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into this professedly simple category. A story, certes, should be in chapters, have a beginning and an end, and at the end a moral. My story shall conform to rule just as its subject is in the way of fashion, and the first thought that occurs to me will be the best to lead off with for Chapter
I. THE COLOUR OF IT.
It is a significant fact, that Nature uses but few colours in the painting of her many pictures. The scenery of the whole world, with all its diversities of hill and dale, land and sea, mountain and valley, exhibit chiefly the several shades of blue and green, which are respectively the emblems of heaven and earth. It is very simple; but with what cunning art does Nature trick out an infinity of wild beauty, dotting each little spot of the broad earth with a picture of its own, which, in all her multitudinous representations, will never be repeated. Philosophers tell us that this blue above and green below is the combination which, while giving the heart and the eye an equal satisfaction and solace, is at the same time the best adapted for the continual exercise of the visual powers. The soft azure heaven, which folds us in its dewy arms, and lifts our souls nearer up to God, is said to derive its beauty from the refraction of the rays of light in passing through the air. The lovely green hue which overspreads the earth like the laughter of Nature herself, and which, by its winning tenderness, seems planted here to make the soul contented with its earthly lot, is caused by the abundant and universal growth of grass, which is, indeed, the poetic spirit of the world, for it hides, with
a delicious verdure, the grim realities of Nature, and clothes the sordid facts of earth and iron with a garment of life and beauty. From the constant freshness, fragrance, and fruitfulness of grass, it has been held in tender regard in all ages of the world, and has mingled alike with the outpourings of the human heart, under the inspirations of poetry, with the voices and harmonies of Nature in her teachings of love, with the struggles of nations for power or freedom, and with the grim scenes wherein the human heart has paid the tribute of its blood to superstition, oppression, and despotism. It would seem meet, therefore, that something should be said about Grass, in order that those who tread on it unheedingly, may know something of its history; and that those who have listened to the teachings of the out-door world, and welcomed its verdure into their sanctuary of love, may have its memories and images awakened within them, and so learn to love it more.
"Then to the enamell'd meads
To mention the greenness of the grass is to awaken at the same time a thousand remembrances of green things generally, for the mind calls them up in numberless pictures, that the heart may feast upon their beauty. "Green things," and we think of Virgil and his brown bees; Longus and his happy children; Keats and his green trees, "sprouting a shady boon for simple sheep;" Chaucer and his imperishable daisies, which he rose early
to see "against the sun spread;" Robin Hood and the Lincoln green; Shakspere, Spenser, and Herrick, with their multiplied images, pictures, and allusions; all living and fresh from the green world itself, and redolent of lime-tree perfume, dank moss, woodland echoes, velvet meadows, and all the associations which cling like halos of light around them. With green things the human heart grows larger, and human life more real-for we are fast rooted in the earth, even when imagination makes its boldest flights; and there is a practical suggestion offered us by the blue heaven, which, as a curtain, hides from us the city of God, that the green earth is our best place until His purpose is accomplished.
In No. 387 of the Spectator occurs a passage on the colour of grass, which will fit into this place most appropriately:-"There are writers of great distinction who have made it an argument for Providence that the whole earth is covered with green, rather than any other colour, as being such a right mixture of light and shade, that it comforts and strengthens the eye, instead of weakening or grieving it." A word from Sir William Temple may well follow this :-"There are besides the temper of our climate two things particular to us that contribute much to the beauty and elegance of our gardens, which are the gravel of our walks, and the almost perpetual greenness of our turf." This chapter cannot better end than with a terse couplet from Dan Chaucer
"Colours ue know I non, withouten drede,
FRANKELEINE'S TALE, v. 1535.
II. WHERE TO FIND IT.
Everywhere! In all climates, all soils, all positions. It will make a prostrate pillar into a cushioned seat for the meditative traveller among the ruins; it does not disdain a home on a dust heap; I have seen many a brave tuft high up on the shaft of a chimney; and last summer Poa annua grew luxuriantly at the foot of the statue of King William, on the city side of London Bridge. Many years ago there used to be some fine tufts of this poa, and also cynosurus cristatus, on the square blocks of stone above the steps leading to the water, on the City side of London Bridge, and in the midst of them, rooted firmly in the crevices between the stones, was a little cherry tree. Just about that time M. X. B. Saintine published his charming story of "Picciola," which was translated into almost every language of the world; and here, through an abridgement published by the Messrs. Chambers, was read by thousands of persons. I remember once halting in front of the pigmy cherry tree, and revolving in my mind all the points in that enchanting story, in order to make a "Picciola" of it. I think it was a wall-flower which the reflective Charney set his heart upon with a fondness almost fanatic, and it was, therefore, a true prison-flower. But this cherry tree never put forth a blossom, and there was no prison even within sight of it, and by no stretch of the imagination could I make a decent day-dream ; while a thousand elbows made a thousand separate thrusts at my ribs and sides, and the business that
brought me there was being sacrificed by loitering. How rejoiced was I, however, when, in a volume published by Mr. Alfred Smee (I think it was upon "Instinct "), an account of this tree was given, and its origin traced to the deposit there of a cherry stone by some wandering bird. It always seemed to me, however, that it was much more likely a wandering boy, like myself, after having made a purchase of cherries at the adjoining fruit-stall, had tossed a cherry stone over to the stone buttress, and with a million chances to one against it, the million had failed and the one had triumphed, and the seed took root and sprang up. Alas! it was like the seed that fell on stony ground, that we read of in one of our Lord's parables, which endured only for a while, and perished. There, too, it once more resembled “ Picciola," but there was no prisoner to appeal for it, and no emperor to command the lifting of the stone, and the supplying of its roots with a handful of soil to save it.
The Graminea comprise thirteen very distinct tribes, over three hundred genera, and not less than fifteen hundred species, of which the British Isles can lay claim to at least a hundred and fifty. There is no part of the world but in which some of the members of the family are to be found. In the tropics they rival oaks in magnitude, and mingle with the arborescent vegetation as essential elements of the jungle and the forest; and where life expires in the embraces of perpetual winter, grasses are the last of flowering plants that linger on the verge of those silent regions of frost and death. In South Shetland islands, at an elevation of 7,000 feet,