« VorigeDoorgaan »
ornamented with fruit (see p. 208, vol. iv.) In this design we have drawn the upper part of the mirror larger than the lower, because it is the most correct plan, corresponding to the form of the face.
with pendants such as we figured at p. 26, while the upper part should be either decorated with
If it is thought desirable to have side lights to the mirror, they may easily be constructed of lea
panels of flowers to correspond, or some of the designs given at p. 26-such as Figs. 17 and 18, or the third row of Fig. 2.-KAF.
THE WATER DRINKER'S ELOQUENCE.-"Not in the simpering still," said he, "does the Eternal prepare the precious essence of life; not over smoky fires choked with poisonous gases, and surrounded with the stench of sickening odours, doth our Father prepare the pure draught. But in the green glade and grassy dell, where the red deer wanders, and the child loves to play; down in the deepest valleys where the fountains murmur and the rills sing, and high upon the mountaintops, where the naked granite glitters like gold in the sun; where the tempest broods, and the stormcloud breaks in thunder; and away far out on the wide wild sea, where the hurricane howls music, and big waves roar the chorus, sweeping the march of God; there he brews that beverage of life-health-giving water! And everywhere it is a thing of beauty, gleaming in the dew drop, singing in the summer rain; shining in the ice gem; spreading a golden veil over the setting sun, or a white gauze around the midnight moon; sporting in the cataract, sleeping in the glacier; dancing in the hail shower; folding its bright snow curtains softly about the wintry world, and weaving the many coloured Iris, that seraph's zone of the sky. It is ever beautiful, that blessed lifewater!"
FERNS AND MOSSES.
"Mosses are Nature's children. I have seen them Smile in their beauty on the lone sea-cliff, By rushing torrents, or on herbless granite, Where nought beside, save some meek, pale-faced lichen,
Would brook to linger."
OTHER individuals of the genus Bryum are deserving of minute inspection. Their numbers and varieties are such, however, as to render selection difficult; we shall, therefore, briefly notice a few of the rarest, or most beautiful, and then pass on.
The Bryum argenteum, or Silvery-thread moss, though frequent on sunny banks and walls, on roofs and rocks, is deserving of especial notice. The capsules are egg-shaped, upright when green, pendant when ripe; and this for the purpose already noticed, namely, that of scattering the seeds upon the earth, as from a reversed pitcher. The leaves are egg-spear-shaped, ending in hairs, but so pressed against the stems, as hardly to be distinguishable by the naked eye; the fruit-stalks rise from the base of the shoots to nearly half an inch, and he who subjects the capsule to a mag. nifying glass, will readily discover that the lid is short and blunt, that the mouth is elegantly fringed, and the veil deciduous. The plant grows in patches about half an inch high; in autumn, and early in the winter, of a vivid green, then shining, and silvery white, especially when dry, a peculiarity which distinguishes the Silverythread moss from all others of its brethren.
The gravel walks of Oxford Physic Garden, in the time of Dillenius, were pleasingly ornamented with variety 2, of which the shoots were pale or dark-green, occasionally shining, the leaves more crowded, and the mouth of the capsule without a fringe. We know not whether this kind still holds its accustomed place; but our botanical friends, who visit Oxford, will do well to seek for it.
Bryum cubitate, Elbow-stalked thread-moss, and largest of all the Brya, may be readily distinguished by its golden-coloured, reddish-brown, and brightly glittering fruit-stalk, having an elbowlike bend a little above the base, and upholding a depressed and pendant, club-shaped, and very long capsule, with an upright and numeroustoothed fringe. The shoots are somewhat branched, rather recumbent at the base, and the stems are trailing, often three inches long, the leaves occasionally bristle-pointed, but not uniformly so.
This interesting species looks well in a moss book. It is agreeably associated with clear, cold streams in the neighbourhood of Snowdon, and with the bonny banks of Aberfeldy. Hooker and Taylor arrange the Cubitate under B. ventricosum; Griffith considers it as not specifically distinct from Alpinum.
Nevertheless, a considerable difference subsists between the Cubitate and Alpinum, as noticed by Withering; and thus his description runs:"Densely compact in growth, variously branched, yet irregular. Leaves numerous, oblong, keeled, straight, acute, opaque, smooth, shining, purplishgreen; but in old plants, purplish below, darkred above. Fruit-stalks an inch high, dark-red
purple, issuing from a large purple tubercle, veil purplish. This species is best known by its deep shining purple colour, and its rigid stems and leaves; the former remaining perfectly straight even when moistened. Rocks in mountainous regions are the favourite growing places of this beautiful moss, than which few among its brethren look better when carefully dried.
The Great hairy-thread moss, B. rurale, friend of the peasant's hut, readily affixes its tiny roots in roofs, whether thatched or tiled, and on walls. and the trunks of trees. Linnæus mentions, that when this moss extends over thatched buildings, the thatch, instead of lasting only about ten years, will endure for an age. He suggests, that it may prove a great security against liability to accidents from fire, which renders such covering very objec tionable.
Had Linnæus lived in the present age, and seen, as we have lately had frequent occasion to observe, traces of fire among the dry furze and grass which mantle the sides of deep railway cuttings, he might fully have appreciated the value of this moss. Sparks from the fiery iron steed, whirling his living masses of many hundreds of human beings with incredible rapidity, not unfrequently set fire to dry herbage; even to hay-stacks, occasionally, when too near his path; and woe to the peasant's thatched hut that stands beside it! But he whose roof is covered with this friendly moss, may sleep securely. The snorting of the fiery steed need not disturb his slumbers; his children are safe in bed; flashes of fire-breathings of that tremendous racer-may lighten by his windows, and fall upon his roof; but they do no harm among the dense and elevated tufts of the Great hairy-thread moss. This moss has little of external beauty to commend it except when growing in wide patches, and presenting in its aggregate, during rainy weather, a fine yellowish green, which often pleasingly contrasts with the grey bark of aged trees, or old thatch on barns and cottages. In dry seasons, the same moss looks of a dull grey or brown. As regards its obvious characteristics, we may briefly mention that the capsules are cylindrical, the lids conical and acute, terminated at the mouths with long fringes; that the shoots are branched, the leaves reflected inversely, heart shaped blunt, hair pointed.
Beautiful specimens for preserving in moss books may be obtained from the family of Threadmoss, both as regards their form and hue. The B. aureum is one of these. In this, and in M. crudum, the stem is half as long as the fruit-stalk, and extremely shining; the strap-shaped leaves are of a greenish golden hue, forming altogether a firm tuft, and distinguishable by their slenderness and length; the fruit-stalks are an inch and more in length, purple, iridiscent, and issuing from a brownish green involucrum, varying occasionally from pale red to golden yellow, and upholding pear-shaped and green capsules, which, like the supporting shafts, change to yellow red. Although of somewhat rare occurrence, this elegantly varied moss grows on rocks in Nottingham Park, as also among the Berwyn Mountains, in the roads between Bala and Llangunnoy, and on Snowdon.
The transition is natural from mosses to ferns. Companions are they on many a weather-beaten crag, and when the sisterhood of mosses have prepared a dwelling-place for plants of larger growth, ferns are the first to dwell beside them.
are moist clefts of rocks, and stony places, grow. ing somewhat luxuriantly on the high rocks of Tunbridge Wells; it also embellishes the coast of Sussex, and is found among the pebbles at Cockbush. Many a rushing torrent on Dartmoor reflects its winged leaves; and botanists speak of it as being not unfrequent on the mountains of the
TUNBRIDGE FILMY FERN.
The roots are black, wiry, and slender; the rhizoma creeping, wiry, slender, long and black. The fronds consist of a branched series of veins, each one being clothed with a membranous or filmy wing; the branches or pinnæ are alternate, more or less subdivided; the subdivisions or pinnulæ are mostly in pairs, the margin of the wing is crenated, and very minutely spiny; the masses of thecæ are in flat marginal receptacles, situated at the union of the pinnæ with the rachis, in this species the receptacles have a serrated external margin.
Hooker mentions the Filmy-fern, in his Flora
Londinensis, as belonging to a very beautiful and extensive genus, established by Smith, for the most part inhabiting the tropics. One species alone is European, though not included in the Floras of Germany and Switzerland, notwithstanding their rocks and waterfalls, and damp, shady wood sides, in which the species congregate. La Bellardiare and Mr. Brown met with luxuriant specimens in New Holland; the former described one especially as a new species, under the name of Hymenophyllum cupressiforme.
Hooker speaks also of the Hymenophyllum alatum, or Winged-stacked goldilocks, a rare plant, but hitherto imperfectly understood. Ray noticed it in his Synopsis, and also Dillenius, as growing on dripping rocks at Belbank, half-a-mile from Bingley, in Yorkshire, at the well-head of a remarkable spring, and there Dr. Richardson discovered it in modern times. We cannot sufficiently deprecate the ruthless habit of destroying plants by tearing them from their growing places for the sake of preserving only a few specimens. To some such recklessness we owe, most probably, the disappearance of the Winged-stacked goldilocks, or fern, from a spot, consecrated by the visits of Ray and Dillenius, where it grew till the year 1782, and then disappeared, according to the testimony of Hailstone, in Whitaker's Craven. The species may be readily met with throughout the Snowdon district, and in many parts of the prin
cipality of Wales, where harps were heard in unison with the headlong rush of waterfalls; among the Highlands also, in localities too numerous to mention; and in Ireland, especially at Powerscourt Waterfall, and on shady banks and rocks exposed to the spray of the torrent above Turk Cottage, Killarney, where it grows in company with the rare Jungermannia Hutchinsiæ.
The frond is from four inches to four and a half high; primary pinnæ three inches long, the upper gradually shorter, and these, as well as the secondary ones, are ovate-lanceolate, margin entire, furnished with a slender brown nerve or mid-rib, prominent on both sides, and running down the
muraria of authors, to the generic name of which Murate germanicum and Alternifolium were assigned by Gray, Willdenow, Wulfen, Smith, and Francis.
Few plants are more generally diffused than the Rue-leaved Spleenwort. Growing abundantly among the rocky hills of Scotland in a perfectly wild state, one of its favourite localities is Arthur's Seat, near Edinburgh, and thither the lover of ferns often hastens to seek for it. One might imagine that the pure breezes, and warm gleams of sunshine, that visit Cader Idris and Snowdon, would favour the growth of this pleasing fern, but such is not the case; travellers who seek for it among those romantic solitudes will find it growing but sparingly. Yet, notwithstanding this restriction, the same fern is common throughout the northern, western, and southern counties of England, as also in Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, where it is found on almost every ruin, old church, or wall, or bridge, whether of brick or stone. The dweller among crowded houses, and the hurry of "street-pacing steeds," who still retains his healthy love of ferns, may readily discover the Rue-leaved spleenwort on the walls of Greenwich Park, though more abundantly rooted in the crumbling mortar that fills interstices in the brick portion of the wall, than in the stone. Like the mouse and sparrow, half-domesticated associates of man, it dwells wherever he has fixed his abode; associated equally with memorial ruins and the humblest way-side hut, recalling to memory days of feudal splendour, and the peaceful occupations of rural life.
middle. Rachis winged, with a broad foliaceous margin. The substance of the frond is membranous, smooth, beautifully reticulated, of a brownish-green colour. Capsules roundish sessile, fixed by the disk, compressed brown, collected together near the middle of the receptacle; the disk in each is reticulated, the elastic ring large, and the seeds round.
The roots of the Asplenium ruta muraria are black and wiry; the rhizoma is equally black
Such is the elaborate description given by Hooker, who seems to have regarded the Filmyfern with no ordinary interest. It was, perhaps, associated in his mind with many a pleasant summer ramble.
The Rue-leaved Spleenwort, Asplenium ruta
tufted also, and clothed with bristly scales. Associated with the coming back of migratory birds, and the ripening of early fruits, the fronds appear in May and June, arrive at maturity in September, and continue green throughout the winter till the ensuing May. They are invariably fertile. The rachis is black or dark purple, smooth and shining, and, for more than half its length, uniformly unclothed. "The normal form of the frond is triangular and pinnate, the pinnæ being alternate, and also pinnate; the pinnulæ are of varied form, but mostly somewhat triangular or lozengeshaped; their exterior margin is generally serrated."
"Veins radiate from the stack to the exterior margin of the pinnulæ, and to these are attached the elongate linear masses of thecæ, two, three, four, and even five on each pinnulæ; these are at first covered with an elongate, linear, white indusium, which is pushed aside by the growing thecæ, turned back, and finally lost, the back of the pinnula becoming eventually covered with a dense brown mass of thecæ."
Newman speaks of a remarkable form of the Rue-leaved spleenwort, found in several localities throughout Germany, Hungary, and Scotland, and considered by botanists as a distinct species, under the name of Asplenium germanicum, or A. alternifolium. A representation of the plant, copied from his History of British Ferns, page 71, and named by him the alternate type of A. ruta muraria, is given above: A. A. "The form of the frond is elongate and pinnate; the pinnæ are distant, small, inear, alternate, and generally notched or divided at the apex. C presents a specimen gathered by Newman, at Arthur's Seat,
The roots are long, fibrous, crooked, intertwined, and, together with the rhizoma, which is large and tufted, form an amazing bulk. The specimen procured by Newman, at Llanrwst, had three hundred fronds; and after shaking off a good deal of the earth, the mass of roots and rhizoma weighed several pounds.
The form of the frond is elongate, lanceolate, and furnished laterally with one or two short bifed teeth or serratures; the apex also terminates in a bifed point, diminishing imperceptibly towards the base, and terminating in a smooth rachis, black at the extreme base. The veins are nearly simple, few in number, one uniformly runs into each
The Sea Spleenwort, Asplenium marinum of authors, is widely diffused throughout England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, wherever the fissure of the sea cliff, or the roof of a marine cave, affords a congenial growing place. Specimens of an enormous size have been gathered from the roof of a large cavern at Petit Bot Bay, in the island of Guernsey, and also in the islands of Madeira and Teneriffe.
Cornwall, with its sea cliffs, and remembrances of Druidic times, is peculiarly favourable to the full development of the Sea spleenwort, which grows there to a larger size than in the northern counties.
The root is black and wiry, tough, long, and so firmly fixed in the crevices of rocks, as to require a strong hand for its removal. The rhizoma is nearly spherical, black, and covered with bristly scales; the fronds make their appearance in June and July; they ripen their seeds in October, and remain green throughout the year. Fronds of successive seasons may be found equally strong and verdant in July and August.
"The frond is linear, and simply pinnate; the pinnæ are stalked, ovate, and serrated, two larger ones frequently occur near the apex; the pinna are connected by a narrow wing running along the rachis."
Observe how curiously the side-veins are forked almost immediately after leaving the mid-veinthat the anterior branch bears an elongate linear mass of rust-coloured thecæ; this, when young is covered by a white membranous indusium of the same shape as the mass, uniformly opening towards the apex of the frond."