Слике страница
PDF
ePub

10. U. J.

This is one of the ways. 11. Peter. I wish I could do that. 12. U. J. You can. 13. Peter. When? 14. U.J. Any time; now if you want to. 15. Peter. Will you show me how? ? 16. U.J. With pleasure. 17. Peter. Right away? 18. U.J. Yes, right away, if you are ready. 19. Peter. I am ready whenever you are.

20. U.J. The first thing for you to do is to get some plants to study.

21. Peter. Where?

22. U. J. Any where - out in the garden, if you like.

23. [Peter ran to the garden, and was soon back again with his hands full of leaves and stems.]

24. Peter. Will these do?

25. U.J. If you wanted to study animals, and I should give you the ear of a dog, the tail of a cat, the foot of a hen, a 'cow's horn, and a piece of sheep skin, to begin with, do you think they would help you much?

26. Peter. No; I think a whole dog would be better.

27. U.J. Yes, much better; and a whole plant would be better than all those pieces.

28. Peter. Can you not tell me what their names are from the pieces ?

29. U. J. I could; but you are not to study names. You are to study plants. I will go with you, and show you how to get something to study.

30. Peter. What is the use of taking that weed ? Every body knows what that is.

31. U.J. But we will take it. Perhaps there is something about it that you never noticed.

32. Peter. That is catnip, Uncle John, that you are

а

digging now; you are not going to take that too, are

you?

33. U.J. Why not?

34. Peter. Because I have known catnip ever since I can remember.

35. U. J. Shut your eyes. Now tell me what kind of a stalk catnip has ?

36. Peter. Why,– it is just like — any other stalk, , isn't it?

37. U.J. Like purslane!

38. Peter. No, purslane has no stalk; it just sprawls on the ground.

39. U. J. Is it like a mullein stalk ?
40. Peter. No, not like that.
41. U. J. Is it like a corn stalk or a thistle stalk?

42. Peter. No, not like those stalks. It is like - I guess I do not remember exactly what it is like.

43. U.J. So you do not know catnip as well as you thought. These two will be enough to begin with. Look at them carefully, and when I have finished with my plants I will talk with you about them.

44. [Peter tired of studying by himself, and in a short time he stood by his Uncle's table, plants in hand.]

45. U. J. Well, what have you discovered ?
46. Peter. A catnip stalk is square.
47. U.J. Good; any thing more?
48. Peter. It smells.
49. U. J. What like?
50. Peter. Like — like catnip-tea.

51. U.J. Very much like it, indeed. Let me see what else you have learned? Is the purslane stem any like the catnip stem?

52. Peter. Do you call those stems when they do not stand up?

53. U. J. Yes, those are stems.

[ocr errors]

54. Peter. They are round and smooth. Catnip is frizzy a little, and the stems are straight.

55. U. J. Any thing more?

56. Peter. The leaves of catnip are larger than purs. lane leaves, and thinner and softer.

57. U. J. Can you tell me any thing more about it — the stem of the catnip ?

58. Peter. No, sir; I have told all I know of it.
59. U. J. How about the color?
60. Peter. It is green.
61. U.J. Is the purslane stem green?

62. Peter. Some of it, and some of it is almost white, and some is almost red; queer, isn't it? The under side of the stem is pale, and the upper side is red — tanned, I guess,

in the sun. 63. U. J. It looks like it. Can you break it? 64. Peter. May I try? 65. U.J. Certainly.

66. Peter. O, how brittle it is! I did not think it would break so easy.

67. U.J. Now try the catnip stem.
68. Peter. How tough it is. It will not break.
69. U. J. Cut it with my knife.

70. Peter. Why, it is hollow. The stalk is square, but the hole in it is round.

71. U. J. Now I will take the knife and cut the stem across at a joint. There is no hole here. You see that the hollow is closed up at the joints where the branches begin.

72. Peter. I should not have thought of that. How many things there are to learn about one stem.

73. U.J. We have scarcely made a beginning yet. But before we go further, you may tell me what you have already learned.

74. Peter. The catnip stalk is square, stands up straight, has a strong odor, is slightly frizzy, is green, is rough and woody, will not break easily, is hollow except at the joints, and — that is all I can think of.

. 75. U.J. And what about the purslane stem?

76. Peter. That is round, lies flat on the ground, is smooth, brittle, pale green below and red on top, solid.

77. U.J. Are you sure of that?

78. Peter. Yes; I split a stem the whole length and there was no sign of a hole. It takes a great deal of study to find out all about a plant, if it is a weed, does it not?

79. U.J. A great deal.
80. Peter. I think I know all about these now.

81. U.J. O no, Peter; you have learned only a little about them; you have not learned any thing about the roots yet, nor about the branches, nor about the flowers, nor about the seeds; nor when they come up in the spring, nor how they grow in the summer, nor when they die in the fall; nor what things eat them, nor what they are good for, nor what their relations are, nor —

82. Peter. O, I will never be able to learn all of that! And then there are so many plants, too, to learn about.

83. U.J. It would be a great task, indeed, if you had to learn it all at once; but you have not. Just keep your eyes open, and take notice of all the plants you see, and you will learn something about them every day. In a little while it will be pleasanter for you to study plants than to play. If you do this, it will not be many years before

you

will be a wise boy.

XLI.-HOW LEO BECAME A PAUPER.

1. Here is the account of my uncle's dog Leo, as told me while I was a child, and verified by my uncle after I had grown into manhood — for it was so wonderful that I thought my early imagination might have idealized the story.

2. Leo had been the pet of the family and the playmate of the children; but when old he had ceased to be useful, and some of the family had concluded that he should be put out of the way.

3. Observing the dog looking at him intently one morning, my uncle began to talk to him. “Leo, they

· say I must have you shot or drowned; that you are getting old and offensive — troublesome about the house, and past all usefulness. This is pretty hard, Leo; I can not shoot you, neither can I employ any one to take your life.

4. “You have been a good and faithful dog, and I have loved you, and I now love you for the comfort you have been to me. What am I to do? Who knows bnt when I get to be old, and am considered to be beyond usefulness, they may want me put out of the way?” Having ended this soliloquy, he left the house and went to his business.

5. In the evening, as Leo did not make his appearance, all thought he had been killed, and none of them cared to allude to it. Several evenings after, one of them ventured to ask their father if Leo had been shot, and who shot him. He replied that he had done nothing about it, and supposed that the family had employed some person to kill him, knowing how painful it would be for him to attend to it. Each and every one put in their disclaimer as to any knowledge of what had become of “poor Leo."

« ПретходнаНастави »