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From Chambers' Journal. CYPRUS LOCUSTS.
BY A DWELLER IN THE EAST.
EVERYBODY who has read anything about the East must be acquainted with the plague of locusts. I distinctly remember that when a small boy I was more impressed by the accounts of the enormous extent of their flocks than with any thing else my books could tell me. There was to me something appalling, and at the same time attractive, in the swarms stretching for miles, which obscured the sun, and devoured everything green wherever they settled. It is difficult, if not impossible, for any one brought up in our temperate regions to realize such a state of things. We hear, to be sure, of dam age done to crops at home; just now it is sparrows; not very long since it was game; next year it may be something else; but in all these cases it is simply damage perhaps one per cent., or five per cent., or ten per cent. But with lo custs it means not damage, but destruction, or, better still, annihilation of the crop. Fancy an English farmer turning out after breakfast and admiring his sixacre field of wheat, deliciously green, about two feet high. Fancy him, too, coming home to dinner at noon and seeing this same field as bare as his hand. This is no exaggeration, but a plain matter-of-fact illustration of what may be seen any spring where these abominable insects abound. Once seen, it can never be forgotten.
I have had my recollection of these creatures and their ways revived by a Parliamentary paper entitled, "Report of the Locust Campaign of 1884, by Mr. S. Brown, Government Engineer, Cyprus." It gives the results of the measures employed to stay the plague to which the island has for ages been subject; and so far it is satisfactory enough. The locusts have been put down, and for most people that is the chief point. I notice that the Times has devoted about half a column to the paper, but has contented itself with simply copying the salient points, the writer evidently knowing nothing of the subject. The paper itself presupposes a knowledge of a certain nature, which no one except those who are acquainted with the district can be expected to possess. I venture, therefore, to supply the information necessary to a thorough understanding of the subject.
Speaking as a dweller in the East, I may say that we have had the locusts with us always. In the old, old days, they
were sent by the gods; in less remote times, they were a dispensation of Provi. dence. They came and went, leaving lamentable traces of their progress. But it was in the nature of things that it should be so, and nobody ever thought of trying if something could not be done to stop their ravages. Under Turkish rule, of course this feeling was intensified by the fatalism peculiar to their faith. The locusts came of their own accord, and went off in the same way; it was kismet, and there was nothing to be done. But even Mohammedans in time cannot escape altogether the influence of Western ideas, and some thirty years ago it occurred to Osman Pasha, then governor of Cyprus, to try and make head against the scourge which devastated the island. He was earnest in the cause, but unfortunately died before measures could possibly have had any effect. His successors, as a rule, talked a great deal, but, after the manner of their race, did nothing. A tax was imposed on the peasants, which was to be devoted to the purchase and destruction of locusts' eggs. This was all very well; but as the officials helped themselves to from fifty to ninety per cent. of the money collected, very little impression was made on the swarms. And then, again, as three parts sand and one part eggs did duty as eggs, it is not to be wondered at that the insects were as plentiful as ever.
So things went on till about fifteen years ago, when Said Psha became gov. ernor. He kept on the system of buying eggs, but with this important difference, that when he paid for eggs he saw that he got them. He put some Europeans on the commission of superintendence, had the eggs stored, and authorized their destruction only after his personal inspection. The proceedings were open to the light of day, and everything was done to prevent imposition. The result was admirable; in three years, locusts' eggs were as valuable as those of the silkworm; and in 1870, it was officially reported that the insect had ceased to exist in Cyprus. This, however, proved to be an exaggeration. No doubt, a great impression had been made; swarms were no longer to be met with by the ordinary traveller; but it is plain that a good many did remain in out-of-the-way and difficult districts.
In 1872 it was reported that locusts were reappearing. This was pronounced to be a calumny, and the observers were referred to the official report, showing that the locust had ceased to exist in Cyprus
This is all very interesting; but what is the meaning of it? What are screens ? What is canvas wanted for? What do they do with oilcloth? And what sort of traps do they make out of zinc? This is what Mr. Brown does not tell us, and this is exactly the information which I propose to supply. The first step in the process is to begin with a little natural history.
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 long, 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 half 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 great many of which were trapped, and two hundred and thirty-six tons of their eggs collected. In 1881 the locusts came in still greater numbers, and in the autumn and winter, thirteen hundred and thirty tons of eggs were destroyed. It was evident that what had been done was a trifle; exceptional measures were declared to be necessary, and preparations were accordingly made on a very large scale for the campaign of 1882. It was shown that egg-collecting alone was not to be depended upon. One may think that this affords the easiest means of destruction, and 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 grounds are situated in remote and rugged districts, to patrol which properly means a very large supply of labor, and even then it becomes a mere question of eyesight, which often fails. Up to a certain stage in its existence the insect creeps but cannot fly, and it is then that it must be taken. Trapping the non-flying insects is therefore the feature which forms the salient matter of Mr. Brown's report, but which will not be understood by the public without explanation.
The report opens with a statement of the material employed. This consisted of two thousand canvas screens, each fifty yards long; one hundred thousand five hundred square yards of canvas for screens; twelve thousand six hundred and eleven square yards oilcloth; twenty tons zinc for traps; and seventy-six thousand one hundred and eighty-three stakes for the screens, besides cordage and other minor articles. As the reports from the breeding districts came in, it was thought this supply would prove insufficient, and Mr. Brown therefore caused one thousand additional screens to be made up, and three thousand seven hundred and eighty
The female locust is provided with a sort of sword-like appendage, with which she makes a hole in the ground, in which she deposits her eggs. Over these she exudes a glutinous matter, which hardens by exposure, in time forming a case im
whole resembling a small silk cocoon. The number of eggs in each of these is variously estimated; some say a hundred, others eighty; but Mr. Brown by actual experiment finds that the average may be taken at thirty-two, and that the sexes are produced in about equal proportion. It is not difficult, therefore, to calculate the rate of increase, allowing fifty per cent. to be lost through the operation of natural causes, birds, caterpillars, etc. A couple of locusts will thus produce sixteen individuals or eight couples the first year; next year, the product will be a hundred and twenty-eight, or sixty-four couples; the third year, eight times that; and so on — a calculation which may be carried on to any length you like, and which will explain the countless myriads which every. body has heard of.
The female having performed her duty in reproducing her species, is of no further use, and both she and her partner disappear that is to say, they both die. It is a popular belief in Cyprus that the male eats the female and dies of the consequent indigestion. But a more scientific explanation of the fact is, that as by the end of July - beyond which locusts are
everything green is burnt at the top a framework of wood, lined on the inside with sheet zinc, on which they cannot walk, and consequently they fall back into the pit. Imagine thousands of the creatures all doing this at the same time, and the result will be, of course, that one-half smothers the other half, and in its turn gets smothered by a few spadefuls of earth, which the laborer, always on the watch, takes care to apply at the proper moment. The pit is then full, and is counted as such in the daily report. Mr. Brown gives full details. The "full" pits contained a depth of eighteen inches of locusts; pits three-quarters, one-half, one-quarter, and one eighth full were returned as such, and when reduced to
to fifteen thousand nine hundred and nineteen. The whole number, however, of pits in which locusts were trapped was twenty-six thousand and sixteen, and the total number of pits dug far exceeded this.
up by the sun, their food fails, and they die of starvation. There is no mistake about their death; every open pool of water is full of them, and the stench is abominable, and one may walk along the coast for miles amongst their dead bodies, washed up by the sea. The eggs remain in the ground till hatched by the warmth of the spring sun, which brings them out early in March. If the season should be cold or wet, the only effect is to delay the hatching; the eggs never appear to get addled. At the beginning of April this year the swarms were on the march, and operations began, and were continued till the 13th of May, when all that were left were on the wing. It is by taking advan-"full" pits, the total number amounted tage of the habits of the creature that the greatest success in its destruction is achieved. The young locusts as soon as they can crawl go in search of green food. Impelled by this instinct, they go straight 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 sixwith 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, and large landed proprietor in Cy-tory, when we find that the swarms of prus, made various experiments, which have resulted in the employment of the screens and traps which are mentioned in Mr. Brown's report. The manner of operation is as follows.
In early spring, it was reported to headquarters that one hundred and thirty-three breeding-grounds had been discovered. Each of these was therefore screened off by a ring fence. The screens are formed of canvas about two feet high, on the top of which are sewn about four inches of oilcloth. These are arranged so as to form a zigzag with angles of about one hundred and thirty-five degrees. At intervals, pits are dug of a regulation size a cubic yard so as to facilitate computation. The locusts on the march come up to the screen, climb up the canvas, get on to the oilcloth, and straightway slip down. Nothing daunted, they try again, again, and again, each time edging a little nearer to the angle. Arriving here at last, they find a pit, into which they fall or jump. Naturally, they climb up again; but find
1883 were as numerous as those of 1882, which in their turn greatly exceeded those of 1881. In fact, up to 1883 the locusts had been gaining ground; now they are losing it; and it only needs care and watchfulness on our part to thoroughly exterminate them, or at any rate to render them practically harmless. For if the locust can only find food, it will not trav. el; they march simply in order to get wherewith to support existence; and if they can find enough near their birthplace, they will stop there. But of course this cannot be allowed, when we think of their multiplication next year and the years after. No; it is a question of war to the "pit." Efforts must not be relaxed; the system of reports from the breeding districts will still be continued; and the supply of screens and traps must always be ready for use.
This year, the large supply of material was used in a much more careful and methodical way than in any previous year. Some idea of the extent of the operations
From Longman's Magazine. SERVANTS OLD AND NEW.
MR. RUSKIN justly characterizes as one of the finest passages in fiction, for delicacy, pathos, and deep feeling, the return of Henry Morton to his uncle's house.
After a most pathetic interview between Ailie Wilson and Henry, told as only Sir Walter could tell it, the old housekeeper bestows upon her late master's nephew the whole of the property left to her by Milnwood, but, with a true old servant's pride in household concerns, begs him first to visit the oak parlor.
"How grandly it's keepit, just as if ye had been expected home every day! I loot naebody sort it but my ain hands. It was a kind of divertisement to me, though whiles the tear wan into my ee, and I said to myself, 'What needs I fash wi' grates, and carpets, and cushions, and the muckle brass candlesticks ony mair? for they'll ne'er come home that aught it rightfully.'"
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 others are not. Heavy rains and floods, for instance, swept away some of the screens; and there were also cloudy and windy days, when the locusts will not march, and of course will not fill the pits. No doubt, occasion was taken on such days to help in the destruction by manual labor; every little helps; and it is not difficult to slay one's thousands and tens of thousands when the victims are all close together. It is not unusual to meet the creatures in a body a mile wide and a mile deep. They are about an inch and a quarter long, and a quarter of an inch wide, and march with an interval of about an inch, progressing some half-mile a day. One would think that the importance of information to headquarters would be patent to everybody in the island; yet such is the apathy, not to say stupidity, of some of the islanders, that Mr. Brown was surprised and disgusted to hear that whilst operations were at the height, locusts had been discovered at the extreme east point of the island, which had been reported free. Not only so, but no locusts had existed within thirty-five miles, nor had any been seen flying in that direction. Material was at once forwarded, but unfortunately too late, as the insects had almost arrived at the flying stage, when nothing can be done. One might as well try to reduce midges by squashing them between the hands. The district was found to be only a small one -- less than half a mile in diameter. It may safely be left next year to Mr. Brown's tender care. What is the result of all this time, trouble, and expense? You could traverse the locust area and see very few; whereas in May and June of previous years you might ride through flights some of which would cover an area of several square miles. The small number that are left are thinly scattered over a comparatively small area, and as they find sufficient food in the natural grasses, they do not migrate. This year, up to August not a single flight has been seen, and best of
Henry, we are told, is overcome by so much generosity from one whom he had always regarded as sordidly parsimonious and niggardly in small things.
There are no characters that are greater masterpieces of artistic excellence than the portraits that Sir Walter has drawn of old servants. He thoroughly understood natures that were at once simple, ignorant, and faithful, and could paint with lifelike veracity the naïve craftiness which, whilst binding itself to unlimited loyalty to one person, remained callous to the feelings of others, or even indifferent to the dictates of common honesty, as shown in Caleb Balderstone. It is about an old and val. ued servant, who lived long in the service of a relation's family, in whom were found all the love and fidelity of Rose Flammock, all the self-sacrifice of Cuddie Headrigg, and all the zeal and pride of Jenny Dennison, joined to an incorruptible honesty, that I am desirous of writing a short account.
Mary Maria Whitaker was born in the year 1800. She was one of a large family.
Her father was a stonemason, whilst his wife brought up his children in habits of the strictest thrift and economy.
"I can never remember the time when I could not knit," she has often said to me; "and when I got old enough I had to mind the baby, wash and dress my younger brothers and sisters, mend their linen, and keep them from getting into mischief. At ten years old my mother taught me how to make the beds, to bake a loaf, to hem a cloth, and to sweep the floor. A little older she showed me how to cut out my dresses, or how to turn and make up her old ones for the younger children. In those days people would have thought it a foolish thing for folks in our station to have bought ready-made clothes for their children; and as to buying bread, why, we should all have looked upon that as a disgrace. But now every body buys their bread, and it's often poisonous, unhealthy stuff, most fit for the pig-trough: that's what I think of baker's bread; and the good old lady would always toss her head and purse up her mouth as she uttered these sentiments.
"When I was fifteen years of age, my father and mother told me that I was then old enough to go out to service and make my own way in the world; so it was settled that I should apply for the place of scullery-maid in Squire Dalton's family, as we had heard that the housekeeper wanted a girl there to help her. My mother at parting said, 'Mary Maria Whitaker, you are now a strong, fine, tall, well-grown girl," and here my dear old friend would always pause in her narration and smile complacently, although from good contemporaneous authority I have always been assured that her height in her prime could never have exceeded five feet one inch. "You are,'" she would continue, repeating the words of her mother, 666 a hard-working body. You can knit a tidy pair of stockings; I can trust you to dust out the corners proper, and father doesn't complain of your baking, whilst you can pluck a fowl or roast a leg of mutton with the best of them; and you can hem, cross-stitch, and mark; so that you are a credit to your family. And although you're no great "scholard" you can spell out the easy chapters of your Bible, which is as much as any respectable girl need want; and for the rest, father and I have taught you to fear God and behave reverently to your betters, whilst I hope you will always keep a kind heart for the poor and the sick.' Mistress Wilmot, old Squire Dalton's housekeeper,
was pleased with my appearance, and duly engaged me. She was," Mrs. Whitaker once informed me, "a servant of a kind not now to be found. She dressed in the old-fashioned style, and wore a large mus. lin cap tied tightly under her chin, a fichu over her shoulders, and a spotless white linen apron with very big pockets. Her face had habitually a stern expression, and her voice was shrill in giving an order. To the lazy or negligent she was severe and harsh, but for the under-servant who was painstaking and thorough in her work she had a kind smile at times, and I always found her," Mrs. Whitaker told me, "good enough to me after she had got over a certain suspicion she invariably entertained towards a new-comer."
On one occasion, when I was a guest at Malden Priory, I sought my old friend out in her pretty little sitting-room, which had been refurnished by her master and mistress in order to please her. Here, like Miss Mattey in Mrs. Gaskell's charming story, Mrs. Whitaker had protected her new carpet from the rays of the sun by sheets of itinerant newspaper, whilst her curtains were always pinned back before the room was swept, for fear any dust should attach itself to them, and nobody with muddy boots ever obtained admittance into her apartment.
A sleek black cat purred before a cheerful wood fire, whilst hanging near each window was a cage containing a canary, the gifts of the "young ladies," I was informed.
"Come in, my dear young lady," said Mrs. Whitaker; and after she had put another log on the fire, and begged me to be seated in her most comfortable armchair, she began to tell me of many things in the old days when she first entered the service of my cousin's father.
After informing me how frightened she had been as a girl when she had applied to Mrs. Wilmot for the vacant situation of scullery-maid, on account of that good lady's stern manner and demeanor, and yet how anxious she had been to be engaged, as her father had been the mason employed in constructing part of the house, she went on to tell me what had been her wages on entering the old squire's service.
"My wages were 47. 10s. a year, besides butter, tea, sugar, and other food. I had butcher's meat once a day, unless at such times when a fatted pig was killed, when I had a sausage instead for my midday meal, or maybe a slice of fresh pork. This seemed to me as good food as the most