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inclined to suppose with Huber, she prefers a bright May morning, and, Hero-like, lights her torch of love on high, in either case she scrupulously shuns the curious eye of man, who has in vain endeavoured to pry into those mysteries which she as industriously conceals.
If it should be thought surprising that men who have devoted their lifetime to studying the habits of bees have failed to come to any satisfactory conclusion on this subject, it will be far more a matter of wonder to learn what they have been enabled to discover. We allude particularly to the power possessed by the workers, when they have lost their natural monarch, of converting the grub of one of the common bees into a royal, and consequently pro
Such an extraordinary assertion, first published by Schirach, though probably known in earlier times, may be supposed to have met with no ordinary opposition, but it has been confirmed by repeated observation and experiment, and is as well attested—thanks to Huber especially-as any such facts can ever be. Being so established, we may assert it to be (without any reservation whatever) by far the most extraordinary fact ever brought to light in natural history. Fully to comprehend it, we must refer our readers to the great differences we stated in the former part of this paper to exist between the workers and the queen, or rather to the more minute anatomical distinctions given by entomological writers; and then they are called upon to believe that, by enlarging three common cells into one,
and feeding the worm, not more than three days old, with a peculiar food, richer than the common beebread -- called, from its queen-making qualities,
royal jelly," — not only is its body lengthened, its wings shortened -- its wax-pockets, and its breadbasket and the down on its legs obliterated-its sting and proboscis altered in shape—its fertility developed—but all its instincts and habits so completely changed, that no difference whatever is observable, when it emerges from the cell, from the rightful queens, either in the character and duties it assumes, or in the reverence paid it by the masses. What would not Napoleon, when he assumed the purple, have given for some jars of this “ “ royal jelly !”
We much wish that we had space to describe at length the jealousy and combats of rival queens, the senses of bees, and their architecture, and general economy of the hive; but half the interest of these things depends on that freshness and minuteness of detail which is best given in the words of the original eye-witnesses. It is only by a figure that we can include in this class him who has deservedly been placed at the head of all writers upon beesthe intelligent and enthusiastic Francis Huber. No one who ever hopes to be master of a bee-house should be ignorant of his services, nor of the difficulties under which he performed them. has been so long before the public that many will learn with surprise that he died, at the age of eightyone, so late as December, 1831.
tribute* has been paid to his memory by his brother, naturalist De Candolle, from which the following facts of his life are taken.
Among the witty and the vain who formed Voltaire's applauding clique at Ferney was one who, though remarkable in his own day even in so brilliant an assemblage for his conversation and accomplishments of society, would scarcely have been remembered but for his more illustrious son. This was John Huber, the father of him who is the Father of Bee-masters; and Francis himself probably enjoyed the honour, at whatever that may be rated, of being patted on the head by the patriarch of Ferney: for he was a precocious and enthusiastic child, and the pride of his father, who imparted to him that love of science which, while it produced the misfortune, proved also the comfort of his life. One of his relations had ruined himself in the search after the philosopher's stone ; and he himself impaired God's greatest blessing of sight at the early age of fifteen, by the ardour with which he devoted himself to philosophical studies. His father sent him to Paris to be under the care of the most experienced physicians; but though his general health, which had also given way, was restored by the sensible prescription of rural life and diet, the cataract baffled the skill of the oculist Venzel, and he was sent home with no better promise than that of a confirmed and increasing blind
* Translated in the Edin. N. Philosoph. Journal for April, 1833. De Candolle has also named a genus of Brazilian trees, in his honour, Huberia laurina. It should have been a bee-plant.
“ His eyes, however,” says his biographer De Candolle, “notwithstanding their weakness, had, before his departure and after his return, met those of Maria Aimée Lullin, a daughter of one of the syndics of the Swiss republic. They had been companions at the lessons of the dancing-master, and such a mutual love was cherished as the
of teen is apt to produce.” It was far too deep and too true an affection to run smooth. The father of the girl naturally regarded the growing blindness of the youth as destructive of all advancement in life, and positively forbade his suit. Meanwhile poor Huber dissembled his increasing infirmity as well as he could, and, with a pardonable fraud, spoke as though he could really see. There was at least language enough in his eyes for Maria Lullin, and she, as resolute as her father, would allow no subsequent misfortune to quench the light of other and happier days. At twenty-five, and not till then, did the law allow her to decide for herself, and seven long years was a dangerous trial for any girl's fortitude, beset with the remonstrances of her friends, and the daily vanishing hopes of restoration of sight to her lover. But she was nobly faithful. She was proof against all persecutions and persuasions; and when the seven weary years were at length over, she gave her hand where her heart had been given long before -to him who, though her husband, could scarcely act the part of her protector. The youthful partners at the dancing-academy naturally ripened, as our Scotch friends can best understand, into partners for
eyes to the
life. And she became not only Huber's wife, but his assistant in his researches ; she was “ blind,” his reader, his secretary, his observer.
No higher praise can be given to Huber than to say that he was worthy of her. He was the most affectionate and devoted of husbands.
“ Her voice was all the blind man knew,
But that was all in all to him!” “ As long as she lived,” he used to say in his old age, “I was not sensible of the misfortune of being blind.” And, alluding to her small stature, he would apply to her the character of his favourite bees,
Ingentes animos angusto in pectore versant.” It was, we believe, this true story that furnished the episode of the Belmont family in Madame de Staël's Delphine.
Huber was fortunate not only in his wife but in his servants and children. Burnens, who under his tuition and direction made the greater part of his observations upon bees for him, has this due tribute paid him by his master and his friend :
“ It is impossible to form a just idea of the patience and skill with which Burnens has carried out the experiments which I am about to describe. He has often watched some of the working-bees of our hives, which we had reason to think fertile, for the space of four-and-twenty hours without distraction, and without taking rest or food, in order to surprise them at the moment when they laid their eggs. I frequently reproached myself for putting his courage and his patience to such a trial; but he interested himself quite as much as I did in the success of our experiments, and he