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yes! papa,” said he, “mamma showed them to me on the map, when she told me about the men skating to market with their baskets on their heads : and about Romulus and Remus, who built the city of Rome, being suckled by a wolf.” “Well,” said his father, “all that way those poor
little birds go, and come back again to us early in the spring About this time of the year you will hear the wood-owl begin his hooting; and geese begin to lay eggs, and partridges to pair for the same purpose ; and as we pass the end of the lane, by the rookery, I make no doubt we shall observe that the rooks are beginning to be busy. It will be very entertaining to watch them as the summer approaches, for they are almost the only birds that
be observed in the act of making their nests. In that beautiful book which you are now reading—the 'Evenings at Home, you will meet with a very pleasant account of a rookery, and the birds' manner of building."
They now had arrived at home, and after tea went to their evening amusements, till bed time. On the following morning, Adam and his father began to attend to the flower-garden.“ As the weather was still mild and open, they sowed sweet-peas, lupines, candy-tuft, lark-spurs, Virginia stock, mignonette, major convolvulus, minor convolvulus, and other annuals. They generally sowed them in rings, about the size of a small plate, and but just below the surface of the ground. Adam managed tolerably well; but his father gave him the quantity of seed necessary for each little spot, for fear he should waste it; and as he covered it with the earth, he stuck in the place a small stick, to show that seed was there. While they were about this job, Adam asked his father what he meant when he called those flowers annuals. “All the flow.
ANNUALS AND PERENNIALS.
ers,” said his father, “which are obliged to be sown every year, and which produce seed in the autumn, and then die, are called annuals. The Latin word annus, you know, means a year; and they are only yearly plants. Those which endure many years, such as pinks, carnations, wall-flowers, and others, are called perennials, from the Latin perennis, which means continual, or unceasing. The sweet pea is an annual ; the everlasting pea is a perennial. I will now go and prune the shrubbery; in the mean time you may plant out those young pinks and wall-flowers, which should have been done last autumn. I will make marks in the beds where you are to transplant thern; and if by the time you have finished, I shall also have done pruning the shrubbery, we will collect the cuttings for the wood-house, and then dig it all over together.” This was a noble task, and occupied them some days. While they were digging over the bed, they took the suckers from those shrubs which they wished to multiply, and planted them about a foot asunder, in a vacant spot of the garden. When this was finished, Mr. Stock told Adam to pull off the dead leaves, and to earth up afresh the auriculas, which they had matted the last month; and to cover them again carefully, for fear of the severe winds and rain which they must expect at this time of the year. He showed him how to earth the plants, bidding him take pains in doing it. His father at the same time finished pruning the apple and pear trees; he planted out cuttings of gooseberries and currants, for successors to the old worn-out plants; finished pruning the vines; and when he had also finished pruning the peach, nectarine, and apricot trees, Adam helped him to nail matting upon hurdles, which, being placed against t wall in a sloping direction,
MR. WILDMAN'S BEES.
and fastened to it, formed a defence for the young and tender blossoms of those delicious fruits, against the bleak and raging winds of early March.
The next thing attended to, was dressing the strawberry bed.
This Adam could not yet pretend to; he therefore stood by, and watched his father while at work, at the same time asking him sensible and useful questions. While they were conversing, he observed a bee bustling about in the cup of a crocus; and after watching its manner of collecting its little golden store, he told his father he wished he would keep bees. “I think I should do so, Adam,” said his father, “if I knew how to manage them. They are the most wonderful and the most entertaining little creatures that I know of.” “Will you tell me about them?” said Adam. “I will tell you all I know respecting them," said his father; “but if you wish to become a manager of bees, when you are two or three years older, I will purchase you a book, written by a man who was very clever in the management of them, and who, strange to tell, kept some, if not all of his stock, at his house in Holborn. You have been many times in Holborn, and know very well whereabouts it is. Would you believe that this man (whose name was Wildman) was able to discover that his bees found their way from his house in London, as far as Hampstead heath, and back again? The way in which he proved it was as follows: as they were going through a hole cut for them in a pane of glass, he, with a small camel-hair pecil, (such a one as you paint your pictures with,) dipped in vermillion, touched the back of each bee in its passage out. After he had marked a great number in this manner, he walked to Hampstead, and on the heath he observed these same bees among the wild
flowers. Upon his return home, and at the close of the day, he found bees with the same mark returning to the hive. Is it not wonderful that those small creatures should be able to know his house from the great number that they flew over? But you will be more astonished when I tell you that bees have been known to fly a distance of thirty miles after wild thyme, a flower they are particularly fond of. They are also capable of being tamed, and made familiar, to a surprising degree; for this same Mr. Wildman was so • well known to his little companions, and they were so attached to him, that when he called a hive of bees in a particular manner, you would, in a few minutes, see him covered with them; and upon a given signal they would return to their hive.” “I have heard, papa," said Adam, " that the bees have a queen; is it true?” “There is one bee," said his father, “which is very different in its shape from all the rest, and larger in size, and which is called the queen; but there would be more propriety in calling it the mother; for it lays all the eggs that produce the bees. They are so fond of her, that if you were to kill her, the greater part, if not the whole of the swarm, would certainly die. At first you would see great confusion among them; they would be running hither and thither about the hive, among the cells; this commotion would increase into a loud and angry hum; they would hover round the hive in a manner very different from that when they are working. After some hours, this loud hum would be changed to a painful melancholy note, which no one could mistake for that of deep distress; and by the time the sun had set, you would see many on the ground near the hive, dying and dead : and on the following morning, if you were to lift up the hive, you
might see the dead lying in heaps; with, perhaps, here and there a straggler, whose complaining would be dwindled to a weak moan. I once saw a hive of bees that had lost their queen, and I assure you the sight was very distressing; there was scarcely a window in the house that had not several bees in it, making a shrill and angry hum; and they were so enraged at the loss they had experienced, that it was dangerous to be near them. On the following morning, the ground about the hive was covered with dead and dying bees; and on the succeeding day, not one of the whole swarm was living; but on the floor of the hive were more than two handfuls of the dead.” “I should like to see bees at work,” said Adam ; "I have read in some book, that people have glass hives.” said his father, “I have seen them working, and it is a very curious sight to observe how regularly all perform the different tasks allotted to them. When they begin to work, they divide into four companies ; one of which roves the fields in search of materials from the summer flowers. The honey they store in a little bag in their stomachs; and the wax they load on their thighs. The second company is employed at home in laying out the bottoms and partitions of the cells; the third is busied in making the inside smooth, and free from corners; and the fourth company bring food for the rest, or relieve those who return with their burthens. They often change their appointed tasks: those that have been at work in the hive, going abroad; and those that have been already in the fields, taking their places. There is no doubt that they have signs by which they understand each other; for when one of the laborers in the hive wants to be supplied by one that has been abroad, it bends down its trunk to the