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flavour of the Hymettic honey ; for the exiled plant, which, according to this author, never flourished but in the neighbourhood of the ocean, languished for the barren rocks of Attica and the native breezes of its own blue sea.' And the honey of the Hymettus has not departed with the other glories of old Greece, though its flavour and aroma are said to be surpassed by that of neighbouring localities once famous from other causes. While the silver-mines of Laurium are closed, and no workman's steel rings in the marble-quarries of the Pentelicus, the hum of five thousand bee-hives is still heard among the thyme, the cistus, and the lavender which yet clothe these hills. “The Cecropian bees,” says C. Wordsworth, “ have survived all the revolutions which have changed the features and uprooted the population of Attica :” though the defile of Thermopylæ has become a swampy plain, and the bed of the Cephisus is laid dry, this one feature of the country has remained unaltered :
“ And still his honey'd store Hymettus yields,
The free-born wanderer of thy mountain-air.” The honey here collected used to be reserved for the especial eating of the archbishop of the district, and few travellers could even get a taste of it. Such was the case a few years ago : we presume the purchase of the Hymettus by a countryman of ours, Mr. Bracebridge, who has also built him a villa there, must have tended to abolish the episcopal monopoly.
It has been often discussed whether a country can be overstocked with bees; we believe this is quite as certain as that it may be over-peopled and overmanufactured. But that this is not yet the case with regard to Britain, as far at least as bees are concerned, we feel equally sure. Of course it is impossible to ascertain what number of acres is sufficient for the support of a single hive, so much depending on the season and the nature of the herbage; but, nevertheless, in Bavaria only a certain number of hives is allowed to be kept, and these must be brought to an establishment under the charge of a skilful apiarian, each station being four miles apart, and containing 150 hives. This is centralization and red-tapery with a vengeance ! A story is told that in a village in Germany where the number of hives kept was regulated by law, a bad season had nevertheless proved that the place was overstocked from the great weakness of all the stalls in the neighbourhood. There was but one exception. This was the hive of an old man, who was generally set down as being no wiser than his neighbours, and this perhaps all the more because he was very observant of the habits of his little friends, as well as careful in harvesting as much honey as he could. But how came his hive to prosper when all the rest were falling off? His cottage was no nearer the pasture ; and his garden, though he grew a few beeflowers, was not larger than the rest. He certainly must have bewitched his neighbours' hives, or made “no canny” bargain for his own. Many were the
whisperings and great the suspicions that no good would come of the gaffer's honey thus mysteriously obtained. The old man bore all these surmises patiently; the honey-harvest came round, and when he had stored away just double what any of the rest had saved, he called his friends and neighbours together, took them into his garden and said—“ If you had been more charitable in your opinions, I would have told you my secret before
This is the only witchcraft I have used :"
and he pointed to the inclination of his hives—one degree more to the east than was generally adopted. The conjuration was soon cleared
the sun came upon
his hives an hour or two sooner by this movement, and his bees were up and stirring, and had secured a large share of the morning's honey, before his neighbours' bees had roused themselves for the day. Mr. Cotton, who gives the outline of the story which we have ventured to fill up, quotes the proverb that “ early birds pick up most worms,”
, and draws the practical moral, in which we heartily concur, that your bedroom-window should always, if possible, face the east.
In an arable country, with little waste land and good farming, very few stocks can be supported ; and this has led some enthusiastic bee-masters to regret the advancement of agriculture, and the consequent decrease of wild flowers—or weeds, according to the eye that views them and the enclosure
an elevated situation : they have then their uphill flight when their bodies are unburdened, and an inclined plane to skim down when they come home loaded with their hard-earned treasure. Rogers, at whose
6 cot beside the hill A bee-hive's hum should soothe the ear,” has supposed the bee to be guided back to its hive by the recollection of the sweets it passed in its outward flight ----a beautiful instance of "the
" pleasures of Memory.”
“ O’er thymy downs she bends her busy course,
And many a stream allures her to its source :
Guards the least link of Being's glorious chain.” Whether this be the true solution or not, her return to her hive, so straight as it is, is very curious. We are convinced of the use of bee-houses as a protection for the hives, though they are disapproved of by many modern writers. They serve to moderate the temperature in winter and summer, and screen the neighbourhood of the hive in rough weather. Dr. Bevan says
Excepting in peculiarly sheltered nooks, an apiary would not be well situated near a great river, nor in the neighbourhood of the sea, as in windy weather the bees would be in
SITUATION OF HIVE.
danger of drowning from being blown into the water. Yet it should not be far from a rivulet or spring; such streams as glide gently over pebbles are the most desirable, as these afford a variety of resting-places for the bees to alight upon."
This is almost a translation of Virgil's “In medium, seu stabit iners," &c. Water is most important to them, particularly in the early part of the season.
Let shallow troughs, therefore, never be neglected to be set near the hives, if no natural stream is at hand.
It seems that bees, like men, require a certain quantity of saline matter for their health. In the Isle of Wight the people have a notion that every bee goes down to sea to drink twice a-day; and they are certainly seen to drink at the farm-yard pool
“ the gilded puddle
That beasts would cough at when clearer water is near. Following the example of our modern graziers, a small lump of rock-salt might be a useful medicine-chest for our winged stock. Foul smells and loud noises have always been thought annoying to bees, and hence it is deemed advisable never to place the hives in the neighbourhood of forges, pigsties, and the like. Virgil even fancied that they disliked the neighbourhood of an echo: but upon this Gilbert White, of Selborne, remarks :
“ This wild and fanciful assertion will hardly be admitted by the philosophers of these days, especially as they all now seem agreed that insects are not furnished with any