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time, they may be made a source of great profit as well as pleasure. Our own sentiments cannot be given better than in Mr. Cotton's words :
“I would most earnestly beg the aid of the clergy and resident gentry—but, above all, their good wives; in a word, of all who wish to help the poor who dwell round about them in a far humbler way, yet perhaps not less happily ; I would beg them, one and all, to aid me as a united body in teaching their poor neighbours the best way of keeping bees. . . A row of bees keeps a man at home; all his spare moments may be well filled by tending them, by watching their wondrous ways, and by loving them. In winter he may work in his own chimney corner at making hives, both for himself and to sell. This he will find almost as profitable as his bees, for well-made hives always meet with a ready sale. Again, his bee-hives are close to his cottage-door ; he will learn to like their sweet music better than the dry squeaking of a pothouse fiddle, and he may listen to it in the free air, with his wife and children about him."
The latter part of this has, we fear, a little too much of the green tint of Arcadia. It is seldom indeed that you can get a husbandman to see the peculiar excellences and beauties of his own little world ; though it is only fair to add, that where you find the exception, the bee-master is for the most part that man. The
great matter is to get the man who does love “the dry squeaking of the pothouse fiddle,” and the wet potations that succeed thereon, to keep bees: and this can only, and not easily then, be done by showing him the profit. Fair and good housewives—if ye be readers of the Quarterly-don't bore him with long lectures ; don't heap upon him
many little books; but give him a hive of the best construction-show him the management--and then buy his honey; buy all he brings, even though you should have to give the surplus to some poor gardenless widow. But only buy such as comes from an improved hive—and you can't easily be deceived in this - which preserves the bees and betters the honey.
Then, when you pay him, you may read to him, if you
will, the wise rules of old Butler-exempli gratiâ :
“ If thou wilt have the favour of thy bees that they sting thee not, thou must not be unchaste or uncleanly ; thou must not come among them having a stinking breath, caused either through eating of leeks, onions, garlic, or by any other means; the noisomeness whereof is corrected by a cup of beer : thou must not be given to surfeiting or drunkenness: thou must not come puffing and blowing unto them, neither hastily stir among them, nor violently defend thyself when they seem to threaten thee ; but, softly moving by, thy hand before thy face, gently put them by : and, lastly, thou must be no stranger to them. In a word, thou must be chaste, cleanly, sweet, sober, quiet, and familiar: so will they love thee, and know thee from all other.”
He makes a very proper distinction, which our Teetotal Societies would do well to observe, between “a cup of beer” and “ drunkenness ;” and indeed there seems to be a kind of bee-charm in a moderate draught, for Mr. Smith, a dry writer enough in other respects, says, “ Your hive being dressed, rub over your hands with what beer and sugar is left, and that will prevent the bees from stinging them;
also drink the other half-pint of beer, and that will very much help to preserve your face from being stung. (p. 34.)
We hold to the opinion already expressed of presence of mind being the best bee-dress, notwithstanding the anecdote told of M. de Hofer, Conseiller d'Etat du Grand Duc de Baden, who, having been a great bee-keeper, and almost a rival of Wildman in the power he possessed over his bees, found, after an attack of violent fever, that he could no more approach them without exciting their angerin fact, “when he came back again, they tore him where he stood.” “Here, then, it is pretty evident," says the doctor who tells the story, " that some change had taken place in the Counsellor's secretions, in consequence of the fever, which, though not noticeable by his friends, was offensive to the olfactory nerves of the bees.” Might not a change have taken place in the Counsellor's nerves ?
As Critics as well as Counsellors may be stung, we have, for our own good and that of the public, examined all the proposed remedies, and the result is as follows:-Extract at once the sting, which is almost invariably left behind: if a watch-key is at hand, press it exactly over the wound, so that much of the venom may be squeezed out; and in any case apply, the sooner of course the better, laudanum, or the least drop of the spirit of ammonia. Oil and honey, which are also recommended, probably only act in keeping off the air from the wound. The cure varies very much with the constitutions of indi
STINGS-POOR MAN'S STOCK.
viduals; but the poison being acid, any alkali will probably be serviceable.
But, with reference to the cottager, we must consider the profit as well as the sting; and this it will be far better to underrate than exaggerate. Tell a poor man that his bees, with the most ordinary care, will pay his rent, and he will find that your word is good, and that he has something to spare for his trouble ; he may then be led to pay the same respect to his little lodgers as the Irish do to the less cleanly animal that acts the same kind part of rent-payer by them. But when the marvellous statistics of beebooks are laid before a labourer, their only effect can be to rouse an unwonted spirit of covetousness, which is more than punished by the still greater disappointment that ensues. Here follows one of those quiet statements, put forth with a modest complacency that out-Cobbetts Cobbett :
Suppose, for instance, a swarm of bees at the first to cost 10s. 6d., to be well hackled, and neither them nor their swarms to be taken, but to do well, and swarm once every year, what will be the product for fourteen years, and what the profits, of each hive sold at 10s, 6d. ?
£. s. d.
0 0 0
1 1 0 3 4
2 2 0 4 8
4 4 0 5 16
8 8 0 6 32
16 16 0 64
33 12 0 8 128
67 4 0
coer HA OSN
9 10 11 12 13
Hives. 256 512 1024 2048 4096 8192
“ N.B. Deduct 10s. 6d., what the first hive cost, and the remainder will be clear profit, supposing the second swarms to pay for hives, hackles, labour, &c.”
Mr. Thorley, from whose book the above statement is taken, had better have carried it three years further, which would have given him within a few pounds of 35,0001.-a very pretty fortune for a cottager's eldest daughter: the only difficulty would be to find the father-in-law who had a heart to renounce a capital that doubled itself every year. It is like Cobbett's vine, that on a certain system of management was to produce so many upright stems, and from each of these so many lateral branches, and on each lateral so many shoots, and on each shoot so many buds, and every bud so many bunches and pounds of grapes—so that you might count the
quantity of wine you were to make on the day that you planted the tree. There is nothing like an array
of figures if you wish to mislead. All seems so fair, and clear, and demonstrative--no appeals to the passions, no room for a quibble—that to deny the conclusion is to deny that two and two make four. Yet, for all this, the figures of the arithmeticians have produced more fallacies than all the other figures of