Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Part I
 Part II
 Back Matter
 Back Cover

Group Title: How plants live and work : a simple introduction to real life in the plant-world, based on lessons originally given to country children
Title: How plants live and work
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00084064/00001
 Material Information
Title: How plants live and work a simple introduction to real life in the plant-world, based on lessons originally given to country children
Physical Description: xii, 115, 18 p. : ill. ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Hughes-Gibb, Eleanor
Charles Griffin & Company ( Publisher )
Ballantyne, Hanson and Co ( Printer )
Ballantyne Press ( Printer )
Publisher: Charles Griffin & Company
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: Ballantyne, Hanson & Co. ; Ballantyne Press
Publication Date: 1896
Subject: Botany -- Textbooks -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Plants -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Textbooks -- 1896   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1896   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1896
Genre: Textbooks   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Statement of Responsibility: by Eleanor Hughes-Gibb ; with illustrations.
General Note: Includes index.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue precedes and follows text.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00084064
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002231928
notis - ALH2316
oclc - 232332223

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Half Title
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Table of Contents
        Page ix
        Page x
    List of Illustrations
        Page xi
        Page xii
    Part I
        Page 1
        Life and its signs
            Page 1
            Page 2
            Page 3
            Page 4
            Page 5
            Page 6
            Page 7
        Lesson II. Growth
            Page 8
            Page 9
            Page 10
            Page 11
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
            Page 15
        Lesson III. Growth (continued) - the childhood of plants, or seedling life
            Page 16
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 19
            Page 20
            Page 21
        Lesson IV. Assimilation
            Page 22
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 25
            Page 26
            Page 27
            Page 28
            Page 29
            Page 30
        Lesson V. Assimilation (continued) - the green factories
            Page 31
            Page 32
            Page 33
            Page 34
            Page 35
            Page 36
            Page 37
            Page 38
        Lesson VI. Assimilation (continued) - substances made in the green factories
            Page 39
            Page 40
            Page 41
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
            Page 45
            Page 46
            Page 47
        Lesson VII. Motion
            Page 48
            Page 49
            Page 50
            Page 51
            Page 52
            Page 53
            Page 54
            Page 55
            Page 56
            Page 57
    Part II
        Page 58
        The constitution and construction of the plant
            Page 58
            Page 59
            Page 60
            Page 61
            Page 62
            Page 63
            Page 64
            Page 65
            Page 66
        Lesson IX. Protoplasm and its elements
            Page 67
            Page 68
            Page 69
            Page 70
            Page 71
            Page 72
            Page 73
            Page 74
        Lesson X. Cells and vessels, their growth and development
            Page 75
            Page 76
            Page 77
            Page 78
            Page 79
            Page 80
            Page 81
            Page 82
            Page 83
            Page 84
        Lesson XI. How the plant feeds
            Page 85
            Page 86
            Page 87
            Page 88
            Page 89
            Page 90
            Page 91
            Page 92
            Page 93
        Lesson XII. The green leaves and their works
            Page 94
            Page 95
            Page 96
            Page 97
            Page 98
            Page 99
            Page 100
            Page 101
        Lesson XIII. The green leaves and their works (concluded)
            Page 102
            Page 103
            Page 104
            Page 105
            Page 106
            Page 107
            Page 108
            Page 109
            Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
    Back Matter
        Page 133
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text


The Baldwin Library
11mQ nof
II Fira i



Griffin's "Open-Air" Studies.

An Introduction to Geology Out-of-Doors.
With 12 Full-Page Illustrations from Photographs. Cloth, 8s. 6d.
GENERAL CONTENTS.-The Materials of the Earth-A Mountain Hollow-
Down the Valley-Along the Shore-Across the Plains-Dead Volcanoes-A
Granite Highland-The Annals of the Earth-The Surrey Hills-The Folds of
the Mountains.
ANIMATION . cannot fail to arouse keen interest in geology."-Geological Magazine.
EMINENTLY READABLE .... every small detail in a scene touched with a sympathetic
kindly pen that reminds one of the lingering brush of a Constable."-Nat.ure.
"The work of Prof. Cole combines ELEGANCE of STYLE with SCIENTIFIC THOROUGH-
NESS."-Petennann's Mittheilungen.
The book is worthy of its title: from cover to cover it is STRONG with bracing freshness
of the mountain and the field, while its ACCURACY and THOROUGHNESS show that it is the
work of an earnest and conscientious student .Full of picturesque touches which are
most welcome."-N1atural Science.
"This CHARMING BOOK beautifully illustrated."-A /tentaumz.




As Illustrating the First Principles of Botany.

Large Crown 8vo, with numerous Illustrations, 3s. 6d. SECOND EDITION.
"It would be hard to find a Text-book which would I .I _.,; i 1.: student to an accu-
rate knowledge of modern discoveries in Botany. .. h .. .... ''i' ACCURACY of state-
ment, and the concise exposition of FIRST PRINCIPLES make it valuable for educational pur-
poses. In the chapter on the Physiology of Flowers, an admirable rcsumid i- o,,on irIrn
from Darwin, Hermann Miller, Kerner, and Lubbock, of what is known of i,. i .i ..,
of Flowers."







[ ill rights reserr'ed.1

A I Me 1allazlyne P'ress


THE study of Plant-life has, for many years, been one of the
keenest and most unfailing pleasures in my life.
The companionship of all the green things on the earth has
always been felt by me to be a very real one; and the
loneliest of country walks becomes bright and cheerful when
one's little friends peep out from the hedge-rows, or look up
from the short downland grass as if expecting a nod and a
word of recognition and greeting.
I took the trouble, during one summer, to become person-
ally acquainted with every species of the umbelliferous family
which grew anywhere within reach. No very easy task; but
I have been amply rewarded by the pleasant conviction that
they are my fast friends for life, and warmly appreciate my
discriminating glance of recognition, in place of the usual
careless look and hasty generalisation under the very com-
prehensive (as thus applied) term of Hemlock! "
It is, however, worth while trying to know something more
than the names of one's little friends; to enter into their
lives, and to understand their constitution and manner of
growth; to appreciate their marvels of mechanism and
symmetry, and to trace out the same laws and the same
central plan and idea running through their simple existence

and our own more complex life. The pleasure of these studies
and observations is a specially wholesome and elevating one;
it braces, and yet soothes; it carries the mind away from
itself and its own narrowness, and leads it out into the broad
and breezy fields of natural science, whose wonders and
delights are ever new, and can never weary or pall, for they
are infinite. Like all pure and wholesome pleasures, this one
soon prompts the mind which enjoys it to seek for sharers in
its happiness. It is so natural and right to desire that others
should sympathise and enjoy with us.
Children are very near to Mother Nature's heart. She
loves them, and they return her love with a delightful, ardent
affection. Could anything be easier than to interest a little
child in botany, if only one does not use hard, incompre-
hensible terms, and if one allows the young eyes and fingers
to work for themselves ? Yet how many little village children,
wandering through country lanes and fields, miss the precious,
simple pleasures, inestimably beneficial in their purifying,
elevating, and broadening effects upon the mind, which lie
scattered along their path, in every little weed and wayside
flower; each one of which, rightly understood, is like a
beautiful story or poem, told in Mother Nature's own attrac-
tive fashion.
This pleasure, at least, need not be confined to children
born in the so-called "upper classes"; and, with these
thoughts in my mind, I began, in my leisure moments, early
one spring, to make careful notes and preparations for a
course of lessons to village children, which I hoped might
awaken their interest in the dear green world around them,
and teach them how to listen for Nature's voice, and to watch

her at work, intelligently, and with a fair hope of compre-
hending her.
The lessons were given in the summer of 1894 to a small
class of village children, boys and girls; and the result
encouraged me to believe that, with a little help and teaching,
a little patient guidance, and a spark of enthusiasm on the
part of some leisured lover of Nature, many a little soul might
be led to make a friendship with the "Great Mother" which
should last its life, much to its own happiness and advantage.
In the hope that some may be induced to undertake this
charitable work, and may find my simple programme for a
first course of lessons useful, I have amplified my notes and
written them out in a more or less complete form, as they
might be delivered. I may venture to suggest that it is my
experience that anything which appeals to the eyes, as well
as to the understanding, will be of the greatest service in
interesting children and fixing their attention.
It would be well to procure, if possible, three photographs
of the same person at various ages, as suggested in the course
of the first lesson.
I found my microscope invaluable; and keen interest was
aroused by the gift of a few peas, with the request that the
children would keep them in damp moss until they germinated,
and bring them back at the following lesson.
At the end of each lesson I append a note to the teacher,
suggesting some small task which might be set to the children
in the interval between the lessons, as a means of keeping
their interest alive and of awakening their powers of obser-
vation. Of course it would be optional with the teacher to use
these suggestions or not.


My aim throughout these pages has been to attain the
utmost simplicity, so that every detail may be clear to the
mind of a young child, and at the same time such careful
accuracy that nothing learnt here shall ever have to be
unlearned. I can only hope that, in some measure at least, I
may have succeeded.

E. H. G.
March 1896.


















I. Head of buttercup fruit, cut in half to show the achenes better 9
2. Achene of buttercup opened. The seed within its horny covering 9

3. (a) Broad bean with seed-skin removed; pulled apart to show
the "little hinge." (b) Broad bean in half. One of the "fat
leaves" I

4. (a) Wallflower seed magnified. (b) and (c) Embryos of wallflower
seed germinating; testa (or seed-skin) removed 12

5. The winged seed of the maple 13
6. Embryo of maple seed; magnified to show the manner of folding 13

7. (a) Germinating pea. (b) Germinating pea cut in half, showing
the depression where the head of the plumule rested 17
8. Trollius with abnormal leaves 21
9. Amoebae highly magnified. Examples of the "lumps of jelly at
the bottom of the animal kingdom, without definite form or
organs 24
Io. A forest of little mould plants growing on a decayed leaf (seen
through the microscope) 26
II. Root of (Enant/he pimpinelloide-Example of curious underground
store-rooms 33
12. The castor-oil plant 40
13. (a) Seed of germinating barley cat in half. (b) Germinating
barleycorn out in half. The acrospire has grown right
through the seed, and pierced the husk of the grain. The
albumen is partly exhausted, and the process of germination
has gone too far for malting purposes 44
14 Growth of a carrot coming in contact with a stone in the soil .52
15. Drosera rotundifolia-(the sundew plant) 54


16. (a) Oxalis leaf and flower in the ordinary position. (b) Oxalis
leaves "sleeping 56

17. The daisy's "green body" .. 59
18. The little florets that dwell within the "green nest," magnified 59
19. Cells from a daisy's leaf. 60
20. Some thicker-walled cells from a daisy, with nuclei 61
21. Cells from potato containing starch granules (very much
magnified) 66
22. Lemna minor-(Lesser duckweed) 78
23. Wood-cells 81
24. Plantain leaves with the fibres hanging out from the broken stalks 81
25. Vessels from the fibre of a plantain, as seen through the
Microscope 82
26. (1) Diagram of a single-celled plant. (2) and (3) Ditto dividing. 83
27. The yeast plant, and its method of growing and multiplying .88
28. The tube with the bladder tied over it 90
29. Stomata. .. 96

30. Cescuta europcea-(Greater dodder). Example of a plant without
green cells, living entirely upon the food prepared by the
plant about which it twines 103





You have come to me, dear children, to hear something about
plants. You want to know about their life, their habits, their
needs, and their uses. I think I can promise you it will not
be dull. I hope to show you how to enter into their lives,
to sympathise with them, and to enjoy them in quite a new
But before coming to this, our own, subject we must talk
a little about life in general.
You, children, have something to say about this, for you
are some of Life's children, are you not ? In other words,
you are alive.
How do I know this ? How can you prove to me that you
are really living creatures ?
If I watch and observe you for a little while I shall soon
have three proofs which will be enough to convince me of
the fact.
Mary, what has happened to the sleeves of your frock ?
Have you cut a piece off them ? I know they were long
enough when it was made for you, and now they are right up
to your elbows !





You have come to me, dear children, to hear something about
plants. You want to know about their life, their habits, their
needs, and their uses. I think I can promise you it will not
be dull. I hope to show you how to enter into their lives,
to sympathise with them, and to enjoy them in quite a new
But before coming to this, our own, subject we must talk
a little about life in general.
You, children, have something to say about this, for you
are some of Life's children, are you not ? In other words,
you are alive.
How do I know this ? How can you prove to me that you
are really living creatures ?
If I watch and observe you for a little while I shall soon
have three proofs which will be enough to convince me of
the fact.
Mary, what has happened to the sleeves of your frock ?
Have you cut a piece off them ? I know they were long
enough when it was made for you, and now they are right up
to your elbows !


Oh, it's because I'm growing so fast! I've nearly out-
grown my frock altogether!"
Then it is you who have altered, and not the frock? You
grow; that is, your body gets larger in every direction.
Does it alter in any other way ?
Just look a moment at these three photographs I have
brought with me. See this one first.
Oh, what an ugly little baby!"
Well, yes! I can't say much for the poor little bald-
headed creature. But now look at this.
"How sweet! What a pretty young lady! "
Yet she is the very same person as the little bald-headed
baby! How she has changed, has she not? You wouldn't
know her again.
Now see this third photograph.
"It is quite an old lady with such a wrinkled face. We
don't like it as well as the pretty young lady! "
Yet she is the same person; and she and the little bald-
headed baby are one It is funny, is it not ?
How these bodies of ours do change in appearance! Not
only while we are young, and people say: "How she has
grown! I shouldn't know her!" But all through life the
process of change goes on.
This is what is really happening. All day long and every
minute little tiny particles of your body are dying. You
may think of them as the ashes of a fire which has burnt
up a piece of coal or wood and leaves behind that which
it cannot use. The fire is like your life; the white ash
is the used-up particles of your body, which must be got
rid of as quickly as possible. Your body has many
most beautiful and wonderful arrangements for doing
that. Your skin, with its countless tiny invisible pores "
or little openings, is one of Nature's plans for carry-
ing away all the dead, waste matter of our bodies. That
is why you must be so careful to keep it clean; other-


wise the little pores will be choked, and it cannot do its
But now you are half frightened! You think that if
these tiny particles of your body are dying every moment,
it is rather a serious business, and you will soon be dead
Well, so you would be indeed if no new particles to take
their place were made.
But every moment you are growing new tissues, as we
say; making new flesh, new skin, new substance, to take
the place of the used-up, dead matter which you are casting
off. In seven years time you will have changed your whole
body in this gradual way. The one you are wearing now
will be all dead and gone, and you will have quite a new
one You see our body is only like a dress for our soul, a
clothing of substance within which the invisible spirit may
dwell, and Nature gives us a whole new dress every seven
years! Only she does it by very slow degrees, so that there
is no danger of our waking up one morning with a new body,
which would certainly be startling! We only go on
gradually, from day to day, shedding our old body in
many silent ways, and forming daily new tissues; until
our friends look at us and say: "How you have grown !"
or, "How you have changed! I should not know you!"
And here is the first proof which convinces me that you
I see that you grow.
And growth is a sign of life.
II. But now, tell me, children: can we create ? that is,
can we make .. .' .' .'.* out of ..7. ''.. ?
No. We have not this power. God has given us the
power to convert or change one thing into another, but
not to create. Then, if we are continually casting off dead
particles of our body and having to replace them with new
substance, what are we to do it with ?


It is clear we must take in something for the purpose.
You can tell me, I am sure, what we take in?
What did you have for breakfast to-day? I suppose you
"took in" a fair quantity of both food and drink ?
Every moment I see your little chests moving-heaving
gently up and down; what are you doing ?
Breathing, of course!"
Yes, you are breathing; in other words, "taking in" air.
Food, water, air. These are the raw materials, as we may
say, out of which our bodies are made.
But is it enough to take them in, merely ? Is a piece of
bread and butter or a potato like your flesh ? No; you will
have to convert or change it, and make it like your
body, and then add it on to your own substance and so grow
by it.
There are two Latin words ad and similis "; the latter
means "like" and the former "to." Together, you see, they
will mean "like unto." We have a word which comes from
them. It is a long word, but I want you to try to remember
it. Assimilation, or making like. You must not merely
take in food for your body, but must also assimilate it, or
change it into a like substance with the rest of your body, or
it will be of no use to you. You do this, you know, by your
organs of digestion principally.
The power of assimilation, or of taking in substances,
feeding on them, and "making them like" the body that uses
them is a second sign of life.
I see that you grow. I see that you assimilate food, water,
etc., and I am doubly sure that you are alive.
III. There is a third sign of life, however, which I am very
conscious of in you. It is the one easiest to see, usually the
first to be thought of. I wonder if any of you could sit abso-
lutely still for ten minutes! I doubt it! To judge by your
continual movements, you are very much alive.
Motion is a third sign of life. Motion, that is, without

any outside force to produce it. There is no life without
some movement; although in Nature there is certainly much
movement without life.
If we observe movements in any natural object, and are
unable to account for them otherwise as being produced by
a known force or law of inanimate Nature, we are led towards
the conclusion that they are caused by life, and, in fact,
that the object is alive.
I want you to notice two kinds of motion in our own
(1) Movements made by the will of the person moving;
as when you lift your arm, nod your head, open your
eyes. You do these things intentionally, and you need
not do them unless you choose. We call these volun-
tary movements.
(2) Movements made without the will of the person
moving; as when your heart beats, your lungs act, your
blood flows, producing movements in your body which
you cannot control. I once knew a little boy who said
he could stop the beating of his heart; but when chal-
lenged to prove it with my hand over his heart, he looked
rather foolish!
We call these movements which we cannot control
reflex movements.
We have thought now of three signs of life. Three ways
of proving that you are indeed amongst the number of Life's
What are they?
Growth, Power of Assimilation (you remember
the meaning of that long word, don't you ?), and Motion.
Keep these in your minds. We shall want them when
we come to prove that plants are-no less than you-really
and truly alive.
But now consider with me for a few moments what other
forms of life besides our own (the human life) exist upon this


earth of ours. Mention any other living beings you can
think of.
"A dog; a fowl; a snake; a fish; an oyster; a worm."
Good. These are all forms of animal life. Is their life
quite like ours ? They all agree with us in showing the three
signs of life we have spoken of: growth, power of assimila-
tion, and motion. And their movements are of both kinds-
voluntary (with their will and intention) and reflex (without
their will or control). Let us note some differences, however.
Are worms or oysters, fishes or snakes, warm to your touch,
like the fowl or the dog? Do they take the care for their
young that is shown by the hen, which hatches her eggs with
such patience, or the dog, which devotes herself to her help-
less puppies ?
Can a hen count, and will she know if you remove one of
her eggs?
Can even a dog use its brain as we can, do difficult sums,
or take in ideas of things he has never seen ? No. His form
of life is lower than ours. That of a fish is lower than his;
that of an oyster lower still.
Is there any lower form of living beings, differing from
these, and less gifted than the earth-worm ? Yes, there are
a vast number of animals far beneath the earth-worm; and,
beneath these, we come at last to plant-life; vegetable
life, as scientific men say.
The worm, and even the oyster, has the power of move-
ment at will. The latter opens and shuts his shell inten-
tionally and consciously.
Plants have no such power, we believe, in spite of curious
examples of reflex action, which we must speak of later on,
when I tell you of the sensitive plant, the little fly-catching
sundew, etc.
This "vegetable life" is, then, on the whole, a lower form
of life than any we have spoken of. Yet it is none the less a
true life. For, as I hope to show you, there are the three


signs we have spoken of: Growth, Power of Assimilation, and
Motion. Looked at thus, we may see that plants are truly
our fellow creatures, created, like ourselves, by the great
Father in Heaven, even though they belong to a lower form
of existence than ours. Let us love and study them as such,
in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, who spoke to the birds
and beasts as "brother and "sister "; and even used this
word to the elements, as when, on one occasion, being ordered
to be cauterised for some bodily trouble, he begged "brother
fire" to be gentle with him!

Let the teacher, as a preparation for the next lesson, give every child
a few peas, and tell them to put these in damp moss until they germinate.
(The peas might be soaked for a day previously, so as to hasten germina-
tion, and be brought packed in moss.) If the children are old enough, a
small reward might be offered for the best written description of a ger-
minating pea.


You will remember, children, what was the first of the three
signs of life which we spoke of in our last lesson? It was
growth, was it not ? You have not, I am sure, forgotten
the little bald-headed baby, and how it grew, so that you
could not recognize it.
Well, we are to speak to-day about the growth of plants.
But we cannot wholly separate this from their assimilation
of food, or from motion, which are to form the subjects of
future lessons. However, we shall keep as closely as we can
to the subject of their growth to-day.
Infancy. The Plant in the Seed.-Let us go right
back to the babyhood of the plant; see it in its cradle, so to
speak. Children, how did each of you begin life?
As a tiny helpless infant, fed by your mother, did you
not ?
Yes. And the dog, the cat, and the rabbit all began life
in much the same way, did they not ?
Now how about a bird ? a fish ? a snake ?
They were hatched from an egg you say. So they were.
And this seems a little more like the beginning of plant-life.
Let us take a bird's egg and a seed-that of a buttercup, for
instance-and compare them. The egg has a firm shell, and
the tiny seed is protected by a horny, shiny, outer covering,
which, however, is entirely separate from itself.
Inside the shell of the egg is a thin skin.
Inside the outer covering dwells the little seed, wearing a
thin skin-coat.


Within the egg itself I find a small speck, which is the
first beginning or germ of the little bird which is to
be gradually formed in that egg.
Cutting the seed open I find one tiny dot which is the
minute future buttercup plant, all folded up.
Closely pressed against the speck in the egg, and ready to
be assimilated," or taken in by that speck as it gradually

-.. .-- FIG. 2.

,- .1'
/ ":- '

Aebene of buttercup
opened. The seed within
its borny covering.
Head of buttercup fruit, cut in Much magnified.
half to show the achenes* better.
Slightly enlarged.
grows and develops, is the golden yolk, which is the food of
the tiny bird until it comes forth into the world.
Round the wee folded germ of the buttercup is a hard,
white, floury substance, which is the food of that tiny plant
till it can shift for itself.
Thus we see that the birdie's egg and the seed of the
buttercup bear a striking likeness the one to the other.
And are all seeds just like this one ? Let us try. Examine
a broad bean. Or a pea will do equally well if easier to get.
The pod, you see, does duty for the protecting shell; what a
soft downy lining it has! Dainty, luxurious bean! Well
Achene is the botanical name for a dry, one-seeded vessel, which does
not split open of itself when ripe; such are the seed-vessels of the buttercup.


may the French make their word for comfortable "well-
provided-for," from their word for a pod Could anything
be more cosy ? Now here is the shiny bean. Help him off,
please, very carefully with his varnished skin-coat. What
do you see inside ?
FIo. 3, Where is the white floury
/ substance ? Where the tiny,
dot-like future plant ?
Ah, what have you done
-- -* now? No, don't look so
startled. You have not broken
( it in two. See, it opens
naturally by a little hinge,
and divides into two fat halves,
with a tiny little body pressed
between them.
Can you guess what these
'i'i two thick sides of the bean
/ really are ? Perhaps you will
hardly be able to believe me
at first, when I tell you that
b they are only the first pair
of leaves of the young bean
plant, the rest of whose dimi-
nutive body is squeezed up be-
a. Broad bean with seed.skiln re- tween them.
moved, pulled apart to show the Bt they are so fat and
"little hinge." r. Radicle. p.
Plumule. whitish, and leaves are usually
b. Broad bean in half. One of so thin and green."
the fat leaves." Yes, they are fat; but do
you not see what their fatness really is ?
In the buttercup the little embryo, as we call the baby-
plant, was surrounded, as we saw, by a floury, white sub-
stance, called the perisperm (from two words meaning
"round the germ"), or albumen (from a word meaning

" white "). This was the food of the tiny plant, you
But where is the food of the little bean-plant ?
All the seed-skin is filled up with the embryo, or young
plant; there is no perisperm or albumen. Where is the food ?
Look at the two thick sides of the bean, which, as I have
told you, are really the first pair of leaves. There is the food,
stored away in the little plant itself, in those quaint, fat,
most un-leaflike leaves.
Can you think of any other seed like the bean ? Have you
never played with acorns, I wonder, and pretended that the
two yellow halves of the skinned seed were pats of butter ?
Certainly they are most unlike leaves Yet such they truly
are! And, indeed, when any seed divides readily into two
halves, like the acorn or the bean, you may always suspect
that they are truly a pair of leaves. But you want to ask
something; what is it?
We understand why those funny leaves are fat; but why
are they yellow or white ? why are they not green ?
This is a wise question, and I must answer it more fully
later on. I can only just explain to you now that the green
leaves are the kitchens of the plant, where all the food is
cooked at the great sun-fire. Now the food in the acorn and
the bean has already been cooked and prepared by the mother
plant on which the bean or the acorn grew; so it does not
want cooking again. Therefore these leaves are store-
rooms, not kitchens, and they stay underground and do
not turn green.
There is one more class of seeds that I want you to examine.
The wallflower and the turnip, amongst many others, belong
to this class. Let us take a pod of the common wallflower.
It is ripe, and splits open of itself, showing the pretty trans-
parent partition inside, which divides the rows of seeds from
each other. The seeds are small, but with care I think we
can get one of them out of his jacket.


Now what do you see ?
"-Why, it looks like a little plant, with two thin yellowish
leaves, and his tail is turned back like a squirrel's, close to the
edges of the leaves."
That little pointed tail," as you call it, is the tiny root of
the baby plant, and it is funny to see it tucked up so neatly
and carefully. The leaves look yellowish-white now, but if
you had put this little seed
lo. 4. into the ground and allowed it
a to germinate, they would have
come out of their brown cover-
ing not yellow but green.
Try the experiment and see.
But now let us examine
this pretty winged seed of
Sthe maple, which we must put
in the same class (from the
point of view of the provision
of food for the little embryo)
as the wallflower.
What do we see here?
"Oh, it is a dear little
green plant with its leaves
so prettily rolled up. But
where is the food? Why
a. Wallflower seed magnified. are t s een d thin
b. and c. Embryos of wallflower are the leaves green and thin ?
seed germinating; test (or seed- Did you not tell us that the
skin) removed. leaves of the bean were fat
because they were full of food for the little plant, and white
because the food was already cooked ? But these leaves
are green and thin; how will the little plant live then ? "
Patience, children, and I will answer. You are right; this
poor little plant is apparently less well provided for than the
comfortable buttercup embryo in its bed of albumen, or the
fat bean with its padded sides. There is little or no food


laid up for it by its parent plant; and, like poor little waifs
and strays of London, it is early turned out to shift for itself.
But now, observe; with the necessity of shifting for
itself Nature gives the capacity, or power, to do so. Why is
it green, do you ask ? Just because it has got to cook its own
dinner, and, as I told you, only green leaves can do that.
As soon as ever it breaks out of its seed-skin, or "ger-

FIG. 5. FIG. 6.


The winged seed of the maple. Embryo of maple-seed, magni-
Natural size. fled. To show the manner of
a. Tip of radicle.
b. Tip of cotyledons (or first

minutes as we say, those small green leaves will begin work.
The little root will hurry to provide the raw food out of the
damp earth, and the green leaves will cook it at the great
sun-fire, and so the small plant will, from its earliest infancy,
be self-supporting.
HIow wonderfully Nature provides for all her children, does
she not ? and yet how differently she treats them. Some she
seems to pet and coddle, sending them into the world with
supplies of ready-cooked food, like the dear, wee, baby fish
(trout fry) that I once saw, which were hatched each with a
little bag of food attached to him, so that he might have time

to look about and see what a nice place this world is before
he had to think how he should get his dinner.
Others, again, like this poor little maple, or the wallflower
seedling, have got to set to work almost as soon as they are
But then, you see, Mother Nature knows what is best for
each, and fits him for his work and place.
Now we have spoken of three classes of seeds.
Let me see if you can remember them.
(1) Those with albumen, like the tiny buttercup in his bed
of white floury food. These we must call albuminous
(2) Those without albumen, but with thick seed-leaves, full
of stored-up food, like the bean and the acorn.
(3) Those without albumen, and with thin seed-leaves, which
contain no store of food to support the baby plant, like the
independent little wallflower and turnip. These last two
classes we must call ex-albuminous, which means "with-
out albumen."
But now, children, you must not expect that all seeds
which you may examine for yourselves will go quietly and
without giving any trouble into one of these three classes.
Life's children are not like that; they won't be labelled
neatly and put away in packets as easily as buttons and tapes.
Some of them will give you trouble.
How would it be if I tried to divide all of you children
into two classes: "good" and "bad "? James is certainly
"good" and Fred is "bad," but what about Tom ? He really
is not a good boy, and yet I can't call him positively bad
either; I suppose we must make another class for him. But
then how about Frank ? He is not quite so bad as Fred,
yet not so good as Tom; must he have a class to himself
also? Oh! this won't do at all. You see it would be
You will find it just so with the seeds. More or less they


will all agree with one or other of the three types I have given
you, but often you will be puzzled by the way in which one
class will seem to melt into another.
There may be a 7.. .. embryo with just a little :.-.', as
in the nettle or the mallow seed; or a tiny embryo with much
albumen, as we have seen in the buttercup. The leaves of
the embryo may be thick, as with the bean; rather f/'.
like those of the sunflower; or quite thin, as in the case of
the wallflower. You will find endless variety; but if you
think of the three types of seeds which we have set before
us, and try to remember, and also to look for yourselves how
Mother Nature has provided for each, I think you will soon
be able to understand something about her plan and intention
for every little seed you examine, and to see how she has
fitted and prepared each for his place.

Let the teacher encourage the children to make a collection of different
seeds, putting them, as far 'as they are able, after examination, into the
three classes described in the lesson.
A reward might be offered for the best collection, best arranged under
the three classes.



AFTER all, in our last lesson, we never even saw our little
plant out of the egg-shell," so to speak; never arrived at
the first beginning of its growth We spent all our time in
observing Nature's preparations for the happy hour when the
young plant should come forth from its death-like sleep in
the seed, into light and life, and the sunshine and air of this
bright world!
We must hasten on now and bring our little embryo plant
through the first stage of the wonderful processes of its life
and development.
Germination.-The egg needs warmth, and, in some
cases at all events (for instance, in that of the eggs of
ducks and other aquatic birds) damp, to hatch it. The
embryo requires both of these conditions to enable it to
"germinate," that is, to come forth out of the seed as a
young plant. Also some air is necessary to it for this
These are the three requisites for germination; hcat,
moisture, air ; keep them carefully in memory.
Now let us watch a bean or pea germinate. The skin that
covers it breaks (like the chipping of the egg-shell), a tiny
white point comes forth, seems to look about it, and quickly
buries its little nose in the ground. This is the radicle, the
beginning of the future root of the plant, and a very
important little personage indeed! He is provided with a


close-fitting cap to his delicate tip, lest he should injure it as
he burrows with it like a mole. The cap, which is really a
part of him, is strong enough to bear the roughness it meets
with. Do not expect, however, to be able to see this cap
with the naked eye; you would need a microscope, and then
a very thin slice of the tip would show you the point of the
root, and the kind little protecting cap that covers it.

FIG. 7.

\. ~ ~~~ ~~ j~~H -- ,I ------

a. Germinating pea. b. Germinating pea cut in half, showing
the depression where the head of the plumule rested, a.

But how does the radicle know that he must grow down
into the earth to find food and fulfil his duties ?
Ah! Mother Earth herself helps him there! She gives
him a friendly pull.
She is constantly pulling you, or you would fly off into the
sky. All bodies have what we call an "attraction for
one another, that is, each on e pulls the other with greater or
less force, and this tends to draw them together.
Thus the growing root is drawn by attraction towards the
centre of the earth.
But what comes next out of the bean ? See a tiny shoot


with a bent neck begins to struggle upwards. This is the
plumule, and is the small beginning of the future bean
plant. Some children I was teaching once used to say:
"The radicle is the root
And the plumile is the shoot."

That helped them to remember, you see.
But how is it that the plumule grows upwards ? Does
not the earth pull it too? Ah! this is one of the secrets of
Nature. We do not know how the little plant finds strength
to grow upwards in spite of the earth's attraction; but we
know that the whisper which prompts it to do so is a wise
one, for sunlight and air are indispensable to its life. You
know already that the sun is the great fire, and the green
leaves the kitchen where all the plant's food is prepared.
But until the green leaves are old enough to do the cook-
ing, what does the baby bean live upon?
I have told you before of the two thick seed-leaves, with
their store of prepared food. They have no cooking to do,
for the food is ready for use, stored up in their thick sides;
so they do not need sunlight or air, and may be content to
stay below, unless they should be dragged up out of the
ground by the efforts of that little arching neck which is
trying to uplift the plumule. We call that little bent white
stalk the caulicle.
Why does it arch so?
Think. If you have ever played in a hay-field and been
buried in the hay, how did you get out? Did you push
your way out nose first ? I expect not. I expect you
protected the delicate skin of your face by a bent neck
and back, as the little seedling protects its delicate plumule.
How does it straighten itself? Well, the underneath
part of the curved stem sets to work to grow much faster
than the upper part of the curve, and so the stem is soon
straight. How, and why it does this, I may be able fully to


explain to you later. At present, I can only say it grows
faster because it is less exposed to the light. And this
brings me to the fact, which I can only mention now, that
growth takes place (with plants) principally at night, because
there is less light then, and light, whilst it helps the food-
making business, rather hinders growth. So that which is
often said of children, is really true of plants, they grow in
their sleep."
But now we must speak of the full-grown plant.
Imagine the little seedling grown to be a large plant.
The tiny radicle has branched out into numbers of rootlets
and fibres; the plumule has developed into many stems and
leaves; the food in the seed-leaves has long been used up,
and the plant can provide for itself.
Two duties now present themselves to it as a full-grown
plant. They are:
(1) The duty of laying up a store of food for future
(2) The duty of reproduction, that is, of producing new
plants of its own species, to take its place when it is dead,
and carry on the race of beans.
How the plant makes its food, we are to learn later; but
when made, where can it be stored away? Has the bean a
storehouse or a barn, cupboards or cellars, where it can lay
up food ?
Just underneath the skin of human beings there is a thin
layer of fat, which is capable of being used for the nourish-
ment of the body: a store laid by for a rainy day Notice
how thin we become in illness; we have used up this store.
So in plants, just underneath the skin of the stem there is a
like store of food. This feeds the leaf-buds, and provides
ready-made food when they want to grow.
Some plants have large storehouses as well as this. They
are in all parts of the plant; sometimes in underground
stems or branches, swollen and thickened, as in the case

of the potato; sometimes in the root, as with the turnip
or carrot; sometimes in the stem, as with the sugar-cane.
Always a special provision has to be made in the seed for the
new little plant.
You have not forgotten the buttercup embryo in its bed of
albumen, or the fat sides of the seedling bean ? but even
such poor ill-provided creatures as the wallflower's or the
maple's baby plants appear to be, are not really so mother-
forgotten as they seem. A store of nourishing albumen was
laid up in the tiny green ovule or unripe seed; but before
the seed had ripened and was ready to germinate, all the
albumen had been used up, and the tiny plant was thrown,
as you see, on its own resources.
All this brings me naturally to the second business of the
full-grown plant, namely:

In this course of lessons there is no time to enter into this
interesting subject, and we can only just mention it here. I
want you, however, to notice the great alteration that takes
place in the parts of a plant when they have a new duty to
perform. For I must tell you that those parts of the plant
which you call the t.I..-.:i, and from which the seeds come,
are truly and really leaves, altered so as to do a different
work. It is strange, it is hardly to be believed, you think,
that the brilliantly coloured, and often curiously shaped
petals of the flower (the flower-leaves) are really only
green leaves, changed so as to be capable of performing
a different duty. But so it is, and you may have proof of it
from your own observation, if you care to use your eyes long
and patiently enough. I have myself observed more than
one specimen of Trollius, or globe-flower (like a big globe-
shaped buttercup), in which a leaf, half of which was yellow
and petal-shaped, and half green and leaf-shaped,
had grown midway up the stem. Does not this teach us


that petals and green leaves are truly one and the same
thing, altered so as to
Fi. 8.^ do a different duty?
S ..--- a I think you must
often have observed the
Which are easily seen in
,_ many flowers, clustering
,.-/ together in the centre
of the blossom, encircled
by the coloured leaves;
-'' *' and, probably, you have
*' often dusted your fingers
I with their yellow pow-
der, or pollen.
In the middle of them,
'" and just above the enve-
I --a lope or covering which
contains the seeds, stands
the pistil-the centre-
Trollius with abnormal leaves, a. a. piece of the whole flower
piece of the whole flower
-often looking like a thicker thread, with small nob at its end.
These important little organs, whose duties are connected
with the production of the seeds of the plant, are-strange
as it may appear-simply modified or altered leaves.
The subject is intensely interesting, but we cannot talk of
it this time. If you become really interested-in the life-
history of the plant, the study of its flowers and their marvels
of beauty and wonderful arrangement may delight you at
some future time.
Let the teacher request the children to make a collection of the various
roots of plants, dividing them into two classes, viz :
(1) Those which contain storage places for food (as the onion, the
bulbous buttercup, etc.); and
(2) Those which have no such arrangement.
A reward could be offered, as before, for the best collection, if desirable.



WE come now to the second of our three selected "signs of
You have not forgotten our talk about this body of ours
which so constantly needs to be renewed, and how we have
to take in food, water, etc., and assimilate or make it
like the rest of our body ?
Now we must study the bodies of plants and their organs
of assimilation.
What do I mean by an organ? Not an instrument of
music, certainly, but an instrument nevertheless.
An "organ," in this sense, is any part of our body which
we use for a special purpose, to do a certain work. The eye
is the organ of sight, the ear the organ of hearing, and so
You and I have many parts of our body which we only use
for one special purpose; and as these organs have only one
work to do, they do it more perfectly than if they had several
such i-:-li to perform. The number and perfection of our
organs is a sign that we are high in the "scale of being."
[*But you do not quite know what I mean by this.

The portion of this lesson between this bracket and that on page 26
may be omitted if the lesson is thought too long, or the passage too diffi-
cult or likely to prove uninteresting. It is, indeed, a parenthesis in this
place, but it is inserted partly for the sake of preparing the way for things
that must be explained further on, especially in the second part of this


Imagine, then, that you see a great ladder set up on earth.
You and I, with all human creatures, are at the top; let us
go down it and see what we shall pass. We come first to the
monkeys; so like little men, are they not? And some of
them with such a sad, wistful expression, as if they were
longing for something which they could never quite reach.
Numberless animals crowd the steps as we go lower down;
lions and tigers, dogs, elephants, cows, horses, sheep and
goats; far too many beasts for us to mention by name. Great
whales come next; and I notice a kangaroo, with some other
animals, a little lower down.
Now we come to the birds; what a flapping of great and
little wings!
Here are snakes and lizards, and, a little below them, toads
and frogs.
Now we have reached the fish. Perhaps you think the
whales ought to have been here, but their true place is higher,
as we saw.
Lower still we come to oysters and snails.
Here are crabs, and now follow spiders and insects of all
kinds. I am afraid you think this is unpleasant company!
Worms are wriggling at our feet!
You will like the pretty starfish better, and the jelly-fish

book, and partly because it is thought that the first mention of differentia-
tion in organisms ought to be the signal for a general view-however
cursory- of that order of ascent in Nature which works upward from the
wholly undifferentiated organless Moneron to the highly complex arrange-
mcnt of delicate organs which compose the human body.
The ladder simile has been used, rather than that of the branching tree
(which is recommended by Mr. Clodd in his Story of Creation, as giving a
truer view of the evolution and place of various life-forms), because it is
simpler to a child's understanding, requires less explanation, and gives a
sufficient idea of the order in Nature for present purposes.
A few links in the chain, which seem likely to puzzle the child, or to be
unknown to it, have also been omitted in this very general and cursory
glance through the animal and vegetable kingdoms in their order.


and sea-anemones which follow will delight you, as will also
the little coral-builders.
Lower still we find the sponges.
Below these there are still some forms of animal life, but
you will be unable to give them names. These are like tiny
balls of perforated shell with delicate feelers, floating in the
water; but there are some lower down which look like simple
lumps of jelly, without form or shape. You can scarcely
believe that they are indeed living beings.

FIG. 9.

Amoebae, highly magnified. Examples of the "lumps of jolly "
at the bottom of the animal kingdom, without definite form or

Now we are at the bottom of this great ladder of life, or
"scale of being," as regards the animal world.
Look again at these -H.l:y lumps of jelly without even a
definite shape, and with every part of their bodies alike, and
no part specially fitted for a special purpose-in fact, without
organs. T'hli-, have no mouth, but take in food all over
thn.,--nm-v!..',-.:-! NVo lungs, but they breathe all over their
::li--:,y Compare them with ,. 1i'. and you
will easily understand what I said about the number and per-
fection of our organs being a sign that we are high in the
scale of being.
But our business is with the plant world and its organs,
and I ,:ul- led you down the scale of animal life because I

thought you would see the difference better (in your present
state of knowledge) between yourself and a shapeless lump of
jelly, than between a daisy and a f iiiv, ; and would there-
fore understand better what I wanted to impress upon you as
to the perfecting and multiplying of the organs of beings as
we go up the scale of life.
Side by side with this .-r:,t ladder of animal life which we
descended just now, you may imagine another-the scale of
plant life.
At the very bottom of these two ladders, plants and
animals are so much alike that it is sometimes very hard for
even clever men of science to determine to which I:;ni]' 1 --
the animal or vegetable-a 1.-_-, belongs. \WI, : you think
of the shapeless little lumps of jelly we found at the bottom
of the animal kingdom, vi_ will : .11-.!: wonder at th!i- I
If we go the scale of being in tl:.-- -,-. T .! world, we
shall come first to the sea-weeds and or T.i -.i. of
all kinds-the lowest of these like little specks .- 1." joined
t..- th.ir in rows.
A little higher we come to the FT '. The "mould"
which ,* .:..-, on your jam and other w1.:h.-', -,:i-s1,i. -, when
it finds suitable r::.,.hlt! u-. is a 'i:. f .. -. and i .:..- to
these. :i -._ -i [. you see, is also one of Life's '.i '. -_. and
has its own work to .I,. .. her, -! ',:. you may not admire
it!) A pleasanter member of this group is the 1i -.i :
which you r: i .' in the fi.-l.l-. on .1 .- mornings.
'1.- -, com e next; and *.1 .., them .'.- i '. f -, I-.
lli.. r up we find pine trees.
Above these come ,:..l:.- wheat and barley, _L and
1 .iirf 1I lilies.
ITll-r .-1 s are oaks and -.!1 I..
I... .ul :.i i ;,- .. t: ., in colour, shap, and *. _: now
1--.__ li us. TV- choose violets and roses to .: .i.- amongst


A little above these the graceful convolvulus twines, and
the primrose puts forth its creamy flowers. At the top of all
you will be surprised-but surely not sorry-to find the dear
little homely daisy as Queen!
In these lessons I have not been able to tell you anything
about the arrangement or classification of plants, so you

FIG. 10.

A forest of little mould plants growing on a decayed leaf;
seen through the microscope.

don't understand the reason for the order in which we found
the plants; but the fact to be remembered is always this:
that the higher up the scale the being is-whether plant or
animal-the more perfect and the more numerous are its
Certain organs there are, however, which all living
creatures must possess. They are the first to be developed,


for they are necessary to the very existence of the plant or
animal. Remembering all that we have said of the continual
wearing away of our bodies, and the constant need of renew-
ing their substance, I am sure that you will guess at once
that I am speaking of the organs of assimilation, or, as we
had better call them, organs of nutrition, that is, of
feeding, because their business is, first to take in the food,
and then to assimilate it.
Even the little mould-fungus on your jam has these
organs and knows how to use them. It is true it cannot
cook or prepare its own food out of substances found in the
earth, air, or water, as the plants with green leaves can do;
but it knows how to eat and enjoy your jam, or your cheese,
or whatever its tiny seeds have lighted upon and found to be
suitable, nicely cooked food, ready for it to assimilate !
It likes a nice damp atmosphere to grow in, so, if you
don't like this small fungus, you must keep your food in a
dry place, and boil your jam well, covering it carefully
so as to shut out the air with the tiny seeds that float
in it, and then you may hope to keep your food for your
own eating!
Let us now see which are these indispensable "organs of
They are three in number.
(i) The root; (2) The stem; (3) The leaves. If, by way of
illustration, we compare a plant to a house full of hungry
people, the root will be the back door, where the butcher, the
baker, and the milkman bring supplies; the stem will be the
passage; and the green leaves the kitchen, where all the
cooking is done, and the raw materials are converted into
suitable food for the party.
Or suppose we compare the plant with our own body, then
the root will be like the mouth; the stem will represent the
throat; and the green leaves will be the stomach, where the
food is digested and made fit to nourish the body.


So, you see, the root takes in or absorbs the raw
material. We may call it an organ of absorption.
The green leaves prepare and assimilate it.
We may call them organs of. assimilation.
Together, these are the organs of nutrition.
I must, however, tell you that when the stem is green
some of the cooking is done in it, as well as in the leaves.
Most improper to do the cooking in the passage!" I am
afraid you will say; but Nature is very economical, and
wherever there are green portions of a plant that can cook,
she will make them take their share, even though they may
have other work to do besides! I must also tell you that
both passage and kitchen-you know I mean the stem and
the leaves-have numbers of tiny little windows in them,
through which air and vapours are taken in. These tiny
windows can be opened and shut according to the require-
ments of the plant. They are called stomata, from a Greek
word meaning "mouth."
The gases and vapours help to nourish the plant, so we
must regard the stem and leaves as organs of absorption as
well as of assimilation.
But I fancy you are longing all this time to know what
plants really have for their dinner, and you wish you could
peep into their kitchens and see the food preparing.
I am afraid that you will be disappointed to hear that
plants cannot eat solid food. I do not think any of you
would care to be obliged to live entirely on liquid things,
though tiny little babies seem contented enough with their
bottles but no plant can ever take in the least morsel of
solid food. It could not even manage a dose of that medicine
the doctor sent you, which has "to be well shaken before
taken," because of the sediment which settles at the bottom
of the bottle. You do not think there is much to regret in
that, perhaps ? On the other hand, if you melt up a lump
of sugar in a tumbler of water, so that it entirely disappears,


the plant wont say no to that. You admire its taste ? But
it is not a matter of taste or choice, but of necessity. The
powder in the dose of medicine was "in suspension in the
liquid; shake as you might, you could not make it disappear
like the sugar. As soon as you put the bottle down, the
powder sank to the bottom.
The sugar, on the contrary, was "in solution" in the water
-wholly melted up, and so mingled with the liquid that you
could no more distinguish or separate one from the other.
Now plants can absorb things in solution in liquids, but
not things which are merely in suspension therein. The
food of plants, taken in by the roots, consists, then, entirely
of water with various substances "in solution "-or melted
I told you, however, that the leaves and stem, besides their
work of preparing the food brought to them from the root,
have also to take in something through their little windows
or stomata."
What could come in through these little windows ? What
comes into your room when you open the window ?
Only air," you say.
No; not air 7.. but also everything that the air can
contain or carry.
Why does mother shut the window when it has been
raining heavily and there is a white mist rising ?
Oh, it is damp, you know "
Yes ; the air is full of tiny, wee drops of water, too small
to see except as vapour" or mist," which is really the
same thing as the steam clouds which you often watch
coming out of the spout of the kettle.
So the air is capable of containing water.
Now tell me, children, did you ever pass gas-works or a
tallow factory? If so, did you not hold your nose as you
went by? Why?
"Because there was such a nasty smell! "


But what is smell, children ? I see nothing! there is only
air all round me.
But it is in the air; you can't see it!"
Yes, it is in 'the air, just as the sugar was in the water,
and your tongue could taste it, though your eyes could not
see it. Air is a fluid, just as water is; and it can hold
things "in solution," so to speak, just as water can. Your
nose perceives the gas in the air, though your eyes do not
see it.
And can air hold things, for a time, in suspension' too,
as water can?"
Look at the dust blowing There is your answer. Does
it not remind you of the sediment in the bottle, mixed up
with the water by the shaking of the bottle, but settling to
the bottom when all becomes quiet ?
Now when the plant opens the tiny windows of its stem
and leaves, the air can enter with its vapours and its gases,
but the dust must stay outside, for it is not melted up
in the liquid air, so to speak, but is still in a solid form.
All it can do is to choke up the little windows and make
the poor plant very uncomfortable and unhealthy, until the
next shower of rain comes and washes it clean again.
So we learn that the food of plants consists of water, with
various substances in solution, taken up by the roots, and of
gases and vapours taken in by the leaves. Exactly what
these substances and gases are, you shall hear later on.
Meanwhile, having seen the raw materials delivered at the
door, we must leave the account of the cooking and storing
of them for our next lesson.

Let the children make observation on the different substances which
are soluble in water and those which water will only hold in suspension if
introduced into it as powder. Written lists might be made, if the children
are old enough, and rewards offered as before,



You, who live in this quiet village, with its green lanes
and fields, have perhaps never been in a great manufacturing
town, black with the soot from its many tall chimneys; you
have never been inside a factory of any kind, or heard the
whirr of its noisy wheels. If I could take you into one,
in some magical fashion, this minute, I believe you would
soon want to come out again. You would be half deafened
by the noise, wholly bewildered by the innumerable re-
volving wheels and awful-looking machinery in unceasing
movement; your head would ache and your eyes be dazzled
and tired, and you would soon be longing for your quiet,
breezy fields again.
This is the sort of place where man does his manufacturing
business, where he makes the things required for his various
necessities and pleasures.
Now shall we look into some of nature's factories, and see
how she does her work ?
Where shall we find them ?
Why, you live in the midst of them; you cannot open
door or window without seeing-perhaps almost touching-
them. That green field is a perfect town of them. Yes,
children, every green leaf, from the rose branch that taps
at your window pane to the weed beside your doorstep,
is one of nature's factories, and is hard at work all day


How can this be ? I hear no wheels, I see no black smoke.
The pure, sweet air is unsullied, and the peaceful silence
unbroken; is not all at rest ?
On the contrary, as I said before, there is not a blade of
grass which is not working hard every minute, all through
the sunny day. Only Nature's way of working is so quiet,
so calm, so still, that we do not realise her untiring activity.
Are you not glad that you live amidst her factories,
instead of in the smoky towns where man labours so noisily
and so wearily?
If you went into one of these towns at night, should you
expect still to hear the whirr of wheels and the clanking of
machinery ? No. Man must rest; he cannot labour on
unceasingly. And the God who constituted him thus, who
gives you your refreshing sleep, the God of Nature, bids His
green world also rest at night.
Light is necessary for the manufacturing process in
the leaves, and when the light is withdrawn the work must
I do not say that no work goes on at night. Your heart
and your lungs do not rest when you sleep, nor do you cease
growing. The plant is busy using up the store of food which
it has drawn from the earth and air, and prepared during the
day by the help of the blessed sunlight. It is busy growing;
but it is resting from the labours of the day. Its work is
different, and a change of work is often the truest rest.
The plant does not, as a rule (except in the case of young
seedlings with few leaves and rapid growth) use up for its
immediate needs all the food which it prepared during the
day; even though during the whole twenty-four hours the
growth goes on with greater or less vigour, and a portion of
the food prepared is consequently always being used up.
What is to be done with the remainder?
It must be put by, stored up somewhere for future use.
Do you not remember the various storehouses we spoke of

when we were considering the duties of the full-grown
plant? They are as varied and as interesting as are all
Nature's plans and arrangements. There is no monotony
with her.



(I a
:^: -


]ootl of (I1 'lthe jfii pinij'llides.
u11derground storerooms.
a, a. Two shrivelled-up tubers,
which has been exhausted.

Examplo of curious

the nourishment in

Dig up the pretty, starry, lesser celandine, which flowers
so early in the spring, and look at its quaint, club-shaped,
underground storehouse. Dig up a flowering purple orchis,


and remark its two storerooms. One is flabby and soft, almost
empty; that is the one provided last year for this year's
flowering season. The other is full and plump; that is the
store for next year. Does it not almost seem as if the orchis
were gifted with the power of thought and foresight ? In
many a fleshy stem, in the quaint thick leaves of the cactus,
in root and root-stock, in thickened scales or swollen under-
ground stem-in almost every part of plants, in short-we
find the prepared food carefully stored away for future use.
I fear you must wait until our next lesson to hear what
I can tell you about a few of the substances which are
manufactured thus in the quiet "green factories," and either
used up by the plant to supply its immediate needs, or stored
away for its future requirements.
To-day I want to talk to you about a substance which
cannot be said to be manufactured by the plant, but which
the plant is always taking in and using-as it does water
and other "raw materials," as we chose to call them-to
make its food, by the "cooking process we spoke of in the
Do not think, by-the-by, that because the plant can only
take in liquids and gases, only liquid substances can be
manufactured therefrom. Otherwise, whence would the plant
obtain the solid portions of its body ?
You must not be surprised at the manufacture of solid
substance out of liquids. If you think and observe, you will
soon see that a substance may change its form, and appear
at one time as a solid, at another as a liquid, and again on a
third occasion as a vapour. Think of solid ice, liquid water,
and invisible steam. They are all the same thing under
*7.' ,, conditions.
More than this; you will find that a substance may change
its appearance under different conditions, so that you can
hardly believe that the two appearances are really one and
the same substance. A bit of clear, glassy ice is not much


like a handful of white, flaky snow, yet you are well aware
that both will melt into water in your warm hand. This
will help you to understand what I am going to tell you
about the substance mentioned before, which is taken in by
the plant in large quantities, and is the principal material
for the building up of every part of the plant's body,
including the strong woody trunks of trees.
The substance is called carbon, and it will be most
familiar to you in the form of the coal which you burn in
your fires at home, the greater part of which is made up of
this substance.
But the coal is black and hard, and the plant is soft and
green and juicy; how can they look so different, and yet
both have so much of the same substance ?"
They do indeed look different, but you are prepared now
to expect the same substance to look very different under
different conditions. As to the juiciness of plants, however,
contrasted with the hardness of coal, remember I did not say
that the plants contained nothing but carbon! The juici-
ness will depend on the amount of water in the plant; the
oak trunk and the tender green shoot it sends forth in spring
are different enough in this respect.
But here is another surprise for you. You must all at
some time have seen a beautiful sparkling diamond, perhaps
set in a ring on a lady's finger, or in a brooch at her neck.
This clear, sparkling jewel is an example of carbon in its
purest form, and is, therefore, a near connection of the black
coal which you put on the fire It is strange, certainly; but
the sooner you can get accustomed to these changed appear-
ances of matter, the better; for the nearer you will be to a
right understanding of Mother Nature, and her wonderful
and surprising ways.
But now we must consider whence the plant gets its store
of carbon; whether through its roots, out of the ground; or
through its leaves, out of the air.

"Out of the ground," I hear you say, very confi-
dently; "does not coal come out of the ground? and,
besides, how could a solid thing like carbon come out of
the air ?"
But you are forgetting again. You know I told you that
substances could take the form of solids, liquids, or gases,
according to circumstances, and change from one to the other
under varying conditions.
Ouriouser, and curiouser," as Alice in Wonderland
remarks! But it is true, all the same, that the plant gets a
great part of its carbon, though by no means all, out of the
air, and takes it in through its leaves, in the form of a gas.
This is called carbonic acid gas, and is a compound of
carbon and of another substance called oxygen. It is to be
found in all air, more or less, but more in towns, where there
are crowds of human beings constantly breathing it out, than
in open country places. For I must explain that this part of
the air which is so necessary to plants is not at all good for
human beings. Every breath that comes out of your mouth
is loaded with this unwholesome gas, some of which you had
to draw in with the other parts of the air, but which your
body cannot use, and casts out again. Some of the gas
proceeding from your mouth is actually produced by certain
processes going on in your body, which I will explain to you
in a future lesson. This will help you to understand why a
room which is shut up, so that fresh air from outside cannot
get in anywhere, soon gets close and disagreeable, especially
if there are many people in it, The good part of the air is
gradually being breathed up, and the unwholesome carbonic
acid gas increased in quantity; you cannot breathe freely,
your head is hot and aching, and nothing will put you right
but "a breath of fresh air," that is, of air which has not had
all the good breathed out of it.
Now, this very part of the air which you cannot use is
most valuable to plants, as we saw; and by using it up,


they purify the air for us! How wonderfully these things
are balanced in Nature, are they not ?
Then if you go to a big town some day, and see trees
and bushes planted in the middle of it in squares, or avenues
of trees along the streets, you may whisper lovingly and
gratefully to the green leaves: "I know your kind work, dear
leaves; I know that you are freshening up the air in this big
city, for all the people who live and breathe in it; I know
how you are taking in and using up the bad part which
would injure them ; I am so glad to see you here "
But the kindly green leaves are doing something more for
you besides their blessed, purifying work.
We spoke of coal just now, and said it was mostly com-
posed of carbon, but do you know how coal is made ? Not in
man's noisy workshops certainly! We must go to Nature
and her factories again. You all know that coal is dug out
of pits; but long before Mother Earth took it down into her
deep places, and pressed it under her heavy, crushing rocks,
and treated it in various wonderful ways, until it became
hard and black, and fit for our use as fuel, its substance
was being made above ground, by millions of busy green
leaves, by the help of the golden sunlight and the fresh air.
Too many ages ago for you to imagine, the work began.
The earth was clothed with beautiful forests, wherein figured
conspicuously nunibers of tall, graceful tree-ferns, crossing
their feathery fronds, one over another, till their shadows
must have drawn patterns like lace-work underneath the
straight stems. More ferns would be underneath, and a few
other plants and trees, but there were few flowers in those
green forests of long, long ago. Such forests, or something
very like what they must have been, are still to be seen in
New Zealand, on the other side of our globe, but you have
seen nothing like them here.
What were those millions of green leaves doing, day by
day, as they waved in the bright sunshine ?


Just what leaves are doing now everywhere, all through
the sunny summer days. They were taking in the air
through their myriads of tiny stomataa," or little windows,
as we called them, and extracting from it the carbon, which
they needed to build up every part of their beautiful bodies;
and all the while, though they little knew it, they were
storing it up for you and me !
Years and years later those forests disappeared. Perhaps
the land on which they stood sank down gradually, and the
great sea came and swept over them. We do not know all
that befell them in the slow course of ages, but they were
certainly buried more and more deeply by the changes on
the earth's surface; hard rocks formed above them, and
they were pressed and crushed as if in a great vice. All
their green colouring and delicate form was gone, the life
was long ago pressed out of them; most of the gases and
water of the plants had disappeared, but the greater part of
the carbon they had stored up so unconsciously, all their
busy, happy lives, was there, safely guarded for man in the
depths of the earth, till he should come and dig oat that
black mass, and rejoice in the warmth given out by that
substance, gathered from the sunny air so many ages before
man was upon the earth at all.
This is the history of coal; and now you see that it is not
surprising that the composition of coal should be like that
of plants. So, with one more grateful thought for the kind
leaves which purify our air, and at the same time turn the
hurtful part they abstract into fuel for our use (for the wood
you burn is also of course full of carbon), we must close our
lesson for to-day.

The children may be requested to collect examples of storage-places of
plants above the surface of the earth; such as fleshy fruits and stems,
swellings beneath leaf-buds, the spadix of the cuckoo-pint, the receptacle
of the globe-artichoke, etc. etc.



WE have talked much in our last two lessons about the sub-
stances taken in by plants, and the unwearying activity of
the green leaves in preparing these "raw materials" and
manufacturing out of them all that is required for the plant's
daily growth and future needs. We peeped into some of the
store-houses, and saw that they were full of nutriment; and
perhaps it occurred to you to wonder if it would be pleasant
to be asked to dinner by the plant, and supplied with food
from its hospitable store!
I think the answer to that question must entirely depend
on the plant which invited you. An invitation from some
would mean nothing less than sudden death to you! From
others you might safely accept hospitality. You see it will
be wise to learn something of the nature and properties of
different plants before tasting any part of them
Some of them are busy preparing substances which
become most valuable medicines when properly and carefully
used; but often these are deadly poisons if taken ignorantly
and without precautions as to quantity, etc.
To chew the leaves of the i'..:-L,.,.. or the purple monks-
hood would be exceedingly dangerous and very probably
fatal, yet most valuable medicines are obtained from these
two plants. Bitter quinine and bark, nasty rhubarb, castor
oil (useful blut not agreeable), senna for our "black draught,"
ipecacuanha for our coughs, laudanum to soothe our pain-

all these and many many more drugs have been prepared for
us in those quiet "green factories" which we talked about in
our last lesson, and stored away in various parts of the plant.
FIG. 12.

for some of them as you should!

It would be a long business indeed if we were to make a
\' N I ", .. "I ,

t I'''-

The castor-oil pIlant.
I am disposed to wonder if you, children, will feel as grateful
for some of them as you should !
It would be a long business indeed if we were to make a
list of all the substances which are to be found*in different
plants throughout the world. For the present we will leave


the substances which are only found in certain plants, and
fix our thoughts on one or two more general products of the
vegetable world.
The first that we shall talk about is starch, which is
very familiar to you all. Mother knows it well enough too,
and the clean white collars would look very different if she
forgot it when she is getting them up after the wash. The
boys can tell you how hopeless it is to make a collar look nice
which is all limp for want of starch.
Can any child tell me whence we obtain this useful
production ? You have seen on the packet best rice starch,"
do you say? Well remembered! Yes, we obtain our starch
from the grain of rice, from the tubers of potatoes, and from
different parts of other plants which happen to contain a large
quantity of it; but you must not imagine that starch is only
found in rice or potatoes. On the contrary, almost .
plant contains it to some extent, though there may be more
in one part of the plant than in another; and wherever you
find a special store-house, in root, or stem, or leaf, or seed,
you may be pretty sure that, amongst other substances,
starch will be found therein. This, therefore, is a very
important product of the "green factories," and is a valuable
storage-food for the plant.
Is it of any use to us, besides stiffening our linen ?
Oh, yes. Starchy foods" form a large part of our diet.
Bread for your breakfast and tea, potatoes for your dinner,
cornflour, sago, rice, arrowroot, tapioca, beans, and peas-all
these and many more articles of food contain large quantities
of starch.
I will give you one practical piece of advice about these
foods. Eat them slowly.
Why do I say this ? Because the digestion of starch has
to be done in the mouth, and cannot be properly performed
in the stomach alone. There is something in the saliva in
our mouths which acts upon the starch, and renders it fit to

be assimilated by our bodies. If, therefore, we swallow it
without giving the saliva time to act upon it, we are very
likely to suffer from indigestion, and the food is not likely to
do us much good.
I said just now that starch was a valuable "storage-food"
for plants. Why did I say that ? Because it cannot be used
by the plant just as it is. It is ready to store away; but
when it is wanted it will have to be "digested" (just as you
digest your food before you assimilate it), and in this pro-
cess of digestion by the plant a new substance is made. The
starch is converted into something which will appear to you
very different indeed.
Before I tell you what that substance is, however, perhaps
you would like to know of what starch is made.
Well, we have been able to find out that, though I think
we must usually leave it to Nature to manufacture it
for us.
There are three elements (or "raw materials") out of
which it is composed.
The first is our old acquaintance, carbon. Are you sur-
prised to meet it here again ? You will find that it is wanted
to make nearly all the substances prepared in the "green
factories." You have not forgotten how it is obtained, I feel
The other two elements are two gases called oxygen and
hydrogen, which, together, make water. So starch is
made of carbon and the two elements of water.
Now, when the stored-up food is wanted for immediate
use-let us say, for example, in the germinating pea or bean
-this is what happens: the starch in those fat leaves of the
baby bean plant, which we talked about in our second lesson,
is digested by the help of something in the juices of the little
bean answering to that which acts upon starch, as I told
you, in the saliva of human beings; it is changed and con-
verted into another substance, which is even more familiar to


you, and perhaps more appreciated, than starch --namely,
It will surprise you, I think, to hear that the elements of
sugar are exactly the same as those of starch, only in
Sometimes you hear of fat people giving up sugar "because
it is so fattening;" but if they eat quantities of bread and
potatoes and other starchy foods, they need not expect to
grow thinner, and they are likely to have all their self-denial
for nothing!
You all know, I expect, what plants give us our principal
supplies of sugar.
We English mostly depend on the sugar-cane from the
West Indies and elsewhere. The thrifty French make theirs
from beetroot, but it is neither so sweet nor so sparkling as
ours. In America the children love maple-sugar, which is
the sweet sap of the "sugar-maple" tree, drawn from the
trunk in spring. Sweets and candies are made out of it in
large quantities.
Sugar, the second production of the "green factories"
which we have noticed so far, may then, from man's point of
view, be described as a pleasant and useful article of food,
fattening in its properties, but generally wholesome for chil-
dren, and with qualities which make it extremely useful in
preserving fruit and other articles of diet, and keeping
them for a long period of time in a fit state for our use.
Now, however, we must look at it from the point of view of
the plant, and see of what use the sugar is to it, and how and
it prepares this substance.
There are several different kinds of sugar in plants, all
made of the same elements, but not quite the same in propor-
tions, and having rather different qualities. One of these,
glucose, or grape sugar, gives the sweet taste to ripe fruit.
Does the plant put these pleasant sugars away in its store-
rooms, with the starch for future use ?

Not as a general rule. Usually, when we find sugar in the
plant, we may know that either the stored-up starch is being
digested and turned into sugar, because the plant is going to
use it up; or, on the other hand, the plant may be making
starch, and may manufacture sugar as a first process, which
sugar will presently be transformed into starch and stored
away. Germinating seeds and sprouting tubers (the potato
for instance) are nearly always more or less sweet. You can


- -.--...-.. c 4 %4
A. Seed of germinating barley cut in
half. Enlarged, a. Albumen. b. Acro-
spire. c. Rootlet.
B. Germinating barleycorn cut in half.
The acrospire has grown right through
the seed, and pierced the husk of the
grain. The albumen is partly exhausted,
and the process of germination has gone
too far formalting purposes. a. Acrospire.
b. Albumen partly used up by the growing
plant. c. Rootlets.

tell me why ? Because
the starch in them is
a beingchanged into sugar
for the nourishment of
the little plant.
We take advantage of
this moment of the di-
gestion of the starch and
its conversion into sugar,
to make malt, which, as
you all know, is a neces-
sary ingredient in the
manufacture of beer.
Barley is the seed
usually chosen, and the
grains must be plump
and healthy if good
malt is to be procured.

By a proper supply of heat, moisture, and air (which, I
hope you remember, are the three requisites for germination),
the barley is made to germinate. The tiny rootlets soon peep
out and the plumule, or,as the maltsters call it, the acrospire,
begins to grow inside the barley corn.
A careful watch is kept now, for the maltster knows that
when the acrospire has grown about three-quarters of the
distance through the seed, and would soon be putting its tiny
nose out into the world, the moment has come to put an end
to its little life.

eIGu. 13.


/ *- .



All the starch is now converted into sugar. The barley is
quickly dried on a hot floor; the poor little radicles dry up
and drop off, and are separated from the malted grain,
which is afterwards crushed and thus made ready for the
The sugar of malt is "glucose," or grape sugar, which, as
I told you before, gives the sweet taste to fruit. Preparations
of malt are often given to thin, delicate children, to fatten
and strengthen them, and they generally think it a pleasant
medicine on account of its sweetness.
We have talked so much about starch and sugar that we
have but little time left to-day. Yet we must speak of one
or two other productions of the green factories."
Gum is a substance found in many plants. Curiously
enough, it has the same elements, in the same proportions, as
the sugar of the sugar-cane. Yet I fear you would not be
contented with a lump of gum in your tea, instead of sugar.
The reason of the difference must be a change in the arrange-
ment of the ingredients. If any girl is learned in cooking,
and knows what different results may be obtained by mixing
the same materials in different ways, perhaps she will see how
this may be.
Gum is found in many seeds (the mallow, for instance),
and in the juices of some trees. You have surely often
seen it oozing out of the stem or twigs of plum or cherry
Like sugar, it is one of the substances made by plants in
the course of the manufacture of their food.
I need hardly mention the ordinary uses to which we put
it, though perhaps you do not know that several kinds of gum
are much employed in medicine for various purposes.
Oil exists in very many plants, and especially in seeds,
where it forms part of the store of food for the embryo.
This is the case in the castor-oil bean, for instance, which
yields us that not too much appreciated medicine. The

hazel nut, walnut, almond, and, indeed, almost all nuts are
full of oil, which, however, in this case, is pleasant enough to
our taste.
Olive oil, from the little plum-like fruit of the olive tree,
is used by the French and Italians instead of butter, and we
use it for making salads, etc.
The composition of the oils found in plants is a little
different from that of the other substances we have mentioned,
and indeed the different oils vary one from another in their
There are very many other substances prepared in the
"green factories which we ought to mention, such as guita-
percha, or india-rubber, turpentine, tar and pitch, dyes of
many colours, etc. etc., but we have not time to speak of
them now.
Before we close, however, I want you to observe with me
the threefold work of kindness done for us by the dear green
leaves with the help of the blessed sunlight.
(1) Observe how plants prepare food for man out of earth,
air, and water. Man could never do this for himself, but
must perish with want were it not for the "vegetable
(2) Observe how plants lay by for man; storing away in
root, grain, fruit, etc., the useful substances made by the
green leaves, in such a manner that man is able to preserve
them for use during the cold winter, when the plant
world is more or less at rest from its labours.
(3) Observe how plants purify the air for us, taking in
the part which is injurious to us, and transforming it into
useful substances, which minister to our daily wants.
Let us never forget that, though our life is a far higher
one than that of the vegetable world, yet God has made us
completely dependent on those lower creatures of His for our
very existence. A world without plants would be utterly
uninhabitable; we could not live in it. So love these lower


fellow creatures with all your hearts, and especially the dear,
busy, kind, green leaves !

Let the children make a list of all the substances they can think of,
procured from plants. The lists should be written out if the children are
old enough.



I no not think you can have quite forgotten our first lesson,
children, or our search after some signs by which we might
decide whether a thing could be truly said to live or not.
We chose three signs of life:

I think we have now clearly seen that plants both grow
and assimilate food. It remains to prove that they have
some power of movement, independently of outside causes.
Perhaps you think it will be hard to prove this? It is
certainly true that movements in plants are not to be
observed by every careless eye. Usually we shall have to
watch both carefully and patiently if we would take note of
their movements for ourselves.
We are so accustomed in the animal kingdom to regard
motion as not merely a sign of life, but also of sensation and
will, that I fear when you hear in this lesson of plants
moving when touched, of tendrils searching for support, of
leaves catching or closing on their prey, you will be disposed
to say: "Then plants can feel, and have wills of their own,
like animals!" But this conclusion, though perhaps it
seems attractive and tempting, would, I fear, be quite a false
You know, in our first lesson, we remarked that there
were two kinds of motion; movements made with the will of

the mover, and movements made without his will or control.
The latter we called reflex movements. The action
of our heart, lungs, etc. etc., are all examples of this
kind of movement, and they proceed, as you know, even
when we are entirely unconscious, in dreamless sleep.
All observations that have hitherto been made on the
constitution of plants have taught us to feel certain that
they can have no sensation" according to our meaning of
the word; although tracings of the beginnings of a
nervous system like ours have been discerned in plants by
some of our greatest observers in the scientific world; and
they have been led to believe that some of the curious
movements in plants of which I shall tell you, are caused by
the same unconscious action of the nerves which causes
the feet of a frog, lately decapitated (so that it cannot
possibly feel or think), to move when tickled or slightly
These, however, as I said before, are all reflex movements,
whether produced by the beginnings of nerves like ours, or
by various causes connected with their life and growth.

Do you ever grow sweet peas in your garden at home, I
wonder, and put branching sticks for them to climb ? If so,
I feel sure you must have often wondered how the tip of
the growing pea knew that there was a friendly stick at
hand, ready to give it support, and managed to find it, even
though it might be some inches away.
Perhaps you were tender-hearted, and took quite unneces-
sary trouble to guide the small pea-shoot to its support! It
could have found the way very well by itself!
But how ? that is the question. Well, you might almost
think it had the consciousness of a little blind puppy,
hunting for its mother with its small restless nose !


The "nose" of the baby pea-plant is never at rest, but
moves ceaselessly round and round in a more or less wide
circle, as if hunting for something. When it touches the
stick, the same circling movement, aided by the sensitiveness
to touch possessed by these and other parts of the plant, of
which you shall hear later, causes it to curl round it and
cling to it. These movements are too slow generally for you
to observe with the eye; but it is very easy for you to prove
them by experiment, thus. Sow a pea in a pot. Directly it
begins to shoot up, take a round piece of white paper or card,
as large as the top of the pot, and make a small hole in it,
through which you must let the tiny shoot of the pea-plant
When the plant is about three inches high, you will be
able to make your observations.
Put the plant out of doors, where the light is equal all
round it, and, with a pencil, mark on your card the point
exactly underneath the tip of your little pea (it will almost
certainly be bent slightly to one side or another). In an
hour, or less, look at it again, and see if the shoot is where it
was before. You will find it has moved; it has gone round,
and the dot on the card is no longer underneath it.
Thus you may count its turns, and the time it takes for each !
The same kind of experiment may be tried with the top
shoot of a young fir-tree; and the result will be the same.
It moves; it goes round! But the tip of any climbing plant
is by far the easiest thing for you to experiment with first,
because the movements are so decided, and, comparatively
speaking, rapid.
The young shoot of the hop is said to go round, on a warm
summer aay, at the rate of two hours and eight minutes for
each complete turn. This revolving movement is not
confined to the growing shoots of plants. As a matter of
fact all .,,'. : j. portions of plants revolve slowly in this
manner. The movement can be well seen in the radicles of


seedlings. It has been prettily shown by arranging the
little plant with its radicle just touching a piece of smoked
glass, when the tiny point of the growing rootlet traces its own
corkscrew-like wrigglings clearly upon the glass as it moves.
What is the cause of these movements ? you ask.
They are certainly connected with the rapid growth of
these parts, and are supposed to be caused by the fact that
the growth does not go on equally in all parts of the shoot
or rootlet at the same time, so that one part is always
outgrowing the rest, so to speak, and bending the tip of the
shoot or rootlet, to which it belongs, accordingly.
There is no doubt that light has a great influence on the
growing parts of a plant which are above ground, and their
tendency is to bend towards it, because, as I told you before,
light rather hinders growth, and so the part not exposed to
the light grows faster than the other side of the stem.
Light, however, naturally cannot influence the little root
down in the dark earth, so its corkscrew movements must be
caused by its own manner of growth.

But besides the wriggling movements of the little root
(which, by the way, make it much easier for it to get
through the soil than if it pierced straight down like a
needle), it has other, more curious, powers, which would
almost make us believe that it has some kind of beginning of
a brain and sensation !
When the tip of the radicle (protected by that kind little
cap which I described to you in an earlier lesson), meets
a stone on its way down into the earth, how do you suppose
it behaves ?
"It cannot feel the stone," you say, so what can the poor
thing do but flatten its nose against it, and spoil its shape
for life, at the best."


Nay, but it does feel, apparently, or it does something which
answers the same purpose (for we must not allow that the
plant has any conscious sensation). No sooner does it touch
the stone than it turns away from the impediment and seeks
a softer path, just as a mole or a worm would do if it came,
in its burrowings, to a piece of rock.
That there is actual sensitiveness, of a kind, in the tip
of the radicle has been proved by experiments with the

FIG. 14.

Growth of a carrot coming in contact with a stone
in the soil. To illustrate (i) the sensitiveness of
the tip of the radicle which causes it to turn away
from the irritating body; (2) the sensitiveness of the
root above the tip, which has the effect of causing it to
bend towards the irritating body, and so curve round
and preserve its downward direction.

radicles of seedlings, which, when slightly injured on one
side, are found to turn away and bend in the opposite
direction, as if to avoid being hurt.
But now suppose the point of the radicle of a carrot, for
instance, to have met with a stone, and avoided it by turning
to one side; as the growth proceeds and the root thickens,
its upper part is brought into contact with the stone, which
slightly scrapes it. Can this part of the root feel too, and
will it bend still more to one side ? for, if so, the carrot will
have to grow sideways, along the surface of the earth,
instead of downwards into the soil, where most food and
moisture are to be found.
Perhaps the root knows this. At all events, when scraped
or injured high up, above the tip, the effect is to make it

curl round the obstacle, bending towards the thing which
scrapes it, and so the root goes downwards as it should. But
the carrot will not be a good shape, because the stone made
it grow in a curve. So mind you dig your carrot beds well,
and free them from stones.
The movements hitherto described can only be observed
by a careful watching and experiment; but now I want to
introduce you to a very "nervous" plant, which, when even
lightly touched by your fingers, will shut its leaflets together,
just as a frightened snail draws in its horns.
Your light footsteps would not shake the earth, but a horse
galloping by will sometimes cause this delicate little plant to
shut all its leaflets together as if in terror.
It is generally called the sensitive plant" (Mimosa
2udica), and you may perhaps see it in a greenhouse some
day, for it is not a native of England. I am afraid if it did
live here you would not give it much rest, for I am sure you
would always be wanting to touch it and see it move.
It has a leaf shaped like what we usually call the "acacia"
tree in our gardens, with two rows of little leaflets growing
up a stalk, and it is these two rows which meet, leaflet
to leaflet, like the palms of little hands pressed one to the
other. When much irritated by touch or shake, the stalk
on which they all grow also drops down towards the stem
of the plant in a most curious way, as if the whole leaf had
There is another most curious plant with which I am sure
you will sympathize. We may call it "the fidgety plant,"
(Desmnodian .. ., of the East Indies,) for it is never still.
It has a very funnily-shaped leaf, with a 1,,-.- leaflet at
the end of the leaf-stalk, and two little ones on each side,
lower down. It is the small 1.- i1,-i which are so fidgety, as
might be expected. They are never quiet, day or night,
but seem to play f.-.'..-l r like two restless children. They
move with little quick jerks until they touch each other -,id

perhaps cross slightly; after a few moments they separate
and jerk away from each other again; and so they go on
continually, only they fidget more than ever when the
weather is very warm and the air moist.

Neither the "sensitive" nor the "fidgety" plant can gener-
ally be observed by little English children, but now I will
tell you of a curious native of your own country.

FIG._ 5.


Drosera rotiundfolia. (The sundew plant.)

This little flower lives in bogs or wet moors. If there is a
nice -i. t bog anywhere within your reach, you may go and
hunt with a good hope of finding him at home.
There are three varieties of this plant; two with long, and
one with round leaves, tufted like a daisy, and with some-


P: Pli' I:



what a similar shape of leaf; but you may easily recognize
any of them by the pretty rosy hairs which cover their leaves,
and which frequently carry tiny drops like dew upon their
points. Those rosy hairs are very pretty, and the dewy drops
most enticing, so doubtless think the little flies and beetles
that hover about them.
Let us watch a moment. See, one settles on a leaf. What
has happened? Why does he straggle like that ? Why
does he not fly away?
Look at the pretty rosy hairs! They are bending over
him; they are so sticky that he cannot free himself, and
they clasp and hold him as in a trap. And now the edge of
the leaf rolls up over its living prey, and it will open no
more till it has sucked the juices of that poor little fly, and
is ready to cast out his dry carcase. What is the ,,,;:uiu._
of this ? Do plants eat insects ? This is indeed turning the
tables on the insects who generally have it all their own way
with the poor vegetables.
Yes; these curious little sundews (Drosera) are members
of a party of insect-eaters among plants, which are certainly
an exception to the general rule. There are foreign members
of this group which move quicker, and are, perhaps, even
more interesting to watch than the sundews, but I chose the
latter because I hope you may see them yourself some day.
I once kept a number as "pets," and fed them with raw
meat and various kinds of food, and tried many experiments
with them, some of which were most interesting. These
plants digest their prey by a kind of juice which they pour
over it from their rosy hairs, very much like that in our
stomachs which performs the same office for us. I found
that an over-supply of meat brought on an indigestion, from
which it was possible for the leaf to die. Even plants must
be temperate in their eating, you perceive.
Now, if you try the experiments and make the observations
I have suggested, I think you may soon be convinced that


plants do really "move of themselves." There are very many
other movements in plants of which I should like to speak,
but our time is too short. You must look for yourselves. I
have not even mentioned the so-called sleep of plants "; an
effect of the absence of light which causes many flowers and
leaves to close at night.
It would be death to many a little seedling to keep its two

FIG. 16.

b. Oxalis leaves "sleeping."

leaves open and apart at night, on account of the chilling they
would undergo from what is called radiation."
Look round your gardens after the sun is down, and see
which of the leaves and flowers feel the influence of night.
Notice the leaf of the wood-sorrel in the bank, the common
clover in the meadow, the flower of the wee scarlet pimpernel
by the roadside.
See when the heavy clouds come up during the day-time
how many flowers close hastily, lest their stamens and pistils
should be wetted by the coming rain, Look at the crocuses

during a shower! Half an hour ago they were sunning
themselves with every petal wide !
Again, see the big sun-flowers turn their heads to the sun.
Plant them out with their backs to him if you will, but they
will twist round and look at him, for all that!
You will learn more by observing for yourself than I could
teach you in many lessons. I can only hope that in these
talks of ours your interest has been so awakened, and your
sympathies so drawn out towards these "lower fellow
creatures of ours," as we love to call them, that you will
make of them and of Nature friends for life; believe me,
dear children, you will hardly find better ones, nor any who
will lead you more surely and sweetly, if you will let them, to
their Father and yours-even the God of Nature.

Let the children make lists of all the flowers and leaves (or collect and
dry them) which they find closed at night. Also of flowers which close
in cloudy weather.


NOTE.--The subjects of Part II of this little oo0k do not admit of being
put in quite so simple a form as those of Part I., consequently they are adapted
for rather older children than some who might be capable of entering into the
earlier lessons.



MY little pupils and friends who have gone with me through
the earlier lessons in this book, and been really interested in
those "lower fellow creatures" of which I have written, and
in their works for us, will, I hope and think, care to go a
little more fully into the subject, to dip beneath the surface,
and to fill up much that we could only outline, as it were, in
those first lessons. You will like to hear how the plant is
made, how it looks under the microscope, and in what
measure it is like our own bodies. And this is what I hope
to explain to you in our lesson to-day.
Now, with regard to the word "body," you must under-
stand that it does not by any means necessarily imply flesh
and blood, like that of animals and men. The body of any
living thing is simply the substance which has been gradually
absorbed (or taken in), and assimilated (or made like itself),
by the living germ with which that being began. It is that
material which life of any kind has gathered to itself and
formed into a shape of its own, to fulfil its needs, and by
which it makes itself known to you,


NOTE.--The subjects of Part II of this little oo0k do not admit of being
put in quite so simple a form as those of Part I., consequently they are adapted
for rather older children than some who might be capable of entering into the
earlier lessons.



MY little pupils and friends who have gone with me through
the earlier lessons in this book, and been really interested in
those "lower fellow creatures" of which I have written, and
in their works for us, will, I hope and think, care to go a
little more fully into the subject, to dip beneath the surface,
and to fill up much that we could only outline, as it were, in
those first lessons. You will like to hear how the plant is
made, how it looks under the microscope, and in what
measure it is like our own bodies. And this is what I hope
to explain to you in our lesson to-day.
Now, with regard to the word "body," you must under-
stand that it does not by any means necessarily imply flesh
and blood, like that of animals and men. The body of any
living thing is simply the substance which has been gradually
absorbed (or taken in), and assimilated (or made like itself),
by the living germ with which that being began. It is that
material which life of any kind has gathered to itself and
formed into a shape of its own, to fulfil its needs, and by
which it makes itself known to you,


You cannot touch the actual life of a plant, but you can
see and touch its green leaves, you can smell its flowers, and
taste its fruit. Leaves, flowers, fruit, root, and stem-all
these are parts of the body of the plant.
Now look at your own bodies. Hands and feet, head and

FIG. 17.

FIG. 18.

a b
The little florets that dwell
within the green nest."

The daisy's green body."

shoulders, eyes and ears, they are all, in this sense, parts of
our body; they are the substance which the life within us
has absorbed and assimilated, and then formed into these
wonderful instruments for carrying on all the complicated
work of this living machine which we call our body.
Think of those two ladders of life that we spoke of in a
former lesson, and of all the various forms of life we saw
upon them,


Each one had its own body, fitted for its special needs and
In S. Paul's words: "God giveth it a body as it hath
pleased Him, and to every seed his own body" (I Cor. xv. 38).
Here is a little common daisy, dug up by the roots. Let
us look at its small but
F"I. 19. perfect body.

Those slender white fi-
brous roots are the food-
seekers. Follow them up
and we come to a thick-
ened stem, partly under-
ground; this is the root-
S-stock, and is the daisy's
"- principal storehouse.
Out of it spring little
tufts or bunches of green
leaves. You have not
forgotten the "green fac-
-" stories" where the food is
prepared, nor the little
Cells from a daisy's leaf (the "crinkled windows in them where
network"). Seen though the microscope, the vapours and gases are
taken in as "raw material"
to be used in the course of the manufacturing business. Out
of the little tuft of leaves rises a slender stem which supports
a pretty green cup. Dainty pink-tipped petals and the yellow
" eye make up what you call the daisy flower, only really
it is a number of tiny, little flowers all living together inside
the cup, like birds in a green nest.
These parts together make up the body of the daisy; and
you think it so different a body from your own, that you
cannot imagine that the two have anything in common. Do
not let us be too hasty, however !
I take a morsel of the daisy's green leaf and put it under


my microscope. What do I see ? Something like an irre-
gular kind of network, dividing up all the substance of the
leaf into numbers of little chambers of rather uncertain
shape and size. I take the thinnest possible slice from
the root-stock, or from the white root, and examine it, and
find the same kind of network, though the little chambers
may be smaller or of different shape, and the walls that sur-
round them may be thicker.
Now what is this network ? You have seen a honeycomb,
have you not? and you know that the little chambers or
cells of which it is composed are
FIG. 20.
,., made of wax, and each little cell is
f Full of liquid honey. If you out a
1. slice through a honeycomb it would
look very much like this network in
i -. my microscope, would it not ? though
the shape of the cells would be rather
,I \ F; more regular than these. In fact,
'i this net-work, which the microscope
i'- '' shows us, is entirely composed of
--" -. .. ,
I' il cells, such as those of the honey-
comb, separated from each other by
walls more or less thick, and con-
Some thicker-walled
cells from a daisy with training -but stop we must not
nuclei (the busy speak of the contents just yet.
spots "). Seen through Every part of the little daisy's
the microscope.
body is built up of these tiny
cells, from the point of its pink-tipped petal to the tip
of its white root. I do not say they are all alike; we shall
hear more about their 1.iryi-i' shape and their different walls
later on; but every bit of the daisy's body is composed of
cells of one kind or another.
Is the daisy peculiar in this ?
No, indeed! Every living plant is built up in the same
way. I must go further still, and say that the tissues which

go to form the substance of every living body are mainly
built up of tiny cells. Your own body is full of them, and
the amount of work which is accomplished in these minute
chambers would astonish you indeed!
So far, your body and that of a daisy are composed after
somewhat the same plan, each being built up of little cells;
but we shall note some differences presently.
The whole body of the daisy is entirely made up of
separate cells, which have no doors, and no communication
with the neighboring cells, except through the walls.
Every tiny chamber is surrounded by other similar
chambers; there are sometimes irregular spaces between the
cells, so that they do not quite touch each other, or only
partly so; but there are no regular passages, as there are in
a house, leading from room to room; and, as I said before,
no doors to the little chambers! A house planned like this
would be an awkward sort of place to live in, would it not ?
How would the inmates of each little room get food and the
necessaries of life ? Before we explain this difficulty, let us
take a glance round our own body, and see how matters are
managed there.
It is, however, perhaps rather a large mansion to go over
in a single morning, so let us choose one department for
our inspection. We will take one of our largest and most
useful organs, namely, the liver.
It does many important works, but our business is not with
its works, but with its construction; so let us observe it from
this point of view.
Here are multitudes of tiny cells clustered together, just as
in the daisy's body; but, running amongst these little cham-
bers, there are numbers of small passages. These passages
are of two kinds, I notice: one set is employed solely to carry
away the juices which have been manufactured in those busy
chambers. This set of passages is a peculiar arrangement
belonging to the liver and some of our other organs, whose

business it is to manufacture juices and send them away to
other parts of the body; so we will set them aside. But the
second set of passages is common to every part of our body;
none is without them. Their business is to carry the blood
to every cell, in order that the cell may absorb from it what-
ever is necessary for its own nourishment and for the produc-
tion of its own special manufacture, whatever that may be.
"Ah, this house is better arranged than the daisy's," you
say; "we can't think how the daisy cells can get on at all
without passages to bring their food to them."
Well, though the difficulty may be lessened, perhaps, in
the human mansion, it is not done away with; for, although
the food is certainly brought by the passages to the cells,
there is no door in the cells through which it can be received.
So here we are in much the same dilemma as before.
Then the only way is through the walls and I see you
look at the solid walls of this room, with a despairing hope-
lessness as to the possibility of procuring bread and butter or
roast beef, if it had to be spirited through them before you
could get it. However, matters are not quite so bad as that,
and the inmates of the cells have more chance of a dinner
than would appear at first sight.
The walls of the cells, you must know, are only composed
of thin membrane, or a delicate kind of skin, and the food (as
you remember I told you before with regard to plants) is
entirely liquid.
You shall hear more about the manner of its entering the
cells later. I will only explain now that every atom of
nourishment supplied to the cells of either plants or animals
has to pass ''. .,'. these delicate walls; you will see, there-
fore, that no solid mnatler can possibly be admitted.
But I see you are a little puzzled, and it is natural that you
should want to know what happens to the solid food which
you take into your own body every day for its nourishment.
Not a particle of it can enter into the blood-vessels and

mix with our blood until it has been completely melted up.
You and I can no more take solid food into the cells of our
body than the daisy can; only you and 1 have a wonderful
and complicated arrangement inside us for melting up all the
nourishing and useful parts of the food we take, the useless
remainder being afterwards got rid of.
We are not learning now about our own bodies, and, inter-
esting as the science of physiology is, we must not do more
than dip into it just sufficiently to show something of the
differences between our bodies and those of plants; but I
must just explain shortly that the food passes from the mouth
to the stomach; after that it is acted upon in various ways
by different organs and juices of the body, until all that is
useful for food has been melted up and made liquid. The
liquid food passes into the blood-vessels by much the same
process as that by which the blood itself passes into the closed
cells to nourish them.

By this time I think you are feeling a curiosity to enter
those closed and doorless cells, and to see what there is inside,
which, as I have hinted already, works so busily and silently.
You remember we took the honeycomb for our type of
cellular tissue, as we call this network of cells.
Every waxen chamber therein is filled with clear liquid
honey; and this is not a bad representation of the contents
of the daisy's cells, which consist principally of a jelly-like
substance, more or less fluid and colourless, called proto-
plasm. A wonderful jelly indeed is this, for no kind of life
whatever is known to begin without the peculiar combination
of materials which goes to make it up. In this jelly-like
protoplasm all life takes its start.

Although we may fairly describe the cell-walls as doorless," yet in
some cases they are certainly pierced by thin threads of protoplasm, by
means of which a direct communication from cell to cell is established.


Do you remember how, at the bottom of the two "scales
of being," we found both animals and plants which were like
little lumps of jelly? Well, they were, in fact, little more
than masses of protoplasm, with the germs of a low form of
life working in them. And if we pass all up the scale of
being and come to its crowning point, the human body, what
do we find? It is a marvellous and wonderful building, this
body of ours, but it is all made out of the same materials as
the jelly-like creature at the bottom of the scale. Yes, it is
all originally developed from a speck of animal protoplasm,*
which has been worked upon, has been made to assimilate
fresh matter, and, finally, has been formed into this beautiful
and perfect structure by the unseen, God-given life within!
Does it make you feel humbled to think that your body is
made of exactly the same elements as that of the daisy or the
jelly-fish ? Nay, you may rather feel a kindly sense of re-
lationship to all your lower fellow creatures in Nature, and
be thankful for the higher life in you, which (just as the
spirit within you gives expression to your faces, making
them show forth its qualities) has given this wonderful form
and expression to the common material which a lower kind
of life only forms into a vegetable, or into a senseless jelly-
fish. But let us return to the cells of the daisy.
I spoke of the busy activity of the occupants, did I not?
Life is hard at work amongst the little lumps of protoplasm,
doing many wonderful things. Remember all that was said
of the green factories and their works; all these things
are done within the cells.
In many cells we may observe, within the mass of proto-
plasm, one or more darker spots. These nuclei, as they are
called, are like little centres where the work is most vigorous;
they are the busiest spots of all.
In the jelly-like substance of the protoplasm, many other
substances are gradually formed.
Usually called sarcode.


In the leaf-cells little green particles are to be seen (under
the microscope), which are the colouring matter of the green
leaf; and very important little atoms they are, as you shall
hear another day. In some
FIG. 21. cells little grains of starch are
S o \ found; in others, tiny drops
.. of oil; but we must leave out
S- of consideration for the present
all these other substances
Formed by the protoplasm, and
s9 come to the question: What
a is protoplasm ?
I" / An important question like
.... _i. 1 this, however, cannot be an-
swered in a word.
You have taken in (and, I
Cells from potato containing hope, assimilated) enough
starch granules. Very much
magnified. knowledge for one day, and
we will wait till our next
lesson to discuss fully this wonderful basis of life," as proto-
plasm is often scientifically described.

Let each child choose an animal and a plant, and give as complete and
clear an account as he is able, of the outward form of the body of each ;
mentioning the uses of each part, as far as he knows them.



What is protoplasm ? That is to be our question for
to-day, children.
Outwardly, as I told you before, it resembles a sticky,
colourless, more or less fluid jelly; yet in this slimy, un-
promising looking substance, that wonderful mystery, which
we call Life, first began to show itself. The word "proto-
plasm" comes from two Greek words: protos, "first," and
plasma, "formative matter," and this name is given because
in this mysterious jelly-like substance, life first 7. .'. its
work of forming or building up the bodies of living creatures.
Life, and the combination of elements called "protoplasm,"
seem so mysteriously connected that where this particular
substance is formed-there is life.
Here, it seems to me, it might be well to try to explain
to you clearly what is meant by an element. In our first
set of lessons I spoke of the raw materials" taken in by
the plant, and "cooked," or prepared, for its own use.
Afterwards, instead of the expression "raw materials," I
used the word "element." You understand, therefore, that
the elements of a thing are the materials out of which it is
made. The word means more than this, however.
If I said: "the elements of sugar are carbon and water,"
I should not be speaking correctly, because water is com-
posed, or made up, of two gases; but if I said: "the
elements of sugar are carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen," that
would be perfectly correct, because none of these three are


mixtures. Each of them, however carefully we analyse
it, is found to be one and the same all through. This is
what is meant by an element; something which is not a
mixture, and which we cannot separate into two or more
different materials.
Do we know what the elements are of which protoplasm
is composed, and can we make it, and bring a living being
into existence? We do ]n.I.v its elements indeed; our men
of science have been able to analyse it and to tell us this,
and you shall hear the results of their investigation presently.
But the mysteries of life are not given into our keeping;
not the simplest of living beings can be brought into exist-
ence by man. He has never yet succeeded in imitating
protoplasm, well as he knows its elements; and how it was
first formed neither I nor any man can tell you. That
peculiar combination of elements in which life always
manifests itself seems sacred, and its secret is with God alone.
But we will come to what we do know, for you are long-
ing to hear out of what materials your bodies and mine,
and those of every living plant and animal are built up.
The first is quite an old friend of ours by this time. I
told you that we should meet it often, and that you
would have to learn to recognize it under many different
I think you have guessed that I am speaking of carbon.
I told you that the principal part of the solid substance of
plants consisted of carbon, and indeed your own bodies
contain, and are constantly taking in as food, a large pro-
portion of this element.
Good charcoal consists of carbon in almost a pure state,
but the purest form that we know of, as I told you before,
is the diamond.
If carbon is one of the elements out of which our bodies
are built up, and a diamond is pure carbon, why cannot
we use it as food ?


Do you remember that I explained to you (at the end
of Lesson VI.) our dependent nature as regards our food?
The elements of our bodies are indeed all around us, in
the earth, air, and water, but we are helpless to prepare
them for ourselves in such a manner that we can assimilate
them. The kind vegetable world must do this for us. Further
still, it is only certain plants that produce exactly the right
combinations for our food..
How particular oar bodies are about the exact propor-
tions and arrangement of the elements that nourish them,
are they not ? But the plant world is particular, too, in its
way, and if you offered a diamond to your favourite geranium
it would be much puzzled how to assimilate it. So, remember,
the elements of life are all around us, but it is only under
certain conditions and circumstances that they can become
food for living beings.
Let us pass now to the second element of protoplasm.
You do not know it by sight, as you do carbon, for it
is invisible; nor do you know it by taste or smell, for it
has neither; nor can you feel it, though it is all around
you now. Yet you depend on it every moment for your
That sounds a strange riddle, yet perhaps you understand
me, and know that I am speaking of the oxygen in the
This invisible gas is what I called "the good part of the
air in a former lesson. I described it so, because it is the
part of the air which is necessary to sustain our life. This it
does by a process which I can best describe as the burning
of the blood and tissues of our body to produce the vital heat
and force.
This sounds very alarming perhaps, but it is really only
the same thing that I said to you in our very first lesson,
when I spoke of the constant "dying" of little particles of
our body, and the consequent need of replacing them by new


substance. In another lesson I will try to explain the
matter more fully to you, but we will not interrupt our
description of the elements of protoplasm to go into it now.
It is enough for the present that you understand that the
oxygen in the air is that part of the atmosphere which is
necessary to maintain your life.
Though in its pure state oxygen is an invisible gas, it is
very willing, under suitable circumstances, to enter into
combination with other elements; and when thus combined
it takes many forms, and is said to compose one half of the
crust of the earth (that is the outer layer of our globe, as
deep as we have been able to examine it).
That is rather a startling assertion, is it not ? for the earth
looks very solid, and not at all as if it contained so large a
proportion of an invisible gas But then, you know, we
resolved to keep in memory the fact that solids, liquids, and
gases are only substance under different conditions, and
that the same substance may appear in one state or the other
according to its circumstances.
In the earth we see ::,: .i, combined with other elements,
in a solid form; now I will show it to you as a liquid. But
wait! It is time to introduce the third element of
This is called hydrogen, and is another invisible,
tasteless, odourless gas. Combine it in certain proportions
with oxygen, and a liquid is formed. What is it? Pure
water. Perhaps you remember that I have mentioned the
elements of water before as oxygen and hydrogen.
This third element, hydrogen, is not found in nature pure,
and free from any other substance, and the only way in
which you are likely to be on familiar terms with it is when
combined with oxygen as water. I hope you are very fond
of it in that form, and that it is a really intimate
acquaintance of yours!
Carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen; charcoal and the elements


of water! they do not seem very promising materials out of
which to build the wonderful human body and all other
living bodies Let us come to the fourth element.
Nitrogen is another invisible, tasteless, colourless gas!
It is plentiful enough, for it forms four-fifths of the air we
We need it to repair and renew the tissues of our body,
and without it we must inevitably waste away and die.
"Well," you say, "there is no need for such a melancholy
end, if the air is full of it! we should be like a man dying of
starvation at a full table !"
The nitrogen in the air, however, is not in a suitable
condition to be assimilated either by plants or animals. The
only useful purpose it seems to serve thus is to dilute the
oxygen which, by itself, we could not breathe. It does not
mix or combine with the oxygen in the air under ordinary
circumstances, though in tropical countries where there are
very violent thunderstorms it sometimes does so combine,
and then (or whenever oxygen and nitrogen and hydrogen
are made to combine) a substance called nitric acid is
produced. In this form, or when the nitric acid is further
combined with potash and becomes saltpetre, the nitrogen
becomes fit for the use of plants. But probably the form in
which they generally obtain their nitrogen is as ammonia.
This is nitrogen combined with hydrogen.
I dare say you have, some of you, on one occasion or
another, smelt a bottle of "smelling salts"; and, if you took
a good sniff the first time, perhaps you were a little startled
at the stinging, pungent odour, which quickly brought the
tears to your eyes! These salts are almost entirely made of
ammonia, and it is this which gives them their irritating,
pungent smell.
Sal volatile is another mixture, containing ammonia,
with which you are likely to be acquainted.
Ammonia is constantly being given out in various forms

by all animal bodies; our perspiration, for instance, contains
a small quantity of it. The decay of any animal substance
always produces ammonia; so the atmosphere and soil are
constantly receiving it from one source or another. Carbon
has the property of absorbing this substance. The carbon in
the soil, of which there is always more or less, takes it in
and keeps it for the use of plants; and in this combination it
suits them remarkably well.
Ammonia also mixes easily with water, and the rain often
conveys it thus to the roots of plants.
Of course it is, as usual, through the plants that animals
get the supply of nitrogen which is so very necessary to
them for the repairing and renewing of their tissues. Some
vegetables-peas and beans, for instance-contain very much
more nitrogen than others; they are therefore more nourish-
ing, and are much used by vegetarians. But we human
beings mostly "take a short cut" to get our nitrogen, and
obtain it by eating meat, eggs, and other animal food, which
contain a large amount of it in a small space.
Now we have spoken of four elements; carbon, oxygen,
hydrogen, and nitrogen. When we have added to these a
very small quantity of sulphur and phosphorus we shall
have the elements of protoplasm complete. Probably you
know sulphur in the form of a yellow powder, sometimes
used in medicine. It is often burned to stupefy bees when
the honey is to be taken, and its fumes are also employed to
disinfect rooms where fever has been.
Phosphorus, which we use, as perhaps you know, in the
manufacture of lucifer matches, and also in medicine, is not
found in a pure state in Nature, but always in combination with
other substances. It is contained in the bones of all animals.
Both sulphur and phosphorus are produced in certain
forms and combinations, when any animal matter decays;
and the plant absorbs them by its roots, with the water which
it draws from the soil.

These, then, are the elements of protoplasm; these, with
some other less important substances, are the contents of
those myriads of tiny cells which compose the mass of all
organisms, from the shapeless lump of jelly at the bottom of
the scale of life, to the wonderful human body. A little
earth, a little air, a little water. How true it is that dust
we are, and unto dust shall we return."
"It is the Spirit that quickeneth "-the marvellous God-
given life within us has united and organised these common
elements, and formed out of them this mysterious structure
which feels, and thinks, and can wonder at its ownv perfections.
Possibly this lesson may have seemed a little dry and diffi-
cult to you. But I think we could not hope to even begin to
understand the constitution or the structure of plants without
being able to form some notion of the elements which com-
pose them; and I hope that the pleasure of watching the
plants at their daily work, and understanding a little of what
they are doing, will repay you for any efforts you may have
made to-day.
Let us glance back for a few moments, before we close, and
make it clear to ourselves whence the plants obtain each of
the necessary elements.
(1) Carbon by the leaves, out of the air, in the form
of carbonic acid gas, a combination of oxygen and carbon,
as explained in Lesson V. The leaves separate these two
elements, keeping the carbon for their own use, and
setting free the oxygen, which is so necessary for our life.
Thus they "purify the air for us. Carbon is also taken
in by the roots, from the soil, as carbonic acid (again com-
bined with oxygen) dissolved in water.
(2) Oxygen is taken in with
(3) Hydrogen, as water, by the roots, and as
vapour by the leaves. Under certain circumstances
some pure oxygen is taken in from the air by the leaves,
and more especially by the flowers of plants.


(4) Nitrogen by the roots, combined with hydro-
gen as ammonia, and in some other combinations.
(5) Sulphur and Phosphorus by the roots,
in various combinations with other substances. They
are especially found in suitable form for absorption by
the plant where the decay of animal matter is going

In order to study the results of different combinations of elements, let
the children try how many different tints they can produce with the three
cardinal colours, red, blue, and yellow.
In the case of girls possessing some knowledge of cooking, the subject
might be studied by each taking a given quantity of three or more ingre-
dients (say sugar, butter, and egg) and cooking them according to a
different plan of combination; the results being produced afterwards for



WE were out in the wide world in our last lesson, children,
hunting for the elements out of which the bodies of plants
and animals are built.
To-day, however, I propose to confine ourselves to a
narrower space.
Let us enter again in spirit, as we have done before, into
the body of the daisy, and examine more closely into the
structure of those minute cells of which every part of it is
Of the protoplasm which these cells contain we have
spoken pretty fully, and possibly you remember my allusion
to the little green particles embedded in it, which form the
colouring matter of the leaf, and which I said were very
important little atoms indeed. These two-the protoplasm
and the green atoms, called chlorophyll-are the busy
workers within the closed cells, by whom all the life of the
plant is carried on.
In the centre of the cell, within the protoplasm, we shall
generally find little spaces, called vacuoles, filled with cell-
sap, that is with fluid (containing various substances in
solution) which has been taken up by the roots. This is the
"raw material for the use of those busy workers.
Let us now examine these doorless walls which shut them
in, and see how, and of what they are made.
The material is called cellulose, and it is composed of


three of the elements of protoplasm, namely carbon, oxygen,
and hydrogen.
These are also the elements of sugar and starch, and even
the proportions are the same as in the case of starch, so
(as we said once before when speaking of gum and sugar,
which have the same elements in the same proportions) the
only difference can be in the mixing.
You will notice that nitrogen, which forms such an import-
ant element in the protoplasm, is not to be found in the cell-
walls which enclose it. These walls do no work except that
of protecting the working material within them ; they are less
alive than their contents, which is a strange thought, when
you consider that they are actually portions of the same living
organism. But it is a fact that, not only in the vegetable
bat also in the animal world, each individual plant or animal
is made up of numbers of little working, living, separate
atoms, each with its own little piece of work to do for the
general body; and this general body depends for its comfort
and health upon the manner in which each of the wee atoms
does its duty. The body is really a multitude in one.
We may carry that thought on, if we like, and look upon
ourselves as tiny, separate cells in the great body of humanity,
and remember that the right doing of our work is of real
importance to that body, just as it matters to our little daisy
whether the wee cells of its leaves are working properly and
doing their duty or not.
But to return to the walls. How were they built" ? you
ask. &
Let us go to the very bottom of the scale of life and see
for ourselves.
Here, on the animal side, we see shapeless specks of slime
which are nothing more than little lumps of animal proto-
SReference to embryology appearing unsuitable in a work intended for
children, it has been necessary to take all illustrations of the process of
development or evolution from existing forms of life of the lowest types.

plasm as we may call it. In fact, they are like the con-
tents of a single cell, without any protecting walls at all.
On the vegetable side, the specks of jelly which form the
lowest plants have made already a faint attempt to provide
themselves with a covering and protecting membrane. The
outside of them t is firmer and stickier than the inside; in
fact, the protoplasm is at work making itself a house.
It is the nature of plant life to develop in this way,
separating off each little cell from its neighbour by walls,
which, as we shall see, often become very thick and firm
The animal life develops somewhat differently. The cell
membranes have not quite the same chemical composition,
and they do not, as a rule, become thick and firm as in the
A little higher up in the scale of vegetable life we find that
the protoplasm, after forming a thicker layer on its outside,
as we saw before, has now begun to build firm, enclosing walls.
As we go higher up the scale of vegetable life, these walls
become more distinct and firm.
Finally, we arrive at plants like our little daisy, which
is built up of a number of separate, individual cells, each
surrounded by its wall, each doing its own work, but, as we
shall see, not by any means each the same work that its neigh-
bours do.
You may have thought, hitherto, that all the cells of our
daisy were the same in shape, had the same thickness of walls,
and did the same work. But this is not so. Apparently our
daisy has got beyond thinking that every one should be equal,
and that the world would be happier if every man were exactly
like his brother man. At the bottom of the scale of life,
down amongst the little lumps of jelly, it was so. There, in
those lowest forms of plant-life, each cell (if there were more
than one; for some of these wee, simple plants can boast but

* Sarcode.

t The primordial utricle.


of a single cell, like a one-roomed cottage, wherein all the work
of life must go on) each cell is exactly like its neighbour, and
each cell does everything "-it absorbs and assimilates food,
it grows, and can produce other cells like itself. It does not
depend on other cells for anything, and if it be separated
from them, it really does not mind a bit, but sets up house
for itself quite happily!
In these very low forms of vegetable life, any bit cut oft
from a plant will live and grow, because each cell is really
complete in itself, and independent of the others. Now that
may seem very attractive; but if
we are to follow Nature and her
teachings, it is not the highest and
I .-' best ideal to set before oneself.
For which of you can doubt that
the beautiful beech-trees of our
-' woods, the violets and roses of
Le n mior (Lesser our gardens, or this little daisy
Duckweed). Theflowers
come on the margins we are examining, have a higher
of the leaves. To the kind of life than that of the green
right is a magnified s
flower which can set slime growing on wet stones, or
seed, though it has no even the "duckweed" in a stag-
bright petals. nant pond ?
The duckweed, however, has begun to set the cells of its
body to different works. Some of them make up the little
white roots which hang down in the water, and it is their
business to absorb the nourishment for the tiny plant. Then
the cells of the small green leaves must cook or prepare it,
whilst those of the minute and very inconspicuous flowers
must do their several parts to produce the seed.
We are ready now to glance at one or two different kinds
of cells which, amongst the higher plants, have been set to
special work.
The lowest forms of life, both animal and vegetable, are
mostly to be found in water, where they are saved the trouble


of supporting their own weight, and float about lazily without
a bone of any sort (much less a backbone, which is always
getting into a rounded position, and causing its possessor to
be scolded and desired to "sit up ") !
The green inhabitants of the earth, however, when once
they have begun to aspire to rise above the brown soil and
enjoy a bath of sun and air, must be provided with something
stiffer in their composition than thin walled cells.
Did you ever see a bouquet of skeleton leaves" ?
They are leaves from which all the soft, green substance
has been removed by some process, and only the white net-
work of so-called veins" is left. Very pretty and lacelike
is the delicate tracery of this fine network. But what is it ?
The very word "skeleton" may help us to the right view
of its nature, for it represents our bones rather than our
veins. It is that which gives firmness and stiffness to the
surrounding tissue, and without such a provision of "ribs "
or "bones" the leaf would be very limp and exceedingly
liable to get torn and injured.
Look at the firm, strong stalks of plants. They are evidently
of the same nature.
Now look at the woody stem of a lilac, and then at the
great, strong trunk of an oak or beech.
What sort of cells compose the network of the leaf, the
stalk of a flower, the stem of a shrub, or the trunk of a tree,
do you suppose ?
Let us see.
In the cells forming the soft, green part of the daisy-leaf
the protoplasm has been contented to surround itself with
thin, delicate walls, through which the sunlight and air, re-
quired for its manufacturing work, might easily penetrate.
But in many cases, where a firmer substance is required, fresh
layers are repeatedly added by the protoplasm to the walls of
the cells, until they become sometimes so thick as to leave
hardly any space inside the cell. The shells of nuts and the


stones of cherries are made of such cells as these, and many
tough and leathery leaves have thickened cell-walls.
We must remark, however, that, as a rule, these layers of
thickening material are not deposited in an unbroken circle
all round the cell, but in such a way as to leave tiny passages
open to the old cell-wall.
These passages are so arranged as to have their ends
exactly opposite to the passages of the next cell, only the
original thin cell-wall coming between. Thus, you see, there
is still a possibility of some sort of communication between
next door neighbours, which would hardly be the case if they
had to carry it on through those terribly thick walls !
The form of a cell which is not pressed upon and can grow
comfortably, is usually more or less that of a circle or an oval,
but the pressure of other growing cells around it, and various
other circumstances in its development, may cause it to take
many different shapes.
The cells of the green tissue from our daisy's leaf were
like an irregular crinkled network; others will take more
regular forms, often resembling crystals.
Now, if I examine through my microscope a particle from
the mid-rib of a leaf, I find that the shape of the cells which
compose it is totally different from the more or less rounded
forms we have looked at hitherto. They are long and
narrow, and they taper to a point at each end, so that they
fit together like spliced sticks. Their walls are thickened by
a woody deposit, which has been laid upon them by the
You can easily see how very strong a substance formed
of such cells can become. In fact, this is the woody
matter" which composes the principal part of the trunks of
trees. The stringy part of the stalks of flax and hemp is
also made up of long, thick-walled cells like these, and this
is the secret of their toughness and strength.
Amongst such woody tissue we may often find another


structure of a tubular shape which I must now describe
to you.
The common plantain growing by the wayside will furnish
us with an example of what we want.
Gather the largest leaf you can find. You will notice
some little green threads in the stalk, which you can very
easily pull out, and which leave little holes where they have
been. If we boil these threads it will make them very much

FIa. 24.
?IT 23.


lu m ,i
Wood cells. Il
Greatly magnified. l
Plantain leaves with the "green threads"
hanging out from the broken stalks.
easier to manage. Then, if I pull one to pieces with needles,
and examine a morsel of it through my microscope, I am sure
to find some of these curious tubes.
See, this one has a fibre coiled up as close as possible
inside it, throughout its whole length. One of them has
been torn by my needles, and the fibre has come out of its
tube, and partly uncoiled, looking like a delicate tendril. In
another the fibre is quite loosely coiled, and a third has only
rings inside it.


These tubes are called vessels. They are formed by the
union of a number of cells which happen to be placed end
to end. The partitions between these cells break down and
disappear, and a long vessel is thus formed. The curious
coil of fibre within these tubes is (as usual) the work of the
FIG. 25.

Vessels from the fibre of a plantain leaf, as seen through
the microscope.

Sometimes only rings are formed; and, indeed, in plants
only just far enough up the scale of life to have such vessels,
this is the usual arrangement.
Sometimes, as we have seen, a complete, and even occasion-
ally a double coil of fibre is produced, which can be pulled
out of the tube.
Sometimes, again, the thickening is laid down nearly all
over the walls of the vessel, the tiny unthickened spaces
between looking like dots or pits. There are many varieties
of appearances, which are all caused by the different manner


in which the thickening layer is deposited on the walls by the
And what is the use of these vessels ?" you ask.
It has long been a disputed point, but some experiments -
have, it is generally considered, proved that they serve as
channels to help in the distribution of the sap (and also of
certain gases taken up by the roots) to the cells. If this be

FIo. 26.

i. Diagram of a sin
called plant.
2 and 3. Ditto dividing
c.w. Cell wall. Pr.
toplasm. V. Vacu
N. Nucleus. n. Nuclec
ch. Chlorophyll.

so, you will see that many
plants (though not all) have a
i certain number of "passages"
'. in their "house," after all, to
bring the food-supply to the
r- doorless chambers. But cer-
tainly none are provided with
'~~3' such a network of "passages"
S as is the case in the house "
gli- of the animal.
Roughly speaking we may


say :
(I) The thin-walled, more
or less rounded cells are
used mostly for the absorp-

tion, manufacture, and storage of the plant's food.
(2) The narrow, thickened cells for giving strength to
the various parts.
(3) And the vessels for carrying and distributing the
sap and gases amongst the cells.
One more question we must ask before we close.
How does the plant grow ? The tiny seedling can have
but a small number of cells, compared to those in the full-
grown tree; how do the cells multiply ?
It is a simple process-none could be simpler.
The protoplasm of each cell, as it reaches a certain size,
divides into two (or sometimes more) portions; a new wall is
Made by Mr. Herbert Spencer.


built up between these portions, and each becomes a separate
These new cells then set to work to grow until they also
arrive at the stage when their size renders it necessary for the
protoplasm to divide into two or more separate masses;* and
so the multiplication of the cells and the growth of the plant
goes on.
There are various different manners in which this division
of cells is effected, but we must not stay to speak of them
to-day; and the principle is the same in all-growth by division
of the protoplasm, and the consequent multiplication of

In order to study the frame-work of plants, let the children collect
leaves and make careful drawings of their "ribs and "veins," noting the
great variation in the arrangement of these in different plants. It would
be desirable, if possible, for the children to reduce leaves, seed-vessels, etc.,
to skeletons, but the process is too tedious and delicate for most children
to manage. A recipe is however appended.
Steep the leaves in rain water, in an open vessel, exposed to the air and
sun. Water must be occasionally added, to compensate loss by evapora-
tion. The leaves will putrefy, and then their membranes will begin to
separate. Then lay them on a clean white plate filled with clean water,
and, with gentle touches, take off, with a stiff paint brush, the external
membranes, separating them continually near the middle rib.

The necessity for the fission of the cells, when they reach a certain
size, arises out of the difficulty of supplying the protoplasm with food,
when its bulk becomes too great, relatively to the wall-surface, which acts
as the medium for the conveyance of the supplies.

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