Puslapio vaizdai


A more hazardous existence than that of either of these two parasites is led by a European fly bearing the long name of Pteromalus, which is out of all proportion to its size. In the autumn, after they have built themselves a silken nest in which to sleep through the cold weather, the mother Pteromalus deposits her eggs externally upon the bodies of living brown-tailed caterpillars. In order to insure her baby a safe and quiet birth, the mother Pteromalus carries a tiny poisoned sword. Piercing the silken nest on her maternal errand, she cunningly stings a caterpillar with the sword, paralyzing him, and deposits her eggs upon his unconscious body. The caterpillar must be left alive, for the baby Pteromalus could not live upon decaying meat. The eggs hatch quickly, and the larvæ begin immediately to feast externally upon their helpless host. By the time winter puts a stop to their activities, they have stored up all the fat they need, and in the spring they emerge as full-grown flies, leaving behind a nest full of the remains of half-devoured caterpillars.

This is the process of the ideal Pteromalus mother. But, alas! many of them

will not take the proper precautions to preserve fresh caterpillar meat for their babies. Their prudence is overborne by their passion for laying eggs, which sometimes amounts to depravity. They will lay upon dead caterpillars or fragments of caterpillar, or may be in such a hurry about their parturition that they deposit upon a moving caterpillar, without first. using the poisoned sword, so that their eggs are dislodged and crushed. The infant mortality in the Pteromalus family must be terrible. But despite this, no imported parasite has apparently increased in greater numbers. Pteromalus is incorrigibly prolific.

One of the most noteworthy importations in the slaughter of the moths has been an active green beetle, a tiger in the moth world. Here is a terrible creature indeed, a creature of intrepid ferocity and magnificent voracity. Beside him the hog is a beast of most delicate appetite. The green beetle will devour ten times his weight in gipsy-moth caterpillars in a single day, and be ready to duplicate this performance on the morrow. His nominal two seasons of active life are a wild orgy of slaying and feasting. His span of mortality includes a mere fortnight of larval life and two brief summers of adult

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existence, representing less than five months of activity altogether; but during this time he will normally devour nearly six hundred and fifty gipsy-moth caterpillars or pupæ as big as himself. A single pair have been observed to eat two thousand caterpillars within eight weeks, gluttony almost beyond belief.

This insect combination of the hog and the tiger will probably destroy billions of gipsy-moths this year. During the last During the last five years five thousand of the beetles have been imported, mostly from Switzerland, though some came from Italy, France, and Japan. Their numbers have increased enormously. The beetle mother will normally produce upward of two hundred offspring during her two seasons of adult life. One ambitious female in captivity laid as many as 653 eggs in a single sea


The hunt for a beetle to prey upon the gipsy-moth was a tedious one. We had several varieties of native predacious beetles in the United States, but the gipsymoth caterpillar is arboreal, and the lazy American species refused to climb trees. Eventually the terrible green tiger, a tree-climbing beetle of the Calosoma species, was brought over from Europe.

The beetle mothers vary the monotony of their summer feast by depositing their eggs in the earth in great profusion during June and July. The eggs resemble small grains of rice. After five days a white grub emerges from the egg. It soon turns a metallic black, and wriggles its way to the surface of the earth in search of food. Already it carries in its jaws a formidable dissecting apparatus. Its hard, compact, active body marks it for a fighter.

By the time it pushes through the soil, the caterpillars of the gipsy-moth are crawling over the trees in swarms, and the newly hatched warrior loses no time in climbing after them. Grasping a helpless caterpillar in the middle of the back or side, the worm cuts through the soft part between two segments, and proceeds to devour at a great pace the juices and fat body of its prey. When it comes across a gipsy-moth pupa lying helpless in its cocoon, it tears a great hole in the horny skin, and eats the helpless creature alive. The beetle larvæ have even been found attacking and devouring the body of the full-grown gipsy-moth. Their appetite

is insatiable. In default of the gipsymoth, they will turn to any other caterpillars to be found, and if there is no other food, they will eat one another. A single newly hatched grub that could find nothing to eat, was observed by the government scientists to wriggle nearly two miles in search of prey before it died of starvation at the end of three days.

This orgy of slaughter lasts about fourteen days, during which the grub sheds its skin three times, issuing on each occasion larger and stronger, until it is over an inch in length, and distended from good living.

Then, full fed, it burrows into the earth and hollows out a roomy chamber four or five inches below the surface, to make its transformation through the pupal stage. For about ten days it rests, in preparation for this magical change, and then it becomes a fat, yellow pupa an inch long and half an inch thick, a beetle in embryo. A few days later it emerges from the ground full grown to beetlehood.

The adult Calosoma is a handsome fellow. His body is incased in shiny green armor, with a golden metallic luster, and he boasts of long and agile legs, armed with hooks and spines to hold his prey. His sharp mandibles are terrible weapons of offense. At first he is rather soft and inert. He is content to bask in the sun and grow strong. The gipsy-moth caterpillars are gone now, but the young beetle is not yet interested in food. As soon as he gets his full strength, he plunges into the earth, digs another little tunnel, and settles himself for the winter's sleep.

Not until the following June is he seen again. Then he digs his way out with a single desire to make up for his long fast. Now he is a tiger indeed. He will climb to the farthermost twig in search of the luckless gipsy and brown-tailed caterpillars. The wretched victim is caught with an unyielding grip in the beetle's trap-like mandibles. He wriggles and squirms vainly to free himself. In the struggle the beetle's knives grip closer. They pierce the soft skin. Quickly the victim slackens his efforts. Before the caterpillar is dead the tiger is voraciously feeding.

Between feasts there is love-making. The mothers lay their eggs, and return immediately to the hunt. For nearly eight weeks this life of carnage and feast

ing is continued. By that time the caterpillars are vanishing for their further transformation, and the beetles are weary. By the first of August, though summer is still in full revel, they burrow again into the ground for the long ten-months' sleep. About a fifth of them appear to die during this second hibernation; but the survivors return to the life of feasting on the following spring apparently with inincreased energy and greater appetites. They flaunt Dr. Osler's old-age theories by killing and devouring increasing numbers of caterpillars. They raise larger families. The aging tigers far outstrip the young generation in fierceness and predacity. And even toward the end of the season, when most of the oldsters are dying off, the survivors keep the pace valiantly. A few live to enter the winter sleep again, and some survive, apparently as vigorous as ever, through a third summer.

The green tiger is a sturdy fellow. Despite his appetite, he can live forty days. without food or water, and can get through a season on very lean rations. In default of moths he has, in captivity, accepted beefsteak; but when his captors of fered him live earthworms, he preferred starvation. He can survive spring floods. Kept four days under water in captivity, he refused to drown, and, when finally released, engaged in his customary activities, and raised a family of normal size.

These are merely a few samples of our imported insect mercenaries. We now have nearly forty varieties of them engaged in the slaughter of the moths. About two million have been liberated in the last six years, but that number represents merely the nucleus of the immense winged force now engaged. The slowmoving gipsy-moth has proved a readier victim than the fast-flying brown-tailed moth. It is safe to say that we need not worry about the gipsy any more.

Dr. L. O. Howard, Chief of the Bureau of Entomology of the United States Department of Agriculture, who is really the commander-in-chief of the insect armies, is so well satisfied with the work of his mercenaries that he will import no more of them for the battle against the moths, though the employment of parasites to fight insect pests will always be an important phase of the work of this most important bureau.

Our insect armies are not only generally efficient, but have the rare virtue of being comparatively inexpensive. The moth mercenaries have cost little more than a hundred thousand dollars in the aggregate during the last six years-about the price of one of the highly ornamental post-offices that almost any rural congressman will snatch out of the national pork barrel to please his constituents in some obscure fresh-water village.

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Author of "Esther Waters," etc.

(An address written in French by the author, and translated by him)

have come here in an indulgent mood, I am sure, for you knew that you were going to listen to a barbarian. There is no need for me to tell you that the Greeks called all foreigners "barbarians" because they stammered when they tried to speak Greek. The Greek word Bápẞapos may be translated "stammerer," and you must not be surprised if I stammer sometimes and mispronounce. My forefathers spoke French very well, but that was a long time ago. It was, if I remember rightly, in the time of William the Conqueror, and since then, unhappily, we have more or less forgotten the language.


Within two hundred years after the battle of Hastings we were again barbarians. The fact is beyond dispute; it is recorded by Chaucer, the father of our literature. In the fourteenth century he was writing these verses, and everybody in England knows them:

And Frensch sche spak ful faire and fetysly,

After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe, For Frensch of Parys was to hire


This jargon current at Stratford atte Bowe of which the father of our literature spoke is, then, very old; but despite its great age, it has not died. On the contrary, it is more popular than ever, especially in our drawing-rooms and select circles. It is impossible to learn a language, for the language we learn never becomes quite the same as a mother-tongue; it remains always, if I might venture the expression, a stepmother. Stepmothers are not always unkindly, and the proof is that here am I, a mere barbarian, graciously permitted to speak to you about Shakspere and Balzac in my step-tongue.

And now that I have explained my presence, it may be as well to tell you why I have chosen Balzac and Shakspere for my theme. The association of these two names may seem impertinent and ridiculous, and doubtless more than one of you has already asked himself why I have yoked together a novelist and a poet. Two novelists would surely have gone better together: Balzac and Thackeray; Balzac and Dickens; Balzac and Walter Scott. But upon reflection you will agree with me that it was out of the question to link Dickens, a kindly caricaturist, Thackeray, a Piccadilly lounger, Scott, an antiquitymonger, with Balzac, the great thinker. The names of Hardy, Stevenson, Meredith came to my mind, but the tallest stands barely higher than Balzac's ankle. Fielding? "Absurd," I said, and began to write a note declining the invitation given to me by the "Revue Bleue." "We should need," I wrote, "somebody of gigantic stature to put alongside of Balzac." My pen stopped, for at that moment I remembered that English thought is not found in English prose, but in English verse. Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Byron have thought deeply. Alas! they are but lyrical poets, and what I need is a story-teller, one who bids souls arise out of the deep, and at whose bidding souls arise unfailingly, as they do for Shakspere. "Shakspere," I reflected, stands for England as Balzac stands for France. Shakspere and Balzac! My theme is found.

And the day that these two names began to chime in my ears I said to myself that if by some chance it were France's destiny to be swallowed up in the ocean, the loss would not be so terrible if the works of Balzac floated to safety; for then we English folk would have gotten

a document in which we should be able to decipher the life and the genius of our neighbors. And on the other hand, if England were doomed to disappear, and if nothing remained but the plays of Shakspere, you, also, would have a document in which you would be able to read our history and enjoy an extraordinary specimen of our art. In France you have all the arts; you have the most beautiful modern prose. In England we have only poetry. Poetry is our art, and verse on one side and prose on the other have set both countries high above time and catastrophe. Thanks to them our countries can never be wholly destroyed, for there still will be read in the most beautiful English ever written what England was in the day when she was herself and nothing but herself, and in addition a great slice of the history of France; for the history of the two countries are strangely interwoven for two hundred years. Our Henry II, by marrying Eleanor of Aquitaine, added enormously to his French possessions: the whole west of France belonged to him: Picardy, Normandy, Brittany-as far as the Basses-Pyrénées. The first quarrels began in the reign of John, and Shakspere starts his historical plays with him. A messenger arrives in England from the French king, Philip, a wise, far-seeing monarch, and his errand is to demand that John shall abdicate in favor of his nephew Arthur, a simple pretext for war, and a battle is fought on the plains of Angers. The English win, and Arthur is taken prisoner; but victory brings England no gain, for John's character is obstinate and suspicious, and so quick to take offense that no one, neither his nobles nor Shakspere, ever succeeded in unraveling him. Accordingly, the play remains confused and incongruous.

On the other hand, Shakspere spins out of the vacillating dreamer Richard II a beautiful play, which has always been recognized as a preliminary study for "Hamlet." Its action is wholly English; but with "Henry V" we are back again in France, at Agincourt. The Duke of Orleans is captured; Henry marries Katharine, and becomes King of France. But Joan, la bonne Lorraine, leaves her sheep to seek Charles VII. She rescues Orleans, and a few years later the English are driven clean out of France.

The second and third parts of "Henry VI" narrate the War of the Roses, the struggle between the houses of York and Lancaster; and these civil wars come to an end upon the battle-field of Bosworth with the death of Richard III. Shakspere has written nothing about the reign of Henry VII, but he wrote a very noble play upon Henry VIII, as though it were in his mind to show the last link that still existed between France and England. The French were on the edge of becoming Protestants; only Henry of Navarre thought Paris worth a mass, and a kiss from Anne Boleyn decided Henry VIII to take the plunge.

You will not find the history of France so complete or so definite in Balzac. The novelist has always been obsessed by the present; but even so he left it to write his excellent study on Catharine de' Medici, tempted by the struggle between your religion and mine, the vision of the great subtle-minded Florentine, with the cruel gleam of the Renaissance in her eyes, and the energy of the epoch in her walk. It may well be that there is nothing more poignant in the Comédie Humaine than the scene where Catharine is face to face with the man who is being tortured. The executioners ask the queen if they are to continue, and knowing that the victim is strong enough to endure the torment, she replies:

"Yes, give him another turn; he 's only a heretic."

The scene about the dying dauphin is equally fine. I have often wondered why no dramatic writer has seized upon it. Perhaps it would need Shakspere to put it on the stage. And the portrait of Calvin, one of the most remarkable that exists upon printed paper or canvas, reminds me of the portraits of Ingres and the portraits of David. For despite the romanticism of Victor Hugo, Balzac is very French, essentially French, and allied to the classics more than is generally thought. The form of Corneille, of Molière, of Racine is different, we might say quite the opposite; but when we go to the root of the matter, we perceive that Balzac is no less French than they. He is as urban as they, a man of cities, interested in the hills and sky casually, and only in those trees under which lovers can sit. He never tries to distinguish between one tree and another,

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