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condition, and no intervals of stem whatever and the delicate portion or blade into a clubare formed between them. The vegetative like body called an anther. This anther constage of youth is passed away for ever, and the sists of two lobes or cells, which correspond plant has now entered upon the reproductive to either side of the lamina leaf-blade, and period of its life, or the lying between them you will notice a prolongation of the filament called the connectivum or connective, which answers to the middle of the leaf. The inside of the anther is filled with fertilising matter called pollen. The stamens are called collectively the Andræcium (avǹp, a man, oikos, habitation).
PERIOD OF PUBERTY.—This epoch in plant life clearly corresponds to the same interesting and critical period in human life, when man attains his greatest strength, and woman is most gentle, graceful, beautiful. "All flesh is as grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field." Isaiah xl. 6.
In the flower the leaves are crowded together in order that they may communicate in a peculiar manner with each other, and in consequence of the gradual expiration of the vegetative force in that direction. Hence the change of structure or departure from the ordinary type of leaf increases as we pass from the outside to the inside of the flower; for the vegetative forces are gradually enfeebled in the flower, and reduced to zero in the centre, where the metamorphosis of the leaf is at a maximum, or the leaf attains its highest stage of organic perfection.
We select for analysis one of the more highly organised flowers, where all the parts usually described are present. We must however say that these parts, though well defined in some flowers, are more or less blended together in others. Nature laughs at all such distinctions, and we seek in vain to confine her within the fetters of an artificial nomenclature. The following distinction of parts, is, however, very convenient for beginners. The flower, then, consists of four sets of progressively metamorphosed leaves. The two outer sets which are generally the most showy, are simply the envelopes which surround the true botanical flower. They are called the calyx and corolla. Let us consider each.
The Calyx.-This, when well-defined, constitutes the outermost cluster of the floral leaves. Although greatly diminished in size, the leaves of the calyx not unfrequently retain their green colour. Individually they are called sepals (lat. sepalum, a leaf), collectively the calyx (gr. kúλvž, a cup), because they form a cup-like involucre around the next set of leaves, which are called collectively
The Corolla (lat. corolla, a garland), and individually petals (πéraλov, a leaf). These are the most showy leaves in the cluster, constituting the part which is popularly considered as the flower. Thus the red petals of the rose, the yellow petals of the butter-cup, the white petals of the lily, constitute the corolla of those plants.
The Stamens.-These are situated immediately within the corolla. In the stamen the stalk of the leaf is converted into a filament,
The Pistil.-This consists of a leaf folded on its midrib, the two sides of the lamina or blade of which are united at their margins to form the ovary. The summit of this folded leaf denuded of its epidermis corresponds to the stigma of the pistil. The interjacent portion between the ovary and stigma is called the style. The pistils are always situated in the centre of the flower; when both stamens and pistils are present in the same flower the former always surround the latter. The ovary of the pistil is so named, because it contains the ovules, which after fertilisation are transformed into seed.
The process of fertilisation.—This takes place when all the floral leaves have arrived at maturity, and is as follows:
When the flower is fully expanded, at first the anthers of the stamens are unruptured, moist, and closed; but, as the stamens approach maturity, the anthers become dry, open their cells, and discharge their pollen on the stigmatic surface of the pistils, which about this time exudes a clammy fluid which serves to retain the pollen-grains. These grains absorb the exuded fluid, swell out, and finally emit delicate tubes, which penetrate the loose cellular tissue of the style, and convey the fertilising fluid contents of the pollen-grains to the ovules in the ovary of the pistil. The ovules having received the impregnating matter, the embryos or miniature-plants begin to form in them, and the ovules are then gradually transformed into seed. With the discharge of the pollen, the act of fertilisation is accomplished. The vital forces from this period begin to be enfeebled, and all the phenomena mark another well-marked change in plant life, a gradual subsiding of all energetic life movements, which culminates in death and disorganisation. plant therefore clearly enters upon
THE PERIOD OF OLD AGE.-In all the previous stages of its existence it was a beautiful subject for contemplation, but it is particularly interesting as a study when it approaches the close of its allotted period of life. What! when its leaves are withering and falling from its stem, when its flowers are losing their brilliant hues and inimitable colouring, and when
moisture, when our little friend wakes up, re-appears on the earth's surface, running through precisely the same instructive and ever deeply interesting life-movements. And we must add, in conclusion, we are always glad to see our little friend, to whom we are becoming every season increasingly attached. HARLAND COULTAS.
IN expectation, all the year,
I watch and wait, I watch and wait;
For who can tell the very day
the whole vegetative economy is languishing? the proper conditions of temperature, air, and Yes, even then it becomes, if possible, an object of deeper admiration! Why do the flowers lose their beauty, the petals detach themselves and fall, the stamens experience the same degradation, the stigmas and styles of the pistils disappear equally with the other parts? It is because these parts have done the work which was assigned them by nature; and also, for this reason, a new vitality has now been established in the impregnated parts to their detriment. Take, as an example, the forming pod of the common garden pea, which everybody knows makes its appearance after the flowers have faded and fallen. That pod is the ovary of a pistil. The calyx will be found at the bottom of that pod, and at its top the remains of the style and stigma. Its two surfaces are at first flat and parallel with each other, but as the ovules in its interior grow in size, they become convex. The sap from the leaves now passes through what was formerly the peduncle or flower-stalk into the green walls of this pod or ovary, which acts like a leaf on the atmosphere, and having been rendered there additionally nutritious, the currents finally meet and pour their contents together into the little cord of vessels, or seed-stalk, which attaches the ovule, or forming seed, to the maternal wall of the ovary, and which may be very properly called the umbilical cord, or vegetable navel-string. The currents of sap are all converging to those little seed-stalks, to those forming plant embryos contained in the seed, and the little store of starch is being prepared which is to support their infant-life. Nature carries on this process until the embryos, their food, and the wrappers, or seedcovers, are all perfected, the transformation of the ovule into the seed is then accomplished, and all the movements of life cease.
We must add that the seed-vessel as it matures always assumes such an organisation as is calculated to effect the dispersion of the seed which has been thus brought to maturity. Sometimes the seed-vessel opens with a springlike mechanism, as in the furze-bush and garden balsam, and the seeds are projected to a considerable distance from the plant. Who has not seen the wind performing its duties as a faithful servant of Nature, and transporting the seeds of the willow-herb and dandelion from their parent plants? The beautiful stellate down attached to those seeds-what is this but a contrivance to catch the breeze? Here we must stop. We are entering a new and vast field where Nature displays her usual provident care. If any of the innumerable seeds thus scattered abroad find a suitable home, all is quiet until the return of
The spring-time comes, and hope is high,
Sweet summer cometh, crowned with flowers,
For to myself I often say,
But summer fades to autumn's gold,
Then winter follows, dark and sere,
And then I trim my beacon-light,
WHO WAS THE EXECUTIONER OF
KING CHARLES THE FIRST? CASES of "historic doubt "" seem to be the legitimate property of the novelist. The mystery which has enveloped the executioner of King Charles the First, the apparent impossibility of fixing the act of beheading upon any man for certain, have opened to the writers of historical romance a fair field for the exhibition of their art. And they have availed themselves of the opportunity. To mention one or two instances: the author of "Whitehall," M. Alexandre Dumas in his "Vingt-ansAprès," and Mr. Sala in his novel of "Captain Dangerous," have introduced to the public various candidates for the distinction of having killed a king. The generally accepted theory, however, is to the effect that the deed was done by the common hangman of the period for a reward of thirty pounds. But the name of the hangman has been less clearly ascertained. Jack Ketch, "a wretch," says Macaulay, "who had butchered many brave and noble victims, and whose name has during a century and a half been vulgarly given to all who have succeeded him in his odious office," was not appointed until about 1682. "While Jefferies on the bench, Ketch on the gibbet sits," says a lampoon of the time. The bungling cruelty exhibited on the occasion of the execution of the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth, nearly led to the destruction of Ketch by the infuriated mob; a strong guard was necessary to save the executioner being torn in pieces. Ketch had succeeded a man named Dun, who is addressed as Squire Dun in a poem by Butler. "The addition of 'squire,'" says an authority, "with which Mr. Dun is dignified, is a mark that he had beheaded some state criminal for high treason, an operation which, according to custom for time out of mind, has always entitled the operator to that distinction." The predecessor of Dun was Gregory Brandon, after whom the gallows was sometimes called the Gregorian tree, as in the prologue to "Mercurius Brittanicus," acted at Paris, 1641:
This trembles under the black rod, and he
An earlier hangman was named Derrick; possibly, from his name the tackle employed in raising heavy weights on board ship is still known nautically as a derrick.
The executioner of King Charles was probably either Dun or Brandon; yet various authorities, at different times, have charged with the deed, William Walker, Richard Brandon, Hugh Peters, Colonel Joyce, William
of these the accusation is, of course, utterly groundless; but on the trial of the regicides after the Restoration, a distinct attempt was made to fix the act of beheading on William Hewlet. The evidence for the prosecution was worthless enough, but the court had quite made up its mind on the subject beforehand, and a verdict of guilty was returned. Hewlet was not executed, however; the insufficiency of proof was too remarkable, and the restored government had some sense of shame.
Many have curiously inquired," says William Lilly in the History of his Life and Times,' "who it was that cut off the king's head; I have no permission to speak of such things, but he that did it is valiant, resolute, and of a competent fortune." After the Restoration, Lilly was examined before Parliament on the subject. "At my first appearance," he goes on, "I was affronted by the young members, who demanded several scurrilous questions, and I should have been sorely troubled but for the assistance of Mr. Prinn and Mr. Weston, who whispered to me occasionally, holding a paper before their mouths. Liberty being at last given to me to speak, I delivered what follows: The next Sunday but one after the execution of King Charles the First, Robert Spavin, secretary to General Cromwell, and several others, dined with me, when the whole of our discourse was only who it was that beheaded the king; some said the common hangman, some Hugh Peters, and several others were named, but none concluded. After dinner was over, Robert Spavin retiring with me to the south window, took my hand and said: These are all mistaken, Lieutenant-Colonel Joyce was the man, for I was in the room when he fitted himself for the work, and stood by him when he did it; no one knows this but my master, Commissary Ireton, and myself.'"
It is certain that Lilly, although originally a royalist, was afterwards actively engaged in the cause of the Parliament, and was one of the close committee to consult upon the proper carrying out of the king's execution. He was celebrated as an astrologer and impostor, and amassed a fortune by casting nativities and foretelling events, and preying generally upon the weakness and superstition of all ranks of society. In the words of Dr. Nash, in his "Notes to Hudibras," Lilly was "a timeserving rascal," and it is necessary to use caution in placing credit upon any narrative proceeding from him.
According to Sir Nathaniel Wraxall, George Selwyn, that insatiable amateur of executions, had a different story, however, on this subject.
He professed to have obtained his information from the Duchess of Portsmouth, who, he said, always asserted, on the authority of Charles the Second, that the king his father was not beheaded by either Colonel Joyce or Colonel Pride, as was then commonly believed; but that the name of the real executioner was Gregory Brandon; that this man had worn a black crape stretched over his face, and had no sooner taken off the king's head than he was put into a boat at Whitehall Stairs, together with the block, the black cloth that covered it, the axe, and every other article that had been stained with the royal blood. Being conveyed to the Tower, all the implements used in the decapitation had been immediately reduced to ashes. A purse, containing one hundred broad pieces of gold, was then delivered to Brandon, and he was dismissed. He survived the transaction many years; but divulged it a short time before he died. "This account," Wraxall adds, as coming from the Duchess of Portsmouth, challenges great respect."
A curious miscellany, called the "Lounger's Common Place Book," published in 1793, a favourite work with Leigh Hunt, and often quoted by him in his "History of the Town," adds to the stock of stories on the subject of Charles the First's execution, an extract from a French work called "Délassements de l'Homme Sensible,"professing to be written by a Monsieur d'Arnaud. It will be as well perhaps to warn the reader at the outset that the Lounger is by no means an authority upon any subject, and that his appetite for the apocryphal is almost without bounds.
The Frenchman relates, according to the Lounger, that Lord Stair, once the favourite minister of King George the Second, retiring in disgust in consequence of some real or imaginary affront received after the battle of Dettingen, and on his way to Scotland, made a short stay in London to settle some regimental accounts, when an anonymous letter in a strange hand was sent to him, requesting that he would favour the writer with an interview at a particular time and place, as he had certain information of the most singular importance to communicate. Prompted by curiosity, and moved by the tone of entreaty of the letter, the Earl, taking some precautions to ensure his own safety, went to the place appointed. He knocked at the door of a corner house adjoining an obscure alley in a remote quarter of the town. He was admitted by a ragged and forlorn-looking wretch, who conducted him up a narrow tortuous staircase to a dingy garret, dimly lighted, in one corner of which he perceived the figure of a very old
man stretched upon a narrow bed. His lordship was loaded with thanks for having condescended to comply with the request contained in the letter, which the old man avowed he had written. He offered many apologies for the trouble he had occasioned his lordship. then made mention of many curious facts not generally known in connection with the Stair family, the Dalrymples, and finally inquired of the Earl whether he had not recently experienced much inconvenience from the want of certain title-deeds and conveyances relating to his paternal estates. His lordship admitted that such was the case, adding that for want of some particular documents he was in great danger of losing a large portion of his inheritance. The old man then pointed to a box which stood by his bedside, "There," he said, are the writings you require. You will ask how they came into my possession,—who I am? I have led a wandering and miserable life, strangely prolonged to one hundred and twentyfive years, and I now live to behold in you a lineal descendant from me in the third genera
The fame of your gallantry has reached I resolved to place in your hands the contents of that box. The wretched old man you see before you was a subject, a friend, and favourite of King Charles the First; but suspecting him of having wronged, most cruelly wronged, the woman I loved, my loyalty turned to hatred, an insatiable thirst for revenge possessed me. deposition, I requested sovereign's executioner.
After his trial and permission to be my This was granted to A moment before raising the fatal axe, I whispered in his ear the name of his victim and her avenger. But from the hour of the king's death I have been a prey to the keenest remorse, an outcast and exile in different parts of Europe and Asia; and as though to increase my punishment, Heaven has seen fit to prolong my life far beyond the common age of man. Now leave me to my fate; ask me no more; forget that you have ever seen me.” Lord Stair quitted the house, to return the next day in the hope of rendering some assistance to the mysterious old man. He had disappeared, however; no trace of him could be discovered, and he was never heard of more.
M. d'Arnaud's story is curious, but, of course, worthless from an historical point of view; it will not bear the test of the simplest critical analysis. The secret as to the executioner of King Charles has been well kept, probably from its being very little of a secret at all, and capable of a solution so simple, that people in such a case were rather inclined to avoid than accept it. It was no doubt difficult to credit that a prisoner so extraordinary should