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cate texture, elegance of shape, or variety of colouring. But, independently of the flower, the capsule, or seed-case, alone of the Poppy cannot be examined without exciting the utmost admiration of the wisdom with which it has been formed. It is covered by a shield-formed stigma, or cap, thickly perforated with holes, to admit the fecundating particles of the farina to the channels which are so disposed around the eleven cells, or chambers, of the capsule, that each seed receives its regular portion of this matter by means of an umbilical cord; though there are frequently six thousand of these vegetable eggs enclosed in one capsule. When we consider that each of these minute seeds is so admirably perfect as to contain all the essentials necessary to form in the following year a plant capable of producing at least twenty capsules, we cannot forbear exclaiming with the poet :
How wondrous are thy ways!
Pope. In the time of Gesner, the celebrated botanist of Switzerland, the village Damons and Chloes proved the sincerity of their lovers by placing in the hollow of the palm of the left hand a petal, or tower-leaf, of the Poppy, which, on being struck by the other hand, was broken with a sharp sound, which denoted true attachment, but faithlessness when it failed to snap.
By a prophetic Poppy leaf I found
Corn is a term applied to all sorts of grain fit for food, particularly wheat, barley, oats, and rye. All of them belong to the grand division of grasses, which are distinguished from other plants by their simple, straight, unbranched stalk, hollow and jointed, commonly called straw; with long, narrow, tapering leaves, placed at each joint of the stalk, and sheathing and enclosing it, as if by way of support.
Ceres, the goddess of corn and harvest, was represented with a garland of ears of corn on her head. The commemoration of the loss of her daughter Proserpine was celebrated about the beginning of harvest; that of her search after her at the time of sowing corn.
Botanists assure us that corn is not found any where in its primitive state. This plant, together with the use of fire, seems to have been bestowed by Providence on man, in order to secure to him the dominion of the earth. With corn and fire, he may dispense with all other gifts, or rather, he may acquire them all. With corn alone he can feed all the domestic animals, which furnish him with subsistence or share his labours. Corn is the first bond of society, because its culture and preparation demand hard labour and mutual services.
An Arab, having lost his way in the desert, had been two days without food: death by hunger stared him in the face. At length, coming to a well where caravans were accustomed to halt, he perceived a small leathern bag lying on the sand. He picked it up. “God be praised !” said he —“'tis a little flour, I presume.”. He lost no time in untying it, and, at the sight of its contents, he exclaimed: “Unfortunate creature that I am! it is only gold-dust!'
A whole straw has been made the emblem of union, and a broken straw, of rupture. The custom of breaking a straw to express
rupture of a contract may be traced back to an early period of French history, and may be almost said to have had a royal origin. The ancient chroniclers relate that, 922, Charles
the Simple, finding himself abandoned by the principal lords of his court, had the imprudence to call a meeting of the Champ de Mai at Soissons. There he sought friends, but found only factious opponents,whose audacity was increased by his weakness. Some reproached him with indolence, prodigality, and his blind confidence in his minister Haganon; others with his disgraceful concessions to Raoul, the Norman chieftain. Surrounded by the seditious crowd, he had recourse to entreaties and promises, hoping to escape from them by fresh concessions, but in vain. The more he betrayed his weakness the bolder they grew, and at length they declared that he should no longer be their king. At these words, pronounced with vehemence, and accompanied with threats, they advanced to the foot of the throne, broke the straws which they held in their hands, dashed them to the ground, and retired, after declaring by this act that they thus broke all compacts with him.
This is the most ancient instance of the kind on record; but it proves that this method of breaking contracts had long been customary;