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gen-tle ze-phyrs and sighs, should ev-er, should ev-er playing, and win-ning words saying, weave loveknots that nev-er, that
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skies and fond
D. C. AL SEGNO.
THE VOICE OF THE ECHO.
TELL me, sweet Echo, why it is so truthfully ye speak,
And answer back the waking sound, so boldly or so meek?
Say is it not that truth should be
Sweet Echo, yes? Sweet Echo, yes. But why, sweet Echo, do ye speak words heartless or profane,
And to the murmurer give back his worthless thoughts again?
Say-is it not to teach mankind
That through life's way they'll ever find
And every warbler supposes
His mate loves the strain that he sings.
Are arts of young Cupid the Sly;
her temporary dwelling. You may see her busily at work among ferns and flowers-for such often grow profusely around the opening which Time, or the wood-feeder, has wrought in some noble tree-the small crane's-bill especially, and the little meek-eyed nail-wort, sister flowers, which content themselves with scant earth and moisture. A few long summer days suffice for well performing the work which she has to do, for the creature does not idle; cloudless skies are over her, and beautiful flowers invite her forth, but she visits them only briefly, and that for her daily food, regardless of the voice of Spring, or that of Summer, offering fruit in abundance;
"A populous solitude of birds and bees, Of fairy form'd and many-coloured things." THUS sang the poet, wandering amid the beautiful solitudes of nature, and observing the various developments of insect life. I, too, have looked upon them in field and glade, by stream-side, and along the margin of solitary woods, and sought out many a small home, where cheerful creatures congregate together, or where some tiny hermit prefers to dwell alone.
"She fulfilleth her duty lovingly,"
One such spot rises before my mental view; a harvest-field as yet unreaped, with numerous flowers of all shapes and hues, skirted towards the east by a sloping belt of trees, and watered by a calm, deep, clear stream, flowing over a pebbly bed, and forming its western boundary. That field teemed with life; gladsome beings flitted from one flower to another, or ran blithely among the stalks of corn, which must have seemed to them as vast vegetable columns; others climbed up those columns, and found a rich repast in the ripening ears; others, again, nestled amid the flowers, or rested securely in little burrows which they well knew how to excavate.
till having constructed her cells, laid an egg in each, and filled them with a store of nutritious food, she plasters them on the outside with a strong coating, composed apparently of honey and pollen. Away then goes the mother bee; and he who witnesses her joyous rush from out the hollow tree, and hears her humming song, might naturally exclaim, "Now she is going to enjoy herself!" Not yet aware, seemingly, of an important truth, elicited by chemistry through a series of experiments namely, what substances conduct heat most slowly-she attacks the leaves of the corncockle, or yellow milfoil, or of such plants as suit her purpose, and carefully scrapes off the woolly integuments, which having rolled into a tiny ball with her fore-legs, she forthwith carries to her nest. This warm and soft material is next carefully spread abroad, and then laid over the cells, to which it adheres by means of the gummy compound, and envelopes them with a warm coating, impervious to all atmospheric changes.
The naturalist, looking at them with a poet's eye, yet truthful as regards all facts, will speak concerning such, as if conducting some inquirer from one small dwelling to another, and describing the actings of its inmates.
Here, then, is a cylinder about two inches in depth, and running horizontally, occupied by three or four thimble-shaped cells, the end of one fitting into the cavity of another-the home of an Let us look narrowly along the hedge, and we industrious insect (Melitta succincta), or nimble shall find, most probably, a dwelling of the carmelitta, whom you might have seen a few weeks since rising with the first dawn of day, and dili- bramble, or wild briar. Here it is; the pith has penter bee (A. lignarius) within the branch of a gently occupied in preparing an abode for her exbeen carefully removed, so as to form a tunnel pected offspring. This she effected by secreting a about a foot in length, containing numerous cells, kind of glue, from which to construct the above- divided from each other by partitions, made from mentioned cells, resembling in their material gold-particles of pith glued together. Others of the beater's skin, but much finer, and so exquisitely same family, disdaining, it would seem, such a thin and transparent that even the colour of an in-ready method of obtaining a place for their young, cluded object may be readily discovered. No sooner is one cell completed than the little architect deposits an egg therein, and mindful to provide for her embryo bee, she nearly fills it with a paste composed of pollen and honey; this done, she proceeds to form another cell, storing it in
set themselves to the herculean task of boring long cylindrical tubes out of solid wood. You may notice them early in the spring, making repeated and careful surveys, as if thoughtful with regard such as best suit them, they diligently commence to the most proper situations, till having found their pleasant toil. Observe one of these careful matrons when thus employed. She at first proceeds obliquely downwards, but soon points her course in a direction parallel with the sides of the wood, and, at length, after unwearied exertions, she forms a spacious and convenient tunnel. Occasionally, and when the piece of wood or espalier admits of such an appropriation, she has been known to excavate three or four pipes nearly level with one another. When at length the whole is completed, she begins to separate her tunnel into different compartments; and here the question naturally arises "With what substance can she construct the floors and ceilings, and requisite partitions?" Why truly her Creator "doth instruct her to discretion, and doth teach her." While employed in hollowing out her tunnel, she has detached a quantity of fibres, which lie upon the ground like a heap of sawdust, and these amply suffice for all her need. Having
"With the sweet food she makes;" and thus she goes on till the whole is finished; after which, she carefully stops up the opening of her cylinder with earth. The M. succincta generally prefers for the construction of her nursery some dry gravelly bank in corn-fields, or the fissure of a stone wall, cemented with earth instead of mortar; but an instance is on record where the pith of an old elder-branch was appropriated to the purpose, but then, in order to meet the exigencies of this singular abode, the cells were placed lengthwise, one after the other, with a thin boundary between each. A cellular nest, composed of a similar membranaceous substance, though differently situated, is constructed by the muff-bee, (Apis municata,} This gaily decorated insect, unwilling, it would seem, to soil herself by contact with sand or earth, does not excavate an opening, but selects the cavity of some old tree for the erection of
deposited an egg, and placed around it a store of honey and pollen, she forms a kind of scaffolding, about three quarters of an inch in height, along the sides of the tunnel, as also a partition, formed of particles of fibrous saw-dust glued together. When this is sufficiently hardened, the interior edge of the scaffolding affords a ready support for a second ring, or canopy of the same material, and thus the ceiling is formed gradually, by different concentric circles, till a very small orifice only remains in the centre, and this is also closed with a circular mass of agglutinated particles of sawdust. Meanwhile, the first partition continues hardening, and is soon fit for filling up to the thickness of a crown piece, exhibiting the appearance of as many circles as the creature has made pauses in her work, either for rest or food. The little carpenter then proceeds to construct a second cell, which she furnishes and stores in the same manner, and thus she continues busily employed until she has divided her tunnel into ten or twelve apartments.
The process of boring and of building is not, however, very speedily completed. Every cell requires both honey and pollen for the nutriment of its future occupant, and these are not collected without much toil; a considerable time is further required to lay the floors, and construct the walls and ceiling, and also the partitions; it is, therefore, evident that the last egg in the last cell must be deposited many days after the first, consequently that the first egg will become a grub, and then a bez, some time before its kindred. "What then becomes of it?" you will ask. Eleven well filled cells intervene between the perfect insect and the doorway by which the parent entered; any attempt to force a passage would destroy the slumbering tenants, and yet the busy, bustling creature, who has emerged to life, cannot remain patiently till its brethren are ready to escape. This difficulty is admirably provided against. By means of that inexplicable faculty which men call instinct, and which acts upon the will of the carpenter bee, a kind of back-door is provided at the further end of the tunnel, through which her young family can pass without inconvenience. And very curious is the fact, that they all go out by this road; that further, each grub, when about to become a winged insect, places itself in its cell with the head downwards, and is consequently obliged to make its way in the direction most conducive to its well-being.
One of the most remarkable among carpenter bees is the Apis violacea, or violet-coloured apis, a native of Southern Europe. This species is distinguished by wings of a beautiful violet colour, and generally frequents gardens, for the purpose of appropriating either espaliers or vineprops, or door seats, for the temporary reception of her progeny.
Pass not by that apparent lump of mud, which the sun has hardened, and the showers of early spring have caused to look like a solid mass of stone. You could not readily penetrate it with the blade of a sharp knife; we will not, however, make the attempt, remembering that even the lawless sons of Ishmael spare the tent-poles and the hair-cloth that belong to a brother Arab, when its possessor is far away; and we know not how anxiously the small castle, unsightly though it be, and with no external beauty, may be watched over by the careful owner. That owner is the Apis murarta, or wall-build
ing apis, an industrious creature, who successfully carries on the mason's craft, and builds her dwelling of solid stone. You may see her, when about to become a mother, searching diligently for a convenient site whereon to begin her work. The south side of a stone wall is generally chosen, but in the present instance she has selected an angle, among rough masses that jut from out the bank, and which, comparing small things with great, resembles one of those wild cliffs which our Saxon ancestors often preferred for the erection of their watch-towers. Many a young naturalist has spent his summer holiday in watching the masonbee when thus employed, and learned, perchance, a more important lesson than schoolmen ever taught, from her unwearied diligence and perseverance. At first she carefully selects grains of sand from such as contain the least admixture of earth, and glueing them together with her viscid saliva into masses about the size of small shot, she conveys them to the site of her intended castle. There, arranged one by one, they form the sole materials of the walls she is about to raise, and when a sufficient number are accumulated, the architect sets cheerfully to work and prepares a basis, or foundation, by means of a cement far preferable to our mortar, or even to the celebrated Roman grouting used in old castles. Her next care is to raise the walls of her first cell, which is about an inch in length and half an inch broad, and which, in form, may be compared to a round ball when divided about the middle, and set upright. Within this an egg is speedily deposited, with an ample supply of honey and pollen, after the custom of her relative, the carpenterbee; and then, having closed the opening through which she passed, the little mason proceeds to the erection of another cell, and then another, till the whole are finished, and carefully filling up all such vacuities as remain between the cells. This is done with the same composition as the one used in their construction, and is rendered necessary because the architect is not particular in their arrangement, some being parallel to the sides of the building, others perpendicular, others inclining at different angles, in which respect they differ from such as are constructed by the common bee. When the whole is finished it is bound together by a covering composed of coarser grains of sand, and presents the appearance either of a small projection on the rock or stone, or else, in showery weather, of an accidental splash of mud, which a horse has made in passing rapidly.
Numerous insects are abroad, and while observ ing those beauteous revellers, that sport from one flower to another, or run blithely across the path, have you ever considered that each one has an assigned lodging-place, or else is enabled to construct some convenient dwelling wherein to bring up her young? We have already noticed the home of the nimble melitta and muff apis, with those of the carpenter and mason-bees; there are likewise many others in this thickly-peopled field, which rise like fairy domes among the herbage, or in the crevices of those large stones that form a rugged bank intermixed with sand and gravel. Some insects employ fine earth made into a kind of mortar with gluten; others range to a considerable distance in quest of argillaceous earth mixed with chalk; others, again, are provided with an instrument potent as an enchanter's wand, by the aid of which they have but to pierce the leaf of