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difficult thing to be understood, so, I to himself (or herself), “That is my think, the writers of penny fiction, in thought, which I would have myself exclothing very conventional thoughts in pressed in those identical words, if I had rather high-faluting English, have found only known how."— The Nineteenth the secret of success.
Each reader says Century.
THE ANTS AS FARMERS.
“Go to the ant, thou sluggard,” says ant of Texas, has put the farming talents Solomon. But we are not quite sure of the insect up to a certain point bethat Solomon, if he had to advise the yond doubt. It is true, he does not be Irish farmer at least, would be inclined lieve, though he does not deny, that the to insist so much on the ant's example. Texas ant itself sows the seeds of the It is true that as a farmer, as we shall crop which it expects to reap. He show, the ant is not only industrious, thinks the facts, so far as they are known but very capable. The agricultural ant to him, rather point to the supposition of Texas achieves wonders. But it that the agricultural ant simply permits achieves wonders with a little too much the growth within its enclosure of the of the method of the Irish Land League. particular plant whose seeds it wishes to Not that it has discovered the art of harvest, while carefully clearing all other Boycotting its comrades, but that it does grasses away. But thus much appears at times adopt a sort of physical com- to be certain—that during the ants' parpulsion which dispenses with all need tial winter hibernation, grasses of all for that operation. In short, the agricul- sorts grow over the disks which the agritural ant, being a communist by profes- cultural ants are in the habit of clearing sion, naturally invents methods of com- round the principal gate of their nest; pulsion which are appropriate to the life that in the early spring, these ants clear of the commune, and not appropriate to away all this winter vegetation completesocieties in which there is any attempt ly; but that by May the clearings of all to cultivate what has been called "the those kinds of agricultural ants which individuality of the individual." But have a flat disk round their chief enbefore we touch on this part of our sub- trance are more or less overgrown with ject, let us show what admirable achieve- one plant, and one only—the Aristida ments in farming the agricultural ant has Oligantha, whose seeds they love to haraccomplished. In the amusing book of vest and to feed on. Mr. McCook himMr. McCook, of. Philadelphia,“ The self believes that this growth is permitNatural History of the Agricultural Ant ted by the ant within its enclosure, on of Texas,” recently published in the account of the greater convenience of United States, we have a most fascinat- harvesting the seed, while every other ing account of one great tribe belonging growth is carefully arrested and exterto that species of insects which has minated. “ It seems hardly credible, achieved a pastoral as well as an agri- he says, “that the energy and skill cultural.career. That the ant is a cow- which enabled these creatures to wholly keeper, and milks its aphides as care- clear away a winter growth which had fully as a dairyman milks his cows, has overrun the disks, should be foiled in long been admitted. But that there ex- the effort to keep them clear." Mr. ists an ant so far at least a farmer as to McCook describes carefully the operagather in its grain harvest against the tions by which this ant clears away the winter, and often even to husk its grain grasses it wants to get rid of. An ant before storing it in the granaries, has goes to the root and bites, pulls, and been strenuously denied, in spite of twists at it, with a view to sever the stem Solomon's assertion of the fact, till the at this point. Often after making a late Mr. Moggridge and others re-estab- great incision, it will run up the leaf, lished this point within the last few and hang by the end of it, in order to inyears. Mr. McCook, by his careful rease the fracture by thus pul
it to study of the habits of the agricultural the ground. Sometimes, while one ant continues to gnaw away at the root, ing operations of man, at least on these another will run up the leaf, and hang heads-it makes a clearing round its with its whole sınall weight from the ex- home; it encourages the growths it aptremity. As a result of all this work, proves, and exterminates all others ; it the clearing is usually left with the garners the grain when it is ripe, and stunted grass-stumps, precisely resem- stores it away in granaries ; it husks bling on a minute scale the clearing much of this grain ; it brings it out to which a backwoodsman effects in an dry when injured by moisture, and then American forest. Thus Mr. McCook stores it away again ; and some of the says of the tufts of grass in the ants' allied tribes of ants not only do all this, clearing : “ The stumps were dry, quite but also reap the grain while still growdead and black, and stood slightly above ing on the stalk. And all this the ant the surface, as the soil had been removed does, in addition to the very elaborate from between the girarled rootlets. mining operations by which it constructs These tiny objects were spread over the the various chambers of its subterranean inner section of the clearing. The dwelling. No human farmer is at the whole so vividly recalled the pioneer same time a most effective miner. But scenes in Western forests with which I the agricultural ant of Texas is bgth, was familiar in boyhood that I could and spends even more of its energy and not rid myself of the impression that the skill on mining than it spends on farmants had wrought much on the same ing. principle as the pioneers, who, having But now, how are these great results chopped down the trees and cleared attained ? Clearly, to a great extent, by away the timber and bush, leave the the complete merging of the individual stumps afield, that the roots may loosen self in the tribal self-which, as we are by natural decay, so that the stumps told by the modern moralists, is the
more easily removed and great goal even of human morality. Mr. burned." The agricultural ants of McCook has accumulated curious eviTexas garner in their seed-harvest only dence that the agricultural ant hardly after the grain has dropped from the develops his proper nature at all except stalk, but the Atta crudelis of Florida under the stimulus of a considerable and Georgia does more-it mounts the society; and thus is so often required stalk, and severs the ripe grain while still to merge his individuality in the comgrowing on the stalk. In fact, it reaps munal impulse of the tribe, that however as well as garners in the grain ; and this little he shares that impulse, he hardly Mr. McCook proved for himself by ever finds it worth while to struggle sticking stalks of millet upright into the against it. “ Three ants in a small jar box where a nest of ants of this kind remained for a number of days upon the were confined ; these stalks the ants surface of the soil, without the slightest mounted, and cut the grain away. In attempt at digging ; they fed freely, Texas, Mr. McCook found that the lapped moisture, were evidently healthy, agricultural ant, when it was by any but would not dig ; they were reinforced chance overshadowed by a peach-tree, by four individuals from the same nest, deliberately stripped the tree of all its but more recent arrivals from Texas. leaves, as this ant cannot bear to live in The newcomers breathed fresh vitality the shade ; and if it cannot destroy an into the inactive three, and in a little overshadowing tree, or strip it of its while the gallery-making was going merleaves, it will migrate, and build itself a rily on." So far, there is nothing but nest more exposed to the sun, rather respect due to ants who would not unthan remain in the shadow. That the dertake a work requiring much co-operaant garners in great stores of grain, and tion with inadequate means. But when not only garners it in, but, in case of in- we come to look at the means adopted jury from rain, brings out the moistened to enforce the communal will on the grain to dry again in the sun, Mr. Mc- ants' individual wills, we can hardly give Cook had the fullest proof ; so that we them equal praise. Mr. McCook speaks may say, on the authority of this very extremely well of the individual unselfcautious and scrupulous writer, that the ishness of ants, having watched them agricultural ant of Texas rivals the farm- constantly, both in continement and in
their free life. He says that the selfish gate and other doors in the hill and under fighting for food observable
I could not clearly make
out the special object of this movement, is hardly to be observed at all among although I supposed, of course, that it bore ants. I have never but once-and my upon the repair and protection of the formicary. observations have not been lew—seen Two hours afterward I revisited the spot. The among them any such show of selfishness same busy dragging of refuse continued. One and bullying. The single exception was
ant was observed carrying a comrade into the a large-headed Floridian crudelis, who which she seemed to have come, I presently
hollow trunk. Searching in the direction from compelled a small worker to retire from found another, and still another carrier. Á a juicy bit of croton-seed in order to en- slightly-worn path led up the hill, terminating
about eleven feet from the old tree, in a gate joy it herself. It is to be noted that
into the ground. Along this path, and issuing this exception occurred with one of the chiefly from this gate, but also from underneath soldier caste, not with a worker prop- stones near by, moved a column of carrier. But the coercion which
was ants, every one of whom was burdened with a
In a few moments I counted never applied in the interest of the indi- comrade. vidual self, was applied with great The deported ants were seized by the man
twenty-one of these passing along the path. severity in the interest of the tribal self, dibles of the carriers on or below the mesoand this though, so far as Mr. McCook thorax, the back being downward ; their heads believes, there is no official government were bent forward, the abdomen turned up, the
The of the community to issue orders which legs drawn up and huddled together.
body was motionless ; not the slightest sign of the nation are expected to obey. Mo
resistance or of struggling to get free was obmentous communal resolves, even when served. I teased several of the carriers until they are of so important a character as the deported were released. One of the pristo determine a migration--all originate Another was evidently confused for a moment,
oners then made an effort to resist recapture. with enthusiastic individuals whose ex
then turned back and ascended the hill. A ample is catching, so that the resolve is, third was carried quite to the opening in the as it were, carried by acclamation. trunk, when, in pushing under a straw that When, however, any movement of this overhung the path, the carrier stuck fast in the kind takes place, there is often a dissen
narrow gangway. Belore this, such obstacles
were readily flanked. Now, however, the cartient minority who do not agree in the rier abandoned her comrade, thinking, perhaps, general wish for a change of place or that having reached the strong swirl and curpolicy, and the question is how to deal rent of activity that surrounded the main gate, with these cases. The mode of doing so
she would need no further coercion. Such,
at least, proved to be the case, for the deported is curious, It appears that, as a rule, ant, after a momentary confusion, passed unthe result is always this-that the mal- der the arch and was lost to sight within the contents are carried -without any great cavity. Her captor and carrier, meanwhile, resistance-by the enthusiasts to the new
seemed utterly indifferent as to her whilom nest or new scene of operations, are con
prisoner and her conduct, but having paused a
little space to repair her toilet, straggled liststrained as it were by force, but by a lessly into the hollow. A fourth ant, when force to which they are not wholly indis- first noticed, was in the act of dragging a composed to yield ; and then, when they rade by a leg into the cavity, where presently
she was left.' have been thus constrained, they recognize the new condition as a de facto' Such is the mode in which the tribal self though unconstitutional order of things, prevails over the individual self among to which they bow, having liberated the ants. The reluctant ants invite their conscience by the endurance of this coercion, as it were, which the enthusipartial coercion. Here is Mr. McCook's asts apply, and then the need for coeraccount of such an affair :
cion ceases. Is it not the nearest ap" April 16th, in digging around the old tree proximation we can conceive among the in order 10 trace the number and position of the world of insects to the action of the Irish galleries, I greatly agitated the nest. The principal gate seemed to be just within the hol- Land League now? And is not the leslow trunk. Galleries extended into the hill son worth learning ? Are not the Irish underneath and behind the tree, the decayed farmers emulating the self-obliteration roots being also apparently used as galleries. of the ants, in their utter helplessness to After the invasion of the nest the ants began, in the most excited manner, to carry bits of dry the arbitrarily determined interest and
assert their individual conscience against times larger than themselves, into the main policy of their tribe ?- The Spectator.
Light, whether obtained direct from the most phosphorescent bodies known. the sun by day or from artificial sources It is often called Bologna Stone, from by night, is generally accompanied by the circumstances just detailed, and up more or less heat. But there is one to recent times was sold in the streets of kind of light about which much has that town as a curiosity of the district. been written, and with regard to the Some vears later a German chemist nature of which little is known, which named Margraaf found a more ready shines without giving the slightest in- method of preparing barium sulphide ; dication of warmth. This strange and also found that many other substances light, which will not affect the most exhibited the same curious properties. delicate thermometer, is known as phos- In 1663 the great English chernist Boyle phorescence. The name has been giv- detected phosphorescence in certain en to it not because the substances specimens of the diamond ; and a few which exhibit the phenomenon are in years later phosphorus itself was proany way allied with phosphorus, but be- duced by Brandt. It is worthy of note cause the light emitted by them is ap- that this discovery was also due to the parently of the same nature as that unceasing search after the philosopher's giren by the slow oxidation of phos- stone. phorus. The subject of phosphoric The subject slept for nearly one hunlight has lately received attention dred years, when Canton, by calcining from the circumstance that a luminous oyster.shells with sulphur, obtained sulpaint has recently been introduced, and phide of calcium, known to this day as is coming into practical use for various Canton's Phosphorus. A glass tube purposes, which depends for its action containing some of this compound preupon the phosphorescence of the chemi- pared by Canton himself, and engraved cals composing it.
with the date 1764, is still extant. It is In tracing the history of this remarka- a remarkable circumstance that this ble property of certain substances, we specimen, more than one hundred years must look back to the year 1602. At old, is still as actively phosphorescent this time, when the feverish search for as compounds newly made. In 1792 what was termed the philosopher's stone, Wedgwood experimented with various and the dream of transmuting the baser substances, and published the results in metals into gold, were at their height, the “ Philosophical Transactions." He there lived in Bologna a certain cob- there gives a long list of different bodies bler, by name Vincenzo Casciorolo, who which become luminous after insolation, found time to lay aside his last and his or after exposure to sunlight. awl for a little occasional dabbling in M. Niepce, who was associated with alchemy. One day, while walking in Daguerre in the early days of photograthe vicinity of the city, he picked up a phy, also contributed the results of some stone, and was immediately struck with extraordinary observations to the subject its unusual weight. Could this be the of what may be called invisible phosphilosopher's stone ?
his first phorescence. He found that if a key thought. The prize was taken home, were laid upon a sheet of white paper and speedily placed with some charcoal and exposed to sunlight, and then taken in a crucible, while Vincenzo eagerly into a dark chamber and the key rewatched for the gold to flow forth. In moved, a spectral and gradually fading this he was of course disappointed ; but image of the key was observable upon his labors resulted in a discovery which the paper for some seconds afterward. surprised and puzzled him. The stone He found, moreover, that a sheet of had become luminous ; that is to say, paper so treated and laid aside for after exposure to sunlight it retained months would again show the image of and emitted in the dark the light it had the key when warmed upon a hot plate. received. The mineral picked up by Such an experiment as this can be more this pour cobbler was barium sulphate, easily verified than explained. Another which by his operation in the crucible strange discovery due to Niepce was was changed to barium sulphide, one of this--that an engraving exposed to
sunlight, and afterward placed in the of. St. Elmo-seen on ships' masts and dark in contact with photographic spars-are no doubt due to atmospheric paper, will imprint its image upon the electricity. To the same cause can be sensitive surface, although that surface traced the luminosity apparent occasionhas never itself seen the light. This ally in waterspouts. Certain Auwers, strange and unaccountable phenomenon too, and particularly those of an orange seems akin to one that modern pho- color, such as the tiger-lily, nasturtium, tographers have constantly to guard and others, have been noticed to emit against. It is found in more than one flashes of fire under peculiar conditions of the rapid dry-plate processes, that of the atmosphere. In Brazil a plant the exposure in the camera has to be is known the juice of which applied to lessened, if the plates have to be kept paper will become phosphorescent in long before the completing operations darkness. Many fungi exhibit the same of development and fixation; or the property, and more particularly a species resulting pictures are rendered too dense found in certain mines in Sweden, and by the continuing action of light upon also in Germany, where they are known the plates, although they are shut up in as vegetable glow-worms. light-tight receptacles. These curious In the animal kingdom we have many results will no doubt be investigated by examples of phosphorescence, confined competent minds. They may possibly almost exclusively to lower organisms. explain some of those tricks in connec- The beautiful luminous appearance of tion with photographic portraiture the sea is in a great measure due to a which have been attributed by charlatans tiny organism termed Notiluca miliaris. to so-called spiritualistic agency.
There are also decided examples to be The entire subject of phosphorescence met with among the annelids, mollusks, has within recent years been closely inves- crustaceans, fish, etc., and many insects. tigated by M. Becquerel, who has done The glow-worm itself has afforded a more than any one man to tabulate and theme for poets ever since men knew arrange the known facts concerning it. how to transmit their thoughts to paper ; He has not only immensely enlarged the but as far as its light-giving powers are list of substances which can be called concerned, it still remains a mystery. It phosphorescent, but he has invented an
seems that it can emit light or not at instrument called the phosphoroscope, will, and that this power is exercised at by which many more may yet be added certain times. It is also proved that the to the category. The phosphoroscope light given is without heat. consists of a blackened metallic box with Certain substances, both animal and two openings, one for the illumination of vegetable, become luminous just before the substance under examination, and putrefaction ; veal and lamb have the other for observation. By the been known to exhibit the property ; action of a quickly rotating screen, and decaying potatoes will often become these two orifices are never open at the strongly luminous. To decaying vegesame time. The observer can note only table matter may also be traced the wellthe appearance of the substance he is known gas termed Will-o'-the-wisp. examining immediately after it has been About two years ago some clocks submitted to light. By this means it is were imported from France which posfound that innumerable things, hitherto sessed dials which, after exposure to unsuspected of retaining light, such as sunlight, remained luminous in the dark, paper, teeth, Iceland spar, etc., are un- so that the time could be observed durquestionably phosphorescent for a shorting the night without a lamp. This was time after insolation, while quartz, the first introduction of the compound sulphur, and notably phosphorus, remain now known as Balmain's luminous paint. perfectly dark. There is no doubt that Mr. Balmain, who has recently died, the luminous paint which is now attract- was a chemist, and a friend of Becing public attention is due to the re- querel's. It occurred to him to mix the searches of Edmond Becquerel.
various phosphorescent compounds perThere are many authentic records of fected by the latter with different media, luminous drops of rain seen in certain such as oils and varnishes, so that they storms. This, and the well-known fire could be applied to different substances,