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same family, the Dionaea muscipula, or Venus' fly-trap, which grows only in the eastern part of North Carolina. This plant is perhaps the most wonderful in the world. The leaf is bi-lobed, with a leafy footstalk, and
the two expanded and somewhat recurved lobes are fringed with a row of rigid spikes. From the upper surfaces of each lobe project three filaments. The lobes themselves are covered with minute purplish glands.
When one of these filaments is touched, ever so lightly, the lobes instantly close, the marginal spikes interlocking. If an insect has been the exciting cause, it is captured, unless small enough to escape between the spikes. When thus imprisoned, its struggles to escape cause the lobes to close still more tightly and subject it to severe compression. The glands on the surface now pour out an acid secretion which dissolves it, and the resulting fluid is absorbed by the glands. This secretion, however, is only excited by nitrogenous substances : if the lobes are made to close on a substance that the plant can not assimilate, such as a bit of glass or blotting-paper, there is no secretion; an elective power which is not shown by the sun-dew. The closed lobes, as Mr. Darwin expresses it, form a temporary stomach, in which a true process of digestion and absorption
Pieces of bread, boiled egg, of meat, raw and roasted, of gelatin, of cheese, &c., were tried with the same results; in some cases the absorption being so complete as to leave not a trace of the substance experimented on. When this digestion is accomplished, the lobes sometimes re-open, but with sensitiveness much impaired ; while in other cases the leaf withers and drops from the stalk. When the captured object, however, has been of an indigestible character, the leaf opens much more speedily, and is ready for another prey.
The mechanical action of closure seems to be primarily effected by the contraction of the thick mass of cells overlying the midrib, and secondarily by a contraction of the whole upper surface of the leaf. How the motor impulse is transmitted from the sensitive filaments, is yet a mystery: nothing resembling nerve-fibres has been discovered. Dr. Sanderson has shown that “there exists a normal electric current in the blade and footstalk; and when the leaves are irritated, the current is disturbed in the same manner as takes place during the contraction of the muscle of an animal."
We may thus construct a sort of scale of development of these two functions, motion and digestion of nitrogenous substances, in the vegetable world. The pitcher-plants are furnished with an organ for containing water, in which insects drown and decompose, thus serving, it is believed, the nutrition of the plant. A small water-plant (utricularia) is provided with bladder-like organs, fitted with a light valve, into which insects push their way, the valve closing behind them by its own elasticity. A little mountain-plant (pinguicula) secretes from its leaves a viscid fluid by which insects are caught, and their bodies are then enclosed by the edge of the leaf slowly folding over them until they are digested. In drosera rotundifolia we have the special apparatus of tentacles and glands which has been described.
On the other hand, as regards motion, we find various plants provided with organs that have a power of moving upon being touched, or even spontaneously. This faculty is usually connected with the process of fertilisation, as in the stamens of berberis and kalmia. More remarkable is the power possessed by some of the mimosa family, of closing their leaves when touched : with what object, is, we believe, unknown. But in dionaea both these faculties are exalted and combined in an extraordinary way ; so that in these respects it approaches the animal kingdom more nearly than any other known plant. It seems strange that a plant so remarkably endowed and specialised should be confined to one very limited district of the world, and even there it is thought to be failing, so that it is not impossible that our descendants may read of the dionaea with much the same feelings as we read of the dodo; or perhaps with keener regret, for the latter, at best, was but a queer gallinaceous bird, while the former is perhaps a key to some of the most interesting problems of biology.
W. H. B.
O'Hara and His Elegies. By George W. Ranck. Baltimore : Turn
bull Bros. THEODORE O'HARA, the subject of this little memorial volume, was a native of Kentucky. At an early period of his life he exhibited marked literary abilities; but in his case, as with so many others, his ambition to achieve eminence was hampered by his want of fortune. He entered the United States Army and served with distinction through the Mexican War, retiring with the rank of Major.
His literary tastes and talents later drew him to the editorial profession, in which capacity he conducted successively the Mobile Register, Louisville Times, and Frankfort Yeoman.
At the breaking-out of the war between the States, Mr. O'Hara at once offered his sword to his native South, and was soon promoted to the colonelcy of the Twelfth Alabama Regiment. He afterwards served on the staff of Gen. Albert Sydney Johnston, and after that officer's lamented death at Shiloh, he was appointed Chief of Staff to Gen. Breckenridge,
The close of the war found him, as it did the most of his comrades, homeless and penniless; but he set at once to work to build up his broken fortunes. Disaster followed his efforts, and while cultivating a plantation on the Chattahoochee, he was attacked with malarial fever, and died in 1867.
Mr. O'Hara, his friendly biographer tells us, had attained high reputation by his addresses, essays, and various forms of occasional composition, but “his fame rests upon his elegies.” These, two in number, “ The Bivouac of the Dead,” a poem of nine stanzas, and “ The Old Pioneer," of eight, are reproduced in this volume. They are marked by feeling, ease and elegance of expression, and a certain eloquence that reminds us of the style of Halleck’s best work; but we could hardly assign them so preëminent a place as is claimed for them, with a pardonable partiality, by Mr. Ranck. The closing stanzas of “ The Bivouac of the Dead” give a fair specimen of Mr. O'Hara's style :
A Following lettertiem
N old and esteemed contributor sends us for publication the To the Honorable Fustices of the Supreme Court of the United States :
Gentlemen :— The following passages are taken from the N. Y. Herald's report of your lately rendered decision in the case relating to female suffrage :
“If the right of suffrage is one of the necessary privileges of a citizen of the United States, then the constitution and laws of Missouri confining it to men are in violation of the Constitution of the United States as amended, and consequently void. : : Being unanimously of the opinion that the Constitution of the United States does not confer the right of suffrage upon any one, and that the constitution and laws of the several States which commit that important trust to men alone are not necessarily void, we affirm the judgment of the Court below.”
If the privilege, named in the first passage, does exist (at the present time), the existence is by necessity of a grant in the “Constitution of the United States, as amended” – that is, in the instrument containing the Fifteenth Amendment. Now, this amendment provides that the right to vote of United States male citizens of color, previously in a condition of servitude, shall not [on account of color or former state] be denied. Still the undivided opinion of the Court is that that “Constitution as it is” does not confer the right upon “any one of them.
I have, in venturing to address you this note, no intent to smuggle from you a settlement of the question of " freedmen's.” suffrage. But, thinking that the sentences which I have cited, brought into connection, might be considered to bear somewhat more pointedly upon the question than you
designed that they should, it seemed to me not out of place to call your attention to them, that you might set up a defence against their misappli
. cation, should you deem one needful,
Very respectfully, Oct. 12th, 1875.
Geo. E. SHETHINGTON. Editorial Note.— The Honorable Justices — if their decision be correctly reported - seem not to possess the gift of very accurate expression. A privilege is some advantage or immunity granted by way of exception to some person or persons, who would otherwise be amenable to the general law or rule. The very nature of it is that of a favor or concession. To talk therefore of a “necessary privilege,” is an absurdity : if necessary,
it is not a privilege ; if a privilege, it is not necessary. And to heighten the confusion, this privilege is in the same sentence spoken of as a “right." As before, if a right it is not a privilege ; if a privilege, it is not a right.
The next sentence is another beautiful example of the use of words at haphazard. In the first clause it speaks of “conferring a right,” which right, in the next clause, becomes an “important trust; as if "right," “ trust,” and “privilege were synonymous terms which might be exchanged at pleasure. An abstract right, such as is here in question, can not be conferred by any person or power, nor can it be taken away. A trust, of course may ; and this is the case with the suffrage, which each or, ganised community or State entrusts to such persons as it thinks fit, and denies to the rest; and of the necessary qualifications it is the sole judge, The parties entrusted with the suffrage, have then the concrete and acquired right to exercise it without molestation, just as a trustee has the acquired right to administer the property entrusted to his care.
In the utterances of debate or the hurriedly-written articles in the daily papers, we are not accustomed to criticise closely such laxities of expression ; but when the highest tribunal in the country pronounces those decisions which define the supreme law of the land, it is surely not asking too much of the distinguished and learned gentlemen composing it, to request that they shall try to use such words as precisely express what they mean, and that they shall endeavor to know with some exactness what they mean to express.-ED.
CHAPTER IX.-(Continued.) T was just as banking-hours were nearly over that Lois left her
to see Mr. Blythe ; and by that time all the clerks knew that there was a deficit of ten thousand dollars in the cash, and that it was reported that Edward Holme had left town. When Mr. Blythe, with every token of attention and courtesy, had escorted to the carriagestep the veiled and graceful figure that all knew as that of the beautiful Miss Holme, he came back into the banking-office, and strictly enjoined on his employees the duty of keeping silence concerning the affairs of the bank; but for all that, gossip was not to be prevented, now that Edward Holme had taken the very step that made total concealment impossible. He himself was spared the mortification of looking in the face the gentle mother and kind old friend, one of whom, in the best case, must have known of his crime ; but he had bowed others under the burden he had cast aside. All Brenford arrived at some idea of what he had done; all Brenford wagged the head and made its comments on what had been done in darkness and was now uncovered to the light.
It was like Louise, pretty little Louise, standing pale and horrified before her husband when he told her the news, to say, “Of course we won't give Lois up." That was faithfulness beyond Minnie Blythe's ; but it required to be put into words.