Notes on the text
These notes, edited by John Radcliffe, are partly new, and partly based on the ORG notes by Roger Lancelyn Green. The page and, line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of A Diversity of Creatures, as published and frequently reprinted between 1917 and 1950.
...the old gentleman, with less compassion than he would have had for brute beasts, delivered himself of all his tedious calculations. As he occasionally gave ten versions of a single income, placing the imaginary person in London, Paris, Bagdad, Spitzbergen, Bassorah, Heligoland, the Scilly Islands, Brighton, Cincinnati, and Nijni-Novgorod, with an appropriate outfit for each locality, it is no wonder that his hearers look back on that evening as the most tiresome they ever spent.[Page 387 line 10] shandrydan a kind of a portable chaise with a hood; in later use a jocular name for a rickety old-fashioned vehicle,
"I don't care what becomes of me[Page 389 line 33 and Page 390 line 18] paper bonnet-boxes the delivery boy would have had a framework on the front of his handle-bars for holding his load. 'Bonnet boxes' were big boxes of cardboard or heavy paper for holding hats. The ORG Editors were sceptical about whether four full swarms of bees would have been too heavy a load.
When she plays me that sweet melody..."
'The hatching weight of a worker bee is about 100 mg. It will then grow to full maturity and the bee will collect honey and pollen grains (food) for the hive. For a 10,000 bee swarm, this will be a minimum 1 kg of bees, but more likely 1.5 to 2 kg allowing for bees grown to maturity and containing honey in their crops and pollen attached to their abdomens. So depending on the size of the swarm, you can calculate the weight.[Page 391 line 7] Sodom and Gomorrah 'the cities of the plain' destroyed by fire from Heaven for their evil doings. See Genesis XIII.
Hives normally swarm in May when the space becomes inadequate to contain the rapidly increasing population of bees. Winter population is estimated to be about 15,000; mid summer population around 60 to 70 thousand. Assuming population in May is around 50,000 and 2/3rds of the bees swarm, this represents 50,000 x 2/3 x 1.5Kg /10,000 = 5Kg or about 11 lbs imperial weight. My feeling is this could be on the lower end of the scale.' [M.F.R.]