The Baldwin Library
NEE; OF'IHECOYON WOD NT (l~ricceIrca). HE URB-kkS
l ;9dtor atiout ttp Antov
"There be four things which are little upon
the earth, but they are exceeding wise: the
ants are a people, not strong, yet they prepare
their meat in the summer. Go to the ant thou
sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise."
PROVERBS OF SOLOMON.
"And God said, Let the earth bring forth the
living creature after his kind, cattle, and creep-
ing things, and beast of the earth after his kind:
and it was so. And God made the beast of the
earth after his kind, and every creeping thing
that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and
God saw that it was good."
GENESIS i. 24, 25.
SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION,
56, OLD BAILEY, E.C.
NATURE will be reported: all things are engaged in
writing its history. The planet, the pebble, goes atten-
ded by its shadow. The rolling rock leaves its scratches
on the mountain, the river its channel in the soil, the
animal its bones in the stratum, the fern and leaf their
modest epitaph in the coal. The fallen drop makes its
sculpture in the sand or stone ; not a footstep in the
snow, or along the ground, but prints in characters,
more or less lasting, a map of its march; every act of
man inscribes itself in the memories of his fellows, and
in his own face. The air is full of sounds, the sky of
tokens, the ground of memoranda and signatures; and
every object is covered over with hints which speak to,
the intelligent.' -HUGHI MILLER.
OME of my readers will recognize in the title
as well as the matter of this little book, a
lecture which I have given in various parts of
London and the country during past years.
Like its predecessor, The Five-Barred Gate,"
it was written at the suggestion of a dear friend, that the
story might be preserved when it became necessary that the
lectures should be given up; and, with the desire to do
the greatest amount of good in the shortest of space, I
have endeavoured to make the book attractive for the
general reader, amusing and instructive for the young,
and useful and suggestive for the Lecture Committee
of the Sunday School Union, to whom, in token of my
admiration of the excellent manner in which they manage
the important work they have undertaken, I have pre-
sented the re-written manuscripts of my lectures, and,
when complete, the diagrams with which they have been
illustrated. And should these volumes only prove to be
as acceptable and as useful as I have good reason to
know the former have proved to be during upwards of a
quarter of a century, I shall have a twofold reason for
thankfulness, that the delight I have so long experienced
in testifying to the wonderful works of God has been used
to His glory and the good of my fellow-men.
Interspersed with numerous anecdotes disconnected
immediately with the subject, and sometimes suffering
from repetition, this story of comparisons aims chiefly at
illustrating, confirming, repeating, and establishing in the
reader's mind, some virtuous principle, never forgetting
life's chief lesson, the preparation for a future state; and
if sometimes the pen is dipped in bitter ink in reference
to materialism-the fashionable speculation, alas of too
many scientific men of the day-it is from conviction that
this pernicious doctrine is in direct opposition to the Word
of God, insinuating its deadly venom into the minds of
teachers otherwise trustworthy, under the primeval form
of "Yea! hath God said ?"
Since the book was written the great leader of the
revived theory of the origin of species has gone to his
account; but his disciples remain, some of whom have
out-Darwin'd Darwin: the doctrine of one as to the origin
of matter, both in the world we live on as well as the
house we live in, body and soul, is, to my mind, such rank
atheism, that I consider it a matter of duty to warn my
readers to what it may, and must, ultimately lead. "Dar-
winism," writes one, in a first-rate serial, leaves no
room for what is dearest to the Christian's heart. Natural
selection denies the fall, leaves no room for Providence,
prayer, or redemption; and were it true, the Bible would
no longer be a God-given revelation. But Darwinism not
only robs us of revelation, but removes the very foundation
from under the whole structure of natural religion: Dar-
winism, in deriving man from the brute rather than a
fallen spirit, at one blow robs morality of its sanction "
No one will accuse the French newspapers of being over-
religious, whatever may be said of my anti-Darwinism; but
one of them, the Patrie, referring to his recent decease,
concluded its article in these words:
While rendering justice to the enormous knowledge
of the illustrious naturalist, and to his prodigious power
of work, it is impossible to acquit him of an abuse of his
theories by rearing upon them the desolating system of
natural philosophy, at which his disciples, under the
authority of his great name, are still at work, with the
view of dethroning religion and setting it up in its place."
These words exactly re-echo my views, and I recom-
mend them to my readers. J. C.
SYMPATHY .. 110
COURAGE .. 171
SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
IW-- ^^^ II l^^
B US BODIES.
"In these beings so minute, and as it were such nonentities, what
wisdom is displayed, what power, what unfathomable perfection."-
PLINY, A.D. 50.
NDER this title I purpose describing something
of the natural history of the Ant, an insect
which has attracted the attention of the
curious ever since the wise king of Israel
directed every sluggard to go to it for wisdom. It was
Solomon who said, There is no new thing under the
sun. Is there anything whereof it may be said, See,
this is new ? it hath been already of old time, which was
before us." And you will say this of my story, and
perhaps remind me of another saying of the same wise
man, "Be admonished: of making many books there is
no end; and much study is a weariness to the flesh."
Solomon is true; his wisdom is proverbial; but he lived
nearly three thousand years ago, and since his time what
10 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
strange discoveries have been made, and how many of
these are owing to what is to be found in Nature's great
Like a kaleidoscope, you may turn its wonderful pages
over and over again, and every time get a different view
of the same thing. Every lover of the true and beautiful
sees something which others have overlooked; and so it.is
that I gather up, and then scatter, not only the wisdom of
others not generally known, but illustrate it by my own
Let me make clear my meaning. You will find among-
the Proverbs these words, There be four things which
are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: the
ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat
in the summer." These words, truly, are not Solomon's
own, but his friend's; but can you doubt that, placed as
they are amongst Solomon's proverbs, they were considered
as borrowed by Agur from the king ?
The ants are a people:" it is a remarkable expression ;
a "little people "-not a strong people, but a wise people.
I made this remark before a number of entomologists at
a scientific meeting not long ago, calling attention to the
resemblance of the wisdom of the ant to the wisdom of the
man; when one who had made the study of insects the
great work of his life declared frankly that he had never
thought of that before-how exactly the ants, of all animals,
deserved the name of a people."
Have you not sometimes wondered why Solomon directed
attention to the ant in preference to the bee, as a model of
that which is wise ? Wisdom, you know, was what he
asked for, coveting that beyond gold and silver, as being
the most precious then as it has ever been. He knew how
to appreciate wisdom wherever it should be found. There
is no doubt that he must often have observed the bees
humming their merry hymns in his garden on the sunny
slopes of Mount Zion, because he often speaks of honey
and the honeycomb; then how is it that out of the four
things referred to as teachers of wisdom, although three
out of the four are insects, the ant is preferred to the
I think I have discovered the reason. Amongst the
thousand and one things I can remember of the Great
Exhibition in Hyde Park in 1862, is one which produced
so strong an impression on my mind, that while I can
remember anything I am sure I shall remember that.
Standing on a good-sized table, and measuring about six
feet in length by about half the width, was a beautiful
model of Lincoln Cathedral. My thoughts of this model
and the lesson it taught me were something like those of
one who wrote a description of the grand old building
itself, who said, "The first view of Lincoln Cathedral
obtained by the approaching traveller is something to
remember for a lifetime."
And the story of the Norman founder, who came over
with William the Conqueror, is not altogether unlike the
story of the modeler; of both, the historian's description
of the architect holds good, His mind exerted itself to
excel and shine," for not only was Remigius the founder,
but the builder, it being reported of him that he actually
carried the stones and mortar upon his own shoulders.
This is not the place to describe the glories of the
beautiful pile, with its towers and turrets, its gables and
capitals, but there, in the Exhibition building, stood its
model, made to scale, with all the external parts beautifully
carved in-what do you think ?-cork! "And," you will
say, pray, who was the sculptor ? "
Standing by the model was a working man, his coat off,
his apron on; upon the table lay the worn-out remains of
two old knives, and a stone very much the worse for wear,
upon which they had been sharpened. He was an agri-
cultural labourer; and this poor working man had employed
all the spare hours, after working during the day in the
1'2 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
field. First, going from house to house and asking civilly
if they would save him all the old corks drawn from their
bottles;-and how many of those corks do you think he
collected during the spare hours of ten years ? One
million, eight hundred;-and then with these and his two
knives, and without any assistance or drawings, with
nothing but mere brain, he sculptured this beautiful model
of the grand cathedral at Lincoln. Don't you think he
was well repaid by being allowed to receive any subscrip-
tion which visitors might choose to drop into his box
to reward his perseverance, and may we not say exactly
the same of him as was said of the founder of the building
eight hundred years ago, "His mind exerted itself to excel
and shine "?
Well," you will say, "but what has all this to do with
the discovery of Solomon's saying about the wisdom of the
ant being superior to that of the bee ?" Much.
Don't you think of the two builders the agricultural
labourer was the wiser ? Without plans, or education, or
implements, he carried out his model. What sketches,
what tools, what material, what assistance the Norman
Now we must compare the tools, first of the bee, then of
the ant, and in order to do this effectually we must take
down our microscope and examine these curious instru-
ments with our own eyes.
First, the Bee. Of course you know what this wonderful
little insect has to do: from the nectar, and pollen, and
propolis of flowers and buds, it has to make pap for the
baby-bees; bread of a peculiar kind for the royal family;
ordinary bread for the workers; wax for the houses;
varnish for the walls; poison for its enemies, besides other
things, the raw material for which, collected from the
flowers, is carefully transported in the pockets in its hind-
But what is that complicated instrument we are looking
at through the magic tube of our instrument ? The
You will easily understand that of all tools necessary
for the curious work the honey bee has to perform, trowels
and scissors would be the most appropriate. "Why ?"
Hind-legs of Bees, showing the opening of Bread-pockets.
Because it needs the first to spread the wax, as a plasterer
uses a trowel to plaster a wall, and the second with which
to divide the sheets of wax when the geometrical divisions
are fixed, in order to fit into the most wonderful building
in the world, the hexagonal cell with its six different sides.
14 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
Head and Tongue ofithe Common Honey Bee, drawn from nature:
a, compound antenna; b, mandibles, or larger jaws; c, lesser jaws,
showing a combination of trowels and scissors; d, the brush with
which pollen is, collected; e, the 3,500 compound eyes; f, three
simple eyes, supposed for shorter or nearer sight, as the former are
for longer, or distant objects.
_for longer, or distant objects.
Then, again, the pollen from which much of its food is
made, and with which the great business of its active life
is occupied, namely the multiplication of variety and beauty
in the world of flowers, needs a fairy-like brush with which
it shall be delicately swept from the stamens on which it
is so delicately suspended, like gold-dust; well, there they
are, all combined in one complicated instrument.
This is the tongue of the honey bee, three instruments
in one, and one in three. A trinity in Nature, you see; an
illustration in the natural world of the saying of the apostle,
"The invisible things of God from the creation of the
world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that
are made;" and also to that other saying of one of poor
Job's comforters, The secrets of wisdom are double to
that which is."
Thus we learn that natural facts are symbolic of spiritual
truths; that the scenes of Nature are the pictures by which
spiritual truth is taught in the grander revelation; and
that, therefore, the best of all merely human helps to
reading the Bible is the microscope, because it describes
spiritual truths in sensible pictures.
But what evidence have we here, in passing, of design
in this wonderful tongue of our friend !
And now let us change the picture. The object I now
place on the stage of our instrument is the tongue of the
common wood ant.
How unlike the bee's tongue!" Indeed it is. There is
nothing in comparison.
First, how extremely small. We had to change our
magnifying glass twice, you observed, before we could see
it effectively. A power of four hundred times was suffi-
-cient to discover most of the wonders of the bee's tongue,
but now we find one of thirty-eight thousand insufficient.
The entire tongue, you see, is scarcely visible to the eye
without the glass. Stretched out almost in the shape of a
a lady's fan when opened, it is covered with an innumer-
16 SOLOMON S LITTLE PEOPLE.
able number of teeth, and the edge shows them curved
and bent over the sides, exactly like the rasping teeth in a
How many of the teeth are there? "
I cannot tell, nor count them. The ant is not the only
Head of Common Wood Ant: a, antennae; b, tongue; c, greater
mandibles or jaws; d, compound eyes; e, three simple eyes.
animal that has its teeth on its tongue. *Amongst others
I may remind you of the great black slug which is so fond
of our garden plants; it has no fewer than 26,800 teeth, all
on its tongue, and these are so hard, being formed of flint,
that they will blunt the edge of a sharp penknife when
pressed against them. You are more familiar, perhaps,
with the penny winkle;" it has about 24,000 of these
teeth, all on its tongue, which forms the palate of its
But this cutting and scraping tongue of the ant is the
only stock-in-trade of tools it possesses, and with it all its
labour has to be done. What this is we shall see in another
chapter; but I think you will see how much better off the
bee is than the ant; and, like the agricultural labourer,
how very clever the ant is, who also, with so simple an
instrument, can produce such cunning and clever work.
And so, just as I think the labourer excelled above the
architect, so do I think the ant excels above the bee; and
so it was, I believe, that Solomon selected the one above
the other as a pattern of wisdom.
TIA NSFOR1AMA TION.
"Do you not perceive that we are caterpillars, born to form the
angelic butterfly? "-AN ITALIAN POET.
"We shall be changed."-ST. PAUL.
HE ants are a people." Yes, just as there is
the white man of Europe, and the black man
of Africa, and the red and yellow men of Asia
and America, so are there white ants, and
black ants, and red ants, and yellow ants; and, curious
enough, just as in America the white people made slaves of
the black, so too do the white ants make slaves of the
black ones; and just as both the white people as well as
the black employ vast armies of soldiers in gratuitous
slaughter in war, so do the ants ;-did they learn the bad
habit from us, or we from them, I wonder ?
Have you ever thought that if you could be lifted up a
very considerable height, on looking down upon the little
speck of matter-hung, as Job says, "upon nothing"-our
earth, with its twelve or fourteen hundred of millions of
human beings, running hither and thither in all directions,
now jostling against each other, now pushing and running
and quarrelling-how very much they would resemble that
large ant city which you must have sometimes seen in your
rambles in the woods ?
This very idea occurred to me one day while standing
on the Castle Hill at Hastings. As I looked over the old
town on to the new, and all along the parade at St.
Leonards, "After all," I said to myself, "'tis nothing
more to me here than a huge ant-hill."
We have already been reminded of Solomon's saying,
" There is nothing new under the sun," and so I found it
with my new idea, for I met with the same thought in the
comic writings of the late Thomas Hood. He was standing
on the top of St. Paul's Cathedral, nearly four hundred
feet above the heads of the hundreds of passengers run-
ning over the paths below. He remembered that the insect
we have before us was called in some counties emmet, in
others pismire, and in most others ant. So punning
was his nature that he thus punned upon the sight under
him, in connection with the three names given to the
Seen from these skies,
How small these enmmets in our eyes !
What a hustle,
And a bustle!
Some carry sticks, and one
Her eggs, to hatch them in the sun;
And there's my aunt, I know her by her waist,
So tall and thin,
And so pinched in,
Just in the pismire taste "
Dr. Watts, too, you remember, describes the ant as an
These emmets, how little they are in our eyes;
We tread them to dust and a troop of them dies,
Without our regard or concern :
Yet, as wise as we are, if we went to their school,
There's many a sluggard and many a fool
Some lesson of wisdom might learn."
20 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
The ant belongs to the order of insects termed Hyime-
noptera, a name derived from two Greek words signifying
a "membrane and a '( wing."
The class of hymenopterous insects includes those which
certainly exhibit the most astonishing amount of instinct,
such as the bee and wasp, the sawfly, and, above all,
It will be interesting to illustrate the comparative in-
stinct of ant people with human people, and profitable to
draw our own conclusion; but in this chapter we will
briefly consider the early history of our friend, merely
premising that in the ant and the bee families are
observed mental acts more closely resembling man than
any other articulata, but unlike any such organ as a
brain; possessing powers, too, certainly unlike any we
possess, for I can tell you of a wasp my friend cut in half
as a speedy method of killing the intruder, one half of
which stung her some days after, when she took up the
body to pity the poor thing;" while I know of another
who cut a bee in two, when, to her amazement, as it would
have been to yours, the part with the head devoured its
own body, which remained in the other part!
Life begins with the ant in the egg; so it does in every-
thing. A simple cell is the first step in the history both
of animals and plants: this simple cell in the animal
kingdom is called an egg; in fishes it is known as spawn;
in plants it is seed. What the acorn is to the oak, the egg
is to the chicken; what the bulb is to the lily, the ovum
of the ant is to the insect.
And yet not quite so, because the bulb of the lily and
the acorn of the oak pass away directly to those plants,
while the egg of the ant has two processes through which
it must pass before ever it can reach the ultimate part of
its wonderful life.
It is with these two parts, these connecting links in the
life of our little friend, that I would really begin our story.
tNest of Common Wood Ant. Exterior.
Nest f Comon ~oodBnt.Errtrikx
22 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
Life, as I have reminded you, in every case begins with
an egg. In a colony of ants there are males, females, and
workers, besides eggs, pupae, and larvae; they choose one
for their queen, and she, like the queen bee, becomes both
the mother and monarch of the whole colony, leading and
guiding them both in their journeys and battles.
The structure of an ants' nest is very curious. What you
have seen in the woods would have given you but a small
idea of the remarkable depositories below; you look upon
a little hill of insects, and are reminded of Hood's lines-
"What a hustle,
And a bustle! "
but below the surface of the earth they have tunnelled
out, very cleverly, roadways to their dormitories where the
eggs are laid, or where the larve are passing towards pupe,
or where the pupm are enjoying that strange sleep the
awaking from which is attended with such wonderful
result; for who would believe that from that tiny egg
would come that simple, wingless thing which in the silk-
worm we call a caterpillar ?-or who would believe that
from it would come that still more mysterious thing which
in the silkworm we call "chrysalis," in the ant we will
call "pupa" ?-or who that had not already beheld the
phenomena would credit that from that strange pupa of
the ant would issue that model of perseverance and activity
which King Solomon sent you and me to learn our lessons
of wisdom from ?
Have you ever wondered why the great Creator ordained
insects to pass through three stages of being ?
I have very often, and I think I see the reason; there
must be a reason, because we know He does nothing in
vain. A chicken has not three lives as an ant has ; it is
first egg, then chicken, then egg, and then again chicken;
between the little chick and the big fowl there is nothing
but growth both of flesh and feather.
Will you first open your New Testament, and turning
to Romans i. 20 you will read, "The invisible things of God
from the creation of the world are clearly seen "-how ?-
"'being understood by the things that are made." This is
Paul's favourite comment on the philosophy of Zophar,
the unconsoling friend of the patriarch Job, who exclaims
(Job xi. 5, 6), Oh that God would show to thee the
secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is."
Larva (a), Pupa (b), and Imago (c) of the Common Gnat.
What is the logic of this Divine philosophy? This:
that we are to understand the things which we cannot see
by the things we can see, because everything in nature is
a symbol of what is above and beyond nature. True it is
that we are surrounded by the supernatural; it needs
spiritual eyes to see spiritual things, I know, because
spiritual things can only be discerned by spiritual sight.
Have you spiritual eyes ?-that is, have you the secret
of wisdom spoken of in the oldest poem in the world ?
If not, why not ?
"Ask, and it shall be given you." "If any of you lack
24 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to every man
liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
You know the Book of promises from which these words
are taken. The Bible is the great God's promissory note-
book, and when you go to Him in prayer always take one
of the Divine promises in your hand, just as you would
when taking a Bank of England note to be exchanged for
gold; you wait till your turn comes, and you realize the
fulfilment, I promise to pay," when you receive the coin
with the royal portrait glittering on its side, reminding you
of Him who is kingly Head over all.
Now, after this little intrusion, let us go back to the
inquiry why there is first larva, secondly pupa, and thirdly
imago; for as the first and second characterize the first two
stages in ant life, and are translated from their foreign
language.into plain English by mask and mummy," so
the last describes the ultimate state of the insect's life, the
perfect image of the creature, "imago," which may be ren-
dered an apparition," and that, you know, means again
a visible spirit-that which shall be when that which is
earthly is done away.
Now isn't this all full of suggestion ? This is one of
the many visible things which illustrated the invisible of
You and I now are "larvre," soon we shall be pupa,,"
and by and by imago."
Suppose I were to hold an imaginary argument with our
ant in life number one, and it could answer me; what kind
of conversation do you think would be the most appropriate
for me to employ ?
If I said, Well, little ant, you are a queer kind of a
creature, you are; you haven't eyes, so you can't see; and
you haven't feet, so you can't walk; and you haven't wings,
so you can't fly ;-what's the use of you What do you
think would be the most appropriate answer I should
"All the days of my appointed time will I wait till my
change come." "It doth not yet appear what we shall
And when the time for the last life came, just as the
imago-that is, you know, the last state of its wonderful
being-was consummated, as it was passing away, throwing
aside its earthly covering, emerging therefrom with its.
gauze-like wings, don't you think if it could, like the fabled
swan, sing while it was dying, as I should wish to do, the
most appropriate words it could use would be what our poet,
Pope has put into the mouth of the dying Christian to his
"Trembling, hoping, lingering, flying,
Oh, the pain, the bliss of dying! "
I have told you of the threefold transformation of the
insect: larva (mask), its future life being hidden;
pupa (mummy), it is curiously covered up or enfolded
as mummies used to be in Egypt, after' the process of
embalming; then, finally, imago (the ultimate image).
All insects do not pass through this remarkable trans-
formation. I wonder why not ?
Perhaps to show us that the exception is to teach the
wonder of that which is exceptionally wonderful. But the
transformation of our friend the ant is amongst the most
wonderful of all, for it is not really after all the same kind
of transformation exactly which the moth or butterfly
undergoes, nor yet that of the beetle tribe; but, strange
to say, one stage of life is enfolded or mysteriously en-
veloped in the next, each enwrapping or enclosing the
other; the egg swells out into the larva, and the larva
encloses and conceals the pupa, and the pupa gradually
passes away into its final stage, the imago.
SWhy," you exclaim, then here is another illustration
of the great Bible wonder, the Trinity "
Yes, this is one of the secrets of wisdom-it is double
26 SOLOMON S LITTLE PEOPLE.
to that which is; this is one of Nature's illustrations of
Bible truths. Here is the sensible picturing the spiritual;
The Final State.
this is one of the apostle's things that are" made" which
are clearly seen," symbolizing the invisible things of God."
Here is the supernatural in Nature. There is a trinity
in everything, ourselves included-body, soul, and spirit;
one in three and three in one; a triune compound-dust
enveloping the spirit of deity: "God made man in His
But here is a touching lesson for you and me, and we
must not lose the profitable suggestions it contains.
Perhaps the great sin of the latter days of our world's
history will be a denial of the existence of the great God
who made it. I think it will; and I think that what is
now so fashionable in the scientific world, known by the
word materialism," fast tends to that dismal and dreadful
conclusion. Would that reasonable men would argue that
if there be a future life it must have some connection with
When we calmly sit down and examine the constitution
of our own spiritual nature, do we not discover that every-
thing both around us and within us is preliminary to
something higher and better ? And if preliminary, shall
we not ask of what ? An old author says, Good eyes
see light through the smallest chinks; and another old
Clouds of affection from our younger eyes
Conceal that emptiness which age descries;
The soul's dark cottage, battered and decayed,
Lets in new light through chinks which time hath made."
God, it has been said, is a circle, whose centre is every-
where, and whose circumference is nowhere. And can we
bound or describe the circumference of our own mysterious
being? Our present life is a segment only; what we call
death is but ceasing to be mortal, it is not ceasing to be!
"There is no death!
What seems so is transition ;
This life of mortal breath
Is but the suburb of the life elysian,
Whose portal we call death "
28 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
The threefold envelope of the ant is the hieroglyphic of
our life. The death of the first life is only the putting
forth of a new existence, the necessary process in order to
a higher life, just as the burial of the acorn is necessary
to the development of the oak. Decay and change are
necessary in order to release the life which is hidden, and
the beauty concealed beneath.
Must it not likewise be that our future being is en-
wrapped within us now, waiting to be unrolled when the
material shall fall off as it does really in the moth and
butterfly, where the grand possibility is fully visible and
The whole life-story of the ant, you will have seen, is
laid up within it at one
and the same time. It
is only one state of its.
being that prevents the
other from being seen.
1s it not so with us ?
Death! the little
ant says-<" death! that
a is, what you call death,'
is a suspense, not an
end." The philosophy
b of a future life is best
Wood Ant: a, real size-from nature; illustrated by the things
b, enlarged. which are seen and which
are temporal; and the parables of Nature, to him who
reads them aright, like the dial of a watch, are significant
intimations of the greatness and grandeur of the almighty
Workman, and of the upper and higher life.
And now, having given you a double preface to our story,
we will become a little less theoretical and a little more
practical. Let me take one of our favourite insects from
my cabinet, and, with my microscope, show you some of
the anatomical wonders of the ant.
Seeing, you know, with some people is believing;
though, alas! there are many who are unbelievers whether
they see or not.
This specimen has been carefully prepared and mounted
Larva of Ant. Pupa of Ant.
(Life number one.) (The intermediate state.)
for our microscopical examination. It is described, you
see, as Formica rzfa, and is the largest of our British
I told you the ant belongs to the most important of all
classes of insects, Hymenoptera-that is, having four mem-
braneous and finely-veined wings. This is a choice speci-
men, and has been especially prepared to illustrate its
internal muscular structure. You will observe first the
antenna, then the very large head, then the "waist-so
tall and thin, and so pinched in; then the small round
abdomen, and then the three pairs of legs-each pair, you
observe, longer than the others, the foremost being the
To examine all these parts perfectly we shall require a
magnifying power; so we take up our instrument, and
the first part of the ant I want you to examine is, perhaps,
the most important of all, for it is the two feelers at the
head of the insect which are called antenner.
"The race of mankind would perish, did they cease to aid each
other. From the first time the mother binds the child's head, till the
moment some kind assistant wipes the death-damp from the brow of
the dying, we cannot exist without mutual aid and help ; all, therefore,
that need aid have a right to ask it from their fellow-mortals; no one
who holds the power of granting can refuse it without guilt."-S' I
S'AYVE all insects antemnna?
All true insects certainly have; but before
we bring our glass to examine the structure
of these wonderful organs, let me explain to
you the meaning of the term insect; it refers to the insected
or divided appearance you are observing in the ant's body.
All true insects have six legs, two antennae, two compound
eyes, and very often three simple ones-the one, perhaps,
for long sight and the other for short, as the eyes of an
insect, unlike yours, are fixed and never close, a small
brain, the ant's being the largest of all in proportion to
the size of the whole body, and a nervous chord running
over the entire animal.
Were I to attempt to explain to you all the various pro-
cesses of locomotion, digestion, respiration, and the rest,
I should weary you. In another specimen I will show you
there will be found what also is to be seen on all true
insects, two pairs of wings, about which we shall find some
interesting matter; but at present let us fix our attention
on what I have reminded you is, perhaps, the most
important part of the body, namely, the antennae.
End of antenna of Honey Bee, greatly magnified, showing stetho-
scopic forms of the sacs; drawn from nature.
How many joints did you count in each of the antenna ?
Yes, thirteen. You remarked on each articulating in the
other, and the basal joint articulating in the big brain of
All these are very well seen with a magnifying power
of twenty diameters-that is, four hundred times; but to
examine the true structure of the antennae we must
82 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
-employ a magnifying power of ninety-five diameters, or
upwards of nine thousand times, and then what do you
see ? A number of small entrances, each surmounted with
a hair, while the end joint is clubbed, and very hairy at
These antenna are believed to be compound organs, as
much of smelling as talking.
Remember, it is not really needful to have a tongue to
talk with, for how do we talk to our deaf and dumb friends?
Do we not this most effectually with our fingers ?
Now, I quite believe that insects generally, and ants
particularly, understand each other by means of the com.
munications they make with their antenna; and what I
End of antenna of Ant, showing sacs, greatly magnified; from nature.
shall tell you of my experience with my live ants will, I
think, prove the truth of the remark.
When Professor Tyndall looked at the antenna of Sir
John Lubbock's ants, he declared the antennal sacs-that
is, those little entrances you saw on each joint of the
anteinne-resembled microscopical stethoscopes." 'Now,
you know that a stethoscope is an instrument like a small
trumpet, and is used by medical men in listening to the
sounds produced by the action of the chest, and the word,
coming to us from the Greek, means I view the breast."
Here, then, we get an idea that these organs are those
of hearing; but I believe they are also organs of communi-
cation. The bee's antenna have been removed from a
queen, and her majesty is no longer able to express her
royal wishes or issue her commands, and there is anarchy
and confusion all over the hive; and I believe there is much
greater evidence in favour of the antennae being organs of
communication than there is of their being organs of
hearing, as my story presently will prove.
And this subject-antennal communication of insects-
will introduce another which is so full of interest that we
shall be astonished at the wisdom of God in creation; and
we shall, I hope, declare with David, first, that" the works
of the Lord are great;" secondly, but that they must be
.' sought out; and thirdly, it must be by those who have
That other subject will be a comparison of the intelli-
gence of man with the instinct of the brute.
Assuming, then, that the antennae are organs of com-
munication, let us inquire how they are employed.
Come with me into my garden, and let us go over, in our
minds' eye, an instructive lesson I learned one day there
which first drew my attention antwards.
The gardener has been at work, and has upset a vase, at
the bottom of which was a nest of the garden ant. My
attention was called to the debris, and so let me call your
.attention to it also.
See, among the particles of earth there are a number
of ants all running over each other, half crazed, it would
appear, at the wreck and ruin of their home. Let us
throw some of the mould into a saucer, and with a hand
34 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
magnifier watch the movements of the insects as they
madly run about in it.
Look, one has a small whitish object in its mouth, about.
the shape and size of a grain of rice, rushing wildly round
the margin of the saucer and among the ruins, never
letting the object of its anxiety go. Presently it meets
with another ant; then it stops, and the antennae of the
two friends begin to touch each other and move about
with nervous rapidity.
Presently, ant-let us say-number two, rushes away
from the first ant, leaving it still with its charge fixed
firmly between its big jaws ; and if you have watched num-
ber two ant closely you will have observed that presently it
meets with a third of its unfortunate family. Number
two and number three now begin a chat, and number three
hurries off, you see, to number one; and then, after a little
antennal talk with their fingers after the deaf and dumb
fashion, number one gives its tiny load to number three,
and then goes about its business.
Now, what becomes of number three ? Do you notice
that amongst the earthy debris a very small piece of
straw lies there, half-split, so that the under part is
concave, and therefore the upper convex, a little mimic
Well, look now the number three ant carefully hides its
load under this bit of straw; then, covering it over with
surrounding earth, goes away apparently quite satisfied
with having done its duty.
You say, "What does all this mean ?" And that was just
what I said. Now I can tell you.
The most important part of a family of ants, which
family often consists of many thousands, are those who
are chosen to do the work of nurses, for ants, like human
infants, require the greatest care in their babyhood.
I cannot tell you whether it is by election or compul-
sion, but certain of the worker ants are told off for nurses,
and these have almost exclusively to discharge all the
duties of a nurse proper.
These are, first, a general charge concerning the insect
in the first stages of its transformation-that is, cleaning
it, taking it out for an airing, putting it to rest at night,
defending it against all its enemies, and, above all, pre-
paring and administering its food.
The wisdom of the ant, like that of the bee, is intuitive :
that is, the mind, if mind it must be called, of the insect
sees as much directly it arrives at perfection as it ever
sees. An ant or a bee at five minutes old knows as much
as another at a year old; it has nothing to learn. So that
nurse ants have not to be taught their business; it is born
with them, and they know exactly what they have to do
directly it is decided that they shall do it.
Now, as you have seen, when our gardener upset their
home there was a terrible scramble among our friends :
it was to them what an earthquake would have been to us,
scattering our work, demolishing our dwelling, and send-
ing our children and our household to wreck and ruin.
Ant number one, not being a nurse, was scampering over
the confused remains of the colony, when a baby-that is,
a larva or pupa-was discovered. Ordinary human workers,
not being nurses, might have exclaimed, "Let the nurse
look after her own business, it's no affair of mine ;" and so
the baby might have been neglected. Did you observe how
very differently the little people-who are" exceeding wise,"
you know-act ?
Taking up the helplessbaby-ant, number one scampers off
with it after a nurse, and meeting with number two hopes it
is she. Alas, no Then it asks number two to fetch one
immediately, while it retains its charge; accordingly off
runs number two, when, luckily, just like the mother and
sister of Moses, the right nurse is found at last, who,
having received the proper directions, hurries off to number
one, receiving the precious charge; then carefully putting
86 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
it to bed under the tiny bit of straw, goes off in search of
Tell me, now, isn't that a romance in real life ?
Now, do you see what I meant by ''antennal communi-
cation ? And do you see these compound organs are
to the little insects just what fingers and thumb are to
the poor deaf and dumb ? They talk with them; and you
will observe on the specimen we are still examining the
antenna articulate immediately in the creature's brain.
And how large the brain is!
The ant is not only very big-headed and big-brained,
but it makes good use of both, as you and I should do; for
it is my faith, the better we use the gifts we have received
the oftener do we get a repetition from the Giver.
Before we leave this chapter about antennal communi-
cation, let me tell you that the form of the antenna settles
the question as to whether Lepidopterous insects (that is,
"' Scale-wings," such as moths and butterflies) are really
one or the other; for whilst the latter are clubbed at the
end something like a drum-stick, the former are often
feathered and fan-like, and of forms of extreme beauty.
A very extensive page in natural history is open to the
study of him who will observe the movements of insects
in this branch of their anatomy. Much has been already
done, but the experience of all observers unites in the
opinion that when deprived of the antenna the insect is
nowhere. The singular diversity of these organs would
almost suggest to us either that insects have a sense of
which we know nothing, or else that their sense of feeling
and hearing is infinitely finer than our own; and it surely
suggests above all things what the spiritual body we shall
have may be, and that it doth not yet appear what we
shall be." You observed the antennae of our friend to
consist of eleven joints, the basal joints articulating with
the head; in those of the lace-wing fly-a creature of
bewildering beauty, whose eye when fresh caught is like
golden net-Work on dark green velvet, each of itr thousands
of eyes sparkling with the brilliancy of the finest diamond
-we may count one hundred of these antenna divisions.
And its wings. Lace-wing," indeed !-pray let us place
a piece of the very finest lace under the microscope with
an ordinary magnifying power and then compare it with
Antenna of Insects: 1, Cockchafer; 2, 3-5, 7, various ordinary insects;
S6, the House Fly; 8, Gnat; 9, Silkworm, Moth.
the wing of the fly. Behold! the wing is infinitely finer
to the eye even when magnified than the lace, while the
lace when equally magnified is considerably coarser than
Such difference is there between the works of God and
those of man.
Now, the larva of the lace-wing fly is a most earthly
creature, a grotesque grub, feeding upon plant lice, and
suggesting in its wonderful transformation-what ?
88 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
I reminded you that in his remarks upon the antenna
of Sir John Lubbock's ants, Professor Tyndall gave them
the original name of microscopical stethoscopes;' "that
would imply they were organs connected with hearing.
Atmospheric impressions are certainly received by insects
as sensibly as they are by us: a honey bee always antici-
pates the weather; the cockchafer has antennae as com-
pound as its eight thousand eyes (in each of which I can
show you your own portrait), spread out, when in use,
like a lady's fan, in five or six leaf-like appendages; it is
closed like a fan when alarmed.
Mr. Gosse tells us that after the alarm isl over this
insect pauses, widely opens the leaves of its antenna,
then, after an instant's pause to test the perceptions,
away it travels.
What suggestions are offered by such wonders in the
natural kingdom as we have here What possibilities are
You may take any insect you like: here is the honey
bee, there the house fly, there again the house cricket,
here the male gnat. Compare them with the ant, you will
observe not one is like the other ; and, in their variety,
I said there was a trinity in everything. Doesn't it
appear so in this wonderful part of an insect's body? In
the honey bee's tongue we saw a combination of trowels,
scissors, and brush; here is an instrument combining the
barometer, the telephone, and the telegraph-and these
three are one."
The curious uses to which these remarkable instruments
are applied will suggest to us that in the imago, or perfect
image of a fly, there is an amount of instinct given far
surpassing the intelligence of many men, and that was
what Solomon's friend meant when he said, The ants
are a people not strong, yet are they exceeding wise."
"The powers of memory are twofold. They consist in the actual
reminiscence or recollection of past events, and in the power of re-
taining what they have learned in such a manner that it can be called
into remembrance as occasions present themselves or circumstances
1AVE I wearied you in antennal philosophy ?
Let us come to the practical part.
An entomological friend, for whom I have
the greatest regard, assured me of the truth
of the following story :-
He went from London to Gravesend to catch night-
flying moths; some, in particular, being very fond of the
woods in that neighbourhood. He caught the female he
went in search of, and he secured his prize in a box, which
he deposited in his coat pocket. He came from Graves-
end to London Bridge by steamboat, thence he walked
to his house in the City Road: all the way from one end of
the journey to the other he was followed by several male
flies, who were courting the lady in his pocket.
Now, will you tell me how this was done ? Shall I tell
40 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
I cannot; but this novel experiment is familiar, in a
more or less practical kind, to every entomologist, and I
might repeat many instances of the extraordinary power
possessed by nocturnal moths of following and detecting
their mates in the dark.
The explanation is beyond us; it is the supernatural in
nature again. Do we leave our impressions behind us;
and may other eyes than ours see them ?
Again we exclaim, what possibilities are within us!
Mr. Coleman, in his charming little book on British
Butterflies," says: Investigators have perhaps erred by
assuming, at the outset, that antenna must be organs of
some sense that we ourselves possess; whereas I think
that there is much evidence to show that insects are gifted
with a certain subtle sense for which we have no name,
and of which we can have as little real idea as we could
have had of the faculty of sight had all the world been
"For example; if you breed from the chrysalis a female
Kentish Glory moth, and then immediately take her-in a
closed box, mind-out into her native woods, within a short
space of time an actual crowd of male Glories' come and
fasten upon or hover over the prison-house of the coveted
maiden. Without this magic attraction you might walk
in these same woods for a whole day and not see a single
specimen, the Kentish Glory' being generally reputed a
very rare moth; while so many as some 120 have been
thus decoyed to their capture in a few hours by the
charms of a couple of lady Glories' shut up in a box.
Now, which of our five senses, I would ask-even if
developed with extraordinary acuteness in the insect-
would account for such an exhibition of clairvoyance as
this ? And the author then adds, May not, then,
this undiscovered sense, whatever may be its nature,
reside in the antenna ? for it is a remarkable fact, that
the very moths, such as the Kentish Glory, &c., which
display the above-mentioned phenomenon most signally,
have the antenace in the males amplified with numerous
spreading branches, so as to present an unusually large
sensitive surface. This seems to point to some connection
between these organs and the faculty of discovering the
presence, and even the condition, of one of their own race,
with more, perhaps, than a mile of distance and the sides
of a wooden box intervening between themselves and
It is very clear that there are more things on earth
than are dreamt of in our philosophy;" but now you will
be prepared for my ant stories, drawn from life.
The first of these I owe to my friend the late Rev. W.
Faithful, Vicar of Cheshunt. Walking in his garden
there he observed the gardener had made a rut in a path
with the wheel of his barrow. Down this rut an ant was
toiling and tugging with what to it was a ponderous log
of wood, with which to contribute in the building of its
distant house. With a view of watching what an animal
so remarkable for perseverance would do if baulked in its
object, he stopped up the rut some distance before the
worker ant could reach it, making a heap of dirt appear
to the insect what an Alp would do to you or me.
The ant tugged on with its load till it reached the
mountain, then it paused and considered what was best to
be done; then it left the load, giving it up, as you would
have supposed, not feeling disposed to venture across,
such an object with such a weight. Ah no! it went to,
its fellow-ants; then quicker and quicker went their
antennme-it was an evident invitation for help; then
several came, shoulder to shoulder endeavouring to get
the log up the hill, but all in vain; till at last several
went in search of more, and their united strength at last
Here you will see what should interest you in nature,
and instruct you in duty.
42 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
Mr. Coleman, to whom I have already referred, quoting
an American naturalist, states that deprivation of a moth's
antennae interferes with or entirely annihilates the power
of flight, and that in its attempt it tumbles headlong to
the earth; and experiments made on the antennae or
"feelers," as some call them, of the queen bee, have fre.
quently resulted in ruin to the whole hive where they
have been injured.
Are you tired of my ant stories ?
Listen to another from the same respected source as
My friend, like Solomon's of old, loved to watch the
habits of these remarkable little people in his garden; and
one day he was much amused with the perseverance of a
little fellow who also was working hard with a load too
heavy for him to bear, when a breeze springing up, he
quietly picked up a dead leaf, and holding the load with
his legs and the leaf with his mouth, hoisting it up as a
sail, waited till the wind blew him and his load home
Now, if this isn't reason, pray tell me what is ? The
ant here-like the spider casting its web from the work-
shop in its abdomen, when it comes out in a glutinous
and semi-liquid form, and waiting in the structure of its
bridge till the wind shall be in the direction in which it
desires to travel-must reason upon the quarter of its
abode and the relation of that to the breeze, which might
otherwise convey it in an opposite direction.
The ants are a people:" would that other "people"
were as self-denying, and as foreseeing, and as self-
helping as they. Here's a true story as given me by
He was lying in his bath in India, when he observed a
frog on the floor. Presently bouncing into the room came
a merry bee, who immediately attracted the attention of
the frog. This class of animals, you know, feed on
insects; so the frog, thinking, I suppose, that the bee was
the right thing in the right place, made one clean leap
towards it and swallowed the insect whole.
Alas, poor frog!
What the whale was to Jonah, of course the frog was to
the bee; but-ah, that little word but "-even if Jonah
had possessed a sword, he could have made but little use of
it in that sub-aqueous world in which, through his cowardice,
he found himself; but the bee is better off, and with one
plunge he sent his poisoned blade right into the frog's
He is happy who never makes a mistake; but he is
happier who, having made a mistake, has both the courage
'and wisdom to confess and correct it. So with a great effort
the frog did to the bee just what the whale did to Jonah-
vomited him up; but the terrible words too late! "-ah,
what a lesson !-the poison got into the blood of the frog,
and while the bee was disporting himself harmlessly in
the air, none the vorse for his temporary entombment,
the frog began to swell, and presently became a bloated
My friend, the frog, and the bee were not the only spec-
tators of this bath-room adventure; an ant, up in the
ceiling corner, had been watching the fun below, when,
finding its friend the bee at liberty and the frog no more,
down it came to reconnoitre. Now we shall see what the
antenna are really for: first, the ant began to feel the
body of the frog in every direction. I suppose being
satisfied that it had nothing to fear further, and frog's flesh
being an extreme delicacy to the ant family, it would, my
friend imagined, immediately set to work and fill its own
belly with the choicest parts before it.
I can't say I quite agree with one of our learned natu-
ralists of to-day that insect intelligence is on an average
more than the equal of that of man; but I do know that
a hungry meal-hunter among my own species, finding a
44 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
choice dainty at some rich man's gate, would very quickly
have demolished all he could carry inside, and would care-
fully conceal on.his outside what remained.
What do you think the ant did ? Hurry away to its
companions, communicate the good news, and invite them
to join in the feast, and in a few minutes thousands of
them marched towards the frog, leaving nothing behind
but his skeleton.
I think, now, you will be satisfied that there is little
doubt that the antenna of insects are organs of communi-
cation, whatever else they may be, and it only remains
that I give you another illustration which will be sure to
confirm all the foregoing.
What is memory ?
This question is more easily asked than answered.
When we have passed the meridian of life, we all know
very well it is much easier to remember the event which
happened thirty or forty years ago than what may have
happened as many days ago. But then we are taught to
believe that once in from four to seven years every bit of
our physical part is taken out and built in again, so
that a man at the age of fifty has had at least seven sepa-
rate bodies-of course the brain changing with the rest.
Then how is it he can remember with brain number seven
what he did with brain, say, number two, supposing the
brain to be the seat of memory ?
This is the hardest nut you can give a materialist to
crack, for it destroys at one blow the outwork of that
chapter in infidelity.
But then it only leads us out of one difficulty into
another, for if memory be immaterial it must be spiritual;
and if spiritual, and brutes have memories, are they, too,
Perhaps the greatest living authority on ants is Sir John
Lubbock. He has many nests in his country home, and
he keeps them from running away by making a small
moat filled with water surrounding the tables upon which
the formicaries-that is, the homes of the ants-are placed;
for the scientific name for the ant family is Formicidee,
from the Latin word formica, an ant.
Well, he desired to test the memory question with some
of his ants; so, having removed a number from one of
their nests, and keeping them absent about six months,
before he returned them he made some of them quite drunk,
and then returning the whole company of absentees, sober
and drunken together, he curiously watched the result.
The undisturbed part of the colony came out to receive
the new-comers, welcomed the sober ants into their old
home, and dropped the drunken ones into the water below.
This almost surpasses belief, I must confess; but the
author of the story is, beyond doubt, worthy of all con-
Now, this little illustration of antennal communication,
belonging as it does to the instinctive chapter in insect
life, reminds us of the mysteriously thin line that separates
the instinct of the brute from the intelligence of the man,
reminding us of that passage in the oldest poem in the
world, the poem of Job: Ask now the beasts, and they
shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall
tell thee; or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee;
and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee (xii.
7, 8). You will find it profitable exceedingly to observe
the superiority of the brutes' instinct sometimes to the
human intelligence; hence, as the more mental functions
are used the stronger they become, you will wisely en-
deavour to use your intelligence more, that you may
advance in the spiritual life, and learn the true meaning
and value of the word Excelsior "
And here is a hint for you to begin with, a key to the
riddle I wish to introduce in the next chapter.
Surrounded as we are on all sides with the certainty of
our own mortality, and convinced, as all men and women
46 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
in their right minds must be, of a great future when this
life is over, wouldn't you expect they were constantly pre.
paring for the migration ?
Are they ?
Now, see what is suggested in the life of our "little
people in Siam. There the ants build on the ground,
but sometimes the places in the neighbourhood of their
nests are flooded with water. Ants cannot swim, and the
consequence of unpeareparedness would therefore be fatal.
Now what do you think the Siamese ants do ? Well, as
I suppose, they ascertain through the barometrical struck.
ture of their antennae that the rainy season is approaching,
just as our honey bees do; they then remove their resi-
dence, and rebuild up higher, constructing their habita-
tions in the trees between the branches, which of course
the water never reaches. Ask now the beasts, and they
shall teach thee "-what ?
A Worker Ant with the Family Dinner.
A Worker Ant with the Family Dinner.
Beasts, birds, and insects, even to the minutest and meanest of
their kind, act with the unerring providence of instinct; man, the
while, who possesses a higher faculty, abuses it, and therefore goes
blundering on. They, by their unconscious and unhesitating instinct
to the laws of nature, fulfil the end of their existence; he, in wilful
neglect of the laws of God, loses sight of the end of his."-SOUTHEY.
PROMISED you a story illustrative of the
mysteriously thin line that separates instinct
It is a subject which has occupied the minds
of many great men, and will till the end come, but they all
leave off just where they began; they can reason and draw
conclusions, but what makes the one, or whence the reason
of the other, no man can tell.
Nearly all the qualities and characteristics of good men
and women are found belonging to brutes: self-help, self-
denial, mutual help, affection, foreknowledge of the most
surprising kind, and the most extraordinary skill in pre-
paring for a future life.
Here is an illustration, in my own experience, in the
life of a spider.
48 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
Now, this creature has little to commend it; it has a
bad character almost from everybody. People say it is
:fierce, cunning, ugly, useless, hateful; nobody, you say, has
a good word to say for the spider.
Haven't they ?-let us see whether I haven't. One winter
month, when spiders are very difficult to find, a lady gave
me a spider's nest which she had removed from a snug
corner in her garden wall. I put this nest into a small
pasteboard box, and carrying this in my pocket all day, at
night proceeded to experimentalize on it; but imagine my
surprise on opening the box to find the heat of my body
had hatched most of the eggs during the day, and the tiny
spiders were running in every direction about my trousers
I found the egg-bag to consist of the most exquisitely
fine-spun silk, covering over about 240 eggs; and after
,clearing out the bag, again imagine my surprise on find-
ing, packed away for a foundation, a fine large dead blue-
I might detain you here some time while I related the
story of those little spiders-what I did with them, and
what they did for me; but I must only ask you to re-
flect upon the forethought and self-denial of that loving
mother, who deprived herself of a delicious meal in order
that her 240 babies might have food at hand directly they
What a lesson !" you exclaim, asking, perhaps, "And
,do all spiders thus provide for their infants ? To which
I can only reply, it is with spiders as it is with other
.animals-there are exceptions to the general rule, happily.
Of the spider's instinct compared with human intelli-
gence let me give you another illustration. A boy removed
a small spider to place it in the centre of a big spider's
web, which was hung among foliage, and distant some four
feet from the ground.
The larger animal soon rushed from its hiding-place
under a leaf to attack the intruder, who ran up one of the
ascending lines by which the web was secured.
The big spider gained rapidly on the little one, but when
the little spider was barely an inch in advance of its
pursuer, the small one cut the line behind it, so that the
enemy fell to the ground, thus affording time and oppor-
tunity of escape along the ascending web. I may remind
you that spiders are sometimes cannibal, the larger, the
female, frequently turning into web the mangled remains
of her husband shortly after the wedding ceremony is over.
But what reason is involved in this story; and remember,
insects never go to school, nor ever teach each other, nor are
they educated at home, but all their knowledge is intuitive-
that is, it is born with them.
Shall we compare the instinct of other animals than
spiders with that of ants ?
Let me first give you a curious illustration of what again
sometimes shows the superiority of the instinct in the brute
to the intelligence of the man.
Some time ago a gentleman living in the country, think-
ing his imprisoned canary would like to feel at home in
the branches of a tree, hung up the cage containing the
bird there; presently his attention was directed to another
bird chattering at the prison-bars, holding something in
its mouth, which something" proved to be a worm the
visitor to the prison had brought as a delicate morsel for
its captive friend.
Some time ago," too, a friend of mine who was travel-
ling in the country had occasion to stay in some country
town where there was a prison. It was an old-fashioned
place, and just as years ago our Fleet prison had its
prisoners placed in rooms or cells looking through the
divisions between the iron bars of the windows into the
street, so was it in the place I am describing, but the bars
were too close together, of course, to allow anything much
bigger than a finger to pass. An acquaintance of one of
50 SOLOMON S LITTLE PEOPLE.
the prisoners passing bad his attention attracted by the
other calling to him to get him some beer; but how could
a jug pass between those narrow openings ? Necessity has
been said to be the mother of invention, and certainly in this
case the parent might be cdhigratulated on the shrewdness
of her offspring, for behold The captive drinking his beer
from the small end of a tobacco-pipe which his ingenious
acquaintance had borrowed, pouring the drink into the
bowl at the outer end!
While describing the comparative instinct of birds with
ants, let me relate what happened to a countryman's dog
eating his dinner in the fields. It is quoted in Samuel-
son's Honey Bee," in a chapter 'on instinct and in.
Two crows were watching a dog gnawing a bone, of
which they were very anxious to obtain possession. The
dog, however, kept such a sharp eye upon them that they
dared not approach him openly, but one of the crows
slipped quietly round to the back of the animal and began
to peck at his tail with its beak. No sooner did the dog
turn his head to defend himself from this rear attack, than
the other crow hopped up, and, seizing the coveted bone,
flew off with it.
Here is not only an evidence of design, but a cunning
premeditated plot, and it strangely reminds me of what
happened with another description of thieves recently near
London. A pious family, having a desire that all the
members of their household should attend divine service
on Sunday evening, left the house on one occasion with no
one to take care of its contents; and on their return from
church they discovered that thieves had been on the look
out, had entered the house during their absence, decamped
with all they could carry, and on a piece of paper left
behind they had given the text for a future sermon for the
inhabitants, Watch, as well as pray "
Here's another illustration of instinct in insects curiously
resembling intelligence in man, showing that just as the
intelligence of the man may be used for a wrong purpose,
so may the instinct in the brute. My friend, a bee-keeper
in the country, fond of making observations on men and
manners, took one of his bees from one hive to introduce
it to the bees of another hive; he first covered the insect
over with a quantity of liquid sugar, then placed it in front
of the strange hive. Several of the sentinels came to over-
haul him, and others presently joined, and he was allowed
to enter. The bees had spoken to him with their antennae,
and it appeared, to use my friend's words, as if they had
said, "Ah! how d'ye do, old fellow! How very glad we
are to see you! pray come in and make yourself at home; "
but in a minute or two they showed that selfishness can
be exhibited even in a bee, for, having licked all the honey
from their visitor they then turned him out of the hive,
forbidding him to enter again.
Have you ever known the lord of creation" to act in
a similar manner ? Alas it is too commonly the case, I
fear, that intelligence may be used, like instinct, for a
wrong purpose, to accomplish a selfish end.
Perhaps this is exhibited nowhere more than in the class
of insects called the Praying Mantis" ; this word mantis,
you must know, comes to us from the Greek, and signifies
4 divine" or diviner." In Central Africa it is an object
of worship. Holding up its long front-legs as if in an
.attitude of prayer, raised like arms to heaven, it appears
the most saintly of insects ; and among the superstitions of
the poor Hottentots, -if by any chance the praying mantis
should happen to settle on his person it is considered a
.special divine favour, and the fortunate person so favoured
immediately is looked upon as a saint.
In the South of France, too, where the Mantis religiosa,
that is the praying mantis, is commonly found, they call
it Prie Dieu," believing the creature is absorbed in its
I S SOLOMON' LITTLE PEOPLE.
WATCH, AS WELL AS PRAY!"
Various Religious" Flies: a, Mantis religiosa; b, larva of same;
Sc, another, with its victim; d, its larva.
Now, what is the fact ?
This serious, this sacred, this saintly fly, which appears
so strangely pious and goqd in the constant act of prayer,
is a devout cheat, a pious swindler: it is watchingfor its
prey, and nothing else.
Have you ever watched a cat in the garden after a bird ?
Slyly and slowly she steals along till within one leap, and
then the poor unwary songster is in her mouth. Just so
with our pious insect. So slowly does it move towards the
imprudent fly that remains near to its apparently station-
ary saintship, that you can hardly see its motion; but,
presently, one leap with those heaven-directed legs and the
-victim is seized, impaled on the long, sharp spiky spines
with which the aids to devotion "(!) are furnished, and the
fly may be numbered with the things of the past.
Will you think me very uncharitable if I pass an opinion
that there are sometimes, in other places than green fields,
.creatures with reason and intelligence who very much
resemble the Mantis religiosa ?
Have you and I ever been seen by an invisible eye
among them ?
My friend the dragon -fly, that affords me so much
delight in its resurrection dress, with its twenty-four thou-
sand wonderful eyes, what a downright savage it is in life
number one; it is not much better, I am sorry to say, in
life number three. And one lesson we may learn from the
beautiful creature which our French neighbours love to
call Demoiselle is, that what we are here we shall be here-
after. And there was another lesson, too, we might have
learned from the hypocritical mantis, for, do you know,
in China the children there amuse themselves by catching
the insects during their mimic prayer-time, then putting
them in closed cages, they enjoy the spectacle of the
ferocious battles which take place between the insects; for
these fore-legs, these aids to devotion," as we have called
them, become instruments of destruction, and banging
54 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
each other about till one becomes stunned by the blows-of
the other, the business is then settled by the conqueror
biting the head off its victim.
May such be the occupation of the hypocrite in another
world, less the fatal bite ?
Now let us come back, in our lesson, to the French
demoiselles, these handsome "young ladies," as Monsieur
would have us call them, who teach us that we shall carry
our nature with us into another world.
Here is the larva of one; it is aquatic. If you look in
the front of its head you will see there a perfect mask; it
hides with it those terrible jaws which are behind. The
unsuspecting little insect that is enjoying itself in that
tiny drop of water, which is to it what the great world you
and I inherit is to us-ah how little it thinks it is in the
immediate presence of one who is seeking whom it shall
devour. Can there possibly be any harm in so innocent a
looking creature as the larva of Demoiselle ?
Wait, and you will see.
Nearer and nearer draws the leviathan towards the
animalcule, when down goes the mask just as it is within
reach, and it is another case of Jonah in the belly of
Now look at this specimen I lay on the microscope for
your inspection. It is the imago, the perfect image, of the
charming "young lady" who performed the suggestive
operation you just witnessed. Look at its gauzy wings,
Its countless eyes, its curious feet-all, mark you, as
different from its former life as one object can very well
be from another. It now inhabits, not the water but
the air; now it has organs of locomotion, too, differing
altogether from what it had in life number one. Truly was
its former life described by the entomologist as larva,
that is, a mask, for it did not appear what it should, in the
other world, be. But only let me add to our magnifying
power, and behold its body is full of its undigested meal;
Transformation of the Dragon-fly : a, the perfect insect; b, the pupa
undergoing the great change, showing the method of escape ; c and
d, life underneath in the first and second stages, as larva and pupa.
56 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
-and what does this consist of ? Why, the fragments of
very minute insects; there are the remains of the legs of
one, the eyes of another, the wings of a third, and the little
feet of a fourth.
Do you not see it has carried its nature with it into another
world ? Shall we not do so, also ?
But we are wandering far away from Solomon's little
people, you will say. Then let us return to the ant, and
perhaps there we shall discover a still deeper lesson.
In some parts of France there is an insect called the
M3yrmeleo formicarius, which being interpreted means the
"Ant Lion." As I have had some living specimens brought
me for examination, I shall give you my own experience,
truthfully but pictorially.
The larva of the ant lion is a savage, ill-looking grub,
living in sandy places where there is little vegetation and
S---- very much
Sl. sun, just the
e ta t place where a
no business to
be. We place
Di one or two
Sof the living
larvae in a
Ant Lion: The Den, the Lion at the bottom on disappear, be-
the look-out. guiled into the
belief that they are in their native soil, and prepare for
Did you observe the strange spade-shaped form of the
head, adapted for the purposes of engineering and shovel-
ling, with which the insect is endowed ? Now, watching
carefully, you will observe by working backwards in a
spiral direction, patiently but perseveringly, it succeeds in
excavating a curiously funnel-shaped kind of snare. Now,
lacking an ant, we are reluctantly obliged to take the com-
mon house fly; let us watch what takes place as the one
seeks to devour the other which we have placed on the
margin of this sandy pit. Just at the bottom of the funnel
appears a little head, a tiny black speck, nearly the whole
of the body being hidden below. The "lion" presently
sees its distant meal, and prepares to take
it. How ? Alh that is the most sin-
gular part of the story. The fly bas
four thousand eyes, i and the first object
the hidden enemy I a has in view is to blind
these eyes; so pitch- ing grain after grain
of sand into the eyes of its victim, presently
it falls down the in- cline of the snare
The Ant Lion : a, Larva ; b, Pupa ; c, Papa-case; d, the
final state, Imago.
'and is devoured.
The favourite food of this monster is ants, but only
those ants who have wandered away from home and home
duties find themselves'where the enemy abides. But-
would you believe it ?-this ant lion, after it has passed
through life number two, is one of the most beautiful four-
winged flies you can possibly imagine.
58 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
Now, what is our lesson here? Let us turn to the other
revelation. In 1 Peter v. 8 we read thus, "Be sober, be
vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring
lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
You observed how singular was the transformation of
the ant lion from life number one into life number
three; now look at 2 Corinthians xi. 14, Satan him-
self is transformed into an angel of light; and yet, once
more, the same epistle, just as if St. Paul had the ant,
lion before him, and he was thinking of the words with
which he began, his famous letter to his Roman friends.
about the visible things in one world being symbolic of
the invisible things in the other (Rom. i. 20), he wrote,
"The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them
which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of
Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
But, returning to the comparison of instinct and intel-
ligence, let us see whether man has learned the lesson of
reciprocity from the ant, or the ant from man.
You know the little green fly that infests your pretty
roses, often suffocating the breathing parts of the plant,
sucking the vital juices from the leaves, and causing the
withering up of both flowers and bud. Ah, you know
them very well! This little green fly, with its hundreds
of golden eyes sparkling like gems on ruby velvet, this is.
the Aphis of the entomologist. In Rennie's work on
" Insect Transformations," the most reliable and interest-
ing of all entomological works in our opinion, we read:
" The almost instantaneous appearance of the destructive
insects in great numbers at the same time is taken notice-
of with wonder by almost every writer. This circum-
stance, it must be confessed, gives considerable plausi-
bility to the notion of their being brought by winds; for
whence, we may ask, could they otherwise come? Simply,
we reply, from the eggs deposited the preceding autumn,
which, all having been laid at the same time, and exposed
to the same degree of temperature, are of course all simul-
taneously hatched." In the case of the aphides, also, the
fecundity is almost incalculable. Reaumur proved by
experiment that "one aphis may be the progenitor of
5,904,900,000 descendants during its life "-that is, five
and a half billions, or, to make it comprehensible, that is
upwards of four times the population of the whole globe;
and Latreille says a female during the summer months
usually produces about twenty-five a day. Reaumur
further supposes that in one year there may be twenty
generations. We ourselves have counted more than a
thousand aphides on a single leaf of the hop; and in
seasons when they are abundant, when every hop-leaf is
peopled with a similar swarm, the number of eggs laid in
autumn must be, to use the words of Good, 'myriads of
Well," but you ask, what has all this to do with our
story ? "
Everybody knows that the atmosphere has certain
effects as .well upon plants' as it has upon animals.
Amongst these effects may be reckoned the curious de-
position of a moist matter called honey-dew; whether this
honey-dew is brought by the atmosphere under peculiar
circumstances from the plant, or deposited by the atmos-
phere on the plant, it is difficult to determine. From ex-
periments made the former theory would appear to be the
more correct; if so, then it is a literal distillation of the
plant, a clear, limpid, honey-like mass of globules covering
both sides of the leaf.
Now of this sweet juice the aphis is particularly fond;
but just as the nectar in the flower has to be re-manufac-
tured in the stomach of the bee, and then brought up
again (regurgitated), before it becomes the honey with
which we are familiar, so has honey-dew to be reformed
in the little green workshop of a body of the aphis before
it can be fitted for food for ants. But here is the odd part
^*****M's t E,,E ^opL .
Aphis: One on the win.
ang a aAntno
of our story : the bee regurgitates its food-that is, pours
it forth in the form of liquid honey by its mouth, while
the aphis pours out the honey-dew through two curious
paps upon its hind-quarters.
The "little people" have discovered the whereabouts of
this delicacy; but, then, shall they kill the goose that lays
the golden egg ? They are better taught; they cultivate
the friendship of the aphides, and milk them just as we
do our cows, and in exchange for the constant supply of
this sweet honey-dew they nurse them and protect them
from the aphis' enemy, the ear-wig, declaring perpetual
war against that enemy. But ants-being, I am sorry to
say, carnivorous-will sometimes devour one another,
and though a flock of aphides should prove a delicacy,
have learned the meaning of the proverb that one good
turn deserves another, and so give as well as get; and with
their little instinct read a lesson to you and to me as to
what we, who have reason and intelligence, should do
How many lessons, not only of self-help but mutual help,
may be learned from insects generally, and our "little
people" particularly. Confirming all we have said about
antennal language, the Rev. J. G. Wood relates the
following story in his very useful little work, "The
Common Objects of the Microscope."
"I once," 'he says, "saw a very curious scene take
place at an ants' nest, near Hastings. A great Daddy
Long-legs had unfortunately settled on the nest, and was
immediately 'pinned' by an ant or two at each leg so
effectually that all its struggles availed it nothing. Help
was, however, needed, and away ran four or five ants in
different directions, intercepting every comrade they met,
and by a touch of the antenna sending them off in the
proper direction. A large number of the wise insects soon
crowded round the poor victim, whose fate was rapidly
sealed. Every ant took its proper place, just like a gang
62 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
of labourers under the orders of their foreman; and by
dint of pushing and pulling, the long-legged insect was
dragged to one of the entrances of the nest, and speedily
Here was a lesson in mutual help. Here's another in self-
help, from my own experience.
Some people's legs are a sore hindrance to them one
way, whatever help they may be in another. They walk
into temptation, and fall an easy prey to the great adversary,
who lays his snares just at the right time and in the right
manner suitable to the desires of his victims.
Standing at the parlour window one day, I observed a
large garden spider had woven its beautiful geometric web
outside the pane of glass; there it stood in the middle,
Nimrod like, "a mighty hunter." Suddenly a "Daddy
Long-legs dashed furiously on to the web, and its beautiful
wings presently became the means of its ruin.
The garden spider it is that spins a beautiful spiral line
which, in its roundabout structure, is covered with about
120,000 viscid globes, in less than three quarters of an
hour; and just what the bird-lime is to the bird-catcher,
these gummy drops are to the fly.
On those viscid globes the beautiful wings of the Daddy
Long-legs became entangled. Now was the spider's op-
portunity the fly's extremity, so rushing down upon the
prey it cleverly tied up its wings, first to prevent escape
and then to prevent further damage to its web; then it
commenced to suck the life of the unfortunate captive,
whose dried-up remains in half an hour were hanging from
the broken web, as a warning to me and to you to be con-
stantly on the look out for our greater adversary.
I have:alluded ohce to the family of one of my many
domestic pets, the common house fly, who rejoices in the
aristocratic name of Mhsca' doestica. Let me tell you
why I mention ib again.
The-smallest kndwn'organic form is supposed to be thel
The Gar ole Spider, showing the geometric lines of web.
64 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
monad. It consists, as its name implies (the word coming
from the Greek monos, alone), of one simple single cell,
an indivisible atom, measuring the T1-.th of an inch in
diameter; it belongs to the animal kingdom, and requires
a very high magnifying power to be discerned. The largest
known animal in living form we may take to be the
whale. Now, between the monad measuring the ig- th
of an inch in length, and the whale measuring 100 feet,
we may be sure amidst the hundreds of thousands of living
beings there is a half-way house.
Where do you think that half-way house is to be found?
In my friend Musca domestic, the common house fly.
It is, therefore, a great leap to jump from the ant to
the dog for a comparison of instinct, and so, in this part
of our story, we will wait for another chapter, when we
will compare instinct (with intelligence in some of the
animals that are greater, physically, than the ant as the
ant is above the monad, and should be as much below the
intelligence of the man as they are below him in stature.
"ANTS PREPARE THEIR MEAT IN THE SUMMER."
Reference has been made in the foregoing chapter to that romantic
page in entomological history, the love of the ant for the aphis.
Lest my readers should be inclined, notwithstanding the authorities
quoted, to doubt the reality of this part of my story, I will add the
experience of another prince of naturalists, Mr. Kirby, who, with his
friend and companion, Mr. Spence, has contributed the most charm-
ing pages about insect life for the study of the curious to be found in
"That ants should have their milch cattle," he writes, "is as
extraordinary as that they should have slaves. Here, perhaps, you
may again feel a fit of incredulity shake you; but the evidence for the
fact I am now stating being abundant and satisfactory, I flatter my-
self it will not shake you long.
The loves of the ants and the aphides have long been celebrated;
and that there is a connection between them you may, at any time
in the proper season, convince yourself, for you will always find the
former very busy on those trees and plants on which the latter abound;
and if you examine more closely, you will discover that their object
in thus attending upon them is to obtain the saccharine fluid, which
may well be denominated their milk, that they secrete; the French
writer Leune remarking on this subject that 'the ant. ascends the
tree that it may milk its cows, the aphides, not kill them.'"
And I may remind you here that this is just the contrary act of the
ear-wig-or ear-wing as it should be called, from the curious resem-
blance of the wing of this insect to the outward form of the human
ear-the ear-wig seeking the aphis to destroy it, and thus 'creating
perpetual war between itself and the ant.
This saccharine fluid," continues Kirby, "which is scarcely
inferior to honey in sweetness, issues in limpid drops from the
abdomen of the aphis, not only by the ordinary passage, but also by
two setiform tubes, placed one on each side just above it.
Their sucker being inserted into the tender bark, is without inter-
mission employed in absorbing the sap, which, after it has passed
through the system, they keep continually discharging through these
"When no ant attends them, by a certain jerk of the body, which
takes place at regular intervals, they ejaculate it to a distance; but
when the ants are at hand, watching the moment when the aphides
emit their fluid, they seize and suck it down immediately. This,
however, is the least of their talents, for they absolutely possess the
art of making them yield it at their pleasure; or, in other words, of
milking them. On this occasion their antennae are their fingers;
with these they pat the abdomen of the aphis on each side alternately,
moving them very briskly; a little drop of fluid immediately appears,
which the ant takes into its mouth. When it has thus milked one
it proceeds to another, and so on, till, being satisfied, it returns to
"But you are not arrived at the most singular part of this history-
that ants make a property of these cows, for the possession of which
they contend with great earnestness, and use every means to keep
them to themselves. Sometimes they seem to claim a right to the
aphides that inhabit the branches of a tree or the stalks of a plant;
and if stranger ants attempt to share their treasure with them they
endeavour to drive them away, and may be seen running about in a
great bustle, and exhibiting every symptom of inquietude and anger.
Sometimes, to rescue them from their rivals, they take their aphides
in their mouth; they generally keep guard round them, and when the
branch is conveniently situated they have recourse to an expedient
66 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
more effectual to keep off interlopers; they enclose it in a tube of earth
or other materials, and thus confine them in a kind of paddock near-
their nest, and often communicating with it.
The greatest cow-keeper of all the ants is one to be met with in
most of our pastures-I mean the yellow ant. This species is not
fond of roaming from home, and likes to have all its conveniences.
within reach, usually collecting in its nest a large herd of a kind of
aphis that derives its nourishment from the roots of grass and other
plants; these it transports from the neighboring roots, probably
by subterranean galleries, excavated for the purpose, leading from
the nest in all directions; and thus, without going out, it has always
at hand a copious supply of food.
These creatures share its care and solicitude equally with its own
offspring. To the eggs it pays particular attention, moistening them
with its tongue, carrying them in its mouth with the utmost tender-
ness, and giving them the advantage of the sun. This last fact I
state from my own observation; for once, upon opening one of these
ant-hills, early in the spring on a sunny day, I observed a parcel of:
these aphis eggs, which I knew by their black colour, very near the
surface of the nest. My attack put the ants into a great ferment,
and they immediately began to carry these interesting objects down
into the interior of the nest.
It is of great consequence to them to forward the hatching of these
eggs as much as possible, in order to insure an early source of food
for their colony; and they had doubtless in this instance brought
them up to the warmest part of the dwelling with this view.
Our yellow ants are equally careful of their aphides after they are
hatched; when their nest is disturbed conveying them into the interior,
fighting fiercely for them if the inhabitants of neighboring formi-
caries, as is sometimes the case, attempt to make them their prey;
and carrying them about in their mouths to change their pasture, or
for some other purpose. When you consider that from them they
receive almost the whole nutriment, both of themselves and larvae,
you will not wonder at their anxiety about them, since the wealth
and prosperity of the community is in proportion to the number of
their cattle."-(Kirby and Spence's Entomology," pp. 334-35, 1858.),
The observations of the above worthy naturalists, whose fascinating
chapters are sermons and addresses as eloquent as the first ever
preached in his church, or the second ever delivered in the Royal
Society, refer to the care ants have for their young.
"The most determined despiser of insects and their concerns,"
they write--" he who never deigned to open his eyes to any other part
of their economy, must yet have observed, in spite of himself, the'
remarkable attachment which the inhabitants of a disturbed nest of
ants manifest towards certain small white oblong bodies with which
it is usually stored. He must have perceived that the ants are much
less intently occupied with providing for their own safety than in
carrying off these little bodies to a place of security. To effect this
purpose the whole community is in motion, and no danger can divert
them from attempting its accomplishment. An observer having cut
an ant in two, the poor mutilated animal did not relax in its affec-
tionate exertions. With that half of the body to which the head
remained attached it contrived, previously to expiring, to carry off ten
of these white masses into the interior of the nest !
You will readily divine that these attractive objects are the young
of the ants in one of the first or imperfect states. They are, in fact,
not the eggs, as they are vulgarly called, but the pupae, which the
working ants tend with the most patient assiduity.
These, which are so small as to be scarcely visible to the naked
eye, as soon as deposited by the queen ant, who drops them at random
in her progress through the nest, are taken charge of by the workers,
who immediately seize them and carry them in their mouths, inces-
santly turning them backwards and forwards with their tongue for
the purpose of moistening them, without which they would come to
nothing. They then lay them in heaps, which they place in separate
apartments and constantly tend until hatched into larve ; frequently
in the course of the day removing them from one quarter of the nest
to another, as they require a warmer or cooler, a moister or drier
atmosphere, and at intervals brooding over them as if to impart a
genial warmth" (p. 206).
Within the brain's most secret cells
A certain lord of justice dwells,
Of sovereign power, whom one and all,
With common voice, we Reason call."-CHURCHILL.
Oh, Reason who shall say what spells renew,
When least we look for it, thy broken clue!
Through what small vistas o'er the darkened brain
Thy intellectual day-beam bursts again;
And now, like forts, to which beleaguerers win
Unhoped-for entrance through some friend within,
One clear idea, waken'd in the breast,
By Memory's magic lets in all the rest."-LALLA ROOKH.
OLUME S have been written about dogs. The
instinct of the animal is its great attraction,
and if it has learned some of the vices of men
it has also learned much of their virtues; but
has a dog ever built such a wonderful house as either the
bee or the ant ?
Have you ever observed a dog making its bed? It
turns round and round, and at last, comfortably covering
its head in its tail, it goes off to sleep. That is the habit
peculiar to its wild nature which through ages of civiliza-
tion it appears never to lose; but give it straw upon
which to sleep, and then compare its self-made'bed with an
ants' nest or a bees' hive, and you will see how much
better it is to have little brains and make good use of
them, as an intelligent being, than to have much and to
use them badly.
I have given you several illustrations of mutual help
in the history of the ant; now to compare one with the
other, let me give you one of the dog.
A personal friend, and a great lover of nature, living in
the crowded streets of the West End of London, once had
a highly intelligent dog named Jerry; he was the dog
of the place, if not the dog of the period. I knew him
well, and among others Jerry was always amongst the
first to give me a hearty welcome. Jerry's department
was downstairs in a subterranean kitchen, and to reach
this a flight of some twenty stone steps had to be trodden.
A poor beggar-dog was one day found at the top of the stairs
asking alms of his more fortunate companion, and Jerry
was actually seen taking from his own provision, up all
those steps, to his hungry relative, whom he wouldn't
allow to come into the building, a bone with which to
satisfy his appetite; then telling him in canine language
to go about his business.
Now, shall we compare that with another illustration
taken from another animal's experience, and then draw
our conclusion ?
A clockmaker was once employed to make a clock for
the Temple, in Fleet Street, very near to where Jerry
lived. An inscription was required for the clock. Many
people like inscriptions on their clocks; here is one on
the pendulum of mine-
SNOOW IS THE ACCEPTED TIME."
Before the clock was brought home the maker came and
70 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
waited for the inscription; but the chief of the office, not
knowing the man or his errand, ordered him off, saying,
" Go about your business." So the simple fellow, supposing
this was the motto to be put on his clock, engraved the
words, Go about your business," which so tickled the
fancy of the owner that it was allowed to remain.
Now, compare this language of a dog with the antennal
language of an ant, in its use as respects self-help, with the
use which we should make of our intelligence, and then
our story will have a moral.
Here is another like it in its lesson of sympathy and
Another friend had a French dog, who, like Jerry, was
a terrible enemy to cats. One cat, left in the house, was
the object of his intense hatred, upon whom he repeatedly
made very savage attacks, so that at last it was thought
necessary to part them, illustrating the truth of the saying
of other animals than cats and dogs, who sometimes,
nevertheless, lead a regular dog-and-cat kind of a life.
The chief characteristic of the enmity between the
animals now mentioned was that the dog would never
allow the cat to eat her meals in peace, not only disturbing,
but robbing her of her food.
One day the cat became the mother of several kittens,
and to keep them from her angry enemy the dog, they
were deposited in a lower drawer under the side-board of
the kitchen, where the mother nursed her little charge.
As soon as she took possession both of her family and the
drawer, she was seen to go boldly up to the dog; when
presently the latter was seen to go, accompanied by the
cat, up to the drawer wherein the family was hidden,
and both dog and cat looked in, and the dog appearing
perfectly to understand how matters stood never again
interfered either with meals, cat, or kittens.
Here was, undoubtedly, a mother's appeal; it was irre-
sistible, and it will fairly compare with the ant seeking a
nurse for the little ones and with the spider who gave us
the useful lecture upon self-denial.
It is an old saying that "Reason is the glory of human
nature, and one of the chief eminences whereby we are
raised above the beasts in this lower world." And, again-
"Man is not the prince of creatures,
But in reason; fail that, he is worse
Than horse, or dog, or beast of wilderness."
But do not brutes reason ?
Some years ago an old man had to attend to an old
horse in the stable; giving him corn from the loft above
he fell through on to the stable floor, and there lay insen-
sible. The horse was loose; they had been old friends for
many years together, and had you been there you would
have seen the poor brute taking up his dead friend by the
clothes, and walking with him in his mouth to his family.
Wasn't this something very much like reason ? Another
horse had every week to carry home a drunken driver
from a country market. The lord of creation was too
far "gone," as it is said, to guide the brute, and more
than once on the homeward journey he rolled quite out
of his cart, and there lay in the roadway. Now wouldn't
you have said, after he had received warning after warn-
ing, "Let him alone till he come to his senses; 'as he
has made his bed, let him lie on it ? &c. What do you
think the brute did ? Stood across the man's body, having
him under his four legs, and thus protected him every
time till assistance arrived, when he was restored to the
Wild beasts will exhibit the same character of reasoning
in a lesser or greater degree. The Bombay ape, found in
large numbers in Gibraltar, has a strange fancy that its
little ones should appear with clean faces and nicely-
combed hair; but it has neither soap and water, nor towel,
nor brush nor comb with which to accomplish the toilet.
7! SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
Then how is it done ? It fills one hand with its own
spittle, rubs it well in with the other, and gives the finish-
ing touch with the bushy end of its tail, using its claws as
You would naturally expect to find a wonderful amount
both of affection and decision in the elephant, and so you
do; the remarkable eye of this survivor of a former world
is indicative of great regard for its species, while its
natural history exhibits the most untiring energy perhaps
of any quadruped.
In the Zoological Gardens, recently, a large female
elephant had a calf, which she was bringing up with
maternal solicitude. Now this calf was possessed with a.
spirit of obstinacy, and disliked the necessary bath as
much as other babies too often do. The mother was
observed to do all that a mother either could or should,
and, at last, finding every other power fail, she was seen
deliberately to take hold of her baby with her huge trunk-
which we are told has so many as forty thousand muscles,
that is one hundred times as many as you and I have in our
whole bodies-and throw it into the water to give its hide a
thorough cleansing. But before this, my friend, who re-
lated this story to me as the result of his own observation,
observed the old mother roll the baby elephant over and
over in the mud of her bath, then casting it into the water
as described; and on asking the keeper for an explanation,
it appeared that the juvenile elephant was swarming with
fleas, and the mother, trying without effect to get the little
one into the water that they might be got rid of, threw
her baby in, first having the forethought to smother the
parasites in the mud.
Now contrast this once more with the ant. The nurses,
without any experience-for there are no "Florence
Nightingales" amongst them-the nurses at once go
about their business;" and if I were to transcribe the
duties of nurses for their instruction, as soon as it is
decided they should devote their lives to that profession,
this is something like what it would be. But as sometimes
the nurses become workers, and the workers nurses,
neither saying "it is no business of theirs," as in members
of another family it is sometimes said, we may include
both services under one.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR ANT NURSES AND WORKERS.
To collect stubble, wood, leaves, &c., with which to form.
To build the nest in such manner that it may be im-
pervious both to wind and water.
To excavate tunnels from the summit, the number of
tunnels to depend upon the population who shall have toi
To take care the apertures of these avenues are not
large enough to admit an enemy, and barricade all the
entrances, finally closing the outer entrance with leaves.
In the morning to clear away these barricades, but to
leave sufficient to protect the nest in the event of rain or
of threatening weather.
To erect special chambers as nurseries for the larve
and pupae, communicating with each other by galleries.
To deposit eggs in these nurseries, and when they
become larvae to form a body-guard specially to defend the
infant ants as they are passing from one life to another,
and to be prepared with a ready sting to attack all
To feed the larve, and, above all things, to take care the
strength of the food is exactly suited to the age of the
To ascertain the state and condition of the weather,
and to communicate the fact of its general character to the
world below; and when the weather is settled and clear to
bring out the infants, placing them in such position that
they may receive the rays of the sun.
74 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
To see they are never out for this airing for more than
a quarter of an hour at a time, and to take care they are
put into their cradles again; and then again in the after-
noon to take them out for a short season for the same
purpose as before.
To cleanse the larva, and keep free from all impurity,
by licking over every part of its little body.
To watch for the proper time to assist the pupa from
the case in which it is entombed, and to cut the silken
cocoon made by the larva carefully with the mandibles,
first scraping away the silken texture, inserting the point
of the mandibles into the aperture, using them as other
animals do a pair of'scissors, cutting across the cocoon in
a direct line.
To assist other nurses and labourers in the delivery of
the perfect insect, and to keep it on its arrival into the
world for which it had previously been prepared; and
while some are employed cutting open the cocoon, others
are gently to assist the new-born ant, so that its wings
may not be damaged as it is being drawn into life.
When the perfect ant first comes into the world, to
smooth down its antenna, palpi, legs, wings, and body, and
to help it to stand on its six feet; to cleanse its eyes in
the front of its head, and to encourage it by fond caresses.
To remove the empty cocoon and the remains of the old
body to the extremity of the nest, and to watch with the
greatest care over the new-born insect.
To attend them in their wanderings about the nest, and
to direct them through the dark tunnels and chambers in
which their future life is to be spent.
When a portion of the old colony shall decide upon
migration, to watch the females as they disrobe themselves
of their wings, and to offer assistance to such as shall
decide upon becoming nurses to the families, and especially
to honour the queen, and to excavate a small chamber for
the especial occupation of her majesty.
Lastly, to form bands of press-gangs for the purpose
of kidnapping the workers of other tribes, and, treating
them kindly, to compel them to labour for the rest, pro-
viding them with food and lodging in exchange for their
work. To select the black ants only for such purpose.
To appoint scouts to ascertain the exact position in
which a colony of negroes are to be found, and to see they
return and report their successes; and then to constitute a
grand body of soldiers, headed by a constantly replenished
guard; and, when arriving at the destination, to surround
the negro colony, then the foremost to commence the
attack, to slay the black sentinels should they offer resist-
ance; then quietly to wait the out-turn of the invaded,
who will be greatly alarmed by the report of the attack
without. To follow up the attack by tearing open the
sides of the ant-hill and rushing into the midst of the
citadel; then to secure the infant pupe, and to retire with
the captives, bearing the living burden tenderly home.
On arriving at home, to treat the slaves with care and
attention in return for their labours; to see they repair
the nest, excavate passages, collect food, feed the
"superior larve, take the young out for an airing into
the sunshine, and perform every office which the welfare
of the colony may require.
Now, tell me, don't you think Solomon was right when
he wrote, Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her
ways and be wise ? whilst his friend said, The ants are a
people not strong, yet are they exceeding wise;" and if an
insect can use its instinct in so wonderful a manner, how
much more should we learn to use our intelligence ?
But, do we ?
This chapter is an inquiry: do not such cases as we
have just read supply an answer ?
The boundary-line between the highest type of instinct
and the lowest of intelligence is very small indeed; man's
76 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
true reason begins where the brute's highest type of instinct
leaves off. Polished steel," says Foster, will not shine
in the dark; no more can reason, however refined, shine
efficaciously, but as it reflects the light of divine truth
shed from heaven."
Brutes, in a state of nature, exhibit very few of the
higher orders of instinct they exhibit after living in the
company of their captors. No, they learn from him;
sometimes the more viciously inclined borrow his bad
parts, while the gentle imitate his virtues.
Some time ago, in Paris, there was a shoe-cleaner by one
of the Seine bridges who earned his living by cleaning
the boots of passengers. It was remarked by many that
very soon after their boots had been cleaned and paid for
a mud-bespattered dog ran over them in a neighboring
street, rendering a second cleaning, and therefore a second
payment, necessary. You will easily guess whose dog this
was, and who had taught him to improve his instinct, so
that he became a conspirator.
We read in Proverbs vi. 6 that the ant "provideth her
meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the
harvest." Although in our own country we do not find
Solomon's description of ant economy answer this charac-
ter, in the East it is otherwise, where grain and other
food is stored up for future use by the ants.
The Arabians, it is said, held the wisdom of the ant in
such veneration that they used to place one of these insects
in the hand of a newly-born infant, repeating the words,
" May the boy turn out clever and skilful! "
But while complimenting "the little people" on their
wonderful amount of wisdom, and while considering their
economical habits in providing for the future, teaching us
that we may show our intelligence to the greatest advan-
tage by making provision for the great future before us,
do let me say a word for a monkey.
The story I would tell came to me from one who was
the chief actor, a name well known in the literary world.
This gentleman occupied some of his time every Sabbath
in a Sunday-school, and he promised his boys a day's
treat at the Zoological Gardens; so one day he and his
boys were on their way to Regent's Park.
I must first give you my friend's portrait. His face
was large and round, he had two loving eyes, round and
bright, an enticing mouth, and plenty of nose. Now these,
with bushy hair and a couple of well formed ears, you
know, would all go to make a very respectable appearance.
Do you think that brutes are good judges of character ?
Do you think the face is the index of the mind ?
I believe brutes are very good judges, and that they
judge by appearance, and that sometimes they reason.
Well, my friend, remembering his own boyhood, pro-
vided himself with a quantity of nuts, intending them for
the monkeys. On arriving at the big monkey-house, and
looking upon the frolics of the tribe inside, one very small
animal came to the fore-part of the cage and looked very
hard into the face of my friend; he was so very small a
specimen, this monkey, that he might have gone into a
The gentleman, pulling some nuts from his pocket,
presented one to the little monkey, who after taking it
looked seriously into his donor's face; then he paused as
if considering, then he put his arm through the wires and
returned the nut to him. "How very unmonkey-like,"
you say. But stop ; much astonished at this, my friend,
looking first at his boys, then at the monkey, exclaimed,
Why, I declare, I think he means me to crack it for
him !" Whereupon, cracking the nut, he re-presented the
kernel to the monkey, who devoured it forthwith.
My friend then presented the little fellow with a second
nut, with exactly the same result; then a third, and a
fourth, till at last he said, Now, little man, if you want
any more, you will have to crack them for yourself."
78 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
And what happened next ?" you will ask. After
waiting some time, and finding he had got all he could,
the second chapter in this monkey-story begun. The
monkey ran up into a corner, where, in a little box, was
his home; from thence he hurried down to the friend
below, who was wondering what would happen next, when,
lo and behold the little fellow had some uncracked nuts
concealed up there, one of which he brought down, pro-
senting it to my friend to be cracked. But now look at
The monkey did not stay to eat this nut, but, hurrying
up to his little house, deposited the cracked nut there,
bringing several uncracked nuts down, and again conceal-
ing the kernels as before.
Very much interested this kind man was, you may be
sure; and wishing to know what all this meant, he ascer-
tained from the keeper that the little fellow had such bad
teeth that he couldn't crack a nut; that many came, and
offering him nuts then withdrew them, and he had a
decided objection to being made a fool of; that, looking
into the large, kind face of my friend, he judged him
trustworthy, and that, after getting all he could for his
present use, he remembered that a to-morrow was coming
when his old tormentors might deal very differently with
him to the generous friend who was now supplying his
necessities; so with those saved from yesterday he
provided for to-morrow, by hiding them away in the
corner of his house.
We know Solomon was fond of monkeys, because we
read (1 Kings x. 22) the king, Solomon, once in three
years, brought home from the east, ivory, and apes, and
peacocks; and as the very next verse tells us he exceeded
all the kings of the earth for riches and wisdom, you may
be sure he gained something in the study of his monkeys
as well as his ants.
Two of the noblest qualities of man you must have
observed were called into action in the monkey-memory
What is memory ?-what is reason ?
A few months ago some correspondence appeared in one
of the best of our London newspapers on the wonderful
instinct of dogs. One writer, who sends his name and
address, writing about the wonderful power dogs have of
remembering and calculating time, says this power was
possessed in a remarkable degree by a mastiff attached to
a school not many miles from London, whose inmates are
roused every morning at six o'clock by "iRollo tugging
at the bell immediately he hears the clock strike the hour.
On Sunday he will not do this till an hour later, when
the family indulge in an extra hour's rest, on that day not
rising till seven o'clock. Rollo also took the boots and
shoes, some twenty pairs, round to their proper rooms,
perplexed when a new comer appeared, but quietly first,
delivering all the rest, leaving the strange shoes till the
last, and then depositing them at the vacant door.
Here, as in the monkey case, there is both memory and
Doubtless both had made the best use of their instinct;
and equally true it is that we, too, succeed or fail in life just
in proportion as we make good use of that higher and holier
quality and faculty we possess in having a reasonable and.
immiaortal soul enwrapped within the shrine of a superior
To him that hath (used the intelligence given him)
shall (more) be given; but to him that hath not (used it),
from him shall be taken even that which he hath (not
Physiologists tell us the more we use the brain in reason
the bigger it gets. We certainly know the more we use our
arms the larger and stronger they become; notice the
difference between the muscle of a man who works with a,
hammer and another who works with a pen.
80 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
Here, then, is a hint for the exercise of our intelligence.
Reason and memory we found belonging both to the
dog and the monkey in a remarkable degree; so do they
to the little people. I have heard of one of the many
tribes-for upwards of seven hundred varieties are believed
to be known-which has a special fancy for the little eggs
of an aphis which deposits them upon sprays of grass.
But here, first, let me ask your attention to another act in
another insect, and then contrast the different application
of the same thing in both, and tell me whether the instinct
in the little people does not come fully up to the two
remarkable cases mentioned in the monkey and dog.
When the queen bee marches from cell to cell to people
the hive, the nurses and workers accompany her; they
form a body-guard, and should her majesty make a
mistake-for even royalty is not infallible-and put a
worker egg in a drone cell, or vice versai, for there are
drone cells differently made to worker cells, then the
attendants remove and replace them. But another mistake
sometimes happens: the queen lays more eggs than are
wanted; there are more eggs than cradles to put them in.
Now, they must perish or be wasted; so that neither
disaster shall happen, the workers eat them up. Now I
suppose they would not do this were they not fond of
these new-laid eggs; what self-denial then must they
practise as they carefully see that every egg is depostted,
the right thing in the right place. Here is both reason and
self-denial, two of the noblest qualities exercised : and now
contrast these with the little people.
The species that has a fancy for the little eggs of the
little green aphis that deposits its eggs in the autumn on
the sprays of grass, you would suppose, by analogy, would
either remove them to their nest to be enjoyed there, or
feast upon them on the spot. Nothing of the kind, my
dear : the insect that would ultimately come from that tiny
egg is a particular friend of the ant, very useful to it in
its summer life, for 'the ant uses it in the same way and
for the same purpose exactly as we do our cows, as already
described in another place; and it knows that by nourish-
ing the eggs during the ensuing winter it will be amply
repaid in the next summer, and so it bestows great care in
providing them with house-room in the dark nurseries,
which form an important part of the ant-colony.
But the aphis when born will require food, and the
mother aphis, who, without any experience or instruction,
remember, deposited her eggs on the sprays of grass, left
them where that particular species of aphis would find the
particular nourishment it would require; then how shall
the food be brought to the aphis, or the aphis to the food ?
Now comes the most remarkable part of our story. When
the warm summer weather comes the ants remove the
aphis eggs from the winter home back to the sprays of grass,
and thus the aphis is preserved and the ant rewarded.
We are contrasting the instinct-with its power of
reasoning-of the insert with the quadruped. Which do
you think has the best of it-not forgetting the bulk of
brain and body of the one animal compared with that of
the other ?
Perhaps you will remind me of a dog of whom we have
heard who was sent to fetch a dinner home from the
beer's, and who, on meeting with a larger and fiercer
animal than himself, and knowing he should be no match
for him, and that his master would certainly lose his
dinner, while his adversary would beat him in a fight and
devour it, suddenly was observed to pause before the
enemy got too near, then ate it all up himself.
If this be a true story I fear it was a very shrewd
excuse, and that the reasoning power of the dog was used
for a bad purpose, as we too often find in another family.
This has been a long chapter, this comparative illustra-
tion of instinct and intelligence; but I hope it shows to us
the reason why it is written, "Ask now the beasts and
82 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
they shall teach thee," and why the sluggard is sent by the
king to the ant to learn wisdom. I think I shall have
proved to you that, without .doubt, the antenna of insects
have all to do with that wonderful power they possess,
which in man we call reason, and that it is by using what
they have they become as wise as they are.
An Ant's Method of Defence. The body is erected, the abdogn
bent upwards, and formic acid ejected in the direction of e
adversary, producing a smarting effect.-(See page 119.)
An At'gMetod o Deenc. Te boy i ercted th aboil
"As a little silvery circular ripple, set in motion by the falling
pebble, expands from its inch of radiance to the whole compass of the
pool, so there is not a child-not an infant Moses-placed, however
softly, in his bulrush ark upon the sea of time, whose existence does
not stir a ripple, gyrating outward and on, until it shall have moved
across and spanned the whole ocean of God's eternity, stirring even
the rivers of life and the fountains at which His angels drink."-ELIHu
FTER the various illustrations in our last
chapter you may naturally inquire-Then are
brutes responsible for the exercise of their
mental powers ?
That is it which separates them from man. No; in
many remarkable instances they know right from wrong;
that is the culminating point of their reasoning power;
they cannot but act as their instincts direct them. Man
has that within him which not only in every case, if he
will but listen, will silently but surely tell him whether he
is doing that which is right in the eyes of another, but he
has, and he only, the power of self-control; the intelligence
bestowed upon him as the head of creation is given him
that he may be the master of himself, holding the reins
84 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
of all his passions and desires, and governing all the
members of the wonderful house he lives in.
Brutes die and are done with, notwithstanding the
theory that their spirits will live in another world; which
theory, however, is much more reasonable than the Dar-
winian doctrine, teaching that men came from monkeys,
wearing off their tails by sitting so much, and that the
tall neck of the giraffe is attributable to its stretching it
out so much in browsing on the branches of trees; but
both speculations are older than the Christian era, and
both are opposed to that dear old Book to which alone we
owe all our knowledge of truth.
No; man alone is responsible, because he alone has the
everlasting spark of divine life implanted within him;
man alone has a truly human soul.
All knowledge comes from experience, and experience
comes from observation. Now that brutes do observe, and
that very closely, is undeniable. Before leaving the story
of instinct and intelligence, I would like to refer to some
animals of whom it has been reported that they have
learned to mimic man in a singular manner; as of a re-
spectable dog, for instance, who would never think of such
a wicked thing as stealing, but who joined a thief in the
shape of a disreputable cat, on the sly, sharing the meal
which she had stolen, with her.
Was this the result of merely animal observation ?
should like to know the natural history of the family
where this brute passed his puppyhood.
Dogs, like men and women, have their likes as well as
their dislikes. While employed in writing this story much
correspondence is taking place in the daily papers about
" The Lewes Dog."
Here is a case, the truth of which is attested by several
travellers by name on the London, Brighton, and South
Coast Railway, where a fox-terrier for several years spends
all his time in travelling up and down the line, settling.
himself in the guard's carriage, sometimes going to Ports-
mouth, sometimes to Horsham, sometimes only to a nearer
-station; but the most remarkable part of his arrange-
ments was, that he always contrived to get to Brighton in
time to go by the last train that left there for Lewes, where
he invariably slept, leaving again by the first train in the
morning. As the writer of one of the letters wisely remarks,
it certainly shows an immense amount of instinct and
observation, and the regularity and punctuality of' Jack's'
daily life is a lesson to many a two-legged traveller." The
writer of another letter, confirming the truth of the above,
adds that the dog, adopted by the railway company, and now
decorated with a collar bearing the inscription, JACK-
London, B. and S. Coast Railway Company," has his
private apartments at Croydon, Three Bridges, Tunbridge
-Wells, and Eastbourne.
What a remarkable illustration this, both of reason and
Let us contrast it with another amongst the insects.
One of the men working on a line of railway, passing a
nest of wild bees, thrust a stick into the nest and dislodged
the bees. They waited his return, waylaid him, and
picking him out from all the men who accompanied him
'rom work, so severely stung him that he died from the
fects in a few days.
And while we are thinking of those qualities upon the
proper use of which so much of human happiness depends,
let us think of the affections. You have seen Landseer's
touching picture of "The Chief Mourner." It is the centre
-of a Scotch shepherd's cabin. The chief article of furni-
ture in the humble apartment is a coffin, over which is
thrown a black pall. A true Scotch hound is looking up
to the coffin-lid, in which the body of the master he loved
so well, and followed so long and so faithfully, is reposing;
and, with a sorrowing eye, the poor brute is waiting and
watching for his return.
86 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
Do you wonder that one day when I stood looking, not
at, but into, this picture, I had to brush away two or three
tears from my eyes ?
That is a true picture of a dog's affection. Yours and
mine should be like it, but of a higher and nobler nature;
and woe be to us, for we are responsible for their higher
and nobler use, if we don't use our affections aright.
Have the little people sympathy with or love for one
another ? I can answer most decidedly, Undoubtedly."
They love and obey a living queen and respect a dead one.
I can tell you of one instance where an ant, drowning
in some water into which it had accidently fallen, was
rescued by several of its family uniting themselves to each
other by their legs, forming a living bridge, when another
hurried over their bodies and dragged the half-dead insect
to land, when they all began licking it into life again, till
it became perfectly restored.
Love for the Master! Ah, what a lesson is taught us
by the lower orders of animal life in this respect : Love for
the Master. Have you ever been to Edinburgh ? liA the
chief thoroughfare of that Athenian-like metropolis there
is a bronze fountain, erected by that noble lady the
Baroness Burdett-Coutts. It is to the memory of Grey-
friars Bobby." And who, you will say, was he ? A pool
man's best friend, who was faithful even unto death, foj
after living with his master for many years, when the
latter was buried in the interesting old churchyard of
Greyfriars, poor "Bobby," who saw the coffin lowered
into the grave, would never, and did never, leave it ; but
for several years watched and waited, like Landseer's dog,
by the grave of him he had loved and followed, till there
he died. He was daily fed by the admiring neighbours,
and the kind-hearted Baroness has taught us a practical
lesson whenever we look at the figure of Greyfriars Bobby
at her Edinburgh fountain, or when we hear the touching
Like it is another story, the object of which I witnessed
many years ago. A large Newfoundland dog, whose
master had committed suicide by leaping from the parapet
of London Bridge, morning after morning was seen by me,
amongst many others, to visit the scene of its master's folly,
and, standing on the parapet, look longingly and sorrow-
fully into the fatal water below, then mournfully retire.
How much of human nature there is in all this And
when we read the sarcastic question which Hazael put to
Elisha, "Is thy servant a dog that he should do this great
thing ? (2 Kings viii. 13), we wish that many who call
themselves men by reason of their intelligence equalled
the dog in its instinct.
It is recorded of a fine pair of chimpanzees in the Phila-
delphian collection, who lived in constant matrimonial
happiness and seclusion, that one morning the female
dying suddenly the male ape broke out into a truly Asiatic
lamentation, tearing his hair, and with a bitter howl, unlike
any cry the keeper had ever heard from him before, lament-
ing his beloved mate. While he cried he was observed to
lift up the fallen head and the lifeless fore-paws of his com-
panion, all the while howling most piteously.
We say of each other-we, according to Darwin, we
superior apes-that "absence makes the heart grow
i der;" so did our very distant relative in my story. His
grief by no means passed away with the body of his friend,
and he would never again sit in the cosey corner where he
and his wife had so long dwelt in constancy and affection.
You will see where the great difference lies between the
man and the brute. The former anticipates affliction, and,
so far as he can, applies for and obtains the remedy; this
the latter never does because it never can. I once heard
of a decidedly exceptional cat, who, on the drowning of
her young family of kittens, after exhibiting an unusual
amount of anxious concern and sorrow, in the course of a
few days suddenly ceased, and, being missed, was found
88 SOLOMON S LITTLE PEOPLE.
hanging between the forked branches of a tree, in which it
was supposed she had ended her life by suicide.
Before we leave this portion of our story let us think of
the ass, supposed to be as stupid as any quadruped, and
which has given birth to a variety of disagreeable epithets.
When properly trained he will become a very obedient and
useful brute, as we learn from the following anecdote.
A Spanish peasant living in the suburbs of Madrid, who
had long been in the daily habit of selling milk to his
numerous customers, and whose donkey was the bearer of
the milk-cans, was one day taken ill. How should the
customers be supplied ? The wife suggested the donkey
should be laden as usual, and allowed to go on the daily
round alone. Accordingly the donkey started, having tied
to his ears a piece of paper, upon which the thoughtful
woman had taken care to write that the customers were to
help themselves to their usual quantity, and replace the
measures. The donkey accordingly started on his milky
way," vith everything in order, stopping at all the houses in
their regular order, and returned at night with the cans
empty; and it was found that of all the customers he had
to supply he had not neglected one, and that in some
instances, when kept too long, he had actually pulled the
bell-handle with his teeth.
We are not told how the poor ass managed if the serva4s
left their empty jugs at the street door to be filled, as they
sometimes do; but two lessons are taught in the story, the
sagacity of the donkey, and the honesty of the customers.
I greatly fear, from my London experience, that such an
experiment in my neighbourhood would never answer,
either with the beast or the milk.
You may tell me the force of habit is so great that
animals, like man, act instinctively, not intuitively. Now
these words want digesting before we can really understand
what they mean. Let us, then, look at them. Instinct
means a mental power or faculty by which, independent of
all instruction or experience, animals do what they do. By
intuition we understand that power by which the mind
perceives the truth of things without reasoning about them :
immediate perception may define in two words the meaning
of the word intuitive."
But the lower order of animals have a combination
both of instinct and intuition. Wanting a word exactly to
express what this combination is, perhaps we may describe
it as "intuitive instinct." Here is an illustration : it is an
instinct of the honey bee-to collect nectar and pollen with
which to make honey, and other material with which to
elaborate wax. The former, the honey, is deposited in the
comb in summer to supply food for the winter; and the
latter, the wax, is necessary to construct the storehouses in
which the sweetmeat is to be treasured.
In some parts of California there are flowers all the
year round. There is no winter there, and I learned from
one who was familiar with the fact, that in the early
history of that splendid country they could not get the
bees to make honey; there were plenty of bees, but all
they could do the Californians could not prevail upon the
insects to make more than enough to last them for the
day. A friend to whom he mentioned this interesting
circumstance was highly amused, and, laughing at the
sto&y, complimented the bees on their good sense, ex-
claiming, Who likes to eat preserved meat when he can
get any amount of fresh!"
Here was reasoning and intuition combined. These wise
insects, you see, were ready for the occasion; there was
something more than instinct in what they did.
Who would expect to find a like power or faculty in that
very disagreeable creature our large garden slug, who,
with its 26,800 teeth, commits such havoc with our plants
and vegetables ?
A friend living at Croydon told me, very recently, that
having been pestered by a large number of these creatures
90 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
he was advised to cover his garden paths with cinders, to
which the slug family has a decided aversion. He did so,
but still they found their way to his favourite beds. He
was puzzled to find how their soft bodies could crawl over
such an alpine way as he had made for them, so-gave
some dark hours to watching, and was amazed to find
they made a pathway first of dead leaves, laying down
first one, then walking over that to and with another,
until at last the whole breadth of the path was covered
with leaves upon which they crossed over.
Now, compare this with the ant whose story I told you,
who, having a load too heavy to carry, and not choosing
to leave it, patiently waited till the wind blew him and his
load home together by reason of his improvised sail,
formed of a dead leaf held up by the stalk, and tell me,
could any animal amongst the highest kind have acted
wiser or better ?
In concluding our long story about instinct and in-
telligence, a subject which has occupied the minds of
thoughtful men since man began to think, and will till
there is no one left to think, let us learn one or two
lessons, and then revert to the little people in their home
duties and pleasures.
I observed a dog the other day from my dining-room
window; he wanted to get through an outer gate which
led to his kennel, but which the wind had effectually
closed. He made several ineffectual leaps up at the latch,
which stood about six or eight feet above him. Finding
the reaching and lifting of the latch to be impracticable,
the dog watched till a passer-by approached. I watched
the dog then quietly go up, waggle his tail, and look first
toward the face of the stranger, then toward the latch.
The person at once understood the request, and of course
immediately admitted the animal.
Another day I stood in a wine-merchant's cellar in the
city. A large black cat was on the floor; she had a desire
to reach a very high shelf on which were packed, close
together, a number of empty bottles, standing upright.
There appeared to me no possibility of the cat reaching
this elevation without a smash. As I narrowly watched
her I could see very plainly she was measuring the
distance from the floor to the shelf, as first she looked
downwards, and then upwards; and at last one leap and
there she was, and no sound, neither one bottle knocking
May we not learn a lesson here, remembering the words,
" Ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee ?
From the dog I learned a lesson of patience and civility.
Both are cheap commodities; they cost nothing, but they
From the cat I learned a lesson of caution. Pussy's
motto was what I wish yours to be, "Look before yoe
A lady I know very well, accustomed to ride a horse
which would allow no one else to sit upon him, explained
to me as a secret how this was done. She was of such a,
nervous constitution she dared never go about in the dark
alone, and yet she had conquered that restive horse of
hers. How? By taking with her, whenever she went
into the stable, a bit of sugar, for which her horse had a
From this I learn that you can do more with the
tongue than you can with the fist; and as honey is more
palatable than vinegar, so is a kind word better than
an angry one A word spoken in due season, how good
I once gave an elephant a penny, which he took readily
with some of the forty thousand muscles which Cuvier says,
make up that singular trunk of his. A man was standing
by, selling three brown cakes for a penny. Of what use
was an idle coin to the beast ? About as much use as
it would have been to you. No, the money was useful to
02 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
the owner only for the good it would enable him to do;
the greatest good to the elephant was food, so tapping
the vendor of the cakes with his trunk and tendering the
penny, he first received one cake, then a second, and the
seller of gingerbread neglecting the third, the elephant
reminded him, in a truly elephantine manner, that he had
not faithfully executed his contract, and refused to go
until he received the amount in full.
From this I learn what I was reminded of in an old
English market-place some years ago, where was a couplet
to this effect-
Who'd seek to find eternal treasure,
Must use no guile in weight or measure."
"Nature is a friend to truth," says our poet, and he
who is not above receiving instruction from such humble
teachers as dogs and cats, and ants and elephants, will
discover the true meaning of the Bible language, Ask
now the beasts, and they shall teach thee." So let us
now hear what our little heroes teach us in their lessons
of home-life, where, far from cities, under the shadows of
our old green woods, they love best to dwell.
"THE LEWES DOG."
Since this part of the story was written poor Railway Jack" has
come to grief; but the extraordinary amount of good sense displayed
in his suffering, and the extraordinary amount of sympathy exhibited
toward him, has only brought his singular life more prominently
before the public.
To the kind-hearted family of J. P. Knight, Esq., the General
Manager of the railway, I am indebted for the following particulars:
Attention was first drawn toward the dog about three years ago;
he would follow no one out of the Company's livery, but was the
friend of all the officers in its employ. Having a free pass to all the
trains he enjoyed an excursion every day, spending almost all his
-daily life in travelling. One day an account was kept of his move-
ments. Starting from his native place, the Lewes station-the station-
master there being Jack's owner-by the 7.27 a.m. train, he left for
Falmer, where he just alighted to say good morning to the officials;
he then returned to Lewes by the next train, leaving again for New-
haven in the 10.15 tidal train, getting home at 11.12; he then started
for Hastings by the 11.35 train, returning to Lewes at 3 p.m., and,
after resting, left for London by the 6.13 p.m. train, leaving the City
for Lewes by the last train at 9.30, sleeping, as usual, at home.
Fond of the seaside, Jack would sometimes visit Brighton, com-
pleting the triangle by changing carriages for Hayward's Heath,
thence reaching Lewes. He would lie still on the line, carefully jump-
ing on to the platform on the approach of a train, and coolly walking
under the carriages when the train was standing still at the station.
Jack's misfortune happened about the beginning of the present
year, 1882. He had been absent from home for several days, when he
was brought back with one of his legs completely crushed. An altera-
tion had been made on the platform of the Norwood Junction station
unknown to Jack. Previous to this, whenever the dog was on one
side and wanted to reach a train starting from the other, he would, in
the proper manner, pass under the line through the tunnel; but this
time the platform alteration seems to have caused him some con-
fusion, and regardless of the caution, "It is dangerous to cross the
line," poor Jack jumped on to it just as a train was passing, and,
falling under the engine, his left forefoot was severely fractured. He
was taken to a neighboring surgeon, who bound up the broken limb
and sent him home; there, under the influence of chloroform, the
broken leg was taken off. He was constantly watched and well cared
for, the only person who was excluded from his company being his
master, his presence being feared to be too exciting at a time when
the greatest quiet was necessary. Messages and telegrams from many
quarters arrived inquiring after Jack's welfare. Miss Knight, who
has favoured me with these interesting particulars, together with a
photograph of the dog, writes (June, 1882), "I have just seen poor
Jack, who is now well again, but has not been allowed to travel since
his accident, as the strain of long standing on his three legs is
rather too much at present. It has been proposed to get him an
indiarubber leg." I am told that Jack's last public appearance at
Lewes was when he returned from a wedding (my informant does not
say whether canine or otherwise) at Berwick, when he arrived gaily
bedecked with ribbons in honour of the event.
He exhibited the most extraordinary patience in the amputation of
the limb, licking the hands of the operator, and evincing every token
94 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
Jack's longest recorded journey was from Paris to Scotland. So
indicative of good sense is his photograph, that any lover of dogs,
without any knowledge of his character, looking into his intelligent
face would 'ay, He's no fool! "
Round his neck he wears a fine new shining silvery collar, on which
is engraved, "I am Jack, the L. B. and S. C. Railway dog. Please
give me a drink and I will then go home to Lewes. This collar
was presented by Mrs. J. P. Knight, Brockley."
An Ordinary Labourer.
"It has been well said that in the book of Nature is written in the
plainest character the existence of a God which revelation takes for
granted ; of a God how full of contrivance I how fertile in expedients !
how benevolent in His ends! At work everywhere-everywhere, too,
with equal diligence, leaving nothing incomplete; finishing the hinge
in the wing of an insect as perfectly as if it were all He had to do;
unconfounded by the multiplicity of objects, undistracted by their
dispersion, unwearied by their incessant demands on Him; fresh as
in that day when the morning stars first sang together, and all nature
shouted for joy."-JESSE.
l N a former part of our story I told you there
are a great variety of ants. Sir John Lub-
bock perhaps the first authority on the
habits of this insect in our day, and to whom
I am personally indebted for much of the matter here in-
troduced, and who has very kindly authorized its use-
tells us there are upwards of seven hundred kinds in the
warmer regions; even in our own country he knows of
nearly thirty different species.
He has upwards of thirty nests, belonging to about
twenty species, and he says that no two species are
identical in their habits.
96 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
We can make many observations about bees in the day-
time by means of Marriott's. glass hives-which we very
strongly recommend you to see when you visit the Crystal
Palace, where Mr. Marriott will oblige you by showing
you the queen, whilst her great colony all turn with their
faces towards her majesty as she passes amongst them;
but our difficulty with the little people is that they prefer
working in the dark. In my garden are two large vases;
the pedestal and the leg of the vase is hollow. The ants
have chosen these vases, unfortunately for us, in the hollow
parts, and they have tunnelled the paths and hollowed out
the subjacent earth, and made themselves quite at home,
making daily excursions to their favourite aphis and our
Ants are the gipsies of the insect world; they beg,
borrow, and, I am sorry to add, they steal.
Perhaps you will ask me what good do they ? If no
other good, surely the lessons they teach would more than
counterbalance the little harm they do. How much
more we think of the effect of a good teacher of music,
for example, than we do of the harm of his not scraping
his boots in dirty weather when he comes to give us a
Yes, ants are the gipsies of the insect world; they have
their fancies for particular localities, and their restless,
roving natures are very much like those of the ancient
I have explained to you how the ant passes through a
trinity of life, first appearing as larva, then pupa, then imago
-words signifying "mask," "mummy," and "perfect
image;" and in the ant's duties I have briefly directed
your attention to the varied employment both of workers
and nurses. At different stages of growth in larva state,
ants require different food and different temperature. Sir
John Lubbock says, I have observed, also, that they are
very often sorted according to age. It is very curious in
my nests to see them divided into groups according to
size, so that they remind one of a school divided into five
or six classes."
Amongst the varied duties of an ant's life is that of
watching the proper
time when the re-
lease should come,
when the chrysalis -
case should be re-
moved, and a free
passage made for the e_
perfect insect to
escape from the tomb
in which it had been A Nurse carrying a Pupa.
Unless the nurses properly discharged this important
part of their duty the helpless infant ants must perish,
for, baby-like, they cannot help themselves, nor extricate
themselves from their perilous condition. It is very
pretty," says Sir John, to see the older ants helping the
larve to extricate themselves, carefully unfolding their
legs and smoothing out their wings with truly feminine
tenderness and delicacy."
The queen bee is the only perfect female, and while the
subjects insist upon one monarch only reigning at a time-
though they bring up several royal princesses to take her
place in case of an accident-ants have several perfect
females in the nest at the same time; but by far the greater
part of the colony consists of workers, or imperfect females,
males, and a few perfect females.
Let us now look at a couple of wood ants (Formica rufa)
under our microscope. The first thing that will attract
your attention will be that one is winged and the other
wingless. When the perfect insect emerges from the
pupa in which its future life has been masked" or
hidden, the nurses, as you have already heard, carefully
98 SOLOMON'S LITTLE PEOPLE.
unfold the wings and straighten the legs. As soon as the
members of the increased colony discover their family is
getting too large they migrate to another locality, and the
new-born ants then use their wings in flight ; this applies
more particularly to the males and females. They settle
down upon the plants which are near to their future
abode. Before they left the old home the workers, those
patient labourers, might have been seen feeding them, and
to be very solicitous about their welfare ; now running from
one to another, as if conscious the hour of their departure
was at hand, they again and for the last time offer them
food; then they have been seen touching each other with
their antenna, as if taking a long and last farewell. In a
moment there would have been some extraordinary excite-
ment, the word of command has been given--" Forward! "
and the winged males and females have disappeared on
their way to another home.
One of the greatest observers of these interesting insects
declares that the workers seem to be assured of the ap-
proaching flight-making their exit easy by clearing away
every impediment, forming many apertures in the ant-hill
to give ready passage to the crowd that are about to
When they have departed these willing workers reclose
the entrances, lest some enemy should steal in, and again
resume their work.
It were an easy as well as a happy thing to draw a
lesson from all this. The little people are, you see,
" exceeding wise" in their preparation for the future:
would that big people were equally wise. The ant fully
realizes what it was born for and why, and that there is
a higher life in which its future is to be passed. What
gospel preachers, in a literal sense, these patient workers
are How they help their brethren and sisters in the work
before them! How self-denying, how persevering in well-
doing, how impatient of delay, how remarkably decided!