Jack and Jill's journey


Material Information

Jack and Jill's journey : a tour through the plant kingdom
Physical Description:
xiv, 198, 1 p. : col. ill. ; 22 cm.
Allen, Phoebe ( Author, Primary )
Godfrey, Henry ( Illustrator )
Turner, Katharine ( Illustrator )
Wells Gardner, Darton & Co ( Publisher )
Wells Gardner, Darton & Co.
Place of Publication:
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Botany -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Plants -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fantasy literature -- 1899   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1899   ( rbgenr )
Baldwin -- 1899
Fantasy literature   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London


Statement of Responsibility:
by Phoebe Allen, author of "Playing at botany," etc., etc. ; illustrated by Henry Godfrey ; with frontispiece by Katharine Turner.
General Note:
Date of publication from t.p. verso.
General Note:
Frontispiece, botanical illustrations, and text printed in blue.
General Note:
Includes prose and verse.
General Note:
Publisher's advertisements follow text.
General Note:
Index: p. 194-198.
General Note:
Professors Fun and Find-out-a-Lot take an expedition of boys and girls to the land of Wonder-workers, Seen and Unseen, adjoining Fairyland.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002221108
notis - ALG1326
oclc - 37860270
System ID:

This item is only available as the following downloads:

Full Text





Rt tour tbrougb the Iplant kingdom.



















































- 157

- 164

- '7'

- I78

- I82

- 188



crenata). CONSTANTIN


CELLS) 117
(GRASS) 125
BEAN 135




A MORTAL crossed the river,
Death's river, narrow and chill,
And knocked at the gate of heaven
With strenuous hand and will.
'Admit me,' he prayed, 'ye angels,
Where knowledge and power await;
On earth my spirit was cabined,
I stand at a new world's gate.
'My feet in earth-furrows were planted
Perforce, but my forehead was high;
I scorned the low earth, and I thirsted
For wonders beyond the sky.
'My human senses were barriers
To highest knowledge of all;
What lies beyond human vision ?
What sounds beyond silence fall ?'
But the angels said, What canst thou tell us
Of the country whence thou art come ?
To him who despises earth's secrets
Are heaven's mysteries dumb.
'Knowest nothing of field or of forest,
Of flora or fauna of earth ?
Hast not lowered thy gaze to the level
Of creatures of lowliest birth ?
' Nor studied earth's earliest ages,
The story of cave and of mine,
The story of lands that are desert,
Or fertile with corn and with wine ?


Comest hither with hands that are empty,
Vain scion of human race ?'
And the angels, with wide-spread pinions,
Barred the gate in his face.

A mortal crossed the river,
The icy river of Death,
And cried at the gate of heaven
With faltering, anxious breath:
'Give me, I pray you, good angels,
Who guard the gate of New Birth,
A passport to carry my spirit
Back to the'kingdom of earth.
'I am shamed to seek wonders above me,
Who know not the wonders below;
My earth-life has vanished in learning
How less than nothing I know.
Each blade of grass is a mystery,
Each drop of dew is a world,
Each clod of earth has a history,
In each bud wisdom is furled.'
But the angels folded their pinions,
And the gate swung open now:
Enter, for heaven's wonders
Are waiting for such as thou.
Who is faithful in least shall be faithful
In things both small and great.'
And the angels smiled a welcome,
And drew him within the gate.



-. .. ANY number of boys and girls from seven
TE", 1 to seventeen, to join in an expedition
to the land of Wonder-workers, Seen
and Unseen, adjoining Fairyland. The
--- expedition, which will be personally
conducted by Professors Fun and Find-
L out-a-Lot,-will start from the Speedwell
Station on January I, 18-, and will
extend over twelve months. The route
will be as follows: A prompt descent to
Root Valley, from thence a gradual ascent
to Stem Province, from Stem Province
S to Leaf-land, terminating with a pro-
S longed stay in Blossom Realm and Seed
City, and including visits of inspection
.. to marvellous manufactories, conjurers'
cells, etc., etc.
'Lectures will be given by the most influential residents
in each district, private interviews with special individuals
of leading families will be arranged, and observations will
be taken during each stage of the journey.


Members of the party are invited to make notes of all
they see and hear, in order to take part in the competitive
examinations on subjects under discussion, which the
Professors propose to hold from time to time. They are
further invited to bring with them all their wits and every
scrap of fun in their possession.'
It was this advertisement, with the date duly filled in,
that was seen-no matter when or where-by Jack and
Jill, one December afternoon, when they had been wishing
violently that some elf or kobold would come and carry them
off to Fairyland. 'There'd be no Latin grammar there,'
Jack had sighed. And no torn frocks to mend,' Jill had
At that very moment they turned into a new path, and
came face to face with the advertisement..
'Well, if it's not Fairyland itself,' cried Jack, 'it must
be next door to it.'
'Yes,' said Jill; 'let's join the party, and be off to-night.'

'Now, my friends '-it was Professor Find-out-a-Lot
(commonly called Professor F.O. for brevity) who was
speaking-' I will give you a few details of our pro-
gramme at starting. First- '
But here cries of 'Stop, stop I want to get out I've
been taken in !' suddenly interrupted the Professor.
Looking about them, Jack and Jill perceived a boy of
their own size, very red, and gobbling like a turkey-cock.
'You advertised,' said the young brawler, 'that you
would take us to the land of Wonder-workers, and show
us marvellous manufactories and ever so much more; and
now I have looked at your programme, and I see that you
are only going to show us some dusty roots and some silly
stems and some stupid old leaves and some dreadfully
common flowers that we can see for ourselves and know
all about besides.'
Know all about them, do you indeed?' cried Professor


Fun. He was such an odd little creature, with eyes that
danced and twinkled. 'Now, that's uncommonly good
news. Why, then, you'll be better than a guide-book to
direct us to all the different families and their relations
and friends; and you will be able, too, to tell us where to
look for the different factories that we mean to inspect.'
But the gobbling turkey only grew redder and louder.
There are no factories,' he roared; 'and as to there
being families, that's all rubbish. You might as well say
there are real people, who live and work and eat and
'And so there are, so there are,' said both Professors in
one breath. 'Come along with us and we'll show you
plenty of real people; and, what's more, we'll tell you
heaps of secrets about them, and their private characters,
and their good and bad deeds. For some do ill and some
well, and- '
'Oh, please, please let's hear what the bad ones do !'
broke in several voices.
'So you shall in due time,' said Professbr F.O.; 'but
there are all sorts of queer characters amongst these
Wonder-workers, and they all have a trade or profession
of some sort. Some work in factories, making sugar, and
starch, and acids, and salts, and gums, and spices, and
honey, and wax, and dyes, and perfumes, and oils, and
varnish, and all sorts of medicines; others are employed
in the food and waterwork department; whilst others-
these are more scientific-are meteorologists, and are
considered weather prophets; others are time-keepers, and
set the time for getting up and going to bed to their own
immediate relations; while others are said to be fortune-
tellers, but I consider that rubbish: and now-here's a
real rocket to wind up with !-others are what you call
pyrotechnists-that is, they let off fireworks of their own,
'Oh, that sounds rather nice!' said several voices;
the turkey-cock, by-the-way, had subsided. 'And now


please tell us about the bad ones; what wicked things do
they do ?'
'Oh, plenty. Some wound and sting and poison men
and animals alike; some are idle vagabonds, who fasten
on to their neighbours, and compel them to board and
lodge them free of expense-these latter sometimes go the
length of killing their poor hosts outright; whilst others'
are actually cannibals, and nothing more nor less than
professional murderers. It's quite true. You'll see for
yourselves in what cleverly-contrived houses they live.
They always have traps of some sort, and often long,
narrow passages leading to their larders and kitchens, and
into these they inveigle
their unlucky victims,
,'* 7 <- and kill and eat them at
:/ ,," II theirleisure. Sometimes
/ they eat them alive, but
'' just as often they starve
Stem to death first. Ah
Syou may laugh; but
when it comes to one
of the king cannibals
Gobbling up a whole
pigeon, for instance,
it's hardly a laughing
PITCHER PLANT. matter--not for the
pigeon, at any rate.'
'Then,' remarked Jack, 'plants do seem to have some
sort of sense.'
'Sense, indeed! they have a deal more than you have,'
said Professor F.O., 'for they know, without being told,
what to eat and drink, and where to live, and how to
protect themselves against their foes-for they all have
special foes to contend with; and you will be surprised to
see their different methods of defence. But now, having
told you roughly what you may expect to see in the land


adjoining Fairyland, I'll go on with my programme. We
propose to make a considerable stay in Root Valley, for
we shall have much to learn from the tribe of Earthmen
who inhabit it. The leading scientific men amongst them
will address us, not only on subjects immediately con-
nected with themselves, but they will also read papers, or
invite foreign guests to do so, upon Air and Water Roots,
so there will be variety enough.'
'Oh yes !' broke in Fun. When we're down amongst
the Earthmen, you know,
' We shall hear the big roots speak, and the tiny rootlets squeak,
And shall do our best to learn from each lecturer in turn-
How some are round and thick and strong, and others pointed, thin
and long;
How some sit still from year to year, while others wander far and
How short with some life's little span, how others pass the age of man;
How some in soil and water fare, whilst others make their home in

'Yes; and after that,' said Prdfessor F.O., 'we shall
tour amongst the various stems and stalks, where-'
'Where I expect we shall get so mixed,' broke in Fun
again, 'with hunting the stems and stalks, that it will be
a case of stem-stalking.'
Nonsense !' said F.O., for here again a staff of select
lecturers will wait on us, and- '
But Fun began again:
There'll be dwarfish stems and stems that are tall,
Stems that climb and stems that crawl,
Upright stems and stems on the ground,
Stems that are flat and stems that are round,
Stems with tendrils and prickles and hair:
Every sort of stem will be there.'

Quite so,' said Professor F.O.; and, as if he was in a
dreadful fright of having any more doggerel on the subject
of stems, he hurried on to the next paragraph. 'We shall


then proceed to Leaf-land, where we shall find an im-
mense deal to interest us. Amongst other objects of
interest, there will be the curious cells- '
'Exactly,' interrupted Fun again:

'From cell to cell we shall travel about,
And it will be a sell if we don't find them out.'

'You mean,' said Professor F.O., 'it will be a dis-
appointment if we don't find out the cells, for, you see,
one might almost say that Leaf-land is made up of them.'
'With wicked folk shut up in them ?' asked a voice.
'No, not by any means; they are generally occupied
by busy workers, who toil unceasingly so long as the light
lasts. And some work in the night, too.'
'Dear me !' remarked Jack. 'How glad they must be
when the winter comes, and they can drop off and lie
about the ground doing nothing !'
But the Professor laughed.
Even then you'll find that they still have work to do.
But to go on with our programme. A short journey will
take us next to Blossom Realm, with its Capital City of
Fruits and Seeds; and here we shall be glad to linger in
the land of lovely colours and sweet scents.. There we
shall find much to enjoy and very much to learn.'
'Yes, indeed,' chimed in irrepressible Fun;

For behind the veil of Beauty,
Would you think it ? brave Dame Duty,
Resting neither day nor night,
Toils with all her main and might,
Making pollen dust and honey
(Oh, so useful for bee money !) ;
Bidding workers give good heed
To the nurture of the seed,
So that when the flower seems dead,
All her painted glories fled,
Seeds like the pale ghosts of Beauty
May survive stored up by Duty.'


'Well, well,' said F.O. good-temperedly, 'as Fun seems
bent on taking the words out of my mouth, I'll say no
more at present.'
But I will,' said a stranger, a sturdy, thick-set gentle-
man, who came suddenly to join the caravan; 'for I
think it's time for me to step in now. For I'm plain
Mr. Matter-of-Fact, and here'-and he held up a bag
stuffed apparently with hard round balls-' is my stock-
in-trade, namely, hard facts. And here's one to start
with. The beautiful land, my children, on whose threshold
we now are, is the wonderful Land of Plant Life. And
it is so full of winding paths, all leading up
by different ways to the foot of the Tree of
Knowledge; and some of them are so full of
interest that, lest you should stray too far from ,
the main road, I want you (just as Hop-o'-my- ,k
Thumb collected pebbles to serve as landmarks -i4
in the forest mazes) to collect a few hard facts
to carry with you on this expedition, so that,
when you feel a little bewildered with all the
new scenes and wonders, you can use your \
hard facts as stepping-stones in the untrodden
places. Now, these are the sort of facts to col-
lect,' he continued, opening his bag; 'but it's rather dark.'
'Exactly,' said Fun, stepping forward with a taper.
'So I'll hold a candle for you; and it won't be the first
time, you know, that a little Fun has helped to throw a
little light on hard facts.'
'Good,' said Matter-of-Fact, his stern features soften-
ing a little. 'Now, listen, children. Plants, like animals,
are made up of organs- '
'Not hurdy-gurdies,' put in Fun.
'And the word organ comes from the Greek word
which means, literally, to do work,' went on the speaker.
'Odd that, isn't it ?' muttered Fun, when the organs
we know most abott are made to play.'


'And so, as each distinct part of a plant has some
distinct duty to fulfil, the word organ is very suitable. As
you know, your own body is made up of organs-your eye
is the organ of sight, your ear of hearing, your lungs of
breathing; just so every living plant has its organs like-
wise. All common flowering plants possess five. Find
out what these are- '
'You can guess them easily enough,' said Fun, 'from a
glance at the programme of our tour.'
Find out, I say, what these are,' went on Matter-of-
Fact, 'and collect at least one solid fact about each organ.
Then, as we are going to be so much with plants, just find
out where the word plant" comes from and the meaning.
And here let me beg you never to use a word if you don't
know where it comes from.'
'Exactly,' cried Fun; 'make every strange word you
meet hand up its passport, and if you can't read its name
and address at a glance, just fall on it and knock it to
bits, and it is wonderful what a deal of knowledge you'll
get out of it. It wasn't till someone served my name like
that, that I was found to have sprung from a good old
Saxon root, instead of having a cant word of low origin "
for my name, as Dr. Johnson declared to be the case.
And now good-night.'
Therewith Fun puffed out his candle, and all was dark.
'Well, that's a funny start,' said Jack.
'It's a start with Fun, you know,' said Jill.



'WHY, dear me, have we got to Rootland already?'
asked Jack, awaking from an odd sort of dream to find
that the caravan had come to a standstill.
'Not yet,' said Professor Fun; 'but it's just because
we've almost got there, and haven't quite, that we're
stopping still, you know. But suppose you listen to what
Professor F.O. is saying.'
'Now, as this is a pleasure-trip,' that gentleman began,
' I don't want to bore you with any long names; yet,
before we get into Rootland, I want to give you just a
few hints about the various families whom we shall find
represented there.'
Mind they are only a few,' put in Fun, 'because, you
know, my good fellow, it strikes me that if, whenever we
went to a party, we were kept waiting on the doorstep of
the house till we had heard the family history and per-
sonal description of all the guests we were invited to
meet, it would rather destroy our appetite for the so-called
'True,' said Professor F.O.; 'at the same time, when
you go to a large meeting, where you know there will be
all sorts of interesting people from all corners of the
world, you are very glad to be told how you can dis-
tinguish who is who. And that's the sort of help I pro-
pose to give our travelling-party.'


'Fire away, then,' muttered Fun, rather disrespect-
'Now, my children, to start with,' went on F.O., the
Vegetable Kingdom-this .world of Plant Life through
which you are going to travel-is
cut up into two great divisions. The
lesser ones I shall speak of later.
-/ To one division belong all the
plants whose leaves have netted
r. veins, like the Nettle leaf, for
1 instance; whilst the other division
includes those plants in whose
LEAF OF NVETTLE, SHOWING leaves the veins run in straight
lines from the top of the leaf to
the bottom, as you see in Grasses, or in Iris, Lily, or
Hyacinth leaves. Now this difference, which is so easily
seen when it has once been pointed out to you,
makes such an excellent distinction between
the members of each division that- '
'That,' broke in Fun, 'it is as easy to know
which belongs to which by looking at their l
leaves as it is to. tell a white man from a nigger
by looking at his skin.'
'I was not going to say quite that,' said F.O.;
'still, it is true in a way.'
'Of course it is,' said Fun; 'for just as a
black man's skin tells you that he was born in
a hot country, and the white man's fair com-
plexion shows that he is a native of a cool
climate, so the leaves tell you quite as clearly ..
by the arrangement of their veins where they
come from.'
'The leaves with netted veins,' said F.O., 'tell you
that they sprang from a seed which will split into two
halves, like the almond or the pea; whilst those with
straight veins tell you that they come from a seed which


will not split, like a grain of wheat or rice, or a date-
'And take my advice, my dears,' said Fun; 'don't
worry your poor little heads by trying to remember such
words as "Dicotyledons" and Monocotyledons," but-- '
'Oh, but those are the proper terms for two-lobed seeds
and one-lobed seeds,' said F.O. im-
eT Pploringly, but no one heeded him.
(. 'Just you content yourselves,' went
S on Fun, 'by remembering that the
S plants that have leaves with netted
veins are the white men of the Vege-
table World, and the others are the
SEED OF niggers, and you won't be far wrong. SEED OF
DON. For the greater number of the plants COrTYDON.
with straight-veined leaves have come
at some time or other from the black man's country.
Now, Professor F.O., you can't say that that is wrong,
eh ?'
'N-no,' said F.O.; 'but I do say it is a funny way of
putting it.'
'And now, children, you can remember this rhyme,'
said Fun.
When veins of a leaf like network appear,
That the plant has a two-lobed seed is clear;
But when veins run straight, it is equally plain
That the seed of that plant is one single grain.'
'But now one word,' said F.O., 'about the lesser
divisions into which these two great ones are cut up, and
which are called tribes. These tribes are large groups of
plants which are classed together, because in some way
or other they are related to each other, just as we our-
selves belong to families, some to large ones, some to
small ones. Some of us, too, have foreign relations, you
know; and just, also, as every family has some members
who are more distinguished than the others, and more


widely known, so the plant tribes have certain representa-
tives which often give their name to the whole tribe.
Thus, the Poppy tribe bears the name of its grandest
member. But this is not always the case. The Crucifer
tribe, for instance, which is a very big one, is not called
the Wallflower tribe, although the Wallflower generally
stands for its representative; and so, again, with the
Umbelliferas, or Umbrella tribe- '
'Don't talk about umbrellas, please,' said Fun, 'or we
shall bring the rain; and, by the way, haven't you come
to the end of your few words, and won't you let me finish
off your story now? for I see Mr. Matter-of-Fact is
shouldering his bag, and he'll be here in another minute
to pelt us with some of his hard facts.'
'Oh, then please, Mr. Fun, make haste and tell us
what you've got to say,' came in a chorus of voices.
'It's just this, that owing to the winter season, which
excuses most plants from putting in an appearance in
their usual places in hedge, meadow, and garden, they
have been free to arrange a grand meeting of all their
roots-a sort of Parliament, you know-to which we, as
very favoured mortals, have been invited. It is a rare
chance, for we shall see numbers of roots of all lands and
sorts gathered together.'
'Yes,' put in F.O.; 'and you will see them all arranged
in much the same way as at large exhibitions you have
seen the various exhibits arranged.. There all the groups
are labelled with the name of the country they represent,
such as the French Court," the Turkish Court," the
"Japanese Court," and so forth.'
So the plants with netted veined leaves,' shouted Fun,
determined that only his voice should be heard, 'will be
placed on one side, and the plants with straight-veined
leaves will be placed on the other, and each tribe with
its family parties will stand apart by itself, each one pro-
claiming itself by its own chosen. badge. Thus, the


Crucifer tribe will hoist a Wallflower, the tribe of Com-
posite or Compound flowers will rear a golden Dandelion,
the Ro- '
But here Fun broke off suddenly, for Matter-of-Fact
was actually treading on his heels, and looking very stern.
Ah, there you are,' cried the little Professor, trying to
make his comical face look cross. 'Poor Fun gets hard
law nowaday, for Matter-of-Fact is always ready to elbow
him out of the way. I expect he'd like to elbow me out
of the world altogether.'
'Now, really, my good Fun, you've had your fair share
of talk,' said the new-comer, 'and we shall have to be
moving on again before
I've had a chance of speak-
ing. So now let me ask .),
these young people what Cl,. .' .
they have done in the way '
of collecting the hard facts '-.
I desired that they should '
get together for me. Now,
my children,' continued
the speaker, turning to his .
audience, 'tell me what
are the five organs which
belong to the ordinary
flowering plant ?'
And, pitter-patter, like a
shower of hailstones, came
the answer in a hundred
little voices:
Root, stem, leaf, blos-
'Root, stem, leaf, bs- WHOLE PLANT, SHOWING ROOT,
som, and fruit, containing STEM, LEAVES, FLOWER, AND SEED.
'Right,' was the reply. 'And now for the one hard
fact about each one of them. Begin with the root.'
'The use of the root is to fix the plant in the ground,


and to absorb all the food material that it can from the
soil,' came the answer again.
'Right again. Now for the stem.'
'And the chief use of the stem is to support the leaves,
buds, and flowers,' replied a score of voices.
'Very good. And what of the leaves?'
The leaves are useful to take up food material from
the sunlight and the sun heat; and besides that, they do
a lot of things which we really can't talk about now,' was
the next answer.
Indeed they do,' said the grave Professor. 'Still, as I
only asked for a single fact about each organ, I must be
content with your answer. Now for the blossom.'
'The use of the blossom is to produce the seed, and
the use of the seed is to produce a fresh plant.' The
voices were hurrying along now at a desperate rate.
'Please, Mr. Matter-of-Fact, will that do ?'
'Ye-es, as far as it goes,' said that gentleman; 'and as
it is your first attempt, I suppose I must consider it a
fairly good one. Still, I hope, as we travel on further,
you will do your work in a less rough-and-ready way.
But stay: you've overlooked one hard fact for which I
asked. What does the word plant come from ?'
From the word planta,' was the reply, 'which the
old Latins used when they wanted to speak of a young
green twig or a sprout or a shoot.'
Quite right,' said Matter-of-Fact. 'And you observe
that the French plante and the English "plant" both
came in a very straight line from the Latin country; but
the German pflanze must have taken a zigzag road,
and picked up an f and an e, and dropped an a,
and exchanged its t for one of the z's in the zigzag.
Do you know, I don't think there is anything funnier than
to observe how a word first set out on its travels from its
own home, and how it gradually put on all manner of
different disguises in the different lands where it has


settled. And now, amongst your next collection of facts,
find out where the word root" came from. Further,
having heard so much to-day about the Dicotyledons, or
plants that have leaves with netted veins, and the Mono-
cotyledons, or plants that have leaves with straight veins,
I will thank you to bring me three different plants belong-
ing to each division.'
'Well,' said Fun, if that's all the work you're going to
give these young folk, they might as well go straight to
Lazyland, where people are paid a crown an hour for
'Ah, but that isn't all,' said Matter-of-Fact: 'for listen,
my children. Besides the divisions we have just been
describing, the Plant Kingdom is cut up into three classes
--herbs, shrubs, and trees.'
Yes, my dears,' put in Fun, who really couldn't resist
making another joke.
'The herb, the shrub, and the lofty tree
Represent to my mind our classes three;
The wayside flower and the meadow grass
Resemble our useful working class;
*The shrubs, which are larger, and make more show,
Stand for the middle class, you know ;
Whilst the forest trees, in their splendour seen,
Are like the peers of our realm, I ween.'
Now, that is rather good, isn't it, Mr. Matter-of-Fact ?'
'Not so bad,' said that stolid gentleman, and his square
jaw almost relaxed into a smile. 'And now, children,
before next examination-day, find out what is the differ-
ence between a herb and a shrub, and a shrub and a tree.
And now it's time to be moving on.'
'Indeed it is,' said Fun,
'For I'm tired of this debating
Whilst all the roots are waiting,
And wondering I- '
But here Fun's voice was drowned by the rumbling of
the wheels as the party moved on.



'ALL get out here for Rootland.'
The cry was hailed with delight, followed by a regular
rush to a spot on the platform marked by a board,
'Entrance to Rootland.'
But what a queer entrance it was! Just a little hole,
like the tiny mouth of a very dark pit, so that on reaching
it some of the party began to grumble.
I'm sure I shan't go down into that dull, dark hole,'
said one. 'What good should I get from there?'
'And it's so small that I should have to shrink to the-
size of a doll,' said another, whilst a third declared that
he was much too tall to attempt such a descent.
But as it happened that the last speaker was a very
small boy,.who only counted nine years, and scarcely six
times as many inches, all his companions burst out laugh-
ing, and Fun, drawing a very long face, began to wail out
a bit of his doggerel:
'Oh where, and oh where, can this mighty giant go,
Since Learning's gate is far too small to let His Highness through ?
He is so huge he cannot stoop our puny tasks to scan,
Then where's the college large enough to hold this out-sized man ?'
'He'd better take himself off,' said F.O. 'We don't
want folk who can't stoop to be taught.'
But the giant had vanished already, and with him all
signs of discontent had vanished too. Indeed, now every-


one was only anxious to explore the new ground. But
there, on the very threshold of Root Valley, stood Matter-
of-Fact-' Like an old turnpike-man,' said Jack savagely,
'demanding a toll'-saying, in his provokingly dry voice:
'Now, little people, you must all pass your examina-
tions, you know, before going any further. So, now,
where does the word "root" come from?'
'From the Saxon wrotan,' said several voices, 'which
means a thing that grows on or in the ground. It was
sometimes used in the sense of settling down, so some
people think that it is related to our word roost," which
also came from the Saxons, and meant with them to rest
or sit upon anything.'
'That's rather a good idea,' said Fun. 'For the future,
when there are no leaves or flowers to be seen above
ground, I shall say the plants are roosting." '
Matter-of-Fact, however, rebuked him sharply.
The roots won't be roosting then, at any rate, as you
will soon learn,' he said. 'Now, children, where are the
three specimens of plants with netted-veined leaves and the
three with straight-veined leaves ?'
'Here,' said Jill, 'is a bit of Wallflower, and a Violet
leaf, and a sickly little Primrose bud. That's all I could
find in this weather.'
'Good!' said the Professor. 'Those will do for the
examples of the Dicotyledons. Now for the examples of
the second division.'
'Here's a blade of Grass, and a Crocus, and a bit of
Butcher's Broom,' said Jack.
'Yes, those will do,' said Matter-of-Fact. 'Now say
the proper names of these two divisions.'
A mighty silence followed this question. At last a
small voice volunteered feebly :
'Isn't one something like-like-Molly Coddle ?'
'Yes, yes!' cried another bright, intelligent child. 'And
the other is a Dying Coddle.'


Oh dear!' groaned their teacher. 'What a scrape
you'll get into in Leafland if you don't know better than
that by the time you get there Now listen again. Plants
are divided into Dicotyledons and Monocotyledons. The
Dicotyledons have seeds with two lobes-from the Greek
di (two) and cotyledon (lobe); and Monocotyledons have
seeds which consist of only one lobe, monos meaning
"one" in Greek. And now, you clever children, tell me,
if you can, the difference between a herb and a shrub,
and a shrub and a tree.'
'A herb is a plant with a soft, green stem,' came the
'Like Goose-grass,' put in Fun.
'And a shrub is a plant which has a great many woody
stems, rising in a cluster from the ground.
'Like a Goose-berry-bush,' said Fun again.
'And a tree is a plant with one single woody stem or
trunk, which usually grows to a considerable height.'
'Like a Christmas-tree,' echoed Fun.
But no one stayed to laugh, for now the examination
was over, and the road to Root Parliament clear. And,
oh! that tiny, dark entrance led the way to a marvellous
place, so huge, so huge, that Jill would have felt herself
lost, if Fun had not taken her hand and helped her along.
'Now, don't get flustered and fussed,' he said, 'for
there'll be no confusion or overcrowding down here.
Dame Nature never allows any real disorder to exist in
her own works.'
'Well, I've heard people talk of the Great Exhibition,'
said Jill; 'but I'm sure this must be the greatest of all.'
She was standing now in the doorway of the vast House
of Parliament, where the Roots were already assembled.
Just over her head hung a lamp, which someone said was
the latest improvement in reading-lamps, known as the
'Research' patent, and was trimmed neither with paraffin
nor colza oil, but with a substance known in the trade as


'midnight oil,' compounded of study and inquiry. By its
light, Jill saw that the assembly was arranged exactly as
the Professor had foretold. Two great divisions were
arranged on either side of the vast space, with a wide
passage running between them, just like a broad aisle in
church, and each of these divisions was composed of
greater and smaller groups.

'Here, on the right,, you see,' said Fun, 'are the

Dicotyledons. The big Oak standing by the door is the
-.-' ,' .- -

Grand Sultan, you know. These two are the only forest
trees who are present here, and they only came to open
the function, like royal personages who put in an appear-
ance on special occasions with us. And now let's pay a


flying visit to some of the family parties,' added Fun,
leading the way as he spoke to the right-hand side of the
assembly. 'Here are the groups,' he said, 'of the Dicoty-
ledon tribes, each proclaiming their special family by the
blossom of some favourite member. Here is the Crucifer

.-. : ';, -

Ii l


group. Did you ever see such a
collection of roots? Their badge
or crest, you see, is a grand old
russet brown Wallflower. The
Ranunculus or Crowfoot tribe
stand next to them, with a golden
Buttercup for badge; and there are
the Poppies with their King, their
crumpled petals a flutter of brilliant
scarlet; whilst yonder, do you see
that knot of roots, above which
three blossoms are waving the
Daisy, the Dandelion, and the
Thistle ? That is the family group
of the Compound flowers.. Then,
But here Jill made bold to break
'Oh yes! I can see all those,
and hundreds of others beyond, the

Primrose, Sweet Pea, Nightshade; but I want to pay a
visit to the Palm's side now-I think that will be better fun.'
Come along, then,' said Jill's guide; and presently they
found themselves beside the stately Palm-tree.
A mighty family party of Grasses nestled at its foot,
over which a magnificent ear of golden Wheat presided.
Next in order to them stood a very beautiful though
much smaller group. These represented the Arum tribe,
with a noble 'Lord' standing up in his rich crimson robe,
under his leafy canopy of glossy green, spotted with dark


'It strikes me,' said Jill, 'that the Arums are rather a
proud lot, for that red-robed Lord is actually turning his
back on that funny-looking family next door to him; and
they do look such jolly, twisty-twirly fellows, as if they
were all ready for a spree, although they have come to
'Those are Orchids,' said Fun. 'Quite'between our-
selves, they are an uncommonly queer lot. I've often
wondered if their name isn't a corruption of "awkward."
Their chief is the Spotted Orchis of our meadows.'
'I suspect,' said Jill, looking at some of their straggling,
whitish roots, hanging half-way between earth and sky,
'that these are some of the roots which you said lived in
the air.'
'Yes, some of them,' said Fun.
But just then Professor F.O. was ordering silence, with
a view to speaking himself.
'My good children,' he began, 'it is time that you
settled into your places, for it has just been intimated to
me that Parliament is about to open.'
'Oh but please,' cried a few eager voices, 'do tell us
what are those queer little creatures like the tiny shadows
of fairy butterflies, that hover, like the motes in a sun-
beam, round each family group ?'
Oh, those are queer and very interesting,' said F.O.;
'and by-and-by, when your eyes are trained to see through
my glasses, you will see that they are not butterflies at all.
For they are, in fact, the queer, ghost-like associations
clinging to each tribe as naturally as ancestral traditions
cling to certain old families. Some are mere myths-
seen through my glasses, these assume the shape of
gnomes, and fairies, and witches; some are traditions-
they look like old, old folk, who might have watched the
walls of Babylon rising, or played amongst the reeds on
the banks of the Nile, or listened to Homer's verse or
Virgil's pipe; others are legends. Some of these are


pretty and quaint, like the faintly-traced pictures of saints
of the Middle Ages. Lastly, there are others-these are
graver folk-who are less shadowy and more solid than
the rest; these are historical facts, and wear vellum gar-
'In fact,' said Fun, associations are those sort of
things, you know, which you don't really see, but which
are put into your head by the things you do see. For
instance, when you see a plate of shrimps at nursery tea,
you instantly think of the jolly sands where you went
shrimping last year, and you seem to see even the brown
furrows and the boats drawn up on the shore, though all
the time you're only looking at the blue rim of the plate
which holds the shrimps. That's what's meant by asso-
ciations, you see-'
'But please let me finish my speech,' broke in F.O.,
'and then we really must proceed to the Visitors' Gallery.
Notice has been given that the Golden Elder, on account
of his venerable age and his valuable services, has been
deputed to read Dame Nature's message to her faithful
subjects here in Parliament assembled. So now to your
places-Fun will lead the way-as quickly and as quietly
as you can.'
In a twinkling a hundred little pairs of feet had climbed
the staircase leading to the gallery, and now as many little
heads were as eagerly turned towards a certain group on
the right hand, whose upreared standard bore the badge
of Honeysuckle. For it was from this family-commonly
known as the Woodbine tribe-that with a noiseless step
(for the workers in the Plant World move silently) the
Golden Elder came forward.
As he mounted the platform prepared for the speakers,
there was just a perceptible flutter amongst his golden
leaves, for, in spite of the season, he had donned his Mid-
summer finery, and then the Elder spoke.
'My friends,' he said, and his voice was as musical as


his Greek name, Sambi cus-a triangular harp-would lead
you to expect, 'I feel so much honoured by being asked
to address you, that I can only hope (my family being
remarkable for its pithiness) that my speech may have, at
any rate, its share of pithy sayings. My dear roots here
assembled together, I am bidden by Dame Nature to
remind you how much will depend upon your success in
enlisting the attention and interest of the huge human
caravan who have come amongst us this day. She would
bid you remember the illustrious ancestry you represent;
how you are standing to-day in the place of the old roots
of the long-gone-by days, which more than 2,000 years
ago were being studied by the wisest of the wise Greeks;
for, under the guidance of one Theophrastus, a large guild
was formed in those ancient times, whose members called
themselves Rhizotomoi-Rootites-and who spent their
days in seeking for roots which they prepared for the use
of the apothecaries. For recollect, my good roots, man's
first idea concerning you was not that of eating you. On
the contrary, men were so friendly disposed to you, that
they were quite sure you were friends to them, and that if
you were properly treated you would serve to heal their
sickness and soothe their sufferings. And such was the
knowledge which these Rootites gathered from amongst
you, that they were held in great respect by the Vine-
dressers and the Olive-growers and the Goatherds, so that
your noble ancestors, my honourable friends, grew like-
wise into objects of esteem. And this was the case
with the learned Romans and the science-loving Arabs
also, so that to this day the name of many a root lives
in the pages of the old writers-of Pliny, Celsius, Dios-
corides, and others. The ancient poets, too, found time
to sing the praises of roots. There are many passages in
Virgil, Columella, and others, in which several of you are
mentioned, and generally honourably. And now I will
conclude my address by moving a vote of thanks in the


name of the House to Their Royal Highnesses the Oak
and Palm Trees, for having honoured us with their
presence on this auspicious occasion.'
In the pause that followed, Jill whispered to Fun:
'Who is that beautiful little creature covered with
spangles and with glittering wings that has just come
into the gossamer-hung box opposite our gallery ?'
'That's Her Majesty, Fancy-free, the Queen of Fairy-
land,' said Fun. 'Don't you remember that the Land of
Wonder-workers was advertised as being next door to
Fairyland? Though she mustn't take part in the debates,
yet she and her royal consort, Prince Imagination, are
invited to attend these sittings; and if there is time after
the serious work is finished, they will scatter a fairy-tale
or two amongst you, like a sugar-plum after lessons.
She is going to tell one now, but she must make haste,
for the House is rising.'
At that moment, in a wee fluting voice like the softest
chime of the tiniest silver bell, Queen Fancy spoke.
'Here's quite a little short story for you,' she said,
'about a venerable Elder; only as it has travelled all the
way from Scandinavia, and been many years on its road,
it has worn rather thin. But here it is. On Midsummer
Eve, when all the pixies and nixies and gnomes and elves
and kobolds and sprites are holding high revelry, King
Oberon, who is the Emperor of all the Fairylands in every
part of the globe, makes a royal progress through the air,
with his whole retinue in attendance, and any mortal who
sets himself under an Elder-bush is privileged to see him
pass in all his state and splendour. That's all.'
Queen Fancy ended her story so quaintly that the
children were still laughing when Matter-of-Fact got up
to give his list of questions. Indeed, it seemed so hope-
less to secure their attention, that he gave them a written
list instead, and took his revenge later on.



AND this was Mr. Matter-of-Fact's revenge. Next morn-
ing, when everyone was eager to secure a place in the
gallery, Matter-of-Fact blocked up the door.
'Where are the answers to my questions?' he asked.
There was a wail of despair. Beyond knowing that he
had asked them questions on what they had heard the
previous day, they hadn't studied their question-paper at
all. But kind Fun came to their help.
'With your permission,' he said, with a low bow, 'my
young friends and I will sing you the answers you ask for
in a very lovely song of my own composing.'
He began forthwith. The tune as well as the words
were his own:
'Over plants whose leaves have parallel veins
The Palm like an Eastern Sultan reigns ;
But the leaves whose veins in a network spread
Claim the royal Oak as their rightful head;
Of the various families here are three :
The Ranunculus, Lily and Gramineae,
And the standards they choose, as their badges meet,
Are the Buttercup, Tulip, and common Wheat.
And next about Greece do you want to know ?
'Tis a very nice land where the Currants grow;
And traced on the map of Europe, you'll see,
Greece forms the southern extremity
Of the Balkan Peninsula; and now I am sure
You really can't want to ask any more.'


And you remember the derivation of root" ?' asked
'Oh dear yes,' said Fun, beginning to sing again.
'Root comes from a word which means resting, I trow;
And perhaps it means roost, which we wish you'd do now.'

Just at that moment the door behind M.O.F.-no one
found time to say his full name any longer-opened from
the inside, and F.O. put his head through.
My good children,' he said, 'you needn't be in such a
hurry to get to the gallery, for the address won't begin
yet. Come and stroll amongst the different family groups,
and I'll tell you some scraps of gossip about them. To
begin with, I'm sorry to say that there's been some
quarrelling amongst the honourable members.'
'Bad sort of quarrelling ?' asked his listeners eagerly.
They didn't seem at all sorry.
'It's like this, you see,' said F.O.: 'there is such a
number of different families, and such a number of dif-
ferent members in each family, that. it is very difficult to
settle, first, who is to speak out of all the crowd, and then
in what order they are to speak. Each has such different
claims. Some plead their position in the world, some
their great age, some, again, their short term of life.
Some roots are regular Earthmen, and have underground
residences-these are the most numerous; others are
Watermen, and inhabit rivers and ponds; a third class
live in the air; whilst a fourth class of roots prey on their
fellow-creatures, and are called Parasites.'
'Not parasols-mind that,' put in Fun.
'Well, in the matter of position,' went on F.O., 'there's
no doubt that the Earthmen, as the old landed gentry,
ought to take precedence of the other roots. But there
still remains the question of age to settle, for, you know,
some roots only last one year, and are called annuals;
others last two years, and are called biennials; whilst


others live for several years, and are called perennials.
These latter gentlemen declare that their superior age
gives them a right to speak before anyone else, the
biennials vow they won't stand by to hear "one-year-
olds" speak, whilst the poor little annuals very justly
reply: If you won't let us have our say now, we never
shall have it at all."'
'Yes,' said Fun; 'that's just the quarrel that has been
going on in the Cruciferous family. Some of the little
Cresses who have only annual roots, clamoured to speak;
then an ancient Wallflower rose up and quelled them; but
after that, he got the worst of it himself, for a huge, full-
grown Turnip rounded on him, and won the day; so he's
going to lecture us presently. Let's come and interview
him, at home,' added Fun, leading the way to the Cruci-
ferous group.
'Oh, isn't he a beauty!' said Jack, viewing the mag-
nificent Turnip. 'If only we could scoop his inside out'
-it was to be hoped that the poor lecturer did not hear
that-' and cut two jolly holes for his eyes, and a nice slit
for his mouth, and then stick a candle inside him, wouldn't
he make a splendid lantern ?'
'Ah,' said F.O., 'but I'll tell you a still better use to
make of a Turnip. Hollow it out, hang it up, crown
downwards, and fill it with water. In a very short time
the leaves will begin to sprout, then they will curl upwards,
and very soon cover the Turnip. And if in the water you
put some bulbs, say Hyacinth or Crocus, you'll have a little
hanging-garden fit for a fairy-queen.'
'What a lot you seem to know, Mr. F.O.!' said Jill.
'I only try to find out all I can, my dear, as my name
tells you,' said he. 'But talking of name reminds me
that, though our friend here is so anxious to talk about
himself, I very much doubt if he'll touch on the subject of
his name; for, you see, no one exactly knows where his
family picked it up, and perhaps it means something


rather ugly. If he were nip, without the tur, we should
all know that he was descended in a straight line from his
Latin ancestor Napus, known later to the Saxons as
Noefe; but as it is--
'It's quite clear,' broke in Fun, 'that, instead of coming
straight, he took a turn somewhere. By the way, F.O.,
though they're not his relations, where do the Parsnips,
Carrots, and Beetroots get their names from ?'
'Oh,' said F.O., 'the Carrot gets his name from the
Greek for "tawny orange," the Parsnip was named from
an old gardening tool of a similar shape, the Beetroot
comes from the Latin beta. But, dear me! I must stop,
for time's up.'
'And we must be up, too,' said Fun; and off started
everyone for the Visitors' Gallery.
'Oh, isn't this nice?' whispered Jill, taking her old
place by Fun.
'Hush !' he said; 'look down at the tribe: it's on the
move now.'
And so it was, the whole Cruciferous group moving
together in beautiful order. The long procession was
headed by a handsome, bronze-faced Wallflower, whilst
the rear was brought up by the lecturer. The latter
looked as dignified and as impressive as a perfectly grown
Turnip could look, with a mighty crown of green leaves
growing out of the lilac-tinted collar round his neck.
'How will they all find room on the platform?'
whispered Jill.
But they had already fallen into their places. The
Speaker, of course, filled the chair, supported by his
nearest of kin in the root line. Some Carrots and Parsnips
and Beetroots were there also, but only as guests. Beyond
the roots, some purple Sea-rockets were arranged, repre-
senting the Kale family, and behind them all the Cresses
and Cabbages, Mustard and Pepperworts, sat round in a
ring, whilst outside their circle Wallflowers, Stocks, Candy-


tufts, and other flowers of the family, formed a very effec-
tive frame, which set off the whole group uncommonly
'The way they have arranged themselves is rather
clever,' said F.O. 'It is as if they meant, by the order
in which they're placed, to represent a perfect plant; for,
you see, the roots come first, then the stems, then the
leaves, and lastly the flowers.'
Meanwhile, the lecturer had risen, and was bowing so
low that he very nearly toppled over on his leafy crown.
'Ladies and gentlemen,' he began, 'I now invite your
attention to roots in general, and myself
in particular. But, first, what is a root ? A
root is the most important part of a plant.
Though the root is seldom seen, and often
never thought of, even by those who enjoy
the flowers and fruit it produces, the whole
life of the plant depends as entirely upon it,
as your life depends upon your heart, which
also keeps completely out of sight.'
Though it can be pretty well guessed at,' put in Fun,
'by the sort of fruits it brings forth in sundry young, folk.'
But the lecturer continued:
Or you may compare the root to the careful, hard-
working housewife, who does all the
drudgery, keeping her labours out of -:
sight, yet toiling day and night to
provide for her family. The family
for which the root toils consists of the
stem, the leaves, the flower, and the
seed. There are many kinds of roots,
but I am now only going, to mention
a few, to whose variety in form I will
call your attention. These gentlemen,
here to my right, will kindly step forward '-and the Turnip
bowed towards the group of Carrots, etc.-' and act as


illustrations to my descriptions. To start with, this is
what we call' a conical root.' Here a fiery Carrot stepped
forward and bowed. Next there is the spindle-shaped,
broad in the middle, you know, but tapering at both
'Like me,' cried a sprightly red Radish, dancing for-
ward; and then, retreating a step, he caught
a delicate white Turnip Radish round the
waist, and came back again. 'My sister,'
he said, addressing the audience, 'takes
after our learned lecturer, you see; she's
globular in shape, and only tapers at one
Therewith these giddy young Radishes
waltzed back to their places, nearly crush-
ing a Cress, with her white, thread-like roots. Of her
and her roots, the Turnip remarked in rather a slighting
'There you have another variety of root; but they're
poor-spirited, humble folk, who will grow on flannel if
they can't get anything else. Then there's the
Horseradish, who, having a creeping root, is
taking his time, I perceive, to crawl forward;
and lastly there's the stringy root of the Wall-
flower. And now I do really want so much to
talk of myself, I can't mention anybody else.
First as regards my ancestry. I come of a
very ancient stock, for I was very highly prized
by the ancients. Pliny declared that Turnips
ranked next in value to Corn, and mentions the
usual weight of my forefathers as reaching L4
forty pounds each. Nowadays we don't attain CREEPING
exactly that size, but I am told that in Norfolk, RooT
where farmers take a pride in their delicate Or HORSE-
cattle and huge roots, a round of beef served
up in a Turnip is a favourite dish at their agricultural


meetings. I know also that about two hundred years ago
your forefathers were very thankful to make an excellent
white bread of mine when other provisions had failed. It
is pretty certain that we accompanied the Romans in their
first visit to Britain, so we were at home here before the
Conqueror came. But here I must stop, as time is up,
and my own private history must come to-morrow.'



'.Do you know,' whispered Fun to Jill, as they met in the
gallery next day, 'there has been a regular split in the
root camp, and Messrs. Carrot, Parsnip, and Beetroot
have all taken themselves off the platform, and are sitting
amongst their own tribes
glaring at the lecturer.'
'But why have they
quarrelled ?' asked Jill.
'They seemed so very,
friendly yesterday.'
? 'They consider that
S', the Turnip slighted
S ; them,' said Fun. 'You
-see, not being related
to him beyond the
common way that all
Roots are related to each
other, they only came
as assistants to help illustrate the different forms of roots,
stipulating that the lecturer should be careful to specify
to what families they did belong. But when the Turnip
had once started on his own belongings, he quite forgot
to mention anything more about his assistants. And this
so enraged them that, after waiting to the end of the
lecture for some special notice, they returned to their


own kindred in great wrath. But listen, the Turnip is
'I did intend to speak of myself, and myself only,' began
the lecturer; 'but I must first say that I hear that Messrs.
Carrot, Parsnip, and Beetroot are clamouring for an
apology from me because I neglected to state that the
two former belong to the very worthy tribe of Umbelliferae,
whose greatest ornament is the wicked poisoner Hemlock,
and that the Beetroot comes from the sagacious family of
Goosefoot. Allow me, gentlemen,' he added, bowing with
the utmost suavity to his late
allies, 'to congratulate you
publicly on your kinship with
malefactors and geese.'
'Hear! hear !' came from the
Pepperworts and Mustards,
whilst a distinct hissing arose -
from the Goosefoot family.
Having fired his spiteful
volley, the Turnip continued -
in a calmer tone :
'Now for my own biography.
On July 20 I was sown as a tiny
seed, for in my county, turnips
are always sown on St. Mar-
garet's Day. Almost directly
after I was sown I began to swell and grow, till very soon
I peeped through the seed-case. Then, like the one early
riser in a sleepy family, I was the first part of the plant to
get out of bed. But, instead of going up into the pleasant
daylight, I travelled down into the dark earth, for I knew.
that my duty must always be to live and toil out of sight.
First of all I fixed myself in the ground. That done, I
set about my next duty, namely, to collect all the material
from the soil necessary to feed the young plant. Now,
just as animals feed on what grows on the ground, so we


roots feed on what we find in the soil, for we don't take
up water only from the earth-we absorb all kinds of salts,
potash, soda, lime, sulphur, and phosphorus. All these
go to make food for the plant, just as flour and meat and
eggs and milk are all used in cooking food for your
dinner. But, unlike animals, we cannot roam about and
find fresh food, but are, as it were, tethered to one spot.
Consequently, we should soon use up all the food material
within our reach if we were not able to send out a number
of little rootlets. You can see these rootlets standing out
from my person,' con-
tinued the Turnip, 'like
so many little hairs.
These rootlets run in all
S directions through the
S\ soil, like busy merchant-
Smen, picking up from
every quarter all that is
necessary for our support.
Now, my rootlets have
specially hard work, and
SI'll tell you why, for whereas many roots
have only to supply the daily needs of the
plant, I have to store up food for the
winter's use. Look at my crown of leaves.
All through. the winter it was I who fed
them, and soon I shall have the flowers and
the seed, too, to support. I wish you would
look at one of my slender root-tips under
a magnifying-glass, for you would not only
HONEYWORT. see the wonderful way in which it is made
up of cells-like so many tiny rooms in a
building-but you would also see how each particular tip
wears a sheath, so that if, in its food-seeking expeditions,
it runs against a sharp stone, or even a large grain of
sand, it is well protected from injury. As these sheaths


wear out, fresh ones are formed. Meanwhile, the little
cells work away, absorbing all they can from the soil,
and then passing it back again through each other to
the body of the root. Here the material undergoes a
kind of straining. Everything that is good for the plant
is taken charge of by the different cells. Some make
starch, some sugar, some potash, and all contribute to
the sap. That, you know, forms the life-blood of the
plant. You will hear a great deal about sap when you
get amongst the stems. But my rootlets have something
to do besides that; they have to
carry back again into the soil all
the refuse that the plant does not
'Oh, I say,' said a voice, 'I
should like to see what that refuse
is like.'
'You can do that very easily,'
said the Turnip. 'Take a slab of
marble, and cover it with earth
about half an inch deep, and sow
some Mustard seed on it. When
it has grown up a little, clear both
cress and earth off the slab, and
then notice all the little grooves
in the marble. From the look of .
the surface, ybu might almost
think that the rootlets had been
growing there; but no, those WHITE SALSIFY.
queer markings on the face of the
marble are caused by the acid sap which the rootlets have
passed back again into the soil, after having used the best
parts of it for their own needs. Ah! you all run about
the world, don't you ? and dance and skip over our heads,
and never give a thought to the crowd of busy workers
who are hidden away underground down here in the big


Root Valley where all the baby leaves and flowers are
first born. Humans and cattle are alike such greedy
things, that if you notice my beautiful white root at all,
you only think I grew like this on purpose for you to
eat me. But I didn't. My real object in storing up all
this valuable foodlin my noble person is to make my root
a storehouse of nourishment for my leaves during the first
year of my life, and for my flowers and seed as well
during my second.7T When the seed is ripe, I die, having
by that time wasted to a shadow, for by then the stem
will have carried away all my stores to
nourish the rest of the plant; so that if
next year you pulled me up, instead of my
beautiful self of to-day, you would find
\ nothing but a little shrivelled root, half
the size of your little finger. Yes, indeed,
you would see nothing but a mere whitey-
brown ghost of your splendid lecturer of
S to-day.'
At this point the speaker was apparently
so overcome that he sank back, and the
Water-cresses grew moist with emotion.
MOUNTAIN And really he looked so pathetic that Jill
STONE PARSLEY. felt inclined to cry, only Queen Fancy
appeared just then.
'Here's a story from South Germany,' said the fairy.
'There was once a peasant who, having sown his field
with Turnips, hoped to grow rich on them. But one
evening, as he left his field, a little black man with a fiery
torch followed him.
'"Who are you, and what do you want ?" asked the
peasant; but directly he had spoken he saw that it was a
wicked fairy.
'" Never mind who I am," was the reply; "but I'll tell
you what I want. I mean to have one half of what grows
in your field, and if you don't promise to give it to me,


I'll set fire to your house and garden, and burn up all that
you have."
'On first hearing this, the peasant felt very sad, but
after a moment's reflection he replied:
"Agreed; you shall have all that grows aboveground,
and I'll have all that grows underground."
"Good," said the naughty imp;
mind you keep your word."
-' No fear, I'll promise you that,"
IPECACUANHA. laughed the peasant.
So when the time came to gather
in the crops, the fairy came too. And, oh, how he
stamped his wicked feet, and ground his spiteful little
teeth, for all that fell to his
share were the green turnip-
'"Well," said the peasant,
didn't you settle to have that.
for your share ?"
Next year I'll be even with
you," cried the imp, "for I'll
have all that grows under-
ground, and you shall have
what grows above."
'"Very good," said the ..
peasant, and laughed once more A7'n:. L *
as he said it, for, after stacking AX -
his turnips, he sowed a fine R
crop of wheat, so that when CORAL ROOT.
the imp returned to claim his
share, he was even worse off than he had been before.
"There's your share of the bargain," said the peasant,
pointing to the useless roots, whilst he loaded his waggon
with the golden grain. "What, aren't you satisfied
now ?"
Wait a bit, and I will be even with you still!" cried


the enraged fairy, "for next year I will have all that grows
aboveground and underground, too."
Good-very good," said the peasant; and now he
laughed more heartily than ever, for the year had come
round when the field was always left fallow; so that,
when the imp came back the third time, there was no
harvest at all, only the empty field with a few weeds.
'After that he gave up tormenting the peasant any
more, and the next year the poor man was able to enjoy
his crops in peace.'
'I like that story,' said Jill, whilst Jack added:
'I'm precious glad that the old imp got sold.'
'Yes,' said F.O.; 'but some people are inclined to
think that, after all, he was a friend in disguise, and that
he came to teach the peasant what you will hear talked of
as the system of the rotation of crops-a system which
never allows the sowing of the same crop on the same
ground two years running.'
'That may be so,' said Fun, 'but it's a matter-of-fact
way of looking at it. So this is the end of to-day's



' TO-DAY you are going to hear about the Grass family,'
announced F.O. on the following morning. 'Well, why
do you all look so disappointed?'
'Because Grass is so dull and common,' said several
'And we don't eat it,' added some more.
'Don't you?' laughed Fun. 'Why, I've often seen
some big geese and little donkeys eating grass.'
'Oh, that's it, is it ?' said F.O. 'You're too grand to
learn about Grass. Yet, I wonder how much you know
about it.' No one made any answer now. 'Well,' said
F.O., 'what a dead silence !'
'What dead tongues I should say,' said Fun.
Ah, it's quite clear that I've a deal to teach you,' said
F.O. 'To begin with its name. When, long ago, Grass
started out from his home in the Far East, he was called
by the Hebrew name of Geresh, which means literally, "to
produce, to bring forth anything "; then, when nearer home,
he turned into the Saxon Groes, and a little later after that
he changed from the Saxon Groes into the Dutch Gras.'
'And I suppose,' said Fun, 'that in crossing from
Cheeseland here he fished his second s out of the sea.'
'Then,' proceeded F.O., 'as to Grass being common
indeed Mind this, there is nothing, absolutely nothing,
in the whole plant world so valuable to man and beast as


Grass. You'll hear of that amongst the stems. But now
I must give way to your lecturer of to-day;' and he indi-
cated a splendid ear of
Wheat. 'None but his
blood relations will ac-
company him to the plat-
form. But aren't they a
handsome tribe, espe-
cially the foreigners ?
Just look at the Maize,
"with his shining robes
about him, and his long
1 / soft yellow tresses." See,
he stands seven feet
high; and don't his
amber grains in their
closely packed rows show
grandly amongst his
broad sheathing leaves?
We talk of ears of Corn,
but we say a cob of
Maize, from the Saxon word for head. And, by the way,
it is a mistake to call Maize Indian Corn. Peru is his
native country. There he is made into an idol, and
when the Maize crop fails, the natives make gold and
silver cobs, and worship them in their temples.'
'So when the Maize does badly it is worshipped,'
remarked Fun, 'but when it behaves well it is cut down
and thrashed. Amazing!'
'What is that ?' asked Jill, pointing to a plant with tall,
round, jointed stems, large pointed leaves, and wearing
its blossoms somewhat as Oats do.
'What that is? Why, you eat that every day,' said
F.O.; 'it's Rice.'
'Rice!' said Jill. 'Ah, but, you see, I never saw it
before with all its clothes on.'


'Here's another fine fellow,' said F.O.; 'he stands
eight feet high, and look at his beautiful, smooth, shining
stem and handsome, broad, ribbed leaves. Though you've
sucked his blood all your life, you have never seen him
with his body on, I expect.'
'Then I guess he's the Sugar-cane,' said Jill.
'He is, and quite the sweetest character here,' put in
'Whereabouts is the sugar in him ?' asked Jack.
It is secreted in the joints of his stem,' was the reply.
'Now look at this Bamboo, forty feet
high, with his long, oval leaves arid
flowers. The latter, you see, grow in
panicles from the joints of his stalk.' .
'I never did see a tree with such a
lot of big trunks,' said Jack.
'But it's not a tree,' said F.O.; 'it
is only a Grass, and those "big trunks"
are really only gigantic woody straws.'
'Well,' said Jill, 'if the Indian girls
wear those sort of straw hats, they
must have big heads.'
'But, I say,' remarked Jack, 'mustn't
it be jolly to suck lemonade through
one of those big straws !'
'And when Indians say they don't
care "two -straws," they must mean
they care a lot.'
'Best be off to your places now,'
said F.O. 'The Grasses are on the
move already. They make a splendid HARE'S-TAI GRASS.
And certainly they were a very picturesque family.
Besides their golden king and the distinguished foreigners,
there were about one hundred members in the procession,
amongst whom Jill recognized John Barleycorn with his


spiked head, walking with the graceful Oat, followed by
the Rye, with the Millet, and various Grasses-better
known to Jill by sight than name-the Foxtail, Darnel,
Feather, Mat, etc.
I' D:-,n't they move like a beautiful rip-
'"V'I. plin. \\-wave?' said Jill, as the procession
4 fil-d pa:.t, showing shafts of gold and
S :lint :,- f silver and gleams of soft green.
";L t th':,ugh their heads are pretty, there
.i- can't bI- much to say about their thin,
t ra.l gll n roots.'
But n!,-w, with the bristling Barley on
Shi lih-lit hand, and the drooping Oat on
hi.: l:t. the lecturer rose to begin his
'- So familiar
S.* must I be to you
,.\ all,' he said, 'that
Probably most of
Syouknowthe origin
S, of my name.'
I d., interrupted a voice
\ ', .i. l- thi audience; 'it came
from the German hwaete,
did it not ?'
It did,' was the reply, 'and
my brethren, Barley, Oats, Rye,
and Millet, were all likewise
/. christened by the Teutons. You
know, too, perhaps, that the
WHEAT. term "cereal" which is given to
us corn-producing Grasses
comes from Ceres, the Roman goddess of corn. But
perhaps you don't know that no one can say positively
where I was born. The Arabs will tell you that when
Adam left Eden he took with him a wheat-ear (the chief


food), a date (the best fruit), and a sprig of myrtle (the
sweetest of flowers), so they credit me with a long
pedigree. It's quite clear that the Romans knew all
about wheat and its cultivation, for Virgil describes the
ploughing and sowing of corn-fields, and he was intimate
enough with my ancestry to know their
various foes, for he speaks of the mouse,
who fills her underground granary with
wheat; of the weasel, who destroys much
corn; and of the ant, who, fearing a needy
old age," pilfers our grain. He also speaks
of the improbus anser,
the wicked goose, who,
/ tempted by the bitter roots
of the Succory, invades
our fields and harms the
sprouting Wheat. Barley
was well known to the ancients. At
the present day it is much respected
in the East, where the natives talk
of their great god Indra as "he who
S ripens the Barley." Oats were also cul-
tivated of old, but they had a very bad
reputation amongst the Romans, and
Pliny calls them the most harmful of all
grains. Rye has been cultivated in
Europe from time immemorial. Its home
FESCUE GRASS. is in the Levant, but it grows well in
Northern Europe, and in Russia, Norway, and Sweden
rye bread is the chief food of the peasantry.'
I wonder,' whispered Jill to Fun, 'if that sort of rye
bread is nicer dry than ours is.'
'I suspect you'd make a wry face, if you had to eat it,'
said Fun.
Of Millet there are a great many varieties,' proceeded
the lecturer, and these are much cultivated in the East


Indies, Arabia, China, Syria, and Egypt; but I dare say
that you know most about the German Millet, whose
seeds are so good for caged birds. The Chinese hold
Millet in such respect that they have called one of their
constellations, composed of five
-, stars, Tien- tzi or "Celestial
Millet," and they believe that
this constellation presides over
\\ their harvest. And now,' con-
.. ; c eluded the speaker, 'that is all
S I have to tell you about my re-
"' K lations. To-morrow I shall tell
Syou the whole story of my
.. root.'
Sy 'There can't be much to say
S. about that,' said someone dis-
\' respectfully. 'Why, it's only a
tuft of brown threads, and exactly
like heaps of other roots.'
SOh, how rude !' said a voice.
But there the matter ended,
for now the general attention was
directed to the fairy Fancy's
box, into which a strange little
figure had suddenly stepped. He
was dressed in a loose silk robe,
tied at the waist with a girdle;
his jet-black hair was shaved off
his forehead, and gathered up at
the back and sides of his head
into a knot fastened with long
ROUGH BRWN G S. pins; and out of his yellow face
shone two tiny black eyes set
obliquely in his head. A pair of papery wings with queer
figures painted on them completed his rather strange


Why, that must be a Japanese fairy !' said Jill. 'Is
he going to tell us one of the little Japs' fairy-tales ?'
'He'll call it a true tale,' said Fun; 'but it sounds very
much as if it had come straight from Fairyland. Listen.'
'Far away in Mikado land,' began this
S queer little creature, 'there was a time when
S all the natives alike, priests and people, lived
Only on roots and herbs, for they knew nothing
i : of the golden grains of Wheat or the pearly
i. :' beads of Rice. But one day it came to pass
that a priest observed a mouse busily hiding
some grains of Rice in a
corner of a barn. "Oh,
/ oh !" cried he, "that's some-
thing new; I'll find out
where that comes from."
Therewith he caught the
mouse, tied a long piece of
silk securely to its tail;
then, still holding the free
end of the silk, he released
the mouse, determining to
follow it wherever it went.
But the mouse wandered
very far away, and the priest
began to grow tired of fol-
lowing it, when all at once he found himself
in a beautiful and fertile land, where Rice
grew tall and green in great abundance.
ILLET GRASS. With the utmost diligence the priest set to
work to learn how to cultivate it, and then
with his newly acquired knowledge and a large provision
of Rice seed he returned to his native country. Hence-
forward the cultivation of Rice proved of such value to
the whole of Mikado-land that ever after the grateful folk
have worshipped the little mouse as a god. From that


time the mouse has been held sacred by the Japanese
poor, and its effigy is often hung up in their houses as
a charm. He is worshipped under the name of Daikoku-


'I expect,' said Fun, 'if they had given him a big bag
of rice instead of that big name, he'd have liked it a deal
But no answer came from the fairy's box. With a
graceful sweep of his tiny bamboo fan, the microscopic
visitor from Mikado-land had disappeared.



'SOMEONE said yesterday that my root, being only a tuft
of brown threads, and just like any other root, there
couldn't be much to say about it,' began the Wheat-ear
next morning. 'Perhaps he would come and assist me
to give the lecture, as he spoke so confidently on the
subject under discussion. There's plenty of room for
anyone on the platform.'
But though the lecturer paused and reared his golden
head in the direction of the gallery, no one spoke, no one
moved. Only, after a bit, Fun's voice was heard piping
to the tune of Comin' thro' the Rye:'
' If a gosling gabbles glibly touching Wheat and Rye,
When that gosling's called to order, need that gosling cry ?
Every gosling is so clever, yet you see to-day,
When they're asked to air their wisdom, not a word they'll say.'
Upon this followed loud applause. As it subsided, the
lecturer rose once more.
'Now, to begin with,' he said, 'I'm a Monocotyledon,
which means that in its infancy my plant had only one
nursing leaf to take care of it, instead of having two, like
wealthy babies, who have a nurse and a nursery-maid to
look after them. Consequently, we learn to look after
ourselves much earlier than the pampered Dicotyledons,
and go out to work when we are much younger. Now,
you all know a grain of Wheat when you see it.'


'I should think so !' came in a chorus.
'Yes; but have you ever examined it closely?' asked
the lecturer.
No; they've left that to their teeth,' said Fun.
Exactly. Therefore, if someone gave you a ripe grain,
ready for sowing, and said, Here, inside this, is the baby
plant tucked up, and only await-
ing the sun and rain to awaken
him," you wouldn't know where
'- the infant was. I'll tell you.
d Our grain, you know, is grooved
,'. down on one side, but round on
Sthe other, and when ripe, it is
-* narrower at one end than at the
/ other. Take the grain into your
hand, turn it on its flat side,
~ '_i;" so as to have its round back
uppermost, then examine its
narrowest end. Here you will
note a wee wrinkled spot with a
tiny oval depression, and if you
raise the skin very carefully-I
advise you to boil the grain, so
as to make it soft-you'll see a
very small greenish-yellow egg-
shaped body lying in the tiny
basin, half buried in albumen.
Ask your professors to tell you
what albumen is.'
SMOOTH-STALKED MEADOW Or the first little green goose
you may meet,' whispered Fun,
'for he'll tell you about the albumen which fed him before
he was hatched.'
'Now,' continued the lecturer, 'I'm not going to tell
you any more particulars about our seed itself, for you
will learn about that later, towards the end of your


journey; so I will only add that, like every other seed,
mine was provided by my parent plant with as much
starch, fat, sugar, and other provisions as were necessary
to help my young roots on in the world before I was able
to earn my daily bread entirely by myself. It
was from the extreme end of the tiny egg-
shaped body just described that my root set
out. My root, it is true, is a tuft of threads, A'
like many others, and it is composed of fibres, .
like those of some Dicotyledons. Yet, between 0.,
their roots and ours-between my roots, for
instance, and those of an acorn-there is one j
very marked and important difference: Mono- '
cotyledons have no tap-root. We don't first 't
settle ourselves comfortably in the ground, i'4
and then send out our
rootlet messengers to col-
lect food from the soil for !.I;
the rest of the plant. Dear
me, no! Why, I was so
eager to begin my duties
as bread-winner for my
Family that, before I left
Smy seed-case, I split up
FIBROus RooT. my radicle or baby-root
into fibrous branches; so
that, instead of only one root, a cluster of
rootlets-a band of workers-sprang up to-
gether from my seed. But the root of an FOXTAIL
acorn consists entirely of single threads,
which never give off lesser roots or fibrils. When I had
once set out, I soon got a footing in the soil; and as I and
my rootlets were soon able to supply ourselves and the
young stem, too, with the food we collected underground,
our one nursing-leaf, finding itself no longer needed,
shrivelled up, whilst our seed-case, being emptied of its


food-store-as your sandwich-box gets emptied by the end
of your journey-likewise disappeared in time. Now, as
to their food, plants have all their likes and dislikes. The
Turnip, for instance, prefers potash; the Pea, chalk; the
Vine, soda; but our
favourite food is silica.
/ And we found plenty of
it to eat. But, oh
dear! you've no con-
S. / ception what a vast
z I ;i / number of foes-under-
iI ground ones-a poor
Si i Wheat-root has. Sub-
"..i. terranean beetles prey
-t- / on us, so do slugs, wire-
\\ t ;. worms, and the mole-
.""- / cricket. That is why
we love the dear vel-
"i '- vety mole, because he
I gobbles these enemies
up. Then hares and
rabbits love to burrow
in wheat-fields, and as
," t, those detestable cawing rooks, why, they
will actually come and eat us in our cradle
-that is, before we have had time to leave
our seed-case. My life, though brief, is a
very busy one. There is so much to be
crowded into one short year, for, after I
have toiled, first to start the infant stem out
on his life-journey, I have next to supply
him with food for himself and the leaves, and then
comes the final effort of my existence-I have to
nourish the flower and grain. To these last duties I
devote the very last drop of my blood, the last dregs
of my strength; for, being only an annual, I don't outlive


the year and my roots die on the golden deathbed of
There was a murmur of condolence from the audience,
upon which the lecturer, whose golden head had drooped
a little, looked up quite quickly.
I need no pity,' he said; for when I began life as a
little grain, hidden in the dull, dark earth, I should have
rejoiced to think of the bright, green springtide of youth
before me, of my sun-kissed middle age, and of the golden
hours of evening which crown the end. Nay, but my life
has been altogether beautiful, springing out of darkness
into light, rising from the earth's dark depths into
glorious sunshine.'
And as the lecturer ceased speaking, there came into
Jill's mind words that she had often heard, but never
thought much about: 'It is sown in dishonour, it is raised
in glory'-words to which the life-story of the Wheat
gave a new meaning now. And perhaps because she was
feeling a little grave, Jill was pleased to see in the place
of the gay, gauzy-winged Fairy Queen who sometimes
played the part of story-teller an older, grayer, graver
matron, who reminded her of one of the classical figures
on old Greek vases.
But why is her face half-veiled ?' whispered Jack to
'Because,' explained the Professor, 'that half-veil was
the badge given to her long ago, when she first began to
deal with the,truths which lie half hidden in myths
and legends. It is an old, old legend that she has come
to tell us now.'
'Perhaps,' began the stranger, 'you have already heard
my story. Still, there are some legends that one can
hear again and again, even as we never weary of looking
upon sunsets, though we do see them daily. Now hearken,
children. In the far, far away years, when Father Time
was but a lad, and the mighty Zeus ruled gods and


mortals alike, there dwelt in sunny Sicily a mother and
her daughter. The name of the mother was Demeter--
Mother Earth-and Persephone was the name of her
child. Bright indeed was the early morning of Per-
sephone's young life. She spent it in sunshine and play
with the maiden goddesses who were her fellows, in
whose gay company she wove garlands as she basked on
the sun-kissed mountain-side, or tossed her ball on the
golden sands beside the blue sparkling sea. But there
came a day, a fatal day, when, whilst sporting with her
maidens on the slope of Mount Etna, a sudden woe over-
took Persephone. Even as she stooped to gather the
gleaming daffodils at her feet, the air was rent with a por-
tentous burst of thunder. Thereupon the earth opened
her cavernous mouth, and Hades, King of the dark under-
world, appeared, seated in his chariot, drawn by coal-
black horses. In an instant he had curbed his dark-
hued steeds, and, stepping from his ill-fated chariot, had
snatched Persephone from her happy task of flower-
gathering, and borne her away to his gloomy realm; for,
all unknown to Persephone, Zeus, the great ruler whose
decrees no god or mortal might gainsay, had promised
her to Hades to be his Queen and wife. Great beyond
speech was Demeter's grief on hearing of the loss of her
child. Wearing a mourning garb and carrying a torch,
she set forth at once to wander over the earth, seeking
for her lost daughter. Long and vainly she sought Per-
sephone, till at last Helios-the sun, who sees everything
-told Demeter how Hades had, seized the maiden, and
how she now dwelt with him as Queen-consort of the
lower regions. Then, in her exceeding wrath, Demeter
thought to revenge herself upon Zeus by bringing drought
and famine upon the earth, until Zeus, fearing that all
created things would thus perish inevitably, despatched
his messenger, Hermes, to bring Persephone back from
Hades. Thus mother and child met once more, and


Demeter then restored all her good gifts to the earth.
Once more the grapes ripened, and the mountain slopes
were crowned with the Violet, and gleamed with the
Crocus and fragrant Hyacinth. But before Hades allowed
Persephone to leave him, he made her eat of a Pome-
granate, and this bound her to return to his sunless king-
dom for one-third of every year. Therefore, for four
months of each year Persephone was forced to lie hidden
in the dark depths of Hades' realm, returning to the
sunny heights of Olympus for the remaining eight months.
And now, do you see, my children, what my story has to
do with the lecture of to-day? Persephone, who is
snatched away from the light, and carried into the unseen
realms underground, is the seed-corn, which for part of
every year lies buried underground. Persephone, who
returns to sunny Olympus, delighting the heart of
Demeter-the Mother Earth-is the ripening corn,
which rises from the dark unseen and fills us all with
the joy of harvest, when the old earth smiles from behind
her tears, as, spring after spring, the seed breaks forth
again from her prison mould, and climbs upwards towards
the glorious light of the sun.'
Softer and softer had grown the voice of the speaker,
and ever dimmer and more undefined her outline, till
finally she seemed to blend with the gathering darkness,
and so to pass from sight with her last words.
'We shall always remember that story, now, when we
see the cornfields,' said the children.
Somehow a dreamy spell, such as falls upon us when
we gaze intently upon some old-world picture, seemed to
possess them, for, instead of chattering loudly, as they
usually did at the close, of the lecture, they hardly spoke
above a whisper. Only one Jack remarked:
I say, couldn't someone invite that big old Sugar-cane
to come and spend the day with us ?'



VERY strange changes had taken place overnight in the
Root Parliament House, as Jack and Jill discovered next
morning. They guessed something extraordinary must
have happened, for they were in time to see some of the
roots, notably the Salsify, the Honeywort, the Cornish
Bladder Seed, moving off in high dudgeon.
'No special notice was taken of us,' they were saying,
'and yet it is not often that common human creatures
have a chance of seeing our roots so near.'
'I'm surprised they didn't ask me to speak,' said an
'Not likely that they would when I was passed over,'
snapped the annulated root of Ipecacuanha, whereupon
all the malcontents turned upon her, and went near to
demolishing her altogether.
'I believe it was you who made them sick of roots,' they
And it must be owned that all the Jacks and Jills gave
a very wide berth to Miss Ipecacuanha, and hurried on
without more delay to the door of the Parliament House.
Here was indeed a transformation scene! Instead
of the Speaker's platform they saw a lake, fringed
with reeds and bulrushes, whilst in place of the long
aisle, on either side of which the various family groups
had been arranged, was a clear, rapid river. This,


flowing downwards towards the door, emptied itself into
a dark sea-green basin, girt round with tiny rocks, which
were strewn with shells and seaweed strands.
'What sort of lecture are we going to have to-day?'
asked Jill.
'Well, it's not going to be exactly a lecture,' said F.O.;
'but more 'of a water-party. In the first place, we think
it is wiser not to worry you now about certain rather hard
facts connected with aquatic roots- '
'Which, though they have so much to do with water,
are wonderfully dry,' put in Fun.
'Which,' corrected F.O., 'you will understand better
later on; and secondly, because as the weather is getting
warmer now, we thought we would play at being dragon-
flies, and just skim over the surface of the water, and pick
up what information we can without tiring ourselves.'
'To put F.O.'s meaning quite clearly,' said Fun, 'as
be doesn't consider that your heads are strong enough
yet to stand raw learning, you're going to have learning
and water, just like young folks have wine and water, and
still younger folks milk and water. But, after all, here
comes M.O.F.'
'Yes, here I am,' said the latter, 'just to tell you a
few dry facts, so that you may not feel too dreadfully at
sea when you are on the water. Now, to begin with, true
water-plants are called Hydrophytes, from two Greek
words for water and plant, but remember that amongst
all the plants that grow on and in the water there are
very few hydrophytes. Neither the White nor Yellow
Water-lily, nor the Reeds, nor the Bulrushes are true water
'Then what is a true water-plant ?' asked the children.
'One that lives under the water all its life and never
comes up to the surface,' was the answer.
'Poor thing! Why, at that rate it can never have a
dry thread on its body,' said Fun.


'Pray don't interrupt me,' was the dry rejoinder; I've
not done yet. Now, there are fresh-water hydrophytes
and sea-water hydrophytes. Representatives of each
will address you to-day in their respective spheres. The



Opposite-leaved Pondweed will address you on the lake,
so also will the Water-Soldier, who is only half a hydro-
phyte. The Lesser Duckweed will represent the amphibious
plants, who do equally well in the water or out of it, whilst


the Water-Lily, who will speak on the river, will be spokes-
woman for the marsh-plants.'
'And what about the sea hydrophytes; aren't we to
see them ?' asked Fun.
'Yes; one has kindly promised to speak in the bay at
the close of the afternoon,' said M.O.F.
'And meanwhile,' announced F.O., 'the doors are open,
and the boat is ready to take our party.'
'Boat, indeed!' cried Fun. 'Considering that we are
all learners, you might at least call it a scholar-ship !'
'What horribly poor wit!' said F.O.
'On the contrary, it's only wit watered down to keep
pace with the arrangements of the day,'
retorted Fun. .
'Now you'd better keep pace with us, or ( -^
we shall push off without you,' replied F.O. ,
And indeed the little professor was only
just in time to squeeze himself into the
graceful gondola in which the rest of the
party were packed.
A few strokes of the oars brought them
to their first mooring-place. This was at
a certain point on the lake, where F.O. an- -
nounced that the Pondweed would speak. D EED.
'You'll have to listen with all your
might,' he said; 'for, being a true hydrophyte, he will
have to address you from under the water.'
Then a queer little voice, which, as Fun said, might
have belonged to a very young tadpole with a very sore
throat, made itself heard.
'You must excuse me, my friends,' it said; 'but being
what is called a "submerged aquatic," I can't put my
head out of the water to talk. But as I understand that
you want to know about my root, I'll tell you all I can.
It may surprise you to hear that though I seem to be
floating about so freely under the water, I am really


securely anchored at the bottom of the lake; for I have
what are called rhizoids, or attachment roots. These act
as regular hold-fasts in the mud. But strongly as they
secure us, a microscope would show you of what very
delicate cell-membranes they are composed, and after
seeing them, you would easily understand why we perish
so rapidly if exposed to the dry air; for you must re-
member that our leaves and stem draw all their nourish-
ment from the water surrounding them. The atmosphere
yields no food to us. I am sorry not to be able to show
you my beautiful brown, transparent leaves above the
water. But never mind; if your boat should happen to
upset, you'll be able to make acquaintance with them
then; and recollect, you'll always find me "At Home "
at the bottom of most ponds. Note my address as one
of the true British fresh-water hydrophytes. And now
good-bye, and I hope you'll enjoy your interview with my
marine relation, the Sea-Wrack. Ha! ha! ha!' and with
a mocking laugh, which had the funniest sound, this in-
visible lecturer grew silent.
'Why did he laugh like that ?' asked Jill.
'Wait and see,' said Fun. 'The Water-Soldier is going
to speak now, and if we don't all stand at attention, he'll
run us through with one of his sword-leaves.'
'But doesn't he look sniart,' said Jill, 'standing half a
foot out of the water, his erect stalk crowned with his
delicate blossom, which shows so white against the deep
green background of his prickly leaves.'
Saluting his audience in military fashion, the Soldier
began :
'Now, I am one of those aquatic plants who pass the
whole winter at the bottom of the pond in which I live,
only rising towards the surface of the water when the
spring sets in. For, you see, my primary root, which is
the root that comes directly from the seed, begins life
imbedded in mud. It is therefore a subterranean root.


So soon, however, as my plant has developed its stem
and leaves, the root dies off, and the rest of me rises to
the surface of the water. Here we remain floating about
just under the surface of the water. Meanwhile our leafy
stem is putting out fresh roots, so that later on in the
season, when my plant sinks down again for its winter's
rest, these floating
roots settle down in
the mud, and turn
into land-roots. But
I am anticipating,
for I should first say
that, whilst floating
about near the sur-
face of the water, we
send out a number
of bunches of roots,
bearing fresh sword-
shaped leaves-
they look just like
rosettes tacked on a
length of ribbon-
and lastly we put TASSEL PONDWEED (SEA-FENNEL).
out our flower,
which during midsummer days rears itself boldly above
the water. When our flowers are over, we withdraw
beneath the surface again, for the purpose of ripening
our seeds, and producing buds which shall develop into
young daughter plants. Having accomplished this by the
end of August, we rise to the surface again, and for a
short time display ourselves, surrounded by our juvenile
family; for you must understand that each of our children
is literally attached to us by the long stalks at the end of
which they grow; but after a time, as winter draws near,
these stalks decay, and each of these infant plants is left
to take care of itself.'


'In short, these young people break away from their
family ties, and settle in life for themselves,' said Fun.
'And that is all the fine Soldier is going to tell us to-day,
for he is giving the word of command to the Duckweed to
Just then a huge patch of what looked like thick, green
matting came moving up to the side of the boat; for at
this end of the lake the Lesser Duckweed grew so
luxuriantly that it quite carpeted the top of the water.
'I wonder,' said Fun, 'what sort of a voice will come
out of that funny-looking mass.'
Presently, like the quacking of a duckling inside a
blanket, a voice spoke:
I'm one of the smallest floating plants in the whole
world. My root is fibrous, and though it looks as if it
were firmly fixed in the mud, it is not attached to the soil
at all. For, like my namesake the duck, I'm amphibious,
and can live equally well in or out of the water; so that,
supposing that I and my million relations were stranded
on the mud, we shouldn't lie down helplessly to die, like
my neighbour the Pondweed-poor creature!-would do,
not we Our roots would, on the contrary, set to work
at once to seek their food from the air instead of from the
water. The actual leaves that we might happen to be
wearing at the time of our stranding would probably die,
but then our roots would instantly put out fresh ones,
that would know how to adapt themselves to their new
surroundings, and would behave exactly as if they were
bred and born land-plants. That is what is meant by
having an amphibious root. Quack quack !'
Oh, you dear old Duck !' cried Fun; you have made
short work of your story And now let's make for the
river, for the Water-Lily, you know, is very punctual in
going to bed. About three o'clock she begins to get
sleepy, and shuts up altogether at four.'
'So please give her silvery tones a chance of being


heard,' said M.O.F., as the boat neared the lovely
And silvery indeed did the clear voice sound which rose
from the beautiful white cup lying amidst its glossy
emerald leaves.
'Though I'm called the Queen of the Waters,"' said
the Lily, I'm really only a marsh-plant, and I'll tell you
why. It is true that my widely-branching roots are fixed
in the soil at the bottom of this river, and also that my
lower stems and leaves live and thrive under water, but,
as you can see, the upper part of my stem and all my
upper leaves live above the water and derive their food
from the atmosphere, as land-plants do.'
'Oh, then you're amphibious, like the Duckweed I' said
the children.
'No, we are not. We don't do equally well whether
we live in water or not. For although, in certain instances,
where the water has sunk and only moist earth has been
left behind, we have managed to grow and thrive as if we
were land-plants, yet, on the other hand, if the waters
were to,swell so much as to come over our heads and
submerge us altogether, we should soon die. My root is
called deciduous, which means that the old root dies every
year and a new one is developed in its place. If you
examine my rhizome, or under-water stem, you will see
that it is pitted by a number of tiny scars ; these will tell
you where the old roots have been and where they have
died. But there's four striking, so good-night.'
Therewith the exquisite petals slowly closed themselves,
and lay down to sleep on the face of the water.
'I wish she had talked a little longer,' said Jill.
But a few minutes later she had forgotten all about
the Lily, for presently the whole party found themselves
gathered on the shore of the bay for the purpose of hearing
the marine hydrophyte, the Sea-Wrack, speak. Every-
one was in fits of laughter, for this time the lecturer was


not growing in the water or on the water, or on the earth
or under the earth, but-on the back of a crab !
'Yes, laugh away as much as you like,' he began, 'for
here I am, and here I grow, and I'll tell you all about it.
One fine day, when I was floating about with my parent
plant, I very literally came across this worthy gentleman,
on whose back I now have my permanent residence. My
own short story, I regret to say, includes some of his back
history; for, being harassed by secret foes, after the manner
of crabs, he sought his own relief at the expense of the
first victim he happened to meet. Consequently, he did
not scruple to tear me from my family party, and promptly
snatched me from them with his powerful claws. His
next step was to stick me into the top of his carapace,
where I was tightly held by his hooked hairs. In this
uncomfortable position I nevertheless very soon developed
a root, which has now become completely embedded in the
crab's overcoat. As regards the nature of my root, I will
only tell you that its chief characteristic consists in the
conical disk that it forms. Personally I am not large, yet
some of my relations-by the way, I belong to the tribe
of the Fucacee--rank among the giants of the sea-weed
world. And I may as well tell you that in making a
garden out of this crab's back I'm doing him a great
kindness. For, you see, disguised as a sort of jungle on
legs, the good gentleman escapes the attacks of many
enemies from whose assaults he would otherwise un-
doubtedly suffer. It's a little trick that runs in the
family of crabs, that of dressing themselves up in what-
ever seaweed is most abundant near them. As to my
food, well, it consists chiefly of soda and iodine-but oh
dear! the tide is going out, and I must be going too.
Good-night to you all.'



'OH, who will soar aloft with me,
'Midst roots that grow in air ?
Oh, who will up and follow me,
To visit orchids rare ?
The land-roots, they have had their say,
The water-roots as well,
But parasites and epiphytes
Have still their tale to tell.'

'Why, that's Fun,' cried Jack, waking up next morning,
'singing to the tune of Who will o'er the downs ?" '
'On the contrary, it's to the tune of "Who will o'er
the ups ?" for it will be a case to-day of "Here we go up,
up, up,"' said Fun; 'for we are going
among the plants with air-roots, you
'Then, have we finished with the .'
other roots ?' asked Jill.
'They've finished with us for the '
present,' said Fun. lit' '
'They are anxious to return to / .
their banks,' said M.O.F.; for they
feel that they've had rather a long
bank-holiday.' DAHLIA ROOTS.
But we've heard nothing about bulbs and tubers,' said


They'll meet us when we go stem-stalking,' said F.O.;
'for bulbs and tubers, not being roots proper, do not sit
in the House as such with the other honourable members
of this Parliament.'
'Yet, as a matter of fact,' said M.O.F., 'you might
as well know that tubercles-very different, mind, from
tubers-is the name given to
Sthe roots of Dahlias and many
kinds of Orchids and Lily-
worts. And these tubercles
"^ are fleshy lobes (really root-
S., fibres) which have swollen
S'. up to an egg-shaped knob,
.- and serve their owners as
S/ ['1, underground store- rooms,
i:,, ; where they hoard the food
*' for the rest of the plant.
The fasciculated or bundle-
like roots of a Dahlia have
TUBEROUS ROOT (Oxals crenata). many lobes, so has the root
of our common Meadow
Orchis. But as our Orchid lecturer of to-day has aerial
roots himself, he will probably not refer to his more low-
bred relations.'
'Besides, I'm sure he won't have time to do so,' said
F.O.; 'for the Ivy and the Mistletoe have to speak too.
As the Ivy starts from the foot of the _.-
tree-the grand old Oak, you see, is
kindly playing the part of host to these / '
two first lecturers-he will address us J
first. The Mistletoe, who will speak
from one of the branches, higher up, C O EART~-
will then follow him.'
'By-the-way,' said M.O.F., 'let me tell you it is very
rare to see Mistletoe on an Oak-tree. Someone says (but
I'm not sure it's quite true) that there are only two Oaks


in the whole of England who persistently entertain
Mistletoe. But Apple, Thorn, Lime, and Poplar are his
favourite trees. Beeches, Birches, and Planes the
Mistletoe invariably shuns.'
And after the Mistletoe, the Orchid will speak, in an
airy way, you know,' said Fun; 'but we shall have to go
to the other side of the house for that. But
now I say, let's order our wings and be off,
for time is flying if we are not, and the Ivy
is a crooked kind of fellow, with a good many
twists in his temper. Ah! here comes the
lift to start us on our upward career; the
first landing-stage will be up among, the RooT OF
Oak's branches somewhere.'
We'll all be "Jacks-in-the-green," cried the children.
And they began to play so noisily that the Professors
checked them.
'Don't you know,' said F.O., 'that the old song says
that Ivy is soft and meeke of speech ? So you won't be
able to hear anything if you're
!"/ not quiet.'
S' And certainly it was a very soft
little voice that presently spoke
.- from the foot of the Oak.
S' I am old, so old, my children,
it began, 'that I should have
r thought that by this time every-
one in the whole world knew all
about me. My English name of
Ivy comes from the old Saxon Ifig
v -you see its traces in the German
Iv, SHOWING qERIAL ROOTS. Epheu-but I began life as Kissos
in the sunny Greek land, where I was greatly loved. There
I had a whole village called after me. And ever since I can
remember I have always taken part in all great festivals,
first amongst the heathen and then amongst Christians.


And because my great virtue is constancy, I feel sure that
I shall always be a favourite so long as the world lasts.
For if I am ready to share your joys, I am always at hand
to brighten your shady places; and if I deck your festal
halls, I clothe your crumbling and time-worn walls as
well. But I had almost forgotten that it is about my
root that you're wanting to hear. Well, as you know, the
roots of most plants grow either in soil or water, but there
are some who send roots out from their stem into the air.
These kind of roots are therefore called aerial roots. And
I have been asked to address you, first, because I have the
simplest kind of air roots, and, secondly, because, having
both soil and air roots, I form a most suitable link or
stepping-stone between the downstair and upstair roots.
At the foot of this Oak, I set out in life by taking root in
the soil. This root now supplies me with all the soil food
that I require for the support of my plant, and from which,
as in all other plants, my stem was developed. Very soon,
however, I set to work to put out other rootlets from my
stem. These took the form of those short, rough, rusty
fibres which look like some shaggy creature's claws,
but sometimes they also appear quite soft and pale,
like little Earthmen's wee fingers. These are the roots
that are known to botanists as adventitious roots. Re-
member the term. They are wonderfully useful, for they
serve as little fasteners on the objects over which I climb,
and thus they fulfil one of the chief duties of a root,
namely, that of fixing a plant to the substance on which
it grows. But they take up no food from that substance.
They get nothing out of the tree or the wall upon which
they fasten themselves. So that when ignorant, evil-
tongued folk talk of me as "living on other trees, they
entirely mistake my case. It is from the air that surrounds
my air roots that they collect their own nourishment-
mark that. I live with the trees, but not on them. I keep
a balance of my own at the bank-that is, with my under-


ground soil root, whence I draw all I need for my own
support. Just remember that, and try to copy me in
always clothing others' defects, as I do with my kindly
foliage; and see how I try to beautify the old and un-
sightly. I grow on all trees except the Beech; we've
never been friends. Ivye is green with colour bright, of
all trees, best is he," sings the old poet; and that is so
entirely the truth that there's nothing more for me to say.
So good-bye, my little Jacks-in-the-green.'
The next sound came from Fun.

'The Mistletoe hangs higher up on the tree,
So climbing to hear him is rather a spree,'

he piped to the tune of 'The Mistletoe Bough,' by way of
filling up the interval occasioned by the change of position
of lecturers and audience, but before Fun had time to begin
the third line, the Mistle-
toe began his address. .
Oh, his was an odd
voice! It was so weird,
and withal deep and
rugged, like the roaring
of the wintry winds -
through mighty forests. .
'It sounds for all the t.--. "
world,' whispered Fun,'as ---=-- -
if his stem had served as PARASITIC ROOT OF MISTLETOE.
a phonograph for cen-
turies, and was repeating all the notes and chords that have
ever been played in the whole of the winds' orchestra.'
'I take it for granted,' began the lecturer, 'that you all
know my claims on your veneration and respect-every
history book must teach you what they are. Besides, do
not my silver locks-berries, you call them-witness to
my antiquity ? But because I am a parasite, which means
that I prey upon the juice of other plants, people think


badly of me. Well, my task to-day is not to defend what
I do, but to tell you how I do it. So listen. When my
seed was flung against this rough Oak bark, I didn't
begin to cry for a warm soft soil or water-bed, not I !
The tiny root within my seed said: This isn't exactly a
bed of roses, but no matter, I'll make my way in the
world somehow." Thereupon one tiny threadlike claw
set to work to pierce through the seed-coat, and then
curved itself towards the tree. This claw was my radicle,
and as soon as it reached the surface of the bark-felt its
feet, in fact-it flattened itself out at the point like the
proboscis of a fly, into what is called an attachment disc.
My next step was to put out what is known as a sinker."
This was another claw-a very slender one-which, start-
ing from the centre of my attachment disc, pierced through
the bark, right into the growing wood of the tree. That
was my first year's work. Now listen to what happened
next. As soon as the winter was over, the branch on
which I had established myself, began its year's growth.
This consists, you know, in making its annual ring of
wood cells, thus building up a wall round my intruding
rootlet. It really seemed as if they said, Now you are
here, we'll keep you a prisoner." At any rate, that is
what they did. For whilst my sinker remained stationary
the woody cells all round it grew higher and higher. For
the first year this state of things was bearable, but if it
had gone on much longer I should have been buried alive.
" I must find some means of stretching my legs," I said to
myself. And so I did, and I'll tell you how. At the base
of my sinker is a zone or belt of cells, and as the woody
wall grows this belt grows too, widening out into a bigger
ring. This gives my sinker room to extend its rootlets
also, only, as they must follow the direction of this belt,
they have to grow in a perpetual sort of merry-go-round,
or, as botanists express it, in a peripheral direction. In
the second year, this belt of cells produces lateral ramifica-


tions or side-branchings, called cortical or bark roots,
because my rootlets all run close together under the cortex
or bark of the part of the tree they have invaded. In
their turn, these bark rootlets send out their yearly sinkers,
and thus they manage to keep pace with the growth of
the wood surrounding them. All the time that they are
thus spreading inside the branch, they are working hard
to collect food for my stem. This latter, meanwhile, is
developing on the outside, for though, as I have shown
you, I don't grow into the woody part of the host-tree on
which I reside, yet I will own that my roots do suck up
all the nourishing juices they can pilfer from their sur-
roundings. A garden rake furnishes a very good illustra-
tion of the way in which my roots grow inside the branch
on which they settle. The straight bit of wood at the top
of the rake stands for my cortical roots or side-branchings,
while the teeth of the rake represent my sinkers. And
here I must end this private history of my roots, but I
hope when you see my pearls mingling with the Holly's
rubies in Father Christmas's crown, you'll give a kindly
thought for my brave, hard-working little rootlets, shut
up inside their wooden cells, and compelled to dance a
perpetual merry-go-round to save themselves from being
buried alive. Good-bye.'
'Time is up,' said M.O.F., 'and we've not yet heard
the Orchid hold forth, so we'll have to attend his lecture
to-morrow, before crossing the border into Stemland.'



'Do you know, my young friends,' said Fun next day,
'that the Orchid, Mr. Oncidium by name, was so deeply
offended at our not keeping our appointment with him
yesterday that, in Eastern fashion, he rent his garments;
that is to say, he shed his lovely orange-and-sulphur
blossoms, and vows he will only address us to-day in his
leaves and roots.'
'What a cross, unmannerly old thing!' said Jack.
'Perhaps,' said Fun, 'it would be a' fairer division to
say that we were unmannerly, and so he got cross at being
kept waiting in uncomfortable quarters. For you see this
bit of bark, on which he is lodged here, is a very poor
makeshift for his princely residence in the tropical forest
of his own homeland. There, with thousands of his
brother and sister epiphytes, he twists and turns at will
amongst the gigantic branches of the magnificent trees.
There, with the luxuriant green roof for a canopy under
the dazzling sky, and with gold-crested humming-birds
and jewelled butterflies to pay homage to his gorgeous
blossoms, this brilliant foreigner holds a perpetual court,
and consequently wherever he goes he expects to be
treated like a Persian Satrap or a Sultan.'
'All that sounds so much like the "Arabian Nights,"'
said Jill. 'I think he might give us a fairy-tale; we've
not had one for ages.'


'Now, before you begin talking of fairy-tales,' put in
M.O.F., 'I have a question to ask you young folk. Pray
what do you mean by the word "epiphyte "?'
'Nothing,' said Jack promptly, 'for we don't know.'
'Then it is highly disgraceful to you,' was the grim
reply. 'Now remember, epiphyte is made up of two
Greek words, which mean literally on or upon a plant,
and it is therefore the name which is given to any plant
which grows upon another
plant. Now, of the eight
thousand Orchids which have .
been discovered, a great many
more than half are epiphytes;
that is, they flourish only on
the bark of trees, and would -.
very quickly droop and die if
they were torn away from their
old friends and planted in the
ground. Then, too- '
'Then, too,' mimicked Fun,
'Mr. Oncidium will speak for
himself: for here we are at his ORCHID, SHOWING AIR ROOTS.
very feet,' he added, as the lift, which was conveying the
party upwards, stopped short all at once.
Looking up, Jill found herself close to the lecturer, who
appeared to be suspended in mid-air. In reality he was
suspended from the highest point of the roof in the Par-
liament House, couched on a magnificent piece of bark,
with which his English hosts had done their best to secure
the comfort of their illustrious visitor.
Don't his roots look like a splendid tress of hair spun
out of pale, pale moonbeams?' whispered Jill to Fun, as
she looked up at the lecturer's hanging roots, which showed
like huge silvery tassels against the dark bark on which he
'Yes, or like the dazzling white mane of a seahorse


rising out of the' briny foam,' said Fun; 'but he is
speaking, so we mustn't.'
'It's a lucky thing for you, my good folk, that you've
come at last,' Mr. Oncidium was saying, 'for I was on
the point of starting back to my home in the tropics.
There I live like a Sunshine-king, lapped round in golden
light. For though some people have a foolish idea that
Orchids grow best in the gloomy depths of dense forests,
we are in truth, children of the light, and thrive in the
sunniest spots. Now I, unlike most of your lecturers,
don't hide my roots out of sight in earth or water, just as
you cover up your feet in boots. No, I consider my roots
too beautiful and too valuable for such treatment. Yes,
they are valuable as well as lovely, for they do work hard
for the rest of the plant. Some of our roots do the work
of feet, others that of hands. To start with, they have
the entire responsibility of fixing our whole plant to the
bark of the tree on which we decide to take up our abode.
As a rule, a few root fibres are sufficient to do that. The
rest have to supply us with all the nourishment that is
furnished to other roots by the soil. So I was going to
say that our roots are worth their weight in gold to the
other parts of the plant, but it would be nearer the truth
if I said that they are worth their weight in life-blood.
For you must understand that these white papery-looking
tassels that you see have no help from their fellow-roots,
which you do not see; for these latter are busy creeping
into the bark and dividing it, whilst they interlace each
other and thus form regular footholds. Thus our roots
have two distinct departments to work in. Some are sent
on foreign service, whilst others have home duties to
fulfil. Now look at the glistening coverings that wrap
round my aerial roots and look like tissue-paper. I have
a great deal to say about these coverings, which are of the
greatest value to our roots. And shall I tell you why?
They are entirely made up of perforated cells, exactly like


a common sponge; indeed, they behave just as if they;
were sponges. Whenever they come within touch of
water, they suck up as much as they can possibly hold,
so that the green fibres of. the root inside those silvery
wraps may always have a supply of water close at hand.
Of course this keeps them beautifully cool and fresh.'
I should think it did,' said Fun. 'Shouldn't we be
nice and cool if we were wrapped round in a damp sponge ?'
'But,' went on the Orchid, 'not only do these useful
white skins suck in and retain water: they have also the
power of condensing what is called the aqueous vapour of
the atmosphere. That means, roughly, that they collect
all the particles of moisture which are dispersed in the air,
and turn it into water. This talent of manufacturing
water, so to speak, is of the utmost value to us. For
though it may surprise you to hear it, we never get
a drop to drink from the bark of the tree on which we
'Well, really,' said Fun, the bark must be ill-natured to
leave your poor roots like so many pale ghosts starving
with thirst, while his own trunk is full of nice fluid sap.'
Now, there you are mistaken,' was the tart reply, 'for
the bark, upon which we reside, is driven to the same
source as ourselves for its water-supply, namely, the atmo-
sphere. For when you study stems-which I should think
had better be soon-you will learn that whereas the trunk
of a tree is fed by its root with the water from the soil,
the bark has to go to the atmosphere when it wants to
quench its thirst. Consequently, you see, the bark is not
in a position to supply our roots with water, to be drunk
on the premises." This being the case, therefore, you can
easily understand in what respect and esteem these water-
condensing, roots are held by the rest of the plant. For
when (as often happens in our climates) the long season
of drought sets in, we must of necessity perish if we did
not have these papery coverings to stand literally between


us and destruction. They really are wonderfully clever.
Besides understanding the art of drawing water from the
air (sinking wells in the atmosphere, you might say), when
they have drained every drop of moisture from the imme-
diate surroundings, they don't even then stop work.
They merely turn round and serve us in another way.
Talk of your British .Blue-jackets our little White-coats
are ever so much greater heroes in their way, For when,
like faithful water-carriers to a besieged city, they have
handed over every drop of liquid, they.next proceed to fill
their emptied cells with air. By that time they look quite
shrivelled and dried up; nevertheless, they wrap them-
selves all the closer round the green root fibres within
them, and thus serve as a very valuable protection against
the attacks of the surrounding heat. For were.these
tender fibres exposed to a high temperature, their very
life-blood would quickly dry up within them. Thus, you
see, our little White-coats behave exactly like loyal
servants who, when they are no longer able to guard the
treasure committed to their keeping, hand it over to their
master's use, and then proceed to guard the deposit with
their own little dried-up bodies. Grand household guards
F Coldstream Guards, I should have called them,' said
'And so you see,' went on the lecturer, 'nothing could
be more perfect than the manner in, which our roots are
constructed to suit our needs, and as soon as the weather
becomes hot enough to injure us, these white tissue cover-
ings act as our protectors.'
'Yes, as sort of pugarees to the green root.fibres,' put
in Fun.
'And when the air is charged with moisture, they serve
as water-carriers. In this way, you see, they take the
place of the damp soil, in which your ordinary earth-roots
are planted, for the actual root fibres are concealed within



them, much in the same way as- the root fibres of land
plants are concealed in the earth. And, indeed, if I or
any of my relations, whose roots are covered with these
white coats, were to be planted in the soil, you would see
that we should at once discard these porous paper-like
envelopes, because we should have no further use for them
in our new surroundings. There is a deal more to tell
about our roots, but I will only add now that the inside
of the paper covering is wonderfully adapted for its use as
a water-carrier. Immediately under the porous envelope
is a layer of two kinds of cells of different sizes. In one
kind the cell is much larger than the other, and, having
thicker walls, does not, to speak roughly, let in the water
so easily as the smaller cells. These are placed between
the larger ones, and, being much thinner, admit the water
readily, and act therefore as absorption cells.'
'In fact,' said Fun, who thought that the Orchid,
though he was talking so much of water, was growing
rather dry, 'the small cells suck in the water, and the big
cells act as jars to keep it in-isn't that the right way of
putting it, Mr. Oncidium?'
'A veryfunny sort of right way,' said the lecturer, 'but
I'll let it pass, as I want to tell you a story connected with
my ancestors, and which ought to be written in letters of
gold in the history of the world's benefactors. For it
records how the rare beauty of our blossoms saved the
life of a man already condemned to a cruel death. Well,
it happened many years ago-Orchids don't carry dates
about with them as palms do-just when the Spaniards
had first settled in the island of Lacon. They were very
cruel to the native tribes whose home they had invaded.
Tagali, one of the native chiefs, a brave, noble fellow, re-
sented the intrusion of these foreigners, and refused to allow
a single Spanish officer to set foot on his property, and
when, in spite of his remonstrances, an- unmannerly
Spaniard still forced an entrance, Tagali seized his bow


and aimed a poisoned arrow at him. Before he could
draw the string, however, poor Tagali was overpowered
by the soldiers, seized, bound and dragged before the
Spanish general. The latter ordered him to be tortured
to death. As he was being led out to die, Tagali caught
sight of the general's wife, who was going into ecstasies of
delight over a single spray of Orchids, which had just been
brought to her, and which were to her quite a novelty.
By the help of an interpreter, Tagali gave the lady to
understand that if he were granted a respite of twenty-four
hours, he would undertake to return with an armful of
blossoms of the same kind, but far more beautiful and
fragrant. Granting his wife's entreaty, the general
allowed Tagali to depart under a strong escort in search
of the flowers. He was convinced that it was only a trick
on Tagali's part to delay his execution, but when the poor
man returned the next day, staggering under a load of our
luxuriant blossoms, the stern Spaniard's heart was touched,
and he consented to accept Tagali's choice flowers as the
price of his life. There now, that's a record to be proud
of, eh ?'
But before they could answer, or even give one clap of
applause, the lecturer had swung himself out of sight, and
his audience found themselves at Mr. Matter-of-Fact's



'WELL, this is what I call a sell.'
Jack was speaking to Jill on the day following the
Orchid's lecture.
'Why?' asked Jill.
Because I thought we were going to have a real jolly
journey into Stem Province in a caravan, like we had when
we came to Root Valley; instead of which we've only just
crawled over the threshold of the Parliament House, and
are to have a tame sort of open-air meeting here, with the
Oak to address us, and perhaps the Palm.'
'Well, but it's nobody's fault exactly,' said Jill; 'it is
the fault of the stems. They shouldn't be so silly as to
grow so near the roots, so that it would be just as absurd
to take a caravan to reach them, as it would be to take a
cab to go from the door to the window in our schoolroom.'
'All the same, it's a sell,' said Jack, 'and I hate sells !'
'Now, that's a pity,' said Fun, fr amongst the stems
we shall find ourselves in the middle of cells. Besides, it
is tremendously condescending of the Oak-the King of
the Forest-trees-to promise to address us. He'll expect
you all to treat him with the deep respect that oaks have
enjoyed since the days of the ancients. Then, you know,
if the leaves of the Oak only rustled, the pious pagan
would say Hearken, Zeus is speaking."'
'And perhaps, my dear Fun,' said F.O. a little slyly,


'you will play at being one of those pious pagans, for if
you would hearken now, others might have a chance of
doing so too, for our Oak of to-day has already begun to
rustle his leaves. Our time is rather precious, as there is
so much to say about stems and stalks.'
'Oh, certainly !' said Fun. I quite understand that
If a stem wants to preach about every stalk,
Of course he will try to stem other folk's talk.'
There was just a little more stir under the widely-
spreading branches of the Oak, whilst the audience were
seating themselves, there was just a little rustling amongst
the foliage, and then, in a rich voice from the depths of
the luxuriant leafage, the Lord of the Woods spoke :
'Long ago, my children, the Romans and Greeks
taught that I, the magnificent Oak, was the first tree that
grew on the earth, and that all created things-" nymphs
and fauns and savage men "-sprang from me.'
'See Virgil, Eneid," Book VIII.,' put in M.O.F. dryly.
'But it is not on that account that I address you to-
day, but because no one is so worthy as I to be the chosen
representative of the whole Worshipful Company of Stems.
For whose stalk, stem, or trunk is so important in all the
world as mine ?'
Cries of 'Hear, hear!' came from the audience, and
showers of little green acorns from the
'-, speaker, both the results, you see, of his
K.. stirring eloquence.
'Now,' went on the Oak, 'in order to
understand what a stem really is, we
must consider what it does. It has
three principal duties. First, it supports
ACORN. the buds, leaves, and flowers of the
plant. Secondly, it supplies them with water and other
materials derived from the root. Thirdly, it acts as a
carrier to convey the different products manufactured
in the cells to the different parts of the plant, where


these materials are required. These products, by the
way, are starch, sugar, oil, and various other materials
of which you will hear more later. Now, some wise folk
have compared an. entire plant to a city made up of
many different dwellings, each having its own respective
indwellers. Further, they have compared the stem and
branches to the roads, canals, and streets of a great town,
which not only connect the different quarters, but serve as
a means of communication and traffic between them, and
are therefore looked upon as the common property of the
city. On the whole, it is a good comparison'-and the
Oak gave an approving nod, which scattered a few more
acorns-' only you must understand that these streets, etc.,
wouldn't be of much use to the community at large if they
were not -furnished with little cells, containing a host of
busy moving folk. All of these latter are tiny carriers,
who hand on something from their own cell to their
neighbour who is in the next cell, working as fast as they
can. Again, note what I tell you now. Although to you
a stem or stalk may appear to be constructed in the same
way, whether you examine it near the root, or in the
middle, or near the flower, it is not so really. The stem,
when it starts from the root, has a very differently con-
structed inside from the stem that goes on its way towards
the leaves and flowers, because through the whole of its
course it is gradually changing and developing. And
why ? Because, as you will see for yourself, it has
different kinds of work to do on its road from the root
to the blossom. Now take the case of the houses where
you children live. From the outside of your house,
if you judged only by the look of the walls, you might
think that the inside was all constructed and furnished
on one and the same pattern, whereas you know that the
different parts of the house are differently adapted according
to the different uses for which they serve. Your drawing
room and your kitchen, for instance, are not arranged


in exactly the same fashion, are they ? So, if we examine
the inside of a stem under what you call a microscope, we
can distinctly see the cells arranged in series one over
the other. Each separate layer of cells is formed and
furnished to suit the exact work which has to be carried
on in each, so that clever botanists have been able to
draw out a regular plan of the inside of a stem, showing
the different manner in which each part is made, accord-
ing to the duty it has to perform. First there is what
may be called the nursery floor. That is the portion of
the stem Which bears the cotyledon, or nursing leaves of
the plant, which, as you know, are the leaves that come
first. Secondly comes the scale-leaf story. Thirdly the
foliage-leaf story. Fourthly the blossom story. But just
as amongst yourselves different families have differently
arranged houses, so stems also have different arrange-
ments, according to the families to which they belong.
You'll see this as we go along. But now listen. Stems
are divided into two classes-those that belong to the
dicotyledons, and those that belong to the monocoty-
ledons. The former class are called exogenous-from
two Greek words signifying outside growers (I belong to
these)-and the latter class are called endogenous, or
inside growers.'
'I'm an inside grower,' came in a soft, lazy whisper
from amongst the fan-like foliage of the Palm.
'Please let me come to the pith of my own address,'
said the Oak. Then, if there's time, you shall talk of
yours. Not that you'll find anything very pithy to say
about yourself.
'Now, my stem is made up of pith, wood, and bark.
The pith occupies the centre, then the wood comes next,
and lastly the bark, which is separable from the wood.
My pith never grows in diameter after the first year; all
our growth is therefore done by the woody part of our
stems. These are increased yearly by the fresh ring


which the wood makes outside the pith. That is why I'm
called an outside grower, because my new wood is always
on the outside, and the old wood within. So our softest
part is our outside.'
'It is just the other way with us,' put in the Palm.
'Take the stem of your Butcher's Broom-that is your
only British native like us-and cut it across. Then you
will be able to see that we have no hard core-heartwood,
I think, is what you call it-in our middle, and no woody
rings, either. For our inside is made up of bundles and
tissues. These run down our pith like separate cords,
forming a false bark on the outside of our stem. A true
bark is one that is separable from the wood. So the
workers in our stem cells make it their business to pro-
mote the growth of the stem lengthways, but do not
increase its girth. They make our stems tall, but not fat.
Consequently, owing to their being thus increased inwardly
instead of outwardly, though our stems often reach 150 feet
in height, they are no stouter at the top than when they
started out in life at the base. Neither do our stem-
workers trouble themselves to put out any branches. It
is only when they have reached the top of the tree"
that they crown themselves and their labours with a tuft
of beautiful foliage-a real leafy coronet.'
'And by that time,' put in Fun, 'I suppose it is a
case of
'Hush-a-bye, workers, on the tree-top,
The stem being finished, your labours can stop.'
'That's a hint to me to stop, I suppose,' said the Palm
languidly. But I must just tell you that I am considered
a sacred tree in the East, and that there are all sorts of
legends about my smooth, stately stem. You all know
the story of St. Christopher, I suppose ?'
'If you please,' broke in the Oak, 'business before
stories. And it has just struck me that between us we've
forgotten to tell our young friends that the word stem


comes straight from the Greek word istenmi, I stand.
And now let us sum up briefly what I have said of the
stem. It supports the whole plant structure-leaves,
flowers, and fruit. It supplies the water and soil-food
collected by the root to the different parts of the plant.
It conveys the materials manufactured in the various cells
from one portion of the plant to the other, and finally it
stores up material within its cells to produce new supplies
of branches, leaves, and flowers. And, lastly, remember
that in an outside-grower, like me, the hardest part of the
stem is inside; whilst in the inside-grower, like the Palm,
it is just the reverse.'
'I'm sure,' said Fun, 'these rhymes will help you to
recall that:
Now, the Oaks with their tender outsides, I trow,
Are like certain monarchs, we all of us know,
Who wore crowns on their heads, and wrapt themselves round
In imperial velvet that swept the ground;
But beneath that purple, so soft and smart,
They had not a single soft spot in their heart;
Whereas you will find in the Palm-tree slim,
That his heart is the softest part of him.'

'Hear, hear!' cried all the audience.
But the Oak shook his head in grave disapproval.



'WELL, now, young people, you ought to be very pleased
with the look of to-day's lecturers,' said Professor F.O.,
as, after a very short journey, the caravan halted at an
underground stem-station. I consider they make a very
pretty group.'
But surely,' cried several voices, 'we are back again in
Root Valley ?'
'Back again in Noodle Valley, you mean,' said Fun
severely, while M.O.F. added:
Haven't you learnt yet that the border country of the
Root Kingdom is inhabited by underground stems ? But
here they are to speak for themselves.'
And, lifting up their eyes, the Jacks and Jills saw a
wonderfully picturesque group awaiting .them on a raised
'Read this,' whispered Fun, handing a programme of
the day's proceedings to Jill, who had her usual place
beside him.
This is what the programme set forth:
'A series of short lectures will be given on the private
history of Rhizomes, Tubers, Bulbs, and Corms, by a leading
representative of each house respectively. Several members
of each family will attend in person. The speakers will
be as follows : the Iris or Yellow Flag, representing the


Rhizomes; the Potato, representing the Tubers; the Lily
and Onion, representing the Bulbs.'
'Ugh!' said Jill under her breath, 'what a funny
'Lastly, the Crocus will represent the Corms. The
Venerable Ancient, Mr. Solomon's Seal,, will occupy the
Now, be quick and take your places,' said F.O., 'for
there is a lot to hear, and no time to spare: for you'll find
that amongst the stems we shall be always moving up-
wards and onwards.'
'I am asked,' began the venerable chairman, creeping
along the front of the platform, as befitted his natural
habits, 'to introduce the subject of underground stems.
These, my friends, are divided into four groups, namely:
the Rhizomes or Root-stocks. I am one myself, so are all
my kinsfolk here;' and he bowed to a group on his right
Here the Iris stood erect, supported by Lilies of the
Valley, and faintly blushing Wood Anemones, and golden
Cowslips, and pale silken Primroses, and the Creeping
Thistle with its handsome lilac plumes, and the Sweet-
flag, and many others, the select circle being fringed by
various Ferns and Couch Grass.
'Then there are the Tubers.' Here the chairman bowed
to the group on his left.
This was composed of certain members who presented
rather a homely appearance in the midst of that brilliant
gathering. In their centre was the worthy and highly
respectable Potato, supported by the Jerusalem Artichoke,
the Black Briony-he had wisely come in his autumn
uniform of dark purple leaves, mingled with light yellow
ones, and his gleaming red fruit-and the Wake-robin-
he had looked such a lord in the hedge-and the wicked
Nightshade with her lilac and yellow blossoms and her
glossy berries, and the Pig-nut-quite the homeliest of


all this homely group-besides Truffles-they were regular
little Earthmen-and sundry others of their kin.
'Thirdly,' continued the speaker, 'there are the Bulbs;'
and now he pointed to the gayest spot in all that gay
company, where Hyacinths of every lovely hue, and
glowing Tulips, gleaming Daffodils, and the blue starry
Squills, golden-faced Buttercups and dazzling white Lilies,


the pearly Star of Bethlehem and the glistening Narcissus,
made a perfect rainbow of colour. Even the Onion,
wearing his delicately-tinted lilac blossoms, and keeping
a safe distance from the noses of the audience, did not
look amiss amongst his kinsfolk.
'Lastly,' said the chairman, 'there are the Corms.'
Therewith he indicated a group in the background, con-


sisting of Crocuses, purple, gold, and white, with their
cousins, the Colchicums, who, with their subdued lilac
blossoms at the top of their long, white, absolutely leafless
stalks, looked very like poor relations, and who in their
evidently shivering condition were wise enough to avoid
the Snowdrops, and crept close to the Gladiolus, with his
warm fiery petals.
'Now, as each group will address you through its
own representative,' said Mr. Solomon's Seal, 'I shall
confine myself to directing your attention to three points,
which I wish to impress on you particularly. First, that
the grand difference between roots and underground stems
is this: That whereas the growing points of a root are
always protected by a root-cap, and
never give out leaves, the underground
stem always gives out leaves, and never
wears a root-cap or sheath of any sort
to protect his growing points.'
; .' Of course not,' whispered Fun,
S'because, as he grows upwards into the
air, he runs no danger of knocking his
CORM OF CROCUS. growing point against a stone, or meet-
ing with a wire-worm to nibble it off.'
'Then, secondly,' continued the chairman, 'note this,
'that the most important duty of underground stems,
especially of tubers and bulbs' ('Hear, hear!' said the
Potato and Onion) 'is the storage of reserved food. All
that the green tissues of a plant manufactured in the
summer sunlight is carried down and stored away in
these hidden reservoirs, where this material rests quietly
during the winter months. And now, thirdly and lastly,
one word as to the meaning of the name of each group.
Rhizome comes straight from the Greek word for root.
It was used metaphorically by the Greeks to signify the
root-stock of a family, as you speak of a "family tree."
Tuber comes from the Latin word for "to swell." Bulb