A Tangled Web

Theodore Dalrymple discovers an intricate spider web in his château’s garden in the French countryside in this week’s Takimag column.

It is curious how, in these circumstances, one anthropomorphizes even the arthropods. I saw in this little scene a poor, innocent, suffering victim and a vile, merciless, evil predator. I still have firmly in my mind’s eye the vision of the little insect’s kicking legs, in its futile efforts to save its life to which, insignificant as it was, it behaved as if it was attached. My sympathies were immediately engaged, and I even thought of trying to rescue it. It was, as it were, the underbug in the conflict.

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