The Baldwin LibraryUniverityofY(. PFlorid&
WHO WERE THE FIRST WEAVERS?
.:T*1 1S1BRU CE AND THE SPUTER
-- 4, f " ,~..WHO WERETHE FIRST WEAVERS?" Each moss,Each shell, each crawhlng insect holds a rankImportant in the plan of HI- who framedThis scale of beings "LONDON:T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;EDINBURGH ; AND NEW YORK.1874.
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WHO WERE THE FIRST WEAVERS?CHAPTER I.THE SPIDER AND ITS WEB." They spread their nets, whether they beIn poet's tower, cellar, barn, or tree."HEN the youthful reader takes upthis little volume, he will pro-- bably be tempted, at first, to lookupon it as some dull, dry, unin-teresting, but very learned andperhaps valuable treatise on Weaving; andon the claims of different persons to be con-sidered the inventors of certain wonderfullooms, spinning-jennys, and other ingenious
6 THE EARLIEST WEAVERS.methods for converting the tissue of plantsinto cotton and linen, or the wool of sheepand goats into sound broadcloth.But of no such matters am I going to dis-course to-day. Long before man discoveredthe uses of wool or flax or cotton, there werelittle weavers at work among the woods andgroves of the young world,-industrious littleweavers, which, without the aid of machineryother than was afforded by their own bodies,spun a woof of such exquisite fineness that ourmost ingenious mechanism has never beenable to surpass, nay, to equal it; and of suchremarkable strength, that a single threadwill bear the pressure of thirty times itsown weight!These weavers were the first in the field,and they are still at work!-or rather, Ishould say, their descendants are now atwork; and you cannot go forth into yourgarden on a bright spring morning withoutseeing the most superb specimens of theirmanufacture hung from bough to bough, or
WHO AND WHAT THEY WERE. 7spread along the leafy hedge, as if to challengeyour admiration. x-.., ,The weavers i JI speak of are, /as you will have \ Iguessed, theSPIDERS! J 'There are silly ,people in the " Vworld who pro- ifess to be fright-enedatthesecuri- 'ous and interest-'ing insects;* who / /scream and shriek ,when one of themcrosses their path,or makes its ap- -'pearance on theshining wall. The 1. HOUSE SPIDER. 2. CAVE SPIDER.most absurd superstitions were at one time"* They are popularly called insects, although they have eight legsinstead of six, and breathe through gills situated under the belly,
8 SOME FOOLISH ERRORS.entertained concerning them. Would youbelieve that it was thought unlucky to kill aspider ? Now, I need hardly tell you that nosuch thing as luck, or chance, or want ofluck, exists in this world. All that occursis the result of certain unchangeable laws,which have been decreed by the DivineGovernor of the universe. So far as wefollow up and obey these laws, so far maywe expect to enjoy peace of mind and a con-tented conscience: if we break them, theresult must always be unhappiness, andtrouble, and sore affliction. To kill a spider,then, is, or under most circumstances will be,cruel-just as it is cruel to ill-treat anyanimal or form of life whatsoever; but thereis no other reason why it should be unlucky.And there is no reason why the littlespiders often met with in fields and woods,and vulgarly called money-spiders or money-spinners, should be considered omens of goodfortune, if not destroyed or injured, or re-moved from your person when first observed.
A SILLY TALISMAN. 9You are not so silly as to think that theevents and changes of life can in any waydepend on the appearance of a tiny spider !In the diary of an eccentric but cleverindividual, Elias Ashmole, the founder ofthe Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, may befound the following passage: " I took earlyin the morning a good dose of elixir, andhung three spiders about my neck, and theydrove my ague away." Perhaps the elixir-whatever that may have been-had agood effect; but no boy or girl who readsthese pages will fancy that "three spiders"suspended to a person's neck could be ofany genuine benefit to him.Still, I am prepared to confess that thespider is really a wonderful creature. Whothat admires the beautiful gossamer threadsembroidering leafy hedge and flowering bushlike fairy net-work, would imagine they werewoven by one apparently so insignificant, andeven contemptible ? But if you ask, Howdoes it weave them ? Whence does it obtain.
10 CAN A SPIDER FLY ?the exquisitely fine and yet strong threads ofwhich they are composed ? How does itcarry them from point to point ? How doesit contrive to fasten them to distant objects?And, before all and above all, what is aspider ? These are the questions I am nowabout to answer, in language as plain as Ican make it.The apparent flight of the wingless spiderfrom tree to tree, says an agreeable writer,across water, and even through the upperregions of the air, was long almost as greata puzzle to naturalists as the fly's walkingwith its head and body reversed. No doubtit was soon discovered that this apparentflight was no more a real one than that ofan aeronaut in a balloon; or than the boundsand leaps of adventurers who, like Blondin,have disported themselves above men's headson a suspended rope.Any one could see, if he made use of hiseyes-which is the last thing, however, thatmost persons learn to do-that the spider
HOW HE TRAVELS. 11moved along a line, in somewhat the samefashion as a rope-dancer. But then themarvel is, that while in Blondin's case therope is stretched between two stout supportsbefore he begins his aerial journey, the spiderlays down his line by his own will and effortas he proceeds upwards or downwards, fromtree to tree, orfrom the ceil-ing of a roomdescends to itsfloor. .It has beenwell observed, ,that, howeverignorant onemay be of theirmode of forma- A GOSSAMER WEB.tion, one cannot fail to notice-and, noticing,to admire-those gossamer webs of whichwe have spoken. Their amazing extent-forthey frequently cover an entire hedge or gar-den walk--is not more surprising than the
12 MOUNTING UPWARDS.immense number of their weavers, of whomtwenty or thirty will sometimes be found as-sembled on a solitary straw. It would ap-pear, on these occasions, as if something ofthe lark's soaring spirit, infused by his cheer-ful song, animated each little creeping form.All seem desirous to mount upwards-to risetowards the Source of life and light; all arein progress towards the summit of their vari-ous stations, whether blade of grass or twig ofhedge. And when once they have climbedto the greatest height their legs will carrythem, they elevate their abdomens to anearly perpendicular position, and at thesame time 'emit, or eject, a portion of theglutinous substance which forms their webs.This being acted on by the ascending currentof air, is quickly drawn out into long finelines,-just like a fringe of silk when blownby the breath,-which serve the little spidersas balloons or supports to bear them upwardsinto the sunlit air.After awhile, the air still acting upon
SHOWERS OF GOSSAMERS' 13them, these long thin lines are broughtinto the shape of fleecy flakes, somethinglike crystals of snow: and who has notamused himself with puffing these tinyballoons, and blowing them to and fro, likea shuttlecock set in motion by a battle-dore ?It is said that showers of gossamers haveoccasionally fallen-showers of little spidersand their webs Gilbert White describes ashower which fell at Selbourne in the autumnof 1741, and extended over an area of thirtymiles. The webs, he says, were not singlefilmy threads, floating in the air in all direc-tions, but perfect flakes or rags, some nearan inch broad, and five or six long ; and theyfell with a swiftness which showed that theywere considerably heavier than the atmos-phere. On every side, as the observer turnedhis eyes, he beheld a continual succession offresh flakes falling into his sight, and twink-ling like stars as they turned their sidestowards the sun.
14 A " WHY " NOT ANSWERED.In fact, the gossamer threads woven byour skilful little weavers are so delicate thatthey can only be seen when the sun shinesupon them, or when the wind has beatenthem together into thicker. flakes. Some-times you will feel them on your face whenyou are positively unable to detect them byyour eyesight. Why the spider weaves themhas not been satisfactorily settled. Fromthe great eagerness for water to drink whichhe exhibits, some naturalists have thoughtthat they may be formed for the purpose ofcollecting dewdrops. Others have conjec-tured that they are intended to convey theirmanufacturers with greater rapidity fromplace to place. And others, again, believethat they are traps for the capture of theinsects on which, as they suppose, the spiderslive.At all events, we know that they are thework of tiny creatures no bigger than a pin'shead; each with a shining dark-brown body,eight yellowish legs, eight eyes-placed in a
SPINNERETS AND SPINNERULES. 15circular form on the fore-part of the head-and a wonderfully constructed spinning ap-paratus. In the lower part of the abdomenis situated a bag or reservoir, containing athick glue-like fluid; and this bag, or reser-voir, is furnished withfive teats, or spinnerets,as they are called, eachhaving a vast number ,ofsmallhair-like tubes, ,termed spinnerules- 11as many, perhaps, as a'thousand spinnerulesto each spinneret: and 'through these spin- Inerules the spider has ithe power of ejecting SPINNERETS.its liquid; which, on exposure to the atmos-phere, becomes solid, and forms what wespeak of as his web. The whole of the threadsissuing from the five or six thousand spin-nerules are twisted, like the strands of acable, into a single line, forming an example
. 16 ON A SUMMER EVENING.Sof skilful weaving such as can hardly beequalled in the whole world.And so, on a sweet calm summer even-"ming,--" When gentle winds, and waters near,Make music to the lonely ear,"and the sky is glorious with emerald, andpurple, and orange,-with azure, and crim-son, and gold,-the splendours of the sun, as"he sinks like a monarch to his rest,-" On the shining airThat tiny aeronaut, the gossamer,Launches its web, and journeys merrily."Then, in every direction, its veil of silverytissue decks twig, and bough, and branchwith an exquisite tapestry, and gleams andsparkles over hedgerow and leafy copse;-on the tendrils of the lush woodbine, and thedeep green masses of the clustering ivy; onthe hoary trunk of the shattered tree, and"the gray old buttress of the ancient wall. Itenriches with its delicate tracery the freckledcups of the haughty foxglove; winds like(437)
AN AERIAL VOYAGER. 17a garland round the bending head of themodest blue-bell; contrasts its sparklingdiamond threads with the rich scarlet berriesof the dogwood; and fringes the tender cle-matis with a surpassingly beautiful decora-tion. And ever and anon, as some passingS " " " --a :'i -WEB OF THE GARDEN SPIDER.upward breath of air wafts the light webtowards the clouds, we see the aerial voyagerfloating hither and thither, like a young man'sfancy, until it is carried far beyond our wist-ful ken.Now we must proceed to speak of the(437) 2
18 ABOUT SPIDERS.spider scientifically, and with some degreeof method in our observations.He belongs to a family called Arachnidce,and though popularly spoken of as an insect,differs greatly in his structure from the in-sect proper. His body consists of twoportions only, the head being united withthe thorax; and the feet are always eightin number. The head and chest appear tobe composed of only a single segment, andare covered with a kind of horny armour,like an oval shield, to which the soft andswelling abdomen is attached.Most spiders have eight eyes, though afew species have but six; and these aredifferently disposed in different genera.The mandibles-that is, the upper andlower jaws-terminate in a very short mov-able hook, like a claw; near whose extremityis placed a small orifice, or opening, whichaffords a passage for the venom.The legs are attached to the anterior part* This is the fore-part of the body.
THE SPIDER'S CHARACTERISTICS. 19of the body, almost in a ring. They arenearly all of the same form; and each con-sists of seven joints, the last of which isarmed with two hooks.Being designed by an Almighty Provi-dence to secure his food by his own ingenuity,all the habits of the spider are of an insidiousand artful character. He catches his preyin skilfully devised snares, and lurks in themost ingenious concealments in order topounce with "fell swoop " on his unsuspect-ing victim. He is endowed with force,patience, and skill; with skill to contrivehis ambuscades -with patience to awaitthe approach of his prey-with force to killit when entangled in his toils.We have already alluded to the modein which he weaves his web, but the processis so marvellous as to justify us in enteringupon a fuller explanation.His reservoirs of fluid are four in number,two larger and two smaller: from these,which are placed near the extremity of theV
20 SOMETHING SURPASSINGLY FINE.abdomen, projects a tube,' terminating in theouter spinnerets. These, in the larger spiders,may be seen with the naked eye, and re-semble five little teats, surrounded by acircle.Now, take a strong magnifying-glass, andexamine one of these said teats. What dowe see ? Numerous regular rows of minutepoints, like bristles, which are called, as Ihave previously told you, spinnerules, andemit a thread of surpassing fineness. Athread of surpassing fineness! and yet, inreality, made up of at least a hundred finerthreads!Leeuwenhoek--a great naturalist, whopossessed an extraordinary faculty of obser-vation-calculates that of these threadlets,as emitted by a young spider no bigger thana grain of sand, four millions would be re-quired to equal in thickness a single hair ofa man's beard !So much for the material employed byour dexterous weaver in weaving his woof.
KIRBY'S EXPERIMENT. 21The next point to be considered is, how isit carried across from one place to another ?Kirby tells us that, to gain information onthis curious question, he took a large gardenspider (Epeira diademc) and set him uponan upright stick ina vessel of water. ,Immediately he _'.let himself drop;not by a singlethread, but bytivo; each distantfrom the otherabout the twelfthof an inch, and THE GARDEN SPIDER.one smaller than the other, and the twothreads carefully guided by the spider'sfoot. When he had nearly reached thesurface of the water, he stopped short, andby some means broke off, close to thespinnerules, the smaller thread, which stilladhering by the other end to the top of thestick, floated in the air, and was so light as
22 HOW THE SPIDER PROCEEDS.to be carried about by the slightest breath.On approaching a pencil to the loose end ofthis line, it did not adhere from mere con-tact. Mr. Kirby therefore twisted it onceor twice round the pencil, and drew it tight.The spider, which had previously climbed tothe top of the stick, immediately pulled atit with one of his feet, and finding it whatthe sailors call taut enough, crept along it,strengthening it as he proceeded by anotherthread, until he reached the pencil.When a common or house spider is aboutto weave a web, he first looks out some secureand convenient place, where insects will pro-bably be found in sufficient abundance. Hethen emits -or secretes just one drop of hisglutinous liquid-which sticks with all thetenacity of the best glue or gum and,creeping up a wall, or along a beam, join-ing his thread as he moves forward, he dartswithh surprising agility to the opposite point,wheree he means to fasten the other end ofhis web.
FORMING A RETREAT. 23The first thread thus spun, fastened, anddrawn tight, forms a kind of flooring, onwhich the spider runs to and fro, doublingand strengthening it, until it is perfectlysecure, and fit for the foundation of hisedifice.Our little architect then proceeds to laydown a number of threads parallel to thisprimary and principal one, which he after-wards crosses with others, the edges beingcarefully secured that the wind may notblow the delicate structure into ruin. Thisdone, the spider proceeds to form his denor retreat, which is shaped like a funnel, andprovided with two outlets, one above and onebelow, so as to allow the inhabitant anopportunity of making excursions at suitableseasons, of examining every "nook andcorner," strengthening any frail or injuredportion, and cleaning those parts whichbecome foul or encumbered. It may some-times be seen that from the main web severalsmaller webs are extended at some distance
24 THE CASTLE'S OUTWORKS.-C;"~ on, 1 I z I .r l t'n .. li< h ,ul: tuit- a .-, il].u itS, l'.i t., I.. e a tly. it ti ii.is itselfi A', : -:lAil in a h elille t :sicti:nl", -h, :lu l it 1". *'(:,u.-' eii,-'-iiy -tr'.',ii -Si tl; th -li.l.'r, the latter r:-tire.sI ti~ll tL- ,ki~l~I
NO MONOTONY IN NATURE. 25within his remotest asylum until all dangeris past.But one spider differs from another spider,as one star differs from another star. Thereis no monotony in nature. The great Creatorneeded not to repeat Himself, and the varietiesof His work are as inexhaustible as they arewonderful. The garden spider, for instance,does not construct his web exactly in the samemanner as the house spider. He spins a con-siderable quantity of thread, which, floatingin the air in various directions, fixes, afterawhile, against some neighboring object,-aplant, the branch of a tree, or a wall. As soonas one end of the line adheres, the littleweaver begins totighten and secure the other.Then, along the cord thus fastened, he walksto a certain point, where he attaches a secondthread; and dropping from thence, fixes itto some solid object underneath. Imme-diately he is up again, and begins a third,which he fastens'in a similar manner. Thethree threads thus fixed form a figure some-
26 THE TRAPPER AND THE ENTRAPPED.what resembling a square, in which theingenious weaver is generally found located.It frequently happens, however, that whenthe young spider begins his work his web ismade too light, and then away into the airfly both web and weaver !\ 1', /THE SPIDER'S TRAP.When an insect becomes entangled in theweb, its struggles cause the threads to shakeand quiver, and thus the spider receives, asif by telegraph, information of the presenceof a victim. Forth he sallies, and if the
ON SPIDERS' WEBS. 27prey be small, pounces upon it immediately,and sucks its blood. But if it be large, thespider rolls it with his hinder feet, and atevery roll winds a new thread round it, untilit is coated and swathed like a mummy, andin this helpless condition may be devouredat pleasure.The webs are of different shapes, accordingto the species which weave them. Thus:some construct an irregular web, of threadscrossing each other at right angles; othersbind together a few leaves; others seem towork on a perfect geometrical pattern. Not"a few are aquatic, and their web resembles"a cup in shape, and in principle a diving-bell;under which they disengage the air theybring down from the surface. Some spidersspin no web at all, but catch their prey by"* Another spider, common in woods and copses, says Rennie,weaves together a great number of leaves to form a dwelling for it-self, and in front of it spreads its toils for entrapping the unwaryinsects which stray thither. These, as soon as caught, are draggedinto the den, and stored up for a time of scarcity. Here also itseggs are deposited and hatched in safety. On the approach ofwinter, when the leaves wither, it retires to the shelter of a hollowtree; where, however, it soon dies.
28 TFIE LABYRINTHIC SPIDER._ --0I:1 "i' .v p Ill.,, l" ll, ft ,'-.''n'--. -. Ll -Ii t- Jti i lt e ll ,:,i it ; ucl ,tp1 "'- lir-]' ,_, :-y ll ,lri,..l ; ..l l e [ ':,t .<-1 :liR 1.11 al rh,_,les in the *_r':,Ulun.l, into hi,:-bII n' t alieIthey retire t on the a :pr I.;<:li ofYt hl'i> tr."'w ich may ju't '. be tle.-ri,-.l" '1' ,.a lira le ,-t ig'ei uit .[- ,> ------r -.:.:.
A MARVEL OF INGENUITY. 29-a masterpiece of constructive skill. It maybe seen in the country, extended like a sailor sheet, in hedges, furze, and other lowbushes, and sometimes on the ground.The middle of this sheet is closely woven,and swung, like a sailor's hammock, bysilken ropes stretched all around to thehigher branches; but the whole curves up-wards and backwards, and slopes down to along funnel-shaped gallery, which at theentrance is almost horizontal, but soonwinds obliquely until it becomes quite per-pendicular.This curved gallery is about one-fourthof an inch in diameter, is woven still morefinely than the sheet part of the web, andoccasionally descends into a cavity in theground, though more frequently into a nestof entangled and matted twigs, or into athick tuft of grass. Here the spider reigns,"monarch of all he surveys," frequentlyreposing with his legs extended from theentrance of the gallery, ready to pounce
30 A MORAL FROM A SPIDER.upon any unfortunate insect that may fallinto his cunning snare, which he kills byejecting into its body a deadly poison."We have thus seen that though our"weavers are very ingenious, they are alsosubtle, treacherous, and cruel. Their viceswe may learn to avoid; but let us do themjustice, and remember they are endowedwith many virtues, which it will profit us tocultivate. "When a spider is found uponour clothes," says quaint old Fuller, "weused to say 'Some money is coming towardus.' The moral is this :-Such who imitatethe industry of that contemptible creature,'which taketh hold with her hands, and is inkings' palaces,' may, by God's blessing, weavethemselves into wealth, and procure a plenti-ful estate."But there are many things in this worldbetter than wealth or a plentiful estate:namely,-"Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control;"--purity of heart and mind, charity, benevol-
PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE. 31ence, truth, faithfulness, and honour. It isthese virtues which make the Christiangentleman; and in our acquisition of themwe may be greatly helped if we endeavourto attain the spider's two special and pre-eminent qualities-patience and persever-ance.By their patience and perseverance, saysAugustine, the children of God are knownfrom hypocrites and dissemblers.Shakespeare exclaims,-"How poor are they who have not patience !What wound did ever heal but by degrees?"And it is certain that the impatient mancan never become good or great; can n,.veraccomplish any object, however desirable;can never grow into a profitable citizen or atrue friend. It is equally certain that onlyby perseverance can we advantageously dis-charge our mission in this life, whether thatmission be high or low, easy or difficult."He that shall endure unto the end, thesame shall be saved."
32 ANECDOTES OF SPIDERS.There are many anecdotes told of spiders,which are interesting in themselves andvaluable for the lessons they convey. Whohas not heard of Pelisson, the unfortunateprisoner of the French Bastille, who, in thedreary solitude of his cell, found a companionin a little spider, training it by the music ofhis flute, until it came and went at his bid-ding ? Who has not heard of that otherFrenchman, Quatremere Disjonval, wholikewise found in some spiders the pleasantsolace of a dull captivity, and patiently be-guiled the hours by watching their move-ments, and studying how far they wereaffected by approaching changes of theweather ?And, above all, who does not recollect thefamous, but doubtful, story of Robert Bruceand the spider? It has been often told, butmy young readers will forgive me if I tellit once again, and partly in Dr. Lands-borough's graphic words :The tradition still lingers in Arran,-a
ROBERT THE BRUCE. 33beautiful island off the west coast of Scot-land,-that King's-cross-point was so named,because from this point in Arran KingRobert the Bruce sailed for Carrick, his owndistrict in Ayrshire. When, by a train ofadverse circumstances, driven almost to de-spair, it is said that after a sleepless night ina hut on this rocky headland, he in themorning observed a spider busily engaged inweaving its delicate web. To make it firmand extensive, Arachne endeavoured tofasten her filmy threads on a beam project-ing from the roof; but in attempting to reachit she fell to the ground.Six times, and each time with no bettersuccess, she repeated the attempt; butinstead of being discouraged, she made aseventh essay, reached the wished-for point,fastened her -adhesive cord, and went onwith her work triumphantly. On observingthis singular instance of successful patienceand victorious perseverance, the king sprungto his feet with hopes revived and resolution(437) 3
34 TRY, TRY, AND TRY AGAIN.reinvigorated. " Shall I," said he, " be moreeasily discouraged than this reptile ? Shallshe, in spite of repeated failures, perseveretill crowned with success, though her objectis to enslave and destroy? And shall Ileave anything unattempted that I maydeliver my countrymen from subjection ?"He hastened to the beach, launched a fish-ing-boat, sailed from King's-cross-point forAyrshire, which he reached in safety;secretly assembled his soldiers and vassals inCarrick; made a bold, sudden, and success-ful attack on his own castle of Turnberry,which he captured from its English garrison;and, following up this auspicious stroke, headvanced in his career of victory until heeffected the deliverance of his countrymenon the red field of Bannockburn.And now, before I take leave of spiders,let me remark that in tropical countriessome species attain so large a size as to becapable of preying upon small birds. InBorneo they are remarkable for their splen-
THE BORNEAN SPIDERS. 35did show: they are enclosed in a skin of ashell-like texture, and of colours of everyhue-brilliant and metallic as the feathersof the humming-bird; but these coloursdepend on the life of the insect which theyadorn, so that it is impossible to preservethem.All spiders are now divided into five classes:Hunting spiders, Wandering spiders, Prowl-ing spiders, Sedentary spiders, and Waterspiders.A '.^
CHAPTER II.THE SILKWORM IN CHINA, AND ITS HISTORY.C-i'TAN often prides himself on his in-".!'Y'; dependence, and assumes the proudtitle of Lord of Creation; yet is heS dependent, in every circumstanceand condition of life, upon outwardobjects. His " mind " may be to him, as thepoet says, "a kingdom;" he may be masterof his own will, and ruler over his owndesires; he may exercise a certain degree ofcontrol over his swiftly-passing thoughts,and subdue to some extent his passions andhis feelings; but in his relations to the ex-ternal world he is verily a slave. He cannotfeed himself without the help of the fowls ofthe air and the plants of the field; nor can
WARNED, AND YET ENCOURAGED. 37he protect his body from summer heat andwinter cold without having recourse to thefragile flax, or the fleecy down of the cotton-tree, or the wool that clothes the back ofsheep and goat.Looking at the question in this light, wesee much that should humiliate our prideand teach us a spirit of lowliness; but,on the other hand, it may be admittedthat there is also something in it to stimu-late our sense of the strength and extentof our faculties. For is it not a proofof our intellect, that we have contrived toadapt to such uses things and substancesapparently the most unpromising ?-thatfrom the coarse shaggy covering of the sheepwe have succeeded in weaving so beautiful amaterial as cloth, and from the downy seedsof the little gossypium so valuable a stuff ascotton ?Of all that man has done, however, in theway of increasing his resources for clothingand personal decoration, I think the most sig-
THE HUMAN SILK-WEAVER.II t A " ._ f l_-' :1i :1i\ '.rk i- to ie fri.tiii lt "t si 'k. T -t" .. |..ii. it:s -S e t rol.nit text r e. iii inle 'l- ..in tII.: t _r[ -: I r I il:1-YI' : wo rtly t'A ll przi -" t! l. toil " h ,:.tuan ilk-" "I^K ''- g' It t in ].'t-, oliW \Vt fi ,'t iat the 1r1'[iv 'le.l a l>:t ul-* in%'i .r ;'t fi,,LI the I -_ry insectd i i.-l I t'i. I 1r1il,-s its ILrm attria .l-..
THE SO-CALLED SILKWORM. 39I have spoken of it as a worm; but hereI do it an injustice. The so-called silkworm,in its first stage of life, is a moth-a whitishmoth, with a broad pale-brown bar markingeach of its upper wings. It belongs to agenus of moths called, in scientific language,Bombyx; and its own special and distinctivename is Bombyx mori, because of its par-tiality to the leaves of the morus, or mul-berry-tree.To what region or country the silkwormwas indigenous-that is, where it originallymade its appearance-I am unable to tellyou. It has been domesticated by man fromthe earliest times, and, like all domesticatedanimals, has lost much of its natural strength.We are told that the silkworm-moth can nolonger maintain its position in the air, or onthe leaves of the mulberry when the " gentlebreaths of heaven " disturb them. No longerdoes it know how to shelter itself beneaththe cool green foliage from its various foes,or from the smiting arrows of the sun. The
40 THE WINGS FORGOTTEN.THE BOMBYX MORT OR MULBERRY SILKWORM:--ITS MOTH, CATERPILLAR,EGGS, AND COCOON.female, always motionless, seems to haveforgotten that she is endowed with wings.
HOW TO MAKE A PEOPLE HAPPY. 41Her mate no longer enjoys aerial flights, buthovers about his companion, without everrising from the ground. Such is the influ-ence exercised upon animals by a state ofdomestication.If we do not know the native country ofthe silkworm, we know, at all events, whereits product was first turned to the advantageof man.There lived in China, about two thousandsix hundred years before the birth of Christ,an emperor, named Hoang-ti, who was verydesirous that his wife, Si-ling-chi, should addto the happiness of his people by increasingtheir resources and extending their occupa-tions. Up to this date the Chinese had em-ployed the skins of animals for clothes. Si-ling-chi now bethought herself of turning tosome such use the fine silken threads wovenby the. silkworms; and causing a greatquantity of them to be collected, she beganto study their habits. A woman's wit isseldom baffled, and in due time she not onlyI- ^
42 THE MULBERRY GROVES OF PEKIN.discovered the means of rearing them, butalso the malner of winding off their silk,and of employing it in the manufacture of afabric suitable for clothing purposes.Thenceforward the Chinese empresses, formany centuries, found a pleasant as well asuseful occupation in superintending thehatching, rearing, and feeding of silkworms,in making silk, and working it up whenmade.To the palace of Pekin was attached agarden planted with mulberry-trees. Herethe empress, accompanied by her most illus-trious ladies, paraded in all the pomp andsplendour of imperial state on the festival-day of the great god Chang-si; gatheringwith her own hand the leaves of thosebranches which her attendants loweredwithin her reach, and offering up as a sacri-fice the first pieces of silk woven by her ownroyal hands, or made by her orders, and:under her immediate superintendence.The silk manufacture, thus encouraged by
CHINESE ENACTMENTS. 43imperial patronage, soon extended over thewhole Chinese empire, and became a sourceof great wealth. To promote the rearing ofthese useful insects, one of the emperorsgave twenty acres of land to every individualwho planted fifty feet with mulberry-trees.The emperor Hien-tsang, who ascended thethrone in 806, desired that two feet in everyacre should be planted with these trees.The exportation of the silkworm's eggs wasforbidden, under pain of death; and greatcare was taken to confine the art of silk-weaving within the borders of the empire.The manufactured article, therefore, becamean object of desire to other nations; and onaccount of its rarity was all the more highlyprized. In the days of Alexander the Greatits value in Greece was exactly its ownweight in gold ;-a pound of silk for a poundof gold! To the Romans it was unknownuntil introduced, under very singular cir-cumstances, by Julius Caesar. It is saidthat on the occasion of a grand show of
44 MISSIONARY ENTERPRISE.wild beasts and gladiators in the amphi-theatre, instead of the coarse cloth awningpreviously employed to ward off the rays ofthe sun, he substituted a magnificent expanseof silken tissue. The new material im-mediately grew into favour with the luxuri-ous Romans; and the young patricians viedwith each other who should appear in cloaksof silk. From Rome the new materialspread into other European countries, stillmaintaining its almost fabulous price, onaccount of the monopoly which the Chinesejealously preserved.It happened, however, about the middleof the sixth century, that two monks of theorder of St. Basil had penetrated, in thecourse of their missionary labours, intoChina. Here they obtained a knowledge ofthe processes of the silk manufacture, andresolved upon an attempt to introduce it intoEurope. For this purpose it was indispen-sable they should carry off some silkworm'seggs ;-a difficult, and, under the circum-
SILK WEAVING INTRODUCED INTO EUROPE. 45stances, a dangerous task. That on leavingChina their persons and baggage would berigorously searched, they were well aware;and therefore they had to devise some meansof effectually secreting their treasure. Hav-ing obtained a quantity of eggs, they con-cealed them, along with a supply of mul-berry leaves, in the hollows of a couple ofbamboos, which they employed as walking-sticks; and with these in their hands theycrossed the mountains and the rivers ofIndia, the plains of Persia and Syria, andmade their way to Constantinople (A.D. 552).The eggs which they brought became theparents of countless generations, which, ex-tending over Greece, Italy, Spain, andFrance, have largely added to the indus-trial resources of Europe. Nowadays silk,in some one or other of its shapes, has comewithin the reach of the poorest. If silkdresses are still confined to the wealthy, thehumble village maiden can deck her Sundaybonnet with a silk ribbon, and the parish
46 VALUE OF THE SILKWORM.school-boy twist a silken tie round his sun-burnt neck. In fact, it has become anarticle of necessity as well as of luxury, andits manufacture gives employment to thou-sands of industrious workmen, whether atLyons or at Coventry.There is something very attractive in theappearance of silk; in its smoothness, soft-ness, firmness, and brilliancy. But there isnothing attractive in the appearance of theinsect which furnishes it. Yet in thatinsect's organization and condition of life,certain facts are well calculated to excitethe attention of the thoughtful. " I wasoccupied the other day," says Mr. Jesse,"in reflecting on the benefits accruing tomankind from a remarkable instinct im-pressed by the Creator on that insignificantinsect, the silkworm. What warmth andcomfort does it afford to us How useful,convenient, and elegant is the clothing wederive from it! But this is not all. Letus, for one moment, consider how many
A STRIKING PECULIARITY. 47thousands of persons are indebted to it foralmost their very existence, in consequenceof the employment it affords to man innearly every country of the known world.There is, however, another striking andinteresting peculiarity attending the silk-"* .' --/"1- --"-' I- Z -....TIE BOMBYX MORI IN ITS CATERPILLAR STATE.worm. It is this: that while the cater-pillars of all the other tribes of moths andbutterflies, when they have arrived at acertain state of maturity, show a restlessdisposition, and wander about and hidethemselves in a variety of places, in order to
48 A WONDERFUL PROVISION.spin their cocoons, preparatory to theirmaking their escape as moths, &c., thecaterpillar of the silkworm, on the contrary,is content to remain stationary in the opentray or box in which it may be placed.After consuming its immediate supply ofmulberry leaves, it waits for a furtherquantity; and when the period arrives forspinning its cocoon, instead of showing anymigratory disposition, it seems to place itselfwith confidence under the care of man toprovide it with a suitable place for its con-venience and protection. In the fly ormoth state, the female is quite incapable offlight; and the male, although of a muchlighter make, and more active, can fly butvery imperfectly. This latter circumstanceinsures to us the eggs for the followingseason; thus completing the adaptation ofthe insect in its different stages to thepurposes it is destined to fulfil for our ad-vantage."To my mind," adds Mr. Jesse, "this
THE LARVA DESCRIBED. 49striking peculiarity in the habits of the silk-wo-rm illustrates the care and kindness ofthe Almighty, in thus making an apparentlyinsignificant insect the means of so manyimportant benefits to man."And now for a description of the variousstages in the life of a silkworm, which, inits time, "plays many parts.The larva, or caterpillar, which we callthe silkworm, is of a yellowish-gray colour,and, when full-grown, nearly three incheslong. Its body is composed of thirteensegments, or joints, with, in front, threepairs of articulated or jointed legs, and inthe middle and towards the posterior jointsare five pairs of membranous legs, furnishedwith a ring of very fine hairs which enablethe animal to fasten itself on to leaves andstalks.The mouth of the silkworm is a peculiarfeature. It consists of six small articulatedpieces. In the middle of the upper lip isa hollow, into which the leaf fits that the(437) 4
50 THE SILKWORM'S MOUTH.animal is gnawing, so that no effort is re-ired to hod Be h tsC,..t,, .THREE STAGES IN A SILKWORM'S LIFE.animal is gnawing, so that no effort is re-quired to hold it. Beneath this lip are
SKETCH OF AN ANIMAL. 51inserted two larger jaws, which act likescissors in cutting up the leaf. The frag-ments are further divided by some weakerjaws, placed below the large jaws; and alittle trunk, jointed to each of these, pushesthe vegetable food back into the mouth, andprevents " the smallest particles " frombeing lost. Lastly, in the space betweenthe two greater jaws exists a kind ofprotuberance, pierced with a hole, throughwhich the worm ejects its silken thread.Remember, too, in completing your ideaof the animal, that it has nine breathing-holes (stigmata) on each side of its body,and seven eyes on each side of its head.So much for the external appearance ofthe silkworm. I will now endeavour todescribe to my young readers the internalorgans which make and emit the silk.Dissect a silkworm, and you will see adouble apparatus, situated on either side ofwhat is called the "intestinal canal," andbelow it. In scientific language this is
52 SILK-MAKING APPARATUS.known as the "double sericipary gland."Each gland consists of a tube, divided intothree distinct parts, of which that lyingnearest to the tail of the worm forms a kindof bent tube (o, P, Q), about one-thirtieth ofSILK-MAKING APPARATUS OF THE SILKWORM.:an inch in diameter, about nine inches in-length, and twisted into a number of irre-gular zigzags. This zigzag tube is en-,closed in an enlarged vessel (R, s), the re-servoir of the silk-producing matter; towhose extremity (s) is attached anotherminute hair-like tube (s, v), which termi-nates at u in one single short canal, open-ing in the orifice below the worm's underlip.The silky matter collects in the reservoir(Q, R, s), and remains there in what is termeda glutinous condition; but on reaching the
THE SILKWORM AS A GRUB. 53capillary tubes* it grows consistent, andforms two threads, which at the point ofjunction (u) unite together, and are pro-jected through the orifice as one singlefilament, to be directed by the animal toany particular point or object.The silkworm remains in a larva orcaterpillar state for about six weeks, chang-ing its skin (or "moulting") four timesduring that period, and abstaining from foodfor some time previous to each moult.When full-grown it altogether leaves offfeeding, and begins to weave itself a loosecoat of silken fibres in some convenient spotwhich it has selected for the purpose; after-wards proceeding to encase itself in a muchmore closely woven substance, until it re-sembles an oval ball of yellow silk about thesize of a pigeon's egg, called the cocoon. Inthis it changes to a chrysalis, or grub; andafter lying thus imprisoned for about fifteen* Capillary-from the Latin capillus, a hair-hair-like, as fineand thin as a hair.
54 A COMMERCIAL DIFFICULTY.days, gives birth to the moth. When thesilkworm is reared for commercial purposes,this issue is carefully prevented, as the moth"< ; *, --- ---COCOONS OF THE MULBERRY SILKWOIIMgreatly injures the silk of the ball by dis-charging a quantity of coloured fluid beforeit leaves the cell. The use of this liquid,
LAYING THE EGGS. 55however, is apparent: it moistens the co-coon, and separates the threads composingit, so that the moth may force a passage tothe light of day.When the female moth is about to layher eggs, she looks out a secure and con-venient place; and having found this secureand convenient place, she deposits there anegg covered with a gluey liquid, whichcauses it to stick to any object upon whichit may chance to fall. Shortly afterwardsshe lays a second egg by the side of thefirst, a third by the side of the second, andso on. This process occupies about threedays, and the number of eggs depositedvaries between three hundred and sevenhundred. They are shaped like a lens, andflattened towards the centre.When first laid their colour is a brightyellow, which in a week changes to brown;and in due time the brown is succeeded bya reddish, and afterwards by a slatish-graytint; it retains the latter shade through-
56 WHAT IS TEE BLACK SPOT ?out the autumn, the winter, and a greatpart of the spring. Then, as the warmerweather comes on, we find the colour of theeggs passing successively through bluish,violet, ashy, and yellowish hues. Finally,as the eventful moment of hatching ap-proaches, they become very nearly white.Take up an egg, when in this condition,and you will observe a tiny black spot at theextremity, and all along its circumference abrownish crescent. The black spot is theworm's head, which closely touches the shell;the brown crescent, the body, already coveredwith small fine hairs. On leaving the egg,the silkworm eats through the shell on theside, never on the flat surface; and when ithas effected a sufficiently large opening,breaks through it, head foremost, and im-mediately attaches a silken thread to thenearest object, evidently to secure a resting-place. If the opening be too small for thehead, the larva is compelled to emerge intothe world with its tail foremost; and at
BREEDING SILKWORMS. 57other times, being unable to release its head,perishes of hunger and fatigue.Silkworms are now bred-educated, as itwere-with a commercial object. Largeestablishments undertake this singular kindof traffic; and in France especially, they areorganized on a scale of great importance.It has also been attempted in England, butnot with much success; and in the south ofIreland some French refugees made con-siderable plantations of mulberry-trees dur-ing the last century, but none of them arenow in existence.In undertaking to breed silkworms, thefirst and indispensable thing is to obtaingood eggs, or, as they are technically called,grain. The premises in which the rearingis carried on must be thoroughly ventilated,and at the same time well defended fromcold draughts and inclement winds. The--air should be warmed before it reaches therearing-chamber.In this chamber are placed a number of
58 SILKWORM NURSERIES.racks; and in the racks, at a distance ofabout eighteen inches from each other, arearranged certain frames, or canisses, madeof reeds, and averaging from three to fivefeet in breadth. To protect the worms fromfalling, a small border, two or three inchesin height, surrounds each frame; and to in-sure cleanliness, the bottom is covered withlarge sheets of paper. A careful silkworm-rearer will also take care to provide a cellar,or cool room, where he may store his leavesimmediately they are brought in from the-country.It is almost needless to say that silkwormsare fed on the leaves of the white mulberry;or, when these cannot be obtained, on that ofthe black mulberry and the lettuce.In very large establishments the roomsare arranged on mathematical principles,and warmed and ventilated in the mostscientific manner. The front looks to theeast, and the back to the west. On theground-floor are placed the store-rooms, the
THE REARING-ROOM. 59, I' I"I571 NS,_I h IA FRENCI SILKWORM NURSERYair-chamber and heating-apparatus, and thechamber of incubation; the first floor, al-ways very lofty, constitutes the rearing-room, properly so called.
CHAPTER III.THE GROWTH OF SILK.,.AET u now trace the story of a silk-S worm, from its entrance upon the'i ^^ stage of life to the moment when,-y its precious product is greedily col-S elected by human hands.According to Shakespeare, man has sevenages; the silkworm has only ive.Its first is the period of four or five dayswhich elapses between its escape from theegg and its first change of skin, or "moult-ing." At this epoch it is fed from six toeight times daily-that is, between eight inthe morning and twelve at night, the ten-derest leaves being chosen, and cut into verysmall pieces.
STAGES OF MOULTING. 61When the moult is approaching, the littleworm is placed on a litter made of greenboughs, and allowed to go, to sleep. Onawakening after its change of skin, it isremoved to fresh leaves, and again fed withcarefully-cut food, in a room whose tempera-ture must not be less than 55. It nowreceives four meals a day.The second stage lasts four days, and theworm again moults. In the third period itstill receives its four meals, but the leavesare now cut into much larger pieces. Itmoults for the third time on the thirteenthor fourteenth day after hatching; and forthe fourth, on the twenty-second or twenty-third day. During its fourth age, the mul-berry leaves are given to it whole.The moult following its fourth age is de-scribed as the most critical period of its life.During its sleep it suffers keenly, and isplunged into a state of lethargy resemblingdeath, which lasts from thirty-six to forty-five hours.
62 THE CATERPILLAR QUIESCENT.The caterpillar has now attained its maxi-mum of size and appetite. It begins toelaborate the silky matter in its reservoirs,but after a while discontinues feeding, andsoon diminishes in both size and weight.This usually occupies a period of nine orten days, after which it commences to spinits silken thread.As it requires to remain uninterruptedduring this process, we usually give it, says aFrench writer, some little stalks of heath orbroom, or a-piece of rolled-up paper, intowhich it retires, and where it may be seenmoving its head to different places in orderto fasten its thread on every side. All thiswork, though it looks to a bystander like" confusion worse confounded," is not with-out design. The caterpillar neither arrangesits threads, nor disposes one over another,but contents itself with distending a kindof cotton or floss to .protect it from therain. God having ordained the silkwormto work under sheltering leaves, it never
SPINNING THE THREAD. 63changes its method even when artificiallyreared.When I was led by my curiosity, saysour authority, to know how it spun andplaced its exquisite silk, I frequently re-moved the floss with which it first attemptedto cover itself. As by this means I weak-ened it greatly, it became weary of begin-ning its work afresh, and, fastening itsthreads on the first object it met with, began_--- _THREAD OF SILK, SEEN THROUGH A MICROSCOPE.to spin in my presence with the utmostregularity, bending its head to and fro, andup and down. Soon, however, it confinedits movements to a limited space, until bydegrees it had completely encased itself insilk, and the remainder of its operationsbecame invisible: what they are, however,may easily be inferred if you examine thework when completed. In order to perfectthe structure, it must draw out of the gum-
64 CHRYSALIS AND MOTH.bag a more delicate silk, and then, with astronger gum or varnish, knit all the innerthreads one over another.. There, then, we see before us three dis-tinct coverings, each affording a successiveshelter. The outer loose silk or floss is toprotect the animal from rain; the fine silkin the middle prevents the wind from in-flicting any injury; and the glutinous silk-the tapestry or hangings of the snug chamberwherein the little weaver lodges-repelsboth air and water, and effectually screensit from cold.After weaving its cocoon, the caterpillaris transformed into a chrysalis, and subse-quently into a moth (the Bombyx mori);when, without saw or knife, it cuts its waythrough the shell, the silk, and the floss;for the Being who teaches it how to con-struct its place of repose, where the coarseworm may develop peacefully into thedelicate moth, instructs it likewise in whatmanner to open up a passage for escape.
MATERIAL FOR MANUFACTURE. 65Beautiful symbol of the Soul, which thusemerges from its rude corporeal case, towing its way into a brighter and purer life,until the time comes for it to assume, atits Creator's bidding, a glorified and perfectbody!It is the middle portion of the cocoon,after the outer floss or loose silk is removed,which we make use of in our manufactures.The first step in the process is to throw thecocoons into warm water, and stir themabout with twigs, until any slight gummyexcrescences which may have been producedwhile the caterpillar was spinning are dis-solved. The threads of a certain numberof worms, according to the strength of thesilk required, are then taken and wound offupon a reel. The refuse, consisting of whatwe may call " the tops and bottoms of thecones," are not wound, but carded or combed,like wool or cotton, for the purpose of form-ing coarser fabrics. From the fact that thecocoons are generally unwound without the(437) 5
66 AN ENORMOUSLY LONG THREAD.thread breaking, we may infer that the littleweaver completes its woof without interrup-tion. It is a popular butveryerroneous belief,that if it be disturbed in its work by anynoise it will take fright, and break its thread.The length of the unbroken thread in acocoon varies from six hundred to a thousandfeet; and as it is all spun double by theinsect, it will amount in the whole to nearlytwo thousand feet of silk, and yet will notweigh more than three grains and a half !The usual average does not exceed four anda half pounds of silk to two thousand cocoons.When we consider, therefore, as a naturalistremarks, the enormous quantity of silk nowin use in the world, the number of insectsrequired to produce it will almost exceedour comprehension. The material employedin a lady's silk dress represents the produceof the labours of eight thousand insects !There are two kinds of cocoons, white andyellow, proceeding from different races ofsilkworms.
VARIOUS SPECIES OF SILKWORMS. 67There are also two kinds of white silk, theJirst white and the second white. The for-mer is produced by the race called Sina,whose cocoons are of a delicate azure-shotwhite, and are used only in the fabricationof light and exquisite tissues. The latter isfurnished by two races,-the Espagnolet andthe Roquemauro.The races producing yellow cocoons aremore numerous than their white congeners,and are divided into three groups: thosethat have small, middle-sized, or large co-coons.Of late years various species of the bombyxmoth have been introduced into Europe,with the view of acting as auxiliaries to themulberry bombyces, and taking their placewhen any failure in the supply of the latteroccurs through epidemical disease. Thus,there are three species of the genus Attacuswhich feed upon oak leaves : the Yama-Mai,the Pernyi, and the Mylitta.The silk of the Yama-Mai is only inferior
68 THE YAMA-MAI.ATTACK'S BOMBYX) YAMA -MAT, AND COCOONS,in quality to that of the mulberry silk-worm.WOr'M.
THE SILKWORM OF HINDUSTAN. 69The Attacus Yama-Ma'i was introducedfrom Japan in 1862, and its cocoon resemblesthat of the Bombyx mori. It is composedof a beautiful silk, green externally, and inthe interior of a silvery whiteness. Ourillustration represents the cocoons and themoth, which is large and radiant, and of abright yellow colour.The silk of the Mylitta is also of an admir-able quality. It is found in various partsof Hindustan, especially in Bengal, and atLahore and Calcutta, whence its tissue isexported under the name of tussch. Brownstuffs, firm and bright, adapted for summerclothing, are woven from it by the Hindus.The largest European moth is the Satur-nia, of which one species, the SaturniaPavonia-major, is never found further norththan the latitude of Paris. Its wings arebrown, undulated, and finely checkered withgray. Upon each is a large crescent-shapedspot, surrounded by a tawny ring, and sur-mounted by one white semicircle, and another
70 THE SATURNIA PAVONIA-MAJOR.of a reddish hue-the whole completely en-closed in a black circle. It spins a brownCOCOONS OF THE ATTACUS (BONIBYX MIYLITTA.cocoon, consisting of a very strong coarsesilk.The other species of Saturnia is well knownin England under the name of the Emperor
THE EMPEROR MOTH. 71Moth (Saturnia Carpini), and is not lessremarkable for the brilliancy of its colours4 .- l " "tEMPEROR MOTH (Saurni Carpini).than for the skill it displays as a weaver.Its caterpillar feeds upon fruit-trees and onthe willow, spinning a cocoon, shaped likea Florence flask, of strong silk; a silk so
72 A REFLECTION AND A LESSON.thickly woven that it appears almost likedamask or leather.Here, then, we close our little narrative,woven together of so slight a texture, andyet sufficient in itself, we hope, to fill theminds of our young readers with wholesomethoughts, and to impress them with a freshsense of the wondrous wisdom and infiniteresources of Him in whom the spider andthe silkworm have their being, no less thanthe lion of the forests or the leviathan of thedeep; guided by His laws, fulfilling his de-crees, and adapted by His all-seeing provi-dence to the due performance of their partsin the grand economy of the universe.Ii~ TlA~i~
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