Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

MORE ABOUT THE HONEY BEE,

HAVING UNFORTUNATELY, MR. EDITOR, a good deal of leisure time just now, I will, if you will allow me space in your JOURNAL, endeavor to call to mind a few observations made last summer, and put them together for the amusement and edification of your readers.

In so far as I can recollect, the spring of 1852 was the worst, and the swarms the latest, I ever knew. My first swarm did not come off till the 4th of July. About Easter, the old stocks had collected a considerable quantity of honey, but afterwards it became very much reduced. In ordinary seasons, I never expect the stock of honey to increase after July; but last year was an exception; and although up to about the middle of the month scarcely any had been collected since Easter, I think I had more, on the whole, from the same quantity of bees, than I ever remember to have had before. It was remarkable that, while this accumulation was going on, there were but very few flowers in the neighborhood; and frequently have I walked through the garden and pastures without seeing a single bee on the flowers. From repeated observations I found that nearly the whole of their store was collected from the leaves of the large trees, of which there is no lack in this neighborhood.

At this time, there was an unusually large quantity of honeydew, produced, as I suppose, by the check which the trees had experienced from the unkindly weather at the time of their early growth. I have on a former occasion stated that bees will often hang out and refuse to work in the glasses, although there may be abundance of food near them; and will at once commence work if the glasses are removed, and a hive placed in their stead. To test this again, I took part of the glasses off a hive, and covered the remainder with a box hive similar to the under one. The bees set to work, and so arranged their combs as to build the glasses in. I was aware that I should have some difficulty in taking them off, but having counted the cost I let them proceed.

The time having arrived when I wished to see how matters stood, I proceeded to separate the two hives. True enough, it was a difficult operation; but I succeeded in doing it, and managed to get rid of all the bees except about as many as would fill a common hen's egg-shell. These clung together; and so determined were they not to quit, that I had to separate them by force, when I found a queen in the middle; and I have no doubt that they were separate colonies working through the same entrance, as the bottom stock never appeared to miss the queen, nor could I prevail on her majesty to enter it.

On the 8th of July I was informed that some stray bees had just then taken possession of a hollow tree the hole where they entered was about thirty feet from the ground. I was anxious to possess them, and having a glass hive which I use for amusement, I determined to dislodge them. This was a difficult task, and took me the whole of the day till nearly dark; and then it was quite uncertain if I possessed the queen, for I did not see her during the whole of the time I was employed. Having so far succeeded, when they had become reconciled I took them home, and placed

them in the window of an upstairs room, where I could easily observe their movements. In a few days I had the satisfaction to see her majesty there, surveying the works and laying eggs for the production of a young family.

down one

I will just observe here, that the progress of the inmates of this hive are usually noted or more times daily, for future reference; but unfortunately, I cannot now tell where to lay my hand on the book-a circumstance I much regret, as what I am about to state will lose much of its interest for want of the dates. Breeding and storing went on well for a considerable time, but, for some now forgotten reason, I omitted to visit them for two or three days; when, a friend wishing to see her majesty, I opened the door of the room to gratify his curiosity, and was much surprised at the discordant sounds which proceeded from the hive, instead of that delightful harmony always observable in a thriving stock of bees.

In vain did we look for her majesty—all was confusion and uproar-she had either abdicated her throne, or death had made her his prey. The once loyal subjects, formerly acting in concert with each other, and regular in all their movements, now gave way to despair, and seemed to vie with each other in the destruction of that work which they had so cordially united to construct. Devastation seemed now to be the order of the day. Without a ruler or a guide-no one greater than the rest"-all appeared to go the wrong way, nothing but want and ruin staring them in the face; for they had commenced unsealing their stores, as if resolved to live well and easy while it lasted-none thinking it worth his while to add to the stock.

66

This went on for two, or perhaps three days after I discovered it, when, on a sudden, order was restored; as if some cunning old bee, not willing to give up all for lost till he was obliged, had been examining every cell, till at length he had found one containing larva apparently capable of being worked up into some nobler form than that of a common laborer-something worthy of more honor than the general mass of the working classes-and having communicated it to the rest, they desisted from their work of spoilation to try what might be done to save their partly ruined home.

From the time I first missed the queen, I was often watching them to see what would be the result; and whenI perceived order was restored, I earnestly hoped to have the opportunity of seeing that which I had only heard of before, viz., the transmutation of a working to a queen bee. My hive is only wide enough for one row of comb, so that I can easily perceive all that is going on. In constructing a royal cell, it is commonly done on the edge of the comb; but here, being only one comb, it could not, or, if it could, it would have been useless, as there was no queen to deposit the egg. In order, therefore, to give it the appear ance of royalty, and make it commodious for what was going on inside, it was necessary to construct it on the flat surface, about the middle of the comb, over a cell from which was to issue the young princess. This was difficult, as there was barely room between the comb and the glass.

Two cells were operated on at the same time,

but when it was ascertained that one was going on well, the other was abandoned. In due time the young princess appeared. The temporary erections necessary to convert a common cell into a royal one were demolished; the works were repaired; and everything went on as usual, except that the working bees appeared not to pay so much respect to the new as to the old queen. I imagine that from the circumstances under which she was created queen, she was incapacitated to become a mother, and that the workers, being aware of the fact, paid her less attention. There appears to be some departure from the common rule in destroying the royal cell after the birthday, as in ordinary cases several are to be found in the hive. It appears to have been quite out of place here.

1

Before I conclude, allow me to ask two questions of those who are more experienced in such matters than myself. Perhaps some will say, here is plenty to convince any one that it is possible for the working bees to change the larva of the worker into a queen. I am not, however, quite so sure of this. I wish to ask if there may not be eggs at all times in the breeding season which would become queens; and should they be destroyed if there is no need of them? I also ask, what would have been the fate of these bees the ensuing summer, in consequence of the new queen being barren, and there being no drones in the hive?

I should have liked to continue these experi ments, but circumstances, over which I had no control, obliged me to desist.

F. J.

THE EFFECTS OF “STUDY” ON THE PERSON.

In general, the consciousness of internal power leads rather to a disregard of, than a studied at tention to, external appearance. The wear and tear of the mind does not improve the sleekness of the skin, or the elasticity of the muscles. The burthen of thought weighs down the body like a porter's burthen. A man cannot stand so upright, or move so briskly under it, as if he had nothing to carry in his head or on his shoulders. The rose on the cheek and the canker at the heart do not flourish at the same time; and he who has much to think of, must take many things to heart-for thought | and feeling are one. He has a world of cares on his hands, which nobody thinks anything of but himself. This is not one of the least miseries of a studious life. The common herd do not by any means give him full credit for his gratuitous sympathy with their concerns, but are struck with his lack-lustre eye and wasted appearance. They cannot translate the expression of his countenance out of the vulgate. They mistake the knitting of his brows for the frown of displeasure; the paleness of study for the languor of sickness; the furrows of thought for the regular approaches of old age. They read his looks-but not his books; have no clue to penetrate the last recesses of the mind, and attribute the height of abstraction to more than an ordinary degree of stupidity. The majority go by personal appearances, not by proofs of intellectual power. Hence is their judgment erroneous; for they see through a distorting glass.

TO THE SOUTH WIND.

O SWEET South Wind!

Long hast thou lingered 'midst those islands fair,
Which lie, enchanted, on the Indian deep,
Like sea-maids all asleep-
Charmed by the cloudless sun and azure air!
O sweetest Southern Wind!
Pause here awhile, and gently now unbind
Thy dark rose-crowned hair!

Wilt thou not unloose now,
In this, the bluest of all hours,
Thy passion-colored flowers?--
Rest; and let fall the fragance from thy brow,
On Beauty's parted lips and closed eyes.
And on her cheeks, which crimson like the skies;
And slumber on her bosom, white as snow,
Whilst starry midnight flies!
We, whom the Northern blast

Blows on, from night till morn, from morn to eve,
Hearing thee, sometimes grieve
That our poor summer's day not long may last:
And yet, perhaps 'twere well
We should not ever dwell
With thee, sweet Spirit of the sunny South ;
But touch thy odorous mouth
Once, and be gone unto our blasts again,
And their bleak welcome, and our wintry snow;
And arm us, by enduring, for that pain
Which the bad world sends forth, and all its woe!
BARRY CORNWALL.

OUR TAME ROBIN.

Truth is strange; stranger than fiction.

SIR ROBIN REDBREAST presents his affectionate regards to his staunch friend and advocate, the Editor of OUR JOURNAL. Sir Robin hopes the Editor will insert the following paper, written by one of "the many" to whom he is well known, and by whom he is well beloved.

Sir Robin would not have intruded his History in the pages of OUR JOURNAL, had he not been given to understand that more than one person had maligned him; and imputed his familiarity and affection to selfishness-contending that COLD and wANT have alone been the causes of his constant visits. Sir Robin scorns such a base charge both for himself and family.

"It is now about two years since Sir Robin Redbreast made his appearance at the window of our general sitting room. He bowed and scraped most politely, and in language too plain to be misunderstood he intimated his wish and intention to join our family circle. He also conveyed his desire to be treated with great familiarity. In the same language he intimated his intention to sink his title, and be known as plain Bob. Now, however much we might have felt gratified by such a visit, there was an insurmountable difficulty in permitting Bob to enter our house. We had several cats! so a compromise was proposed; a small table well furnished with dainties was placed by the window;. and Bob was tolerably well satisfied. He would (whenever we were occupied near the open window) hop in, take a minute survey of all that was going on, bow his

approval of being so indulged, and then bow himself out again.

At this time the sun was warm and bright; the trees were in full foliage; food was plentiful, and Bob took care to let us know that his wife was the most happy mother of five little robins. Time passed on; the winter of course did not make him less tame, and we dared not encourage him beyond his own domains, lest he should fall a prey to the cats.

When the spring arrived, we could not so firmly resist our little favorite's advances; and we so far indulged him as to permit him to come into the room for his breakfast. Regularly every morning there was little Bob, ready to hop in the moment the window was opened. One morning, great was our consternation to niss our accustomed visitor. Nobody had seen him that day, nor had his cheerful song been heard. Six weeks passed on; and deeply did we deplore our pet, and reproach ourselves for having let him come so much in the way of the cats. At the end of that time he returned. On opening the window, in he flew; and gave such unmistakable signs of delight to be again with us, that we were overjoyed. As a faithful historian of his doings, I must say he never satisfactorily accounted for that absence of his.

Sir Robin, however, returned fully bent on making the amende honorable; for, although not free of the house, he devoted himself to us on every occasion when he could find us in the house. He would perch on the chairs, hop about the table, take tid-bits from the hand, place himself on the nearest spray, and sing as if resolved to charm us more and more. It is needless to trace his many endearing ways too minutely; my object being to present dear Bob as he is, rather than as he was. One treacherous act, early in the spring, caused the immediate expulsion of all the cats a fact well known to you, Mr. Editor; and I have great satisfaction in reporting that each feline favorite is now well and happy in their several homes.

What a day was that for Bob! The doors of our house were at once thrown open; he was as freely admitted there as he had been to our hearts. He took instant possession. Up stairs, or down; it was all one to Bob. He could find us out, and make himself perfectly understood. First he looked for a constant supply of food, and then, after a short time, enough for his wife as well as himself; then a small family was to be provided for. He next hinted, with divers and sundry bows and knowing looks, that a small glass of water would be an agreeable addition. This was conceded; and to indulge him still more, a bath was snugly placed. This was a most satisfactory arrangement; and indeed Bob's happiness was complete as soon as we could sit out all day, and he make one of the party.

And now, behold Bob, as I write (May 27th), seated under the shade of a large tree, has placed himself upon my desk-only a few inches from my hand: one little foot snugly hidden amongst his feathers, and his throat indicating that we may shortly expect him to pour forth "the full tide of song."

Bob is what would be called extremely tame for a poor unhappy trapped bird; he will come

freely, and perch on the finger, feed from our mouth; and as for his song, we never have to wait for that. His life is an endless song of gratitude and love.

All this has been accomplished by kindness— unaided by bergamot, clipped wings, starvation, or any other cruelty. Where his intimacy will end, I am at a loss to guess even; for he has introduced five young grey robins that can just peck. They, too, come to the window for food already; and another party may probably be added shortly.

I hope I have now quite exonerated Sir Robin from the imputations against him; and I trust many will be inclined to have tame birds without depriving them of that liberty which they know but too well how to value.

Puss.

SUMMER AND ITS CONSEQUENCES,—No. I. WOMEN AND THEIR PARASOLS.

WHEN THE HEAT OF SUMMER visits us, and clouds of dust present themselves on every hand, the signal seems to have gone forth for men, women, and children, to become unnatural, and to disfigure themselves as much as in them lieth. Such "adornments" of the person as now meet the eye daily, are disgusting exceedingly; and will infallibly cause us to speak out NEXT month. Animals we are, truly; and we approximate very closely to the genus monkey; but we are striving to go several degrees even below this! Nobody will contradict what we say, for a walk through any public street will confirm it. Mais revenons à nos moutons.

A correspondent, who says he "writes with a green shade over his eyes," entreats us to enter a public remonstrance with the army of fair wanderers who, at this season, go forth in all directions brandishing parasols with projecting ivory points.

Our correspondent says, and very justly, that the risk we all daily run of losing one, if not both our eyes, by the flourishing about of these silk toys-is fearfully great. It is so. We confess to going about from day to day in bodily fear; and we incur no little ill-will, with sometimes unkind words in addition, for covering our face with our hand while either entering or quitting a public conveyance-be it omnibus, or steam-boat. mad propensity to "flourish," is alike in each!

The

How is it we ask submissively-that women have so universal, so innate a penchant for poking one in the eye, or for scratching one's nose (the latter, let us whisper, often involves an unpleasant inference, or inquiry, as to who did the mischief!) with their parasols? With all our gallantry (the extent of which never yet was ascertained), and with all our patient endurance (well known to be expansive as the ocean), we cannot remain silent under this parasol infliction. However, "more in sorrow than in anger," we have spoken our mind; and there ends the matter.

Let us hope that our OCULISTS will not quarrel with us for having, perhaps, been the means of depriving them of many a patient. We should be sorry that oUR JOURNAL should prove an eyesore to anybody.

A FIELD-FLOWER FOR "MY LOVE!"

LET me choose a wilding blossom,
Ere we quit the sunny fields;
Fittest for my true Love's bosom,
Hill, or brake, or meadow yields.
Flag or Poppy we'll not gather,
Briony or Pimpernel;

Scented Thyme or sprouting Heather-
Though we like them both so well.
Purpling Vetches, crimson Clover,

Pea-bloom winglets, pied and faint, Bluebell, Windflower-pass them over; Sober Mallow, Orchis quaint. Striped Convolvulus in hedges,

Columbine, and Mountain Pink; Lily-nymphs among the sedges,

Violets nestling by the brink.
Creamy Elder, blue Germander,

Betony that seeks the shade;
Nor where Honeysuckles wander,
May that luscious balm persuade.

Sad Forget-me-not's a token

Full of partings and mishaps; Leave the Foxglove spire unbroken, Lest the fairies want for caps. Crimson Loose-strife, Crowfoot, Pansy,

Golden Gowan, golden Broom; Eyebright cannot fix my fancy,

Nor the Meadow-sweet's perfume. Azure, scarlet, pink, or pearly,

Rustic friends in field or grove,Each although I prize full dearly,

None of you is for "my Love."
Wild Rose! delicately flushing

All the border of the dale,
Art thou like a pale cheek blushing,
Or a red cheek turning pale?

Do not shed a leaflet slender,

Keep awhile thy fragant zest; Fair and sweet, bring thoughts as tender To a balmier, fairer breast!

From "Household Words."

GENIUS.

GENIUS is lord of the world. Men labor at the foundation of society; while the lonely lark, unseen and little prized, sits, hard by, in his nest on the earth, gathering strength to bear his song up to the sun. Slowly rise basement and monumental aisle, column and architrave, dome and lofty tower; and when the cloud-piercing spire is burnished with gold, and the fabric stands perfect and wondrous, up springs the forgotten lark, with airy wheel, to the pinnacle and standing poised and unwondering on his giddy perch, he pours out his celestial music till his bright footing trembles with harmony. And when the song is done, and mounting thence, he soars away to fill his exhausted heart at the fountains of the sun, the dwellers in the towers below look up to the gilded spire and shout-not to the burnished shaft, but to the lark-lost from it in the sky.

AN ENCHANTED VALLEY.

IN A FORMER NUMBER, we gave some very interesting extracts from Mrs. Meredith's "Home in Tasmania." We had marked others to follow; but want of space prevented us, at that time, giving them insertion. We must not, however, any longer delay to make room for the following graphic description of certain scenes and certain discoveries in Van Diemen's Land.

Mrs Meredith commences thus:

"We rode on horseback for two miles of forest, and then arriving at a 'scrub' so thick and close that our horses could go no further, we left them with the servant, and proceeded on foot. We soon struck into a cattle path, which was a beaten, though very narrow track underfoot, and so far a passage above, that the shrubs gave way on being pushed, but instantly closed again. Long pendulous streamers of tangled grey lichen, hung like enormous beards from the trees; and on horizontal branches formed perfect curtains of some feet in depth. Funguses of all kinds protruded from the dead, damp, mossy logs and gigantic fallen trees that lay in our path; and the deep soft beds of accumulated decaying leaves and bark that one's feet sank into, were damp and spongy and chill, even on a warm summer day.

"The nettles of this colony are the most formidable I have ever encountered, both in size and venom; and in this primeval scrub they flourished in undisturbed luxuriance, often rising far above our heads, and forming quite a tree-like growth, armed with a fierce array of poisoned spears, with which they ruthlessly attacked my arms and ankles; a thin print dress being a poor defence against their sharp and most painful stings, from which I suffered severely for some days after this scramble. A friend of ours once rode after some cattle into a mass of these nettles, which spread over a large space of ground. His horse became so infuriated by the pain of the nettlestings, that he threw himself down amongst them to roll, which of course increased the poor animal's torture, and his master could neither lead nor drive him out. The creature was rendered mad and furious by pain, and in a short time died in convulsions.

"Our cattle-track at length brought us into the enchanted valley Mr. Meredith had discovered; and not in my most fan. tastic imaginings had I ever pictured to myself anything so exquisitely beautiful! We were in a world of fern trees, some palm-like and of gigantic size, others quite juvenile; some tall and erect as the columns of a temple, others bending into an arch, or springing up in diverging groups,

leaning in all directions; their wide-spreading feathery crowns forming half-transparent green canopies, that folded and waved together in many places so closely that only a span of blue sky could peep down between them, to glitter on the bright sparkling rivulet that tumbled and foamed along over mossy rocks, and under fantastic natural log bridges, and down into dark mysterious channels that no eye could trace out, under those masses of fern trunks, and broad green feathers overarching it.

"All around, far above the tallest Ferns, huge forest trees soared up aloft; throwing their great arms about in a gale that was blowing up there, whilst scarcely a breath lifted the lightest feather of the Ferns below. All was calm and silent beside us, save the pleasant music of the rivulet, and the tiny chirping of some bright little birds, flitting about amongst the underwood. had brought my sketch-book, and although despairing of success, sat down under a Fern canopy to attempt an outline of some of the whimsical groups before me; whilst Mr. Meredith and Dick went to look for a kangaroo; the former giving me the needless caution not to wander about, lest I should be lost-a catastrophe for which I seem to possess a natural aptitude in the

I

'Bush.'

"I soon relinquished my pencil, and shut my book, half in disgust at my own presumption in attempting for an instant a subject so far beyond my poor abilities; and, fastening my handkerchief to the trunk of my canopy fern tree, I ventured to make short excursions from it on all sides, taking care not to go out of sight of the handkerchief. Sometimes I could go as much as ten yards; but this was in the clearest place; generally the view closed in about five or

six. The stems of the fern trees here varied from 6 to 20 or 30 feet high, and from 8 inches diameter to 2 or 3 feet; their external substance being a dark-colored, thick, soft, fibrous, mat-like bark, frequently netted over with the most delicate little ferns, growing on it parasitically. One species of these creeping Ferns had long winding stems, so tough and strong that I could rarely break them; and waving polished leaves, not unlike harts'-tongue, but narrower. These wreathed round and round the mossy columns of the fern trees like living garlands; and the wondrously elegant stately crown-canopy feathers (from 12 to 18 feet long) springing from the summit, bent over in a graceful curve all around, as evenly and regularly as the ribs of a parasol.

Whilst making one of my cautious sixyard tours, a fine brush kangaroo came by me, and was instantly out of sight again; and then I heard a whistle, which I an

swered by a 'coo-ee,' and Dick soon bounded to me, followed by his master. We then shared our sandwiches with the little birds and the ants, and drank of the bright cool rivulet; and again went on exploring. In one place we found a perfect living model of an ancient vaulted crypt, such as I have seen in old churches or castles, or beneath St. Mary's Hall, in Coventry. We stood in a large level space, devoid of grass or any kind of undergrowth, but strewn with fern leaflets like a thick, soft, even mat. Hundreds-perhaps thousands-of fern trees grew here, of nearly uniform size, and at equal distances, all straight and erect as chiselled pillars; and, springing from their living capitals, the long, arching, thickribbed fern leaves spread forth and mingled densely overhead in a groined roof of the daintiest beauty, through which a ray of light gleamed down-the solemn twilight of the place strangely suiting with its almost sacred character. Openings between the outer columns seemed like arched doors and windows seen through the "long-drawn aisle," and stray gleams of sunshine falling across them were faintly reflected on the fretted vault above us. Danby might paint the scene; or perhaps one of Cattermole's wondrous water-color pictures done on the spot might convey some tolerable idea of its form and coloring; but a mere slight sketch were wholly useless.

the wilderness, we wandered some time "After reluctantly leaving our temple in longer amidst the grand and beautiful scenes around, and I made a collection of small ferns and other plants new to me. We noticed one very ornamental shrub, usually known as the Tallow tree' (from the vishere very abundantly, and in great luxucous greasy pulp of the berries), growing out of a fern tree; the foster parent, in most riance; but every one we found was growing whilst the nursling throve most vigorously, cases, appearing exhausted and withering, It seemed, generally, as if seed had lodged in the soft fibrous rind of the fern tree, and had sprung up into a tall, strong, erect stem, at the same time sending out downearth; but we could not find one plant ward shoots, that eventually struck into the growing in and out of the earth, although am aware that the tree is not always a Many of the stems were a foot parasite. of rooted shoots clasped about the poor old through, and their great, coiling, snakyhoary fern trees.

"These tyrant parasites are very handsome; with rich, dark green, glossy leaves, and red blossoms, succeeded by most brilliant orange-colored berries, which, when ripe, split open, and the case flying back, partially displays the bright red cluster of

« ÎnapoiContinuați »