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dropping bough that hung immediately over the water, shewed me a multitude of his favourite objects.
I am such a veteran in these researches, that I discovered at first sight what they were; but, as information always remains longest when it is the effect of the person's own observations, I took out my pocket microscope, and desiring the youth to cut off a piece of the branch on which what he called the plants were placed, separated one of them from it, and adapting it to the glass, gave it into his hand for examination.
It was not half a minute before he burst out into an exclamation, "How have I been deceived! As I am alive, the egg of some animal!"
While he was yet speaking, I had fixed my eye upon a fly employed on another on another part of one of the branches, already loaded with these bodies, in a manner that perfectly explained what they were.
I led him to the properest place for making the necessary observations, and we had the pleasure to see the whole process of their formation. The creature presently applied the extremity of her tail, to which, at that instant, there hung a drop of a glutinous fluid, close to the branch. She by this means lodged a particle of liquid glue, as it were, on its bark: from this, raising her
hinder part, very slowly, to the height of three quarters of an inch, she drew after her a thread of the liquid, which almost immediately hardened in the air into a firm and solid substance, capable of supporting itself erect. She paused a few moments, while it acquired a sufficient firmness for her purpose, and then deposited upon its summit an egg of an oblong figure, milk-white in colour, and covered with the same gluey moisture. The egg became fixed in an instant on the top of its slender pedestal, and the fly went on depositing more in the
A cluster of these eggs, regularly supported on pedicles of the length of small pins, and arising each from a broad shining base on the bark, had given my young botanist the idea of a set of little fungi; but on examining the first that came to hand before the microscope, it proved to be big with life: an egg just disclosing a fine white worm.
Nature has so provided for the winged tribe of insects, that they all of them pass a part of their lives, and that, indeed, much the greatest part, in form of reptiles; their wings, their and the rest of their wonderful apparaeyes, tus, are too delicate and tender to be trusted to the air immediately from the egg: the creature
is, therefore, covered with a peculiar skin, under which it wears the form of a maggot, a worm, or a caterpillar, till, at the destined period, when all the parts are grown firm and ready to perform their several offices, the perfect animal appears in the form of its parent, out of the disguise of its reptile state.
The worms that are thus produced from the eggs of beetles, and are the disguised forms of the beetle brood, feed on wood: the caterpil lars, which are the reptile state of the butterflies, on several different substances. It is the fate of the worm, hatched from the egg of this peculiar species, to live under water, protected by the covert of a clay shed in the bank, and there to feed on lesser insects that inhabit the mud; when the time of its appearing under the fly-state approaches, it leaves the water, and the perfect insect bursts from its case on dry land.
The life of the creature in this winged state, is but of a few hours' duration; the propagating the species is all the office to which it is destined, in the economy of the animal; the female, when impregnated, is prompted by nature to get rid of her load. Instinct points out to her the necessity of the young, to be hatched from these eggs, finding their support in the water; but how is the parent animal to provide for the get
ting them there? Should she attempt to lay her eggs upon the surface of that fluid, she would 'probably be drowned in the attempt; or, could she lay them there, their thin coats would be rotted by the moisture before their time; or the eggs, could they resist this attack, would be a prey to fish and a thousand other devourers.
Nature, the God of nature, whose tender mercies are over all his works, unnoticed of whom not a sparrow, not the meanest reptile falls, instructs the parent animal to suspend them in this artful manner, on trees that grow over waters; were they lodged close upon the bark, they would be in the way of mites, and a thousand other destroyers; and, if they escaped these, and came favourably to the hatching, the young worms might crawl about upon the branches till they perished of hunger, not knowing that the source of food for their necessities was below. Whereas, in this careful disposition of them, they are out of the reach of all the insect tribe that crawl upon the tree; and are so situated, that the worms no sooner are hatched from them, than they naturally and necessarily fail into the water, where every thing necessary is provided for them.
INSPECTOR, No. 13.
-Rura, quæ Liris quieta
-Fields that gentle Lyris laves,
ONE of my accustomed morning walks led me, a few days since, before I was aware, to the skirts of a little hamlet, so near this great town, that I was amazed to find such a difference as there appeared between the manners and dispositions of its inhabitants, and those of the same rank with us. Weary with a longer exercise than I had intended, or indeed used myself to, the unexpressive daubing of a board, supported by the rough natural branch of a tree, invited me in to taste the pleasures of rest, which there is no way to know but through fatigue; and to feast on the homely fare so poor a cottage afforded, with more relish than any thing but air and exercise can give to the most elegant dishes.
I had entered the humble door, not high enough to admit a man erect, at the time when the mid-day sun had sent in also the neighbour