• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 January: the snowdrop
 February: the furze
 March: The shamrock
 April: the violet, primrose, cowslip,...
 May: the bluebell, hawthorn, and...
 June: the dog-rose
 July: the poppy and the cornfl...
 August: the heather
 September: the harebell
 October: the bracken
 November: the thistle
 December: the holly and the...
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: What the wild flowers teach us
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00028215/00001
 Material Information
Title: What the wild flowers teach us
Alternate Title: Wild flowers and what they teach us
Physical Description: 109 p., 1 leaf of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 16 cm.
Language: English
Creator: M. K. M
Thomas Nelson & Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher: T. Nelson and Sons
Place of Publication: London
Edinburgh
New York
Publication Date: 1875
Copyright Date: 1875
 Subjects
Subject: Wild flowers -- Juvenile fiction -- England   ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1875   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1875
Genre: Prize books (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
United States -- New York -- New York
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by M.K.M.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00028215
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: notis - ALH3846
oclc - 19077019
alephbibnum - 002233438

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Half Title
        Page 1
    Frontispiece
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Table of Contents
        Page 5
        Page 6
    January: the snowdrop
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    February: the furze
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
    March: The shamrock
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    April: the violet, primrose, cowslip, and orchis
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
    May: the bluebell, hawthorn, and lily of the valley
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
    June: the dog-rose
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
    July: the poppy and the cornflower
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
    August: the heather
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
    September: the harebell
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
    October: the bracken
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
    November: the thistle
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
    December: the holly and the ivy
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
    Back Cover
        Page 111
        Page 112
    Spine
        Page 113
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WHAT THE WILD FLOWERS

TEACH US.



BY

m [;. a .,
AUTHOR OF LEAVES FROM NATURE'S BOOK," 'THE BIRDS
WE SEE," ETO.




Give true hearts but earth and sky,
And some flowers' to bloom and dic;
Homely scenes and simple views
Lowly thoughts may best infuse."




LONDON:
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.

1875.























CTon tents.






JANUARY: THE SNOWDROP, ... ... ... ... 7

FEBRUARY: THE FURZE, ... ... ... ... 14

MARCH: THE SHAMROCK, ... ... ... ... 22

APRIL: THE VIOLET, PRIMROSE, COWSLIP, AND ORCHIS, ... 29

MAY: THE BLUEBELL, HAWTHORN, AND LILY OF THE VALLEY, 41

JUNE: THE DOG-ROSE, ... ... ... ... ... 50

JULY: THE POPPY AND THE CORNFLOWER, ... ... 59

AUGUST: THE HEATHER, ... ... ... ... 68

SEPTEMBER: THE HAREBELL, ... ... ... ... 74

OCTOBER: THE BRACKEN, ... ... ... ... 82

NOVEMBER: THE THISTLE, ... ... ... ... 91

DECEMBER: THE HOLLY AND THE IVY, ... ... ... 100
















WHAT THE WILD FLOWERS TEACH US.




THE SNOWDROP.

^j:ERHAPS you are surprised to
hear of the snowdrop being a wild
a, flower. You have only seen it in
the trim garden-bed peeping out
to see whether, in all the cold wintry
world, there is anything so pure and white
as its own snowy petals. The Christmas-
rose is the only bit of flower besides, and.
though it calls itself white, it is very dull
and dingy in comparison.






JANUARY.


Ah! there is the snow itself; that is the
only thing to match the snowdrop. It
looks as if some few resolute snowflakes
were determined not to melt, but had set
themselves into a green cup or calyx, and
called themselves snowdrops. Well, it is
pleasant to find them even in the garden,
where you know you planted the little
gray roots last November, and so you are
not surprised to see them. But if you had
the good fortune to make their acquaint-
ance wild, it would be so much more
pleasant still. I do not think you would
forget it.
It is not very usual to find the snow-
drop wild; but where it does grow, it
grows in profusion. In a certain wood in
Surrey it makes a perfect carpet of inlaid
green and white, spread delicately over
the autumnal last year's leaves, and be-
neath the bare, quaint arms of the giant






THE SNOWDROP.


elm-trees. Under the shadow of the
beautiful Malvern Hills it also makes its
home, and in many other places; but
sufficiently rare is it for even old, staid,
care-worn folk, who do not stoop for a
trifle, to stop and gather, and make a note
in their memories of the fairy spot which
came across them suddenly in the midst
of a dark and weary and sin-stained
world.
In the East, where it grows abundantly,
the roots are much used as food. They
are called bulbs-that is, they are formed
of a layer of skins one over the other,
like the onion. Roots of this kind are
always wholesome and good to eat. I do
not think, however, that you would care
much to have the snowdrop, boiled for
your dinner; it would be too much like
eating your own pets.
Poets call the snowdrop the "fair maid






JANUARY.


of February;" but when the weather is
tolerably mild, it is generally to be found
at the end of January. A prettier name
still is what the Germans give it-" schnee-
glockchen "-which means snowibells. Yes,
it does seem part and parcel of the snow;
and though people talk of it as the first
gift of spring, it speaks to me much more
of being resigned to the winter than of
being hopeful about the spring.

It was a cold day in January, so utterly
cheerless and dreary you could hardly
fancy the spring ever thought of coming
back again. The roads were miry; the
fields wet and yellow and soppy; even the
garden looked about as comfortless as a
garden could look. But stop a minute;
down there-under the shade of the shrub-
bery, cold and trembling, but alive and
well for all that-there grew a snowdrop.






THE SNOWDROP.


And it did not escape the sharp eyes of
the robin in the holly-bush, and he began
to sing about it. This is what his song
said,-
"Why, old friend, there you are again;
but I can't say much about being glad to
see you! If you had only got a bit of
colour in your face now-if you were only
like the crocus now, so bold and bright
and cheery, that does do me good after all
the hard, hungry struggles of the winter:
when I see it I seem almost to taste the
delicious juicy worms which come out in
the spring-time. But you, so pale and cold!
why, it makes me shiver to look at you,
and gives me the feeling it is going to be
winter always."
This was not very complimentary, cer-
tainly, to the poor little snowdrop; but
what with his red breast, and the red
holly-berries, I suppose the robin gets im-






JANUARY.


patient of anything that does not come up
to his ideas of colour.
The starling was sitting on the topmost
bough of the elm-tree, and he had some-
thing to say about it too. Well, it is a
good idea to hear you talk in this fashion;
for it is the very same thing- as I have
been saying to my friends all the winter
about that song of yours. It's pleasant
enough, but there's no hope in it; it's all
about the past: the last year's flowers, the
autumn leaves, how bright the world was
once; but whether it is to be so again you
don't tell us a bit. Now your neighbour
wren has been singing on the bough below
me all the morning. He has sung there
all the winter, indeed; and the worse the
weather, why all the louder. Such a
lively, hopeful song, it warms me through
and through; and it says just as plain as
a parson that the winter is God's as well






THE SNOWDROP.


as the summer, that it can't last longer
than He means it to do, and that when His
frost and snow have done His work, the
sunshine will come back to us just as
bright as before."
The robin did not like to be taken to
task, so he turned his back pertly and
hopped away. But the snowdrop lifted up
her head a little, and said gently, "Yes,
I may tremble, but I never shrink. Per-
haps I don't help you to hope for what is
coming, but I can show you how to bear
what is now. My lot is cast in the winter-
time. I have no choice about it; I can-
not help it, but I can endure it. This is
the lesson I have to learn, and this is
what I am sent to teach others, Meekly to
bend, and patiently to bear." And the pale,
fair blossom seemed to grow paler and
fairer still, the whisper died away from out
of the snowy bells, and I heard no more.













iebrnurxg.
THE FURZE.

HE snow is gone now, and February
has come, and the crocus is just
Sweeping out of the dark garden
I mould. Hardly less bright, hardly
less golden, the furze-blossoms on the com-
mon begin to shine through the gray
prickly leaves. It is true you might find
a few flowers on the furze-bush any month
all through the year; so that an old pro-
verb says, "When the furze is out of
blossom, kissing is out of fashion," which
means that it never is out of flower; but
it is only one here and one there. This






THE FURZE.


month, however, the bits of gold begin to
show themselves without being looked for,
though the full glory is not till May.
Then, indeed, it is a beautiful sight to
see the wild moorland or hill-side one mass
of burnished gold, so that nobody seeing
it for the first time would ever guess it
came from such coarse, common-looking
plants as a set of furze-bushes. There was
once a great man who loved flowers, and
spent his life in watching them and writ-
ing about them for the good of other
people. He lived in Sweden, and the
furze does not grow there. He came over
to see us; and when he first saw the furze
in full blossom on some green English
down, he was so overpowered that he fell
down on his knees there and then, in
thankfulness to the great God who had
created such a scene of beauty. This was
Linnaeus, the great botanist, and I hope






FEBRUARY.


we have all felt something of what he did.
Does it not sometimes seem to you as if
beautiful things went straight into your
hearts, as it were, and that then there was
nothing else to be done but to give God
thanks for them ? The furze, or gorse, as
it is often called, is not attractive when it
is out of flower. Still it has its uses:
goats and sheep feed upon the young
shoots; the larger branches are chopped off
to make winter shelter for the cattle; while
in bleak situations, where nothing else
could grow, it is planted for fences-and
he must be a bold boy who would try to
climb over such a sharp, prickly hedge.
The furze is a papilionaceous flower. I
am sorry to use such a hard word, but
you must forgive me for the sake of its
pretty meaning. It signifies shaped like
a butterfly. Our garden pease or sweet-
pea blossoms will at once occur to you






THE FURZE.


as being the same shape, only still more
distinctly formed like a butterfly. It is
one of our largest as well as prettiest
families of plants; and it would be very
pleasant to look out in your walks for all
the blossoms which seem as if they might
claim kindred with the butterfly.
God might have made the flowers all of
one shape and pattern, but instead of that,
some have a cup, and some are like a bell;
some spread out like a plate, and others,
as in this case, have bright, wing-like
petals. It is very curious to notice how
the world of plants and insects is blended
one with the other, so that not only are
there flowers like insects, but also insects
like different parts of a plant. There is a
certain caterpillar so exactly like a bit of
dead stick that-having moreover a trick
of keeping its body straight out from the
branch-you could never know it from a
2






FEBRUARY.


little brown spur unless you were to take
hold of it and find it soft instead of hard.
Another of these caterpillars, when it be-
comes a moth, is just as much like a
withered leaf; and it is covered over with
little dark spots like a true faded leaf, so
that it deceives even the closest observer.
Another kind of moth has such light
feathery wings, you could scarcely tell it
from the downy dandelion or thistle-heads
which float past you on the autumn breeze.
So you must look out for flower-like insects
as well as insect-like flowers.

Alack-a-day, that I was born a furze-
bush!" sighed one among many on a slop-
ing hilly common. "There's nothing
worth living for on this dreary out-of-the-
way place. I am mean and coarse and
common, I know; nobody cares for me-
nobody admires me; and all the notice






THE FURZE.


I get is in the shape of blows from the
sticks of thoughtless boys, who (for the
same reason as they beat donkeys) seem
to suppose that creatures who are not
handsome can't feel. Oh, if I had only
been something else, and not what I
am !"
The furze-bush did not know; the
furze-bush could not telL It was not
flowering time yet, so it never guessed its
own mission, or what was coming. This
was in the early spring; but May arrived
at last, and oh, what a change came with
it,-the furze-bush was lost in a blaze of
brilliant, shining gold!
Who had done it ? Had the fairies been
at work ? No; the furze-bush had been
itself the magician. Did you ever hear of
people, years and years ago, who thought
there was something somewhere, if they
could only find it, which would have the





FEBRUARY.


power of turning all the other metals into
gold ? So they were always looking for
this marvellous gift, and always mixing
different metals together, hoping that at
last, by some lucky chance, they should
hit upon the right thing. These people
were called alchemists, and one after an-
other they lived and died, and nothing
ever came of all their labours.
But the furze-bush had found out the
fabled secret. It had only lived and
grown, as it thought, but a grand result
came presently. The roots had sucked up
nourishment from the soil, and the leaves
(which are the lungs) had drank in the
air, and the rain and the dew had watered
it, and it had turned all these things into
gold Such gold, too it lighted up the
whole common,-you could see it half a
mile off; the roughest plant of the waste
became the brightest of the bright, the







THE FURZE.


gayest of the gay, admired by every eye
that rested upon it.
Furze-bush, furze-bush, give us a les-
son! We have plenty of common things all
about us; teach us how to make gold out
of them as you do." The only answer I
could get was something like this:-

Teach me, my God and King,
In all things Thee to see;
And what I do in anything,
To do it unto Thee.

This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold;
For that which God doth touch and own
Cannot for less be told."




... V 4. '* -, *x ,. -_ i.,















THE SHAMROCK.

IDO not mean the wood-sorrel,
Though that is often called the
.:," shamrock. True, its pale green
leaves have the same triple form,
and its delicately-pencilled flower is fair
enough for any honour to be put upon it.
True, it is delightful to find its little tufts
of blossom growing under the still leafless
trees some gusty March day. True, it
has a beautiful name in Italy: it is called
the alleluia flower, because it blooms at
Easter-time. Yes, it has a history of its
own, but not so interesting as that of the





THE SHAMROCK.


real Irish shamrock, which is a species of
clover. Listen, and I will tell you. It
was a long time ago. A grave, earnest-
looking man was standing upon a carpet
of soft green turf. It was before the
Saxons had ever seen our white cliffs,
which rose above the bright blue sea then,
the same as they do now. This was not
in England, however, but in Ireland; and
the grave man had just landed there.
Had he come to fight ? had he come to
conquer? Everybody fought in those
days, everybody tried to conquer. Yes,
he had come to fight; but it was against
the same old enemies which you and I
have to fight to-day,-the world, the flesh,
and the devil; and the conquests he hoped
to make were the very same that you and
I may win, even the victories of love.
This man was St. Patrick. He had been
born in Scotland, but at the age of sixteen





MARCH.


was taken prisoner, carried to Ireland, and
sold as a slave. There his humble office
was to keep pigs. But in doing this he
learned the Irish language, and this was
God's preparation for the work he was to
do in after-life. At last he managed to
escape to France; he wandered about,
picked up a good deal of learning, became
a Christian, and was ordained a minister
of the gospel. "I must go back and
preach the glad tidings to my old com-
panions," he said; and back he came to
the green island where he had once lived
as a slave-boy. And he stood forth on
the emerald sod, and told the heathen
people of a God who loved them, and a
Saviour who had died for them, and a
Holy Spirit ready to make them holy too.
They listened and wondered. But you
say you have but one God," they replied,
" and yet you speak of three; how can





THE SHAMROCK.


three be ONE ?" St. Patrick paused a
moment, then he stoopeddownandgathered
one of the dark, velvety, threefold leaves
of the shamrock which was growing under
their feet. Behold the three in one,"
he said reverently. The symbol went home
to their simple minds: they asked no more
questions, and numbers of them became
Christians.
St. Patrick was a wise man; he knew
that the deep and holy doctrine of the
Trinity could not be explained; but he
knew also that a picture or anything that
we can see, will often express what words
cannot. Perhaps he also thought of Him
who made the grass and the lilies and the
common things the texts of His sermons.
The shamrock grows everywhere in Ire-
land, and from that day to this it has
been the national emblem and the favour-
ite flower of all true Irishmen. So that





MARCH.


when you see, amidst the blaze of heraldry,
the blooming rose of England and the
hardy thistle of Scotland, underneath will
there be sure to be the graceful leaves of
St. Patrick's shamrock, as the representa-
tive of Ireland.
Now and then a shamrock is met with
having a leaf divided into four instead of
three, and this is supposed by the Irish to
be endowed with some special power by
the good St. Patrick; there is no end to
the good a four-leaved shamrock is to
bring, so that it is eagerly sought for-
especially on the 17th of March) which is
St. Patrick's Day. I do not think the'
shamrock grows wild anywhere in Eng-
land, but it is so common in gardens you
will easily find an opportunity of looking
for the rare four leaves which are to work
such wonders. I am afraid whether, after
all, if found, it would be of any sensible






THE SHAMROCK.


benefit to you, unless, indeed, you strength-
ened thereby patience and perseverance;
and these would be better gifts than any
fairy favours.
Some people call the common white
clover the shamrock, but this is a mistake.
The little white head of flowers and the
general growth are indeed the same, but
the beautiful dark veins upon the leaves
mark the difference completely. I like to
talk to those lowly velvet leaves; or rather,
they talk to me. Have you never heard
the flowers talk to you ? If not, it must
have been that you were not quiet enough
to hear; for their voices are very small and
still, and they never will speak in noise
and bustle.
Or perhaps you do not stoop low enough.
You must go down very low to hear what
the shamrock says; for it is so weak, it
never lifts itself up more than a few inches





MARCH.


from the ground. But if you listen, you
may hear a whisper like this: I never
thought to be noticed and spoken about;
I don't want to be anything more than a
humble little shamrock, though they have
put me up with the rose and the thistle to
represent a kingdom. I was just trying
to make the soil look green, and never
wanted to be anything higher. But as it
is, why I must just try and be myself still,
and not trouble about how I look or
what others may think of me in such
grand company." And perhaps it is St.
Patrick, and not the shamrock, which
adds the holy words, Go and sit down
in the lowest room ;" and, He that hum-
bleth himself shall be exalted."


-^^^V















THE VIOLET, PRIMROSE, COWSLIP, AND ORCHIS,

HE April flowers crowd so thickly
upon us, we must make a wreath
T" of them instead of taking them
singly. We love them so much,
we do not know how to leave out any of
them. We have been hunting a long
time for the violets; sometimes a few may
be found in March, but the balmy April
days bring them out in delicious bunches,
both blue and white, hidden under the
fresh green leaves.
But how is this ? we have gathered
some, and they do not smell ; we begin to






APRIL.


fear that there may be deceivers even
among flowers, and that violets, spite of
all the praise that is given them, are not
quite so innocent as we thought they
were. But it is our own fault; we have
plucked the hairy violet instead of the
sweet-scented violet: it is paler in colour,
the leaves are duller green, and more
decidedly heart-shaped, so that a prac-
tised eye may tell it at once from its more
favoured cousin. There is yet another
kind called the dog-violet: it blossoms
later, is more round in form, and when it
grows in dry places is also paler; but if
you should find it on a moist mossy bank,
it is then of such a deep dark blue you
would think you would never get tired
of looking into it. I often wonder that
it should be so little mentioned among the
flowers of spring. I suppose it is consi-
dered that all violets fail in their duty if






THE PRIMROSE.


they don't smell; but I can't help believ-
ing that its beautiful dark eye has a light
of its own to give, a place of its own to
fill. The little yellow heart's-ease of the
corn-fields is also a species of violet; and
it is interesting to know that the broad
velvet faces of our garden heart's-ease are
all derived from this humble, insignificant
little plant.
We must have some primroses to mingle
with our violets. Sweet, sweet primroses
who does not love them ? don't you feel,
when they first come back again, as if you
wanted more power to admire them and
enjoy them ? Those pale stars scattered
in such myriads over that sunny bank,
don't they seem as if they had dropped
down from the sky, instead of springing
out of the dark cold soil ? Perhaps it is
their shape, perhaps it is their scent, per-
haps it is their colour; but they always






APRIL.


look to me less earthly than most other
flowers.
But they have a real root in the earth's
mould, and a 'very curious one too; it
looks as if it had been abruptly broken off,
as if the plant had intended to grow a long
root like a carrot, and then changed its
mind and made a little stump only. But,
however, a green circle of crisp, crinkled
leaves shoots up out of it, and then the
flowers peep timidly out one after the
other till it is a mass of blossom. If you
want to learn the different parts of a
flower, I do not know a better lesson-book
than the primrose: first, the green part
or calyx outside, then the corolla or petals,
the pistil and stamens, being all so clearly
seen and plainly marked. You might
think the corolla had five petals, but when
you come to look into it you will find it is
all of one piece, only deeply cut, and the






THE COWSLIP.


divisions are so evenly and exactly set, it
gives the star-like form which is so lovely
to our eyes.
The primrose grows in woods and on
the borders of fields, on banks and sloping
grassy places, where it can catch the sun-
shine. The cowslip is more especially a
child of the meadows, though it is largest
and sweetest, like the primrose, on high,
hilly, open ground. On many a green,
chalky down you might count thousands
of its golden cups, all ready filled with
honey for the bee and fragrance for the
passer-by.
The cowslip is a much more matter-of-
fact looking flower than the primrose; its
stalk is too thick to be ethereal, and its
flowery head is too intimately associated
with that institution of our childhood, the
cowslip-ball, to be anything above the
ordinary and the practical. It comes out






APRIL.


a week or two later than the primrose,
and so is linked in our minds with the
pleasure of advancing spring; when we
see it we know so well how it grew
amongst the thickly-springing meadow
grass, the cuckoo-flower beside it, the sky-
lark's cosy little nest underneath it, and
the nightingale singing to it from the
nearest oak-tree. Country people say it
never does sing except where cowslips
grow; and all I can say is, that if so, it is
very sensible of the nightingale, and I
should do the same.
But we must gather another flower in
this same field, which is dotting it all over
with purple spikes. It is the meadow
orchis. Nobody loves it so well as the
others we have spoken of; it has no smell,
and is stiff and independent-looking; but
it is welcome for all that, and it makes a
bright change of colour in our spring nose-






THE ORCHIS.


gay. In other lands there are many beau-
tiful and strangely-flowered orchises, which
you may chance to see transplanted to our
greenhouses and hothouses. But even
in our own woods there are some very
interesting kinds which are well worth
hunting for; there is something peculiar
about most of them. This purple orchis
of the spring has some strange-looking
spots upon its long green leaves. I will
tell you how they came," says the old
legend. The plant grew at the foot of
our Saviour's cross, and that dark blotch
upon the leaf is the precious stain which
fell there then, and which from that time
to this the plant has carried."
In the olden times they were very fond
of linking holy things with common ones.
Perhaps their hearts dwelt more among
sacred themes than ours do, so that the
shadow of the cross seemed to them to






APRIL.


rest naturally upon the familiar objects of
everyday life. Let us try and take pat-
tern from them. What we are always
thinking about, we are sure to see reflected
from outward things. If God's love is in
our hearts, God's love will also be to us in
the flowers.

The sun was just rising on a bright
April morning. The thrush and the black-
bird had been singing for an hour or two,
but they seemed to think they had done
their part in waking up the sleepy world,
and so they had given over and were silent
now. A multitude of other birds, how-
ever, smaller but sweeter still, were so re-
joicing in the sunshine that they could not
help telling it out-which is what every-
body ought to do when they are happy.
Down the slope of the wood some trees
had been felled, and only their stumps






THE PRIMROSE.


left-just on purpose, the primroses under-
neath thought, that they might get more
light and air. They were showing their
gratitude by growing as fine as they could,
each cluster from its own root like a little
separate family, yet joining with the others
to make a beautiful whole-which is again
what ought to be done by all families.
The sun had barely risen, so that the
primrose-cups were brimful of the morn-
ing dew still. A child was wandering
by; she was not often out so early, so she
wondered what could be the matter with
them. Sweet primroses," she said, "why
are you so sad this morning ? You know
I love you; is not that enough ?"
Yes," replied the primroses gently,
" we know you love us now, but how will
it be by-and-by ? You will grow up and
forget us; and that is why we weep."
The child said nothing, but walked up






APRIL.


the slope and opened a little gate which
led out into a field at the top. Matters
were still worse there, for the dew lay
thicker still. Oh, cowslips," she ex-
claimed, "don't cry so; see how your
tears are falling down upon the grass."
"We can't help it," answered the cow-
slips, shaking their heads and making the
drops fall all the faster; "you see you
may notice us now, but you will not do so
long. Nobody cares for cowslips except
children. In a few years' time, you will
pass this spot and not even know that we
are here."
The child grew sad now in her turn,
and somehow the dew seemed to have
got into her eyes too. Was it all true ?
Would it be as they said? Life was
bright to her gaze with rainbow colours,
her heart was full of dreams and fancies,
-the birds and the flowers, the blue sky






THE COWSLIP.


and the sunshine, were part and parcel of
them all; must all this, then, die away ?
What a cold, dreary thing the grown-up
life would be Why can't I stay as I
am," she cried passionately, "and still
love the beautiful pictures painted for me ?
But I wish I knew. I wish somebody
would tell me !"
The eager, questioning eyes looked
round for an answer, and an answer came.
"It is not true, little one," said the
nightingale on the bough; "not one word
of it. Don't be afraid : I know it depends
on yourself; and if you don't let your heart
get hard and worldly, you will love these
things better when you grow up than you
do now. We shall not be birds and
flowers to you then, but friends-living
friends and companions; and I don't know
whether you will have most to say to us
or we to you. You see God has put the






APRIL.


love for us deep down in your heart, and
everything that He gives always goes on
increasing unless you hinder it: gaieties
and worldly pleasures will grow duller and
duller every year, but these pure simple
joys will only get stronger and sweeter as
life moves on. Yes; and indeed you will
find it true that the things of man are
always less and less, but that what comes
from God is always more and more."
The dew still lay thick upon the blos-
soms, but it was all gone out of the child's
eyes now. She gathered a fresh nosegay
of violets, primroses, and cowslips, and
she kissed them every one, and then went
home comforted.


A>, ,
. ,**g '^^
















THE BLUEBELL, HAWTHORN, AND LILY OF THE
VALLEY.

E must have a wreath again; the
world seems just now made up of
S flowers. The fields are golden
S with buttercups and cowslips, set
all round with a deep dark border of blue-
bells; the primrose stars are still studding
the woody banks; the bold marsh-marigold
glimmers on the marshy lands; and the
white crowfoot covers the very ponds, just
as if the dry earth were not large enough
for God's lavish gifts, and so he must fling
them over the waters also.






MAY.


There is nothing but bright masses of
colour everywhere. Those who have been
to hot countries, tell us that though the
flowers there are so wondrously beautiful
singly, yet there is never the blaze of col-
our which we get in England, even from
our simple, common wild flowers, when
they all grow together. Is it not beautiful
to see how God makes ,up for things, and
puts the balance even between one coun-
try and another, as well as between one
person and another?
The lovely colour of the bluebell beds is
delightful at this time. They spread along
under the hedges and on the banks, glad-
dening our sight and perfuming the air.
The roots of a foreign kind are much used
in medicine, under the name of squills;
our bulbs are down so very deep in the
ground, we should find it difficult to get at
them if we wanted them. The bluebell is






THE HAWTHORN.


often found white, which makes a very
pretty variety. The hyacinths of our gar-
dens are of all colours, but are all derived
from the simple bluebell of the fields.
The bluebells have hardly faded when
the hedges over them burst forth into
another mass of blossom, only not blue
but white. They look as if they were
powdered all over with snow; here and
there, where a hawthorn bush stands out
alone in its white garment in a park or
field, it is a more beautiful sight still.
What is so common as a hedge ? and
yet, from first to last, what pains have
been taken to make it pleasant to our eyes.
The tender green of the young leaves is
the first thing to cheer us in the spring.
How we like to watch it day by day
spreading a little further and a little further;
then the blossom, so fair and fragrant, filling
our hearts with a vague, dreamy sense of






MAY.


pleasure, as all sweet flower-scents do, we
can't tell why; then the berries, ripening
with the autumn into that brilliant red
which is so pleasant to look at as bright
colours grow scarce. Last of all, it is so
nice to see the little birds eating on all
through the winter, and to think what a
beautiful dinner-table is spread for them,
-a table which is never empty,-a table
where all are welcome, and where there is
nothing to pay.
The hawthorn generally blooms in this
month, though it is sometimes not fully
out till June. Though the flower is white,
the anthers of the stamens are red or
purple, which gives it a tinge of colour
when you are near to it. It was thought
a good deal of by our ancestors to twine
round the Maypole, which they were in
the habit of setting up on the village
green on the first of May. Then they






THE HAWTHORN.


had games and dances round it. We are
too busy for such things now, but I hope
we see as much beauty in the hawthorn
as they did.
Did you ever hear how the royal crown
of England once hung upon a hawthorn ?
You have read in English history of the
Battle of Bosworth, between Henry, Earl
of Richmond, and Richard III., in which
that wicked king was killed. In those
days, kings not only went to battle, but
fought with their crown upon their heads.
After the battle was over, a soldier found
the dead body of the king, and he took off
the crown and hid it in a hawthorn bush
close by. There, presently, Lord Stanley
discovered it, and he hastened with it to
the Earl of Richmond, and placed it on
his head, saluting him by the title of
Henry VII. In remembrance of this, he
and all the kings of his race took for their






MAY.


device a crown in the midst of a hawthorn.
The proverb which we still have, Cleave
to the crown, though it hang on a bush,"
alludes to the same circumstance. So the
hawthorn, which took care of a crown,
comes next in honour to the oak-tree, which
sheltered a king, Charles II.
And now we must come down to some-
thing lowlier than kings and crowns, but
to a flower which I could almost call the
fairest and sweetest of all-the meek and
gentle-looking lily of the valley.
It is not common wild; the leaves you
may often find where you look in vain for
blossoms; it is shy of flowering, unless it
is just in the situation it likes best. It is
not peculiar to the valleys; generally it
grows on moist banks or in shady woods;
but in gardens, I notice, it thrives best
where it can get a good portion of sun-
shine. In April it begins first to appear:






THE LILY OF THE VALLEY.


a little folded sheath pierces the dark
mould; but we have to watch it a long,
long time before it expands into a pair of
large oval, bright-green leaves, one single
stalk growing up between, set sparingly
with white drooping bell-shaped flowers.
And oh, their fragrance! there is nothing
more delicately sweet among all the varied
scents which the flowers give to the summer
breeze.
I don't think any other flower bears
the impress of a moral quality so strongly
as the lily of the valley. What I mean is
this. You know there are many beautiful
graces which we are to show forth in our
hearts and lives. It seems as if God had
put some of these on the flowers on pur-
pose that we may see how attractive such
graces look. He has stamped humility on
the lily of the valley so plainly that we
cannot choose but read it there. We can






MAY.


hardly look at it without thinking of His
own words, "He giveth grace unto the
lowly." And then the next thing is to try
and be a lily too. Oh I wish you could all
be living, breathing lilies of the valley.
Nothing is so lovable as humility, and
nothing so pleasing in the sight of God,
when it is sought after-because it is like
Him who was meek and lowly in heart.
There is an old and most sweet name
for these fair flowers-Ladders to heaven.
Yes, we know indeed, for our Saviour has
taught us, that the way to rise is to stoop
first; and that "he that humbleth himself
shall be exalted."
"You say that heaven has joys untold,
And gems and jewels rare;
But flowers are fairer far than gold,-
Will there be flowers there?"
"I know not, sister, but I think
Not with these rainbow dyes;
The white ones only would not shrink
In the air of Paradise.







THE LILY OF THE VALLEY.


" Perhaps the jasmine might be seen,
With its soft starry light;
The snowdrop, stately lily queen,
The rose, not red, but white.

" The lily of the valley, still
Fairest in lowliness,
More meet than all its place to fill
'Mid white-robed holiness.

" These flowers, I think, would match the snow
Upon the angels' wings;
These, only these, were fit to grow
'Mid pure and perfect things."

" Dear children both, remember why
Such types to us are given;
(Our thoughts can hardly reach so high,)
There is no sin in heaven.

" God tells us of a white-robed train,
To show how pure and true
._The holiness which we must gain,
If we would enter too.

" We must wash our souls, and make them bright
As they have done before;
And there we shall walk with them in white
As the lily evermore."



4







11-- A





June.

THE DOG-ROSE.

HE hawthorn blossoms have all
passed away, and the hedgerows
S.: shut us in as we walk along, very
Green but rather commonplace.
Yet no, we cannot say that; for the dog-rose
is flinging its wild festoons over the same
spot whence the sprinkled snow has just
melted, and as we get its delicate pink
flowers instead, why, we can scarcely
miss it. It is always so; everything that
comes next is so beautiful, we hardly think
about what is past.
The wild rose cannot stand of itself, and






THE DOG-ROSE.


so the sturdy hawthorn hedge lends it its
support; and when its own flowers are
faded, its neighbour covers it anew with
beauty, in return for its kindness. Plants
climb and cling in different ways; and they
will always go their own way, do what you
will to them. The convolvulus twines
around a post or pillar from right to left;
the honeysuckle from left to right. If
you unwind them, and twist them con-
trary ways, they will go back again as soon
as you are out of sight. The vine climbs
by its tendrils; and our wild rose by means
of its prickles, which entangle themselves
with whatever comes first in their way.
To drive or walk through the summer
lanes, with the wild rose chains stretching
over the hedges, catching glimpses here
and there through them of the hay-
fields on the other side, their delicious
scent filling the air, is one of the great






JUNE.


pleasures of this fair flowery month of
June.
What a variety there is in the colour of
these roses! pure snowy white, delicate
pink, deeper pink, and here and there
bright ruby red. Look at the cluster of
yellow stamens inside them. You do not
see these in the garden roses, because by
cultivation the stamens turn into petals,
and so we get double flowers instead of
single ones. It is a wonderful thing, that
by planting them in fresh soil, and some-
times training and cutting them, sometimes
nursing and petting them, we can change
them so much, and get such an endless
variety out of them. We all love variety,
and God has put it into our power to get
it for ourselves with a little toil and trouble,
over and above what He has made for us
in the first place.
I suppose there is no flower so distin-






THE DOG-ROSE.


guished as the rose. In all ages and all
countries it has been loved and admired.
Books have been written about it, and
poets have sung to its praise. This, of
course, refers to the rose of our gardens;
but, as the wild rose is the original stock,
it is only fair it should come in for its
share of approval.
It is of an ancient family, too, and
worthy of all honour and respect. Why,
do you know that Pliny, the great Roman
historian, has taken the trouble to tell
how beautiful the white roses were in this
far-off island of the sea! Indeed, he
thought it might be called Albion (which
means white, you know) partly for this
reason, as well as on account of its white
cliffs. Does it not give a new interest to
our wild roses of to-day, to think of those
stern soldiers who conquered the country,
noticing them and talking about them when






JUNE.


theygot home, so that it was written down
in history; and all this eighteen hundred
years ago ?
You will remember, too, about those
bloody civil wars in England, in which re-
lations fought against each other for the
crown, and which were called the Wars of
the Roses, because one side took a red
rose and the other a white one. How sad
that anything so pure and bright should
be made the signal for strife and blood-
shed Then when it was all over, and
the claims of both sides were united in
Henry VII., he took for his motto a Latin
sentence, which means, "A rose without
thorns." A species of dog-rose, which
grows wild in Yorkshire, of very pure
white, is said to be the very one which
figured as the White Rose on the Yorkist
side in these dreadful wars.
After all the trouble people have taken






THE DOG-ROSE.


in cultivating roses, there is one thing
they have never been able to do; they
have got white roses, pink roses, red roses,
and yellow roses, but never got a blue
rose They have tried and tried, but all
in vain. Man can do a great deal, but
cannot go beyond what God intends. We
can call out the powers that are in a plant,
but cannot put in what is not there. To
other things besides the stormy waves may
it be said, "Hitherto shalt thou come,
but no further."

"Which is the happiest ? which is the
strongest ? "
This was the wind's question, as it wan-
dered about among the thickets and forests,
up and down, in and out; now on the
bleak mountain top, now in the green
depths of the valley.
"I am," said the cedar, stiff and stately,






JUNE.


and it spoke without moving a muscle or
showing the least sign of feeling. There
is no doubt about it. I look down upon
all that is low and mean; and even the
wind that comes from above has. little
power to move me. I am complete in
myself; I want nothing, and give nothing :
and is not that enough to make anybody
strong and happy? "
"Nay, nay," replied the wind; "you
know not what these things mean. Cold
and proud and self-contained as you are,
your branches never mingling with others,
never looking out for sympathy, never
giving it to others, how can you be happy ?
how can you be strong ?"
"I am," said the oak, as. it spread out
its sturdy arms. "I can afford shelter
and support; I fold the bird and the
insect in my embrace; a very centre
of life to others, I give freely of






THE DOG-ROSE.


my stores, and I need nothing back
again."
"Too independent still," muttered the
wind; and it rose in fitful gusts, till the
thickest of the oak branches broke beneath
its power: they would not bend, and
therefore they were split asunder. The
oak-tree lived in its own might, and there-
fore it failed in the hour of need.
The storm passed away, and the wind
sank down again into a gentle whisper,
asking the same question, "Which is the
happiest? which is the strongest ? "
And it was the wild rose which answered
this time, gently, "I am; yes, I am.
Weak and feeble I may be; I cannot even
stand alone, but I lift myself up by another;
I lean upon another; another's strength
makes up for my weakness; another does
for me what I cannot do for myself: there-
fore I fear not the hurricane or the storm;






JUNE.


therefore I fling my flowers over the high-
est hedge-tops; therefore, because depend-
ent and clinging, I am safe-I am happy
-I am strong !"
And the question needed not to be
asked again, for the wind was satisfied;
satisfied that when the weak rest upon the
mighty, that is happiness, and that is
strength.




S.t" i-

-1.















THE POPPY AND THE CORNFLOWER.

E will turn out of the hot dusty
road into the pleasant field-path,
and see whither it will lead. I
Always do long to know where the
foot-paths go to--don't you? Through the
hayfields, through the cornfields; to the
widow's cottage, to the woodside, to the
village church; now straight, now wind-
ing; over easy stiles, over rough stiles,-
who does not long to follow? We will
take one now across the summer fields; in
the first one the hay has just been carried, so
we will not linger there, but pass on to the






JULY.


cornfield beyond. Our business, however,
to-day is not with the waving, whispering
wheat, but with the scarlet poppy blossoms
standing out here and there amongst it.
The farmer grumbles at them; but as you
and I are now in search of the beautiful, we
may be allowed to rejoice in them. We
do not care to gather them for our nose-
gays; their scent is not pleasant,-and
besides, the petals, though they look so
smooth and silky when on the plant,
wrinkle and wither up directly they are
in our hands. They are intended to make
a show at a distance; and when more than
usually plentiful, and when the field in
which they grow is on the slope of a hill,
the show is brave and brilliant indeed.
The poppy is one of the only two scarlet
flowers which we have in England,-thl,
little red pimpernel, or poor man's weather-
glass, which closes in damp weather, being






THE POPPY AND THE CORNFLOWER.


the other one. There is a pretty yellow
poppy, but it is not so common; and a
large white one grows in our gardens, from
which is obtained the medicine called
opium, so useful in soothing pain and pro-
moting sleep. It is procured by making
slits in the capsules, or seed-vessels; a
milky juice then oozes out from them,
which hardens as it is exposed to the air.
The seeds themselves are so small, and in
such numbers, you would think it impos-
sible to count them; but somebody once
did do so, and found 52,000 in a single
poppy head. These seeds have no opium
in them, though the seed-vessels have so
much; they are used in the East to
sprinkle over the top of cakes,-and it
is supposed that when we read, in the
14th chapter of 1 Kings, of Jeroboam
sending to Ahijah a present of cracknels,
it refers to this kind of cakes -the






JULY.


word in the original meaning spotted
cake.
One curious thing about the poppy is
that a red gleaming light has been some-
times seen to play round the blossoms, not
in the full daylight, but after sunset, as
though the sunlight loved to linger over the
flowers which gave back such a large por-
tion of its rays and its warmth. It has
also been seen round the scarlet geranium,
and a few other plants of the same colour.
I suppose a particular state of the air is
necessary to produce this lovely appear-
ance, and I am afraid we shall watch our
friends the poppies a long time before we
see it. If the sun loves the poppy, the
poppy loves the sun. It does not flourish
under cloudy skies; it is scarce in the
north, and is rarely found in Wales.
However farmers now-a-days may dis-
like it, in heathen times we find it was






THE POPPY AND THE CORNFLOWER.


different: they seemed then to consider it
rather an ornament to their fields; and
when they presented a portion of their
produce to their goddess Ceres, they
always mixed some scarlet poppies with
the pale barley or golden ears of wheat.
They must have given Ceres credit for
having an eye to the beautiful. At any
rate, we know what those dark ages were
never taught; we are quite sure that a
God of love has created what is pleasant
to please us as yell as what is useful to
feed us. And shall the heathen thank
their goddess, while we forget to praise our
God and Father for all his goodness ?
Mixed with the poppy, and equally
bright, though less visible till looked for,
we find the blue cornflower. The loveli-
ness of its colour makes it well known and
admired. It belongs to a race of plants
called by botanists Compositae, which means






JULY.


having a number of little florets all joined
together in one calyx like a happy family.
The inside is called the disk, the out-
side the rays. In this case the disk is
dark purple, and the rays of the bright
blue colour which seems to give its hue to
the whole flower. In Germany the corn-
flower is still lovelier than with us, being
larger and brighter, and is one of the most
favourite flowers there. The ladies wear
it in their hair, and everybody gathers it
for bouquets.
But we must go back to the poppy, for
I want to ask if you know what fairy uses
the blossoms for tapestry. Listen and
you shall hear; or rather, look and you
shall see, for here she comes into this very
cornfield. Yet she does not bear the gauzy
wings and green attire which you suppose
all fairies ought to do. No; her dress is
plain simple brown, with a slight band of






THE POPPY AND THE CORNFLOWER.


gold; but her shape is elegant and her
wings transparent. She flies to this very
bright poppy just beside us (she is parti-
cular about colour), then she begins to cut
a piece out of one of the petals with an
instrument as sharp as your best pair of
scissors, which she always carries about
with her. Off she goes with it somewhere.
Oh there she is; she has alighted on the
gravel path which runs through the field.
Let us watch her. At one side of it she
has scooped out a little hole, into which
she enters, and when she comes out again
she has left the leaf behind her. That
little hole is a chamber which she means
for a nursery, and the poppy leaves are to
make a hanging for the walls. She must
have some more, so she flies back again
for another supply. The second piece is
exactly the same form and size as the first;
you with a pair of compasses could never






JULY.


make the measure so exact as she does;
and the leaf never shrinks up in her skilful
handling as it would do with you. She
returns for a third piece; and thus she goes
on till her apartment is lined to her liking.
Then what do you think she does? She
lays an egg, puts a store of bee-bread by
it, shuts the door,-that is, covers up the
hole,-and flies away. And you are di's-
appointed to find that after all it is not a
fairy we are speaking about, but only the
poppy bee. Yet is it not wonderful that
a little insect should take all this trouble
for the children she will never see ? By-
and-by the egg turns into a grub; it eats
the food its mother has provided for it,-
let us hope it admires the scarlet tapestry
in which it is cradled; then in course of
time it eats its way out, and becomes a
perfect poppy bee of the next generation.
It is very fortunate," says the poppy






THE POPPY AND THE CORNFLOWER.


bee after it has done its work-" it is very
fortunate that as nothing but poppy flowers
suit me for my furnishing, so I always
find them just where I want them. And
it is fortunate, too, for the farmer, that, as
the poppies spoil his corn, there should be
creatures such as I am to pick them to
pieces for him. You see, when I cut up
the petals the seeds will not ripen, and thus
there will be so many less poppies in the
field next year."
Yes, it is quite true, little bee, that the
same Hand has made you for the poppies
and the poppies for you, so that you fit
one into the other. And it is quite true
also in higher kingdoms than those of the
insects and the flowers. The things closest
to us are put there on purpose for us, and
what we really want we shall always find
ready to our hand.














iugnust.
THE HEATHER.

H F all the bright patches of colour
which the spring and summer bring
E | us,-the buttercups in the mea-
7 dows, the bluebells in the woods,
the poppies in the cornfields,--there is not
one to compare with the heather on the
hills. The purple blossoms packed so
closely together on the long, steep ascent
make such a show, and they catch and
give back the sunshine so clearly, you
could not wish to see a more brilliant
sight. Some future August, when you are
old enough to travel amongst the moun-






THE HEATHER.


tains, you will be charmed with it; but
even now within the compass of your walks
there will surely be some bit of waste
or moor, in whose bright heather tufts
you will get a foreshadowing of what you
will see then. The soil is barren, but what
does that matter with such a richly-painted
carpet spread all over it ? There are no
shady trees nor singing birds, but the
pretty little stone-chat perches on the
highest sprig he can find, and cries "clack-
clack with all his might; while the bee
hovers about with a most satisfied hum, as
if he had already counted up the stores of
honey ready and waiting in those purple
bells. Then the air which blows over the
heather is so fresh, and fragrant, and ex-
hilarating, you can't help feeling what a
happy, pleasant place is this world which
God has made.
There are several different kinds of heath,






AUGUST.


but all are included under the general name
of heather. The real heather is also called
ling; its growth is much the same, except
that it is rather more shrubby, and the
flowers are paler and shaped like a cup
rather than a bell. The species called the
fine-leaved heath is the most common, and
also the brightest in colour. You may
know it by its reddish purple blossoms, set
round the stem in what are termed whorls.
Another kind, the cross-leaved heath, has
pale pink bells so like wax, you don't feel
sure about it till you touch them. The
Cornish heath is white, with purple
anthers; and where the wild rocky coast
juts out into the Atlantic at the Land's
End and Lizard Point, it grows in beauti-
ful profusion, though rarely found out of
Cornwall.
After the grass of the field, more ground
is covered by the heather than by any






THE HEATHER.


other plant. How dull and bare the moors
and open places would be without it!
But it is not only made for beauty; it is
useful too, especially as it grows in the
north and in cold spots, where other plants
would wither and die. Scotland without
its heather would be poor indeed. The
Highlanders make their cottage-walls of
it, by putting first a layer of thick heather
and then a layer of mortar. Inside it
serves them for a bed; and it is so springy
and elastic, it is by no means a bad one or
a hard one. They make its fibres into
ropes, the stems into handles for their
vessels, and tan their leather with its bark.
They tie it up into bundles and catch fish
with it; and once, most strange of all, it
is said they used to make beer from it.
But the art of doing so was kept a grand
secret, and there is a tradition that the
last of the Picts (the old inhabitants of





AUGUST.


Scotland) was put to death because he
would not tell. And so nobody has been
clever enough since to find it out.
Besides its use to man, the sheep and
goats feed upon the young shoots, and the
grouse and wild birds upon the seeds.
Other plants, when their seeds are ripe,
drop them on the ground or send them out
upon the wind to make their travels; but
all the year round the provident heather
keeps its store, and the hungry birds find
that in spring, summer, autumn, and winter
there is always a cupboardful for them
on the bleak hill-side. So the heather is
always doing its work. And it is a pattern
for us in many other things also. It
springs up so elastically beneath our tread,
as if it were never discontented; and it is
so brave and faithful, it does not care for
the cold on the mountains, if it can only
be of some good there. But you will be







THE HEATHER.


tired of hearing of its excellent qualities

before I am of telling them.

I have a little more to say about it yet.

" I wish I were the heather; of every flower that blows,
Yes, rather than the violet, and rather than the rose,
I would choose your purple blossoms," I said to it one day,
As it opened to the sunlight upon the moorland gray.

" What makes you like the heather?" said a little sprig more bold.
" Our life is hard and dreary, our home is bleak and cold;
Alone upon the mountains, as their course the seasons run,
We bear the wind and weather, or scorch beneath the sun."

" I have my reasons, heather. I want to be like you;
I want to be as fearless, as patient, brave, and true.
Yet more than this: you bloom alone, and then unnoticed
grow;
But the heather altogether, oh it makes a wondrous show.

" God's Church is like you, heather. Each weak and humble soul
Is yet a part of all the rest, a fragment of the whole;
And this is given to them, to all, to each in mingled duty,
To clothe their world's wide wilderness with grace, and love,
and beauty."



"k
... ; li.\I : S I.*;i,
^- l*~~ira C~lf:'G -'








-F. --':--.. .




.jeptembcr.

THE HAREBELL.

-I E summer flowers are fading;
ti ere is no doubt about it, though
:" try not to see it. True, the
Garden is gayer than ever, with its
scarlet geraniums and verbenas; it is the
wild flowers which are slipping so quietly
away from our path.
The heather is not over, but its full
brilliancy is gone. Underneath it we
find a pale, simple flower just come out to
make up for some of our favourites which
have passed from us,-the harebell of the
autumn. It will go on flowering, too, till






TIE HAREBELL.


the end of November, a parting link to
all the beauty which has gone before.
On all dry and sandy banks we find its
thin wiry stems and drooping bells. The
colour is not sky-blue, but of a peculiarly
soft grayish tint. In books of botany it is
called the round-leaved bell-flower; and
as when we look at it we see only long
straight leaves growing up the stem, we
think this cannot be the species meant.
But it does not do to decide such matters
in a hurry; let us look a little more closely.
And lo, hidden down in the grass, we find
quite a tuft of small round leaves-the
root-leaves, as they are called-utterly un-
like the others, and so the botanists are
right after all.
The word is often now spelt hairbell,
because the name is supposed to have
been given on account of the extreme
fineness of its stalks, so that the least






SEPTEMBER.


breath of wind sets the pretty bells in
motion. Another name for it is witches'
thimble; but I should think the witches
(if there were such creatures) must have
had thick clumsy fingers, and would hardly
have ventured to touch such a fragile, deli-
cate-looking thing. It is also called the
bluebell, and under this name it belongs
more especially to Scotland, where it
grows finer and more plentifully than I
have ever seen it in the south. All over
the wild healthy hills, high up on the
mountains, down beside the rushing rivers,
decking the old castle-walls,-there you
may always find it; and though of smaller
growth, the flowers are larger.
It is always the case that the blossoms
on mountain heights, or in northern lands,
though of the very same species, are
larger and brighter than they are else-
where. Nature has a reason, as she al-






THE HAREBELL.


ways has, for what she does. The larger
the corolla, the more power it has to catch
the rays of the sun, and so help forward
the little seed within. Time is precious
in the cold regions, because the summer is
so short. Thus, by means of the larger
flower, the seed is brought to perfection
more speedily, which is the very thing
wanted.
There is another curious thing which I
should like to tell you here. You know
that the tall pillar in the centre of the
flower is called the pistil, and that at the
foot of it lies the germ or seed-vessel.
The stamens are arranged all round the
pistil, sometimes on the corolla or calyx,
sometimes on the germ itself. They have
little oblong heads, called anthers, and
what these have to do is to shed a certain
dust called pollen or farina on the pistil.
The pistil absorbs it and carries it down






SEPTEMBER.


to the seed-vessel below. Without it the
little seeds would never come to any good
at all. Now, in cup-like blossoms, which
look up and not down, the stamens are
always longer than the pistil, and thus the
precious dust, when it falls, falls naturally
on the pistil and does its work. But in
drooping bells like our harebell, things are
exactly the opposite; the stamens are
shorter, and therefore the pistil comes
below them ready to catch the pollen in
like manner, and thus the same end is ful-
filled. How wonderful to see how God
has provided for everything The more
we look into His works, the more shall we
be ready to exclaim: "0 Lord, how
manifold are thy works in wisdom hast
thou made them all: the earth is full of
thy riches."

The Queen of the Flowers held her court






THE HAREBELL.


in a spacious and beautiful garden. Tall
lilies and roses stood behind her as guards
of honour, and geraniums, fuchsias, and
verbenas bent before her to do her homage.
But her majesty did not seem to be in
good humour; there was something wrong,
evidently. She looked listlessly at them
all, and then, yawning wearily, she said,
" Your colours don't please me. Can't
you turn blue, some of you ? I am tired
of red and yellow and white; I want some
blue flowers."
There was a moment's silence of sur-
prise. Then the rose spoke: "I have been
always thought perfect as I am," she said
coldly.
Blue," repeated the lily disdainfully;
"you may get plenty of it in the fields,
but it is too mean and common for our
high society."
Then the verbena, being the swiftest






SEPfEMBER.


runner, started off to see what blue flowers
the garden would produce. First, she
lighted on the nemophila and the lobelia,
and presently she hunted up the blue sal-
via; and with these in her train she has-
tened back to the royal presence.
Please your majesty, I have brought
the blue flowers," she said; and they bent
down their bright heads as she spoke, in
the queen's honour.
"Is this all ?" she replied languidly.
" I want more than these."
The verbena was in despair. Then, re-
membering what the lily had said, she
glided away this time to the fields beyond
the garden gate. And then there was no
trouble at all about it. She met some
meek blue eyes at every step. First, vio-
lets and periwinkles, bluebells and hare-
bells, and bell-flowers of all sorts and sizes;
cornflowers, speedwells, and forget-me-nots,






THE HAREBELL.


and blue geraniums, besides ground-ivy
and self-heal; and many others which she
thought too insignificant for presentation
at court.
It was a long and lovely train which
followed her now as she led the way back
again. These are from the woods and
fields," she said humbly; "may they meet
your majesty's approval."
The Queen of the Flowers seemed to
have got her temper right again, for she
looked long and lovingly at these simple
children of the wild.
I see how it is now," she answered at
last; the pure blue sky can only reflect it-
self in those who think little of themselves.
Therefore it is that the lowly flowers of
the field have most of the stamp of heaven
upon them; therefore it is because they
are the humblest, they are also the love-
liest, the happiest, and the best."
6







k^~;. -vF _r--






(jtiibcr.

THE BRACKEN.

HE Queen of the Flowers has in-
~ leed departed now, to hold her
f.0.- court in sunny lands beyond the
sea. A few stragglers only are
left of all her brilliant summer train. But
there is beauty still left to cheer us, as
we walk out this bright October morn-
ing.
There is something pleasant in thinking
how all the work that the year had to do
is done now. The flowers have blos-
somed, the fruits have ripened, the rosy
apples are gone out of the orchard, the






THE BRACKEN.


corn is gathered into the barn. God gave
the sun power to do it all, helped by the
dew, the showers, and the breezes; and
now he is just putting the finishing stroke
to the red hawthorn berries and to the
crimson of the forest leaves, and that will
be all.
But there is such a thing in nature as
beauty of form as well as brightness of
colour, and wise people say that it shows
more taste to admire the first than the
second. So I hope you will not fail in this
respect, as we stoop down to look at the
ferns still green and flourishing under the
fading, falling leaves. They are green, and
only green; but their shapes are so grace-
ful, and the tracery of their leaves so deli-
cate, we love them almost if not quite
as well as the flowers. They die partly
down in the winter, but we may nearly
always find a few fronds (as their leaves






OCTOBER.


are called) to remind us of what has been
and of what will be again.
The bracken is the commonest of all the
ferns; it is also the largest and most
branched, so that you may easily know
it,-it grows in such abundance on the
hill-sides and in woods, it is so tall and
spreading, it is like a tiny forest of itself.
In the spring it peeps forth, as all the
ferns do, in little coiled-up buds, which
gradually unfold into the large branching
fronds. In the autumn they fade into a
peculiarly rich reddish-brown, which min-
gles well with the other tints of the sea-
son. If you cut the stem across in a
slanting direction, you will find marked on
the pith inside something like the figure
of an oak-tree ; when you have done look-
ing at it, draw your knife in the contrary
direction, and you will see an eagle instead.
Sometimes it is tolerably clear, but gene-






THE BRACKEN.


rally it wants a little help from the imagi-
nation, which you no doubt will be able
to supply.
The common male fern or shield-fern is
almost as familiar as the bracken, and far
more elegant and interesting. If you see
it only on wayside banks, you might
hardly notice it; look for it in some shady
nook, and beside the little streamlet in
the wood, and there you will find such
graceful tufts, each growing like a circle,
and the tall fronds rising up, then falling
over like a feathery crown, you cannot
but stop and admire them.
Some ferns grow on old walls and rocks,
some on the roots of trees; but in general
they love best the moisture of the wood,
and here they are to be seen in their most
luxuriant beauty.
As we have said, they have no blos-
soms, so where can be the seed? We






'OCTOBER.


must turn back the fronds, and there we
shall find the little spores, which supply
the place of seeds, ranged in rows round
the margin of the leaf, or dotted over it,
sometimes so thickly that there is hardly
any space between.
There used to be a great many super-
stitions about the fern. It was such a
mystery that it should have no flowers!
So it was believed that once in the year,
on St. John's Eve, it really did flower and
the seed ripen all on the same night. At
no other time could the seed be found, so
people used to watch for it on this one
night; and whoever should have the luck
to find it, why, the wondrous seed was to
give him the power of being invisible like
itself whenever he wished it I need not
say that, with all their watching, nobody
ever did find anything more than the tiny
spores which we may see every day. We






THE BRACKEN.


know that the great Creator can do His
work in other ways than one; though in
most cases He has formed the corolla to be
the little nursery of the seed, it is not
necessary. He could have made the whole
race of plants to grow and increase "with-
out a flower at all;" only He liked to give
us pleasure, and show forth His own lov-
ing workmanship and wise designs.
Yet the ferns alone, if we had never
seen a flower, would surely inspire us
with gratitude for their exceeding beauty,
and would dispose our hearts to echo back
the words we sometimes hear in church,
and which always make me think of the
ferns: Oh! all ye green things on the
earth, bless ye the Lord; praise him and
magnify him for ever."

The air was hot and damp, as you have
felt it in hothouses, and fantastic-looking






OCTOBER.


ferns were growing as you have seen them
there, only they were not dwarfed and
stunted and in pots, but larger and taller
than a hothouse ever sheltered,-a very
forest of ferns. A strange, weird-looking
scene, indeed, it was; and no wonder, for
it was long ages ago, before the foot of
man had ever trodden this earth of ours.
What is the use of growing?" ex-
claimed one tall feathery-leaved fern.
" What is the use of living ? We bear no
flowers, we ripen no fruit; nobody is the
better for us, nobody sees us; we had
better die down at once, and have done
with it."
A slight rustling ran through the ferny
forest, and then a whisper was heard say-
ing, The world is larger than you think,
for there is more around you than you
can see; do the best you can, and it shall
not be in vain."






THE BRACKEN.


So the ferns lived on and grew, but
nothing seemed to come of it.
At last something did come. There
was a great change. The air changed,
and the earth changed, and all was confu-
sion. The ferns turned pale and withered
and died, and were buried under a mass
of ruins. There was an end of them, or
there seemed to be, and nothing had been
done.
Years passed, ages passed; I know
not how many. A bright fire was blaz-
ing on a wintry hearth. Cold hands were
spread over it, and happy faces sunned
themselves in its glow. The fire was
made of coal; and what was the coal?
The buried ferns of those ages long ago.
The more they had drank in the light and
the rain then, the greater the heat, the
brighter the flame now.
And the red tongues of fire, as they






OCTOBER.


darted out, formed themselves into words,
and this was the message they gave:
" What seems the end is always the be-
ginning of something else. Death is not
death, but a better life. You may not
see what is coming, but there is One who
does. All that was once buried with the
ferns rises up anew in the blaze of to-day.
Be the best you can be, live the highest
life it was intended you should live, and
it will not be lost, it shall not be in vain."







., i -














'lobemb cr.

THE THISTLE.

N the garden of Eden there were
S flowers and no thistles. Thank
God though we have the thistles
now, we are not without the
flowers. He might have shut up all the
flowers in the garden on the other side of
that flaming sword; but instead of that,
he has strewn them broad-cast over the
earth beneath our feet everywhere, that
we might see it is true what He says of
Himself in the Bible, that in judgment He
remembers mercy.
And even the thistle is curious and in-






NOVEMBER.


teresting, like everything else in nature,
when we look into it. A thistle is a
thistle, you think; but there are as many
different kinds as of other flowers. They
are all alike in their thick prickly leaves
and rough growth, as well as in their
downy seeds. Who would have thought
that those feathery-looking things, floating
about in that airy fashion, should ever
have come from such a common, coarse
plant as the thistle ? Who would have
thought that any seeds should have wings?
Some thistles have purple, handsome
flowers, such as we must often have
noticed by the way-side. One kind has
yellow blossoms, and is called the Carline
thistle, because the great French Emperor
Charlemagne is said to have had it re-
vealed to him in a dream that it was a
cure for the plague. Its flowers are of the
dry crisp kind called everlasting; and as






THE THISTLE.


they close before rain, in Germany the
people hang them up outside their doors,
and make them do duty as a weather-
glass.
The handsomest of all is the milk thistle.
It has such large, dark, spiny leaves, with
a beautiful white vein upon them, just as
if you had dipped your finger in milk and
drawn it round their margin. The purple
flower is very large, and set round with
stiff prickles, while its growth is very
stately and imposing. It is not common;
the only place where it grows in Scotland
is round the stern old rock of Dumbarton
Castle, where Mary Queen of Scots some-
times resided; and it is said the royal lady
planted it there with her own hands. It
is also found in Cornwall, and is there
called St. Mary's thistle. The common
names of our wild plants carry us back to
early days, and in those days the Virgin






NOVEMBER.


Mary was ignorantly and falsely wor-
shipped.
But the largest thistle of all is the cot-
ton thistle. It has such a sharp array of
spines, it looks indeed truly formidable.
We have seen how the rose figures as the
emblem of England, and the shamrock of
Ireland; beside them stands the thistle
-and we cannot help thinking how well
it represents the hardy mountain-land of
Scotland, and the free, independent char-
acter of her people.
The cotton thistle is the favoured species
chosen; it is as much as six feet high, and
covers a space of five or six feet in dia-
meter. It is covered all over with a
cottony down, which is gathered and used
for stuffing mattresses.
Hundreds of years ago, the Danes came
over the sea to try and conquer the land
of Scotland. It was not reckoned honour-






THE THISTLE.


able to attack the enemy by night; but on
one occasion the Danes resolved they would
do so, and take a party of Scots by sur-
prise. To be more stealthy, they thought
they would go barefoot. On they marched,
silently and surely in the dead of night,
and the unsuspecting Scots were all fast
asleep. But, lo just as they were getting
near them, a Dane put his foot upon one
of the prickly Scotch thistles which lay in
his way. He was taken. unawares, and
cried out; the Scots heard, flew to their
arms, and soon defeated the Danes. And
that was the reason why they adopted as
their emblem the thistle, which had done
them such good service.
The thistles blossom all the summer; and
when the seeds begin to leave their nursery
and toss about in the air, it is a sure sign of
approaching autumn. Day after day the
supply keeps on, till after this month the






NOVEMBER,


winter rains drench them, and they lose
their wings. These seeds are very dainty
food to many of our birds, especially the
goldfinches, who have a prejudice against
eating their dinner off the ground, and so
always perch on the plant and peck out the
grains one by one. I hope you know the
goldfinch; golden, graceful little sprite as he
is. If not, be sure you look at all the thistle-
beds till you meet with a little party there
hard at work upon them; and you will so
enjoy watching them, I think you will feel
thankful that even the thistle, which is
part of the punishment of sin, should be
yet, in God's loving-kindness, a source of
pleasure both to the goldfinch and to us.

"What is that ? asked the butterfly,
rather startled, as something glided by;
something a little like itself, except that
instead of flying zig-zag it went straight






THE THISTLE.


on, as if it knew quite well where it was
going.
"It's only a seed," said the blackbird
carelessly, as he picked the first ripe berries
off the hawthorn bush on the down.
A seed rejoined the butterfly in a
doubtful tone. "Why, those are seeds
you are eating now; it is not a bit like
them. And the cherries I saw you steal
out of the orchard in the summer, and the
peas from the garden, why, they are all
hard solid things, and they have no wings,
and they don't travel. No, you are laugh-
ing at me; and, besides, if they are seeds,
why don't you eat them ? "
"Not I, indeed," replied the blackbird.
" I don't eat such frothy stuff, I like some-
thing more substantial; but they are seeds
for all that, and my neighbours eat them.
There's no accounting for taste."
So the butterfly turned again to watch
7




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