« PreviousContinue »
The accomplishment of an undertaking (provided, of course, its object be not reprehensible) is always a subject of satisfaction, and must be so especially in a book begun with hesitation and much diffidence- of^Success, occupying considerable time iu completion, -Jand', dependent on public favour for completion at all. Of this description has been the task (albeit a pleasant one) involved in the present volumes, which their author cannot send forth in a threefold form without again adverting, and with due sense of obligation, to the condition last named—the friendly favour so essential to their appearance as a whole; scarcely less so than the genial influence of season and sunshine to the appearance of a perfect insect developed through its triple stages.
In making the above comparison, it is far from being intimated, that the third and final portion of the work now
finished is possessed, like the imago of a butterfly, of any superiority over its preceding parts. Thus much only can . be said for it—that as an insect, of what sort soever, is sure to become an object of increased interest to those who have followed it through its progressive stages, so it is hoped that the ensuing series, making up the entire of an entomological year, may be read with increased relish by those who have followed it through its progressive periods:—this, because with all that pertains to natural knowledge "Vappetit vient en mangeant."
To the same class of subjects belongs yet another merit, noticeable here because most sensibly felt, both by those that write and those that read, when they come to the conclusion of a book devoted to any one of them. In a sustained work of fiction, or even in one on an historic theme sedulously explored and vivified con amore, a writer may often entertain, in common with his readers, a feeling of regret at having done with the persons and scenes of his own creation, or such as have become familiar in their recalment from the depths of the past; but it is never thus with the objects drawn from the world of nature. With these neither writer nor reader are ever called upon to part. They may have done, the former
with presenting, the latter with having them presented, under some certain form, but to both, when once endeared by awakened interest, they are ever present, and for ever assuming new aspects to engage thought and kindle affection—adoration. Completed works on natural subjects? There are no such things! The most scientific of them is but the commencement of "a story without an end;"—the least so (this among them) is but an invocation to begin and read it!
DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
BEETLES IN GENERAL.
An assemblage of Beetles, most of which are described or mentioned in Epis-
On the plant of Meadow Sorrel (Acetosapratensis) to the left, are two small