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THE GUARDIAN. with her conversation, and immediately made her reports to the emperor, her brother Theodosius. The character she gave made such an impression on him, that he desired his sister to bring her away
immediately to the lodgings of his friend Paulinus, where he found her beauty and her conversation beyond the highest idea he had framed of them. His friend Paulinus converted her to Christianity, and gave her the name of Eudosia ; after which the emperor publicly espoused her, and enjoyed all the happiness in his marriage which he promised himself from such a virtuous and learned bride. She not only forgave the injuries which her two brothers had done her, but raised them to great honours; and by several works of learning, as well as by an exemplary life, made herself so dear to the whole empire, that she had many statues erected to her memory, and is celebrated by the fathers of the church, as the ornament of her sex.
No. 156. WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 1713.*
- Magni formica laboris ;
Hor. 1 Sat. i. 33.
* Addison's. w This paper, No. 155, is distinguished as a paper of Addison by a hand; and reprinted by Mr. Tickell, in his edition of Addison's Works, 4to. vol. iv. p. 246. Edit. 1721. : Theodosius, stung with jealously by Eudosia's kindness to learned men, particularly to Paulinus, put her favourite to death, dismissed her attend
my last Saturday's paper* I supposed a molehill inhabited by pismires or ants, to be a lively image of the earth, peopled by human creatures. This supposition will not appear too forced or strained to those who are acquainted with the natural history of these little insects; in order to which I shall present my reader with the extract of a letter upon this curious subject, as it was published by the members of the French academy, and since translated into English'. I must confess I was never in my life better entertained than with this narrative, which is of undoubted credit and authority.
• In a room next to mine, which had been empty for a long time, there was upon a window a box full of earth, two feet deep, and fit to keep flowers in. That kind of parterre had been long uncultivated ; and therefore it was covered with old plaster, and a great deal of rubbish that fell from the top of the house and from the walls, which, together with the earth formerly imbibed with water, made a kind of a dry and barren soil. That place lying to the south, and out of the reach of the wind and rain, besides the neighbourhood of a granary, was a most delightful spot of ground for ants; and therefore they had made three nests there, without doubt for the same reason that men build cities in fruitful and convenient places, near springs and rivers. ants, and reduced her to her original private station. She spent the remainder of her life at Jerusalem, in the profession of Christianity, and in literary pursuits, and died in 460, denying with her last breath, the criminality of which her husband suspected her. She translated into hexameter verse the eight-first books of Scripture, and a cento from Homer is ascribed to her, which is a life of Jesus Christ, composed of verses taken from that father of Greek poetry.
* See No. 153. against pride; and p. 326, note.
y This and the following paper look in many places very like translations, but this annotator's search for their originals has hitherto been fruitless. There is nothing of this kind in the volumes of the Memoirs of the French Academy for 1711 or 1712.
• Having a mind to cultivate some flowers, I took a view of that place and removed a tulip out of the garden into that box; but casting my eyes upon the ants, continually taken up with a thousand cares, very inconsiderable with respect to us, but of the greatest importance for them, they appeared to me more worthy of my curiosity than all the flowers in the world. I quickly removed the tulip, to be the admirer and restorer of that little commonwealth. This was the only thing they wanted; for their policy and the order observed among them are more perfect than those of the wisest republics : and therefore they have nothing to fear, unless a new legislator should attempt to change the form of their government.
I made it my business to procure them all sorts of conveniences. I took out of the box every thing that might be troublesome to them ; and frequently visited my ants, and studied all their actions. Being used to go to bed very late, I went to see them work in a moon-shiny night; and I did frequently get up in the night, to take a view of their labours. I always found some going up and down, and very busy : one would think that they never sleep. Every body knows that ants come out of their holes in the day-time, and expose to the sun the corn, which they keep under ground in the night. Those who have seen ant-hillocks, have easily perceived those small heaps of corn about their nests. What surprised me at first was, that my ants never brought out their corn, but in the night when the moon did shine, and kept it under ground in the day-time: which was contrary to what I had seen, and saw still practised by those insects in other places. I quickly found out the reason of it: there was a pigeon-house not far from thence: pigeons and birds would have eaten their corn, if they had brought it out in the day-time. It is highly probable
they knew it by experience; and I frequently found pigeons and birds in that place, when I went to it in a morning. I quickly delivered them from those robbers : I frighted the birds away with some pieces of paper tied to the end of a string over the window. As for the pigeons, I drove them away several times ; and when they perceived that the place was more frequented than before, they never came to it again. What is most admirable, and what I could hardly believe, if I did not know it by experience, is, that those ants knew some days after that they had nothing to fear, and began to lay out their corn in the sun. However, I perceived that they were not fully convinced of being out of all danger ; for they durst not bring out their provisions all at once, but by degrees, first in a small quantity, and without any great order, that they might quickly carry them away, in case of any misfortune, watching, and looking every way.
• At last, being persuaded that they had nothing to fear, they brought out all their corn, almost every day, and in good order, and carried it in at night.
· There is a straight hole in every ant's nest, about half an inch deep, and then it goes down sloping into a place where they have their magazine, which I take to be a different place from that where they rest and eat. For it is highly impropable that an ant, which is a very cleanly insect, and throws out of her nest all the small remains of the corn on which she feeds, as I have observed a thousand times, would fill up her magazine, and mix her corn with dirt and ordure.
• The corn, that is laid up by ants, would shoot under ground, if those insects did not take care to prevent it. They bite off all the buds before they lay it up; and therefore the corn that has laid in their nests will produce nothing. Any one may easily make this
experiment, and even plainly see that there is no bud in their corn. But though the bud be bitten off, there remains another inconvenience, that corn must needs swell and rot under ground; and therefore it could be of no use to the nourishment of ants. Those insects prevent that inconvenience by their labour and industry, and contrive the matter so, that corn will keep as dry in their nests as in our granaries.
They gather many small particles of dry earth, which they bring every day out of their holes, and place them round to heat them in the sun. Every ant brings a small particle of that earth in her pincers, lays it by the hole, and then goes and fetches another. Thus, in less than a quarter of an hour, one may see a vast number of such small particles of dry earth, heaped up round the hole. They lay their corn under ground upon that earth, and cover it with the same. They performed this work almost every day, during the heat of the sun ; and though the sun went from the window about three or four of the clock in the afternoon, they did not remove their corn and their particles of earth, because the ground was very hot, till the heat was over.
• If any one should think that those animals should use sand, or small particles of brick or stone, rather than take so much pains about dry earth ; I answer, that upon such an occasion nothing can be more proper than earth heated in the sun. Corn does not keep upon sand: besides a grain of corn that is cut, being deprived of its bud, would be filled with small sandy particles that could not easily come out. To which I add, that sand consists of such small particles, that an ant could not take them up one after another; and therefore those insects are seldom to be seen near rivers, or in a very sandy ground. • As for the small particles of brick or stone, the