Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

brother who was deprived of sight.' In Hüber's book, Nouvelles Observations sur les Abeilles,' written in the form of letters to his early friend Bonnet, he has given a most entertaining and interesting account of bis various experiments in investigating the whole history of the Honey Bee. His memory had been early stored by all that had been already written on the subject of bees. But the information of others could not satisfy his active mind unless verified by himself. Undaunted by the circumstance of his blindness, and the knowledge that the result of observations must be shown at second hand, Hüber began, on his return from Paris, to make experiment after experiment, until the whole history, habits, and economy of a well-populated hive were satisfactorily and fully ascertained.

The anatomy of this wonderful creature—its senses; its functions—either as queen, worker, male, or drone; its government, architecture, swarming, food, and even its enemies, all came under his most minute enquiry and strictest investigation. The conclusions he arrived at have seldom been found to err, and the inferences drawn by him from his observations are as logical as they are convincing. His patience and courage kindled similar enthusiasm in the partner of his toils— the rough peasant lad, whom he had taken into his house as servant, and without whose aid he could scarcely have left such interesting results to the world. Under Hüber's instructions, Francis Burnens proved a most efficient assistant, and, like his master, seems to have been rewarded by the increasing affection with which his favourites inspired him. “Beaucoup de gens aiment les abeilles,' says

6

6

an enthusiastic author, je n'ai vu personne qui les aima médiocrement; on se passionne pour elles.'

Hüber, too, had soon his wife to aid and encourage him. The gentle Marie Aimée had shown firmness as well as sweetness of character. When Hüber returned to his native place totally blind, she no longer hesitated as to the course it was her duty as well as her delight to follow. Against her parents' will she married Francis. She knew she had become more necessary to him than ever, after his total loss of sight. She could be his very eyes. If he might never again see her smile, her voice, at least, should have its sweetest music for his ear. For his sake, she would become painter and poet.

The beauties of the land in which they lived, the varieties of light and shade over a landscape he had loved to look upon, were graphically brought before his mind's eye by her descriptions. When she painted sunshine, it was brighter than all else to him; when she spoke of the whirlwind and the storm, he saw them in all their terrible grandeur. Procuring a good magnifying glass, she would lead him into the garden, and then, with wonderful accuracy, bring before him all the doings of the busy inhabitants of the hive, never stirring as long as he had patience to listen, and ever sharing his anxiety for the success of each succeeding experiment.

To divert his mind from his scientific labours, and to prevent him feeling shut out from the interests of his kind, and all that was stirring in the world around him, she had books and newspapers to read to him. The accounts of the war, then raging in Europe, were all poured into his eager ear; and by the simple

agency of a paper of pins, stuck into a map, she made him thoroughly acquainted with the disposition of the troops on either side. Plans in relief she would also make of all the towns they visited, in order that he might learn by the touch, what other people could see.

Nor was this all; her love could not bear that he should be shut out from sympathy and communion with his fellow-men. Her ready invention, therefore, discovered a new method of writing, and thus supplied him with endless recreation for the mind.

Surely, she was successful in the art of doing her best to make the being whom she loved most a happy and useful member of society! And, as long as his name for science and learning shall live, hers will go side by side with it, for its womanly attributes of affection and devotion. Well may the blind naturalist have said, “ As long as she lived I was not sensible of the misfortune of being blind.' For forty years she was spared to him ; but he was unhappy enough to sur

. vive the wife, who, to him, he declared, 'was always young, fresh, and pretty, which is no light matter.'

When Hüber lost his wife, his old age was soothed and cheered by his daughter, Madame de Moline, with whom he went to reside at Lausanne. His fondest hopes, for perpetuating a name for scientific acquirement had been fully realised in the distinction gained by his son, P. Hüber, in the same line of study as his own.

The Researches concerning the Habits of Ants,' written by him, is both a valuable and entertaining work to all lovers of natural history; and when the services of Francis Burnens, Hüber's servant and assistant, could no longer be had, the filial cooperation of Hüber's son in his experiments

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a

proved a fresh source of pleasure and satisfaction to the blind man.

Thus, in spite of his affliction, was the early application and industry of Francis Hüber rewarded in this world.

Devoted as he was to the study of bees, he yet found time, even to a very late period of his life, to store his mind from other sources of knowledge. He was, indeed, remarkable for being a man of varied as well as deep acquirement; and to his science he added the better part, too, of a religious and thankful heart.

The earnest study of the insect creation, and more especially his favourite branch of it, could, indeed, scarcely fail to lead him into deep reflection on the striking evidences of design in the All-wise Creator, who has so admirably adapted to its end the smallest organ of the busy bee, or the tiniest petal of the humblest flower.

There is a book, who runs may read,

Which Heavenly truth imparts ;
And all the lore its scholars need,

Pure eyes, and Christian hearts.
The works of God above, below,

Within us, and around,
Are pages in that book, to show

How God himself is found. A long and a peaceful life was permitted to the blind naturalist, unalloyed, too, by any decay of bodily strength or mental power. Conversing with the friends around him, as usual, within two days of his death, and even corresponding with the absent, who valued and enjoyed his friendship, Francis Hüber expired in his daughter's arms, on the 22nd of December 1831, in the eighty-first year of his age.

a

INIGO JONES.

GREAT ENDS FROM SMALL BEGINNINGS.'

NHERE resided, towards the latter end of the six

teenth century, in the city of London, and close to the old cathedral of St. Paul's, an honest respectable citizen, by trade a clothmaker, by name Ignatius Jones.

A kindly well-intentioned good man; although a strict Roman Catholic, he gained the good-will of all, fulfilled his duties, and strove to bring up his children, a son and a daughter, properly, and in the fear of God.

The son, as he grew up, was a source of very great anxiety to his father. His religion prevented him from sending the youthful Inigo to either Oxford or Cambridge; yet, being a man superior to his social position, he appreciated the advantages of education, and desired to have him taught both Greek and Latin.

He, therefore, placed him under the guidance of their old confessor ; for, in the sixteenth century, the clergy were the usual instructors of youth, and, among the Roman Catholics, were, indeed, the only preceptors to be had.

« ForrigeFortsæt »