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to the soil. The pappus hairs are also slightly raised from the horizontal direction, and form an inverted cone. In this condition the achene has an astonishing power of penetration, and readily makes its way through tangled grass or other vegetation to the earth. Winged seeds are open to the objection that when carried along by the wind a short distance above the ground, their expanded surface is almost certain to encounter some obstacle, with the result that their flight is arrested and they fall to the earth. They are not, therefore, well adapted for low-growing plants. Hairs have the advantage that they give the required buoyancy, and do not offer so much resistance to the passage of the seed among other plants. Broad wings are unobjectionable in seeds blown from a height, but hairs are decidedly better where the seed is launched from a lower level. Hence winged fruits are most characteristic of lofty trees, while plumed seeds occur for the most part on herbs and shrubs. Another objection to wings is, that they prevent the seed from readily reaching the soil if it happens to be covered with withered grass, and this objection applies to a pappus which persists after the fruit has alighted. In the dandelion this difficulty seems to have been overcome, for the penetrating power of its fruit is truly remarkable. This was impressed on the writer by the behaviour of a seed that had alighted on a heap of dry grass. The seed, kept in its perpendicular position by the hairy parachute, when the air was still for a moment, sunk into an opening among the grass-stems and hung swinging by its hairs for a time. When the next gust shook the mass of hay the seed slipped, but was caught by another grass-stem lower down, where it hung suspended until a second gust shook the grass, when it slipped off and fell down till the pappus hairs were caught once more. This process was continued, every gust sending the seed farther and farther down until it was out of sight. To discover it then would have been as hard a matter as looking for a needle in a hay-stack.

The passage of the dandelion seed through a mass of hay in the manner described reminds one of a bird hopping among the thick branches of a tree-perching now here, and now there, but never striking against any of the boughs or twigs.

The slender stalk which supports the pappus contributes to the penetrating power of the seed. Its primary use is no doubt to expose the pappus to the wind, but it would appear to play an equally important rôle in relation to this power of penetration. The little barbs on the body of the achene are also of service in this connection. They not only anchor the seed and prevent its being lifted when once

it begins to penetrate, but they enable it to keep every inch gained, and insure that progress shall always be in one direction.

The seeds of grasses possess to some extent the same penetrating power, as is proved by the fact that in a hay-loft the seeds invariably accumulate towards the floor. Their spindle shapes and roughened surfaces account for this peculiarity. Barley and other bearded grains have a long, slender, bristle-like appendage called an awn. Its edges are rough with minute barbs directed towards the apex. If a grain of barley, having the awn attached to it, be placed in one's sleeve, the movements of the arm cause the seed to move gradually upwards towards the shoulder. Or again, if it be gently shaken in a blanket, the grain will move along in one direction only, as the scabrid awn prevents any backward movement.

The penetrating power of seeds is still better exemplified in the stork's-bill (Erodium). In this case the seed, or rather carpel, when it springs away from the mother-plant, is seen to possess a slender filament at its apex which is in the act of curling upon itself. The motion continues for a minute or two, when the seed comes to rest with its awn twisted like a corkscrew. As long as the weather is dry it does not change, but if rain comes a tuft of slender hairs spread themselves out and poise the seed on end with its sharp point directed into the soil. The top of the awn, which in some species is feathered, is so placed that it readily presses against any neighbouring object likely to afford a point of resistance. The moistened awn now begins to unwind and straighten out. In the course of a couple of minutes it is quite straight, and the point of the seed is thrust some little distance into the soil. One or two barbs near its point prevent its being drawn up again when the awn once more curls in drying. When this occurs, instead of the seed being drawn up, the apex of the filament is drawn down, and if it finds some new object against which to press, the next shower will cause the seed to be pushed still farther down into the earth. Each succeeding atmospheric change produces like effects, and in this way the seeds of Erodium may be said literally to screw themselves into the soil. Many grass seeds have this burrowing power. On the pampas of South America, farmers lose numbers of their sheep every year from these burrowing grains penetrating the hides and entering the vital organs of the animals. A thin, elongated form pointed at the ends greatly favours the penetrating power of a seed. Comparing elongated seeds of this description with the broad-winged samaroid fruits of the maple and plane, we are reminded of a corresponding distinction in the animal kingdom. The bodies of most birds are comparatively short, but

the expanded wings give great breadth. This shape is convenient. enough for a creature which moves through a medium like air, that offers but little resistance. The narrow, elongated body of a snake, eel, or worm, on the other hand, is more convenient for an animal which has to make its way between the stems of reeds or through a much-resisting medium like the soil. It is a simple enough matter to keep a bird in a cage, but an adder or a worm would casily effect its escape. Elongated and especially aristate seeds have the same advantage as a snake in a cage; they can easily effect a passage through narrow openings, and will therefore be able to reach the earth through a network of mitted grass-stems, such as would prove an impenetrable barrier to a winged seed.

Contemplating the seed of the dandelion in relation to this function there emerges a new analogy. Its sharp, barbed point, its elongated shaft and plumed extremity, impart to this seed the strongest possible resemblance to an arrow. The gossamer sphere of the dandelion is, in fact, a fairy quiver from which the plant shoots forth. its dart-like seeds. As near as may be, these combine the advantages of both bird and snake. In the pappus hairs we have a contrivance in every way admirably fitted to promote flight, and yet not seriously interfering with the power of penetration for which provision is made in the barbs and slender, elongated beak. The structure of the seed, in short, is such that with equal facility it can float along on the breeze or pierce a blockade of matted vegetation to reach the soil. Although, then, the seed of the dandelion presents a most obvious likeness to a parachute, with the properties of this contrivance it combines those of the arrow and the grapple. Thus thoroughly equipped to run the blockade of life, with mast, sail, and anchor complete, the fruit of the dandelion starts on its airy voyage—a minute but marvellous example of the resource and ingenuity which are everywhere apparent in the realm of Nature.




NE of the most engaging little corners of Europe is assuredly the well-wooded, umbrageous dell, in which nestles pleasantly the antique and old-fashioned watering-place of the Spa-" the Spaw," as it used to be styled by old writers. No place of the kind can show such a pedigree, or boast such interesting associations. Even now, though much changed, it preserves much of its old-world air, and the builders and speculators have, to some extent, spared it. Those who visit it find it dull; but there is something attractive in its unpretending, inviting ways: and its chief charm seems to lie in its tranquillity and rustic, unspoiled air. Above all, it is easily accessible, and can be reached from London in about thirteen or fourteen hours. On the well-crowded road to Cologne the trains halt at a well-wooded, sylvan junction called Pepinster, where a few passengers are set down, and whence a sort of rural train sets off, skimming along through the hills, as it were, now gliding through leafy woods, skirting winding lanes, actually brushing against the overhanging branches and leaves, until at last there is a halt at the entrance to a valley, whose sides are richly lined with verdure. From here a short drive leads up to the two or three streets which form the whole of the little town, which lies so snugly sheltered in a bowl, with its bright houses and straggling alleys. Here is the miniature Place, with its imposing temple, or "pump-room as we should call it, by which stand the old Redoute and Theatre, the huge new Church that has taken the place of the old, more picturesque one, with its vast rusted roof, dotted over with hooks; the gay Hôtel de Flandre, the "Orange" and other pleasant houses of entertainment. The gaudy shops are nearly all devoted to the painted "Spa wood" trifles and close to us are the charming promenades, under thicklyplanted rows of trees, and quaintly named the "Seven o'clock" and "Four o'clock" Walks. Add the crowds of visitors languidly. wandering, or halting in groups and giving animation, and the sound. of distant music from the bands in the Kiosks: while the carriages clatter past, over the rough and noisy stones, driven, as the custom is, by the visitors, their blue-frocked attendants waiting patiently on

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the Place for their return.

Here, too, come galloping by the wonderful little Ardennes nags, mostly roan-coloured, compact, vigorous little animals like small cobs, and which are reputed to have been crossed with the Arab steed.

After being a few hours in the place the sense of old fashion affects one strongly. The Redoute is one of the old dancing- and gambling-rooms, the pattern of which is common over Europe, and dates from the middle of the last century, an elegant and florid piece of work. There are special features in all gambling watering-places, but one strikes the traveller at his first visit. Each Grand Duke or King, to whom the property belongs, has taken care to make a kind of sylvan railway which leads off from the broad main line and winds away up the hills through lovely woods and velvet dells, round sylvan corners and green lanes, until we reach the little romantic spot. Such is the introduction to Baden Baden, Soden, Homburg, and others. The day fine, the air soft, the sensation of thus speeding on in a holiday train, the leafy branches of trees flying past, is truly delightful, and nothing can be more inviting than the first glimpse of, say, Homburg or Spa, as you come from the train, and pass the Kiosk where the band is playing, the houses seeming like side-scenes with a background of wooded hills, the company promenading or clattering home from their mountain drive. Indeed, that entry always gives the idea of the first scene in an opera, when the curtain has gone up. Everything is irregular and straggling, the ground lies up-hill and down-hill; the houses thrust now their corners now their sides forward, or their backs towards us; the streets-there are only half-a-dozen-have the true picturesque narrowness, and are painted in gay colours, and each house has its sign. Thus, we live at "the town of Madrid," "the town of Moscow," or "the town of Paris," or at "the Hotel of Spain," as the case may be; though a well-meant, but awkward, bit of sympathy is the labelling one establishment "at the sign of the French Emigrants." The "Hotel of Flanders" is painted a warm green, and has its courtyard, with orange-trees in tubs, which, somehow, impart a festive air to all foreign hotels. In England we shall always sigh in vain for those bright rooms with the enamelled white folding doors, the muslin curtains, the handsome bedstead, and very often the glass door opening on the garden. The worthy Sury family who used to keep this establishment were well known to, and better remembered by, many an English family as well for their obliging, friendly attentions to their guests as for their excellent cuisine.

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As a matter of course we have our Strangers' List," which,

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