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single bee, but they cannot always be distinguished unless the ear be placed near the mouth of the hive. John Hunter compared the sound to the lower A in the treble of the piano-forte, and others think it resembles the stridulous toot-toot of a child's penny trumpet. It has been supposed by Wildman that this sound proceeds from the contest of the rival queens about sallying forth; but the facts above given show this to be an unfounded conjecture: and, with still less truth, Butler supposes it to be a parley between the young and the old queenthe former at the bottom of the hive requesting leave to emigrate, and the latter answering in her bass note from the top. Others gravely construe the sound into an harangue of the queen to animate her subjects to the meditated undertaking of founding a new empire.

"On the other hand, there is also for the most part unusual silence in the hive,—that is, little of the ordinary hum; the intended emigrants being, it is supposed, busily engaged in eating a hearty meal, and laying in a cargo of honey as a provision for bad weather previous to their departure. In proof of this, John Hunter, upon opening the crops of the emigrants, found them full of honey; whereas he found but a small portion in the crops of those that remained. Perhaps it may be this circumstance which produces their obvious neglect of collecting, as well as of other labour, some days previous to emigration. One of the most indubitable signs of swarming, according to Réaumur, is when-particularly on a sunny morning, the weather being favourable to their labours-few bees go out of a hive from which on the preceding day they had issued in great numbers. He is of opinion that this proves all, or almost all, the inhabitants of a hive to be aware of a project which will not be put in execution before noon, or some hours later: otherwise, why should bees who worked the day previous with so much activity cease their labours in a habitation they are to quit at noon? There is a well-known anecdote of an old grenadier, who being seen resting inactive while his less ex


perienced comrades were busily pitching their tents, Marshal Turenne, his general, asked him why he did not bestir himself like the rest: Because,' he replied, we shall have to march again in a few hours ;'-a reason which the bees intending to emigrate well understand.

"About the same time an unusual number of male bees may be observed on the outside of the hive, as well as a body of workers clustered together at its entrance, driven thither, it has been conjectured, in consequence of the heat of the hive, arising from the agitation among the inhabitants,—the usual spring temperature of the hive, from 90° to 97°, being augmented to 104°. This is further increased by the heat of the sun; for a swarm is seldom if ever seen except when the sun shines and the air is calm,—so much so, that if but a cloud pass before the sun, all the agitation coincident with their preparation to depart is intermitted. It has even been imagined that they can foresee fine weather, though the circumstance just mentioned shows that their foresight in this respect must be very limited besides, swarms are not unfrequently caught in a shower and obliged to return to the hive for shelter. Réaumur had one which set out at one o'clock, and was caught in a shower at three. At the same time it is certain that they are always feverishly alive to the state of the weather; and while ranging in the fields, a chance cloud passing over the sun will induce their precipitate return; though, when the sky is totally overclouded, they are not deterred from collecting, and in such a case the commencement of a soft rain does not alarm them.


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"I am persuaded,' says Huber, that the necessity of a fine day for swarming is one reason for the protracted captivity of the young queens in their cells, though in some cases this appears to be quite arbitrary; but it is always remarkably extended when bad weather continues for several successive days. The providential reason appears to be, that if the young queens were at liberty to leave their cradles during intemperate wea

ther, a plurality of queens and constant warfare between them would be the consequence. Instead, therefore, of the multiplication of the species being left to the chance of rain or fine. weather, it is by the wise disposition of Providence rendered independent of either. By allowing only a single queen to escape at once, the formation of swarms is insured. Another important circumstance resulting from the temporary captivity of the young queens is, that they are in a condition to fly the instant they are set at liberty, and consequently can take advantage of the first moment of sunshine to head the emigrants.'

"At first, the queen does not alight on the branch where the swarm settles, but waits till a number of the bees are formed and clustered before she joins them. Immediately afterwards the clustering becomes more dense, all the bees in the air hastening to join their companions, each clinging to one another by the claws of their feet as when they form a curtain during the production of wax; and a singular spectacle it is to see from twelve to forty thousand bees thus conglomerated in a living mass."

The cottage-gardens now wear a lovely appearance: the roses and woodbines, which have been carefully trained up against the walls and summer-houses, are in bloom, and sleep in the peaceful sunshine as if unconscious of the bees that rifle them of their sweets. Tulips and wallflowers, anemones and yellow crocuses, glitter at their doors; while lilies and violets and hyacinths bare their bosoms to the breeze. The little flycatcher (which is the last summer bird that makes its appearance) is now seen peeping from among the vine-leaves that spread along the walls, or hiding its tiny form in the sweetbriar. Except the robin, there is no bird more familiar than this; for it will venture to build near a doorway through which people are constantly passing, or upon a branch within a few inches of the chamber-window, and will not forsake its nest until just within reach of the hand. I knew one so tame (which built in a vine-tree that ran up the front of a cottage) as to suffer

itself to be touched when sitting on its nest.

It is not a song

It devours many

bird, but makes a low wailing noise when in danger. In some places it is held as sacred as the robin. insects which if left would destroy the grapes. old saying in the country, that

"If you scare the fly-catcher away,

No good luck will with you stay."

There is an

Doubtless, the old ballad of "The Babes in the Wood" has saved the lives and nests of many a robin: for the old legend


"Little robins and jenny-wrens

Are God Almighty's cocks and hens;"

and I knew a boy so much affected by this superstition as to return nearly two miles after it was dark with a nest of young robins, which he had mistaken for larks. He replaced them; and the next morning I started the old bird from the nest. It is a wrong notion to suppose that if the young or eggs of a bird are disturbed they will for ever forsake their nests. I have taken away the eggs, and left a small stone or two in their places, and they have still continued to lay, especially hedgesparrows and pinks-for so we called the chaffinch, from its chirping. The blackbird and throstle are not so easily deceived.

The farmhouse is at this season a busy scene. The cows are turned into the green pastures; and the dairy business requires close attendance, in skimming, churning, and making cheese. This is the time to revel in yellow cream, sweet butter, curds and whey, syllabubs, cheese-cakes, and rich custards, while

"The milkmaid singeth blithe."

We cannot resist quoting the description given of a "Fair and Happy Milkmaid" by Sir Thomas Overbury: it is a perfect piece of poetry, though put forth in the garb of homely prose.

"A fair and happy milkmaid is a country wench that is so far from making herself beautiful by art, that one look of hers is able to put all face-physic out of countenance. She knows a

fair look is but a dumb orator to commend virtue, therefore minds it not. All her excellencies stand in her so silently, as if they had stolen upon her without her knowledge. The lining of her apparel, which is herself, is far better than outsides of tissue; for though she be not arrayed in the spoils of the silkworm, she is decked in innocence-a far better wearing. She doth not, with lying long in bed, spoil both her complexion and condition: Nature hath taught her that immoderate sleep is rust to the soul; she rises therefore with chanticleer, her dame's cock, and at night makes the lamb her curfew. In milking a cow, and straining the teats through her fingers, it seems that so sweet a milk-press makes the milk whiter or sweeter, for never came almond glove or aromatic ointment on her palm to taint it. The golden ears of corn fall and kiss her feet when she reaps them, as if they wished to be bound prisoners by the same hand that felled them. Her breath is her own, which scents all the year long of June, like a new-made haycock. She makes her hand hard with labour, and her heart soft with pity; and when winter evenings fall early, sitting at her merry wheel, she sings defiance to the wheel of Fortune. She doth all things with so sweet a grace, it seems ignorance will not suffer her to do ill, being her mind to do well. She bestows her year's wages at the next fair, and in choosing her garments counts no bravery in the world like decency. The garden and bee-hive are all her physic and surgery, and she lives the longer for it. She dares go alone and unfold sheep in the night, and fears no manner of ill, because she means none; yet, to say truth, she is never alone, but is still accompanied with old songs, honest thoughts, and prayers-but short ones; yet they have their efficacy, in that they are not palled with ensuing idle cogitations. Lastly, her dreams are so chaste, that she dare tell them; only a Friday's dream is all her superstition,—that she conceals for fear of anger. Thus lives she, and all her care is that she may die in spring-time, to have store of flowers stuck upon her winding-sheet."

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