio. Times. 

" There are such resources of high 
enjoyment in nature, especially in its an- 
imal and vegetable life, that if children 
could get a few earlv lessons, a lifi'-long 
interest would be excited, yielding peren- 
nial enjovment. . . . It' sueli a man as 
Dr. Mo(;6oK,nf I'liiladeiphi;!, well known 
in the scientihe world as the author of 
one of our most interesting books upon 
ants, were the guide on sueli an occasion 
La ramble in the woods), what a world of 
delight he might open up!" I'rof. W. (J. 
Blaikie, D.l)., 1.1..1)., F.K.S.I<;., in The 
Catholic I'reshi/terian of Edinburgh. 

"The common insects take on an 
aspect of genuine interest in Dr. Henry 
McCook's Tenants of .\n Old Farm. 
He describes the life and haliitsol'spiders, 
ants, hornets and our dreaded moths, 
potato-bugs, and canker-worms, in an 
easy conversational style."- Swi-ijia/ic/rf 
( Vo.<f«.i ne,,„bliran. 

"Even the little brown liole in the 
side of a rosy winter apple, leads up to the 
captivating 'Once upon a time,' when a 
codling moth caterpillar ate its way out." 
— Public Ledger, Phitadeijihia. 

" Contains the results of a series of 
carefully condtu'ted observations on diff- 
erent species of insects, tlieir disi)ositions 
and haoits, all of which are detailed in 
such a familiar and winning style that uo 
one can fail to be fascinated with the 
study."— AV»' I'orA; Observer. 

" The atitlior contrives moreover to 
convey not only information, but some 
measure of his own enthusiasm, and who- 
ever reads his book is likely to be thence- 
forth morealm-t to the marvels and mir- 
acles of msect life." — Boston Journal. 

"Delightful talks on the character- 
istics and habits of insects, the pait they 
play in the economy of the animal and 
vegetable world, the superstitions con- 
nected with them, and other points fitted 
to arrest and hold the attention."— iJo,s^o/i. 

"T'eloiigs to a class which might 
with great profit take the place of much 
of the literature, sentimental and other- 
wise, which finds its way into the hands 
of our children through Sunday School 
and other libra ties. It is pleasantly writ- 
ten, and beautifully illustrated with orig- 
inal drawings from nature." — N. Y. E.r- 

" Wlieu one possesses the power of 
vitalizing the bones of science as Dr. Mc 
Cook does, there are few who will not 
yield to the charm."— i'a/c Literaru Mag- 

"A wonderful amount of amusing 
conversation, odd sufierstitions about in- 
sects, life-like drawings from nature, 
humorous and fantastic drawings."— .Vn- 
tional Baiitist. 

" A volume of rare interest, which 
combines pleasure and instruction to a 
remarkable degree."— iJos^^/t Home Jour- 

"We will venture to say that the 
Colorado beetle, the apple-worm, moths, 
bumble-bees, caterpillars, ants, and spi- 
ders, were never before made so pictnr- 
isiiue, never so idealized. The author 
likes tliein, hinnauizes the:ii. lives among 
them, finds an inner meaning in their lit- 
tle lives, makes in every way the most of 
them . . Housekeepers will surely be 
amused and probably stn-prised by learn- 
ing j>ist how motl s "go to work, and the 
chapters on crickets ami katy-dids are 
very fresh and animated; the samei.- true 
of the lunnble-bees and spiders ; and what 
is not reallv lu'w is put in new shape."— 
B,jsto,i Litiianj Worlil. 

•■The text of Jtr. McCook's work is 
quite free of all technicalities, and it is 
so attractive that it is dittlcult to stop at 
the end of a chapter."— From the London 
Times review of Dr. McCooK's work on 
" The Agricultural Ants." 



" Thouj^li claimina: scientifle accu- 
racy, the work is colloquial in its style, 
and clear, concise and attractive in its 
method." — American Queen. 

Capitally Illiisf rated. 

"The hook is well supplied with fine 
engravings."— iV. Y. Obserccr. 

"The illustrations, 140 in nxiniber, 
were prepared expresacly for the work, 
are finely engraved, and are a j?reat aid to 
a clearer understanding of the text." — 
P.iiladelpliia Ecening Call, 

"The illustrations are a noteworthy 
feature of the book. Many of tlu'iii are 
admirable illustrations of their suhjrcts, 
while to these have been addeii a numix'r 
of comical adaptations from the pencil of 
Mr. Dan Beard."— i//!tsfrafccZ Christian 
Weekly, N. Y. 

"Enricherl with MO illustrations from 
nature beautifully eii;.'raved, and is in 
small quarto foriii, handsomely printed 
and elegantly bound." — Boston Home 

"Abundantly illustrated and full of 
entertainment and instruction."— JVii/o- 
detphia Times. 

" A handsome and well printed book, 
which cannot but prove attractive to all 
students of natural history in its more 
familiar aspi'cis."— Boston, Saturdaij 
Ecening Gazette, 

"Mr. Dan Beard has brightened it 
by a great many comical adaptations 
Lkctclilng spiders, ants, and other 73/-<())i- 
iitis ri'rto)uv in keeping with his facetious 
conception of their characters ; while the 
matter-of-fact natural history drawings 
(of marked excellence) are "by Mr. Kd- 
WAED Sheppard and Mr. Frank Stout" 
[after the author's sketches frou) nature]. 
— Boston Literary World. 

" The illustrations form not the least 
attractive feature. These are very nu- 
merous, about 150 in all, all new, and 
drawn especially for this work." — .Sci- 

Worth Having or Giviufj. 

" Likely to be among- the mo«t wel- 
come productions in popular literature." 
— Fliikuhipltia Public Ledger. 

".A. book of rare interest.'"— iV. Y. 
Obsei ver. 

■"We wisli that our farmers wlio r. re 
giving their sons a Christmas iiresent 
would choose this b(»>k. It would help 
them to see many things to which they 
may now be blind." — Presbyterian, Phila- 

'The book is a beautiful one, and 
would make a charming present to one of 
scientific tastes." — Chicago Advance. 

"The book is of a liigrh order, and is 
a praiseworthy effort to interest the 
young in a noble and elevating science." 
— l7( icago Journal. 

"Heartily recommended to the at- 
tention of all who are themselves inter- 
ested in natural history or are seeking 
some means of interesting young friends 
in this subject."— Porfiawd Press, Jle. 

" Not only a book for Christmas 
time ; its charm and its value will not be 
diminished by the change of seasons." — 
National Bapitist. 

"We have not seen any book this 
season more worthy to be put into the 
hands of an intelligent youth, or indeed 
of any one who is interested in the direct 
and face-to-face study of nature."— iWtts- 
f rated Christian Weekly. 

" Scientifieally aecm-ate niid in- 
structive, wliile amusing and delijrlitl'ully 
intci'csting in style, it is a very valuable 
book and one that should be widely read." 
—Journaland Courier, New Haven.Conn. 

"These leaves from the note-book 
of a true naturalist and clever writer 
should find many readers."— ^ftany 
Evening Journal. 

" The scientific accuracy, the good 
illustrations and simple descriptions 
make it a valuable book for amateurs 
and a good book of reference for ad- 
vanced students in that department of 
natural history."Springflcld Republi- 








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