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sides, through thousands of years, they grow far more luxuriantly in the richer soil of the admiring mind. For twenty years I have gone into their majestic presences with a growing feeling of awe, if not of adoration. Such majesty, might, mastery of mere material forces, wafting of incense, such dense shade flecked with spots of dancing sunshine, such “soft and soul-like sounds,’’ from that aeolian harp, which one might almost say was at Nature's advent strung and has never ceased to play, produce an ever deepening impression. I do not wonder that the older ancients and later Druids worshiped and sacrificed under spreading trees. They could not help it. “The groves were God's first temples. Father, Thy hand Reared these venerable columns, Thou Didst weave this verdant roof. Thou didst look down Upon the naked earth, and forthwith rose All these fair ranks of trees. They, in Thy sun, Budded and shook their green leaves in Thy breeze And shot toward heaven.”
If one turns from feeling to thought, one
is in equal amazement. How is the crude sap lifted to these great heights, elaborated in the leaves into form suited to nourish and
build up the tree in all its parts? A square foot of water of this height weighs over a ton, and would have a pressure at the bottom of one hundred and forty pounds to the square inch. This is but a small fraction of the fluid in the tree – yet it does not burst a woody pipe asunder anywhere. Nor does any of the freight, designed to build bark or bud, wood into greater height, or root into greater reach, miss its true destination in the dark channels where it is carried. It enlarges the trunk, moves the tegumental bark outward a dozen feet, but it does not split. It makes wood here, leaf there, bud elsewhere, and concentrates such energy and essence of life in a seed that it will keep for ages and not die, and then go on to produce another mighty tree like that from which it came. Where is the head of life that keeps these living fountains of vegetable life springing upward by the hundred years?
In regard to the divine discernment of the thought and intents of the heart the Psalmist said: “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high. I cannot attain to it.” He might have said it of the lowliest or loftiest thing that grows.
CHAUTAUQUA FLOWERS AND HOW TO KNOW THEM.
BY E. F. ANDREWS.
|F the thousands that pass within the gates of the Chautauqua Assembly every season there must be few that have not noticed the great richness and variety of vegetation there abounding. The local environment, including as it does both lake shore and uplands, forest and open ground, is favorable to a wide diversity of growths. I have myself collected and classified during my several visits to Chautauqua no fewer than two hundred and thirty-two different species growing upon the grounds. These include weeds, grasses, trees, and every kind of vegetation except such cultivated plants as are not indigenous to the region. The assembly season is not the most favorable one for the botanist. The early spring flowers have disappeared, while the asters and goldenrods and all the glorious company that attends the footsteps of autumn have not yet begun to show themselves. Then, too, the choicest plants to be found at this season have been undergoing a slow process of extermination ever since the assembly
began, partly owing to the effects of cultivation, which always tends to the destruction of wild plants, but still more to the recklessness with which they are gathered by summer visitors for decoration or other purposes. The ferns especially have suffered from this cause. In fact, they have been practically exterminated on the assembly grounds, where only two species are now to be found growing wild. One of these, the Omoclea, is too coarse and stiff to be desirable for decoration; and the other, a delicate fern (Aspidium), is not used, for the opposite reason — it withers almost as soon as gathered. These two species are confined mainly to the little ravine on the hill between the college and Higgins Hall, where they are found in great abundance. The most conspicuous of the native Chautauqua ferns are the lady-fern, the ostrich fern, the cinnamon, and the royal ferns. They may all be seen growing around the cottages, where they are cultivated for ornament, but nowhere within the grounds do they now grow spontaneously, and they are fast disappearing from the neighborhood. The lady-fern may be known by its large, finely dissected fronds, that look like green lace-work. They are from one to three feet long, and would be very abundant if let alone. The ostrich and the cinnamon ferns, though not at all related botanically, look very much alike to a careless observer. They are easily distinguished, however, by the deeper, richer green of the former, and by their more slender pinnae and sharper, narrower teeth. The fronds of the ostrich fern grow from the root-stock in a crown or ring, in the center of which may often be seen the short, stumpy fertile fronds with their curious swollen pinnae, looking like stumpy green quills. The cinnamon fern never fruits at this season, though remains of the cinnamoncolored spore-cases, from which the species takes its name, may sometimes be found clinging to a withered stalk. These are both Very tall ferns, attaining in favorable positions a height of four or five feet. The royal fern, though closely related to the cinnamon fern, is so different in appearance that it would hardly be recognized as a fern at all by one ignorant of botany. Its broad, doubly pinnate fronds, with their large compound pinnae, somewhat resembling the leaves of the black locust, branch off from an upright stem in a way that gives it the aspect of a small shrub rather than that of a fern. It is the largest of all our native ferns, and its conspicuousness causes it to fall an early victim to the destroyers, so that it is not easy to find a specimen anywhere near the grounds. Conspicuous for their foliage, though long since out of bloom, are the leafy-stemmed Canada violets, often a foot or more high, and the flat, spreading round-leaved violets— which, by the way, are not round at all, but oblong. These last may easily be recognized by the broad, flat rosettes in which they spread themselves on the ground in shady places, where they lie as flat as if glued to the earth. Mingling with them among the roots and shadows where they love to hide, will be found the wake-robin, known by its whorl of three large oval leaves with a crimson, berry-like fruit in the center. The pretty little creeping Mitchella, or Partridge berry, loves the same woodland haunts, where it spreads its delicate green mats along shaded banks and about the roots of trees. Its sweet-scented velvety white flowers have long since disappeared, but its spreading wreaths of pretty green leaves, about the size and shape of one's thumb
nail, with a white mid-rib running down the center, will easily distinguish it for grace and beauty amid any surroundings. Outside the gates, down among the bulrushes on the lake shore, may be seen, about the middle of July, the handsome blue spikes of the pontederia, or pickerel weed, a near relation of the water hyacinths with which we are all familiar in aquariums. It is a species of this plant that is threatening to obstruct the navigation of some of our Florida rivers by its rank growth. The bulrushes along the lake attain a great size, sometimes being as thick as one’s thumb, and from five to six feet in height. But while quite capable of furnishing a cradle for an infant Moses, they are not the kind that was used for that purpose. The bulrush of the Bible was a species of papyrus, which, though a member of the great sedge family, like our common bulrush, belongs to a very different branch of it. There are many charming nooks along the lake shore, outside the grounds, where nature is allowed to have her own way, and even the weeds take on a picturesque appearance. A tall mullein stalk becomes a lighthouse towering above a “bonny briar bush’’ of flowering raspberry, and groups of “blackeyed-Susans” peeping from among the tall meadow grass convert the waste field into a garden. But the favorite stamping-ground of Chautauqua botanists is the shady grove over toward the baseball ground, familiarly known to old Chautauquans as “The Southern Woods.” Here grow all sorts of shy things that love the shade. The pale corpse plant, sometimes also called Indian Pipe, may be found growing in delicate waxy clusters among the decaying leaves, wherever the shade is thickest. Here, too, squatted upon the decaying roots of beech and oak trees, will be found clusters of curious little chestnut-colored spikes about as thick as a man's thumb — if he is a very big man with a very big thumb – looking very like diminutive ears of corn stuck upright in the ground. These are variously known as “squaw root ” and “cancer root,” from their supposed medicinal uses. As they filch their food ready-made from the noble trees whose unbidden guests they are, they have no need of bright flowers or foliage, and consequently have become degraded into mere stumps of plants without attraction for bee or bird or human eye. The May-apple, or American mandrake, grows in great abundance in these woods, and its curious round leaves may be seen all through the season perched upon the tip of the long stalks, like little green Japanese umbrellas. The stem, instead of growing from the base of the leaf, is attached to the center of the under side like the handle of an umbrella. Each stalk bears but a single leaf, unless it happens to be a flowering stem. In this case it divides, the pendent blossom appearing in the fork, and each branch bearing a terminal leaf. It blooms in May, but the yellowish green fruit, about the size of a large plum, may be found during the assembly season, hanging from the forks of the fruiting stems — provided they have not all been devoured by that most destructive of animals, the Chautauqua small boy. This plant is not at all related to the mandrake of the Bible and of Shakespeare (Mandragora officinalis), which belongs to the night-shade family. The American mandrake is of the barberry tribe. Among the most conspicuous of Chautauqua flowers in the assembly season are the meadow rue and its near relative, the bugbane, or black snakeroot, two handsome members of the crowfoot family. The bugbane (Cimicifuga) sends up from a clump of large and very much dissected leaves a tall, naked stem, four or five feet high, terminated by erect slender spikes of white flowers, reminding one somewhat, when seen from a distance, of wax tapers in the branches of a candelabrum. The meadow rue may be known by its great fleecy panicles of tiny white blossoms resting like a soft cloud above its graceful clusters of blue-green foliage. The leaves are very large and very compound, the delicate roundish leaflets attached to the end of long slender leaf stalks producing a light, graceful effect not unlike that of a gigantic maidenhair fern. In fact, they are frequently mistaken for ferns by city people and others ignorant of woodland lore. Both the flowers and leaves of these two plants are very effective in decorations, and as a consequence they are fast disappearing from within the gates. Unfortunately civilized man seems to have a singular faculty for destroying the native beauties of the soil wherever he sets his foot, and I would suggest in passing that here is an important work which the nature teaching in our schools seems thus far to have failed to accomplish — that of teaching children to value and respect the native plant life around them. Indeed, there is reason to fear that as ordinarily conducted, such teaching tends to foster the spirit of
destructiveness. The only way that most people seem to have of expressing their admiration of a beautiful flower is to cut off its head, and nine times out of ten they will throw it away before they have gone twenty steps. In this manner the choice and beautiful plants are destroyed, while ugly weeds that nobody cares for are left to propagate unchecked; and thus the vegetation of the civilized world is tending to sink to a dead level of weediness on the one hand, and artificiality on the other. The most abundant native trees within the assembly grounds, as will be perceived at a glance, are the sugar maple and the beech. Closely resembling the latter in foliage are its near relatives, the birch, the hop-hornbeam, and the blue or water beech. The elm also resembles the beech closely in the character of the leaves and spray, but the beech can always be distinguished by its smooth, light-gray bole, by its rough, threecornered fruit, and by the characteristic tendency of its lower boughs to droop towards the ground. There are scarcely any representatives of the original forest left in the Chautauqua groves, but the huge stumps that still remain as vestiges of the departed monarchs of the wood are enough to remind us that “there were giants in those days.” A few fine old chestnuts and hemlocks are still left, and one noble representative of the magnolia family remains in the grand old cucumber tree, blasted and weather beaten, and evidently not destined to survive the buffetings of many more winters, that stands at the corner of Wythe and Forest avenues, near Higgins Hall. Its venerable neighbor that stands a few paces beyond, towards the hall, is a Canada hemlock. It is easily distinguished from the firs and spruces by its narrow leaves and very small cones, which are hardly larger than a lady’s thimble. The trees most likely to attract the attention of a stranger are the American lindens, or basswoods, that begin to scent the air with their fragrance about the middle of July. You will know them by their large, lop-sided leaves and their clusters of fragrant white flowers growing from the center of a small leaf, or bract. There are several of them on the road to the college; one very fine one near Kellogg Hall. Oaks are not abundant. There are some handsome young specimens of the red, or scarlet oak variety, but I do not remember to have seen a single white oak within the grounds or anywhere near them, These fine
trees are rapidly becoming extinct in our country; a situatiof that is partly due to their reckless destruction by man for the sake of their timber, and partly, perhaps, on account of the superior edibility of their acorns, which causes them to be eagerly devoured by hogs and other animals, while
the less attractive mast of other kinds is left to germinate undisturbed. Whatever be the cause, there can be no doubt that this noble tree is fast disappearing from our forests, and unless something is done to preserve it, it will have entirely disappeared within the next few generations.
BY CHARLES McILVAINE.
HE monotonous drone of the bumblebee as its rapidly moving wings balance it in air before the small round hole giving entrance to its - nursery and nest in rail or post or weather-boarding is a lulling sound in spring and summer to all save the small boy. The bumblebee is the boy’s natural enemy. It excites him to deeds of daring and slaughter, for the black-head's sting is active as the needle of a sewing-machine, while the whitehead’s zigzag bluster, harmless though he is, is eye-blinking and leg-stimulating. The first money I ever earned was by killing “black-heads'' at a cent a dozen. The board covering of barns and wooden stock shelters is often badly pierced and damaged by the black-headed female bumblebees. The small hole made by them gives entrance to a circular boring of larger diameter, from four to six inches long. It runs lengthwise of the timber, and, being close to the surface, rain finds its way in, and decay of the timber follows. In consequence, the farmer is often put to the expense of renewal or repairs. Hence, the value to him of dead bumblebees. My father believed in making work pleasant and instructive to his boys: pulling weeds was botanizing; picking stones off the mowing fields a lesson in mineralogy; destroying caterpillars and hurtful insects instructive in entomology; but paddling bumblebees gave real, financial reward. I have made as much as ten cents a day! The white-headed bumblebee does not bore or do anything else. He wears a small square spot of white upon his forehead as badge of his sex. He is the gentleman of the family. Last spring I discovered that like many other idlers he got on sprees and died in consequence. On and about my house were numerous wistarias – beautiful, graceful vines first introduced into this coun
try from China by Professor Caspar Wistar in 1818. The long purple panicles are familiar to all lovers of spring’s choicest fancies.
One morning I heard the familiar hum that once to me meant wealth. It was even now seductive. I seized a bit of board, my youth-time valor returned, and my arm was nerved for slaying. I traced the sound to a stout wistaria twined about a post like a monstrous snake, and spreading its manybranched top as a vast flower-covered umbrella. Above the pendulous racemes hummed several bumblebees. Upon the flowers were many more, probing to the honeysacs with their long tongues, and gripping with desperate greediness the purple chalices. The sight was strange to me, for the insects were in various stages of intoxication. Upon the ground were dozens (from early habit I reckon bumblebees by dozens) dead, dying, drunk, helpless; some waving their many legs and buzzing as they lay— feet up – their farewell song to life. They were all white-heads (males). There was not a black-head to be seen.
I watched the bacchanalian feast in astonishment. The wistaria was an insect grogshop; the “white-heads” its chosen patrons. The tiny nectar goblets of the seductive flowers contained their death draughts.
In many places and often I sought and watched the wistaria and its crowd of humming revellers. Everywhere the story was the same – debauch, death. Strange to say, where the wistaria grew I never saw a female bumblebee. Perhaps they left their dissipated lords. Perhaps they shunned the neighborhood of the slums their lords frequented. Be that as it may, the planting of the wistaria will soon relieve the farmer of the pest. But from killing the bumblebees loss may arise – the red clover will not be so well fertilized.
N the year 1897, when the political situation in China and Japan appealed to the news-hunter's instinct, I determined to resign from my home paper and set my face toward the Far East. My father, not an unimportant official in the state department, assisted me in becoming attached to a leading journal as a correspondent, and a syndicate agreed to use my foreign letters. The week before my departure father betrayed a strange interest in my adventure. He took it upon himself to arrange even the little details of my trip, and although I could not conceive of any occasion for extraordinary solicitude, it was plain that during my last days at home he was a singularly changed Iman. The hour for parting came. My sister Nell presented me with a silken case, filled with steamer letters from Washington friends. On the way to the station we stopped at the state department for my father. He, also, brought abundle of letters, and stuffed them all into my overloaded case – all but one. This he handed to me, looking me in the face with an expression in his kindly, earnest eyes which I could not forget, and saying: “These are your “sealed orders,” Robert. Read them when you get your “sea-legs.’” With a fatherly injunction regarding health, he saw me aboard the sleeper and returned to mother and Nell, who waved heavy handkerchiefs to me as I was whirled away. If I was unusually quiet during the long
ride to the coast, it must have been because my mind continually reverted to father's singular deportment and to the envelope containing my sealed orders. It was enough to keep a child quiet — if you knew my father. During the first days at sea I did not get beyond the smoking-room. The passenger list contained no names I knew except a Philadelphia Biddle. I had obeyed my father's injunction and refrained from opening the mysterious envelope, but when I arose on the fifth morning, I resolved to walk around the ship twenty times to prove my “legs,” and then to satisfy my curiosity. The promenade was crowded, for it was a fine day and the sea was calm. It may have been on my third round, when, far forward by the captain's cabin, a cheery voice called my name. There in the hatchway, protected from the wind, but nearly smothered in rugs, lay Dulcine Oranoff, who had been spending the summer at the Russian legation in Washington and at the shore. I could not have been more surprised. My expressions of astonishment, however, were cut short by a courtly gentleman who appeared from the captain's cabin and approached Miss Oranoff's chair. “Father, let me present my friend, Mr. Robert Martin of Washington; Robert, my father, Colonel Oranoff.” Colonel Oranoff, though he had married a Washington society woman, and maintained his home in Washington, was detailed abroad in the Russian diplomatic service almost constantly.
Copyrighted, 1901, by Archer Butler Hulbert. All rights reserved.