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toward a part of the plant about which a little fly was buzzing on the wing, as if deliberating where it should settle. I was surprised to see the herd of caterpillars, creatures of twenty times its size, endeavour, in their uncouth way, by various contortions of their bodies, to get out of its reach, whenever it poised on the wing as just going to drop. At length the creature made its choice, and seated itself on the back of one of the largest and fairest of the cluster. It was in vain the unhappy reptile endeavoured to dislodge the enemy. Its contortions, which had at first been exerted with that intent, soon became more violent, and denoted pain. They had been repeated several times, at short intervals, when I at length observed, that each of them was the consequence of a stroke given by the fly.
When the wantonly-cruel insect, as it might naturally enough have appeared to an unexperienced observer, had inflicted thirty or forty of these wounds, it took its flight, with a visible triumph. The caterpillar continued its contortions a long time; but all efforts were vain to rid it of the mischief it had received. A prior acquaintance with the economy of this little world had informed me with the intent and end
of all that had been doing: the wounds I knew were not given in sport; but the creature that had inflicted them had deposited an egg in each, and there left them to their fate.
I ordered a servant to take up the leaf, and wiping off the other caterpillars that were feeding on it, conveyed it home with this wounded one upon it. The creature has been fed with care from that day, and I have had an opportunity of observing the progress of the eggs deposited in its body. They have all hatched with me into small oblong, voracious worms, which have fed, from the moment of their appearance, on the flesh of the caterpillar in whose body they found themselves inclosed, without wounding its organs of respiration or digestion, or any of the parts necessary to life: the unhappy creature has continued eating voraciously: they have, by this means, been supplied with sufficient nourishment, and being now arrived at their full growth, and at the destined period of their first change, they are at this time eating their way out at the sides of the animal in which they have so long lived, and that with sure presage of its destruction.
The caterpillar does not, under this circumstance, answer the general end of its existence:
no butterfly can be produced from it; but it perishes, after having thus supported these strangers. One individual of a species thus is lost, without answering the general end of the production; but, while multitudes of others miscarry under the same disadvantages, serving as food of birds, or sport of children, this gives the means of life to thirty or forty other animals, which could have no otherwise been brought into existence.
The conclusion of the history is this: the worms that feed on the wretched creature, are no sooner out of its body, than they spin every one its web, of a silk infinitely finer than that of the silk worm; under this they pass the state of rest necessary to their appearing in their winged form.
It may be natural enough for us to pity the caterpillar that supports this foreign brood, at the expense of so much seeming pain: but things are not always as they appear to The creature shews itself much at rest during their living in it, and till we are acquainted with its organs, and the nature of its sensations, we cannot be assured what may be the effects of that which we see it suffer.
He whose tender mercies are over all his works, allotted all we see in this strange scene; and it is wisdom to suppose we are ignorant, while we know he cannot be cruel.
INSPECTOR, No. 64
Quanquam animus meminisse horret.
Though my shock'd soul recoils, my tongue shall tell,
WHEN a man narrowly scrutinises into his own heart, how little satisfaction arises from such an inspection! His goodness many times extends no farther than to languid and impotent resolutions; whence he hath the mortification to see, that his virtue is daily perishing in its blossoms; while vice deeply roots itself in the corruption of his nature, derives additional strength from the luxuriance of the soil, and is hourly making bold advances to maturity. At the same time that prepossessions and prejudices enthral his mind, they likewise enervate the powers of exertion, and thereby preclude to the captive all prospect of enlargement. Passions are clamorous, temptations are numerous, and reason, too frequently, is of insufficient force to silence the former, and to repel the latter. Thus his breast resembles a chaos, where discord, darkness, and confusion maintain their empire, and triumph over the boasted