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that might easily be taken up by many clined to be weedy and poor. But in well-to-do amateurs who, in these days, the red house there were wonderful have electrically lighted conservatories happenings. The seedlings had become in their houses.
positive giants, and well-nourished A third development in recent plant and well-developed ones, too. They growing is known as radioculture, and were fifteen times as big as their sleepis curious and somewhat sensational. ing fellows in the blue house, and It consists in growing plants in differ- four times as big as the normal control ently colored glasshouses; that is to plants. Moreover, they had produced say, instead of the glass being clear little round mower balls, which none white as is usual in greenhouses, in one of the others had even attempted; but, case it is red, in another green, and in more remarkable still, their sensitiveyet another it is blue, care being taken ness had increased to an amazing exthat in every case the color of the glass tent. It is well known that if the is absolutely pure. A series of experi- sensitive plant is shaken or touched ments on these lines was first con- all its leaves immediately fold up and ducted by the eminent French astrono- their stalks droop, and it is only by mer, M. Camille Flammarion, and degrees and slowly that it recovers they proved very suggestive. He took from the shock. Now in the red light a number of the seedlings of the Sen- the plants had become hypersensitive; sitive Plant (Mimosa pudica) (choosing in fact, one might almost say quite this plant because of its peculiar sen- neurotic; at the slightest breath of air sitiveness) and divided them into their leaves shrank together and hurfour similar groups; one group he riedly drooped. Obviously the red placed in an ordinary greenhouse, a light had in every way stimulated their second he placed in a blue house, a development to an abnormal extent. third in a green house, and a fourth They were in the greatest possible in a red house. Then giving to each contrast to the "blue" mimosas, for the same care and attention, and ar these had absolutely no feeling at all, ranging that the intensity of the light and no amount of touching or jarring should be the same in each case, he could prevail on them to respond. Inawaited eventualities. At the end of a deed, in every way their life had been few months he made an exact com- deadened. parison between them, and found strik- Encouraged by these results, other ing differences. In the blue house plants were afterwards experimented the little plants were practically just upon, such as oaks, lettuces, and crasas he had put them in; they were alive sulas, and many additional points of and well, but they had not grown or interest brought out. Thus, while litproduced new foliage or development tle oak trees (they were several years in any way. Like the Sleeping Beauty old) produced but few leaves in the in her castle they had seemingly fallen blue house, their leaves did not fall in asleep on the day they went into blue. the autumn as did the numerous wellness, and remained unchanged as in a developed leaves in the red house, trance. In the green glasshouse the where branches as well as foliage had seedlings had certainly shown consid- been added during the summer of exerable energy in growing, more so than periment. Blue light, therefore, retards their contemporaries in the ordinary the processes of decay as well as those glasshouse, but, on the other hand, of development. In the matter of briltheir growth was not really satisfac- liant colorings, both as to leaves and tory, for, though tall, they were in flowers, it was found that colored light of any sort tended to its elimination; matter out of the ground in their pure white light is necessary for the growth, and hence subsequent manurproduction of these tints in plants. ing with expensive nitrogenous manure
Radioculture has not yet been taken is essential if the soil is to be kept up up to any extent for practical purposes to the standard quality. Why leguby florists and gardeners, who are minous crops acted differently was a hanging back for further assurance of mystery until Professor Hellriegel, of its value. But it is obvious that there Germany, came forward with an exare definite possibilities in it. One planation. He showed that the curiwould imagine that a red house would ous little nodules which usually plentibecome in time an indispensable ad- fully besprinkle the roots of peas, junct to a florist's garden for forcing beans, and so forth, are really the purposes, and in any event such a pow- homes of colonies of bacteria, and erful stimulant to plant life as red these bacteria can do what no ordinary light cannot be overlooked long. A green plants can do: they can absorb blue greenhouse suggests itself as a raw nitrogen from the air and work it place where plants, perhaps at the up into various complex compounds height of their beauty, could be kept necessary for plant life. These comfor a time, at any rate, in a quiescent pounds they pass on to their hosts, so condition, to re-emerge on special oc- that it is clear that they richly pay for casions to the advantage of the florist the shelter that is afforded them in the and the delight of his customers, for root nodules. But if by any chance the delay of decay may be as valuable an roots of leguminous plants are badly, asset in practical gardening as prema- or not at all, furnished with the nodture development.
ules, then their crops are no kinder to When we come to look into the fourth the soil than their neighbors', and deline of development marked out by spoil the earth instead of enriching it. this recent research into the factors Therefore it was suggested by Dr. that affect plant life, we find that it Nobbe, of Saxony, that where we find is altogether different to the three al poor leguminous crops in all probabilready described. It trenches on a ity the reason is because the soil is field of knowledge in which, in the last poor in the bacteria with which they few years, immense explorations have desire an alliance. To test his point he been made the great field of bacteriol- took some soil in which plants with ogy-and though, in some respects, it many root nodules had been growing, has met with practical diffieulties that and which soil he inferred to be rich have checked its progress for the mo- in these bacteria, and he spread it ment, yet it holds within its contines very thinly over poor soil where simigreat potentialities. It maintains that lar crops had been a failure. Rain init is possible to improve certain crops termingled the two soils, and then he under certain conditions by inoculating resowed leguminous seeds. The rethe soil or the seeds with suitable sults fully justified his expectationspreparations of bacteria. Now it is the new crop was far superior to the well known that leguminous crops, previous ones, and the nodules-the such as peas, beans, and so forth, val. bacterial homes--were far more numeruable in themselves, have a further ous on the roots. Thus encouraged, special value in that instead of impov. he prepared cultures of these bacteria, erishing the soil in which they grow whereby, in the form of a powder, he they absolutely tend to enrich it. All was able to compress myriads of these other crops but these ta ke nitrogenous organisms into a bottle, for obviously the actual cartage of soil, possibly over have learnt to make this alliance, and long distances, would be a very serious through it tap the vast sources of atobstacle to any practical utilization of mospheric nitrogen, and not all, and his discovery. This bacterial powder could we not now teach others to do it he called Nitragin, and it could be used also? And what economic results in two ways. In the first, known as might not follow? We must look to soil inoculation, it was moistened with the future to solve these problems. water and poured over loose soil, which The last development of modern soil was then spread over the desired plant-growing that it is proposed to field and deeply harrowed in, and the treat of here is also the most recent, seed then sown. In the second, known and it, in its turn, differs from the as seed inoculation, the moistened Ni- preceding ones we have discussed. It tragin is sprinkled directly over the consists in forcing plants by the use seeds, which are rolled in sand or of anæsthetics, a truly remarkable proloam and sown at once. Here, directly cedure first put forward by Dr. Jothey germinate, they find the desirable hannsen, of Copenhagen, at the bepartner, the bacterium, ready to take ginning of this century, and since then up its abode in the root tissues, greatly amplified by other botanists, particuto the benefit of both. The second larly French ones. The plants to be system seems in practice to prove the treated are placed in a very dry state better of the two.
on a bed of dry sand in a box capable The question was taken up in Can- of being hermetically sealed. Under ada at the State Experimental Farm, the cover of the box is suspended a and many experiments made in very small vessel into which ether is poured poor soil, with the result that the Ni- through a hole at the top, which hole tragin-treated seeds in every case pro- is immediately closed. As the ether duced much finer crops than those evaporates the heavy vapor descends which were not inoculated. Peas, to the bottom of the box and envelops beans, clovers, all confirmed this ver- the plants lying there. After some dict, so the value of Dr. Nobbe's infer- forty-eight hours the plants are taken ences is established. The fact that out and placed in a cool house and Nitragin in itself still requires further treated as usual. The result is that research to render it a commercial suc- the buds and flowers at once begin to cess-it will not keep long, and is too sprout far more rapidly than those of sensitive to its environment in the mat- unanästhetized plants do, and are tiner ter of heat and light-in no way de- than usual. Thus, after being ethertracts from the great principles in- ized, lilacs had abundant flowers and volved. We know now that in certain leaves, and were quite decorative respects there is interdependence be- plants in thirteen days, while lilacs untween plants and bacteria, just as be- der normal treatment only had a few tween animals and bacteria, and that flowers and no leaves at all at the end it is possible to inoculate one as the of seventeen days. Azaleas, lilies-ofother and influence the after career. the-valley, deutzias, spirea, and other We have discovered, too, that we can plants experimented on all showed manipulate these bacteria and intro wonderful powers of early developduce them to the plants as we wish. ment after being under the influence And this knowledge opens up a new of ether. One of the leading German country where the vista is indeed wide horticulturists, hearing of Dr. Johannand the limits to which are beyond sen's experiment, went specially to our ken. Why should one set of plants Denmark to see them, and his verdict was “I am now convinced that your light culture, radioculture, inoculation, discovery for the forcing of flowers and or anæsthetization-are all more or shrubs is one of great importance to less in the experimental stage still. practical floriculture."
All have proved their value up to a cerBeside the earlier production of flow. tain point, a point higher in some than ers-no small financial benefit to a in others; all are certainly worthy of florist-its advantages are a saving in further attention, and their advantages the fuel hitherto required for their pro- cannot be ignored. But none has yet duction, and a saving. of labor, since arrived at a complete commercial sucthe plants are not so long in hand. cess-even electroculture is not fully There is, however, a very real danger accepted- and at this success they all to be guarded against, for the vapor aim, and from their very nature this of ether is highly inflammable, and a must be the crucial test of their practilighted cigar or the too close proximity cal value to mankind. of a heating apparatus would be at- But even if the commercial value is tended with great disaster.
proved to be nil in any or all of them, As to the explanations offered for even then there is gain in the knowlthe beneficial results of anæsthetics edge of them, for it shows that Nature (chloroform as well as ether can be is not so simple as she appears on the used, though it is not quite so valua- surface. Sunlight and sunwarmth, ble in its action), none seems abso- water and earth, are not her last word lutely satisfactory. In fact, the after all, and depths lie beneath which whole method of treatment must be only analyses like these reveal to our considered as largely empirical up to eyes. A plant is a product of a vast the present. Dr. Johannsen himself complexity of forces, a complexity unconsiders that it has to do with the realized until we begin to piece out one question of repose in plants, a question by one the many single threads that as yet little studied by men of science, make up the web. There is nothing It renders the vital powers latent, and really new in these developments; we makes repose and sleep far deeper, and are only unravelling the threads. Is recovery from them more easy and not cold an anæsthetic, and the white rapid. Hence the deep repose due to light of the sun a product of the fusion the drugs means greater energy of of seven colored lights? The microbes growth on recovery.
in air and water and earth have been Another explanation is that anæs- working for myriads of years, even thetic vapors have great drying powers though we knew it not, and the elecover the plant tissues, and tend to co- tric currents through the earth have agulate the protoplasm and the food been influencing the plant world since reserves stored in the stem, especially creation. Yet the revelation of them at the base of the buds, and this acts to us is some advance towards that as a stimulant to growth directly the perfect comprehension of our world plants are in the fresh air again and which is our ideal. experience warmth and moisture. If Even in reviewing them other questhis be so, then, perhaps quicklime, tions rush upon us and suggest a furor some other drying agent, might be ther step in knowledge. What effect placed in the box instead of ether, but would a continuous course of any of this has yet to be proved.
these lines of treatment have upon But, in truth, the five lines of devel plant progeny? Would the species imopment that have been here indicated prove under them or would it tend to - whether it be electroculture, electric deteriorate? Would electroculture and red light culture, for instance, not only answers to these questions have yet to stimulate the plants in the present, be given, and our prophecies as to but their offspring in addition, or what they will be must be guarded would the stimulus tend to exhaust by remembering that Nature is apt to the plant energy and lead to ultimate turn back upon those who too rashly weakness? Are electric light and an- force her, and whose interference upæsthetics mere forcing agents, or can sets the balance that the experience of they be used to improve the race? The ages has so carefully adjusted. The Fortnightly Review.
G. Clarke Nuttall.
“I CANNOT LOVE A COWARD, BY MY FAITH!”
"No. I hate a coward!"
liked the old French spelling as sugAs Olga stood before them with this gesting a Bayard in petticoats-had aspassionate declaration, an uncomforta- serted her conviction that courage ble hush fell on the party. Her old lurked where least suspected; and she father, who had just been setting the laughingly declared that even Geoffrey, chess-table for silent battle with his torn suddenly from his beloved microson-in-law elect, knocked over three scope, would find himself doing deeds pawns, a bishop, and a snuff-box, the of daring if only the occasion should last with disastrous results. Her arise. For herself, her one regret was young sister was glad of the excuse af- that unkind fate sent no chance of forded by the too aromatic cloud that proving her superiority to vulgar fear. filled the air, for bad she not sneeezed Her opinion struck some answering she must have screamed. Geoffrey chord in the man she had promised to Larbalestier, whose pale complexion marry a month hence; and, with a fearand stooping shoulders told of the lessness that he had hardly during the scientific student in great cities, stood last few hours given himself credit self-confessed, unwilling or unable to for, he had held up his head and told in defend the part he had played in the straight and manly language, and confession that bad elicited Olga's without attempt at exculpation, a litmaidenly indignation.
tle experience of that afternoon which It had not been a very romantic at once proved and disproved her story; yet, told as he alone could have theory-proved it for the type, distold it, there was no lack of human proved it for the individual. interest even though the mise en scène After a hard day's research-work were the Malebolgian atmosphere of with the microscope at South Kensingthe District Railway before electricity ton, he had paced the platform of the had been called in to purify its tun- District station, wrapped in smoky nels. They had been discussing hero fog and far from the crowd which ism, and particularly that form of it gathered round the brighter illuminawhich inspired disregard for danger tion of the bookstall. The only other in face of sudden emergency. Olga, individual in sight was a gigantic lawho held strong views on the subject borer in corduroys, holding by a string of physical courage, and who had a mongrel cur, in which none of three somehow, though at no apparent sacri- types predominated. The poor beast fice, earned among her little circle the bore marks of starvation and neglect, reputation of a "dame sans paour"-she but had the great appealing eyes and