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THE OAK IN THE CHERRY-TREE.
(With an Engraving.) The family of Mr. T. were, one evening, comfortably 'seated round the tea-table, when Caroline suddenly broke silence, and said to her sister Dorothy, I wish the Editor of the Youth's Instructer would furnish his readers with more original matter ; for, though many of the pieces, taken from other works, are very interesting, we have sometimes read them before, and may always meet with them elsewhere.
Dorothy.--I see no objection to their insertion on that account; because a great majority of his readers have not seen the original works from which those extracts are taken ; and to such readers they are as new and as useful as if they had never been published before.
Caroline.—Yes; but then a few of those who read the Youth's Instructer may, probably, have seen the original works; and, for them, these extracts must have lost their interest, in a great measure ; and, you know, too, that I am always fond of what is original.
Dorothy.Well; as you are so much in earnest about it, I hope you will be consistent, and prove the sincerity of your wishes by furnishing some contributions of your own. I have heard it said that sincere desire always endeavours to satisfy itself; and that what people earnestly wish for, they will make an effort to accomplish.
Caroline.—Then, I suppose, sister, you mean to show your consistency by not contributing; as you have no wish
to see more original matter in the work. Pray, is this the only reason you have for not sending any thing to the Editor ?
Dorothy.-0! no, indeed ; I have a much more important reason for it than that. I think the Editor had better continue to furnish his readers with borrowed light, than with original darkness; and as such my contributions may be justly considered.
Caroline.—Well; but you know, sister, that we were all very much delighted with the account you wrote of the oak in the cherry-tree, while I was engaged in making a sketch of it in pencil. Will you be so kind as to read it to us again? If it amused us, why should it not amuse others ?
Dorothy, accordingly, took her Sketch Book, and read from it as follows:
The county of Kent is unquestionably one of the finest districts of Great Britain. From east to west its breadth is about seventy miles; and the distance of its northern from its southern extremity is nearly half as much ; so that it includes rather more than two thousand three hundred square
miles within its boundaries. The surface of the country is irregular, and richly wooded. The hills, though they never approach to the character of mountains, are sufficiently high to command extensive and varied prospects in all directions. From the summit of Blue-Bell Hill, you have, on one side, a magnificent view of the Isle of Sheppy, the town of Sheerness, and the river Medway,—from the Nore to Rochester bridge, studded with ships in ordinary, and hulks for the imprisonment of convicts: and, from the other, you may overlook the winding valley of this beautiful river, from Burham and Green-Hythe, as far as Maidstone. The prospects from Wrotham-Hill, River-Hill, and Cox-Heath, are not less worthy of admiration. Indeed, it is difficult to say at which season of the year this county is most delightful; whether in autumn, when the hops are beginning to exhibit that rich golden tinge which shows they will soon be fit for “picking ;” or in spring, when the numerous plantations
blossoms. In this county it is no uncommon thing to see a vast number of cherry-trees, intermixed with apple and pear trees, regularly planted, and extending over ten, fifteen, or even twenty acres of ground. When these gardens (as they are called) are in full bloom, they present one of the most beautiful spectacles which the vegetable kingdom, in this country, can afford. In the course of the last spring, we made several excursions to different parts of our own delightful neighbourhood, not without experiencing much of that enthusiastic pleasure which the scenery is so well adapted to inspire.
In one of our rambles, we had the good fortune to discover the very singular phenomenon, of which I am about to give some account; a phenomenon which we could not help contemplating with astonishment and delight, and which we should have thought that nature, in her wildest freaks, could hardly have produced. About a mile northeast of Sittingbourne is a very large and finely-planted cherry orchard, commonly called East-Hall cherry-garden, and now in the occupation of Mr. White, the proprietor ; in the midst of which, an oak-tree, of considerable size and great beauty, is literally growing in and supported by the trunk of an old cherry-tree. The following history of this great curiosity is, I believe, authentic.
About the year 1789, Mr. William Seath, who then owned and occupied the premises, was walking with his wife in the orchard: as they passed a large cherry-tree, a rook flew out of a hollow place at the top of the trunk, where the branches begin to spread, about seven feet from the ground. On putting his hand into the place he felt something which he supposed to be an egg, but which proved to be an acorn, in the first stage of vegetation. “ Don't destroy it,” said Mrs. Seath : “ it is unlucky to destroy an oak.” In compliance with his wife's request, Mr. Seath replaced it in the same situation. There it speedily took root, and grew up; and has continued to flourish for forty-four years.
The lower part of the oak, where it first struck its roots into the top of the cherry-tree, is now about three feet in
circumference. The trunk of the oak is straight, and well proportioned, and the branches form a head as finely shaped as any I remember to have seen. The branches of the cherry-tree have long since perished, but the bole retains nearly its original shape, and is much more perfect than could have been expected, after the lapse of so many years. It appears, however, to be somewhat rent at the top, and the fibrous roots of the oak have burst through the bark, in several places, as if in search of the soil to nourish them. If I am rightly informed, the oak is furnished with what is called a sap, or leading root, which strikes directly downward, to a considerable depth, and thus increases the stability of the tree, by riveting it fast in the soil. If this be the case, the sap-root has, in all probability, made its way through the centre of the cherry stalk, and found its natural aliment in the earth.
(To be concluded in our next. )
LETTERS TO A YOUNG CHRISTIAN.
A CHRISTIAN who aims at an elevated standard of piety will not always be satisfied with the morning and evening sacrifice.
The most eminent Christians have followed the example of David, who, in asserting his perseverance in prayer, exclaims, “Morning and evening, and at noon, will I call upon thee.” And is this too much? I am persuaded, my young friend, that, to a soul who pants after increasing conformity to God it is not too much. It may not always be convenient to pray three times a day; but where it is, I promise the individual, he will be no loser by the exercise. The aliment of the body may be taken too often, and in too great quantities, for the health of the constitution : but not so that of the soul. There is no danger of satiety or repletion here. You may drink, and drink again, at the water of life; you may banquet, and return again and banquet. The soul will thrive proportionably. The food, instead of