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when the owner of the nest arrived, laden with pollen, and, with the peculiar hum that is emitted by these insects when making an attack, she fell upon the wasp, and seized her with her sharp jaws.
“ The wasp instantly rolled herself up, as is the habit of these creatures when attacked. The bee endeavoured in vain to find some vulnerable part that she might penetrate with her sting, and, her efforts in this direction proving fruitless, she at length bit off the wings of the Gold Wasp at the roots, and then dropped her to the earth. After this she returned to her nest, evidently in great anxiety, in search of an usurper's egg, and, finding none, she flew off to seek a fresh store of food.
“The Mason-Bee must doubtless have been satisfied” (Vogt is speaking, it must be remembered) “that, by removing the wings of the wasp, she had prevented her from repeating her visit to the nest ; but here she was mistaken in her reckoning. The prostrate wasp
unrolled itself as soon as the bee had departed, crept in a direct line back to the nest, and deposited her egg therein."
. Now let us for a moment inquire whether the bee was acting under an instinctive impulse when she bit off the wings of the wasp, or whether, in so doing, she was guided by anything approaching to reason, Vogt, who is a great advocate for the existence of reason in the insect races, or rather, who is disposed to endow them with a great amount of intelligence, quotes this anecdote (as we have seen by his brief comment on the bee's motive in biting off the wings) as an example of the reasoning faculty; and really, upon the face of it, it bears every indication of a rational act, with all the weakness of imperfect reasoning powers. Apparently the Bee bites off the wings, these organs coming under its immediate notice, which it knows would convey its enemy back to the nest, if they were left unimpaired; but she forgets that it can reach the same goal by the aid of its legs alone, just to borrow the idea of a friend to whom we narrated this anecdote) as an unskilful general seizes one position that he considers essential to obtain a victory or secure a defence, whilst he overlooks some other post by which the enemy penetrates and spreads havoc in his ranks. But a little further reflection overthrows all these ingenious speculations, and we are compelled to ask ourselves, did not the Bee, under the impulse of anger, and from the instinct implanted in it for the preservation of its offspring, in attempting to destroy its enemy, just bite off that portion of its body which was vulnerable and approachable, and, having thus vented its rage, fly off, as its instinct prompted, to satisfy itself of the security of its offspring ? We shall not pretend to decide under which class of actions this one may be said to rank, but certainly we should be equally reluctant to accept the dictum of another on the subject.
But this difficulty in defining the exact limits that separate instinct from reason need not deter us from
endeavouring to trace such distinguishing features in each as will enable us to form some conception of its general character. Besides, who can say that there are definable boundaries to either quality ?
There are creatures in existence, whereof you may take one and show it to an experienced naturalist, who will feel, handle, and dissect it, follow its lifehistory from the incubation to the death, and, after careful and unbiassed consideration, will tell you that it is a fish. Give the same creature to another equally talented zoologist, and he will, after the same toilsome investigation and scrutiny, declare it to be a reptile. Is it not possible that, like the travellers and the chameleon, both these men " are right, and both are wrong”?-right in detecting the characteristics of that group in which they respectively rank the living object, wrong in attempting to force upon Nature limits that do not actually exist, and placing the creature in some square or circle in the Animal Kingdom, which they find it necessary to draw with mathematical precision, in order to aid their limited understandings, and facilitate the studies of those whom they desire to instruct?
Well, then, if these difficulties arise in deciphering the true nature of the external and visible forms of animals, how much more perplexing must be the attempt to define the precise character of the various phases of mind with which they are endowed! And again, as in the case just quoted with reference to the classification of animal forms, who has a right
to divide the whole mental nature of those races, including man, into two circumscribed provinces, “ instinct” and “reason”?
It is but very recently that physiologists began to detect those true typical features, external and internal, that characterize the various groups of animals; and we believe that, when as much attention shall have been devoted by naturalists to the consideration of the psychical properties of animals as has been brought to bear upon the investigation of their bodily structure, the old boundary that separates instinct from reason will disappear, and they will find numerous avenues through which to pass from one field of mental life to the other. The time is not far distant when a scientific account of the mental attributes of every group (or, if needful, of every genus or species) of animals will be deemed an indispensable adjunct to works on zoology; and, as the class of readers who
; were formerly satisfied with a superficial description, provided it was an interesting one, of the external forms and characteristics of animals, now require to be enlightened with regard to their anatomy and physiology, so will such as are at present contented with a few anecdotes concerning their habits and mode of life, expect to be minutely informed regarding their inner springs of action, and the relation of these to the visible organs of the living fabric. When we observe how rapidly whole races of animals are disappearing from the surface of the globe, we cannot fail to perceive the importance of such a work, which
should be completed whilst the creatures still follow their natural mode of life, and before they are domesticated or exterminated by the irresistible progress of civilization.
Sufficient information is, however, not yet collected to enable a comparative psychologist to set to work and systematize the various mental phenomena in the Animal Kingdom, nor would this be the place to do so, even if the materials were at hand. As, however, our object in undertaking this work has been to popularize and give an impetus to the study of science, we shall bring before you a few examples of a gradually progressing mind in animals, dwelling as much as we are able upon the mental properties of our little Bee, and you will see with what intense interest the subject is invested, and how that unity which everywhere presents itself in the visible creation may also be distinctly traced in the invisible world.