This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
During the last month, I have placed in my parior-window several glass jars in which plants end animals are displayed, fat the way that you may hare seen them, on a grander scale, in the Royal Zoological Gardens. Diving water spiders (Argyroneta aquatica) prove very attractive. "These spiders," says De Greet, "spin in the water a cell of strong, closely woven, white silk, in the form of hall the shell of a pigeon's egg, or like the diving-bell. This- is sometimes left parity above water, but at others it is entirely submersed, and is always attached to the objects near it by a great number of irregular threads. It is closed all round, but has a large opening below." Into this opening the spiders convey air-bubbles and there burst them, so that their habitation is gradually expanded with atmospheric air, until they have a large, dry room, surrounded by water, to deposit their eggs in, and bring up their progeny. There is a crowd daily round my parlor-window to watch the operations of these balloon spiders. I hear the conversation of my Juvenile visitors, and, when I find occasion to do so, give open-air lactates to the auditors. I have, besides spiders, fishes, beetles, and marine animals, all healthy, and kept with very little trouble.
The only thing needful is to establish a balance of animal and vegetable life. If the Valisneria spiralis becomes brown, I put in a water-snail, which soon removes the conferva; if the water becomes cloudy, I add plants or animals, as experience dixeets, and without ever changing the water it remains pure and bright.
If gardeners would give themselves the trouble to attend to a lew of the marvellous objects around them, they would augment the pleasures of their occupations, and obtain valuable knowledge, and thus might be established a bond between youth and'age; for, if once a child is roused to the~pursuit of natural history, he Will become a pleasant companion to grown-up people - he will become merciful, for it is impossible to love God's creatures and be cruel to them, and. it is impossible to know the wonderful works of our Almighty Creator and not to love them.
Schoolmasters should, by command, instruct their scholars In the outlines of natural history. Nothing is mete easy - nothing tends mose to give purpose to pleasure, or to fill up spare moments more profitably.
I would not have lads made collectors but oesenrars. Instruct them to venerate life, and to destroy it only as an act of necessity - never in wantomess never needlessly, not even the life of a plant. C.E., in Cottage Gardener.