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an octave of two notes of purest silver; garbling the sound which our very, then a varying strain of eight or ten very forefathers uttered when they saw notes, so sweet and powerful, so indi- a spectre or hobgoblin. They called it vidual and meaningful, that it might bugge, or even bwg; but then, they were stand for some wonderful motif in a more afraid of spectres in those days great opera. I shut my eyes, and I was than we are, who imprison will-o'-thedeaf to all other sounds while the wren wisps in Very lights, and rub fox-fire on sang. And as it dwelt on the last note of our watch-faces. At any rate, here was a its phrase, a cicada took it up on the bug who seemed to ill-deserve his name; exact tone, and blended the two final although, if the Nibelungs could fashnotes into a slow vibration, beginning ion the Rheingold, why could not a bug gently, and rising with the crescendo of conceive a rainbow? which only an insect, and especially a Whenever a human, and especially cicada, is master.
a house-human, thinks of bugs, she Here was the eternal, hypnotic tom- thinks unpleasantly and in superlatives. tom rhythm of the East, grafted upon And it chances that evolution, or natsupreme Western opera. For a time my ural selection, or life's mechanism, or
, changed clearing became merely a fate, or a creator, has wrought them sounding-box for the most thrilling of into form and function also in superlajungle songs. I called the wren as well tives. Cicadas are supreme in longevity as I could, and he came nearer and and noise: one of our northern species nearer. The music rang out only a few sucks in silent darkness for seventeen yards away. Then he became suspi- years, and then, for a single summer, cious, and after that each phrase was breaks all American long-distance recprefaced by typical wren-scolding. He ords for insect's voices. To another could not help but voice his emotions, group, known as Fulgorids, gigantic and the harsh notes told plainly what heads and streamers of wax have been he thought of my poor imitation. Then allotted. Those possessing the former another feeling would dominate, and rejoice in the name of lantern flies, but out of the maelstrom of harshness, of they are at present unfaithful-vestal tumbled, volcanic vocalization, would bugs; indeed, it is extremely doubtful if rise the pure silver streamof single notes. their wicks were ever trimmed or light
ed. To see a big wax-bug flying with III
trailing ribbons slowly from tree to tree
in the jungle is to recall the streaming The wren slipped away through the trains of a flock of peacocks on the wing. masses of fragrant Davilla blossoms, The Membracids most of all deserve but his songs remained and are with me the name of bugges, for no elf or hobgobto this moment. And now I leaned lin was ever more bizarre. Their legs back, lost my balance, and grasping and heads and bodies are small and the old stump for support, loosened a aphid-like; but aloft there spring minabig piece of soft, mealy wood. In the rets and handles and towers and thorns hollow beneath, I saw a rainbow in the and groups of hairy balls, out of all heart of the dead tree.
reason and sense. Only Stegosaurus This rainbow was caused by a bug; and Triceratops bear comparison. Anand when we stop to think of it, we other group of five-sided bugs are the realize how little there is in a name. skunks and civet-cats among insects, For when we say bug, - or, for that guarding themselves from danger by an matter, bogy or bug-bear, — we are aura of obnoxious distillation.
Not the least strange of all this as- have draped a big pile of bubbles semblage is the author of our rainbow around the beak of an insect-eating in the stump. My awkwardness had bird, and watched it shake its head and broken into a hollow, which opened to wipe its beak in evident disgust at the the light on the other side of the rotten clinging oily films. In the north we bole. A vine had tendriled its way into have the bits of fine white foam which the crevice, where the little weaver of we characteristically call frog-spittle; rainbows had found board and lodging. but these tropic relatives have bigger We may call him toad-hopper or spittle- bellows, and their covering is like the bug-or, as Fabre says, 'Contentons- interfering mass of film that emerges nous de Cicadelle, qui respecte le from the soap-bubble bowl when a pipe tympan.' Like all its kindred, the is thrust beneath the surface and that bubble-bug finds Nirvana in a sappy delicious gurgling sound is produced. green stem. It has neither strong flight The most marvelous part of the nor sticky wax, thorny armature nor whole thing is that the undistilled well gas-barrage, so it proceeds to weave an that the bubble-bug taps would often armor of bubbles, a cuirass of liquid overwhelm it in an instant, either by film. This, in brief, was the rainbow the burning acidity of its composition, which caught my eye when I broke or by the rubber coating of death into open the stump. Up to that moment no which it hardens in the air. Yet from rainbow had existed - only a little this current of lava or vitriol our bug light sifting through from the vine-clad does three wonderful things: it distills side. But now a ray of sun shattered sweet water for its present protective itself on the pile of bubbles, and sprayed cell of bubbles; it draws purest nourishout into a curved glory.
ment for continual energy to run its Bubble-bugs blow their froth only bellows and pump; and simultaneously when immature, and their bodies are a it fills its blood and tissues with a pundistillery, or home-brew, of sorts. No gent flavor, which in the future will be matter what the color, or viscosity, or safeguard against the attacks of birds chemical properties of sap, regardless of and lizards. Little by little its wings whether it flows in liana, shrub, or vine, swell to full spread and strength; musthe bug's artesian product is clear, cles are fashioned in its hind-legs, which, tasteless, and wholly without the pos- in time, will shoot it through great dissibility of being blown into bubbles. tances of space; and pigment of the most When a large drop has collected, the brilliant yellow and black forms on its tip of the abdomen encloses a retort of wing-covers. When, at last, it shuts air, inserts this in the drop, and forces down its little still and creeps forth it out. In some way an imponderable through the filmy veil, it is immature amount of oil or dissolved wax is ex- no longer, but a brilliant frog-hopper, truded and mixed with the drop - an sitting on the most conspicuous leaves, invisible shellac, which toughens the trusting, by pigmental warning, to adbubble and gives it an astounding glu- vertise its inedibility, and watchful for tinous endurance. As long as the abdom- a mate, so that the future may hold no inal air-pump can be extended into the dearth of bubble-bugs. atmosphere, so long does the pile of bubbles grow until the insect is deep buried,
IV and to penetrate this is as unpleasant an achievement for small marauders On my first tramp each season in the as to force a cobweb entanglement. tropical jungle, I see the legionary army ants hastening on their way to battle, and consequently always in deep shadand the leaf-cutters plodding along, ow, was pure white. The eaves, catchwith chlorophyll hods over their shoul- ing high lights, were black. ders, exactly as they did last year, and All this marvelous merging with the year preceding, and probably a leaf-tones went for naught when once hundred thousand years before that. an advance Eciton scout located the The Colony Egos of army and leaf-cut- nest. As the deadly mob approached, ters may quite reasonably be classified, the wasplets themselves seemed to at least according to kingdom. The realize the futility of offering battle, former, with carnivorous, voracious, and the entire colony of forty-four nervous, vitally active members, seems gathered in a forlorn group on a neighan intangible, animal-like organism; boring leaf, while their little castle was while the stolid, unemotional, weather- rifled — larvæ and pupæ torn from
, swung Attas resemble the flowing sap their cells, and rushed down the stems of the food on which they subsist — to the chaos that was raging in the vegetable.
Ecitons' own home. The wasps could Yet, whatever the simile, in the case guard against optical discovery, but of both of these colonies of ants, the net the blind Army Ants had senses which of unconscious precedent is too closely transcended vision, if not even scent. drawn, the mesh of instinct is too fine, Late that night, our lanterns showed to hope for any initiative. This was the remnants of the Eciton army wanmanifested by the most significant and dering aimlessly about, making near spectacular occurrence I have ever ob- approach impossible, but apparently served in the world of insects. Some two lacking any definite concerted action. years or more ago I studied, and reported At six o'clock the next morning I was
I upon, a nest of Ecitons, or Army Ants. starting for a swim, when, at the foot Eighteen months later, apparently the of the laboratory steps, I saw a swiftly same army appeared and made a sim- moving, broad line of Army Ants on ilar nest of their own bodies, in the safari, passing through the compound identical spot above the door of the out- to the beach. I traced them back unhouse, where I had found them before. der the servants' quarters, through two Again we had to break up the tempo- clumps of bamboos, to the out-house. rary resting-place of these nomads, and Later, I followed along the column killed about three quarters of the colony down to the river sand, through a dense with various deadly chemicals.
mass of underbrush, through a hollow In spite of the tremendous slaughter, log, up the bank, back through light the Ecitons, in late afternoon, raided jungle - to the out-house again; and a small colony of Wasps-of-the-Paint- on a large fallen log, a few feet beed-Nest. These little chaps construct yond the spot where their nest had been, a round, sub-leaf carton-home, as large the ends of the circle actually came toas a golf-ball, which carries out all the gether. It was the most astonishing requirements of counter-shading and thing, and I had to verify it again and ruptive markings. The flattened, shad- again before I could believe the eviowed under-surface was white, and dence of my eyes. It was a strong most of the sloping walls dark brown, column, six lines wide in many places, down which extended eight white lines, and the ants fully believed that they following the veins of the leaf overhead. were on their way to a new home; for The side close to the stem of the leaf, most were carrying eggs or larvæ, al
1 See the Atlantic for October, 1919. though many had food, including the
larvæ of the Painted-Nest wasplets. Spirit of the Army was helpless. Along For an hour at noon, during heavy the normal paths of Eciton life he could rain, the column weakened and almost inspire endless enthusiasm, illimitable disappeared; but when the sun return- energy; but here his material units ed, the lines rejoined, and the revolu- were bound upon the wheel of their tion of the vicious circle continued. perfection of instinct. Through sun and
There were several places which cloud, day and night, hour after hour, made excellent points of observation, there was found no Eciton with indiand here we watched and marveled. vidual initiative enough to turn aside Careful measurement of the great cir- an ant's breadth from the circle that he cle showed a circumference of twelve had traversed perhaps fifteen times. hundred feet. We timed the laden Eci. Fewer and fewer now came along the tons, and found that they averaged two well-worn path; burdens littered the to two and three quarters inches a line of march, like the arms and accousecond. So a given individual would trements thrown down by a retreating complete the round in about two hours army. At last, a scanty single line and a half. Many guests were plodding struggled past — tired, hopeless, bealong with the ants - mostly staphy- wildered, idiotic, and thoughtless to the linids, of which we secured five species: last. Then some half-dead Eciton straga brown Histerid beetle, a tiny Chalcid, gled from the circle along the beach, and several Phorid flies, one of which and threw the line behind him into was winged.
confusion. The desperation of total The fat Histerid beetle was most exhaustion had accomplished what neamusing, getting out of breath every cessity and opportunity and normal life few feet, and abruptly stopping to rest, could not. Several others followed his turning around in its tracks, standing scent instead of that leading back toalmost on its head, and allowing the ward the out-house; and as an amoeba swarm of ants to run up over it and gradually flows into one of its own pseujump off. Then on it would go again, dopodia, so the forlorn hope of the great keeping up the terrific speed of two and Eciton army passed slowly down the a half inches a second, for another yard. beach and on into the jungle. Would Its color was identical with the Ecitons' they die singly and in bewildered armor, and when it folded up, nothing groups, or would the remnant draw tocould harm it. Once a worker stopped gether, and, again guided by the superand antennæd it suspiciously; but aside mind of its Mentor, lay the foundation from this, it was accepted as one of the of another army, and again come to line of marchers.
nest in my out-house? All the afternoon the insane circle Thus was the ending still unfinished, revolved; at midnight, the hosts were the finale buried in the future - and in still moving; the second morning many this we find the fascination of Nature had weakened and dropped their bur- and of Science. Who can be bored for a dens and the general pace had very ap- moment in the short existence vouchpreciably slackened. But still the blind safed us here, with dramatic beginnings grip of instinct held them. On, on, on barely hidden in the dust, with the they must go! Always before in their excitement of every moment of the nomadic life there had been a goal - present, and with all of cosmic possibilsanctuary of hollow tree, snug heart of ity lying just concealed in the future, bamboos; surely this terrible grind must whether of Betelgeuse, of Amoeba, or end somehow. In this crisis, even the of ourselves? Vogue la galère!
ERANT ENIM PISCATORES
BY HARRISON COLLINS
The last rays of the setting sun gild- ins, — Jusan and Eisan, — thirteen
ed the distant camel-hump of Hieizan; and twelve years old respectively; Juup the valleys crept the soft fingers of san so fat that his eyes were completely a Japanese night. Spring was abroad invisible behind horizontal slits; Eisan, in the air, in the bat fluttering over the tiny, wraithlike, the dormitory's insurrounding paddy-fields, in the yel- imitable mimic (when Addison was not low evening-primroses already abloom; present), charter-member of that unieverywhere save in the young foreign versal brotherhood of contemporaries teacher Addison's heart. On his shoul- whose idea of the last word in humor ders rested a terrible responsibility; and calls for the intimate association of a as the bell for evening prayers clanged chair, a dignified older person, and a through the dormitory, the perpendic- tack or a pin. Hirose San, an overular cleft in his conscientious forehead grown, somewhat stupid-looking boy deepened, and he grappled anew with of seventeen-big-headed, moon-faced, his latest disciplinary problem. thick-lipped — loomed beyond. Then
How to present the matter in the Kuroda San, baseball fan and fielder, most favorable, most compelling light sat silent and somewhat bored by his
that was the question. He watched friend Ouye San, also seventeen and felthe shadows outside lengthen. Well, low admirer of Mr. Babe Ruth. The he'd put it up to these Japanese boys pair, with their sun-baked hawk counjust as he had to the fellows at the Col- tenances, would have made excellent lege 'Y' six months before, at home. American Indians, had they worn They ’d understand. Things certainly blankets instead of kimonos. Yagi San, could n't continue to go on as at pres- of the same age, – a pretty boy, pale, ent, from difficult bad to intolerable with almost infantile features, - was
finding the place in the hymnal for Below stairs, stumbling to a chair be- little Fujimura San- a newcomer from ,
a yond the ping-pong table and baby- Osaka, apple-cheeked, fourteen years organ, he sat down on a baseball glove, old. Kawazura San, tall, lean, humorthat may or may not have got there by less, a good student, carrying his sixmistake, just as Yagi San screwed a
teen years as a Buddha carries his new bulb into its socket and flooded the centuries, sat sphinx-like, ready to bedisorderly room with light. He watch- gin, his large eyes staring. Stunted ed the boys absently, as with tattered Inouye San, his neighbor, fifteen years hymnals and much flapping of indoor of age, at seven o'clock was already sandals they drew up into the usual nodding, half asleep. Last, completing circle, giggled, and subsided into vivid the circle, sat good, faithful, handsome, silence.
manly Suzuki. (The adjectives were all There were ten, in all, present. First, applicable, thought Addison.) He was to the left wriggled the Koyama cous- nineteen and would be graduated next