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over the germens, and the pollen is conveyed
to them. The part which the insect world
takes in increasing the fertility of the plant
is no less important. The bee that sucks in
many a flower, flies off with a mass of pollen-
cells glued to its thighs; and, upon its avidity
in seeking nectar, depends the propagation of
many a tribe of plants. We may be told
that a glutinous substance adheres necessarily
to the bee, and that this pollen is deposited in
its right place accidentally. That the hot
winds of the Sahara, loaded with sand, should
carry about the pollen of the date-tree, or
that the rivulet should play in little ripples,
are, according to the same reasoning, but
simple and natural events dependent upon
fixed laws of nature. What consciousness
has the beetle, which, in the wilds of
Kamschatka, facilitates by its thefts the increase
of the lily, that on its activity depend the
life of nearly the whole population of Greenland
and their sustenance through winter?
What has the wind in common with the
date harvest and the sustenance of millions,
or the wave with the diffusion of the human
race, for which it paves the way by wafting
the cocoa-nut to distant shores? But the
greater consideration will arise in most minds.
If all this be but the result of natural laws,
whence this marvellous combination of
unintelligent forces to bring about events which
have so deep an influence over the history
of mankind?


THIS twenty-seventh of December, eighteen
hundred and fifty-three, I am staying on a
visit in a small but comfortable French
Chateau. It has been snowing fast all night
long; and the fall is so heavy, and the drifts
are so deep, that all communication by
carriage is cut off until the cantonniers, or
road-makers, can dig out a passage. The
long covered arbour in the garden, with its
central dome and pavilion at each end, is
converted into a white semi-transparent
cavern, which an Esquimaux would look upon
as a palace. Alphonse, the man of all work,
is sweeping a foot-path down the avenue
which runs straight from my bed-room
window to the fish-pond in the newly
purchased park, on whose surface he evidently
is projecting a space for us to skate upon.
Martha, the maid-servant, spade in hand, is
boldly opening a royal road direct from the
kitchen door to the woodstack and the coal
heap; for we burn a few coals here, which
reach us both from Belgium and England.
My host is perfectly content; the walking
postman has brought him his favourite
newspaper, the Journal du Département de l'Est,
and he is already deeply absorbed in the
continuation of an interesting feuilleton. The
postman's task was not an easy one; but
New Year's Day and its accompanying gifts
are near at hand. Madame Fossette, the
mistress of the house, is busy expediting
household affairs, with an eye to the spinning-
wheel by and by. Félicité Fossette, her
daughter-in-law, is fully occupied, for the
moment, with her two little children. My friend
Isidore Fossette, nephew, son, and
husband of the aforesaid persons respectively,
has been lamenting with me that it is
impossible (that is to say, would be extremely
foolish) to go out at present after the flocks
of wild geese which are hovering about the
neighbourhood. They are not likely to shift
their quarters far, and we shall be sure to get
a better shot at them to-morrow. Moreover,
we are to dine, to-day, off a fine young white-
fronted gander and there is a magnificent
bean goose in store besides, both which
highly-valued head of game are the result of
our prowess. Trust a Frenchman not to
think of the larder whenever he amuses
himself with half-a-day's shooting!

You must know, then, that I am an
Englishman residing abroad, through the joint
inducements of health, economy, and taste.
My income is just sufficient for me to live
thus, sparingly and prudently, in idleness; I
manage, however, to earn so comfortable an
additional revenue with my pen, that you
may call me, if you like, a professional rather
than an amateur writer. For the successful
prosecution of this pursuit, a certain
degree of quiet and retirement is necessary.
With an innate dislike to a great-town
residence, and an instinctive love of out-door
amusements, I contrived to secure every
requisite advantage by lodging in a roomy
farm-house, the land contiguous to which
was cultivated by the proprietors, a widow
and her married son, all living under the
same roof. The Fossettes, therefore, are no
new acquaintances of mine. Their farm is a
paternal estate which has belonged to the
family about seventy years. The house itself,
when I first entered it, was an offshoot of
the old chateau: all the principal rooms of
which had long remained unoccupied, until
I selected my apartment.

The garden, when I first came, was utterly
neglected; a wilderness of weeds, a tangled
thicket of unpruned bushes. With the
frugality, approaching to miserly habits, which
often characterises the country people of
France, the Fossette family regarded this
garden as much of an inconsistent piece of
luxury in their station of life, and as much
of an incumbrance, as the chateau itself.
But I soon explained to them that if they
would allow me to act as their head-gardener
(when writing, and fishing, and excursionising
did not call me elsewhere), and if Isidore
and Alphonse would work under my directions
as often as they could contrive a spare
half-day, with Martha now and then to lend
a hand to the weeding, they might not only
have many extras to set upon their table
only consider how much better the soup
would be, with a variety of fresh-cut vegetables!