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resentment. But conceiving that the best method to attain these ends, was to acquire some eminence in the city, he laid himself out to oblige its new mafters, studied every art, and practised every meanness that serve to promote the needy, or sender the poor pleasing, and by these means in a few years he came to be of fome note in the city, which justly belonged entirely to him.
The executioner was therefore the firft object of his resentment, and he even practised the lowest fraud to gratify the revenge he owed him. A piece of plate, which Bidderman had previoufly stolen from the Saracen governor, he privately conveyed into the executioner's house, and then gave inforrnation of the theft. They, who are any way, acquainted with the rigour of the Arabian laws, know that theft is punished with immediate death. The proof was direct in this case ; the executioner had nothing to offer in his own defence, and he was therefore condemned to be beheaded upon a scaffold in the publick market place. As there was no executioner in the city but the very man who was now to suffer, Bidderman himself undertook this, to him most agreeable office. The criminal was conducted from the judgement seat bound with cords. The scaffold was erected, and he placed in such a manner, as he might lie most convenient for the blow.
But his death alone was not sufficient to fàtisfy the refentment of this extraordinary man, unless it was aggravated with every cireumftance of cruelty. Wherefore, coming up the scaffold, and disposing every thing in readiness for the intended blow, with the sword in his hand he approached the criminal, and whispering in a low voice, affured him that he hime self was the person that had once been used with so much cruelty; that to his knowledge he died very innocently, for the plate had been stolen by himselt, and privately conveyed into the house of the other.
“ O, my
"O, my countrymen, cried the criminal, do R? you
hear what this man says?"--Does the villain murmur ? replied Bidderman, and immediately at one blow severed his head from his body.
Still, however, he was not content till he had ample vengeance of the governors of the city, who condemned him. To effect this, he hired a small house adjoining to the town wall, under which he every day dug, and carried out the earth in a basket. In this unremitting labour he continued several years, every day digging a little, and carrying the earth unsuspected away. By this means he at last made a secret communication from the country into the city, and only wanted the appearance of an enemy, in order to betray it. This opportunity at length offered; the French ariny came into the neighbourhood, but had no thoughts of fitting down before a town which they considered as impregnable. Bidderman, however, foon altered their resolutions, and, upon communicating his plan to the general, he embraced it with ardour. Through the private paffage above-mentioned, he introduced a large body of the most resolute soldiers, who foon opened the gates for the rest, and the whole army rushing in, put every Saracen that was found to the sword.
THE SAGACITY OF SOME INSECTS.
TO THE AUTHOR OF THE BEE. .
SIR, ANIMALS in general are fagacious in proportion as they cultivate society. The elephant and the beaver Thiew the greatest signs of this when united ;
but when man intrudes into their communities, they lose all their spirit of industry, and testify but a very small share of that sagacity, for which, when in a focial state, they are so reinarkable.
Among insects, the labours of the bee and the ant have employed the attention and admiration of the naturalist; but their whole fagacity is loft upon
feparation, and a single bee or ant seems deftitute of every degree of industry, is the most stupid infect imaginable, languishes for a time in folitude, and foon dies,
Of all the solitary insects I have ever remarked, the spider is the most fagacious, and its actions to me, who have attentively considered them, seem almost to exceed belief. This insect is formed hy Nature for a state of war, not only upon other infects, but upon each other. For this state Nature seems perfectly well to have formed it. Its head and breast are covered with a strong natural coat of mail, which is impenetrable to the attempts of every other insect, and its belly is inveloped in a soft pliant skin, which eludes the sting even of a wasp. Its legs are termia nated by strong claws, not unlike those of a lobster, and their vast length, like fpears, serve to keep every assailant at a distance.
Not worse furnished for obfervation than for an attack or a defence, it has several eyes, large, transa parent, and covered with an horny substance, which, however, does not impede its vision. Besides this, it is furnished with a forceps above the mouth, which ferves to kill or secure the prey already caught in its . claws or its net.
Such are the implements of war with which the body is immediately furnished; but its net to entangle the enemy seems what it chiefly truits to, and what it takes moft pains to render as complete as posfible. Nature has furnished the body of this little creature with a glutinous liquid, which proceeding from the anus, it fpins into thread coarser or finer, as it chuses to contract or dilate its sphincter. In order to fix its thread when it begins to weave, it emits a small drop of its liquid against the wall, which hardening by degrees ferves to hold the thread very firmly.' Then receding from the first point, as it recedes the thread lengthens; and when the spider has come to the place where the other end of the thread should be fixed, gathering up with his claws the thread which would otherwife be too slack, it is stretched tightly, and fixed in the same manner to the wall as before.
In this manner it spins and fixes several threads parallel to each other, which, so to speak, sérve as the warp to the intended web. To form the woof, it 1pins in the same manner its thread, transversly fixing one end to the first thread that was spun, and which is always the strongest of the whole web, and the other to the wall. All these threads, being newly spun, are glutinous, and therefore stick to each other wherever they happen to touch, and in those parts of the web moft exposed to be torn, our natural artist strengthens them, by doubling the threads sometimes fix fold.
Thus far naturalists have gone in the description of this animal; what follows is the result of my own observation upon that species of the infect called an House-Spider. I perceived about four years ago, a large spider in one corner of my room, making its web, and though the maid frequently levelled her fatal broom ägainst the labours of the little animal, I had the good fortune then to prevent its destruction, and I may say, it more than paid me by the entertainment it afforded.
In three days the web was with incredible diligence completed; nor could I avoid thinking that the infect seemed to exult in its new abode. It frequently traversed it round, examined the strength
of every part of it, retired into its hole, and came out very frequently. The first enemy, however, it had to encounter, was another and a much larger spider, which, having no web of its own, and having probably exhausted all its stock in former labours of this kind, came to invade the property of its neighbour. Soon then a terrible encounter ensued, in which the invader seemed to have the victory, and the laborious spider was obliged to take refuge in its hole. Upon this I perceived the victor using every art to draw the enemy from his strong hold. He seemed to go off, but quickly returned, and when he found all arts vain, began to demolish the new web without merey. This brought on another battle, and, contrary to my expectations, the laborious spider became conqueror, and fairly killed his antagonist.
Now then, in peaceable poffeffion of what was justly its own, it waited three days with the utmost impatience, repairing the breaches of its web, and taking no fuftenance that I could perceive. At last, however, a large blue fly fell into the snare, and struggled hard to get loose. The spider gave it leave to entangle itself as much as possible, but it seemed to be too strong for the cobweb. I must own I was greatly surprized when I saw the spider immediately fally out, and in less than a minute weave a new net round its captive, by which the motion of its wings was stopped, and when it was fairly hampered in this manner, it was seized, and dragged into the hole.
In this manner it lived, in a precarious state, and Nature seemed to have fitted it for such a life, for upon a single fly it subfisted for more than a week. I once put a wasp into the nest, but when the spider came out in order to seize it as usual, upon perceiv-ing what kind of an enemy it had to deal with, it instantly broke all the bands that held it fast, and con