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year; in others the leaves are evergreen.

the leaves are deciduous, that is, they fall off every Some bear fruit yearly; others take two years for a single crop, perfecting the acorns the year after flowering.

The oak most delights in a rich strong soil, in which it strikes its roots to a vast depth; a loamy soil with a little mixture of chalk brings it to its highest perfection. It forms the largest head, and spreads in the most picturesque figure, when growing singly, as in parks and ornamental grounds. It rises with a tall and straight trunk only in woods and close plantations.

Of all the two hundred and fifty species of this tree, the most interesting to us is the common British oak. In thick plantations it often reaches a height of more than one hundred feet, the gnarled or knotted trunk rising straight and clean some forty or fifty feet, and the numerous branches thereafter spreading out, thick and crooked, some fifty or sixty feet higher. The flowers and the leaves do not shoot forth on all the oaks of a plantation or a park at the very same time; for oaks feel very keenly the difference of soil and situation. They are also early or late, according as the season is mild or severe. In general, the flowers, which are yellowish or greenish-white, begin to peep forth by the end of the first week in April, and are in full bloom in the course of a fortnight. Then the leaves begin to show themselves, and are quite out early in May. These are oblong in form, getting broader towards the outer end, with sharp notches and blunt or rounded corners. They are at first of a deep green colour, but they change

to a yellowish or russet brown before they die off in the For the leaves of the British oak are

frosts of autumn.

not evergreen but deciduous.

The fruit and seed of the oak is the well-known

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THE uses of the oak are very various; almost evely part of it can be turned to some useful end. The acorns are said to have been one of the earliest foods of mankind, and in some of the warm climates they are still in use for that purpose. The acorns of several species of Californian oak furnish a large share of the winter food of the Indians of the western coast. They are beaten to a powder, and after the bitterness has

been removed from the meal by washing, this is baked into cakes. The acorns of certain Spanish oaks are considered as finer eating than even chestnuts. With us the acorns have been valued as the food of swine, though not nearly so much now as formerly; in America, too, large droves of hogs are sent to fatten in the oak woods in autumn, when the ripe acorns fall. Squirrels and others of the small four-footed animals also claim their share, and lay up acorns for their winter store.

Every part of the oak abounds in an astringent juice, which is applied to various purposes. The bark is particularly valuable on this account, which renders it the chief material in tanning leather. The bark of the oaks that grow in hedge-rows, which seldom arrive to the size of timber-trees, is perhaps the most valuable part of them. In order to use, it is ground to powder; and the infusion of it in water is by the tanners termed ooze. The small twigs, and even the leaves of the oak, may be applied to a similar purpose. Galls, which are outgrowths upon the leaves, formed in warm countries by the action of certain insects, are some of the strongest astringents known. They are much used in dyeing, on account of their striking a deep black colour. The oakapples, formed in the same manner upon our trees, possess a similar property, though in a smaller degree.

But it is by the use of its wood that the oak has gained its chief fame, and especially for the important purpose of shipbuilding. The war ships of England have been called her "walls of cak." Though oak-wood appears full of small pores, it has the greatest strength,

and it lasts for a very long time. It possesses the three qualities necessary in shipbuilding in a greater degree than any other kind of wood: it is very hard; it is not easy to rend or tear; and it is difficult to break across. It is not used, however, in shipbuilding so much as it was formerly. But it is turned to account in many other ways-in house-building, in machinery, in carriages and waggons, in furniture, vessels, and so forth, wherever the qualities of strength and endurance are needed.

ma-té-ri-al fùr-ni-ture ma-chin'-er-y (-shén-)

a-strin-gent, drawing together,
contracting (the fibres of the
muscles).
in-fu-sion (fyú-), a pouring in
(of boiling water upon some-
thing in order to take out its
qualities), steeping; the li-
quor thus obtained.

en-dur-ance (-dyúr-), lasting

ness.

dyeing, staining, colouring; from the verb "to dye." dying, losing life, perishing; from the verb "to die."

THE FALL OF THE OAK.

A GLORIOUS tree is the old grey oak:
He has stood for a thousand years;
Has stood and frowned

On the trees around,

Like a king among his peers;

As round their king they stand, so now,
When the flowers their pale leaves fold,
The tall trees round him stand arrayed
In their robes of purple and gold.

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He has tossed them about, and shorn the tops (When the storm had roused his might)

Of the forest trees, as a strong man doth
The heads of his foes in fight.

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