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BY A DWELLER IN THE EAST.
From Chambers' Journal. were sent by the gods; in less remote CYPRUS LOCUSTS.
times, they were a dispensation of Provi. dence. They came and went, leaving
lamentable traces of their progress. But EVERYBODY who has read anything it was in the nature of things that it should about the East must be acquainted with be so, and nobody ever thought of trying the plague of locusts. I distinctly remem- if something could not be done to stop ber ibat when a small boy I was more their ravages,
Under Turkish rule, of impressed by the accounts of the enor course this feeling was intensified by the mous extent of their flocks than with any. fatalism peculiar to their faith. The lo. thing else my books could tell me. There custs came of their own accord, and went was to me something appalling, and at off in the same way; it was kismet, and the same time attractive, in the swarms there was nothing to be done. But even stretching for miles, which obscured the Mohammedans in time cannot escape alsun, and devoured everything green wher- together the influence of Western ideas, ever they settled. It is difficult, if not and some thirty years ago it occurred to impossible, for any one brought up in our Osman Pasha, then governor of Cyprus, temperate regions to realize such a state to try and make head against the scourge of things. We hear, to be sure, of dam. which devastated the island.
He was age done to crops at home; just now it is earnest in the cause, but unfortunately sparrows; not very long since it was died before measures could possibly have game; next year it may be something had any effect. His successors, as a rule, else; but in all these cases it is simply talked a great deal, but, after the manner damage - perhaps one per cent., or five of their race, did nothing. A tax was per cent., or ten per cent. But with lo imposed on the peasants, which was to be custs it means not damage, but destruc- devoted to the purchase and destruction tion, or, better still, annihilation of the of locusts' eggs. This was all very well ; crop. Fancy an English farmer turning but as the officials helped themselves to out after breakfast and admiring his six- írom fifty to ninety per cent of the money acre field of wheat, deliciously green, about collected, very little impression was made two feet high. Fancy him, too, coming on the swarms. And then, again, as three home to dinner at noon and seeing this parts sand and one part eggs did duty as same field as bare as his hand. This is eggs, it is not to be wondered at that the no exaggeration, but a plain matter-of-fact insects were as plentiful as ever. illustration of what may be seen any spring So things went on till about fifteen where these abominable insects abound. years ago, when Said Psha became gove Once seen, it can never be forgotten.
He kept on the system of buying I have had my recollection of these eggs, but with this important difference, creatures and their ways revived by a that when he paid for eggs he saw that he Parliamentary paper entitled, “ Report of got them. He put some Europeans on the Locust Campaign of 1884, by Mr. S. the commission of superintendence, had Brown, Government Engineer, Cyprus,” the eggs stored, and authorized their deIt gives the results of the measures em Struction only after his personal inspec. ployed to stay the plague to which the tion. The proceedings were open to the island has for ages been subject; and so light of day, and everything was done to far it is satisfactory enough. The locusts prevent imposition. The result was adhave been put down, and for most people inirable; in three years, locusts' eggs that is the chief point. I notice that the were as valuable as those of the silk. Times has devoted about half a column to worm ; and in 1870, it was officially rethe paper, but has contented itself with ported that the insect had ceased to exist simply copying the salient points, the in Cyprus. This, however, proved to be writer evidently knowing nothing of the an exaggeration. No doubt, a great imsubject. The paper itself presupposes a pression had been made ; swarms were no knowledge of a certain nature, which no longer to be met with by the ordinary one except those who are acquainted with traveller; but it is plain that a good many the district can be expected to possess. did remain in out-of-the-way and difficult I venture, therefore, to supply the infor. districts. mation necessary to a thorough under- In 1872 it was reported that locusts standing of the subject.
were reappearing. This was pronounced Speaking as a dweller in the East, I to be a calumny, and the observers were may say that we have had the locusts with referred to the official report, showing that us always. In the old, old days, they the locust had ceased to exist in Cyprus
which, of course, was conclusive ! In traps of a new type to be cut out of the 1875, however, denial was no longer pos- zinc received from England. The total sible; no one with eyes in his head could apparatus, therefore, when operations bedoubt the existence of countless myriads gan, amounted to eleven thousand and of plundering insects. Said Pasha by this eighty-three screens, each fifty yards loog, time had left the island, and his successor and thirteen thousand and eight traps ; was of a different character, and did noth with the necessary complement of stakes, ing to stop their increase, which accord. tools, and tents for laborers. To give an ingly went on unchecked till the British idea of the total length of the screens, it occupation in 1878. As may be imagined, may be mentioned, that if stretched conthe question very soon engaged the atten- tinuously they would form a line three tion of the authorities, and a determined hundred and fifteen miles long, almost set was made against the creatures. In enough to encircle the whole island. In the autumn of 1879, thirty-seven and a ball order to work all this material, labor was tons of eggs were collected and destroyed, necessary, and accordingly contracts were and in the spring of that year an enor- made to a maximum of thirteen hundred mous number of insects were trapped. In and ninety.eight laborers. 1880 larger swarms than ever appeared, a This is all very interesting; but what is great many of which were trapped, and the meaning of it? What are screens? two hundred and thirty-six tons of their What is canvas wanted for? What do eggs collected. In 1881 the locusts came they do with oilcloth ? And what sort of in still greater numbers, and in the autumn traps do they make out of zioc? This is and winter, thirteen hundred and thirty what Mr. Brown does not tell us, and this tons of eggs were destroyed. It was is exactly the information which I propose evident that what had been done was a to supply. The first step in the process trifle; exceptional measures were declared is to begin with a little natural history. to be necessary, and preparations were The female locust is provided with a accordingly made on a very large scale for sort of sword-like appendage, with which the campaign of 1882. It was shown that she makes a hole in the ground, in which egg.collecting alone was not to be de- she deposits her eggs. Over these she pended upon. One may think that this exudes a glutinous matter, which hardens affords the easiest means of destruction, by exposure, in time forming a case imand so it does, if you can be sure of get- pervious to wet, cold, or even fire, the ting at all the eggs. But the breeding. whole resembling a small silk cocoon. grounds are situated in remote and rugged The number of eggs in each of these is districts, to patrol which properly means variously estimated; some say a hundred, a very large supply of labor, and even then others eighty; but Mr. Brown by actual it becomes a mere question of eyesight, experiment finds that the average may be which often fails. Up to a certain stage taken at thirty-two, and that the sexes are in its existence the insect creeps but can produced in about equal proportion. It not fly, and it is then that it must be is not difficult, therefore, to calculate the taken. Trapping the non-flying insects is rate of increase, allowing fifty per cent to therefore the feature which forms the be lost through the operation of natural salient matter of Mr. Brown's report, but causes, birds, caterpillars, etc. A couple which will not be understood by the public of locusts will thus produce sixteen indiwithout explanation.
viduals or eight couples the first year; The report opens with a statement of next year, the product will be a hundred the material employed. This consisted of and twenty-eight, or sixty-four couples; two thousand canvas screens, each fifty the third year, eight times that; and so yards long; one hundred thousand five on - a calculation which may be carried hundred square yards of canvas for on to any length you like, and which will screens; twelve thousand six hundred and explain the countless myriads which everyeleven square yards oilcloth; twenty toos body has heard of. zinc for traps; and seventy-six thousand The female having performed her duty one hundred and eighty-three stakes for in reproducing her species, is of no furthe screens, besides cordage and other ther use, and both she and her partner minor articles. As the reports from the disappear — that is to say, they both die. breeding districts came in, it was thought It is a popular belief in Cyprus that the this supply would prove insufficient, and male eats the female and dies of the con. Mr. Brown therefore caused one thousand sequentindigestion. But a more scientific additional screens to be made up, and explanation of the fact is, that as by the three thousand seven hundred and eighty | end of July — beyond which locusts are never seen — everything green is burnt at the top a framework of wood, lined on up by the sun, their food fails, and they the inside with sheet zinc, on which they die of starvation. There is no mistake cannot walk, and consequently they fall about their death; every, open pool of back into the pit. Imagine thousands of water is full of them, and the stench is the creatures all doing this at the same abominable, and one may walk along the time, and the result will be, of course, coast for miles amongst their dead bodies, that one-half smothers the other half, and washed up by the sea. The eggs remain in its turn gets smothered by a few spade. in the ground till hatched by the warmth fuls of earth, which the laborer, always of the spring sun, which brings them out on the watch, takes care to apply at the early in March. If the season should be proper moment. The pit is then full, and cold or wet, the only effect is to delay the is counted as such in the daily report. hatching; the eggs never appear to get Mr. Brown gives full details. The “full” addled. At the beginning of April this pits contained a depth of eighteen inches year the swarms were on the march, and of locusts; pits three-quarters, one-half, operations began, and were continued till one-quarter, and one eighth full were rethe 13th of May, when all that were lest turned as such, and when reduced to were on the wing. It is by taking advan." full” pits, the total number amounted tage of the habits of the creature that the to fifteen thousand nine hundred and ninegreatest success in its destruction is teen. The whole number, however, of achieved. The young locusts as soon as pits in which locusts were trapped was they can crawl go in search of green food. twenty-six thousand and sixteen, and the Impelled by this instinct, they go straight total number of pits dug far exceeded this. on, turning neither to the right nor to the Every pains was taken to arrive at a left. They are remarkably short of sense; correct account of the number of locusts they can do nothing but follow their nose, thus destroyed, and the number for this and have not an idea of turning a corner. year is set down at the enormous total of If a locust on the march were to meet fifty-six thousand one hundred and six. with a lamp.post, he would never think of teen millions. Last year the number was going round it, but would climb up to the computed approximately at one hundred top and come down on the other side. It and ninety-five thousand millions. With is by taking advantage of this steady, such a destruction, it was believed that plodding perseverance that the arch-in- this year the swarms would be less; and ventor man makes the creature work its this anticipation was fully realized, less own destruction. Some twenty years ago, than one-third appearing of what was visiMr. Richard Mattei, an Italian gentle. ble in 1883. This is extremely satisfacman, aod large landed proprietor in Cy. tory, when we find that the swarms of prus, made various experiments, which 1883 were as numerous as those of 1882, have resulted in the employment of the which in their turn greatly exceeded those screens and traps which are mentioned in of 1881. In fact, up to 1883 the locusts Mr. Brown's report. The manner of op- had been gainiog ground; now they are eration is as follows.
losing it; and it only needs care and In early spring, it was reported to head. watchfulness on our part to thoroughly quarters that one hundred and thirty.three exterminate them, or at any rate render breeding.grounds had been discovered. them practically harmless. For if the Each of these was therefore screened off locust can only find food, it will not travby a ring fence. The screens are formed el; they march simply in order to get of canvas about two feet high, on the top wherewith to support existence; and if of which are sewn about four inches of they can find enough near their birthplace, oilcloth. These are arranged so as to they will stop there. But of course this form a zigzag with angles of about one cannot be allowed, when we think of their huodred and thirty-five degrees. At in multiplication next year and the years tervals, pits are dug of a regulation size after. No; it is a question of war to the a cubic yard - so as to facilitate compu. "pit.” Efforts must not be relaxed; the tation. 'The locusts on the march come up system of reports from the breeding disto the screen, climb up the canvas, get on tricts will still be continued; and the supto the oilcloth, and straightway slip down. ply of screens and traps must always be Nothing daunted, they try again, again, ready for use. and again, each time edging a little nearer This year, the large supply of material to the angle. Arriving here at last, they was used in a much more careful and find a pit, into which they fall or jump: methodical way than in any previous year. Naturally, they climb up again; but fiod Some idea of the extent of the operations
may be gathered from the fact that in one all, nothing has been heard of damage to district — that of Tchingerli - there was the crops.
It is calculated that the sura continuous line of screens without a vivors of this year do not amount to more break for twenty-seven miles in length, than one per cent. of those of last year. arranged in three great loops connected the problem, therefore, appears to be by a common centre. Another breeding. solved; all that is necessary is a small ground was surrounded by screens six. annual expenditure to keep the material teen miles long; and there were many and labor in working order. other similar cases. With screens thus fixed, with plenty of pits, and with careful supervision, the destruction should be complete. Accidents, however, will occur, some of which are preventable, whilst
From Longman's Magazine.
SERVANTS OLD AND NEW, others are not. Heavy rains and floods, for instance, swept away some of the MR. Ruskin justly characterizes as one screens; and there were also cloudy and of the finest passages in fiction, for deliwindy days, when the locusts will not cacy, pathos, and deep feeling, the return march, and of course will not fill the pits. of Henry Morton to his uncle's house. No doubt, occasion was taken on such After a most pathetic interview between days to help in the destruction by manual Ailie Wilson and Henry, told as only Sir labor; every little helps; and it is not Walter could tell it, the old housekeeper difficult to slay one's thousands and tens bestows upon her late master's nephew of thousands when the victims are all the whole of the property left to her by close together. It is not unusual to meet Milnwood, but, with a true old servant's the creatures in a body a mile wide and a pride in household concerns, begs him mile deep. They are about an inch and first to visit the oak parlor. a quarter long, and a quarter of an inch “ How grandly it's keepit, just as if ye wide, and march with an interval of about had been expected home every day! I an inch, progressing some half.mile a day. loot naebody sort it but my ain bands. It
One would think that the importance of was a kind of divertisement to me, though information to headquarters would be pat- whiles the tear wan into my ee, and I said ent to everybody in the island; yet such to myself, "What needs 1 fash wi' grates, is the apathy, not to say stupidity, of some and carpets, and cushions, and the muckle of the islanders, that Mr. Brown was sur- brass candlesticks ony mair? for they'll prised and disgusted to hear that whilst ne'er come home that aught it right. operations were at the beight, locusts had fully.'” been discovered at the extreme east point Henry, we are told, is overcome by so of the island, which had been reported much generosity from one whom he had free. Not only so, but no locusts had always regarded as sordidly parsimonious existed within thirty-five miles, nor had and niggardly in small things. any been seen flying in that direction. There are no characters that are greater Material was at once forwarded, but un masterpieces of artistic excellence than fortunately too late, as the insects had the portraits that Sir Walter has drawn of almost arrived at the flying stage, when old servants. He thoroughly understood nothing can be done. One inight as well natures that were at once simple, ignorant, try to reduce midges by squashing them and faithful, and could paint with lifelike between the hands. The district was veracity the naïve crastiness which, whilst found to be only a small one - less than binding itself to unlimited loyalty to one half a mile in diameter. It may safely be person, remained callous to the feelings of left next year to Mr. Brown's tender care. others, or even indifferent to the dictates
What is the result of all this time, trou. of common honesty, as shown in Caleb ble, and expense ? You could traverse Balderstone. It is about an old and valthe locust area and see very few; whereas ued servant, who lived long in the service in May and June of previous years you of a relation's family, in whom were found might ride through flights some of which all the love and fidelity of Rose Flam. would cover an area of several square mock, all the self-sacrifice of Cuddie Head. miles. The small number that are left rigy, and all the zeal and pride of Jenny are thinly scattered over a comparatively Dennison, joined to an incorruptible honsmall area, and as they find sufficient food esty, that I am desirous of writing a short in the natural grasses, they do not mi. account. grate. This year, up to August not a Mary Maria Whitaker was born in the single flight has been seen, and best of year 1800. She was one of a large family,
Her father was a stonemason, whilst his was pleased with my appearance, and duly wife brought up his children in habits of engaged me. She was,” Mrs. Whitaker the strictest thrift and economy.
once informed me, a servant of a kind “I can never remember the time when not now to be found. She dressed in the I could not knit,” she has often said to old-fashioned style, and wore a large mus. me; "and when I got old enough I had lin cap tied tightly under her chin, a fichu to mind the baby, wash and dress my over her shoulders, and a spotless white younger brothers and sisters, mend their linen apron with very big pockets. Her linen, and keep them from getting into face had habitually a stern expression, and mischief. At ten years old my mother her voice was shrill in giving an order. To taught me how to make the beds, to bake the lazy or negligent she was severe and a loaf, to hem a cloth, and to sweep the harsh, but for the under-servant who was floor. A little older she showed me how painstaking and thorough in her work she to cut out my dresses, or how to turn and had a kind smile at times, and I always make up her old ones for the younger found her,” Mrs. Whitaker told me, “ good children. In those days people would enough to me after she had got over a have thought it a foolish thing for folks certain suspicion she invariably enterin our station to have bought ready-made tained towards a new-comer.” clothes for their children; and as to buy- On one occasion, when I was a guest ing bread, why, we should all have looked at Malden Priory, I sought my old friend upon that as a disgrace. But now every out in her pretty little sitting-room, which body buys their bread, and it's often poi. had been refurnished by her master and sonous, unhealthy stuff, inost fit for the mistress in order to please her. Here, pig-trough: that's what I think of baker's like Miss Mattey in Mrs. Gaskell's charm. bread;” and the good old lady would ing story, Mrs. Whitaker had protected always toss her head and purse up her her new carpet from the rays of the sun mouth as she uttered these sentiments. by sheets of itinerant newspaper, whilst
“When I was fifteen years of age, my her curtains were always pinned back befather and mother told me that I was then fore the room was swept, for fear any old enough to go out to service and make dust should attach itself to them, and my own way in the world; so it was set nobody with muddy boots ever obtained tled that I should apply for the place of admittance into her apartment. scullery.maid in Squire Dalton's family, A sleek black cat purred before a cheeras we had beard that the housekeeper ful wood fire, whilst banging near each wanted a girl there to help her. My window was a cage containing a canary, mother at parting said, Mary Maria the gifts of the “young ladies,” I was inWhitaker, you are now a strong, fine, tall, forned. well-grown girl,'” and here my dear old “Come in, my dear young lady,” said friend would always pause in her narra. Mrs. Whitaker; and after she had put tion and smile complacently, although another log on the fire, and begged me to from good contemporaneous authority I be seated in her most comfortable arm. have always been assured that her height chair, she began to tell me of many things in her prime could never have exceeded in the old days when she first entered the five feet one inch. “You are,'” she service of my cousin's father. would continue, repeating the words of After informing me how frightened she her mother, “ . a hard-working body. You had been as a girl when she had applied can knit a tidy pair of stockings; I can to Mrs. Wilmot for the vacant situation trust you to dust out the corners proper, of scullery-maid, on account of that good and fatber doesn't complain of your bak. lady's stérn manner and demeanor, and ing, whilst you can pluck a fowl or roast yet how anxious she had been to be ena leg of mutton with the best of them; gaged, as her father had been the mason and you can hem, cross-stitch, and mark; employed in constructing part of the so that you are a credit to your family: house, she went on to tell me what had And although you're no great“ scholard” been her wages on entering the old you can spell out the easy chapters of squire's service. your Bible, which is as much as any re- “My wages were 4l. 105. a year, besides spectable girl need want; and for the rest, butter, tea, sugar, and other food. I had father and I have taught you to fear God butcher's meat once a day, unless at such and behave reverently to your betters, times when a fatted pig was killed, when whilst I hope you will always keep a kind I had a sausage instead for my midday heart for the poor and the sick.' Mistress meal, or maybe a slice of fresh pork. This Wilmot, old Squire Dalton's housekeeper, I seemed to me as good food as the most