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small progress, and gained no sympathy with I suppose there was something in the exthe court or jury.
pression of my face which Kraut rightly interJust as the testimony was closing, the plaint- preted as “notice to quit," for he never finishiff's lawyer recalled the mother to the witness- ed his sentence, but made a precipitate exit stand, for the purpose of clinching some loose from the court-room, and was lost, in less than item of evidence. She made the desired ex- a minute, in the departing crowd. planation, and was just quitting the stand, when I strolled over to the office of the CommisKraut, who had been moving uneasily in his sioner of Jurors, and had the satisfaction of chair, suddenly darted a side-look at the woman seeing Kraut's name very summarily expunged from underneath his bristling eyebrows, and, from his lists; and I am quite sure that, in without preliminary, jerked out the question : whatever other capacity my hero may have since
“Ven you and your son set fire to der store, been called upon to serve his country, he has didn't you put der goods into baskets and put never figured a second time as a “Gentleman of dem into der cellar, before you set fire to der the Jury.” store ?" Witness (highly excited). “When we set fire
HOUSE-SPIDERS: to the store! We didn't set fire to the store."
THEIR HABITS AND ASTONISHING FEATS. KRAUT (very deliberately). “Didn't you put
BY ASA FITCH, M.D.
EW which cellar, ven you set fire to der store ?" Witness. “ No."
spiders. This arises probably from the idea But, in the wave of sound on which that which is so widely prevalent, that their bite is monosyllable of denial floated to the ears of poisonous, and from the frightful stories which Court, counsel, and jury, there was a tremulous every one has heard of the tarentula and the efunder-current which woke suspicion—just a fects of its wound-stories which are now known throb of conscience in the tone of the voice to be mostly fabulous, the bite of this animal which startled inquiry and was the key note of being not a whit more painful and dangerous detection; and when Kraut doggedly followed than the sting of a wasp. To a person acup his attack with a third question, run in the quainted with spiders and their habits nothing same mould, “Ven you and your son set fire appears more ridiculous than the alarm and to der store,” etc., the woman fairly “broke trepidation which some of the weaker sex, in up," and the company's counsel, taking instant particular, are accustomed to exhibit on sudadvantage of the breach, pressed in with a whole denly finding themselves in proximity with one platoon of cross-questions, until the real fraud, of these creatures. Although some of the large as foreshadowed in Kraut's interrogatories, was species, which occur in tropical climates, may fully exposed, and the plaintiff driven out of be dangerous, certain it is that we have no anicourt at the point of a verdict against him ren- mal of this kind in our own country which need dered by the jury without leaving their seats. occasion the slightest fear. Though their bite
Kraut was the hero of the day. The presi- is venomous, it is fatal only to insects and other dent of the company—the lawyers, whom he animals of a similar diminutive size. The had helped to an unexpected success—even the quantity of their poison is so minute that it judge, usually indifferent to all the fortunes of can do no harm whatever to a person who is in legal warfare-complimented and thanked him. ordinary health. The utmost that can be justly I really began to think I had done him some said in their disparagement is, that two or three injustice myself, and as the crowd in the court- of the larger species, which are sometimes to be room was dispersing, I said to him,
met with in our meadows, may, in the hottest “Well, Mr. Kraut, you have done the state period of the year, be able to inflict a wound some service to-day.” Kraut grinned acqui- which, in a feeble person of irritable habits, escence. “By-the-way,” I continued, “do tell or a young, tender child, may be painful, and me, as we are about to part, how you happened cause a slight inflammation of the spot for a to ask that question ?"
few days. Kraut was intoxicated with success; and in It will be a service to disabuse the public of success, as in wine, indiscretion is the ally of the repugnance and antipathy which is now felt truth. He could not keep his secret. He took toward this class of creatures, whereby those me by the button-hole, and drawing me into a frights and fears, which they so frequently excorner of the room, behind the clerk's desk, cite, will cease. Nothing can tend more ef
“Vy, mein freund, you see, dat is the very fectually to such a result than an acquaintance way that Brom and I got our insurance vrom with their economy and habits. When we come der Venix."
to observe the agility of their motions, the curi“From the Venix?"
ous artifices to which they resort to capture their “Yes, from der Venix Company."
prey, the adroitness, sagacity, and heroism which “Oh!" said I, “you cheated the Phænix they display, the skill with which they place Company, and succeeded, precisely as these their webs, and the beautiful symmetry with people tried to cheat the Jefferson, and failed!" which these are woven, our disgust will be
“Sheat!" said Kraut, “der was no sheating, changed to admiration. We are constrained for they never found it out, and—”
to esteem and love the delicate little objects When ap
which perform such curious, such surprising with which it stealthily approaches and captures feats.
its victim, very rarely missing its aim. Especially important is it that we be cor- The other spider to which we have alluded rectly informed and intelligent with regard to may be distinguished as the web-building housethose spiders which occur in our dwellings. spider. It is named Theridion vulgare by ProThe Creator has evidently placed them in this fessor Hentz. It is less than three-eighths of situation to capture and destroy flies and other an inch in length, and young individuals not insects which are annoying to us. And if tidy half this size are frequently met with. It is housewifery requires, as it often does, that the quite variable in its color, being sometimes broom should ruthlessly demolish the webs which cream-white, sometimes darker, of a leaden they construct, it will be with a feeling of re- gray or livid brown, and tinged at times with get rather than satisfaction that the chamber- reddish, particularly upon the legs, which have maid performs this duty, when she is aware of rings of a darker color. It may be recognized the true character and habits of these interest- most readily by two or three very crooked or ing little creatures.
wavy streaks running crosswise upon its back. In our dwellings in the United States we Although this little spider occurs abroad. in garhave two kinds of spiders which are quite com- dens and fields, it is much more frequently nomon. Though some other kinds are occasion- ticed in houses than clsewhere. It spins a ally met with in our houses, these are found web, commonly in some dark corner, where it much more frequently, and occur in almost ev- will not be lialle to be observed and disturbed. ery house in the country. These two spiders And this spider far surpasses the preceding one differ greatly in their habits and the situations in the skill and ability which it displays in conwhich they occupy. They thus find ample ac- quering and disposing of its prey. Indeed its commodations in our houses without at all in- proceedings are truly wonderful. terfering with each other.
prised by the agitation of its web that a fly or The more common of these spiders, and the other insect has become entangled therein, it one which is oftenest noticed, may appropriately darts out from its lurking-place, and cautiously be designated the hunting house-spider. It is approaches the captive; and if it discovers from scientifically named Attus fumiliaris by the late the size and strength of the prisoner that he ly-deceased Professor N. M. Hentz, in his valu- will be apt to tear himself loose and make his able series of papers describing the spiders of the escape, it runs up to him, and with the utmost United States, published in the Boston “ Journal activity and adroitness, throws one thread after of Natural History.” It is rather less than half another around him, using its hind-legs to placo an inch in length, and is of an ash-gray color, these threads so that they will most effectually from the short hairs with which it is clothed. fetter and securely involve the victim. And Its body is oval and blackish, with a broad whit- when he is thus bound, so that escape becomes ish figure along the middle of the back, which impossible, that he may not remain for hours figure is wavy or festooned, as it were, out-miserably struggling and dying a lingering death, wardly along each side, where it is also of a the spider seizes one of his feet and sinks it3 more pure white than along its middle. This fang therein. Though this is commonly respider does not build a web, but resides in crev- garded as an excess of cruelty, it is in reality ices in the walls, in cracks around the window- an act of mercy to the unfortunate helpless capsashes, or between the clap-boards, and in sim- tive, which is, by the venom of this bite, iinmeilar situations. It runs over the floor or along diately stupefied and killed. the walls of a room with much agility, often Another most singular habit of this little spigiving slight leaps as it advances. But the in- der is yet to be stated. If the dead victim restant it discovers a fly all its ordinary move- mained where it was captured in the web, it ments are changed. It keeps its head turned would probably be a warning to other insects toward the fly, whichever way the latter walks. not to approach the same fatal spot. The Its eyes are riveted upon its prey, every motion spider, therefore, before repairing the damage of which is intently watched. It now hurries which the web has received, carries its prey rapidly toward it, and it anon moderates its away, to the upper part of its nest, where it will pace according to the exigencies of the case. be concealed from view--as the nest is commonAs it draws nearer it becomes more cautious, ly placed upon the under side of shelves, the more still and composed, and now it glides along ceiling of rooms, etc. But, in many cases, the silently and imperceptibly toward its unsuspi- victim is so large and heavy that the spider is cious victim. The spider at this stage of its unable to bear it off by main strength. It hereproceedings appears to be perfectly motionless; upon resorts to an artifice little inferior to the not the slightest tremor can be discerned in ropes and pulleys of a tackle in the ease and any of its limbs; and yet the distance between certainty with which it hoists the unwieldy it and the fly is perceived to be gradually dimin- burden upward. Attaching one of its cobweb ishing. At length, when sufficiently near, with threads at the upper part of its nest, it spins it a sudden spring it leaps forward, tiger-like, and downward, carrying it under the body to be falls upon its prey, overwhelming and securing raised, and upward again to the top of its nest, it in its grasp. No cat or panther can vie with drawing it tight as it fastens it. The elasticity this little creature in the skill and adroitness and contraction of this thread clevate the body a hair's-breadth it may be. Thread after thread ordinary resort, that of fettering and binding her is spun in this manner. Thus the weight is victim by throwing her threads of cobweb around gradually raised upward until it reaches the it, it is plain, would be of no more avail here height desired, the spider being busily occupied than the cords upon the limbs of the unshorn sometimes for two or three days in accomplish- Sampson. Aware that her accustomed mode ing this work. Professor Hentz states that he of attack was useless, how did she acquire the has known one of these little spiders to elevate, knowledge and sagacity requisite for devising in this way, one of our large ball-rolling beetles another, adapted so exactly to the case in hand (Coprobius laris), whose weight is at least eighty -one depending upon the structure and habits or a hundred times greater than that of the spi- of the serpent to aid in rendering it successful? der. Surprising as this fact is, it sinks into in- How was she able to perceive that it was in her significance beside one which I am about to re- power to wind a loop of her threads around this late, which was performed, it is altogether prob- creature's throat, despite of all his endeavors to able, by a spider of the kind of which we are foil her in this work—a loop of sufficient strength now speaking. The incident is so marvelous, to hold him securely, notwithstanding his strug80 seemingly impossible, that it might pass for gles and writhings, until by her tackle-like pow"a snake story," did it not come to us from a er she could gradually hoist him up from the source which precludes all doubts of its authen- floor, thus literally hanging him by the neck ticity. It, moreover, coincides in so many re- until he was dead ? for this was the feat which spects with the known habits of this web-build- this adroit little heroine actually performed-a ing house-spider as to give strong additional feat beside which all the fabled exploits of Herconfirmation of its correctness.
cules in overpowering lions and serpents and Among several items of interest, respecting dragons sink into utter insignificance! And insects, which were communicated to me by who can say that, in the planning and execution different persons at the recent annual meeting of this stupendous achievement, there was not of the New York State Agricultural Society in forethought, reasoning, a careful weighing of Albany, was the following, from Honorable all the difficulties and dangers, and a clear perA. B. Dickinson of Corning, who himself care- ception in the mind of this little creature that fully witnessed the phenomenon, as did more she possessed the ability to accomplish what she than a hundred other persons. It occurred the undertook; in short, an exercise of faculties of past summer, in the store of Charles Cook, in a much higher order than the mere instinct the village of Havanna in Chemung county. which is commonly supposed to guide and gov
An ordinary-looking spider of a dark color, ern these lower animals in their movements ? its body not larger than that of a common By what artifice the spider was able in the house-fly, had taken up its residence, it appears, first of its attack to accomplish what it did, we on the under side of a shelf beneath the counter can only conjecture, as its work was not disof Mr. Cook's store. What may we suppose covered until the most difficult and daring part was the surprise and consternation of this little of its feat had been performed. When first seen, animal on discovering a snake, about a foot long, it had placed a loop around the neck of the serselecting for its abode the floor underneath, only pent, from the top of which a single thread was two or three spans distant from its nest! It was carried upward and attached to the under side a common milk snake, which, perhaps, had been of the shelf, whereby the head of the serpent brought into the store unseen in a quantity of was drawn up about two inches from the floor. sawdust with which the floor had been recently The snake was moving around and around, in“carpeted.” The spider was well aware, no cessantly, in a circle as large as the length of doubt, that it would inevitably fall a prey to this its tether would allow-wholly unable to get its horrid monster the first time it should incau- head down to the floor, or withdraw it from the tiously venture within its reach. We should noose ; while the heroic little spider, exulting expect that to avoid such a frightful doom it no doubt in the success of its exploit, which would forsake its present abode, and seek a more was now sure beyond a peradventure, was ever secure retreat elsewhere. But it is not improb- and anon passing down to the loop and up to able that a brood of its eggs or young was se- the shelf, adding hereby an additional strand creted near the spot, which the parent foresaw to the thread, each of which new strands being would fall a prey to this monster if they were tightly drawn, elevated the head of the snake abandoned by their natural guardian and pro- gradually more and more. tector. We can conceive of no other motive But one of the most curious and skillful parts which should have induced the spider so perti- of its performance is yet untold. When it was naciously to remain and defend that particular in the act of running down the thread to the spot at the imminent risk of her own life, when loop, the reader will perceive it was possible for she could so easily have fled and established her- the snake, by turning his head vertically upself in some secure corner elsewhere. But how, ward, to snap at and seize the spider in his mouth. we may well ask, was it possible for such a weak, This had no doubt been repeatedly attempted tender little creature to combat such a powerful, in the carlier part of the conflict; but instead of mail-clad giant? What power had she to do any catching the spider, his snakeship hereby had thing which could subject the monster to even only caught himself in an additional trap. The the slightest inconvenience or molestation? Her spider, probably by watching each opportunity when the mouth of the snake had thus been Imploring stand, and knock again, turned toward her, adroitly, with her hind-legs, I might forget this sense of pain, as when throwing a thread around a fly, had And down Oblivion's sullen stream thrown one thread after another over the mouth Would float the memory of my dream! of the snake, so that he was now perfectly muzzled, by a series of threads placed over it vertical
: “ Telesa tears, womanse tears:y: Pshaw! der by another series of threads placed horizon- they'd move me to pity! Why, tally, as my informant states he particularly ob- Bob, a woman can weep tears enough to-well, served. No muzzle of wire or wicker-work for to blot out some of your numerous transgresthe mouth of an animal could be woven with sions, and never feel a heart-pang. Woman's more artistic regularity and perfection; and the tears! why, they're mere crocodile drops !” snake occasionally making a desperate attempt “Hush, Tom, what scandal! I'm perfectly to open his mouth could merely put these shocked at such daring skepticism! Why, threads upon a stretch.
didn't I see you nearly fainting at the opera The snake continued his gyrations, his gait scarce a week ago because pretty Lillie Dewbecoming more slow, however, from weakness drop's blue eyes glistened a moment with briny and fatigue ; and the spider continued to move pearls ?”. down and up upon the cord, gradually shorten- “Briny pearls! Yes, I did whiten a little, ing it, until at last, when drawn upward so far I'll acknowledge, and my heart beat a pretty that only two or three inches of the end of his quick tune for a minute or two, for fear she tail touched the floor, the snake expired, about would go off into hysterics, and then what six days after he was first discovered.
should I have done! Imagine it, when I so A more heroic feat than that which this little hate a scene! But as for pitying her, little spider performed is probably nowhere upon rec- flirt—” Words failed, and he placed his cigar ord-a snake a foot in length, hung by a spi- again between his lips, which would have curled der not larger than a common house-fly! Truly, had it not been there, and leaned back in his “the race is not to the swift, nor is the battle chair with an expression of intense disdain. to the strong!” And this phenomenon may “Well, Tom, to silence you and convince serve to indicate to us that the intelligence with you of the power of the crocodile drops,' as which the Creator has endowed the humblest, you term them, I'll make a confession ; now feeblest of His creatures, is ample for enabling don't fall asleep till I've finished and I'll tell it them to triumph in any emergency in which you,” and tossing the half-consumed cigar into He places them, if they but exercise the facul- the fire he began : ties He has given them. It is only the sloth- “When I was in B studying law, some ful, cowardly, timorous, that fall, and they fall four years ago, I had a friend, Frank G, not so much before their enemies as before their you've heard me speak of him, a right good own supineness.
fellow, but a little too susceptible. Why, I've
known him break his heart for-let me seeA WOMAN'S DREAM.
one, two-yes, five ladies, and attempt suicide but a sense of pain for two. Yes, he was altogether too suscepti
ble, inconveniently so. Well, one day I was Now, when your voice and eyes are kind, in my room writing busily—I worked mighty May I reveal my complex mind ? hard that winter, brought on a disease of the Though I am yours, it is my curse
brain, and have never been able to look at a Some ideal passion to rehearse :
law paper since — what in thunder are you I dream of one that's not like you,
laughing at, Tom? As I sat there on a cold Never of one that's half so true.
winter's day, the door burst open and in rushed
Frank G— I knew in a moment that he To quell these yearnings, vague and wild,
was in love again ; I saw it in his eye, and the I often kneel by our dear child,
peculiar way in which he uttered his Well, In still, dark nights (you are asleep), Bob;' and heaving a sigh I prepared to listen And hold his hands, and try to weep! to his ravings about some new goddess who I can not weep; I can not pray
had enraptured him. I was not wrong; he Why grow so pale, and turn away?
launched forth into a rapturous speech expressDo you expect to hold me fast
ive of the beauty and worth of a certain Eleanor By pretty legends in the past ?
Gray, who had just arrived in town and had al
ready smitten his too-impressible heart. "O It is a woman's province, then,
Bob!! he cried, she is beautiful! so queenly To be content with what has been?
and majestic, with such dark, rich waves of To wear the wreath of withered flowers,
hair, such a noble brow and scornful mouth, That crowned her in the bridal hours ?
with its curling upper lip; but her eyes, O Bob!' Still, I am yours: this idle strife
He sank into a chair, utterly unable to say Stirs but the surface of my life :
more. I could not refrain from reminding him, If you would only ask, once more, laughingly, of certain damsels, both dark and “How goes the heart?" or at the door fair, azure-eyed and with orbs like night, sun
VOL. XV.-No. 85.-F
ny, raven, and chestnut-haired, whose praises | Will you go ?' Without waiting for an answer, he had spoken in by-gone days. He sprang to he rushed from the room. his feet, exclaiming, “Bob, Bob, why will you “Evening came, and I found myself at Mrs. remind a fellow of heart-sorrows he is trying to Monteith's. Now, Tom, don't ask me to describe forget ?' and he paced the room impatiently, Eleanor Gray. I can't do it. She was beautithen suddenly cried, “But Bob, you must see ful, beautiful as an angel ; and before I had conEleanor Gray! She's staying at the F-Ho- versed with her ten minutes, I was almost ready tel, and I'm going to see her this evening. I'll to fall at her feet with her other worshipers. drop in and tell you about it in the morning,' Her eyes were her chief charm-large, lustrous, and he left me.
dark, beautiful orbs, flashing at times with such "I resumed my writing, and thought no more dazzling light they almost blinded the gazer. of Eleanor Gray. In fact, I did not place much But they did not quite blind me, though at times, faith in Frank's descriptions of his lady loves. when they flashed a look at me, I was forced to Not many weeks before, after listening for an turn my head away, and whisper to myself, hour to his impassioned dissertation upon the Never yield, Bob, you have a duty to perloveliness of a farmer's daughter, a perfect form.' Hebe as he said, a hidden gem which he had * Days passed on. Frank G- had offered discovered, I promised to ride with him to see his heart and hand to the beauty, been rejected, her. So we went off in a snow-storm, rode procured a bottle of laudanum, which still resome miles, and reached an old red farm-house, mained untouched in his room, and scores of within which dwelt the Hebe. Hebe! why, she other unfortunate youths were dying for her, certainly weighed two hundred ! You know but I was still safe. The brightest glances from how I detest a stout woman. Faugh! her face her eyes fell harmless on my stony heart, which looked like a full moon!
refused to be softened, even by the beautiful “But Frank was right for once. That waves of her dark hair. But I soon made & evening, when I went to my boarding-house, discovery. Eleanor Gray loved me. I knew I found all the gentlemen talking of the belle it; never mind how. I had found her heart; and heiress, Eleanor Gray, and all agreed that should I break it? When I entered a room where she was very beautiful, very proud, and very she was, her eye would seek mine and brighten cold-hearted.
as it met them. When she talked with me it *• Why,' said Harry Marks, a dashing young was in a gentle tone, and I have heard her voice fellow, and somewhat of an oracle among us, tremble when she sang for me, and seen her "I've known of scores whom she has jilted. cheek flush, and her silken lashes droop when I She thinks nothing of breaking a heart. Why, gazed upon her face. there was Charlie Lee, the best-hearted boy you “One evening-a glorious moonlight evening ever saw-only nineteen. She led him on by - I was walking with her down by the sea. We smiles and flattery till he was ready to die for were talking of a soldier's life, and I had been her; and so he did, for she rejected him coldly telling her stories of the camp, and field, and and cruelly when he offered her his hand, and it gallant deeds done in battle, and her eye kinkilled him. She has no heart herself; if she dled as I talked, and she cried, “How I should had, I'd try to break it! and he turned on his love to be a soldier's wife, to follow him to batheel and left us.
tle, and to watch, if even from afar, as he “I had heard enough to make me wish for a plunges into the thickest of the fight, and bravesight of this cold and haughty beauty. I had a ly strives for the victory. And if he fall, I plan in my head which was to find her heart could not weep if he fell fighting, face to the I did not doubt her having one—and then wound foe, but thank God that I had been his wife, it, not break it, as Harry Marks had said, but and seen him die a glorious death.' punish her for her many flirtations.
“Oh! you could never endure the hardships "The next morning Frank G-was early at of a soldier's wife,' I said. Could you travel my room. He gave me a glowing account of his through snow and ice, or over the hot sand of call, and told me what a sleepless night he had weary deserts, or cross stormy oceans?' passed, thinking of Eleanor Gray, and ended “Yes, yes!' she cried, 'I could do all this by saying, “Oh, Bob, you were never in love, and more with one, for one I love.' and can not sympathize with me now, nor know “I looked down into her eyes, flashing with the agony of hope and fear in my heart. Oh, enthusiasm, and said, in a low, earnest tone, Bob! she is so beautiful!' and he bowed his "With one you love! Will you ever love, head on his hands, and sighed. I should have Eleanor Gray? Does any mortal live who can thought him really in love, and another victim obtain that priceless gem, your love ?' to Eleanor Gray's wiles, had I not seen him in “She dropped her lashes over her eyesprecisely the same situation several times before. those beautiful eyes—for a moment; then, look
“As it was, I suppressed a yawn, and said, ing up, said, "Well, Frank, my boy, how shall I see this Can you doubt my power of loving? Yes, wonderful damsel ?'
Robert, I can love.' ""Oh, I forgot, here are cards for a little par- “She threw one glance from those eyes, and ty at Mrs. Monteith's this evening. She is to my courage faltered; but I had resolved, and, be there, Eleanor Gray, my peerless Eleanor ! laughing a loud, scornful laugh, I said,