« AnteriorContinuar »
excellent supper; and there is to be a waltz round the sugar cask at the grocer's; and I am to sing my new song of Sipping Sweets,' —80 good-bye.”
“Ah, Spy-fly,” said Widow Wasp, “you are too fund of gaiety and company. I wish you would marry and settle down.”
“I don't like Wasps,” said Spy-fly. “There is an Emperor Butterfly that lives up on the hill; if be would ask me, I'd marry him, he is so grandlooking : he has four wings, and I have only two; and then he has such lovely colours."
"Keep to your kind ; don't consort with folks above you," said the mother; but the giddy Spy-fly had flown off to her evening's gaiety.
“And where are you going, Buz-fuz?” asked Widow Wasp, as her last son prepared to leave the dwelling
To the confectioner's for more cherry brandy.” “My dear son," said the Widow, seriously, "you are really getting too fond of those strong sweet things. Can you not live on sugar and cakes and the like, which will never make you stupid, as that cherry brandy does?”
“Nonsense!” hummed Buz-fuz, crossly ; "what do females know about these things? I cannot get on without cherry brandy; my wings shake so, I cannot fly a hundred yards. I am really very delicate, and require support."
“ Take a little bread and milk of a morning," said his mother ; but Buz-fuz pretended not to hear, and went off to the confectioner's.
When he got in, the jar containing the cherry brandy was all fastened down. In vain he flew
round and round it, and longed for the tempting contents.
He was too provoked to go home again without finding something to drink; but the confectioner, warned by experience, had shut up everything under glass or muslin. At length, he saw a number of Flies congregating over a large saucer.
“There's something good there, I'll wager," said greedy Buz-fuz; and he darted into the crowd, sending the little Flies right and left.
He dropped down on the saucer. It contained some liquid, moistening a sheet of brownish paper. He gave a little suck; it was very nice, sweet, and strong He sucked a little more ; it seemed to go up into his head, and make him quite happy and merry.
That's poison!” said an old Wasp who had been hovering about, without alighting on the paper.
“How do you know?” asked Buz-fuz,
“ Because I've seen both Flies and Wasps die after sucking it."
“ Nonsense!” said Buz-fuz. “ It's most delicious stuff. Poison must be nasty, like physic; this cannot
. be poison.” So he sucked a little more. Dear me! his head grew quite dizzy ; everything in the shop turned round and round; his six legs tottered under him ; his wings fell useless at his sides ; and in a minute or two Buz-fuz became insensible.
Just as he felt his senses going, he hissed out to the old Wasp, “Go to my mother; tell her my sad fate.” And the old Wasp, shaking his head, gravely departed on his errand.
You may fancy Widow Wasp's distress on hearing
of her last son's cruel fate. She set off immediately with Snippa, who had been helping her to cut out a new lining for their cushions; and on reaching the edge of the fatal saucer, they found Buz-fuz still alive, but suffering great torture ; for the stupefying effects had gone off, and he felt as if burning all through him,
“Ah, mother!” he said when he saw her, “ you were right to warn me against those strong drinks. If I had not had a liking for cherry brandy, I should never have tasted this poisoned paper.
Let my fate be a warning to all Wasps.” And with this, he
, wriggled round in a last convulsion, and died.
The poor mother was obliged to leave him there, for neither she nor Snippa dared to touch the poisoned body, for fear of infection; and slowly and sadly they returned home. But they found Spy-fly in great spirits ; she had had a merry evening, and had actually danced with a Death's-head Moth. Her head was quite full of her new acquaintance.
“He is not quite so handsome as the Emperor Butterfly; but he is so strong, and quite a remark
I assure you, Snippa, everybody envied me when he asked me to dance. And he is coming to call to-morrow evening. He never goes out in the day; he says it is a vulgar habit.”
“That will be inconvenient for you, who like sunshine,” said Snippa.
“But I won't go on with a vulgar habit,” said Spy-fly. “One must give up a little in order to be genteel. And I am very glad you have cut out the new lining for the house, and made it look tolerably decent for my visitor."
Spy-fly, you perceive, cared not a pin for her poor poisoned brother, Buz-fuz.
Next evening at dusk, Mr. Death's-head Moth presented himself at the door of Widow Wasp's house; but, alack-a-day! it was too little, and he was too big—he could not get in; so his hosts were forced to come out and receive him on the grass before their gate.
Spy-fly was in ecstasies with her distinguished visitor. He spoke rather thick, and he groped about rather blindly, and Snippa did not admire the queer marks on his back; but being very humble, she kept hier opinion to herself.
They gave him the very best of their stores, but he did not seem to care for their food; and Snippa, with a shudder, heard him ask if they had no nice fat Worms!
In short, she did not much like her intended brother-in-law, and was very sorry when he formally requested Mrs. Wasp's leave to take away his bride next evening
Spy-fly wished for a day wedding, to show off her new dignity, and her own bright yellow and black dress; but the bridegroom declared only common Flies were married in the day-time, and it was against his rule ever to go out before dusk.
So be had his way; and all the next day Widow Wasp was busy culling out rose leaves with Snippa, and lining a large hole, big enough for both bridegroom and bride to live in.
But, alas ! when the Death's-head Moth came at night, he said he had his own castle far away, and would take his bride there. It was a tearful parting. Even Spy-fly got rather afraid when the time came, and was hardly consoled by her old friend the Earthworm saluting her by her grand new name of " Mrs. Death's-head Moth."
A long way she had to go through the darknessshe, a gay, sun-loving Wasp. At length they came to a ruin, and inside, in a broken crevice, which made a large, damp, dark cavern, hung with tapestry of Spider webs deserted by the Spiders, the Death'shead Moth took his bride.
It was very cold and full of draughts. Poor Spy-fly did nothing but shiver; and when day broke, in vain did she beg her husband to let her out into the sunshine. “No, indeed," he declared 1; “ it would never do for my wife to be seen out of doors by day; our neighbours would quite despise us." So Spy-fly sat in a corner, and wrapped herself round with Spider webs and shivered. She could not eat her husband's food ; and when he made her go out with him at night, she could not see her way, and stumbled against trunks of trees, and got numb and stiff with cold. So she lost all her fine spirits, and had not even the heart to talk to the other Moths who lived in the same ruin; and they looked down on her as a low-born common Wasp, who had no right to be among them.
So she pined away; and one day when the Deatl'shead Moth came home, he said to her sternly, “ You are quite a cheat; you were so merry and lively when I first saw you, I thought you would cheer up this old place. But you do nothing but mope, mope, all the day long; and, altogether, I