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SPIDERS.   59

 

jerked it rapidly, to learn if the owner was at the centre. Neither of them could trust their sight for that distance. The vigilant proprietress seemed to know at once that this was no struggling fly or moth. There was an unmistakable defiant twang of the web that told an-other `story. Her rights were evidently being invaded. She would have twanged the spokes herself had it been a victim, to make sure of the impression, but now she ran straight to the intruder. He hesitated, but concluded to fight. They were bent on biting. Each of them sparred for a chance to seize the other by a leg, and as there were sixteen between the two, it was rather spry work to take care of them. After a fierce round of a half-minute the female drove him to the outside ropes of the web. At that point each one lost a leg, but like

"Worthington, of doleful dumps, Who when his legs were smitten off, He fought upon his stumps,"

they did not appear to notice their loss. They would withdraw from a grapple for a few seconds and then renew the combat. In one of these mind-collecting moments the female made a dash for the centre of the web and gathered herself sulkingly into a vigilant attitude. The male followed a bit into the disputed territory,


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