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subjects, is of the most nutritious and delicate description; not the simple bee-bread composed of common pollen, and considered good enough for common bee-infancy, but a rare and curious preparation nicely concocted from flowery juices, and, as reserved expressly for royal nourishment, called by bee-farmers, royal jelly. Thus spaciously lodged and delicately fed, the favoured grub, when arrived at full growth, spins within her cell a silken shroud; therein changes to a nymph or pupa; and thence, in due time, issues forth in all her dignity of majestic size, in all the resplendency of her golden-ringed body-suit, the more conspicuous for the scantiness of her gauze drapery—those filmy wings in which alone her outward gifts, instead of surpassing, are inferior to those of her subjects.
" Come now to the busy workers, of whom the numerous sisterhood, the million of the hive, is made up. From these the bee character has always been painted, and painted justly, as loyal and patriotic, laborious, patient, and skilful, to which might be added, maternally affectionate ; for though never mothers themselves, the latter propensity possesses them so strongly as to convert their office as nurses to the queen's progeny,—to all, in short, of the infant community, into what would seem truly a labour of love. Although their instinctive virtues, if we may use the term, are so immeasurably expanded beyond the narrow growth of those apparent in their royal mistress, compression is one of the agents employed to effect this mighty difference between them; and the worker bee is, it would seem, made an useful member of the body politic, by a process very similar to that which renders the foot of a Chinese lady a somewhat useless member of her body natural.
“The baby-bee, destined to become a bee-labourer, finds herself on emerging from the egg, an inhabitant of one of those common six-sided cells, which as it would appear, is so proportioned as in some measure to limit her growth, and thus prevent her from attaining her full development. To this outward restriction is superadded an inward check in the quality of food administered by her nurses. In lieu of the royal-jelly,' that stimulating and nutritious extract prepared only for the queen-bee, her infancy is supported on the simple fare of bee-bread, which while it suffices to bring
A BABEL AMONG THIE BEES.
to maturity every useful endowment of activity, affords no food for the development of the sensual and vindictive passions; and with all these smothered in the cradle, our worker comes forth, mature in all apian excellence-modest in habits, a nun among insects, and a very sister of charity among her fellows.
“ Thus much for the queen and the commonalty, the females of the hive; and now for the three or four hundred of the opposite sex, as partakers of the royal favour, or as candidates for the same, as well as for their worthless qualities, may fairly be compared to the aristocracy of a state where birth, not worth, makes the man. We need not describe the drone, whether of a biped or a bee community, since the one is a pattern of, and lends name to, the other. The chief difference between them is this, that bipeddrones are to be seen every day of the year, while bee-drones are to be only seen because they are only allowed to exist, during those days of summer which intervene between April and August. And truly, living as they do, to eat, a quarter's span of luxurious existence, at the expense of those who only eat to live, is a tolerably fair proportion. Such at least would seem to be the opinion of the workers of the hive; for the queen, having in the meantime chosen a royal partner, or partners from among them, the whole three or four hundred fall by a general massacre towards the end of July or beginning of August. This Amazonian city is thus rid of all useless mouths before winter, with her icy batteries, lays siege to its straw-built outworks and waxen walls. “Have those by whom her economy has been held up
for buman imitation, ever thought about the awful consequences which would be involved in even a partial copy of the above severely wholesome policy ?
“ Having now glanced separately at each of the anomalous classes of a bee-community, we will take another look at them as they stand together socially related.
Let us suppose ourselves one moonlight evening in this month of May taking a garden stroll beside a range of bee-hives. Instead of the nightly stillness which is wont in bee-cities to succeed the daily hum, there arises from one of these a loud, uneasy murmur, which, instead of lessening,
continues to increase with the lateness of the hour. Our hive is not of glass, but if it were, the restlessness thus audible without, would become apparent within, by the evidences of crowding, confusion, and jostling -by all the tokens, in short, usually attendant on some grand event in expectation. From so violent a ferment of vitality, something must of necessity arise ; but through the livelong night nothing comes of it, and the morning sun rises on nothing but the same scene and sound of agitated turmoil. From tokens such as these, an ordinary keeper of bees would merely surmise that a swarm was coming, and an oldfashioned dame would be getting in readiness her frying-pan and iron ladle, to ring the parting colony to their new abode. But there are those who have pretended to see much further through bee-confusion, and to enter much deeper into bee-councils. In the midst of all this bustle of morement and Babel of sound they would distinguish, shrill above the murmur of her subjects, the authoritative voice of the queen-mother about to lead, or at all events to accompany, the departing swarm of emigrants. They, doubtless, would be able to report correctly, the sovereign's harangue on this important occasion, more full, doubtless, of significance than royal speeches are wont to be, combining the pathetic, the dictatorial, and the cheering farewell, and council to the body of her people left at home, command and encouragement to the party about to attend her to a new settlement.
Mid-day now approaches ; the royal speech is made; the applauding murmurs have subsided; farewells are taken, and the body of emigrants rush forth, headed, or, it may be followed, by their sovereign lady. These, however, we mean not to accompany, because we shall see more by keeping to the parent hive, through the portal of which we must, fairy-like, effect a passage at this epoch of interest and importance-the loss of its queen, with a large proportion of its population. Row upon row of hexagonal houses hang suspended in clusters from a common roof. Most of them are occupied, some as store-houses for honey and beebread, others as nurseries for bee-infancy, and, where not otherwise engaged, as dormitories for bee-labourers, who, with head and shoulders ensconced within their cells, are
A LOYAL PEOPLE WITHOUT A SOVEREIGN.
accustomed, at intervals, thus to turn their backs on labour and recruit for fresh exertions. But few enough are the slumberers now taking their repose ; the grand event of the morning has raised a general commotion by no means subsided with the absence of its immediate cause, from which mighty effects are yet about to spring.
“From the departure of their reigning monarch and queen-mother, our Amazonian citizens are, for the present, queenless. What a predicament for a people whose very spring of action is set in motion, as we have seen, by loyalty ; but it is an exigence, to meet which they are well provided. Among the common six-sided cells which compose the mass of building, are perceived some half-dozen structures, of more than thrice their size, which are occupied as abodes of growing royalty; and within these waxen palaces have been, for some weeks, nurtured, in different stages of progression towards maturity, as many young princesses, for one of which the vacant throne is destined. For which of them ? is the question which priority of birth and emergement from one of the cells of state is now to settle ; for at present all these quiescent candidates for sovereignty are swathed in the silken shrouds of their second or chrysalis stage of being—that wherein bees are designated nymphs. With beads turned toward the royal apartments, the queenless subjects anxiously await the moment which is to supply their craving for a sovereign. They wait long, but at length, most welcome spectacle ! a royal lady, perfect in the maturity of her full proportions, issues from one of the royal chambers. A loud and joyful hum proclaims her queen, and her subjects are crowding round to pay their ready homage--when, lo! from another of the state apartments, arrived, like herself, at bee's and queen's estate, and nearly at the self-same moment, comes forth a second claimant to the roval honours. The rivals catch a glimpse of each other, exchange a glance of angry defiance, then, while the crowd falls back to permit their meeting, rush like she-dragons on one another. Head to head, chest to chest, they strive and grapple, and each has only, in dragon style, to bend her tail and fix her venomed dart, and both will fall victims to each other's stings. But no! at this moment, as if seized simultaneously with panic
fear, they part and recede from the deadly and too equal strife.
“The spectators have hitherto been looking on, inactive, though not mute, having kept up a ceaseless hum ; but now that the royal combatants give way and separate, that hum increases to a perfect uproar, and a few individuals, darting from the crowd, dare to seize upon the retreating queens, and stay their flight,—to hang even on their recreant limbs," and hold them back from further retreat, as well as from advance. But, see! as if their failing spirits were chafed into new fury by the indignity thus offered, they burst from their subjects' hold, and rush back to the encounter. Again the issue hangs suspended, but not for long; for now, one of the queenly combatants, more powerful or more skilful than her rival, rises above her, seizes one of her scanty wings, and inflicts on her undefended body a mortal sting. She withdraws her barbed weapon, while her wounded competitor falls down, struggles and expires.
“ The conqueror's victory is complete; what, however, does she next? She approaches rapidly to the nearest of the royal chambers, with vindictive fury tears from its entrance the silken tapestry by which it is partially defended, and now thrusts her poisoned dart into its hapless occupant, and thus, one after another, she destroys the remaining four.
“ While the ferocious queen is thus employed, what is the behaviour of her surrounding subjects? Do they submit tamely to the extinction of the royal race 2-Yes, and they do more; for though they themselves lay not a sting on the sacred persons of the young princesses, they aid the cruel queen in the completion of her butchery; for no sooner does she quit each scene of her successive assassinations, than, dragging from the chamber the body she has left, they hasten to hide it from her view.
“The scene above depicted reads exceedingly tragical, and with such materials for a play upon the passions, ' well may bees have been made to figure as dramatis persone, and have had allotted to them a whole play to themselves.' Of this play we know nothing, except that it was written in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, who might truly have been the author's heroine; she, before whom, to allude to a