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in fact, simply confined to change of appearance. The fabric, indeed, of the body, the instruments of motion, and the organic system in general, is changed. But, though the animal retains its identity, there is, I confess, a diversity in its manners and propensities. In the caterpillar state, those animals are extremely voracious, and, in many instances, acquire a greater magnitude than they possess after transformation; but they are incapable of multiplying their species, and of receiving nourishment from the same kind of food. Flies who now live upon the nectareous juices of fruits and flowers, in their first state, fed upon putrescency. Some caterpillars, previous to their transformation, live even in a different element. The ephemeron fly, when in the caterpillar state, lives no less than three years in the water. After transformation, this animal seldom exists longer than one day, during which the species is propagated, and myriads of eggs are deposited on the surface of the water.
"An insect that must cast off its exuvia, or moult, five times before it attains the pupa state, may be considered as composed of five organised bodies, enclosed within each other, and nourished by common viscera, placed in the centre what the bud of the tree is to the invisible buds it contains, such is the exterior part of the caterpillar, or larva, to the interior bodies it contains in its bosom. Four of these have the same essential substance, namely that which is peculiar to the insect in its larva state: the fifth is that of the pupa. The caterpillar is really the moth, crawling, eating, and spinning under the form of the worm; and the pupa is only the moth swathed up. There are not three selves, nor three persons, but the same individual, who feels, sees, tastes, and acts by different organs, at different periods of its life, having sensations and wants at one time, which it has not at another. It, in short, becomes successively the inhabitant of two or three worlds and how great the diversity of its operations in these various abodes !"
SULIVAN'S VIEW OF NATURE, vol. iii. p. 272. 280, et seq.
Where the bee sucks
THE noblest employment of the mind of man is the contemplating the works of his Creator: in the face of nature we see his power, his wisdom, his beneficence, in pages written by his own eternal hand; in characters legible to every eye; and stamped with proof of all that they assert.
The man who falls into this happy turn of observation, sees his Creator in every object that occurs to him; the vilest weed, the meanest insect, as the vulgar term them, to him are incontestable evidences of the greatest of all truths; and his life is one continued act of adoration. 1
I am led into these observations by objects no more striking than the structure of a common flower, and the employment of an insect within its little cavity. I had the pleasure to attend yesterday a very amiable and worthy friend to his villa at a few miles distant from town; and, while the company were high in mirth over
the afternoon's bottle, slipped out of the way of an entertainment for which I have no great relish, to enjoy half an hour's sober thought, and salutary air. My eyes are always open to nature's beauties, but a person less apt to pay his attention to such objects could hardly have restrained his admiration here; an almond-tree, in the centre of the garden, presented to the eye one immense tuft of flowers, covering its whole surface. The beauty of such a glow of living purple would at any time have been an object of admiration; but at a season when every thing else is dead, when not a leaf appears on any of the vegetable world besides, but the adjoining trees seem the bare skeletons of what the summer had shewn them, it claimed a peculiar share of attention.
An inquisitive eye cannot content itself with the superficies of objects: it loves to pry into their inmost recesses, and seldom fails of a reward more than proportioned to the trouble of the research. Every one must have observed, that in all flowers there is an apparatus in the centre, different from the leafy structure of the verge, which is what strikes the eye at first sight; the threads which support the yellow heads in the centre of the rose, and those which serve as pedestals to the less numerous, but
larger, dusky black ones in the tulip, are of this kind. In the earlier ages of natural knowledge, these were esteemed no more than casual particles of matter, or the effect of a luxuriance from an abundant share of nourishment sent up to the leaves of the flower, throwing itself into these uncertain forms, as they were then esteemed. The more improved science of our times disclaims such vague ideas, disclaims the supposition of nature's having made any thing, any the slightest particle of the meanest herb, in vain; and, in consequence of researches founded on this hypothesis, has discovered that the gaudy leaves supposed by these philosophers to constitute the essence of the flower, are indeed of very little consequence in the economy of the subject; that they are placed but as a defence to the thready matter within; which, despised as it used to be, is indeed the most essential part of the whole; is that for which almost the whole has been formed, and that alone on which the continuation of the species depends. It has been found, that, of the minutest threads in this little tuft, there is not one but has its destined office, not one but joins in the common service; and that though they appear so numerous and indefinite, there is not a single flower on the whole tree but has them in the same number
to the utmost exactness, and punctually in the same situation; nor that there ever has been, or ever will be, through successive ages, a tree of the same kind, every single flower of which will not be formed with the same perfect regularity.
It was with an uncommon pleasure that I saw a confirmation of this accurate exactness in the care of providence, even in the minutest of its works, in this beautiful object; not a flower of the millions that it crowded upon the sight in every part, but contained its precise number of thirty little threads; and not one of these but had its regularly-figured head placed in the same direction on its summit, and filled with the same powder, destined for impregnating the already teeming fruit: this shewed its downy rudiments in the centre, and sent up a peculiar organ to the height of these heads, to receive the fertilising dust when they should burst, and to convey it to the very centre of the embrio, there to inform its kernel with the vegetable soul, and render it capable of shooting up into a tree of the same kind.
Such is the economy of nature in the production of these treasures; but she has usually more purposes than one to answer in the same subject. It was easy to conceive, that one of