mon consent, for the scene of their laborious devastation. The weight and size of the loads carried by these minute insects are truly astonishing. They are furnished with a strong pair of serrated forceps, with which they operate upon the leaves and flowers with great force and rapidity; and that must be indeed an unaspiring denizen of the little republic, who does not stagger off with a cargo thrice his own bulk.
There was a small shrub of about a yard in height, with bright green leaves, and pretty white jessamine-shaped flowers, which I soon discovered to be a favourite; and the pathway leading from it to the distant hole, might not inaptly be compared to a gay town promenade on a sunny day, crowded by fine ladies armed with green and white parasols, for it was difficult to distinguish the bearer under the burden which he elevated to keep it out of the way of his neighbour's, or his own toes. The rapidity with which they move, is withal marvellous. I was more than once philosopher enough to oppose a temporary obstruction to the regularity of their proceedings, by placing a pebble upon the aperture of the nest. You must have a lively imagination, if you can fancy the scene which ensued, or conceive the hurry, and bustle, and confusion of the increasing crowd, with their gaudy burdens; the alarm which ran like wildfire along the lines; the quarrels which ensued among the impatient and short-tempered, and the busy importance of sundry knowing old ants, which would drop their cargo, and, climbing the obstruction, take a survey of the nature and extent of the evil.
Our arrangements advanced slowly, and for at least ten days we had alternately to postpone and refix the day of final start.
We found that the country, all El Dorado as it might be to those about us, was not likely to prove so to us, for the price of the most simple article was so excessive, that our eyebrows and our shoulders threatened to take an habitual elevation, from the constant state of surprise and vexation to which we were reduced.