Page images
PDF
EPUB

a drawn and weakly growth. Ferns, either under glass or in the hardy fernery, should be kept moderately moist at their roots, and decayed fronds and those badly affected by insects ought to be removed from time to time.

Those who intend to plant fruit trees should be careful to make a good selection, so as not only to have the best and most profitable sorts of each kind, but also a proper proportion of early, medium, and late varieties, in order to keep up the supply of fruit for as long a period as possible. This is more especially desirable for amateur fruit growers, who cultivate exclusively for home use. In selecting young fruit trees a preference should be given to those that are well shaped, healthy and robust in growth, with straight main stems. Those that are weakly in growth, or show signs of disease or insects, should be refused, as being less likely to thrive than strong, healthy plants. Deciduous trees may be

planted as soon as they have cast their leaves, but no advantage is gained by early planting, and they will do just as well if shifted at the end of next month, when there will be less risk.

When trees are shifted the roots are always injured more or less, and when they lie inactive in cold wet soil for some weeks they are apt to rot or become cankered. On the other hand, when the roots become active immediately after transplanting, the plants soon recover from the check they have received. In the case of oranges, loquats, and other evergreen trees, it will be advisable to delay transplanting till August, if practicable, as they are apt to suffer severely if shifted at this time of the year. If, however, the plants have been grown in pots, there will be no danger in planting them out, as their roots will not be injured. Apple trees affected with the American blight may with advantage be washed with a weak solution of bluestone or soft soap, with a little kerosene oil mixed. Though these remedies are not absolute cures for this troublesome complaint, yet they materially assist in keeping it down. There should be no further delay in planting Strawberries, and established plantations should re

ceive their winter dressing with manure. It is not advisable to allow strawberry beds to stand more than two, or at the most three seasons, as better results can be obtained from younger plants.

In the vegetable garden there will now be plenty of work in getting the ground prepared for seasonable crops, and attending to the wants of those that are growing. Cabbages and Cauliflowers should be planted out according to probable requirements, and a small sowing of each made for successive crops. Peas may be sown in localities where the frosts are not very severe, choosing, when practicable, ground that is not likely to get soddened with the winter rains. Growing crops of Peas should be supported by sticks when they are five or six inches above ground, in order to prevent injury from high winds and heavy rains. Even the dwarf kinds require support to prevent the stems from lying on the ground, and not only do they, as a rule, yield better crops when attended to in this respect, but are less liable to injury from frosts. This is a very good time

for getting in a crop of Broad Beans in all localities where the frosts are not very severe. Asparagus beds should receive their winter dressing with manure as soon as possible, and new plantations may be made. This plant is a very strong feeder, and can only be grown to perfection in well manured ground. ground. The old style of cultivation in raised beds, as practised in England, is not so suitable to the climatic conditions of this part of the world, as the plan of growing the plants in rows on a flat surface. Moderate sowings of Radishes, Lettuces, Mustard, and Cress should be made in order to keep up a regular supply of these popular salad plants. Globe Artichokes should be divided and replanted without delay, using plenty of manure, as strong growth is essential to these plants. The transplanting of the various culinary herbs should be no longer delayed. Carrots, Parsnips, Red Beet, Jerusalem Artichokes, and other esculent root crops, when their growth is matured, should, when the soil is very wet, be lifted and stored away for use, packing them in dry earth or sand. Those who require early Cucumbers may now

begin their preparations by making a hot-bed with some steadily fermenting material. The common way of preparing hot-beds is to get fresh stable manure, which is thoroughly mixed and turned frequently till it is brought into the required condition. When ready for use, a bed is made of the required dimensions, and the frame placed in

position, leaving it uncovered for a few days to allow the rank vapours to escape. Soil is then placed in the frame to the depth of five or six inches, into be plunged. The temperature of these which pots containing the seed should hot-beds is afterwards kept up by linings of fresh fermenting material from time to time, as required.

THE

HUMOURIST.

PLANTS AFTER THEIR KIND.

Meissonier had a gardener who was a good botanist and a great wag. He knew the seeds of all sorts of plants, and Meissonier was always trying and always failing to puzzle him. "I have got him now," said Meissonier to some friends at a dinner-party, and he showed them a package of the roe of dried herrings. Then he sent for the gardener. All the guests smiled. gardener arrived.

The

"Do you know these seeds ?" Meissonier asked.

The gardener examined them with great attention, and at length replied: "Oh yes, that is the seed of the polpus fluximus, a very rare tropical plant."

A smile of triumph lighted the face of Meissonier.

"How long will it take the seed to come up?" he asked.

"Fifteen days," said the gardener. At the end of fifteen days the guests were once more at table. After dinner the gardener was announced.

"M. Meissonier," he said, "the plants are above the ground."

"Oh, this is a little too much," said the great painter, and all went out into the garden to behold the botanical wonder.

The gardener lifted up a glass bell, under which was a little bed carefully made, and from which protruded three rows of red herrings, only just the heads appearing. The laugh was against Meissonier. He discharged the gardener, but re-engaged him next day.

BOTH IN THE SAME PREDICAMENT.

A German citizen approached the window of a bank, and requested that a cheque payable to the order of Schweitzercase be cashed. "Ja dot's me," he nodded reassuringly, in answer to the teller's look of inquiry. "But I don't know that you are Mr. Schweitzercase. You must get yourself identified," said the teller. "How vas dot?" asked the German citizen, with a puzzled look. "You must get some one to identify you," repeated the bank officer. "I don't know you." Ah ja," cried John, much relieved. "Dot's all right. I don'd know you neider."

NOT A CASE IN POINT.

"Gentlemen," said the professor to his medical students assembled in clinic, "I have often pointed out to you the remarkable tendency to consumption of those who play upon wind instruments. In this case now before us, we have a well-marked development of lung disease; and I was not surprised to find, on questioning the patient, that he is a member of a brass band. "Now, sir," continued the professor, addressing the consumptive, "will you please tell the gentlemen what instrument you play on ?" "I blays der drum," said the sick man.

A PERFECT CHARACTER.

Talleyrand, being asked whether a certain authoress of his acquaintance was not a little tiresome, replied, "No; she is altogether tiresome."

SEEKING KNOWLEDGE.

Western Congressman-"Say, Jim, have you a dictionary ?"

Eastern Congressman-"No, Bill. What do you want of a dictionary ?" "You know I have received a lot of letters from my constituents lately."

"Yes; I have noticed that you had a big mail."

"Well, nearly all of them were urgent requests that I should make a big speech-the greatest effort of my life."

"A speech, but what on ?”
"On the tariff."

"Well ?"

"Well, I haven't any dictionary." "But why do you need a dictionary ?"

"I want to find out what the word means."

LOVE'S LABOUR LOST.

In recent elections at Brussels, the wives of members of the Conservative party entered freely into the contest. One of these ladies, after expending in buying what she did not need a considerable sum of money in a store, said to the mistress, "Your husband will, of course, vote for M. -?" The proprietress, with eyes cast down, replied, "Alas, Mme. la Baronne, I am a widow."

MAL-A-PROPOS.

When the King of Portugal was in England, Queen Victoria presented Sir Edwin Landseer to His Majesty, as a painter whose works she had been collecting. "Ah, Sir Edwin," exclaimed the king; "delighted to make your acquaintance. I was always very fond of beasts."

JUST AS USUAL.

An acquaintance, disputing with Porson, got the worst of the argument and lost his temper. "Professor," said he, "my opinion of you is most contemptible." "Sir," returned Porson, "I never met with any of your opinions that was not contemptible."

THE REASON WHY SHE LIKED IT. The Duchess de Maine said to Mdme. de Staël, "I am very fond of conversation; everybody listens to me, and I listen to nobody."

A MODEL AUTOBIOGRAPHY.

The Washington correspondent of the Cleveland Leader says: In an old paper, worn with age and now unknown, I came across Abraham Lincoln's only autobiography. It was written in 1848 at the request of Charles Lanman, who was then making up his Dictionary of Congress and had asked Mr. Lincoln for a sketch of his life. The following is Abraham Lincoln's written reply:

"Born February 12, 1809, in Harding county, Kentucky.

"Education, defective.
"Profession, lawyer.

"Have been a captain of volunteers in the Black Hawk war.

"Postmaster at a very small office. "Four times a member of the Illinois Legislature.

"And was a member of the Lower House of Congress. Yours, etc. A. LINCOLN."

HE KNEW THE REASON.

When the young gentleman who styles himself the American Goethe was asked why he did not write something equal to Goethe's, he testily answered, "Because I haven't a mind to do it."

NO DOUBT OF IT.

Smith. I notice that milkmen as a rule wear very heavy shoes. Brown.Yes. They do it on purpose, I guess. Smith. Why? Brown.-Because, you know, it would be rather suggestive if you could say they used pumps.

A PASQUINADE.

Pope Innocent XI. was the son of a banker. He was elected on St. Matthew's day, and in the evening Pasquin exhibited the text, "They found a man sitting at the receipt of custom."

THE TIME WHEN.

"It is now settled," says an exchange, "that a newly married lady ceases to be a bride and simply becomes a wife when she has sewed a button on her husband's clothes." It is this fact that makes us such happy people. The country is full of brides.

[blocks in formation]

SATURN.-A story was once told by, I believe, Arago the French astronomer, to this effect. Once at a brilliant assemblage in Paris an inquisitive duchess asked a wellknown savant and prominent member of the French Academy of Sciences, "What are the rings of Saturn composed of, Professor?" "I don't know, your Grace," was the reply. "What is the value of being so renowned a member of the Academy if you cannot tell me so simple a thing about one of our largest planets?" enquired the Duchess. "The value of being a member of the Academy of Sciences is, it enables me to say to such a question I don't know." This is stated to have occurred over half a century ago, and those who know most about Saturn to-day would answer the same question the same way. Most of our readers at all interested in astronomy will be familiar with the appearance of this most beautiful and wonderful of our planets, either by having seen it through a good telescope, or from the excellent illustrations of it in many popular scientific works. The idea formed of its appearance from the latter source, however, must be a little modified, as most good drawings of the planet are slightly overdone. Here we have a grand globe nine times as large as our earth, surrounded by a flat ring, which is quite distinct and separated from the planet itself. The diameter of the ring is 145,000 miles, and its breadth is nearly 30,000. It is found to be divided by dark spaces, showing it to be separated into two principal rings. Another fainter dark space is seen in the outer half, as if that also were divided. The inner half is seen to have traces of division, and its inner portion is much fainter than the rest, giving the idea of a gauzy or crape-like texture as if it were translucent; this is indeed called the crape ring, or dusky veil. The body of the planet itself is crossed by belts of a darker hue than the rest of the surface. The eight attendant moons, named in the order of proximity to the planet, are Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione, Rhea, Titan, Hyperion, and Iapetus. The orbits of these all lie closely in the same plane as that of the ring, and that of the outside one, or Iapetus, is nearly 2,500,000 miles from the centre of the planet itself, altogether making up the most gorgeous planetary aggregation in our system.

The ring presents to us different aspects according to its position in its orbit, and the relative positions of it to the earth and the sun, so that sometimes the ring, which must be extremely thin, appears edge on, and disappears from our sight, although it can even then sometimes be seen with powerful telescopes as a very faint luminous line. Again, the unillu

minated face of the ring may be turned towards us, when the planet appears to be without this appendage, while at other times either the north or south face of the ring is presented to us with more or less obliquity, and at its greatest opening shows the face of the ring pretty full. Many years often elapse between these different stages; from 1876 to 1879 the ring was nearly edgewise to us, and from 1879 it has gradually opened out till, at the beginning of this year, it presented one of its most open appearances, and afforded an excellent opportunity for testing the powers of many grand telescopes which have come into operation since the last great opening out of the ring in 1869.

The many speculations as to the structure and constitution of the ring have never reached beyond mere hypothesis, for the actual evidence in favour of either one or the other has been so meagre as to strengthen none of them. Whether it be fluid or solid, or as more recent physicists conjecture, a dense congeries of exceedingly small satellites or meteors, or a vapour mass, even after all the recent observations have been summed up, can only be answered in the words of the French academician-"We don't know." Numerous observations and careful scrutiny with giant telescopes are constantly being made, with the view of obtaining the smallest item of knowledge in this direction, but the immense distance of the planet from us-being eight times the sun's distance at its nearest approach -has hitherto baffled the keenest observers with the best telescopes, although on every occasion like the present some new knowledge is gained and substantial progress made. While astronomers have this difficult problem yet to solve, the knowledge of the Saturnian system, the orbits, motions, masses and measures of its glorious following of satellites, is now very accurate, and astronomers are discussing small apparent discrepancies in their orbital motions with almost as much confidence as they do in the case of the planets themselves. It must be remarked, however, that astronomers are constantly calling attention to appearances they have witnessed in the planet or ring, generally, however, confined to colour or markings on one or the other, to signs of new dividing spaces in the ring itself, or to shadows. But in the examination of so distant and difficult a telescopic object, a wide margin must be left to personality, and a little allowance also made for differences of telescopes. Nothing, however, has been yet discovered which enables astronomers to say there is evidence in favour of any one of the hypotheses as regards the constitution of Saturn's ring.

SYDNEY.

By J. G. De Libra.

ART.

The National Art Gallery of New South Wales has lately received some very important additions. Foremost must be placed-if only as a matter of courtesy-"The Satyr's Family" by L. Prion, a work which attracted considerable attention in the Paris Salon of 1879, and the acquisition of which is now due to the munificence of Mr. Henry Wallis, of the French Gallery in London, who has generously presented the picture to the colony, to commemorate the initial construction of the new Art Gallery building in the Domain. The painting represents a forest glade in deepening summer light, in which is seated the swarthy-bearded, uncouth, lecherous satyr, full of rampageous rustic life and Panlike merriment, lustily snapping the time with his fingers, as the shock-headed, carroty young urchin on his knee plays small gehenna on the pipes. At his side reclines, half kneeling, half sitting, a child-woman of voluptuous mien and pose, with desire imprinted on her countenance, and skin of snowy whiteness, which is increased by the contrast of the immediate surroundings. The satyr himself possesses a distinct individuality quite different from that of the Fauni or the Panes, and would appear to have received his incarnation at the artist's hand from the celebrated Satyrus of Praxiteles at Athens, mentioned by Pausanias. The design and general treatment of the picture are excellent. There are points about the fore-shortening which appear to be defective as the work is now seen-right over the spectator's head-but we have every reason to believe that when it assumes a proper position on the line in its new home, it will prove to be a masterpiece of anatomical drawing.

A painful and shocking contrast is afforded by "Les Enervés de Jumièges," a large and masterly painting-now the largest but one in the collection-by E. L. Luminais, Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, and recipient of many medals at International Exhibitions. The subject is a very distressing one, and represents the rebellious sons of Clovis II., whom the monarch had conquered, and "enervated" by the most barbarous cautery of the ham-strings, lying side by side upon a barge, in the last stage of tortureful emaciation, and floating"down the dark waters of the silent Seine," fevered, starving, abandoned in pitiless solitude and desolation, to bide

[ocr errors][merged small]

astounding as a piece of realistic brush-work, but horrible enough to haunt and give one night-mares for a month.

un

In "Hermione," the artist, T. F. Dicksee, has portrayed with rare and skilful excellence, the single, beauteous figure, on which hangs the dénouement of the exquisite idyllic play, wherein the profoundest poet of the human heart, after he had passed through the struggles, the buffetings, the passions of the busy world, summed up in restful calm, within Paulina's chapel in the "Winter's Tale," the greatest teachings of his approached experience in the God-sent word, FORGIVENESS. The "living statue" stands within a niche, shaded by rich crimson curtains. The classic pose, the queenly dignity, the refined, chaste loveliness, and the natural grace of the figure-some years too young, perhaps--are exquisitely beautiful; and the introduction of just such tender colour as so startled England in Gibson's celebrated "Tinted Venus," overcomes, most happily, the difficulty of the natural flesh. Not the least remarkable feature of the painting is the perfect texture of the polished marble, with its fluted columns and panelled arabesques; and certainly the injured queen herself is such that the contrite Leontes might well exclaim

"Let no man mock me, for I will kiss her." A splendid landscape, by Carl Heffner, completes this noble set of oils. It is called "Desolation," and represents the pestilent lagoon and vast extent of waste around the castle and ruins of Ostia in the Roman Cam pagna. The view appears to be taken on a late winter's afternoon, in which the peculiar effect of light may be almost described in the words which Portia applies to the moonlight at Belmont :—

"Methinks 'tis but the daylight sick; It looks a little paler: 'tis a day, Such as the day is when the sun is hid." The sun, however, is not hid, though it assumes so pallid a complexion that it might well be mistaken for the moon, but for the diffused light over the scene, and the deep orange hue that stains the Orb of Helios on its lower edge, as it sinks into the angry clouds that are lowering above Ostia. These are again reflected in the water of the stagnant fen, smooth as a mirror, except where, here and there, some little ripple gives a half discoverable line of shimmering light. "Desolation" is indeed a happy title for the scene; the crumbling columns of apparently an ancient aqueduct lending it an additional aspect of deathful dreariness, malaria, and decay. The work is the finest effort of this artist's we can call to mind.

But the trustees of the gallery have not been unmindful of the water-colour interest, and have added an extremely characteristic drawing by T. B. Hardy, called "Clearing a Wreck, Coast of Picardy." The centre of the picture is occupied by the big copper-bottomed hulk that lies lop-sided at the junction of the greyish sand and rippling tide. The mast and bowsprit

« PreviousContinue »