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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 mouth.
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.
“Do you not perceive that we are caterpillars, born to form the angelic butterfly?”—AN ITALIAN Poet.
“We shall be changed."-ST. PAUL.
AT 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 running 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 insect
Seen from these skies,
What a hustle,
And a bustle !
So tall and thin,
And so pinched in, Just in the pismire taste ! ” Dr. Watts, too, you remember, describes the ant as an emmet
“ These emmets, how little they are in our eyes ;
· Without our regard or concern :
Some lesson of wisdom might learn."
The ant belongs to the order of insects termed Hymenoptera, 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, the ichneumon. · It will be interesting to illustrate the comparative instinct 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 deyoured its own body, which remained in the other part !
Life begins with the ant in the egg; so it does in everything. 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,