Part 4 out of 5
does not make a harmony: we must have dissimilar notes; discords even,
which, by their harshness, give value to the concords; human societies are
harmonious only thus, by the concourse of dissimilarities." (15/14.)
And what a puerile Utopia, what a disappointing illusion is that of
communism! Let us see under what conditions, at the price of what
sacrifices, nature here and there realizes it.
Among the bees "twenty thousand renounce maternity and devote themselves to
celibacy to raise the prodigious family of a single mother."
Among the ants, the wasps, the termites "thousands and thousands remain
incomplete and become humble auxiliaries of a few who are sexually gifted."
Would you by chance reduce man to the life of the Processional
caterpillars, content to nibble the pine-needles among which they live, and
which, satisfied to march continually along the same tracks, find within
reach an abundant, easy, and idle subsistence? All have the same size, the
same strength, the same aptitudes. No initiative. "What one does the others
do, with equal zeal, neither better nor worse." On the other hand, there is
"no sex, no love." And what would be a society in which there was no work
done for pleasure and from which love and the family were banished? What
would be the effect upon its progress, its welfare, its happiness? Would
not all that make the charm of life disappear for good? However imperfect
our present society may be, however mysterious its destinies, it is not in
socialism that Fabre foresees the perfection of future humanity, for to him
the true humanity does not as yet exist; it is making its way, it is slowly
progressing, and in this evolution he wishes with all his heart to believe.
Modern humanity is as yet only a shapeless grimacing caricature, and its
life is like a play written by madmen and played by drunken actors;
according to those profound words of the great poet, with which his mind is
in some sort imbued; which he often repeats, and which he has transcribed
at the head of one of his last records as an epigraph and a constant
And you who groan over the distressing problem of depopulation, lend an ear
to the lesson of the Copris, "which trebles its customary batch of
offspring in times of abundance, and in times of dearth imitates the
artisan of the city who has only just enough to live on, or the bourgeois,
whose numerous wants are more and more costly to satisfy, limiting the
number of its offspring lest they should go in want, often reducing the
number of its children to a single one." (15/15.)
Instead of running after so many false appearances and false pleasures,
learn to return to simpler tastes, to more rustic manners; free yourselves
from a mass of factitious needs; steep yourself anew in the antique
sobriety, whose desires were sager; return to the fields, the source of
abundance, and the earth, the eternal foster-mother!
And in this appeal to return to nature, which perhaps since the time of
Rousseau has never been worded so eloquently, Fabre has in view if not the
strong, the predestined, who are called elsewhere, and who are actuated by
the sense of great tasks to be performed, at least all those of rural
origin, all those for whom the love of the family, the daily task, and a
peaceful heart are really the great things of life, the things that count,
the things that suffice.
He himself, although he was one of the strong, did not care to break any of
the ties that bound him to his origins. Like the Osmia, "which retains a
tenacious memory of its home," the beloved village of his childhood has
never been effaced from his memory, and for a long time the desire to leave
his bones there haunted him. His mind often returned to it; he thought that
there, better than anywhere else, he would find peace; that it would please
him to wander among the rocks, the trees, the stones which he had so loved,
in the old days, and that all these things would recognize him too.
One day, however, when I was begging him to make up his mind on this point-
-it was one of those peaceful evenings which are troubled under the plane-
trees only by the tinkling of the fountain--he confided to me that his
beloved Sérignan had at last, in his secret preferences, obliterated the
old longing. As he advanced in life, in fact, although he never forgot his
rude natal countryside, he felt that new links were daily binding him more
closely to those heaths and mountains on which his heart had been so often
thrilled with the intense joy of discovery, and that it was indeed in this
soil, to him so full of delight, amid its beautiful hymenoptera and
scarabaei, that he would wish to be buried.
Fabre is by no means the misanthrope that some have chosen to think him. He
delights in the society of women, and knows how to welcome them gracefully;
and more than any one he is sensitive to the pleasant and stimulating
impressions produced by the conversation of cultivated people.
He is no less fond of the arts, provided he finds in them a sincere
interpretation of life. This is why the theatre, with its false values, its
tinsel and affectation, has to him seemed a gross deformation of the
reality, ever since the day when at Ajaccio he attended a performance of
"Norma," in which the moon was represented by a round transparent disc, lit
from behind by a lantern hanging at the end of a string, whose oscillation
revealed by turns first the luminary and then the transparency. This was
enough to disgust him for ever with the theatre and the opera, whose
motionless choruses, contrasting with the sometimes frantic movement of the
music, left him with a memory of an insane and illogical performance.
Nevertheless, he adored music, of which he knew something, having learned
it, as he learned his drawing, without a master; but he preferred the naive
songs of the country, or the melody of a flute; to the most scholarly
concert-music. (15/16.) In the intimacy of the modest chamber which serves
as the family salon, with its few shabby and old-fashioned pieces of
furniture, he plays on an indifferent harmonium little airs of his own
composition, the subjects of which were at first suggested by his own
poetry. Like Rollinat, Fabre rightly considers that music should complete,
accentuate, and release that which poetry has perforce left incomplete or
indefinite. This is why he makes the bise laugh and sing and roar; why he
imitates the organ-tones of the wind in the pines, and seeks to reproduce
some of the innumerable rhythms of nature; the frenzy of the lizard, the
wriggling of the stickle-back, the jumping gait of the frog, the shrill hum
of the mosquito, the complaint of the cricket, the moving of the Scarabaei,
and the flight of the Libellulae.
Too busy by day to find time for much reading, it was at night that he
would shut himself up. Retiring early to his little chamber, with bare
walls and bare tile floor, and a window opening to the garden, he would lie
on his low bed, with curtains of green serge, and would often read far into
This philosopher, to whose books the philosophers of the future will resort
for new theories and original ideas, refuses to have any commerce with
other philosophers, disdaining their systems and preferring to go straight
to the facts. Even when he took up Darwin's "Origin of Species" he did
little more than open the book; so wearisome and uninteresting, he told me,
did he find the reading of it. On the other hand, he is full of the ancient
philosophers, and as he did not read them very extensively in his youth and
middle age, he has returned to them finally with love and predilection for
"these good old books." Unlike many thinkers of the day, he is persuaded
that we cannot with impunity dispense with classic studies; and he rightly
considers that science and the humanities are not rivals, but allies. Above
all he has a particular affection for Virgil; one may say that he is
steeped in his poetry; and he knows La Fontaine by heart. The style of the
latter is curiously like his own, and Fabre owns himself as his disciple;
certainly La Fontaine's is the most active influence which his work
reveals. He has a profound acquaintance with Rabelais, who was always his
"friend" and who constantly crops up in his conversation and his chance
After these his intellectual foster-parents have been Courrier, Toussenel,
of whom he is passionately fond, and Rousseau, of whom he cares for little
but his "Lettres sur la botanique," full of such fresh impressions, in
which we feel not the literary man but the "craftsman"; he also cherishes
Michelet; so full of intuition, although he never handled actual things and
knew nothing of the practice of the sciences; not learned, but overflowing
with love; his magic pen, his powers of evocation, and his deft brushwork
delight Fabre, despite the poverty and insufficiency of his fundamental
facts (15/17.); sometimes Michelet had been his inspiration. The two do
really resemble one another; Michelet was no less fitted than Fabre to play
the confidant to Nature, and his heart was of the same mettle.
Since I have spoken of his favourites, let me also speak of his dislikes;
Racine, whom he cannot bear; Molière, whom he does not really like; Buffon,
whom he frankly detests for his too fluent prose, his ostentatious style,
and his vain rhetoric. The only naturalist whom he might really have
delighted in, had he possessed his works and been able to read them at
leisure, is Audubon, the enthusiastic painter of the birds of America. In
him he felt the presence of a mind and a temper almost identical with his
CHAPTER 16. TWILIGHT.
How he has laboured in this solitude! For he considers that he is still far
from having completed his task. He feels more and more that he has scarcely
done more than sketch the history of this singular and almost unknown
world. "The more I go forward," he wrote to his brother in 1903, "the more
clearly I see that I have struck my pick into an inexhaustible vein, well
worthy of being exploited." (16/1.)
What studies he has undertaken, what observations he has carried out,
"almost at the same time, the same moment!" His laboratory is crowded with
these subjects of experiments. "As though I had a long future before me"--
he was then just eighty years old--"I continue indefatigably my researches
into the lives of these little creatures." (16/2.)
Work in solitude seems to him, more and more, the only life possible, and
he cannot even imagine any other.
"The outer world scarcely tempts me at all; surrounded by my little family,
it is enough for me to go into the woods from time to time, to listen to
the fluting of the blackbirds. The very idea of the town disgusts me.
Henceforth it would be impossible for me to live in the little cage of a
citizen. Here I am, run wild, and I shall be so till the end." (16/3.)
For him work has become more than ever an organic function, the true
corollary of life. "Away with repose! For him who would spend his life
properly there is nothing like work--so long as the machine will operate."
Is this not the great law for all creatures so long as life lasts?
Why should the man who has made a fortune, who has neither children nor
relations, and who may die tomorrow, continue to work for himself alone, to
employ his days and his energies in useless labours which will profit
neither himself nor his kind?
Ask of the Halictus, which, no longer capable of becoming a mother, makes
herself guardian of a city, in order still to labour within the measure of
Ask of the Osmia, the Megachile, the Anthidium, which "with no maternal
aim, for the sole joy of labour, strive to expend their forces in the
accomplishment of their vain tasks, until the forces of life fail."
Ask of the bee, which inaction leaves passive and melancholy so that she
presently dies of weariness; of the Chalicodoma, so eager a worker that she
will "let herself be crushed under the feet of the passer-by rather than
abandon her task."
Ask it of all nature, which knows neither halt nor repose, and who,
according to the profound saying of Goethe "has pronounced her malediction
upon all that retards or suspends her progress."
Let us then labour, men and beasts, "so that we may sleep in peace; grubs
and caterpillars in that torpor which prepares them for the transformation
into moths and butterflies, and ourselves in the supreme slumber which
dissolves life in order to renew it."
Let us work, in order to nourish within ourselves that divine intuition
thanks to which we leave our original impress upon nature; let us work, in
order to bring our humble contribution to the general harmony of things, by
our painful and meritorious labour; in order that we may associate
ourselves with God, share in His creation, and embellish and adorn the
earth and fill it with wonders. (16/4.)
Forward then! always erect, even amid the tombs, to forget our griefs.
Fabre finds no better consolation to offer his brother, who has lost almost
in succession his wife and his eldest daughter:
"Do not take it ill if I have not condoled with you on the subject of your
recent losses. Tried so often by the bitterness of domestic grief, I know
too well the inanity of such consolations to offer the like to my friends.
Time alone does a little cicatrize such wounds; and, let us add, work. Let
us keep on our feet and at work as long as we are able. I know no better
And this exhortation to work, which recurs so often in the first letters of
his youth, was to be the last word of the last volume which so splendidly
terminates the incomparable series of his "Souvenirs": "Laboremus."
Age has killed neither his courage nor his energies, and he continues to
work with the same zeal at nearly ninety years of age, and with as much
eagerness as though he were destined to live for ever.
Although his physical forces are failing him, although his limbs falter,
his brain remains intact, and is giving us its last fruit in his studies on
the Cabbage caterpillar and the Glow-worm, which mark a sudden
rejuvenescence of thought on his part, and the commencement of a new cycle
of studies, which promise to be of the greatest originality.
To him the animal world has always been full of dizzy surprises, and the
insects led him "into a new and barely suspected region, which is ALMOST
The glow-worms, motionless on their twigs of thyme, light their lamps of an
evening, in the cool of the beautiful summer nights. What do these fires
signify? How explain the mystery of this phosphorescence? Why this slow
combustion, "this species of respiration, more active than in the ordinary
state"? and what is the oxidizable substance "which gives this white and
gentle luminosity"? Is it a flame of love like that which lights the Agaric
of the olive-tree "to celebrate its nuptials and the emission of its
spores"? But what reason can the larva have for illuminating itself? Why is
the egg, already enclosed in the secrecy of the ovaries, already luminous?
"The soft light of the Agaric has confounded our ideas of optics; it does
not refract, it does not form an image when passed through a lens, it does
not affect ordinary photographic plates." (16/7.)
But here are other miracles:
"Another fungus, the Clathrix, with no trace of phosphorescence, affects
photographic plates almost as quickly as would a ray of sunlight. The
Clathrix tenebrosa does what the Agaricus olearius has no power to do."
And if the beacon of the Glow-worm recalls the light of the Agaric, the
Clathrix reminds us of another insect, the Greater Peacock moth.
In the obscurity of a dark chamber this splendid moth emits phantasmal
radiations, perhaps intermittent and reserved for the season of nuptials,
signals invisible to us, and perceptible only to those children of the
night, who may have found this means to communicate one with another, to
call one another in the darkness, and to speak with one another. (16/9.)
Such are the interesting subjects which only yesterday were occupying this
great worker; the occult properties, the radiant energies of organic
matter; of phosphorescence, of light, the living symbols of the great
But embarrassment long ago succeeded the ephemeral prosperity which marked
the first years of his installation at Sérignan, and that period of plenty
was followed by a period of difficulty, almost of indigence. His class-
books, which had succeeded marvellously, and from which the royalties had
quickly attained to nearly 640 pounds sterling, which was the average
figure for nearly ten years, were then no longer in vogue. Already the
times had changed. France was in the crisis of the anti-clerical fever.
Fabre made frequent allusions in his books of a spiritual nature, and many
primary inspectors could not forgive what they regarded as a blemish.
We must also mention the keen competition caused by the appearance of
similar books, usually counterfeit, and the more harmful for that; and as
their adoption depended entirely on the caprice of commissions or the
choice of interested persons, those of Fabre were gradually ceasing to
It was from 1894 especially that their popularity declined so rapidly:
"Despite all my efforts here I am more anxious than ever about the future,"
he wrote to his publisher on the 27th of January, 1899; "two more of my
books are about to disappear, a prelude to total shipwreck...I begin to
He was not the man to have saved much money; numerous charges were always
imposing themselves on him, and his first wife, careless of expenditure,
had been somewhat extravagant.
While his position as teacher deteriorated his "Souvenirs" brought him
little more than a nominal profit; for to most people he was still
completely unknown among the potentates who monopolize the attention of the
"Work such as a Réaumur might be proud of will leave me a beggar, that goes
without saying, but at least I shall have left my grain of sand. I would
long ago have given up in despair, had I not, to give me courage, the
continual research after truth in the little world whose historian I have
become. I am hoarding ideas, and I make shift to live as I can." (16/11.)
Yet his reputation had long ago crossed the frontiers of his country. He
had been a corresponding member of the Institute of France since 1887, and
a Petit d'Ormoy prizeman. (16/12.) He was a member of the most celebrated
foreign academies, and the entomological societies of the chief capitals of
Europe; but his fame had not passed the walls of these academies and the
narrow boundaries of the little world of professional biologists and
Even in these circles, where he was almost exclusively read and
appreciated, he was little known, and although he was much admired,
although he was readily given credit for his admirable talent and
exceptional knowledge, his readers were far from realizing the real powers
of this world of life which he has called into being. His books are of
those whose fertilizing virtues remain long hidden, to shine only at a
distance, when much frothy writing, that has made a sudden noise in its
time, has fallen into oblivion.
Every two or three years, after much fond polishing, he would open the door
to yet another volume which was ready to go forth; adding astonishing
chapters of the history of insects, wonderful fragments of animal
psychology, but always obtaining only the same circumscribed success; that
is, exciting no public curiosity, and remaining unperceived in the midst of
His books interested only a select class, who, it is true, welcomed them
eagerly, and read them with wonder and delight. If they excited the
curiosity of a few philosophers, of scientists and inquirers, and here and
there determined a vocation, still more, perhaps, did they charm writers
and poets; they consoled Rostand at the end of a serious illness, their
virtue, in some sort healing, procuring him both moral repose and a
delightful relaxation. (16/13.) For all these, we may say, he has been one
of those ten or twelve authors whom one would wish to take with one into a
long exile, were they reduced to choosing no more before leaving
civilization for ever.
Yet we must admit that this work has certain undeniable faults. The title,
in the first place, has nothing alluring about it, and is calculated to
deter rather than to attract purchasers, by evoking vague ideas of
repulsive studies, too arduous or too special.
People have no idea of the wonderful fairyland concealed by this unpopular
title; no conception that these records are intended, not merely for the
scientist pure and simple, but in reality for every one.
Moreover, the first few volumes were in no way seductive. They boasted not
the most elementary drawings to help the reader; not the slightest woodcut
to give a direct idea of the insects described; of their shape, aspect, or
physiognomy; and a simple sketch, however poor, is often worth more than
long and laborious descriptions. The first volumes especially, printed
economically, at the least possible expense, were not outwardly attractive.
It is also true that he had never founded any great hopes on the sale of
Very few people are really interested in the lower animals, and Fabre has
been reproached with wasting his time over "childish histories, unworthy of
serious attention and unlikely to make money," of wasting in frivolous
occupations the time which is passing so quickly and can never return. And
why should he have still further wasted so many precious hours in executing
minute drawings whose reproduction would have involved an expenditure which
his publisher would not dare to venture upon, and which he himself could
For this universal inquirer was well fitted for such a task, and all these
creatures which he had depicted he is capable of representing with brush
and pencil as faithfully as with his pen. He had it in him to be not only a
writer, but an excellent draughtsman, and even a great painter. He has
reproduced in water-colour, with loving care, the decorations of the
specimens of prehistoric pottery which his excavations have revealed, and
which he has endeavoured to reconstruct, with all the science of an
archaeologist. He has displayed the same skill in water-colour in that
astonishing iconography, in which he has detailed, with marvellous
accuracy, all the peculiarities of the mycological flora of the olive-
growing districts. (16/14.)
As for those "paltry figures" insufficient or flagrantly incorrect in
drawing, with which many people are satisfied, he regards them as
"intolerable" in his own books, and as absolutely contradicting the
rigorous accuracy of his text. (16/15.)
Of late years photography and the skill of his son Paul have supplied this
deficiency. He taught his son to fix the insects on the sensitive plate in
their true attitudes, in the reality of their most instantaneous gestures.
However valuable such documents may be, how much we should prefer fine
drawings, giving relief not only to forms and colours, but also to the most
characteristic features and the whole living physiognomy of the creature!
This is the function of art; but the great artist that was in Fabre was
capable in this domain of rivalling the magical talent of an Audubon.
Such work was relinquished, although so many romances of nature, so much
dishonest patch-work, won the applause due to success.
Fabre fell more and more into a state bordering on indigence, and finally
he was quite forgotten. An opponent of evolution, he was out of the
fashion. The encyclopaedias barely mentioned him. Lamarckians and
Darwinians, who still made so much noise in the world, ignored him; and no
one came now to open the gate behind which was ageing, in obscurity and
deserted, "one of the loftiest and purest geniuses which the civilized
world at that moment possessed; one of the most learned naturalists and one
of the most marvellous of poets in the modern and truly legitimate sense of
the word." (16/16.)
In the department of Vaucluse, where he lived for more than sixty years, in
Avignon itself, where he had taught for twenty years, the prefect Belleudy,
who had succeeded in approaching him, was astonished and distressed to find
"so great a mind so little known"; for even those about him scarcely knew
his name. (16/17.)
But what matter! The hermit of Sérignan was not discouraged; he was
disturbed only by the failure of his strength, and the fear that he could
not much longer exercise that divine faculty which had always consoled him
for all his sorrows and his disappointments. He could scarcely drag his
weary limbs across the pebbles of his Harmas; but he bore his eighty-seven
years with a fine disdain for age and its failings, and although the fire
of his glance and that whole, eager countenance still expressed his passion
for the truth, his abrupt gestures, touched with irony, his simple bearing,
and the extreme modesty of his whole person, spoke sufficiently of his
profound indifference toward outside contingencies, for the baubles of fame
and all the stupidities of life.
At a few miles' distance, in another village, that other great peasant,
Mistral, the singer of Provence, the poet of love and joy, the minstrel of
rustic labour and antique faiths, was pursuing, amid the homage of his
apotheosis, the incredible cycle of his splendid existence.
This glory had come to him suddenly; this fame "whose first glances are
sweeter than the fires of dawn," and which was never to desert him for
fifty long years.
The wind of favour which had sweetened his youth continued to propel him in
full sail. He had only to show himself to be at once surrounded,
felicitated, worshipped; and his mere presence would sway a crowd as the
black peaks of the high cypresses are swayed by the great wind that bears
his name. Like Fabre, he had remained faithful to his native soil; that
soil which the great naturalist had never been able to leave without at
once longing impatiently to return to its dusty olives where the cigale
sings, its ilex trees and its thickets; and so he lived far from the
cities, in a quiet village, with the same horizon of plains and hills that
were balmy with thyme, leading in his little home an equal life full of
wisdom and simplicity.
The hermit of Sérignan was the Lucretius of this Provence, which had
already found its Virgil. With a very different vision, each had the same
rustic tastes, the same love of the free spaces of wild nature and the
scenes of rural life. But Mistral, wherever he looked, saw human life as
happy and simple, through the prism of his creative imagination and the
optimism of his happy life. Fabre, on the contrary, behind the sombre
realities which he studied, saw only the ferocious engagement of confused
living forces, and a frightful tragedy.
Thus their two lives, which were like parallel lines, never meeting, were
in keeping with their work. And while Mistral, still young and triumphant
despite the years, was at Maillane overwhelmed with honours and
consideration, the poor great man of Sérignan lived an obscure and
He had the greatest trouble to live and rear his family, and almost his
sole income consisted of an uncertain sum of 120 pounds sterling annually,
which he had for some years received, in the guise of a pension, by the
generosity of the Institute, as the Gegner prize.
Finally his situation was so precarious that he decided to sell to a museum
that magnificent collection of water-colour plates in which he had
represented, life-size and with an astonishing truth of colour, all the
fungi which grow in Provence.
He wrote to Mistral on the subject, after the visit which the latter paid
him in the spring of 1908: the only visit of the kind. Before meeting in
Saint-Estelle, the Paradise of the Félibres, they had wished not to die
before at least meeting on this earth.
Fabre wrote to mistral the following letter, which I owe to the kindness of
the great poet:--
"I have never thought of profiting by my humble fungoid water-
colours...Fate will perhaps decide otherwise.
"In this connection, permit me to make a confession, to which your nobility
of character encourages me. Until latterly I had lived modestly on the
product of my school-books. To-day the weathercock has turned to another
quarter, and my books no longer sell. So here I am, more than ever in the
grip of that terrible problem of daily bread. If you think, then, that with
your help and that of your friends, my poor pictures might help me a
little, I have decided to let them go, but not without bitterness. It is
like tearing off a piece of my skin, and I still hold to this old skin,
shabby as it may be; a little for my own sake, much more for my family's,
and much more again for the sake of my entomological studies, studies which
I feel obliged to pursue, persuaded that for a long time to come no one
will care to resume them, so ungrateful is the calling." (16/18.)
At the instigation of the poet the prefect Belleudy took it upon him to
intercede with the Minister, from whom he finally wrung a grant of 40
pounds sterling, "in encouragement of the sciences." Finally he ventured to
reveal the situation to the General Council of Vaucluse, and to require it
to contribute at least its share, in order to ensure a peaceful and decent
old age to a man who was not only the greatest celebrity of the department,
but also one of the highest glories of the nation. He pleaded so well and
so nobly that the assembly granted Fabre an annual sum of 20 pounds
sterling, "as the public homage which his compatriots pay to his lofty
science and HIS EXCESSIVE MODESTY." (16/19.) At the same time, in a
generous impulse, the Council placed at his disposal all the scientific
equipment of the departmental laboratory of agricultural analysis, which
was no longer used; there was indeed talk of suppressing it.
Now that the burden of his days weighed so heavily on him, and his task was
virtually finished, everything, by the customary irony of things, was
coming his way simultaneously: not only what was necessary and
indispensable, but even something that was superfluous.
So one day all these delicate instruments, useless to a biologist who by
the very nature of his labours had done without them all his life, and had
never wearied of denying their utility, arrived at Sérignan. He did not
possess even one modest thermometer; and as for the superb microscope over
which he so often bent, the only costly instrument in his rustic
laboratory, it was a precious present which, at the instigation of Duruy,
Dumas the chemist had given him years before; but a simple lens very often
sufficed him. "The secrets of life," he somewhere writes, "are to be
obtained by simple, makeshift, inexpensive means. What did the best results
of my inquiry into instinct cost me? Only time, and above all, patience."
It was then that a few of his disciples, finally affected by such
abandonment, decided to celebrate his jubilee, hoping thus to reveal both
his name and his wonderful books to the crowd that knew nothing of him.
It was time; a little longer, and, according to his racy phrase, "the
violins would have come too late." The old master is daily nearer his
decline; his sight, once so piercing, is now so obscured that he can barely
see to sign his name, in a small, tremulous hand, confused and illegible.
His muscles are so feeble now that he can walk only in short steps, on his
wife's arm, leaning on a cane; and he would soon be piteously exhausted
were not some seat available within immediate reach. Very soon now he will
no longer hope to make the tour of this Harmas, which his feet have trodden
daily for thirty years. In this failure of the body, all that survives are
the two sparkling cavities of his eyes and his extraordinary memory.
But he is far from being mournful: he feels only an immense lassitude, and
an infinite regret that perhaps he will not be able to bring his series of
"Souvenirs" to the point he had desired; not wishing to die until he has
pushed his career as far as is in his power; without having worked, on his
feet, until the very hour when the light of this world is suddenly
withdrawn, and his eyes open upon the infinite life, beyond the infinite
worlds of space.
The festival took place on the 3rd of April of the year 1910, and was
touching in its simplicity.
What an unforgettable day in the life of Fabre! That morning the gate of
the Harmas was left open to all, and many of the people of Sérignan who
invaded the garden were able to look for the first time on the face of
their fellow-citizen, who had so long lived among them, and whom they had
now, to their astonishment, discovered.
But among the crowd of friends and admirers who, coming from all parts,
pressed around the little pink house, the most amazed of all was Marius,
the blind cabinet-maker, unable to contain his intense delight at the
sudden burning of so much incense before his idol, for to him it had seemed
that this day of apotheosis would never dawn!
For nothing was certain, although the day of the jubilee had long been
fixed. In the first place there had been serious defections in the ranks of
the official personages who were to take part in the ceremony. Then the
weather was terrible for the time of year; the spring had commenced
gloomily, a season of floods and catastrophes. But on this morning the rain
of days had ceased to fall, and suddenly the sun appeared.
Among other compliments and marks of homage the old man was presented with
a golden plaque, on one side of which Sicard, who stood revealed as a
master of the burin, had engraved his portrait with rare fidelity. The
reverse was resplendent with one of the most beautiful syntheses which the
history of art has known; a surprising allegory, in which the imagination
of the artist evoked the man of science, the singer of the insects, the
landscape which had seen the birth of so many little lives, and the village
amid the olive-trees, in front of the sun-steeped Ventoux.
At this festival, the jubilee of a scientist, the scientists were least
The banquet was given in the large room of a cafe in the midst of Sérignan;
in order, no doubt, that in this humble life even glory should be modest.
As Fabre could not walk, he was helped into the carriage of ceremony, which
was sent expressly from Orange, and the little procession, which was
swelled by the municipal choral society, spurred on by Marius, moved slowly
off along the sole central street.
It was a great family repast: one of those love-feasts in which all
communicate in a single thought.
Edmond Perrier brought the naturalist the homage of the Institute, and
expressed in unaffected terms the just admiration which he himself felt.
The better to praise him, he gave a summary of his admirable career, and
his immortal work. At the evocation of this long past of labour Fabre
regretted his poor vanished joys, "the sole moments of happiness in his
Moved to tears, by his memories and by the simple and pious homage at last
rendered to his genius, he wept, and many, seeing him weep, wept with him.
Others spoke in the name of the great anonymous crowd of friends, of all
those who had found a source of infinite enjoyment in his works. At the
same time the greatest writers, the greatest poets sent on the same day, at
the same hour, their salutation or eloquent messages to the "Virgil of the
insects" (16/21.), to the "good magician who knew the language of the
myriad little creatures of the fields." (16/22.)
Doubtless he would sooner or later have received full justice; but without
this circumstance it is permissible to add that the end of his life would
have passed amidst the completest oblivion, and that he would have taken
leave of the world without attracting any particular attention. His death
would have occurred unperceived, and when the little vault of Vaison stone,
up in the small square enclosure of pebbles which serves as the village
cemetery, where those he has loved await him, came to be opened for the
last time, they would hardly have troubled to close it again.
Yet the honours paid him were far from being such as he merited.
Why, at this jubilee of the greatest of the entomologists, was not a single
appointed representative of entomology present? (16/22.)
The fact is that the majority of those who "amid the living seek only for
corpses," according to the expression of Bacon, unwilling to see in Fabre
anything more than an imaginative writer, and being themselves incapable of
understanding the beautiful and of distinguishing it in the true,
reproached him, perhaps with more jealousy than conviction, with having
introduced literature into the domains of science.
Other entomological specialists accuse him of presenting in the guise of
science discoveries which have been made by others. But in the first place,
as he has read very little, he certainly did not know all that had been
done by others; and what matter if he had discovered nothing essential
concerning this or that insect if the result of his study of it has been to
impregnate it with something new, or to touch it with the breath of life?
Others, finally, who wished to see with their own eyes the proof of his
statements, have reproached him with a few errors; but he observed so
skilfully that these errors, if any have really slipped into his books,
cannot be very serious.
He was one of the glories of the University, but it failed to add to the
brilliance of this ceremony, and it is to be regretted that the Government
could not amid its temporary preoccupations have done with all the
spontaneity that might have been looked for the one thing which might on
this memorable date have atoned for its unjust obliviousness. Since Duruy
had created Fabre a chevalier of the Empire more than forty years had gone
by, and in this long interval Fabre was absolutely ignored by the
authorities. While the State daily raises so many commonplace men to the
highest honours, it was afterwards needful to procure the intervention of
influential persons, to justify his worth and to prove his deserts, in
order to obtain his promotion through one degree of rank in that Legion of
Honour which his eminent services had so long adorned.
This tardy reparation at least had the result of shedding a twilight of
glory over the evening of his life, and from that day he suddenly appeared
in his true place and took his rank as a man of the first order. Everybody
began to read him, and presently no one was willing to seem ignorant of
him, for more of his "Souvenirs entomologiques" were sold in a few months
than had been disposed of in more than twenty years. (16/24.)
At last Fabre experienced not only glory and renown, but also popularity.
This was only justice, for his is essentially a popular genius. Has he not
striven all his life to place the marvels of science within reach of all?
And has he not written above all for the children of the people?
So at last people have learned the way to the Harmas; they go thither now
in crowds, to visit the enclosure and the modest laboratory, as to a
veritable place of pilgrimage which attracts from afar many fervent
Some, it is true, go thither to see him simply as an object of curiosity;
but even among these there are those who on returning thence, full of
enthusiasm for what they have seen, find the flowers of the fields more
sweet and fragile, and the wild fragrance of the woods and hedges more
voluptuous, and the green of the trees more tender. They have learnt to
look at the earth and to "kneel in the grass."
Scientists come to chat with the scientist. Others come to salute the
primary schoolman, the lay instructor, the great pedagogue whose glory is
reflected upon all the primary schools of France.
Those who cannot visit him write, telling him of all the pleasure which
they owe him, thanking him for long and delightful hours passed in the
reading of his books, expressing the hope that he may yet live many years,
and still further increase the number of his "Souvenirs."
Some ask him a host of questions relating to entomology or philosophy;
others ask him for impossible answers to some of the fascinating and
mysterious problems which he has expounded; women confide in him their
little private griefs or their intimate sorrows, a naive form of homage;
but a thousand times more touching than any other, and one that shows how
profound has been the beneficent influence of his books upon certain
isolated minds, and what consolation can be derived from science when it
finds a sufficiently eloquent voice to interpret it.
As he can work no longer, these visits now fill his life, formally so
occupied; and in the midst of all the sympathy extended to him he is
sensible, not of the twilight, but of a sunrise; he feels that his work has
been good, that an infinity of minds are learning through him to regard
plants and animals with greater affection; and that the consideration of
men, finally directed upon his work, will not readily exhaust it, for it is
one of the Bibles of Nature.
NOTES TO INTRODUCTION.
Introduction/1. Letters to his brother, 1898-1900.
Introduction/2. I have made some valuable "finds" here; among other pieces
cited the fragment on "Playthings," the curious description of the
"Eclipse," and the poem on "Number" are here published for the first time.
Introduction/3. This negligence in the matter of correspondence is not
least among the causes which have mitigated against his popularity.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 1.
1/1. "It is a country that has very little charm." To his brother, 18th
1/2. "Practicien, homme d'affaires ou de chicane": roughly, "practitioner,
man of business or law": so his father is described in his birth
1/3. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 2nd series, chapter 4, and 7th series,
1/4. Id., 8th series, chapter 8.
1/5. To his brother, 15th August, 1896.
1/6. Id. "As brothers, we are one only; but in virtue of our different
tastes we are two, and I am amused and interested where you might well be
1/7. Frédéric Fabre, like his brother, an ex-scholar of the normal primary
school of Vaucluse, was first of all teacher at Lapalud (Vaucluse), then
professor in the communal college of Orange. He was director of the primary
school attached to the normal school of Avignon, where he voluntarily
retired from teaching in 1859. He then became, successively, secretary to
the Chamber of Commerce of Avignon, director of the Vaucluse Docks, and
finally director of the Crillon Canal, which position he still occupies
1/8. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 10th series, chapter 9.
1/9. Among his innumerable manuscripts I have found a vast number of little
poems, which date from this period.
1/10. It was then that he gave up his position to his brother Frédéric, who
had continually followed closely in his steps, and who in turn had just
obtained the qualification of pupil-teacher and bursar (August, 1842).
1/11. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 10 series, chapter 21.
1/12. To his brother, 2nd and 9th of June, 1851.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 2.
2/1. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 1st series, chapter 20, and 9th series,
2/2. Id., 6th series, chapter 21.
2/3. To his brother, from Ajaccio, 10th June, 1850.
2/4. Id., id.
2/5. Id., from Carpentras, 15th August, 1846.
2/6. Id., from Ajaccio, 10th June, 1850.
2/7. Id., from Carpentras, 15th August, 1846.
2/8. Id., id.
2/9. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 1st series, chapter 14.
2/10. To his brother, from Carpentras, 3rd September, 1848.
2/11. Id., 8th September, 1848.
2/12. Id., id.
2/13. Id., 3rd September, 1848.
2/14. Id., id.
2/15. Letter to the Rector of the Nîmes Academy, 29th September, 1848.
2/16. To his brother, 29th September, 1848.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 3.
3/1. To his father, from Ajaccio, 14th April, 1850.
3/2. To his brother, from Ajaccio, 1851.
3/3. To his brother, from Ajaccio, 9th June, 1851.
"I have set to work upon a conchology of Corsica, which I hope soon to
3/4. The Helix Raspaillii.
3/5. To his brother, from Ajaccio, 10th June, 1850.
3/6. Id., id.
3/7. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 9th series, chapter 14.
3/8. Number, (Le Nombre--ARITHMOS), poem, Ajaccio, September, 1852.
3/9. To his brother, from Ajaccio, 2nd June, 1851.
3/10. Id., 10th October, 1852, and "Souvenirs entomologiques," 10th series,
3/11. Fr. Mistral, "Mémoires."
Moquin-Tandon, born at Montpellier, was professor of Natural History at
Marseilles, at Toulouse, and in Paris.
3/12. To his brother, from Ajaccio, 10th October, 1852.
3/14. To his brother, from Carpentras, 3rd December, 1851.
"Our crossing was atrocious. Never have I seen so terrible a sea, and that
the packet-boat was not broken up by the force of the waves must have been
due to the fact that our time had not yet come. On two or three occasions I
thought my last moment was at hand; I leave you to imagine what a terrible
experience I had. In ordinary weather the packet by which we travelled
makes the voyage from Ajaccio to Marseilles in about eighteen hours; it is
said to be the fastest steamer on the Mediterranean. On this occasion it
took three days and two nights."
3/15. January, 1853.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 4.
4/1. To his brother, from Avignon, 1st August, 1854.
"I have arrived at Toulouse, where I have passed the best examination one
could possibly wish. I have been accepted as licentiate with the most
flattering compliments, and the expenses of the examination should be
returned to me. The examination was of a higher level than I had expected."
4/2. To M. -- (of the Institute), from Avignon, 1854.
(Letter communicated to M. Belleudy, prefect of Vaucluse, by M. Vollon,
4/4. To his brother, from Ajaccio, 10th October, 1852.
4/5. Observations concerning the habits of the Cerceris and the cause of
the long preservation of the coleoptera with which it provisions its
larvae.--"Annales de Sc. natur.," 4th series, 1855.
4/6. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 10th series, chapter 22.
4/7. "I had only one idea: to free myself, to leave the lycée, where, not
being a fellow, I was treated as a subordinate. An inspector-general told
me frankly one day, 'You will never amount to anything if you are not a
fellow' (agrégé). 'These distinctions disgust me,' I replied."
4/8. To his brother, from Ajaccio, 14th January, 1850.
4/9. Inquiries respecting the tubercles of Himantoglossum hircinum. Thesis
in Botany, 1855.
4/10. Inquiries respecting the anatomy of the reproductive organs, and the
developments of the Myriapoda. Thesis in Zoology, 1855.
4/11. Prize for experimental physiology, 1856.
4/12. Letter to Léon Dufour, 1st February, 1857.
4/13. "The Origin of Species," 1857 (?), translated by Barbier, page 15.
4/14. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 1st series, chapter 1, and 5th series,
4/15. Id., 1st series, chapter 16.
4/16. Id., 1st series, chapter one.
4/17. Henry Devillario, magistrate at Carpentras, where he performed his
duties as juge d'instruction until his death. A notable collector and
Dr. Bordone, to-day at Frontignan. Vayssières, professor of Zoology in the
faculty of sciences at Marseilles.
4/18. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 1st series, chapter 13.
4/19. He was subject in his youth to violent headaches, "which sometimes
developed into a cerebral fever," as well as strange nervous troubles: "A
few days ago I was attacked, at night, with a sudden nervous illness, of a
terrifying nature, which I have not as yet been able to identify." To his
brother, 3rd September, 1848.
Severe disappointment or annoyance always had a great effect upon him; on
the occasion of his first marriage he fell into a sort of cataleptic
condition as a result of the opposition of his parents and relations, who
sought to oppose it. (Conversations with his brother.)
4/20. "Souvenirs entomologiques" 9th series, chapter 23.
4/21. Id., 10th series, chapter 22.
4/22. Letter to Lèon Dufour, 1st February, 1857.
"Steps have been taken to obtain for me the post of drawing-master (maître
des travaux graphiques). If they succeed, thanks to the little talent I
have for drawing, my salary will reach a reasonable figure, 120 pounds
sterling, and I can then, by giving up these abominable private lessons,
cultivate rather more seriously the studies into which you have initiated
me." Communicated by M. Achard.
4/23. "Souvenirs entomologiques" 10th series, chapter 22.
4/24. Oubreto Prouvençalo. La Cigale et la Fourmi.
4/25. Lavisse. A minister. Victor Duruy.
4/26. Letter to the municipal councillors of Avignon.
4/27. J. Stuart Mill, "Autobiography," chapter 6.
4/28. I have visited this house; nothing, at all events outside, has
changed in the least.
4/29. Mill collaborated in his "Flore du Vaucluse": "A virtuous man whose
recent loss we shall all deplore joined his efforts to mine in this
undertaking." Letter to the Mayor of Avignon, 1st December, 1833,
communicated by M. Félix Achard.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 5.
5/1. "Chimie agricole."
5/2. "Le Ciel." Lectures et Leçons pour tous.
5/3. "La Terre." Lectures et Leçons pour tous.
5/4. "La Chimie de l'oncle Paul." Lectures courantes pour toutes les
5/5. "Histoire de la bûche."
5/6. "Les jouets. Le Toton" (manuscript).
The primitive fountain, the "antique appliance" transmitted by inheritance,
"the invention perhaps of some little unemployed herd-boy," consisted
originally of three apertures and three straws; two similar apertures on
one side, with two short straws, which dipped into the water, and a single
orifice on the other side for the longer straw which delivered the water.
Happening one day to use only two straws, one on each side, the little
Fabre perceived that the device worked just as well, and "so, quite
unconsciously, without thinking of it, I discovered the syphon, the true
syphon of the physicist." Loco cit.
5/7. "The chemistry course is a great success at home." To his brother,
from Orange, 1875.
5/8. To his son Émile, 4th November, 1879.
"The household; discussions as to domestic economy for use in girls'
5/9. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 2nd series, chapter 1.
5/10. To the Mayor of Avignon, 1st December, 1873. Communicated by M. Félix
5/11. Letter to his brother, 1875.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 6.
6/1. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 2nd series, chapter 1. "L'Harmas."
6/2. Id., 6th series, chapter 5.
6/3. The Lumbricus phosporeus of Dugés. Fabre had already clearly perceived
that this curious phenomenon of phosphorescence appears at birth, and he
saw in it a process of oxidation, a species of respiration, especially
active in certain tissues.
Letter to Léon Dufour, 1st February, 1857. Communicated by M. Félix Achard.
6/4. To his brother, from Carpentras, 15th August, 1846.
6/5. He died at the age of 96.
6/6. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 1st series, chapter 21.
6/7. To his son Émile, 4th November, 1879.
6/8. To Henry Devillario, 30th March, 1883.
6/9. Id., 17th December, 1888.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 7.
7/1. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 8th series, chapter 12.
7/2. Id., 7th series, chapter 16.
7/3. Id., 1st series, chapter 4.
7/4. Id., 2nd series, chapter 3.
7/5. Id., 6th series, chapter 21.
7/6. Id., 1st series, chapter 19, and 2nd series, chapter 7.
7/7. Id., 7th series, chapter 23.
7/8. Maeterlinck, "The Bee."
7/9. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 7th series, chapter 2.
7/10. Id., 8th series, chapter 22.
7/11. Id., 6th series, chapter 6.
7/12. Id., 9th series, chapter 10.
7/13. Bergson, "l'Evolution créatrice."
7/14. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 10th series, chapter 6.
7/15. "Les Serviteurs" and "Les Auxiliaires."
7/16. François Raspail, born at Carpentras in 1794, was also a professor at
the college of Carpentras.
7/17. To his brother, 3rd September, 1848.
The improvement did not last long; the child died finally a short time
7/18. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 10th series, chapter 21.
7/19. Ed. Perrier. Private letter, 27th October, 1909.
"He is the finest of all our observers, and all scientists should bow to
the facts which he excels in discovering."
7/20. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 6th series, chapter 25.
7/21. Id., 10th series, chapter 16.
7/22. Id., 10th series, chapter 20.
7/23. Manuscripts, unpublished observations.
7/24. A common spectacle in Provence, but one which Fabre never wearied of
7/25. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 6th series, chapter 17.
7/26. We know that the great naturalist was far from being charmed by the
song of the nightingale.
7/27. Manuscripts, unpublished observation. These remarks deal with the
solar eclipse of 28th May, 1900.
7/28. Among the insects which he has observed there are many which are not
always sufficiently characterized. "Insectes coléoptères observes aux
environs d'Avignon." Avignon, pub. Seguin, 1870.
7/29. Coleoptera observed in the neighbourhood of Avignon. A catalogue now
very scarce, a copy of which I owe to the kindness of Dr. Chobaut, of
7/30. Nomina si nescis, perit et cognitio rerum.
7/31. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 4th series, chapter 11.
7/32. Id., 9th series, chapter 19.
7/33. Id., 1st series, chapter 9.
7/34. "Jenner's Legend of the isolation of the young Cuckoo in the nest,"
by Xavier Raspail, "Bull. de la Soc. Zool. de France," 1903.
7/35. "Souvenirs entomologiques" 1st series, passim.
7/36. Id., 4th series, chapter 14.
7/37. Id., 1st series, chapter 7.
7/38. Id., 2nd series, chapter 2.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 8.
8/1. "Souvenirs entomologiques" 1st series, chapter 2.
8/2. Bergson, "l'Evolution créatrice."
8/3. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 2nd series, chapter 4.
8/4. Id., 5th series, chapter 8.
8/5. Id., 9th series, chapter 3.
8/6. Id., 1st series, chapter 22.
8/7. Id., 4th series, chapter 3.
8/8. Id., 4th series, chapter 3.
8/9. Id., 4th and 1st series, chapter 19.
8/10. Id., 9th series, chapter 24.
8/11. Id., 10th series, chapter 5.
8/12. Id., 4th series, chapter 6.
8/13. Id., 9th series, chapter 16.
8/14. Id., 2nd series, chapter 5.
8/15. Id., 5th series, chapter 7.
8/16. Id., 6th series, chapter 8.
8/17. Id., 3rd series, chapters 17, 18, 19 and 20.
8/18. Id., 2nd series, chapter 15.
8/19. Id., 3rd series, chapter 11.
8/21. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 4th series, chapter 9.
8/22. Unpublished observations.
8/23. "Mireille," 3rd canto.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 9.
9/1. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 8th series, chapter 21.
9/2. "Les Ravageurs," chapter 34, agriculture.
9/3. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 10th series, chapter 12.
9/4. Id., 1st series, chapter 2, and 10th series, chapter 13.
9/5. Id., 2nd series, chapter 17.
9/6. Id., 7th series, chapter 20.
9/7. Id., 2nd series, chapter 4.
9/8. At novitas mundi nec frigora dura ciebat,
Nec nimios aestus.
Lucretius, "De Natura rerum."
9/9. In this connection see the excellent introduction written by M. Edmond
Perrier to serve as preface to the work of M. de Romanes: "l'Intelligence
9/10. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 8th series, chapter 20.
9/11. To Henry Devillario, 30th March, 1883.
9/12. To Henry Devillario, 12th May, 1883.
9/13. To his brother, 1900.
9/14. Letters to his brother.
"I am not sulking; far from it...I have no lack of ink and paper; I am too
careful of them to lack them; but I do lack time...So you still think I am
sulking because I do not reply! But imagine, my dear and petulant brother,
that for several weeks I have been pursuing, with unequalled persistence,
some abominable conic problems proposed at the fellowship examination, and
once I have mounted my hobby-horse, good-bye to letters, good-bye to
replies, goodbye to everything." (Carpentras, 27th November, 1848.)
"You are right, seven times right to storm at me, to grumble at my silence,
and I admit, in all contrition, that I am the worst correspondent you could
find. To force myself to write a letter is to place myself on the rack, as
well you know...But why do you get it into your head, why do you tell me,
that I disdain you, that I forget you, that I ignore you, you, my best
friend?...For my silence blame only the multiplicity of tasks, which often
surpasses, not my courage, but my strength and my time." (Ajaccio, 1st
9/15. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 10th series, chapter 8.
9/16. Id., 9th series, chapter 2.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 10.
10/1. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 1st series, chapter 21.
10/2. Id., 9th series, chapter 2.
10/3. Id., 10th series, chapter 4.
10/4. Montaigne's Essays.
10/5. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 8th series, chapter 17.
10/6. "Les Ravageurs."
10/7. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 10th series, chapter 18, and "Merveilles
de l'instinct: la Chenille du chou."
10/8. Id., 8th series, chapter 17.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 11.
11/1. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 3rd series, chapter 8.
11/2. Id., 2nd series, chapter 14 et seq.
11/3. Id., 6th series, chapter 9.
11/4. Id., 5th series, chapter 19.
11/5. Tolstoy: "All that the human heart contains of evil should disappear
at the contact of nature, that most immediate expression of the beautiful
and the good." ("The Invaders.")
11/6. The "Livre d'histoires" and "Chimie agricole."
11/7. "Oubreto Provençalo. La Bise."
11/8. Id., "Le Semeur."
11/9. Id., "Le Crapaud."
NOTES TO CHAPTER 12.
12/1. "Oubreto Provençalo. Le Maréchal."
12/2. "Oubreto Provençalo."
12/3. In this connection see the admirable passage in Sainte-Beuve's "Port-
Royal," Book 2, chapter 14.
12/4. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 4th series, chapter 1.
12/5. Id., 1st series, chapter 17.
12/6. Id., 7th series, chapter 8.
12/7. Id., 7th series, chapter 10.
12/8. Id., 8th series, chapter 8.
12/9. Id., 8th series, chapter 20.
12/10. Id., 6th series, chapter 14.
12/11. Id., 8th series, chapter 18.
12/12. Id., 10th series, chapter 8.
12/13. Id., 10th series, chapter 6.
12/14. Id., 5th series, chapter 22.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 13.
13/1. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 10th series, chapter 17.
13/2. Id., 9th series, chapter 4, "l'Exode des arignées" (the Exodus of the
Spiders), and chapter 5, "l'Araignée crabe" (the Crab Spider).
13/3. Id., 5th series, chapter 17.
13/4. Id., 3rd series, chapter 8.
13/5. Id., 6th series, chapter 14.
"Oubreto. Le Grillon," and unpublished verses.
13/6. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 2nd series, chapter 16.
13/7. Id., 9th series, chapter 21.
13/8. "Les Merveilles de l'instinct: le Ver luisant" (Marvels of Instinct:
13/9. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 2nd series, chapter 12.
13/10. Id., 8th series, chapter 22, and 9th series, chapter 11.
13/11. Id., 5th series, chapter 18.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 14.
14/1. Grandjean de Fouchy: eulogy of Réaumur, in "Recueils de l'Acad.des
sciences," volume 157 H, page 201, and Preface to the "Lettres inédites de
Réaumur," by G. Musset.
14/2. "Mémoires," passim, and volume 2, 1st mémoire.
14/3. Id., volume 3, 3rd mémoire.
14/4. Id., volume 2, 1st mémoire.
Ch. Tellier, "Le Frigorifique" (Refrigeration), story of a modern
invention, chapter 23; cold applied to the animal kingdom.
14/5. Léon Dufour: "Journal de sa vie."
Souvenirs and impressions of travel in the Pyrenees to Gavarnie, Héas, the
"Montagnes maudites," etc. Entomological excursions on the dunes of
Biscarosse and Arcachon.
14/6. Id., direction of entomological studies.
14/7. "Souvenirs entomologiques" 2nd series, chapter 1: "L'Harmas."
14/8. Id., 5th series, chapter 11.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 15.
15/1. Louis Charrasse, private letter, 20th February, 1912, and "Le Bassin
du Rhône," March, 1911.
15/2. "Oubreto. Le Crapaud."
15/3. It was only in the afternoon that he devoted himself, when needful,
to microscopic researches, on account of the better inclination of the
15/4. He lost it at the end of last spring.
15/5. "Les Serviteurs. Le Canard."
15/6. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 1st series, chapter 13: an ascent of Mont
15/7. The name given to Christmas in Provence.
15/8. Louis Charrasse, private letters.
15/11. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 2nd series, chapter 2.
15/12. Louis Charrasse, private letter.
15/13. Letter to his nephew, Antonin Fabre, 4th January, 1885.
15/14. "Souvenirs entomologiques," 6th series, chapter 19.
15/15. Id., 6th series, chapter 2.
15/16. Id., 6th series, chapter 11.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 16.
16/1. Letter to his brother, 4th February, 1900.
16/2. To his brother, 18th July, 1908. At this time the eighth volume of
his "Souvenirs" had just appeared, and the ninth was in hand.
16/4. "Chimie agricole."
16/5. To his brother, 10th October, 1898.
16/6. Private letter, 30th March, 1908.
16/9. Unpublished experiments.
16/10. To Charles Delagrave, 27th January, 1899.
16/11. To his brother, 4th February, 1900.
16/12. This prize was awarded to Fabre in 1899. The amount of the prize is
400 pounds sterling. It is one of the chief prizes of the Institute.
16/13. Edmond Rostand. Private letter, 7th April, 1910: "His books have
been my delight during a very long convalescence."
16/14. This magnificent atlas, the gem of Fabre's collections, comprises
nearly 700 plates, and a large body of explanatory and descriptive matter.
16/15. To Charles Delagrave, undated.
16/16. Maeterlinck. Private letter, 17th November, 1909.
"Les 4 Chemins,
"You overwhelm me with pleasure and do me the greatest honour in allowing
my name to be inscribed among those of the committee which proposes to
celebrate the jubilee of Henri Fabre...Henri Fabre is, indeed, one of the
chiefest and purest glories that the civilized world at present possesses;
one of the most learned naturalists and the most wonderful of poets in the
modern and truly legitimate sense of the word. I cannot tell you how
delighted I am by the chance you offer me of expressing in this way one of
the profoundest admirations of my life."
16/17. J. Belleudy, prefect of Vaucluse. Private letter, 29th September,
"It pains me to see so great a mind, so eminent a scientist, such a master
of French literature, so little known. Two years ago, when the Gegner prize
was awarded to him, I felt that I must speak of him to certain of those
about me; and they had hardly heard his name!"
16/18. Letter to Frédéric Mistral, 4th July, 1908.
16/19. Council General of Vaucluse, session of August, 1908. The words of
the recorder, M. Lacour, mayor of Orange, to-day deputy for Vaucluse, a
personal friend and ardent admirer of the old master.
16/20. Edmond Rostand. Private letter, 20th November, 1909.
"I am, sir, not only greatly touched, but also and above all delighted that
you have thought of including me among the friends who wish to fete Henri
Fabre. Thanks for having considered that my name would assist your
undertaking. The "Souvenirs entomologiques" have long ago made me intimate
with his charming, profound, and moving genius. I owe them an infinity of
delightful hours. Perhaps also I ought to thank them for having encouraged
one of my sons to pursue the vocation which he entered. If, in order to
honour Henri Fabre, you run the pious risk of disturbing, for a moment, the
studious retreat in which, for so many years, he has pursued his life and
his work, it is an act of justice toward this great scientist, who thinks
as a philosopher, sees as an artist, and feels and expresses himself as a
Romain Rolland. Private letter, 7th January, 1910.
"You cannot imagine what pleasure you have given me by requesting me to
associate myself in the glorification of J.H. Fabre. He is one of the
Frenchmen whom I most admire. The impassioned patience of his ingenious
observations delights me as much as the masterpieces of art. For years I
have read and loved his books. During my last holidays, of three volumes
that I travelled with two were volumes of his "Souvenirs entomologiques."
You will honour me and delight me by counting me as one of you."
16/21. Edmond Rostand. Telegram.
16/22. Romain Rolland.
Agaricus, luminosity of.
Ajaccio, Fabre at.
Arachnoids, cannibalism of.
Avignon, Fabre at.
suggested agronomic station at.
Cantharis, courtship of.
Coincidence in life of parasites.
Coleoptera of Avignon.
Conchology, Fabre studies.
Crickets, courtship of.
Curves, properties of.
Darwin, Charles, Fabre an opponent of.
corresponds with Fabre.
sends for Fabre to attend Court.
Eclipse of sun.
Education in France.
a primary teacher.
marriage and loss of first child.
professor of physics at Ajaccio.
professor at Avignon.
takes up entomology.
goes to Court and is decorated.
writes textbooks for schools.
meets J.S. Mill.
denounced for subversive teaching.
settles at Orange, money difficulties solved by Mill.
breaks with the University.
continues his series of textbooks.
repays Mill money lent.
dismissed from Requien Museum.
researches concerning madder.
work at Sérignan.
methods of work.
attitude toward evolution.
corresponds with Darwin.
ideas as to origin of species.
methods of work.
compared with Réaumur.
life at Sérignan.
love of music.
Fabre, Henri, of Avignon.
Fabre, Mme (mother of Henri).
Fabre, Mme (1st wife).
Fabre, Mme (2nd wife).
Fabre, Mme Antoine.
Geometry, Fabre's love of.
Heat, takes place of food.
Hemerobius, curious garment of.
Intelligence, function of.
"Log, Story of the."
Madder, Fabre's researches concerning.
Maquis, the Corsican.
Medicine, Fabre's inclination toward.
helps Fabre in difficulties.
Mind, of animals.
corresponds with Fabre.
Mushrooms, recipe for cooking.
Number, properties of.
Orange, Fabre at.
Orchids, Fabre on.
"Origin of Species."
Osmia, control of sex.
Polygons, properties of.
compared with Fabre.
Requien of Avignon.
Ricard, Pierre, schoolmaster.
Fabre settles at.
Sicard's portraits of Fabre.
Sport, Fabre's love of.
Taylor, Harriett (Mrs. J.S. Mill).
"Vaucluse, Flora of the."
Vaucluse, General Council of, grants Fabre a pension.
banquet on the.
Villard, Marie (Mme Henri Fabre).