Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

POPULAR SCIENCE.

leaves, and, in the latter case, five of a bright

yellow hue. This inner whorl is called the VEGETABLE PHYSIOLOGY.-No. IV. corolla (the portions of it being the petals), THE REPRODUCTION OF PLANTS.

and, with the calyx, it serves to shelter the (Continued from Page 71.)

organs within it. The forms assumed by

these organs are at present immaterial; their When WinTER'S KEEN FRosts lay waste existence under any shape whatever, is all the verdure lately spread out on bank and with which we have to do. The separate brae, - when the cold north wind robs the segments may be united in a bell, or cup, as green trees of foliage, and the wood of its in the Canterbury-bell and primrose, or the humbler inhabitants,--and when death seems

calyx and corolla may be of one color and to reign with an icy sceptre over all the vege- inseparable, as in the lily and tulip; or both table kingdom, - we sigh for the green fields may be wanting, as in the pines and wake

robin. and pleasant lanes of summer, and ask, half doubtingly,—will next May have as many of little organs, which, owing to their being

Internal to these coverings, exist a series flowers as last? In such a mood, we sometimes go so far as

conspicuous in such plants, had better be exto ask ourselves how it is that all this amined first in the rose or king-cup already grandeur is, year after year, replenished. To referred to. But do not look for them in answer such inquiries is the object of the double flowers,—those lovely monsters. In

the double flower, a number of these very present paper.

It is well known that many plants, and organs have been transformed into petals; and among them not a mean share of our choicest in perfect flowers of this kind, not a vestige garden beauties,--are annual; that is, grow Roses, then, with more than five colored por

of one is to be seen in its natural shape. up, from few know where, in the spring; put tions, or petals, are monsters! Inside then out leaves and richly-colored Aowers, during of the corolla is noticeable a cluster of yellow summer; and then with old autumn grow thread-like bodies, bearing on their superior sallow, and gradually sicken and die,--to have their withered corpses covered in winter's

extremities little thickened masses, which are cold winding-sheet. These plants, then, last boxes containing a powdery matter. These only for a year; and it consequently follows

are the stamens, and vary in number in differthat they must be produced anew every Linnæus founded the classes of his arrange

ent plants, from one to upwards of a hundred. Spring. Others have longer șives; some growing up one year with leaves in luxu- ment on the number of these organs; a sysriance, and next year flowering to die with tem of classification now totally rejected, on the season. Such are biennial.

account of its artificial nature. Trees and shrubs, however, as well as those In the very centre of the flower, other or. plants which leave a living stem,-commonly gans exist, resembling the stamens, but withcalled a root or bulb,- in the earth, over out the box at the summit, and either ending winter, live for a longer period of years, some in a pointed extremity, or in a thickened and even attaining the age of five thousand years. viscous mass. These interior portions are Yet all must die. Stout though the heart, called pistils, and may either be solitary, or in and strong though the limb, they must yield considerable numbers. In the rose we find a to death's greater power. It is self-evident, whole cluster of them, and in the lily only then, to the most careless reader, that unless one. The orders of the Linnæan system are there existed a means of reproducing indi- derived from these internal organs. The viduals, the earth would soon be without a stamens, then, and the pistils, or central floral population. This means is well known organs, are the only portions concerned in to exist in seeds. few remarks on flowers, the production of the seed. The process is, and the production and germination of seeds, as nearly as may be, this :will take up the bulk of our present commu- The powder in the stamens, after being nication.

ripened, falls on the viscous point or summit Flowers, the crown of beauty on the fore- of the pistil. There, through the action of head of nature, are no exceptions to the Pla- certain vital laws, it bursts its outer coat, tonian doctrine of " unity or identity, and sends a long tube down the stalk of the pistil variety.Diverse in form and color as it is called the style-into the thickened cavity possible for objects to be, they have all one at its base, where it joins the young seeds, or character,--they contain (or are the means ovales, and there, under the influence of vital employed for the formation of) the seed. Take laws, assists in the perfection of the already a simple flower, as a rose or the king-cup, and partially-formed seed. The box, or cavity, you find on the outside of the flower, five at the base of the pistil, is called the ovary; pointed, greenish segments, termed the calyx; and, in the perfected state, becomes the seedand inside of these, in the former example, vessel. The fruit or seed-vessel is of various five pink-colored pieces, generally termed rose forms ; indeed, so Protean in character is this organ, that it is difficult to recognise the rela- great depth. From numerous experiments, tionship through its various forms. What performed by Petri and others, it has been ever contains the seeds--whether it be a decided that an inch of depth is sufficient large husk, like the cocoa-nut, with only one for most seeds. If sown to a greater depth, in its interior, the dry poppy-head, or the suc- they will not all germinate, and those which culent apple with a multitude of seeds- do will be later. that is the seed-vessel.

Thus we find that a little seed, the produce Like all other functions of the plant, it is of a tiny little blossom, is the parent of the necessary that heat, light, and air should be mightiest tree; and that those lovely flowers present, in order to the full development of the which delight' our senses are not only inteseed. On no point in vegetable physiology are resting on account of their bright hues and scientific men more divided in opinion than on sweet odors, but because they may be parents the formation of the seed, from its first appear to thousands as lovely as themselves.-D. ance as a little ovale, to its full development as a perfected seed. The seed is the portion of

THE FALL OF THE LEAF. the plant which contains the largest proportion of nitrogen; and, on this account, is the most The summer flowers are gone! nutritive as an article of diet. Beans, peas, And o'er the melancholy lea wheat, and oats, are familiar examples of The thistle-down is strown: seeds turned to account in dietetics. It was The brown leaf drops, drops from the tree, estimated by Professor Johnston, that out of And on the spated water floats, one thousand parts of each of the following

That with a sullen spirit flows, seeds :—wheat had thirty-five of nitrogen;

Like lurid dream of troubled thoughts; oats, twenty-two; peas, forty-two ; hay,

While mournfully, all mournfully,

The rain-wind blows. fifteen ; turnips, seventeen ; and potatoes, twelve; thus shewing a large balance in favor

The summer birds are mute, of the nutritive qualities of seeds over leaves,

And cheerless is the unsung grove;

Silent the rural flute, stems, or roots. The remaining bulk was made up principally by water, starch, sugar,

Whose Doric stop was touched to love, and a few other compounds.

By hedgerow-stile, at gloaming grey;

Nor heard the milkmail's melody, The seed is an epitome of the plant. It To fountain, wending wlithe as gay; consists of a quantity of starchy or albumi

In w:in-shed stand, all pensively, nous matter, containing a little bud-like body,

The hamlet fowls-the cock not crows; which, under favorable circumstances, will

While mournfully, all mournfully,

The rain-wind blows. be developed as a plant, but which, so long as its torpidity can be retained, will preserve Nor heard the pastoral bleat its latent powers intact. Well authenticated Of flocks, that whitened many hills ; instances of seeds having been kept for a

Vacant the plaided shepherd's seat great number of years are on record. With- Far up above the boulder-leaping rills: out instancing the dubious cases of wheat

Young Winter o'er the mountains scowls,

His blasts and snow-cloudls marshalling; froin Egyptian sarcophagi, and other seeds

Beasts of the field, and forest fowls, from Roman tombs, we are assured that a bag

Instinctive, see the growing wing of seeds of the sensitive plant served the Paris

Of storm, dark-coming o'er their social haunts; Botanic Garden for sixty years. That the Yet fear not they, for Heaven provides dormant vitality may be retained for a much For them the wild bird never wants longer period is not to be doubted. It is not Want still with luxury resides! an unusualoccurrence on plou_hing up a piece Prophetic o'er the rushy lea of waste land, for the first time, to have it Stalk the dull choughs and crows; soon after covered with plants hitherto almost

While, mournfully and drearily, unknown in the district, the seeds of which

The rain-wind blows. had undoubtedly lain mant the soil,

Browse not the kine and horse ; beyond the reach of moisture, heat, and air, Rusted the harrow and the plough ; for centuries.

And all day long upon the gorse, In order that the seed may grow, a certain

Brown-blighted on the brae's rough brow, amount of moisture in the soil is necessary.

The night-dew, and thin gossamer, Some seeds absorb more than their own weight

Hang chilly; and the weary sun

Seems tirei amid the troubled air, of water during the change of germination.

And long ere his full course be run, This is especially the case in beans, peas,

and

Besouth the Sidlaws wild, sinks down; kidney beans. A certain state of temperature Night gathers fust o'er cot and town; is also required, varying in different cases Around, and far as eye can see, from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Besides Day has a dreary death-like close; these, air is wanted; otherwise certain che. While mournfully, all mournfully, mical changes will not take place. For this

THE RAIN WIND BLOW8! purpose, seeds should never be sown to a Edinburgh

J. NEVAY.

;

same.

[ocr errors]

BY ELIZA COOK.

TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW. which steals away our fireside faces, and lays waste
AN EPISODE IN HUMAN LIFE.

our dearest affections.

I passed by, day after day. The scene was the Gather the rose-buds while ye may,

The fire was burning, the hearth beaming Old Time is still a-flying ;

clean and cheerful. But the mother was not to The self-same flower that blooms to-day,

be seen. The blind was still drawn above. At To-MORROW shall be dying.

length I missed the girl, and in her place appeared

another woman, bearing considerable resemblance What is LIFE? What, indeed! Its enemy, to the mother, but of a quieter habit. It was Death, pursues it with relentless fury. Hand-in- easy to interpret this change. Disease had hand, they walk together. One rears a blossom, assumed an alarming aspect; the daughter was and the other cuts it down. My watchful eye occupied in intense watching, and caring for the takes notes of this, and my pen will have much suffering mother, and the good woman's sister had to say at a future time. Meantime, let me dot been summoned to her bed-side--perhaps from a down a scene I shall never forget.

distant spot, and perhaps from her family cares, In my daily walks into the country, I was ac- which no less important an event could have customed to pass a certain cottage. It was no induced her to elude. cottage ornée. It was no cottage of romance. It Thus appearances continued some days. There had nothing particularly picturesque about it. It was a silence around the house, and an air of had its little garden, and its vine spreading over neglect within it. One morning I behell the its front; but beyond these it possessed no feature Wind drawn in the room below, and the window likely to fix it in the mind of a poet, or a novel thrown open above. The scene was over; the writer, and which might induce him to people it muther was removed from her family; and one of with beings of his own fancy. In fact, it appeared those great alterations effceted in human life, to be inhabited by persons as little extraordinary which commence with so little observation but as itself. A good man of the house it might which leave behind them such lasting effects. possess--but he was never visible. The only

Q. inmates I ever saw were—a young woman, and another female in the wane of life, no doubt the mother.

A PARTING SONG. The damsel was a comely, fresh, mild-looking cottage girl enough ; always seated in one spot, near the window, intent on her needle. The old Coue, let us part with lightsome heart, home was as regularly busied, to and fro, in house- Nor breathe one chiding sigh, hold affairs. She appeared one of those good To think that wings of rainbow plume housewives who never dream of rest, except in So soon should learn to tly. sleep. The cottage stood so near the road, that We scarcely like the chimes to strike the fire at the farther end of the room showed you, That tell of Pleasure's flight, without being rudely inquisitive, the whole in- But Friendship’s chain, whon severed thus, terior, in the single moment of passing. A clean Is sure to re-unite. hearth and a cheerful fire, shining upon homely, Then why not let us merry be, but neat and orderly furniture, spoke of comfort ; Though this song be the last, but whether the dame enjoyed, or merely diffused Believing other hours will come that comfort, was a problem.

As bright as those just past ?
I passed the house many successive days. It
was always alike-the fire shining brightly and The wild-lird's song is loud and long;
peacefully—the girl seated at her post by the But the sweetest and the best,
window-the housewife going to and fro, catering Is whistled as he leaves the bough
and contriving, dusting and managing. One To seek his lonely nest.
morning, as I went by, there was a change. The The sun's rich leam shines through the day,
dama was seated near her daughter; her arms But flashes deeper still
laid upon the table, and her head reclining upon While darting forth his farewell ray

I was sure that it was sickness which Behind the western hill.
had compelled her to that attitude of repose- Then why not we as merry lie,
nothing less could havo done it. I felt that I In this our parting strain ?
knew exactly the poor woman's feelings. Sho For, like the bird and sun, we'll come
bad felt a weariness stealing upon her; she had With joy and warmth again.
wondered at it, and struggled against it, and borne
up, hoping it would pass by, till

, loth as she was The moments fled, like violets dead,
to yield, it had forced submission.

Shall never lose their power;
The next day, when I passed, the room appeared For grateful perfume ever marks
as usual; the tire burning, the girl at her neeille. The momory's withered flower.
But her mother was not to be seen; and glancing The railor's lay, in peaceful bay,
my eye upwards, I perceived the blind close-drawn With gladsome mirth rings out;
in the window above. It is so, I said to myself : But when the heavy anchor's weighed,
disease is in its progress. Perhaps it occasions He gives as blitlie a shout.
no gloomy fears of consequences, no extreme con- Then why not we as merry be,
cern; and yet who knows how it may end? It is In this our parting strain,
this that begins these changes, that draws out And trust, as gallant sailors do,
the central bolt which holds together families- TO MAKE THE PORT AGAIN?

her arms.

*

THE GOLDEN RULES OF LIFE. is no process by which we can distil life, so as

to separate from it all foul and heterogeneous If thou well observe matter, and leave nothing behind but drops The rule of " not too much,” by Temperance taught, In what thou eat'st and drink'st, seeking from thence

of pure defecated happiness. If there were, Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight,

we should scarcely blaine the vicious extravaTill many years over thy head return, Then may'st thou live, till, like ripe fruit, thou drop

gance of the voluptuary, who, provided that Into thy mother's lap; or be with ease

his sun shine brilliantly, while above his head, Gather'd, not harshly pluck'd, in death mature. cares not though that sun should set at an

STILTON.

earlier hour. EXCESS IN ANY SHAPE is bad, but in eating the thread of vitality. There occurs, for the

It is seldom that debauchery breaks at once and drinking it is dangerous. It exhausts most part, a wearisome and painful interval the body, and destroys the soul. We would

between the first loss of a capacity for enjoyspeak here more particularly of drinking, a ing life and the period of its ultimate and practice even yet far too prevalent in this entire extinction. This circumstance, it is country. Of all the illusions by which man has of those persons who, with a prodigality

to be presumed, is out of the consideration allowed himself to be led astray from the path of common sense, there is none more absurd dissolve the pearl of health in the goblet of

more extravagant than that of Cleopatra, in its nature and mournful in its effects (says intemperance. The slope towards the grave a popular writer), than that which induces these victims of indiscretion find to be no him to believe that ar lent spirits are con- easy descent. The scene is darkened long ducive either to health or happiness. Engen- before the curtain falls, and discloses the hordering an appetite which grows with what it

rors of an hereafter. Having exhausted prefeeds on, they acquire by degrees an un- maturely all that is pure and delicious in the bounded dominion over the individual, whom

cup of life, they are obliged to swallow afterthey at last reduce to a melancholy state of wards the bitier dregs. Death is the last, physical imbecility and moral degradation. but not the worst result of intemperance. Peevishness takes the place of equanimity; There is more to follow! and he who commenced the habit of drinking, that, like “a good fellow," he might minister

Punishment, in some instances, treads to the happiness of others, ends by destroying almost instantly upon the heels of transgres

sion ; at others, with a more tardy, but “Living fast” is a metaphorical phrase equally certain step, it follows the commission which, more accurately than is generally of moral irregularity. During the course of imagined, expresses a literal fact! Whatever a long-protracted career of excess, the malighurries the action of the corporeal functions, nant power of alcohol, slow and insidious in must tend to abridge the period of their proba- its operation, is gnawing incessantly at the ble duration. As the wheel of a carriage per- root; and often without spoiling the bloom, forms a certain number of rotations before it

or seeming to impair the vigor of the frame, arrives at the destined goal, so to the arteries is clandestinely hastening the period of its of the human frame we may conceive that destruction. There is no imprudence, with there is allotted only a certain number of regard to health, that does not tell; and those pulsations before their vital energy is entirely are not unfrequently found to suífer in the exhausted. Extraordinary longevity has event most essentially, who do not appear to seldom been know to occur, except in suífer immediately froin every individual act persons of a remarkably tranquil and slow- of indiscretion. The work of decay is, in such paced circulation.

instances, constantly going on, although it If intemperance curtailed merely the num

never loudly indicates its advance, by any ber of our days, we should have but little forcible impression upon the senses. reason to find fault with its effects. The

A feeble constitution is, in general, more idea of a short life and a merry one is plau- flexible than a vigorous one.

From yielding sible enough if it could be realised. But more readily, it is not so soon broken by the

A disorder is for unfortunately, what shortens existence is cal- assaults of indiscretion. culated also to make it melancholy. There the most part violent in proportion to the

stamina of the subject which it attacks. * The advent of our mortal enemy, Cholera,

Strong men have energetic diseases. The

valetudinarian seenis to suffer less whose

puny amongst us have told fearfully of his great power--induce us once more to raise injury from indisposition, in consequence of

His a warning voice against an indulgence in ardent being more familiar with its effects. spirits, We know many who persist in their lingering and scarcely more than semi-vital use, despite all remonstrance.

Let them beware,

existence is often protracted beyond that of ere it be too late.

Taken melicinally, spirits the more active, vivacious, and robust. have their good use; but indulged in as a "plea- But it ought to be in the knowledge of the sure," they become a curse.

debauchee that each attack of casual, or return

his own.

gaunt strides

of periodical, distemper, deducts something It is no uncommon thing in this dissipated from the strength and structure of his frame. metropolis for a woman of gaiety and fashion, Some leaves fall from the tree of life every previous to the reception of a party, to light time that its trunk is shaken. It may thus up, by artificial means, her mind as well her be disrobed of its beauty, and made to betray rooms. This is done in order that both may the dreary nakedness of a far advanced be “shown off to the best advantange.'

But autumn, long before, in the regular course of the mental lustre which is thus kindled goes nature, that season could even have com- out even sooner than that of the lamps ; and menced. The distinction, though incalculably the mistress of the entertainment often finds important, is not sufficiently recognised, herself deserted by her spirits, long before between stimulation and nutrition ; between she is deserted by her guests.

In like manrepairing the expenditure of the fuel by a ner, a man who is meditating a composition supply of substantial matter, and urging un- for the public is often tempted to rouse the seasonably, or to an inordinate degree, the torpor or to spur the inactivity of his faculviolence of the heat and the brilliancy of the ties by some temporary incentive. Gay, in flame.

one of his letters, observes that "he must be The strongest liquors are the most weaken- a bold man who ventures to write without ing. In proportion to the power which the the help of wine.” But, in general, it may draught itself possesses, is that which it ulti- be remarked that the cordials which an author mately deducts from the person into whose on this account may be induced to take, are stomach it is habitually received. In a state more likely to make himself than his readers of ordinary health, and in many cases of satisfied with his productions. The good things disease, a generous diet may be safely and which a person under the influence of fictieven advantageously recommended. But in tious exhilaration may be stimulated to say, diet, the generous ought to be distinguished are often, in their effects, the very worst from the stimulating. This latter is almost things than he could possibly have uttered. exclusively, but, on account of its evil opera - From a want of sufficient steadiness or distions upon the frame, very improperly, called cretion, sparks sometimes fall from the torch good living. The indigent wretch whose of genius by which it is converted into a firescanty fare is scarcely sufficient to supply brand of mischief. the materials of existence, and the no less We are apt to complain of the heaviness wretched debauchee, whose luxurious indul- and wearisomeness of volumes, where the gence daily accelerates the period of its pains taken by the writer have not been destruction, may both be said to live hard. sufficiently concealed. But the apparent Hilarity is not health; more especially when result of excessive care is much to be preit has been aroused by artificial means. The ferred to the heedless effusion of a mind over fire of intemperance often illuminates, at the which it is too obvious that the judgment has very moment that it is consuming its victim. in a great measure suspended its control. It is not until after the blaze of an electric It is far better that a work should smell of corruscation that its depredations are exposed. the lamp than of the cask.

Stimuli sometimes produce a kind of artificial genius as well as vivacity. They

THE LONELY BIRD. lift a man's intellectual faculties, as well as his feelings of enjoyment, above their ordinary

Brown Autumn is flying, level; and if, by the same means, they could

Stern Winter is nigh,

Sweet flow'rs are dying, be kept for any length of time in that state of

Half-withered they lie. exaltation, it might constitute something like a specious apology for having had recourse to

The warblers have left us, their assistance. Unfortunately, however,

For bright summer skies; the excitement of the system can in no in

Cold winds have bereft us

Of Philomel's sighs. stance be urged above its accustomed and natural pitch, without this being succeeded

Far wanders the swallow ; by a correspondent degree of depression.

Alas! only one, Like the fabulous stone of Sisyphus, it

In our wooded hollow invariably begins to fall as soon as it has

Still lingers alone! reached the summit; and the rapidity of its

She tarries, a mourner, subsequent descent is almost invariably in

Her offspring are goue ; proportion to the degree of its previous

Now sadder,-forlorner,elevation. Genius, in this manner forcibly

She tarries alone ! raised, may be compared to those fireworks

Ye tempests, pass o'er her, which after having made a brilliant figure in

Distirb not ber rest, the sky for a short time, fall to the ground,

Till sweet-smiling FLORA and expose a miserable fragment as the only

Breathes life on her nest! relic of their preceding splendor.

MOTLEY.

« PoprzedniaDalej »