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INDUSTRY! Yes, the little busy Bee is an emblem of industry. He appears to be always at work, and never seems tired. Perhaps this was why the Emperor Napoleon had the saddle-cloth of his horse, and all the things about his carriage studded over with golden bees. But, alas! that wonderful man was busy in doing mischief. The little Bee is always busy in doing good. I hope you will imitate the working bee, and not the great Emperor. But let me tell you a little more about this industrious little creature.
The Working Bee is about an inch in length; its colour is brown, and the chief part of its body is covered with hairs; it has four wings, six legs, and the thighs are covered with bristles.
À hive of bees may be said to resemble a populous city, containing some thousands of inhabitants. The city is in itself a monarchy. There is the Queen, and there are also the Drones and the Working Bees. The latter are most numerous. After they have stopped up all the holes in their hives, except the place of entrance, they build their cells of wax, which are shaped like a thimble, and each cell is hollow, and of a size sufficient to admit a pea. These cells have each six thin sides, and a great many of these united close together are called the honey-comb. Between the combs there is a space left sufficiently wide for two bees to pass each other, and there are besides smaller passages left to enable them to get readily at every cell. It is said that they can, in twenty-four hours, construct a comb with double cells, fitted to accommodate 3000 bees. The bees are very careful in polishing the sides of each cell. They then fly abroad and alight upon the opening flowers, from whence they sip the sweet juices. After thus obtaining a few drops of honey, they swallow them, and then collect more in the same manner, till their stomachs are full, they then return directly to the hives, and empty the honey out of their stomachs into the cells; they industriously continue for many hours the same employment of collecting honey and filling the cells of their combs. After the cells of a comb are all full, if the honey is intended to be preserved for use in winter, they work over them a thin covering of wax. If
the cells are designed for nests to breed young ones, the Queen Bee goes to each cell and leaves an egg in it. The working bees then cover these nests over with thin wax. A day or two after the eggs are laid in the cells, the shell of each is broken and a small maggot appears ring, and lying softly on a bed of whitish coloured jelly, on which it begins to feed. The working bees then attend to it with surprising tenderness and anxiety. When the maggot is full grown, which occurs in about six days, the bees closely stop up its apartment with wax to preserve it from injury. After a few days more it undergoes its last change, and then it breaks through its cell and appears a complete winged insect in a very feeble state, but in a few hours it gets sufficient strength to fly about.
When a vast number of young bees are thus produced, the hive proves too small for them, and they are forced to leave it, and they fly away in a close body, which is called swarming, and soon settle on the branch of a tree, or on a wall, whence they are swept off into other hives, which they soon adopt, and fill with the produce of their diligence.
Bees will not allow any other insects to remain in their hives, but they either drive them out, or kill and carry them out. If a poor ill-fated snail happens to creep in, it is attacked on all sides and stung to death. But how are they to carry out so heavy a burden? this would be impossible, and as the bees cannot endure the putrid smell of the snail's body, they fly out of their hives and collect a quantity of glue from the trees, with which they so completely cover the snail's body as to prevent any smell arising from it.
Honey is a sweet and fluid substance, which is produced by the industry of the bees, and is an article which mankind find very useful for various purposes.
Yes: honey is one of the sweetest things in the world; but I know what is far sweeter, and so, I hope, you do. If you do not, turn to your Bible and look at the nineteenth Psalm, and you will find what it is.
THE STAR-LIT SKY.
RESPLENDENT scene of shining orbs!
In wonder and delight;
Call’d from primeval night.
Pois'd in the ambient air!
And fix'd their stations there?
To wash our guilt away;
Shall wither and decay.
And reason drops her helm;
The borders of His realm.
THE SLAVE'S CONDUCT EXPLAINED.-A slave in one of the West India Islands, originally from Africa, having been brought under the influence of religious instruction, became 80 valuable to his owner on account of his integrity and general good conduct, that his master employed him to assist in the management of his plantation. On one occasion, his owner wishing to purchase twenty additional slaves, employed him to make the selection from those who were offered for sale. Soon after commencing his examination of those who were in the market, he fixed his eye intently on an old decrepit slave, and told his master he must take him for one. The master was greatly surprised, and objected, but the slave entreated so earnestly for this indulgence that the offer of the seller to add the old man to the twenty, without increasing the price, was accepted. The newly-purchased slaves were conducted to the plantation, and placed under the charge of the slave who had made the selection. On the poor old decrepit African he bestowed uncommon care; he took him to his own habitation, and laid him on his own bed; he fed him at his own table, and gave him drink out of his own cup; when he was cold he carried him into the sunshine, and when he was hot he placed him under the shade of the cocoa-nut trees. The master, astonished at the careful attention bestowed by him upon his fellow-slave, interrogated him on the subject. “Is that old man,” said he,
your father, that you take so much interest in him ?" "No, massa," answered the poor fellow, “he no my fader.”