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This Italian woman came to visit Lombe as a friend; she also formed a friendship with one of his Italian workmen; and they gave the unfortunate man a slow poison, so that he lingered in agony two or three years, and then died. Both the woman and the man fled back to their own country.
Such is the account of one of the great improvements in the silk manufacture of England. When the English were
able to throw their own silk, it was a great public good.
The descendant of John Lombe became Sir Thomas Lombe; he acquired much wealth, and was rewarded by Parliament with £14,000.
John Lombe was not, perhaps, a very good man; but he is worthy to be remembered for the improvements he caused in the silk manufacture, and for the service he thus rendered to his country.
THE SONG OF THE RAT.
A TROUBLESOME pest is the bold Brown Rat,
He lives on the best, and he gets sleek and fat;
They say that from Norway this rat was brought—
I'm sure that his company never was sought,
The bold Brown Rat! he comes everywhere,
He's a filthy creature, the rat so stout;
The sewer and sink-hole all about;
To gambol and squeak in the rotten spout,
And to gnaw through the pipe, where poureth out
And so cruel is he, that he even eats
The weak of his own kith and kin;
But oft in the end fit reward he meets,
And vainly before the sharp ferret retreats,
Or the owl or the hawk his affrighted eye greets,
II. G. ADAMS.
THE PARTS OF A PLANT-THE FLOWER (Continued).
W. HERE is another flower. We know the names of its parts -of the peduncle, the bract, the calyx, the corolla, the pistil and stamens, and the ovary; to-day we are to hear their history.
P. Let us observe the varieties of each part, before we talk of their functions. We will first look at the Peduncle. You have noticed where it begins.
W. It begins at the part where the leaf is joined to the stalk.
P. That part is called the axil of the leaf. The other end of the peduncle has one flower upon it, and it is therefore called a simple peduncle; but in many plants the peduncle is compound, that is to say, the peduncle divides into smaller
stalks; they are called pedicles. This is the case in the polyanthus, cowslip, lilac, &c. Some flowers have not any peduncle.
W. So we may say three things of the peduncle.
1. It begins at the axil of the leaf.
2. It sometimes supports one or more flowers, and is thus said to be simple or compound.
3. It is sometimes wanting.
P. Before we talk of the next part of the flower, you may see how differently flowers are arranged on their peduncles. Look at this collection. Most of them grow on compound peduncles.
L. What very different shapes they have!
P. Yes. Let me tell you all about them.
No. 1 is a Pæony. It grows on a simple peduncle, and is said to be a solitary flower.
No. 2 is a Fox-glove. Here we have several small flowers growing on one peduncle; so it is said to be a spike. The flowers of lavender, wheat, and barley are spikes.
No. 3 is the common Plantain which grows in our field, and which you feed your canary with. This also is a spike; but as its shape is always that of a cylinder, it is called a cylindrical spike.
No. 4 is the flower of a Poplar tree. This also is a spike, but it hangs downwards. Such a hanging spike is called a catkin. You have seen the yellow catkins of the willow; catkins also grow on the hazel, birch, and fir trees.
No. 5 is an ear of Oats. This cannot be called a spike, because the flowers do not grow from the peduncle. You see that they grow from small stalks on the peduncle. They are thus said to form a panicle. Many grasses form panicles.
No. 6 is a Heliotrope. This again is a spike, but as two spikes grow from one peduncle we call it a forked spike.
No. 7 is the flower of a Carrot. Here all the pedicles spring from one point of the peduncle; thus they form a spreading bunch, called an umbel. The flowers of parsley, hemlock, celery, the parsnip, and fennel, are umbels. You have already heard of the umbelliferous plants.*
Fireside Facts, page 127.
No. 8 is a Clover-flower. This is a sort of umbel, but the little flowers form a tuft, or head. This we call a capitulum, which word is the Latin for "a little head." The clover, thrift, and sweet scabious are said to form a capitulum.
In the daisy, dandelion, thistle, and sunflower, a number of very little flowers (called florets) grow on a fleshy surface called the receptacle. They thus form a very broad capitulum. These flowers, consisting of a receptacle and florets, are said to be "composite flowers." This you have heard in your account of the composite plants.†
There are many other forms of flowers besides these. The narcissus grows in a large
bract, called a spathe, and is round a part of the stalk com
therefore called a spadix. You will understand
Here is a compound peduncle, supporting three flowers. The bract on this peduncle is different in appearance from the others.
L. Yes; it is a whorl of three leaflets.
P. On account of its shape, it is called an involucrum. Again, in this Narcissus, you see a different kind of bract.
Ion. Yes; it seems to sur
Spathe of Narcissus.
P. And before the flower opened it enclosed the flowerbud also. Such a bract is called a spathe. In the palm-trees, the spathe is even large enough to enclose a great bunch of flowers. I told you the name we give to a flower when enclosed in a spathe.
W. Yes, it is called a spadix. P. Bracts not only differ in shape, but in colour. Some are of a very bright colour, like the petals of the corolla; and in a plant called the hydrangea they are the most showy part of the flower.
W. Then how can you always tell which is the bract?
P. You may know by its position that is always the same; the part which is found growing between the true leaves and the flowers is always a bract. You may, however, be puzzled in looking for the bract, because in some flowers there is none
whatever. You do not see any in the cabbage, turnip, or wallflower.
Ion. Then I will put down the "particulars" about the bracts.
1. BRACTS are leaf-like bodies, differing in form and colour, yet known, because they are found between the true leaves and the flowers.
2. They differ in shape. Some grow at the base of the peduncle, and are much like a leaf (the lime); others surround the flowers, and are more like a calyx (the hellebore). Another consists of a whorl of leaflets, and is called an involucrum another is broad, and is called a spathe.
3. Bracts are generally green; but they differ in colour, being sometimes even more brilliant than the flower.
P. We have now two more outside parts of the flower to examine.
L. Which are called the outside parts, papa?
P. Those we have already noticed, with the calyx and the corolla. The stamens, pistil, and ovary, are inside parts. One of the principal functions of the calyx and corolla is to protect these most important parts, which are placed inside.
W. Let us look at the calyx, papa. The calyx of this cowslip (which is marked a),
as they are called; they make a famous flower-cup.
P. In some plants the calyx consists of one sepal; others have two, such as the poppy; the wallflower and the heart'sease have four. You have often used the Greek prefixes, monos, one, poly, many, and a, which means without. Thus, we talk of monosepalous, polysepalous, and asepalous plants. We describe the petals in the same way: thus, "monopetalous, polypetalous, and apetalous." You know, of course, what is meant by such terms?
Ion. Yes. And it is curious to notice how the flowers vary in all their particulars. There are flowers without peduncles, others without bracts, others without sepals, and others without petals. Are the sepals of various colours, papa, like the bracts?
P. Yes. Sometimes they are of the same colour as the petals of the corolla. In the fuschia they are larger and of a richer colour. In the crocus the sepals and petals are of the same colour, yellow. You might thus think that the plant has no calyx; but the three yellow leaves which are outside are sepals, and form the calyx; and the three inside are petals, and form the corolla. It is the same with the tulip and lily.
L. Then I suppose that it is often difficult to know which is the corolla?
P. No, it is not. Like the bract, we can tell it by its position, which is fixed. In most flowers both the calyx and the
contains five leaves, or sepals, corolla form a "whorl" of