pany, he would place them upon the window, They seemed to be completely

table, &c.

under his control.

HENRY. HOW was that possible? Bees cannot understand our language.

CHARLES. He made use of words, only to deceive the spectators. The magical wand which he used to transfer them from place to place, was the queen bee. He placed all his dependence upon their fidelity and attachment to her; for he knew that wherever she was carried, the swarm would certainly follow. Repeated experiments taught him, that after turning up a hive, and tapping it upon the sides and the bottom, the queen immediately appeared, to know the cause of the alarm, but soon retired again among her people. By seeing her frequently, he learned to distinguish her at the first glance; and practice enabled him to lay hold of her so tenderly, as not to endanger her person. Having thus secured the queen, he slipped her gently under his left hand, without injuring her, or enraging her to sting him. Then he replaced the hive, and retained her as his prisoner till she was

missed by the bees, who, as soon as they perceived their loss, took wing with the greatest confusion. Whilst they were seeking their beloved sovereign, he placed her upon the spot where he wished them to settle. The moment she was discovered by a few, they gave notice to the rest, till the joyful news was communicated to the whole tribe; upon which they all assembled round her, and remained a long time in that situation, as if afraid of being deprived of her again.

SOPHIA. This ascendency over them must have appeared unaccountable, before the principle was known by which it was obtained; but Mr. White, in his history of Selbourne, mentions an idiot boy, that lived in that village, who acquired an equal command over them, without any knowledge to guide him in his pursuit. He showed no understanding upon any other subject; and during the winter season, he would doze away the chief part of his time in the chimney-corner; but as soon as warm weather returned, he resumed his only diversion, which was searching for bees in the fields, or upon sunny

banks. He would catch them with his bare hand, without fear of their stings: then he would disarm them of their weapons, and suck their bodies for the sake of their honeybags. Nay, so far would he carry his temerity, that he would sometimes fill his bosom, between his shirt and his skin, with a number of them. He would slide into gardens where bees were kept, and sitting down before the stools, would rap with his fingers upon the hives, and so take the bees as they came out. He has been known to overturn hives, for the sake of the honey, of which he was immoderately fond; and, as if his imagination was impressed by this one object, he had a habit of imitating the buzzing of bees with his lips, as he ran about the fields and gardens.

MR. HARCOURT. This account is very extraordinary. The circumstance seems to have arisen from one of those natural propensities which we are unable to explain.

AUGUSTA. My curiosity relative to the queen is pretty well satisfied. I long to know, now, what office is assigned to the drones.

CHARLES. The common drones, though

smaller than the queen, are larger than the working bees, and in flying make a greater noise. They have no sting; neither are their proboscides, or their feet, adapted for collecting wax and honey. They are the males, and are found in the hives only at certain periods of the year. Economy impels the working bees to destroy the drones at the approach of winter. They do not even suffer an egg or a maggot of that kind to escape; but exterminate the whole race, as useless, after the season for increasing the young stock is past, and they begin to provide a magazine, to supply the swarm with food during the cold weather, when no fresh honey can be procured. The working bees are the most numerous part of the state. They have the care of the hive, collect the honey and wax, make and work up the wax, build the cells, feed the young, keep the hive clean, defend it from intruders, and perform every thing necessary to be done for the benefit of the commonwealth. As the labourers are the guardians of the hive, the sting is a requisite weapon for them, to resist the attacks of their enemies; for there are

VOL. 11.


many lazy, greedy insects, which will attempt to devour them as well as their honey.

HENRY. You said that the working bees destroyed the maggots of the drones: do bees undergo the same changes as silk-worms?


CECILIA. On the third or fourth day after the egg is laid, a worm or maggot is produced, which, when it is grown so large as to touch the opposite corner of the cell, coils itself up into the shape of a semi-circle, and floats in a liquid which sustains it and promotes its growth. The working bees are very attentive in supplying the worms with a sufficient quantity of this liquor, which is conjectured, by some naturalists, to be a mixture of water with the juices of plants and flowers, collected purposely for the nourishment of the young, whilst in that helpless, tender state. The working bees continue to feed the worm for about eight days, till one end touches the other in the form of a ring. When it begins to feel the first posture uneasy, it ceases to eat, and unrolls itself by degrees, thrusting that end forward towards the mouth of the cell, which is to be the head. The task of the

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