[Page 425]

Its appetite then increases again, and the worm proceeds in the same fashion as in the preceding age.

  If all necessary attentions have been paid to the well being of the worms, they will all be ready to spin their cocoons on the eleventh and twelfth days of the fifth age.  They stop feeding and show their intention plainly by a restlessness never seen before.  Bunches of heather or broom, bundles of twigs tied together, must have been got ready before hand to provide suitable places for them to spin in.  These are tied to the sides of the tiers and fixed in a nearly vertical position.  Where stands with several tiers are used, the branches must be longer than the distance between tiers, so that, when raised, they press against the top and form a kind of arch with the adjacent bunch (see illustration 5).  The worms must be watched to prevent doubles, i.e.; two worms spinning together one cocoon; and the laggards must still be fed.  Any worms that don't rise on the third day, whether for spinning or from moulting, had better be thrown away.
  In case of sudden cold or damp weather during the spinning the atmosphere in the room must be warmed and dried by artificial means, or the silk won't flow, the worms can't spin, and the whole labour is lost.

  The cocoons are finished in three and a half days; they must be left on the branches for three days longer to allow the worm inside to change into a chrysalis or grub, and can then be gently removed.  They may be sent straight off to the market as fresh cocoons; or if to be kept, they must be steamed or baked to kill the grub inside.  Otherwise the moth comes out in from 12 to 21 days from the rising, and spoils the cocoon for the market.  Baking in the oven after the bread has been taken out for 20-30 minutes is sufficient, but steaming is to be preferred, as surer and better for the silk.  For this a little apparatus (as shown in illustration 6) is necessary.

  It is not advisable for beginners and amateurs to save the eggs for the next year's rearing.  It requires great experience and judgement to pick out the moth proper for the propagation of the species.  The Women's Silk Growing Association will shortly provide at a moderate price good healthy graine of the best and most profitable stocks for those who agree to rear the worms according to these instructions.  It also offers to undertake the export of the cocoons, remitting to the growers the prices realised in the home markets, minus a small commission.

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