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Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 132.djvu/773

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BEES AND BEE-KEEPING.

took a prominent part in the coup d'état which wrested the government of the country out of the hands of the dissolute advisers of the deceased emperor and vested it in the dowager-empress and Prince Kung. This event secured to him his post at the Tsung-le Yamun, and in that position he consistently used his influence to promote cordiality between his government and those of foreign countries. As an instance of his sense of the value of international courtesy, it may be mentioned that on receiving the announcement of the death of the prince consort he at once went dressed in mourning and, as is usual on the death of an imperial personage, without his button and peacock's feather, to offer his condolences to Sir Frederick Bruce, who was at that time the English minister at Peking. His sympathies probably went out less towards Russia than to any foreign country. "Russia," he once observed in conversation with Mr. Hart, the inspector-general of customs, "is a large country, but it is not large enough for them. They came last year (1860) and took that," pointing on a map to the Amoor territory, "from us."

In all the later "burning questions" which have since agitated foreign politics in China he took an active part, and while never separating himself from his colleagues he always threw his weight into the scale of reason and moderation. Failing health compelled him to absent himself more and more frequently from the deliberations consequent on the murder of Mr. Margary, and his last recorded opinion was his dissent from the pronounced pro-foreign opinions of Kwo Sung-taou, the ambassador who has just arrived in London. This fact gives rise to an interesting question. If Wǎn Seang, who was a leading member of the liberal party in the cabinet, disapproved of Kwo's advanced views, whom may the ambassador be said to represent? Certainly not the government, certainly not the literati, nor, as far as we know, the people. Wǎn Seang did not live to see the Chefoo Convention signed, but died full of years on the 26th of May last. On his death posthumous honors were heaped upon him by the emperor, and imperial orders were issued that the arrangement of his funeral should be such as befitted that of so old and faithful a servant of the crown. These instructions we now learn have been carried out, and the funeral procession as it recently arrived at Moukden is described as having been surrounded with every insignia of official pomp. Following the custom of his countrymen, his bones will be laid by those of his forefathers in Manchuria, far from the scenes of his official duties and political triumphs.




From Good Words.

BEES AND BEE-KEEPING.

What a never-ending source of delight and interest to the little ones are the bees! Bright eyes and chubby arms are perfectly fearless of the anger of their little friends, and chuckle with glee as they lay their hands at the entrance for the busy army to run over, well knowing the bees are great respecters of courage in their friends, and rarely is confidence on either side abused. The whole atmosphere is now redolent with sweet perfume of mignonette, and gay with the azure blooms of borage sown for the bees. Let us see the "bee-master," quaint, old-fashioned title, a relic of the olden times, investigate the economy of his colonies; with the protection only of a light gauze veil, pendent from the brim of a straw hat, but with hands uncovered, he calmly, steadily, and fearlessly removes the crown board or cover of the hive he wishes to inspect. Most people would expect to see the inhabitants rush out in a body and attack the bold disturber; but the fact is, they do nothing of the kind, a few impetuously take wing and perhaps alight on the hands of their master; but do they sting him? No! the practised hand remains quiet, unmoved and unharmed, many more bees come tumbling like a boiling mass over the sides of the uncovered hive, apparently seeking to know why their privacy has been so unceremoniously intruded on; and having satisfied their curiosity, back they go, to rejoin their forty thousand companions within. Whereupon, with a steady, unflinching movement, and great care that no hurt shall come to any of the bees, the fingers now enter the hive and grasp the two ends of a frame filled with comb and covered with bees, many of whom will run over the hands as harmless as flies, and very much, tamer: few bees offer to fly, but remain to be returned with the comb to the hive. The apiarian now lifts out each frame seriatim, notes, the prosperity of the stock or the reverse by the number of young bees in their various stages of growth, as well as the abundance or otherwise of the stores. On a comb near the centre we see the queen busily engaged in her never-ending employment of egg-