A canary at Leeds has been taught to talk, 1 says the "Feathered World," by the parrot, which is its companion in the room, and apes 11 not only its teae.tw.a conversation, but its manners. Rhubarb grown hy the paupers at the Rom- ford Guardians' f8Tm. has produced a profit of S.381, which is four times greater than was ex- pected from the crop.
A certain shop in a north of England village bears the. following sign"Dealer in Old Curiosities and firewood." The Tartars are supposed to have, as a nation, the most powerful voices in the world. The Germans possess the lowest voices of any civi- lised people. The most valuable sword in England is the one presented by the Egyptians to Lord Wolseley. The hilt is set with brilliants, and it is valued at 12,000. Silkworms fed on different leaves produce silks of varied colours; thus a diet of vine leaves produces a bright) red, and lettuce an emerald green.
EPITOME OF If VVS. I A gardener in Korea has formed a natural arm-chair by twisting a growing vine to the re- quired shape. It is also studded with seeds of the gingko tree, which have grovm into the fibre of the vine. After the chair was fashioned in this way it was cut from the ground, dried, and polished until it resembled mahogany. It is 3ft. 4in. high, 25in. wide, and weighs over 1001b. The last survivor of the famous suicide club of thirteen members, formed ten years ago, has died in Connecticut from natural causes. The members were all German Americans, boon companions who used to hold festive meetings which were soon followed by the suicide of one, generally attended by some bizarre act. OnE member, an editor, wrote a humorous descrip- tion of the club's meeting, and killed himself immediately after his paper containing the ac- count had gone to press. Athens is once more the centre of interest in the learned world to-day, wlics the Archseolo- gical Congress will be inauguratlil. Among the many interesting features of the coming week will be the opening of the new library at the British school, which has been erected in memory of its first director, the late FrancIs Cranmer Penrose. King Edward has graciously given a portrait of himself to mark his interest in the work of the school, of which he has long been patron. The males and females of Japan are from a very early age instructed in physical exercise, with the result that at maturity the women are almost as strong as the men. It is not an un- usual sight to see a company of girls, who are strolling along a country road, step back a few yards for headway, and then, following a leader, all nimbly clear a five-foot fence by leaping over it. For a feat of dexterity and nerve it would be difficult to surpass that of the Bosjesman of South Africa, who walks quietly up to a puff- adder and deliberately sets his bare foot on its neck. In its struggles to escape and attempts to bite its assailant, the poison-gland secretes a large amount of the venom. This is just what the Bosje-sman wants. Killing the snake, he eats the body and uses the poison for his arrows. Candidates for certain appointments in the Government service, valued at £40 (forty pounds) per annum, are required to fill up a form for the information of the Civil Service Commissioners. The form consists of a list of questions of which "Have you any pecuniary embarrassments?" is neither the least import- ant nor the least personal. To this query the invariable reply is "No." But the happy iQjortals to whom these valuable posts are given by a reckless and indulgent Government might well be excused for expressing a lively expecta- tion of favours in store by adding, "We live in hope." Doctor Charles Jacobs, of Brussels, an- nounces to the Belgian medical faculty that be has found the cancer microbe, first discovered by Doctor Doyen, in every case treated by him- self. Dr. Jacobs has met with success in every case treated with Dr. Doyen's serum. In re- cognition of his services to science the British Gynaecological Society of London has made Dr. Jacobs an honorary member. His official reception by that body takes place on Thursday next. King Edward receives daily no fewer than three thousand newspapers and one thousand letters, while the Czar and the German Em- peror receive each from six to seven hundred letters and appeals. The King of Italy is troubled by about five hundred, and Queen Wil- helmina from one hundred to one hundred and fifty. All these, however, are put in the shade by the Pope, who holds first place with from twenty-two to twenty-three thousand letters every day. I was very much surprised to receive the other morning (writes a contributor) a letter which, on a first glance, presented the appear- ance of an enlarged picture postcard. On closer inspection it was discovered that the envelope was almost entirely covered with stamps. There were exactly 100, and notwithstanding the great number of them the letter had not been over- franked. The letter came from Villagareia, where the stamps are sold at forty a penny, or t de cent. depesleta each in Spanish money. Thus 100 cost just 2jd. The general question of birds in gardens is full of difficulties, which will, the "Garden" thinks, become more serious year by year as the birds multiply, in consequence of the humane attitude which the public has definitely adopted towards them. The mischief which the sparrow does is always exasperating in spring; but the greenfinch might be just as bad if he were equally numerous. The hawfinch, who was an extremely rare bird 30 years Rao, has become too familiar in many places as the arch-destroyer of green peas. Crossbills, still regarded in most parts of the country as inte- resting rarities, are shot at eight, in others on account of their absurdly-wasteful trick of de- stroying apples in order to get at the pips. An example of the. immense incre,asle in the power of modern marine lights is furnished by the new equipment of the St. Catherine light- house on the south coast of the Isle of WiSht.. p nno n/fn P0^1* of 15,000,000 candles, as against 3,000,000 candle-power of the light that it re- places. The new lens throws three distinct beams of light, which follow one another across the water. Tne apparatus revolves in a trough of mercury, on which it is floated, instead "of being carried by rollers as hitherto. About 8161b. of mercury is required to fill the trough. It was in the days when Mr. Burbank, the Californian, was struggling to make both ends meet in carrying on a niursery. He was sadly in need of funds. A rush order came for twenty thousand prune trees. It would take two and a. half years to grow them in the ordinary cours,e. of affairs, but he could get the order only by turning them out in nine months. He calLed in a small army of men, and put them to work planting over a hundred thousand almond SiOi8Cls. The almond grows rapidly. In a, few months the young bushes were ready; the best were selected, and twenty thousand prune cuttings were grafted upon them. In nine months the order was filled. order was filled. Senhor Lacerda, the director of the biological department of the National Museum, °has patented a combination of vegetable substances, says the "Express," which, when rubbed on any part of the body, absolutely prevents bites by mosquitoes and other insects. Many experi- ments have been made with the liquid in the museum, including the exposure of a nude man, treated with it, to 100 different poisonous in- sects. None of the insects attempted to ap- proach the man. Perhaps the most remarkable bridges in the world are the kettle bridges, of which Cossack soldiers are expert builders. The materials of which they are constructed are the soldiers' lances and cooking kettles. Seven or eight lanees are passed under the handles of a number of kettles and fastened together by means of ropes to form a raft. Sufficient numbers of these rafts, each of which will bear a weight of half a ton, are fastened together, and in the space: of an hour a bridge is formed on which an army may cross with confidence and safety. A number of marked fish were set free on the Northumbrian coast some nine, or ten months ago. Some of these have recently been caught and identified, we learn from "Country Life," but the captures have all taken place on the Northumbrian coast. Thus it would app,ear to be certain, as far as one can be sure of any- thing that happens under several feet of water, thait- plaice do not go on a regular migration, but potter about in the same neighbourhood for a great length of time. Probably there are migratory fish, but some species may, again, like the birds, be migratory only to a, small degree. "Naval Draughts" is the title of a fascinating new game ingeniously devised to go—board, men, instructions and all—on the back of a posit-card, and issued by the Novelty Post-Card Supply. 25, Wellington-street, Strand, W.C. It forms the first of a projected game-series to be (similarly published, and is attracting much attention from lovers of new ideas. One half of the front of the post-card can, of course, be used in Britain for writing a communication 041, th* reverse supplies the game, a really good one. The Paris Opera has been the scene of a piece of unrehearsed realism, which may hava its epilogue on the duelling ground. It was during the dress rehearsal of "Armida." M. Gailhard, the manager, and M. Jean d'Estour- nelles de Constant were discussing some ques- tion concerning the new piece, when another, official, M. Bernheim, coming up from behind,, overheard some expression by M. Gailhard,. which he took amiss, attributed it by mistake to M. de Constant, and straightway fastened upon that gentleman an altercation, which in a very short time was the scandal of the entire audi- ence. It has not yet been decided whether the circumstances impose a "meeting." The addresses in Persian upon letters which go through the Post Office at Calcutta are often quaint and puzzling. An Indian paper recsatly translated one as follows:—"If the Almighty pleases—Let this envelope, having arrived at the city of Calcutta, in the neighbourhood of Oalootolah, at the counting-house of Sirajoo- deen and Ilahdad, merchants, be offered to and read by the happy light of my eyes, of virtuous manners and beloved of the heart—Meean Shaikh Inayut Ally, may his life be long- Written on the tenth, of the blessed Rumzaa, Saturday, in the year 1266 of the Hegira of our Prophet, and dispatched at Bearing." We are told that this is not a letter-writing age; and it is, indeed (the "Bystander" thinks), too true. Letter-writing is a lost art; for it was an art, and it ha9 gone out, with many other feminine arts and industries. The truth is, we. are too busy for these things. The lett,er-the letter, which is not a note, an un- readable scrawl, or a mere business communi- cation, like those of the present day-was some- thing solid; a. firm foundation on which people, kept up their interest in one another; and it is probably because it has become an out-of-date institution that we have so few friends, and such an appallingly large and boring list of acquaintances. It will be news to most people that Rome, the channel through which the drama was dis- seminated through Europe, has to-day no dramatic tradition of her own, nor even a body of actors of her own. Such strolling companies, operatic and dramatic, as may 00 travelling through Italy, often from Milan, make a brief season" in the capital as in other cities, and that is all. An organised effort is now being made to remove this reproach. A city orchestra of 100 high class performers, has been formed, and this will be placed gratuitously at the disposal of the Costanzi Theatre, in return for six months of a varied repertory of opera. In the same way, the Argentine theatre will be- come a national theatre of comedy, with sub- ventions of about £ 4,000 a year, on condition of giving a six months' course of a varied drama- tic programme. Some interesting items may be sometimes un- earthed from the Consular reports. For ex- ample, there is a description of a soapy lake. in the annual statement of the trade and commerce of Nicaragua. This sheet of water, the lake of Neja-pa, contains a strong solution of bicarbon- ate of potash, bicarbonate of soda, and sulphate of magnesia. "This water, when rubbed on any greasy object, at once forms a lather." The re- port says it is used as a. hair wash, and enjoys a local reputation as a cure for external and internal complaints. The .Nicaraguans are not conspicuous for commercial enterprise, but during the year they managed to export "four demijohns" of this wonderful water to the neigh- bouring Guatemala. Mme. Blanche Marchesi has been telling the "Young Woman" what sh,e considers the great qualifications necessary for a. successful, singer. "The first is not necessarily a. good! voice, but the possibility of a good voice," she says, "that is, the right muscles, the proper shape of the mouth, and so on. A girl may be- no singer, but she may possess fine possibilities, which, in the hands of a good teacher, will -make her a wonder. And I think you may put a good! teacher as the second necessary on the list- yes, the teacher certainly must not come lowers than the second. Then follow health, persever- ance, thoroughness, presence (not necessarily beauty, however), magnetism (every great singer has it: it is an essential), love of singing, a certain charm which lies not within one's own powers, -one must be endowed with it; good fortune, character, again character, and—yes, character, once more." The recent death of that estimable legal luminary who was better known as Sir Francis" Jeune serves to remind us that his title ofi Lord St. Helier was not the only peerage to become extinct within a few weeks of its crea- tion. This new peerage, was officially t-,azette& on February 24, so that it has existed less 50 days. The barony bestowed on Sir Frede- rick Leighton, P.R.A., a-few years ago, became extinct by the death of its first holder within* an equally brief space of time. A much mom romantic instance of a dignity which narrowly missed consummation was that which Kirigo George 1. had decided to confer upon jtfissi Br.ett. In his old a-ge His Majesty was guilty of the folly of taking a new mistress in the per- son of this lady, who wasi the eldest daughter of the repudiated wife of the Earl of Maccles- field. Walpole, says that Miss Brett was very, handsome, but dark enough, by her eyes, com- plexion, and hair, for a Spanish beauty. King George had already made his two German Duchess of Kendall and Countess of Darlington, and, just as he was about to reward Miss Brett with a coronet, his Majesty died before it could be granted. A professor attached to the Lycee of Bourg, has just discovered in the Commune of Mon- treale, in the Department of the Ain, a large Roman bath, with all its annexes. The site 1. believed to be that of an ancient Roman villa. The "Chronicle" recalls that before tea be- came cheap enough to be considered a drink it was largly used as. a medicine. A familiar ad- vertisement in the- "Tatler" used to proclaim: a "famous chvmical quintessence of Bohea tea and cocoanuts together, wherein the volatile salt, oil, and spirit of both" formed "thehighest restorative that either food or physic affords." One thing which is indicated by carefully kept) meteorological records is that the hottest weather is not always the same thing as the sun- niest, though at first sight they might seem to be the same thing; nor, of course, is the driest weather necessarily the same as either. Discussing the statement- that the Mare Ery- thrseum, in the- planet Mars, is changing its colour from blue-green to brown, Professor Pickering, of Boston, suggests that the pheno- menon is due merely to the effects of the climate on the colour of the vegetation. Mars, we are told, has experienced a mild winter; no snow has been observed up to the present. The death is announced from Brooklyn, U.S.A., of Mr. Philip Brady, a friend of Lord Charles Beresford, and long known as the "double" of Mr. Gladstone. During the land agitation in Ireland, in which he played a pro- minent part-, his striking resemblance to Mr. Gladstone was a matter of public comment. Petroleum-the. crude article—is becoming a big factor in California economics. It is being increasingly used instead of wood in various in- dustries, thus conserving the forests, which were in great danger of destruction. For example, the smelters of Shasta County, which has ab- sorbed nearly 100,000 cords of wood a year, are now almost wholly run by oil. An amusing incident occurred while President Roosevelt s train was on its way to San Antonio. The citizens of the town of Temple- learned thab the train would not stop -at the latter place. The -authorities therefore passed an emergency ordinance requiring the train to stop for three minutes. The Rev. G. N. Godwin, of Stokesley, Norfolk, in appealing to the men of the village to attend morning service, says in his magazine: "They are really wanted at church, but their wives do not want them at home while they are cooking the Sunday dinner." An amusing story is told in "St. Martin's-le- Grand" of a Portuguese who presented a tele- gram mysteriously written al^e That was all the English the foreigner knew. Luckily there was a man in the office who had knowledge of Spanish. After a short conver- sation the telegram was then put into mtelligible English: f"llvs all right."
FilfiLD AND FARM. FALLOWING LAND. Under this term (remarks Prof. John Wright- lIOn, in the "Agricultural Gazette") is included not only bare-iaiiows, but root crop cultivation, There are several descriptions of fallows. There is, for example, the old naked summer fallow still largely used in the management of strong clay lanct. There is the winter fallow, followed by root crops, practised upon.all the lighter and ilndqjr soils, and continually encroaching upon the bare- allow area. There is the catch-crop and root-fallow used in Wilts and other chalk counties in which the land has no rest, and seems all the better for its uninterrupted activity. Lastly, there is the half or bastard- fallow, in which an early crop of vetches or other fodder crop is followed by what is known -68 a rag-fallow tor wheat. All of these sys- tems have their advocates. From time to time all land requires cleaning, and this necessarily entails freedom from a crop. The most com- plete system of all is the old bare-fallow, in :which the land is thoroughly cleaned during the entire spring and summer. Root cultivation is advocated because it lessens the expenses by the value of the roots, but it is less complete for .cleaning purposes. Catch-cropping followed by roots is usually accompanied by a good deal of couch and weedy growth, which under this system cannot be completely eradicated. As to which system is the best it is not easy to say, but there is no reason why all of them should alot be practised on the same farm. RESTING LAND. The old idea that land requires rest must be considered as entirely exploded. That ex- hausted land will recover its fertility if it is left idle is no doubt true enough, but this method of recuperating land is entirely incon- sistent with modern ideas. If an exhausted field falls out of cultivation for a series of years, it will slowly recover, and in time may acquire the character of virgin soil. Even a single year's rest and fallow will do much to recu- perate soils, but it must be remembered that rest in the case of land does not mean at all the same thing as rest to an animal. Rest to a soil is simply a period of accumulation of available plant food, and manuring will always effect the same object. No better example can be given than that of root crops. They are in them- selves very exhausting, but being fed upon the land they enable it to produce crops. Manure will always enable land to produce crops with- out any period of rest, as. has been proved at Rothamsted, Woburn, and Sawbridgeworth. Gardens seldom are allowed to rest, but they continue productive if well manured. If climatic conditions are suitable, a succession of crops may be taken if only manure is added and a proper rotation is observed. Rest in the sense of inactivity is therefore unnecessary for land, and the principal thing is to supply it with proper manures. Land, no doubt, rests from its labours in winter, although this is not any ad- vantage but the reverse. It is during winter that the nitrates are washed out of idle land; and the best preservative of fertility is to pro- vide a covering of growing herbage during winter, quite inconsistent with rest. Fallowing is more for cleaning than resting land, and, if the land is clean, may well be abolished alto- gether. With our present knowledge of agri- cultural chemistry, and ample sources of ferti- lising matter, there is no reason why land should ever be allowed to lie idle. Root crops, viewed as fallowing crops allow of cleaning and manuring in an especial degree. They not only require a fine tilth and clean land, but they cannot thrive unless liberally treated. Finally, they are consumed on the farm, and therefore restore all that they have taken out of the land. They are also a principal agent for maintaining live stock in the winter. It would, however, be a mistake to consider that they are essential for either purpose, because land can be manured without them, and stock are frequently overdone with them. Fallowing land seems, therefore, to be necessary for clean- ing it more than for any other purpose, for, provided it is clean, it may just as well be under crop. CLEANING LAND. I Autumn (points out Prof. John Wrightson, in his "Agricultural Gazette" current notes) is an excellent season for cleaning land. The pro- cess is continued until the weather breaks, and is resumed in the spring. The phrase spring- cleaning has fewer terrors for the farmer than for the householder. It is associated with out- door life in bright weather. The spring clean- ing of land has, however, certain disadvantages, among which may be mentioned delay in sowing the crop, and drying the land to the detriment of seed germination. As much cleaning as possible should be accomplished in autumn, so as to preserve moisture in the soil and a sur- face rendered fine by winter's frost. If the land has been winter dunged and ploughed, and can be dressed and drilled at the best period for sowing, the success of the crop is well nigh secured but if repeatedly ploughed in spring, the land is rendered too dry for the germination of seed, and sometimes too cloddy for the suc- cessful development of the young plants. In root cultivation a fine and moist tilth are so essential at many farmers drill roots in com- paratively foul land rather than lose their season and their tilth by extra working. Some farmers look upon perfect cleanliness of the land as of firsrt importance, and had rather sacrifice the prospects of their root crops than drill them in foul land. In other words, they prefer a clean fallow to a foul root crop, and there is much to be said for this view. If land goes into roots foul, it will remain so through- out the entire rotation. Much has been written apon the evil, of over-tillage in spring for roots, and the perfection of cultivation is to clean and dung the land in autumn, and winter plough it, leaving only a light scarifying and narrowing to be done before drilling the seed. FEEDING OF FARM HORSES. I Horses do not ("Acris" observes) require a highly nitrogenous or flesh-forming diet, except ■when in really hard work. Oats therefore form the staple diet, and need only be crushed for very young or very old horses. It is purely loss 11 m°ney deny a working horse its regular allowance of corn. Besides loss of condition, which means less work done, the animal ie far which means less work done, the animal is far -more liable to take chills aind contract disease generally when living only on hay and chaff, fcrood clover and rye-grass hay is undoubtedly tne best, and may at any rate be giyen in the mid-day and a good rack up of meadow mid-day chope and a good rack up of meadow hay at night. An important point to remember m horse-feeding is that they should be fed little ¡ amd often. That always seems to me the weak point ol the "one-yoke" system of working horses as employed in many parts of the By this system they work from 6 a.m. till 2 p.m., I with not a mouthful of food between those hours. Horses are best watered before fed from a pail, and not from trough or horse pond: when heated, they should be allowed a few mouthfuls only. At this season of the year the change to green food should be made gradu- i ally, and rye, although rather washy, is much enjoyoo, but rye and tares are far preferable. I Trifolium is an excellent green food later on in the summer. Horses undoubtedly pay for a bushel of oats n.pr week a head in the ,summer, although it is surprising how well they do on green food Alone. At this time of the year norses begin to get tired of their dry food; therefore the food should be of a more sloppy nature, bran being employed and mangel pro- vided. In-foal mares should be well cared for and carefully fed overfeeding during the time I of gestation is a more fruitful cause for the slipping of foals than under-feeding. Mares which are shortly due to foal should be fed only I an hay, and oare should be taken to see that the boweleare in a norm 31 state. -=
I GARDEN GOSSIP. I (From 11 The Getrclener.") Natural Manure and Gypsum.—When fresh manure is spread on the surface of the soil objec- tion is sometimes raised on account of the obnoxious effluvium that rises. When this is so, scatter on some gypsum, and all objection- ableness at once disappears. This is well worth keeping in mind, as the gypsum has plant food value as well as acting as a deodoriser. « Vines.—Young growths must not be allowed to touch the glass, or injury from frost may ensue. To prevent this, lightly attach a broad strip of Raphia, or Raphia tape, to the shoot, about a third of its length from the top, and gradually incline it downwards, fastening the other end of the Raphia to one of the wires. See that the borders do not want for water, and keep all parts of the border or structure near the hot water pipes damp to discourage red spider. Planting Onions.—If Onions have been, as they ought to be, properly hardened, they may be transplanted on the first fine day. In gene- ral a fair distance to plant is, the rows at 15 inches apart and the plants in the rows at 4 to 6 inches that is, of course, for bulbs for eating, not for exhibition. Defer planting the latter another ten days. » Violets. Plantations requiring renewal should be attended to at once. Ours are always grown on the same ground but a 4-inch dress- ing of cow manure not much decayed dug in not too deeply, with surface applications of manure, keep the plants in good, but not too strong growing, condition. For planting, the best of the young growths, with a few roots attached to each, are chosen. These, if Princess of Wales, the best variety, require to be 15 inches apart, others 12 inches. The roots are drawn through a mixture of soil and water, then planted with a dibber, and the ground is made quite firm by trampling. Water is required if the weather is dry, otherwise not. Deep Frames or Pits, and Small Plants.— Vast numbers of young plants are partially ruined every year through being grown in un- suitable structures. Many old frames with brick or stone walls, and unheated pits also, are quite unsuitable for the tiny plants gener- *5 them. For many years (writes G. G. ) I have noticed how backward some specimens are which have been placed round the wall of the frame through being grown in partial darkness 3 or 4 feet from the glass but I have recently observed the evil effect of deep frames for such plants more than previously. The majority of frames face the south conse- quently the inside portion of the front wall is due north, and in winter time the sun rarely shines upon the occuoants placed within 1 foot of the front wall, and the growth of the plants is seriously arrested. Small specimens grown under such conditions in the spring, when bein<* prepared for bedding out purposes, are really weakened in constitution but if they are raised on a temporary platform to within 1 foot of the glass all will progress satisfactorily. Double Flowered Daisies.—These are some of our very old fashioned plants, but up to date, favourites all the same. We generally frad them growing in narrow bands round the beds of Polyanthuses and similar plants in spring and the early part of summer. As long as the colours harmonise, I have nothing to advance against this method of culture. But I would like to draw attention to the fact that they are most effective grown as rockery plants. The patches of scarlet and white peeping out from among the stones of a rockery are sure to be admired by the passer by, and also afford much pleasure to the owner. Seedlings are quite as good as, if not better than, old plants, and if the seeds are sown early in June the resultant plants will be strong enough to blossom the next year. Sow the seeds thmly in a box or pan, filled^ with sandy soil; take care of the tiny seedlings, and transplant them to their flowering quarters early in the autumn. ° Unfamiliar Annuals.—Trying new annuals is a fascinating experiment, occasionally leading to disappointment, but more frequently causing delight, as well as a better knowledge of flower life and increased enthusiasm for gar- dening. Agrostemma Coeli alba will not fail to please all who care for graceful, thin stemmed flowers; those who do not know A. C. rosea, are, of course, advised to sow that also, but the white variety is exceedingly useful for the vases, and is far more uncommon. Argemone grandiflora is. an admirable bedder, because its grey foliage is so ornamental, its habit good, and the pale yellow blooms make such a gay show in -sunshine. One of the prettiest of little hardy annuals for edging and carpeting pur- poses in Gilia minima. caerulea, of a dull sort of blue shade; but the- lilac Inopeidium acnulø rivals it strongly and, if less effective in a mass, is certainly daintier. The white Kaulfussia, so seldom seen alone, is another good edger. For cutting, Layia elegans alba can be confidently recommended; it is also a good annual for covering the soil between tall bedding plants, such as Cannas, as it blossoms freely for several months. Obeliscaria pulcherrima is unfamiliar it is rather a heavy colour-a deep red maroon— and grows one foot high, but is worth growing for a contrast with gayer flowers in the annual border. Plat-ystemon Californica I consider one of the loveliest of small hardy annuals; its cream cup shaped flowers must have sunshine, and its most fitting home is the edge of a dry, sandy border, or the warmest nooks of the rock garden. Silene Schafta is h bright little 6-inch grower, a kind of magenta in colour. Nycterinia selaginoides -and N. Capensis, pink and white respectively, six inches high, of close growth, give sheets of blossom, so are meritorious for carpeting. Being only half hardy, they must be raised "under glass. Some Charming Viola,s.-So.me of the prettiest Violas are not of the best bedding habit, but for groups in the borders they are effective and most useful for providing cut flowers. Two of my special favourites are ly.chorida, and Lucy Bertram; the former is white edged with a mottling or marbled effect in pale mauve the latter, which makes a good contrast to it, is a rosy crimson with pure white petal markings. Both are fine healthy varieties. Endymion will provide plenty of extra large clear lemon yel- low blooms throughout the summer I like to grow it beside the huge flowering lilac Cherry Park, and both are excellent for exhibiting, though unless the latter is well nourished the petals lack consistency. Perhaps purple Violas, as a rule, are less fine than the pa;Jer sorts, but Lord Malcolm is a purple self quite in contra- diction to this reproach. Sunrise supplies a valuable dark rose shade, Hamish a deeper crim- son, while the white Jenny Mitchell, that is slightly edged with lavender and has a rayed centre, is a reliable bloomer, second only in merit to Jeanie P. Robertson, of somewhat simi- lar colouring, but longer in the stalk. Dwarf Lobelias.—For pots im a moderately warm conservatory during all seasons of the year, I find the dwarf Lobelias so successful that I should like to persuade others to make a feature of their culture. It is very pleasant to be able to adorn mantelpieces in December and January with pots of the elegantly trailing L. speciosa, while the compact varieties are admir- able for dinner table ornament. White Gem is the name of the best white known to me; a white of the same habit as L. speciosa would be a gain to the world. Prima Donna is a pinkish maroon; neither this nor the darker purple L. crecta, pumila splendens is to be com- pared for beauty with the deep or pale blue, or even the white Lobelias, but both are advisable for contrast. Th old royal blue Barnard s Per- petual remains my favourite pot variety; it has a white mark on each of the two lowest petals; Emperor William, rather lighter in tint, is, next best; and Azure Blue, which is almost a sky tint, should always be grown as a -companion for Barnard's Perpetual. With good feeding the plants are seldom out of blossom, but sowings ehould, of course, be made, for succession.
OUR SHORT STORY. I HOW PETER WON THE WIDOW, I AN EXCITING STORY. I I've caught you at last, you rascally young imp! What do you mean by it? Take that, and that, and that!" The stick descended in rhythmic measure with the words, while the speaker continued: "'Tis high time someone impresses upon you that thieving ends in gaol, and that you're not to lay hands on other folk's property." For weeks Peter Boys had anxiously watched the first budding of a plant of Oriental poppies. The sturdy green buds wsre scanty fnough in number, and to his int-ense chagrin eN ery one, as it neared expansion, mysteriously disappeared. Every poppy head that, at evening, promised to burst its sheath on the morrow presented a ragged stalk when the owner visited his garden in the morning to look for the anticipated blos- som. One two, three had been plucked in this surreptitious manner. The fourth and last of the buds Peter Boys determined to preserve, even if he sat up all night to protect it. His garden was the light of his eyes, although of late its lustre had been partially eclipsed by the appearance of another luminary crossing the orbit of his vision. Not an insignificant rival for it was a young and pretty woman, a certain Widow Jessie Baytup, who had come with her little girl to live in the vacant house on the opposite side of the street. Conjecture ran riot as to her motive in taking a house in that exact locality, because Peter Boys was an old admirer whom she had rejected in days when lovers were plentiful. Even now, after a miser- able experience of the shady side of wedded life, she was more inclined to trifle with the matured Peter Boys than to appreciate his excellent qualities. For his part he was one of those men who, if they cannot marry the woman they want, subside into old bacheiordom, turning some hobby into a salvor of their shipwrecked a-ffec- tions. The hobby thus utilised by Peter Boys was his garden. It was bordered on one side by his carpenter's workshop, and the long glass wall of partition enabled him to keep his treasures well in sight at all hours of the day. The poppy root, a present from a town customer, had been planted in early autumn in an unfortunate posi- tion close to the railings facing the street. An outstretched hand could easily pluck the coveted blossom. To protect this last cherished bud, Peter Boys rose with the dawn and waited, with vigilant eye, from a secluded corner of his work- shop, for the perpetration of the anticipated theft. By a strange coincidence Widow Jessie Bay- tup whose little girl had been ill in the night, was dressed and sitting at her window in full view of the opposite garden. With curiosity, and also interest, her eye kept the same steady watch at her old lover. Simultaneously they rose when a figure, be- traying, by avidity of look and gesture, distinct intention of plucking the unfolding poppy, stopped in front of the railings. Before Widow Baytup reached the door of her house, Peter Boys had firm hold of the offender. She stood looking on for a moment, and then, as the, blows fell thick and fast on the youth's back, darted across the road and at once seized the aggressor's arm. "You great coward to knock a poor idiot boy about like that," she panted indignantly; "you should think shame of yourself. Let him alone at once. I tell you." Peter Boys suspended the drastic operation to regard the speaker with amazement, keeping at the same time firm grasp of the culprit. "I mean what I say," protested Widow Bay- tup. "Unhand The boy and let him go. He does not know any better, poor innocent. At any rate, it is not fair to beat him because, child like, he wants a pretty thing when he sees it." The idiot of child-like propensity was a tall, lanky youth of some sixteen years. There was abject fear in the otherwise vacant face. He whimpered like a dog. "Pity ain't amiss in its place," remarked Mr. Boys slowly; "but them as have no wits to listen to reason must have honesty driven into them somehow. A thrashing for thieving hurts no lad. He remembers it a deal better than all the fine words in the world." "I have no manner of patience with you, Mr. Boys," replied Widow Baytup loftily. "Any one with a grain of sense can tell you never bad to do with the rearing of children, or you wouldn't be so handy with that stick of yours. Never you mind, Ben," she addressed the lad soothingly, "you shall come and pick poppies in the fields with me and Kitty." "It may be but a flower to-day," retorted Peter Boys, unconsciously slackening his grasp of the offender, "but it may be a bigger thing to-morrow. Mischief breeds quicker than aught else in a brainless head, and the older he gets the bigger the tricks he'll play, unless he's checked in time. I warn you to take heed what you do with him, or you'll be repenting of it, surely." A look of cunning in the idiot's eyes showed that something was hatching in his mind, and, though he had not caught a word of the conver- sation, instinct told him that his captor w-asi off guard. He suddenly bent, wrenched the stick out of Peter Boy?' hand, and, with a wild whoop of defiance, ran down the street for his life. The widow and Mr. Boys stared blankly at each other. "You say that boy has no sense in his head," besran Mr. Boys. iNo; You said so." said the widow snap- pily. "It's full of the mischief of Satan," said Peter Boys emphatically; "the mischief what idle hands——■" "Don't do, often comes out in other people's tongues, that's what it does, Mr. Boys," inter- rupted Widow Baytup scornfully. "I wish you good-morning, but mark my words, you shan t beat that boy again, or I'll she sought a suitable alternative, "or Til summons you. Mr. Boys was struck dumb. His eyes fol- lowed the' comely figure across the street, and then went slowly back to the rescued poppy ex- panding in the morning sunlight in the full rich- ness of its scarlet and black splendour. "That be all right, any-wayt he said in- a satisfied voice. He retired to his workshop and brought out some wire netting, which he pro- ceeded to fasten within the garden railing. The labour was a relief to his feelings, working off the injured mood, the sense of injustice. "Her heart be as tender as a. spring cab- bage," he muttered presently, "it's a. wonder after the life he led her," this was in allusion to the defunct Baytup; "but she'll come round when she thinks it over a bit. I didn't do the young beggar no harm, and it was the only thing ^°But Widow Baytup proved obdurate, and showed no signs of coming round during the days that followed. Whether she was confi- dent of the firm hold she had of Peter Boys affection or whether she liked to play with her big mouse, is not evident, but she aggres- sively took the idiot boy under her protection, allowing him to hang about her house in full view of her opposite neighbour, and to follow her and her little daughter whenever they took their walks abroad.. One afternoon Peter Boys was smoking a pipe at his garden gate in gloomy reflection. Though accustomed all his life to hope deferred, this sustained coldness on Jessie s part, unheeded at the outset, had now become a sore j1 en the door across the road opened and Widow Baytup and Kitty emerged, he took no notice of them, but continued to stare moodily into space. Widow Baytup was looking very pretty and young in her white muslin blouse. Conscious of the becoming effect of a tulle trimmed hat, a novelty after the heavy widow's weeds, she looked coyly across the, street. Piqued at the open indifference, she walked slowly to the other side, calling Kitty a,fter her. "Are you going to the show?" she asked con- descendingly. T> "No," came in curt reply. Then Peter Boys deliberately turned his back and stared up his garden path. The worm had turned. Widow Baytup tapped her foot somewhat im- patiently. "We are just on our way there, she said amiably. "Kitty has never seen a wild beast show in her life." She paused, but no relaxa- tion came in the stolid squared shoulders. "I am treating Ben too. It will be a good six- pennyworth to see how he likes iV* After this Parthian thrust, she sailed up the street, her flustered cheeks the signal of inward wrath. Peter Boys sucked Ms pipe tentatively. After a while he took it from his mouth, knocked ottt the ashes, eyed the bowl with contemplative somlbre mien, glanced up and down the street with an air of indecision, put his hand on the gate, withdrew it, finally lifted the latch, and walked off in the same direction as Mrs. Baytup and her daughter. A circus tent, with travelling menagerie, had established itself in a field adjoining the village. The caravans and waggon had arrived on the previous evening, attracting the villagers to the animals exercising a fearsome fascination on the bucolic temperament. A performance was in view this afternoon. Mr. Boys paid his sixpence and went inside the tent, where some tiers of planks had been watch the encampment, the shrieks and roars of roughly knocked together to accommodate the audience. In the front row of these sat Widow Baytup and Kitty. Behind them, grinning from ear to ear, stood the idiot lad. Surely it was but a reasonable kindness to indulge such a one in an innocent treat of this kind. Peter Boys was suddenly seized with compunction. Straight- way he softened into recognition of the effective setting of the tulle garnished hat to the animated face beneath. He watched with intimate inte- rest little Kitty's gestures of delight. The audience occupied one end of the oblong tent. Caravans lined the sides, and one of special interest showed in full view at the further end, containing a lioness and cub. The open greensward in the centre afforded scope for the agile performance of acrobatic members of the circus troupe. Interest culminated when the lion caravan was thrust into the arena, and the lion tamer announced in the programme entered the cage. Kitty Baytup clutched her mother and hid her face. The idiot boy stood up to behold and absorb the amazing sight. Wonder and rapture chased each other on his intent visage. At the end of the performance people came down from their seats and walked round the enclosure to have a nearer view of the strange inmates of the iron-barred caravans. Temporarily absorbed in pleasant dreams, Peter Boys did not mingle with the crowd until a shrill whoop, a sudden shrinking back of a large group of people at the end of the tent, leaving full view of the lion's cage, roused him from his reverie. He looked for the cause of this commotion, and beheld a sight tljgt chilled every drop of blood in his veins. He was petrified, but only for an instant. A flashing inspiration, a vivid recollection of a picture he had once seen darted miraculously into his brain. He rushed from the tent and raced, as he had never raced before, across the field. There he leaped the fence, alighting in a pen of sheep, seized a fine lamb by the legs, and tore back to the tent at the same headlong speed. Meanwhile, a deathly silence reigned within the canvas walls. Only one figure remained stationary in front of the lion's cage. It was the idiot boy, storing with avidity and gloating face at something white just within the bars. He was looking at Kitty, little Kitty Baytup, shut up inside the cage with the lioness and cub. He had played unobserved with the fastening of the cage, and for some unaccountable freak or impulse seized the child and popped her inside. Then, with a whoop of joy at his own cleverness, he had attracted attention to his feat. Paralysed like a bird before a serpent, Kitty made no sound, but remained motionless and pale, with her little hands convulsively clenched. The lioness was lying down, licking with rude caress the young cub struggling between her paws. From time to time, she paused to look idly over her shoulder at the little white figure in the corner. Where was the child's mother! Held firmly at a distance by one of the circus company, who caught her and held her tight as she was rusKiig forward with a wild scream on her lips. "Keep still for yer life, unless ye've a mind to see the babe killed afore yer eyes. The tamer's a coming. He'll fetch her out." Choking with efforts to hold in the hysterical sobs, frantic with horror, Jessie Baytup passed through a lifetime of suspense in those few seconds of waiting. Then two figures rushed simultaneously from either side of the tent. The lion tamer and Peter Boys. Their rapid move- ment and the involuntary stir in the hushed, breathless crowd roused the animal. The huge beast got up slowly to her legs, giving vent to a threatening mutter like distant thunder. The lion tamer' stood still. His face was white and tense. While he seemed bracing him- self for a mighty effort, Peter Boys pushed him aside. Open the cage!" he gasped, needing both arms to hold the struggling lamb. With lightning comprehension, the tamer clutched hold of the animal. "The only chance," he exclaimed; "follow me in sharp and seize the child." While speaking he sprang into the cage. With one bound Peter Boys reached the child, now fallen prostrate in a convulsive tremor at the first stirring of the terrifying beast. He picked her up, gave another spring and reached the ground in safety. With deafening roar the lioness sprang on the victim carried within the cage. The tamer emerged, and the door was secured. The tension over, Peter Boys grew white to the lips, reeled, and fell fainting on the green- sward just as a dozen arms extended to relieve him of the child. Shouts of ringing applause, mingled with cries from the, startled animals, rose in deafening uproar. He came to himself under the blue sky, in the fresh air outside the tent. Ashamed of his weakness, he struggled to his feet, conscious only that he was the centre of a crowd of people, engrossed with the one idea of quick escape from an embarrassing situation. Before he could stir, a pair of warm arms were flung round his neck, and the voice of Widow Baytup declared if ringing, unabashed tones. "Peter Boys, you are the finest man in the world!"
SELLING HUMAN HEADS. After the recent battle at Ujda, on the Franco- Moroccan frontier, between the Sultan's troops, who garrison the town, and the forces of the Pretender, 86 heads of the latter's soldiers, says the "Express," were brought in by the Moorish troops. The governor of the town, having pro- mised a premium of 8s. for every rebel head, the Moorish soldiers were soon busily engaged in decapitating the insurgents left dead on the field to obtain the bounty. The Pretender's force was repulsed owing to the aid of a half- battery of French frontier artillery, which the Governor of Ujda sent for on hearing that the insurgents had guns.
COMING PIGMIES. I About the middle of next month six pigmies from the Ituri Forest, generally known as the Stanley Forest, in the Congo Free State, will arrive in London. They reached Khartoum the other day in company of Colonel Harrison, the well-known explorer, and comprise four men and two women, all between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four, their height being only 3ft. 8m. to 4ft. 6in. The pigmies come of their own free will, and Colonel Harrison found them quite friendly when he had gained their confidenoo. The men of this strange tribe, who are still fairly numerous, are of a warlike disposition, and -dwell in small villages under independent chiefs. They rarely live beyond forty years.