What, then, in these circumstances could the friends of freedom hope to achieve? The nation had been caught in the snare of slavery, and was in Church and State helpless in the vast spider-like web of wrong. The more the reformer pondered the problem, the more hopeless did success look under a Constitution which united right and wrong, freedom and slavery.
But the resources of one-and-twenty are not easily daunted, even by the presence of the CIMEX LECTULARIUS or the PULEX IRRITANS. I inquired for a LAQUAIS DE PLACE, some human being to consort with was the most pressing of immediate wants. As luck would have it, the very article was in the dreary courtyard, lurking spider-like for the innocent traveller just arrived.
To our hasty vision, here seems to be the responsible party. Forty years ago Alton Locke gave us a powerful picture of the wicked sub-contracting tailor, who, spider-like, lured into his web the unfortunate victim, and sucked his blood for gain.
The spare locks of clay-coloured hair were playing about in the breeze; and some remnants of bottle-green still clung around his limbs. But without these, the spider-like frame was too characteristic to be mistaken. I was glad to see those yellowish tufts. They told that the wearer still lived as was also made manifest by the fact of his being bound.
Evidently the spider-like handwriting was a deep mystery to him, and he must always feel a certain amount of respect for any white person who could communicate with another by means of the "talking paper." "There," said Frank, presently, "that ought to do the business, I reckon."
Some of these not only float, but actually swim, having spider-like filaments, which wriggle like legs, and actually propel the tiny seed along to its new home. A recent writer says of these seeds that "so curiously lifelike are their movements that it is almost impossible to believe that these tiny objects, making good progress through the water, are really seeds, and not insects."
Their bodies and limbs are also more slender and spider-like; and their whole conformation seems intended to adapt them for dwelling in the great virgin forests of the New World. There is one particular in which they differ most remarkably from their congeners of the Old World; that is, in having prehensile tails.
But our ingenious professor of Jena dispenses with both the hare and the curry, in serving up his pabulum to the "protamoebA|." The improvident pabulum "evolves" its own eaters, and then, spider-like, is eviscerated by them, as was Actaeon by his own hounds.
The oddest part of it all is that women can love such men instead of regarding them as spider-like monsters that, were the doctrine of transmigration true, would become spiders again as soon as compelled to drop their human disguise. But women usually idealize the men they love into something very different from what they are.
This fancy, comparatively harmless as it is, requires no ground of proof to go upon, no prop of likelihood to support it; without so much help as may be borrowed from the faintest and most fitful of traditions, it spins its own evidence spider-like out of its own inner conscience or conceit, and proffers it with confident complacency for men's acceptance.