+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

prevent many persons from perishing of

We are evidently ignorant of many ways
in which the germs of vegetation are affected.
Thus, the fungus is a mysterychange of
soil is not all that affects it. Mushroom
growers know that certain mixtures of matter
exposed to particular states of atmosphere
will increase that species, and none else. It
has been suggested that electricityan
influence of which we know too littleplays
a great part in the proceeding. Again, we see
fungi which are peculiar to different
substances. Cheese, grapes, potatoes, old leather,
and other materials, when mouldy, always
exhibit, each its own fungus, and no other.
Now, although we may bear in mind that
the distribution of spores is universalthat
they are superior to changes which would
kill higher vegetation, having been found
alive even after a year's immersion in fluid,
and can therefore bide their timeit is hard
to conceive how one sort of fungus spore goes
all over the world for cheese, and will not
settle until it meets with cheese; while
another travels with a like determination after
an old shoe.

If we love mystery, we can appeal, on the
origin of the lower plants, to curious investigations
by German naturalists. K├╝tzing
considers that nature does not always plant
particular eggs for each particular kind of
vegetable; but the same general stuff will, he
asserts, according to circumstances, throw up
fungi, lichens, sea-weeds, or mosses. And it
would appear, from the researches of the
same philosopher, that at this period of
nature's efforts, not only are the four families
of plants just named interchangeable, but that
the lowest forms of animal life are likewise
convertible into those of the vegetable. He cut
up a species of jelly-fish, and put the pieces
into a bottle of distilled water, corking it
closely. They soon putrefied, and finally
dissolved; but after four days, myriads of
little dots covered with hairs were seen
moving about in the bottle; a swarm of green
points on the surface of the water appeared
next, which, through a lens, seemed to be
those living dots glued to each other with
slime; and, in a few weeks, a peculiar species
of water-weed developed itself to perfection.
Could the animal jelly-fish have turned into
a water-weed?


In passing by Miss Wolsey's shop yesterday,
I perceived a frame full of likenesses
hanging at the door-post. In the centre
was the counterfeit presentment of Miss
Wolsey herself, in all the crispness of
Sunday silk gown and best cap; two military
officers flanked her on either side;
Mr. Garnet was over her head, and Mr.
Dove below her feet, while four infantine
groups occupied the angles.

So public an exposure of well-known
characters surprised me. "Never, never," I
said to myself, "would Lydia Cleverboots
make her countenance the gazing-stock of a
market-place!" And, with rather more than
my usual severity, I entered the bun-shop to
ask what it all meant ? Miss Wolsey did
not allow me time to open my mouth, but

    "The celebrated photographic artist, Mr.
Buck, is in the town, Miss Cleverboots. You
must see him. You will be delighted."

I replied, "O, indeed!"

This simple exclamation, with the tone I
threw into it, immediately checked Miss
Wolsey's vivacity. She saw I was slightly
ruffled, and she endeavoured to propitiate me
by adding:

"There is no harm in it, Miss Cleverboots.
Many respectable people have been

"No harm!" I ejaculated, — " no harm!
when men in dignified professions, fathers of
families (I alluded to Mr. Dove), allow
themselves to be posted up on walls like
signboards, or circus-bills! O, Miss Wolsey!"
I have a respect for the woman, and I eyed
her with a mild rebuke.

"I will have mine taken down, if you think
it improper, Miss Cleverboots. I am sure I
meant no offence to anybody," she said,

I did not suffer the impression I had made
to pass away, but rejoined sharply, "When
you are a public character, Miss Wolsey,
then be exhibited, and not before;" and I
walked with a firm step out of the shop.

At the corner by the church, I encountered
Miss Prior, fresh from her early gossip.
"Have you been done, my dear?" she
exclaimed, without exchanging the usual
compliments, " Isn't it marvellous ?"

I asked stiffly, what she meant?

"From two-and-sixpence upwards, single
figures; and every additional figure one
shilling extra," was her reply. I wished her
good morning; for she was in a gasping state
of mental confusion, owing, probably, to an
overfulness of news; and I walked on to Mr.

Mrs. Dove was dressed to go out, with her
tract-basket in her hand, and the two girls
with their best hats, and baby in his feather
and scarlet coat, were all undergoing a full
parade examination previous to accompanying
her. I saw at once some great undertaking
was contemplated. Mrs. Dove is a
favourite of mine. I knew her, an extremely
pretty girl, before her marriage, and have
always been in the habit of giving her
advice about the training of her little ones
(the eldest, Jenny Polly, is my godchild).
Therefore I was not surprised when she
exclaimed, grasping my hand in her cordial

"Dear Miss Lydia, I was just coming over
to your house to consult you about the