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BE GENTLE AND OBLIGING.
“ PLEASE to help me a minute, sister."
Oh, don't disturb me, I'm reading," was the answer. “But just hold this stick, won't you, wbile I drive this pin through ?"
“I can't now, I want to finish this story,” said I emphatically; and my little brother turned away with a disappointed look, in search of somebody else to assist him.
He was a bright boy of ten years, and my only brother. He had been visiting a young friend, and had seen a windmill
, and as soon as he came home, his energies were all employed in making a small one ; for he was always trying to make tops, wheelbarrows, kites, and all sorts of things, such as boys delight in. He had worked patiently all the morning with saw and jack-knife, and now it only needed putting together to complete it-and his only sister had refused to assist him, and he had gone away with his young heart saddened.
I thought of all this in the fifteen minutes after he left me, and my book gave me no pleasure. It was not intentional unkindness, only thoughtlessness, for I loved my brother, and was generally kind to him; still I had refused to help him. I would have gone after him, and aftorded the assistance needed, but I knew he had found some one else. But I had neglected an opportunity of gladdening a childish heart.
In balf an hour he came bounding into the house exclaiming, “Come, Mary, I've got it up; just see how it goes !” His tones were joyous, and I saw that he had forgotten my petulance, so I determined to atone by unusual kindness. I went with him, and sure enough, on the roof of the woodhouse was fastened a miniature windmill, and the arms were whirling around fast enough to suit any boy. I praised the windmill and my little brother's ingenuity, and he seemed happy and entirely forgetful of my unkindness; and I resolved, as Ihad many times before, to he always loving and gentle.
A few days passed by and the shadow of a great sorrow darkened our dwelling. The joyous laugh and noisy glee were hushed, and our merry boy lay in a darkened room with anxious faces around hiin, bis cheeks flushed, and his eyes unnaturally bright. Sometimes his temples would moisten and his muscles relax, and then hope would come into our hearts, and our eyes would fill with thankful tears. It was in one of these deceitful calms in his disease that he heard the noise of his little wheel, and said, “I hear my windmill.”
" Does it make your head ache?" I asked. "Shall we take it down ?"
"Oh, no," replied be, “it seems as if I were out of doors, and it makes me feel better."
He mused a moment, and then added : “Don't you remember, Mary, that I wanted you to help me fix it, and you was reading, and told me you could not? But it didn't make any difference, for mamma helped me."
Oh, how sadly those words fell upon my ear, and what bitter memories they awakened! How I repented as I kissed little Frank's forehead, that I had ever spoken unkindly to bim. Hours of sorrow went by, and we watched his couch, hope growing fainter and fainter, and anguish deeper, until one week from the morning on which he spoke of his childish sports, we closed the eyes once so sparkling, and folded his hands over his pulseless heart. He sleeps now in the grave, and home is desolate; but the little windmill, the work of his busy hands, is still swinging in the breeze, just where he placed it, upon the roof of the old woodshed ; and every time I see the tiny arms revolving, I remember the lost little Frank—and I remember also the thoughtless, the unkind words !
Brothers and sisters, be kind to each other. Be gentle, considerate and loving
IMMENSITY OF CREATION.
At the close of one of Prof. Mitchell's Lectures on Astronomy, in which he had been considering the immensity of creation, he repeated in illustration the conception of a German poet, as follows:
“God called man in dreams into tbe vestibule of heaven, saying, "Come up hither and I will show you the glory of my house.' And to bis angels who stood about his throne he said, 'Take him, strip him of bis robe of flesh ; cleanse his affections ; put a new breath in his nostrils ; but touch not the human beart'-the heart that fears and hopes and trembles. A moment, and it was done, and the man stood ready for his unknown voyage. Under the guidance of a mighty angel, with sound of flying pinions, they sped away from the battlements of heaven.. Some time on the mighty angel's wings they fled through Saharas of darkness, wilderness of death. At length, from a distance not counted, save in the arithmetic of Heaven, light beamed upon them—a sleepy. haze as seen through a hazy cloud. They sped on in their terrible. speed to meet the light; the light with lesser speed came to meet them. In a moment the blazing of suns around them—a moment the wheeling of planets; then came long eternities of twilight; then again on the right hand and the left appeared more constellations. At last the man sapk down, crying, “Angel I can go no farther ; let me lie down in the grave and hide myself from the infinitude of the universe, for end there is none.' 'End there is none ?' demanded the angel. And from the glittering stars that shone around there came a choral shout. •End there is pone ?' demanded the angel again ; 'and is it this that awes thy soul ? I answer, end there is none to the universe of God! Lo! also, there is no beginning.""
PRECEPT WITHOUT PRACTICE.
At this season of the year, the following interesting description of the mysteries of the vegetable creation will be welcome to our readers. We take it from a little work entitled, “ The Garden.” A lover of nature will of himself discover many wonders and beauties in the vegetable world, but his pleasure will be vastly increased when he begins earnestly to inquire into the reasons and causes of growth, as is done in this article. There he will see many traces of divine wisdom and love which escaped his observation before, and feel at every new discovery, that truly our heavenly Father considers and cares for the lilies of the field.—ED.
Every perfect and matured seed contains the germ of a new plant of the species to which it owes its own existence. If you separate the two lobes of a beau, or other seed of a similar character, you will discover, pressed between them at the undivided or stem end, or side, a minute kernel or bud. This, though a mere point, as it were, contains the rudiments of two or more undeveloped leaves, united by a solid or undivided portion, called, in the language of botany, the radicle, and constitutes an embryo plant, holding within itself all the elements of vegetable life. The commencement of the vital action which produces the development of this embryo, is called germination.
The conditions essential to germination are the presence of mois. ture, warmth, and oxygen gas.
In the absence of moisture, no effect toward germination is produced by the presence of warmth and oxygen, or any other gas. Moisture and oxygen gas, without warmth, are equally inefficacious; and so are moisture and warmth in the absence of the oxygen ; for seeds will not germinate in a vacuum, nor in distilled or recently boiled water.
Moisture is necessary to soften and expand the various parts, to dissolve soluble matter, and to establish a sort of circulation. The embryo seems also to have the power of decomposing water ; and it is probable that a portion of the oxygen required is obtained in this way. The rest must come from the air; for it is found that a communication with the atmosphere is absolutely essential to perfect germination. The effect of heat appears to be to set the vital principle in action, to expand the air in the numerous microscopic cavities of the seed, and to produce distension of all the organic parts. The degree of heat required varies with different species. The common chickweed will germinate at a temperature but little above the freezing-point, while the seeds of many tropical plants require a heat of from 90 dg. to 110 dg. (Fahrenheit) to call them into action. Wheat, rye, and barley will germinate at 44 dg. A degree of heat varying from 113 dg to 167 dg. is capable of destroying the vitality of the various grains, beans, peas, etc. Direct light, so essential to subsequent vegetation, is unfavorable to germination.
The time required for germination is very differeut in different species of plants. Much also depends upon soil, climate, degree of moisture,
etc. Under favorable circumstances, wheat, rye, oats and millet, will germinate in one day; bean, turnip, radish, and mustard in three days ; lettuce in four days; melon, cucumber, squash, and pumpkin in five days; barley in seven ; cabbage in ten; parsley in fifteen ; almond, peach and peony in one year, and hawthorn in two years.
The time that seeds will retain their vitality also differs in different species, but in all cases depends partly upon the degree in which they are excluded from the action of moisture and light. Kidney-beans, peas, and carrot, parsnip and rhubarb seeds, are generally considered as losing their vitality at the end of one year, but will sumetimes germinate after being kept much longer.
These facts have important bearings upon the subject of horticulture, and should be constantly borne in mind; and especially is it requisite that the essential conditions of germination be held in remembrance. A failure to germinate is doubtless often attributed to bad seeds, when the fault is entirely in the planting. It must be perfectly evident that if your seeds are insufficiently covered in a light, dry soil, they will lack the first essential of germination, and will be liable to wither and perish for want of moisture. This is why light soils should be pressed together and upon the seed in planting, either by means of a roller or otherwise. Seeds buried too deeply, or covered with a heavy, dense soil, pressed too closely upon them, fail to germinate for want of communication with the atmosphere. If there be not sufficient warmth in the soil at the time of planting, and it remain cold for a considerable time thereafter, the seeds jast as surely perish. Remember the conditions of germination-moisture, warmth, and oxygen gas (or air containing oxygen).
Germination being established by the action of moisture and warmth, and maintained by the oxygen of the atmosphere, all parts of the embryo enlarge, and new parts are formed at the expense of a saccharine or sugary secretion, which the germinating seed possesses the power of forming. With the assistance of this substance, the root or radicle, at first a mere rounded cone, extends and pierces the earth in search of food, while the other extremity elongates in the opposite direction, bringing the cotyledons, or sted-leaves (except when these remain permanently in the ground, as in the pea, wheat, rye, etc.) and the rudi. mentary leaves and stem, to the surface of the soil. The process of germination is now completed—the plant is born.
The root, the stem, and the leaves are called the fundamental organs of plants. Of them vegetables essentially consist; and the various organs known by other names are really but repetitions, under more or less modified forms, of these essential parts.
Germination, as we have seen, pushes the root downward into the earth, where, extending by the addition of new matter to its point, it soon enters upon the exercise of its function—the absorption of the crude food of the plant from the soil. This is carried up through the stem into the leaves, to be digested or assimilated, and ieturned to the stem and root, and used in the formation of new branches, leaves and rootlets, as well as for increasing the length and size of those already
formed. The more a plant grows, therefore, the more are the means of growth multiplied.
As the roots are extended by the addition of new matter to the extreme points, these points are exceedingly delicate and easily injured. It is mainly through them, too, that absorption takes place. It is readily seen, therefore, why the careless or unskillful removal of plants from the earth, for the purpose of transplanting, by destroying the delicate points of the roots, or spongelets, as they are called, always checks so greatly their growth, and often destroys their life.
Their peculiar mode of growth admirably adapt roots to pierce the earth and insinuate themselves into the minutest crevices. Thus they pass on from place to place in search of fresh pasturage, shifting their mouths, although their bodies remain stationary.
Roots seemn to possess a principle akin to instinct, which guides them in their search for food; for they invariably extend themselves most rapidly and widely in the direction of the richest soil If a strawberry plant be set in a sandy soil, deficient in nutritive matters, and rich earth placed on one side of it, the roots will immediately seek the fertile spot, although at first nowhere in contact with it. A decaying bone or a piece of rotten wood will in the same way be sought out by the roots of à plant requiring the nutritive elements it may contain ; and such objects are often found completely covered by a network of minute rootlets.
The roots of plants have, to a certain extent, the power of selecting their food. In general, they absorb only those substances which are needed to develop and perfect their various parts. Thus, if a pea and a grain of wheat be planted side by side, and made to grow under the same circumstances, the wheat plant will absorb silex (in solution) from the earth, while the pea will absorb none. This power of selection, however, does not enable the roots of -plants to reject, under all circumstances, any deleterious agents which may be brought in contact with them; and it is a curious circumstance that substances which are fatal to man are equally so to plants, and in nearly the same way.
In addition to their principal office, as feeding organs, the roots of plants are believed to be, to some extent, organs of excretion, throwing off any superfluous or deleterious matter which may have been imbibed either by themselves or by the leaves. They also possess the power of accumulating a store of sap, upon which the plant may draw in time of need. Striking examples of the last named property are furnished by the turnip, the beet, the carrot, and other plants of the same class.
In general, roots do not produce buds, and are therefore incapable of multiplying the plant to which they belong ; but to this rule there are many exceptions, some species having the power, under certain circumstances, of forming what are called adventitious buds.
In such cases they may be employed for the purpose of propagation.
Roots are not inactive during the winter, as many suppose, except while actually frozen, but are perpetually extracting food from the earth, and storing it up for the next season's use. A long, mild winter is therefore favorable to the vegetation of the succeeding spring.
Roots are of various kinds. In reference to their duration, they are clsased as annual, biennial and perennial. An annual root lives but a