AT the time of writing a border of bright flowers runs in straight perspective from the window opposite, with a rose arcade by the border, and a yew hedge behind that. The shafts of the morning sun fly straight down to the flowers, and every blossom of hollyhock, sunflower, campanula, and convolvulus, and the scarlet ranks of the geraniums, are stand- ing at " attention " to welcome this morning inspection by the ruler and commander-in-chief of all the world of flowers. The inspecting officers, rather late as inspecting officers are wont to be, are overhauling and examining the flowers and their "kits." These inspectors, also roused by the sun, are the butterflies and bees. Splendid red admirals are flying up, and alighting on the sunflowers, or hovering over the pink masses of valerian. Peacock butterflies, " eyed " like Emperors' robes, open and shut their wings upon the petals; large tortoiseshells are flitting from flower to flower; mouse. coloured humming-bird moths are poising before the red lips of the geraniums; and a stream of common white butterflies is crossing the lawn to the flowers at the rate of twenty a minute. They all come from the same direction, across a cornfield and meadow, behind which lies a wood. The bees came first, as they are fairly early risers; the butterflies later, some of them very late, and evidently not really ready for parade, for they are sitting on the flowers stretching, brushing themselves, and cleaning their boots,—or feet. The fact is that the butterflies, late though it is, are only just out of bed. You might look all the evening to find the place where these particular butterflies sleep, and not discover it, unless some of them have taken a fancy to the verandah or the inside of a dwelling-room in the house. But each and every one of them has been asleep in a place it has chosen, and it is probable that some, the red admirals, for instance, will go back to that place to sleep at evening.
Fond as the butterflies are of the light and sun, they dearly love their beds. Like most fashionable people who do nothing, they stay there very late. But their unwillingness to get up in the morning is equalled by their eager desire to leave the world and its pleasures early and be asleep in good time. They are the earliest of all our creatures to seek repose. An August day has about fifteen hours of light, and for that time the sun shines for twelve hours at least; but the butterflies weary of sun and flowers, colour and light, so early that by 6 o'clock, even on warm days, many of them have retired for the night. On the chalk hills live many of the exquisite blue butterflies, whose motto, like that of the reds, is "early to bed." Sometimes they may be found, long before sunset, sleeping in hundreds on the downs. Then may be seen the kind of bed a butterfly of this fragile yet hardy race chooses, and the attitudes it sleeps in, its efforts to be comfortable, and its precautions to avoid being carried off and eaten by the tigers and lions of the butterfly world. Last week, in the cold windy days, they were all falling asleep at 5 o'clock. Their dormitory was in the tall, colourless grass, with dead seed-heads, that fringes the tracks over the hills, or the leaves that cross the hollows. Common blues in hundreds were there, and small heath butterflies almost as many. The former, each and every one of them, arrange themselves to look like part of the seed-spike that caps the grass-stem. Then the use and purpose of the parti-coloured grey and yellow under-colouring of their wings is seen. The butterfly invariably goes to sleep head downwards, its eyes looking straight down the stem of the grass. It folds and contracts its wings to the utmost, partly, perhaps, to wrap its body from the cold. But the effect is to reduce its size and shape to a narrow ridge, making an acute angle with the grass-stem, hardly distinguishable in shape and colour from the seed-heads on thousands of other stems around. The butterfly also sleeps on the top of the stem, which increases its likeness to the natural finial of the grass. In the morning, when the sunbeams warm them, all these grey-pied sleepers on the grass-tops open their wings, and the colourless bennets are starred with a thousand living flowers of purest azure. Side by side with the " blues " sleep the common "small heaths." They use the grass-stems for beds, but less carefully, and with no such obvious solicitude to com- pose their limbs in harmony with the lines of the plant. They also sleep with their heads downwards, but the body.is allowed to droop sideways from the stem like a leaf. This, with their light colouring, makes them far more conspicuous than the blues. Moreover, as grass has no leaves shaped in any way like the sleeping butterfly, the contrast of shape attracts notice. Can it be that the blues, whose brilliant colouring by day makes them conspicuous to every enemy, have learnt caution, while the brown heaths, less exposed to risk, are less careful of concealment P Be it noticed that moths and butter- flies go to sleep in different attitudes. Moths fold their wings back upon their bodies, covering the lower wing, Which is usually bright in colour, with the upper wing. They fold their antenna3 back on the line of their wings. Butterflies raise the wings above their bodies and lay them back to back, putting their antenna between them if they move them at all. On these same dry grasses of the hills, another of the most brilliant insects of this country may often be seen sleeping in swarms,—the carmine and green burnet moth. But it is a slug- gish creature, which often seems scarcely awake in the day, and its surrender to the dominion of sleep excites less surprise than the deep slumber of the active and vivacious butterflies. The heaths and " blues " should perhaps be regarded as the gipsies of the butterfly world, because they sleep in the open. They are even worse off than the nomads, because like that regiment which the War Office lately refused to grant field allowance to on the ground that they were "not under canvas," they do not seek even a temporary roof. What we may call the "garden butterflies," especially the red admirals, often do seek a roof, going into barns, sheds, churches, verandahs, and even houses to sleep. There, too, they often wake up in winter from their long hibernating sleep, and remind us of summer days gone by as they flicker on the sun- warmed panes. Mrs. Brightwen established the fact that they sometimes have fixed homes to which they return. Two butterflies, one a brimstone, the other, so far as the writer remembers, a red admiral, regularly came for admission to the house. One was killed by a rain-storm when the window was shut; the other hibernated in the house. Probably it was as a sleeping-place and bedroom that the butterflies made it their "home." There is a parallel instance, mentioned, we believe, by Mr. Wallace, when a butterfly came night after night to sleep on a particular spot in the roof of a verandah in the Eastern Archipelago. In the East the sun itself is so regular and so rapid in rising and setting that the sleeping hours of insects and birds are far more regular than in temperate lands with their shifting periods of light and darkness. Our twilight, that season that the tropics know not, has produced a curious race of moths, or rather, a curious habit confined to certain kinds. They are the creatures neither of day nor of, night, but of -twilight. They awake as twilight begins, go about their business and enjoy a brief and crepuscular activity, and go to sleep as soon as darkness settles on the
world. At the first glimmer of the dawn they awaken again to fly till sunrise, when they hurry off like the fairies, and sleep till twilight falls again.
As there are hundreds of moths that fly by night and sleep by day at seasons when there are perhaps only twenty species of butterflies flying by day and sleeping by night, it is strange that the sleeping moths are not more often found. Some kinds are often disturbed, and are seen. But the great majority are sleeping on the bark of trees, in hedges, in the crevices of pines, oaks, and elms, and other rough-skinned timber, and we see them not. Some prefer damp nights with a drizzle of rain to fly in, not the weather which we should choose as inviting us to leave repose. Few like moonlight nights ; darkness is their idea of a "fine day" in which .to get up and enjoy life, many, like the dreams in Virgil's Hades, being all day high among the leaves of lofty trees, whence they descend at the summons of night, the—
"Filmy shapes That haunt the dusk, with ermine capes.
And woolly breasts, and beaded eyes.'
The connection between character and bedtime which grew up from association when human life was less complex than now, has some counterpart in the world of butterflies and in- sects. The industrious bees go to bed much earlier than the roving wasps. The latter, which have been out stealing fruit and meat, and foraging on their own individual account, "knock in" at all hours till dark, and may sometimes be seen in a state of disgraceful intoxication, hardly able to find the way in at their own front door. The bees are all asleep by then in their communal dormitory.
It would not be human if some belief had not arisen that the insects that fly by night imitate human thieves and rob those which toil by day. There has always been a tradition that the death's-head moth, the largest of all our moths, does this, and that it creeps into the hives and robs the bees, which are said to be terrified by a squeaking noise made by the gigantic moth, which to a bee must appear as the roc did to its victims. It is said that the bees will close up the sides of the entrance to the hive with wax so as to make it too small for the moth to creep in. Probably this is a fable, due to the pirate badge which the moth bears on its head. But it is certainly fond of sweet things, and as it is often caught in empty sugar-barrels, it is quite possible that it does come to the hive-door at night and alarm the inmates in its search for honey.