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There is one plant which seldom wanders far
from the shores of the Mediterranean. Its
special habitat is on the southern slopes of
the Atlas, called by the Arabs "the land of
dates." It is found in the Syrian desert and
eastward to the bank of the Euphrates and
Tigris. Byron notices its habit, thus:

     More blest each palm that shades those plains
         Than Israel's scatter'd race,
     For, taking root, it there remains
             In solitary grace:
     It cannot quit its place of birth,
     It will not live in other earth.

These qualities in plants and the
artificial bending of them in the required
direction, have been the means by which the
horticulturist has adorned our gardens, and by
which the chief modifications in plants and
fruits, in shape, colour, and flavour, have been
produced. The crab has been changed into
the golden pippin, the almond into the peach
and nectarine, the sloe into the greengage
plum. Andrew Knight, author of Knight's
marrowfat peas, was a horticultural magician
who practised this interesting art with great
success. We will conclude by stating how
he went to work to improve the red currant
and strawberry. He planted slips of the first
in very rich mould, trained the plants to a
South wall, crossed red and white together,
sowed the seeds in a forcing-house to expedite
matters, and so got a great variety of plants
bearing fruit which proved to be mild, sweet,
and large. He tried endless experiments on
strawberries, planting strawberries in rich soil,
crossing together the pine, the Chili, the scarlet
and the wild strawberry of Canada. At one time
his garden contained four hundred varieties.
By the most careful, elaborate, and extensive
experiments on fruits and vegetables of all
kinds, and especially on the apple, this true
philosopher and English gentleman, became the
greatest of improvers in the department of
horticulture and the garden. His example
has been followed by many breeders of plants
and animals whose patient labours are often
unrequited and unknown, but are certainly not
unfelt by the community.

               THE INDIAN RIVER.

FROM the mountains covered with eternal
snow to the ocean basking in the rays of the
tropical sun flows Gunga, the river. By
Mahommedan mosque and palace; by Hindoo
temple and serai; by European factory and
English guardhouse; while all around is ever
shifting; while men and manners come and
go; while those that to-day cool their parched
throats, or lave their weary limbs, or sport in
idleness in its cool and limpid stream,
tomorrow float helpless on its bosom, hewn
down by the sword of the invading warrior,
or victims of a cruel superstition; unchanged
since history began, the river flows on unchanging
still. Now bearing the rich goods of nature's
Eastern storehouse; now made subservient to
the machinery of Western civilisation; stained
with the dye of indigo, or red with the blood of
the slaughtered; laughing with tiny ripple in
the warm sunshine, or rough and tempest-tossed
by the wild cyclone; now creeping gently in the
middle of its bed far away from the banks its
course has worn away in the lapse of centuries;
now roaring and rushing on, like a second
deluge, and covering all around at the same
time with fertility and desolation; now gleaming
with the rude weapons, the gaudy trappings
of some proud Mahommedan prince; now giving
passage to a conquering band of fair-haired,
white-skinned warriors; slave of many masters,
bestowing its inestimable favours on all; thus
flows Gunga, pre-eminently The River.

The Ganges, as it is commonly called, takes
its rise in the Himalaya mountains, issuing
from a low cavern, beneath a huge mass of ice,
that, somewhat resembling in shape the head
of a cow, is by some supposed to have given
rise to the veneration in which that animal is
held by the Hindoos. That the basin which
the water has formed at this point is not the
real source of the river, is a matter upon which
most persons are agreed; but it has yet to be
determined what stream or streams may in
justice lay claim to the parentage of the sacred
river. The honour is aspired to by two that
rise on the north side of the mountains, in the
neighbouring country of Thibet, as also by
several others that have their sources within the
mountains themselves; but whatever or wherever
its real fountain-head, the spot in question
has for so many ages borne the distinction,
that a village has sprung up in its immediate
neighbourhood for the accommodation of the
pilgrims, who flock yearly, though in steadily
diminishing numbers, from all parts of India
to bathe in the holy fount. This village, by
name Gangoutri, is a small place, inhabited
only by those who gain a livelihood by the sale
of the holy water, by providing lodging and
refreshment for the pilgrims, or by presiding
over the performance of their solemn rites.

Leaving Gangoutri, the river winds its way
by many devious paths southward through the
district of Gurhwal, overshadowed by snow-
capped, inhospitable mountains, home of the
eagle and wild goat. This tract is wild and
beautiful, but desolate, abounding in striking
and majestic scenery, but neither populous nor
much traversed. At length the Ganges pierces
its rocky barriers, and through a narrow opening
forces its way into the plains. On this spot
stands Hurdwar, the scene of the celebrated fair
or melah, and, with its domes and bathing
places, its gay flags and varied architecture,
and, above all, with the beauty of the limpid
stream that flows through its very streets,
forms an object of romantic loveliness that
favours not a little its claims to peculiar holiness.
The river at this point is of no great width,
and the confined nature of the locality, with its
jutting rocks and intercepting hills, has on more
than one occasion caused the death of several of
the enthusiastic votaries, who, at the moment
indicated by the astronomers, press forward to