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in short, anything that affects the nerves of
animals, will also affect the sensitive plant.
Any violent application, such as exposing
the extremity of a leaf to the rays of the sun,
or burning it either with a lens or with a
lighted taper, or squeezing it between a pair
of hot pincers, causes the leaflet of the acacia
to close instantly; and at the same time, not
only the leaflet which is opposite to it does the
same, but all that are upon the same stalk, the
drooping taking place, more or less, according
to the strength of the impression. When the
injury is very great, the plant will be violently
agitated for some distance round the spot.

The sleep of plants, which was discovered
by Linn├Žus,* is something akin to the
phenomenon of irritability caused by the
different influences of light and darkness,
cold, heat, and moisture. The common
duckweed (Stellaria medica), of which birds
are so fond, furnishes a beautiful instance of
the sleep of plants. Every night the leaves
approach each other in pairs, so as to include
within their upper surfaces the tender
rudiments of the young shoots: and the
uppermost pair but one at the end of the stalk,
are furnished with longer leaf-stalks than the
others, so that they can close upon the
terminating pair, and protect the end of the shoot.

The flowers of the Marvel of Peru
(Mirabilis jalapa), which are very beautiful, do not
open in hot weather until the evening; but
if the weather be cool, or the sun is obscured,
they open in the daytime. Another variety of
the same plant is called Four-o'clock flower,
from opening at that hour of the day.

The scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis),
which is a plentiful weed in corn-fields, is
called Poor man's weather-glass, and
Shepherd's barometer, from the flowers always
closing before rain; and should the weather be
ever so bright, they always shut up at noon.

The flowers of a sort of convolvulus (Rivea
bona-nox) are large and white, expanding
only at sunset, and perfuming the air to a
great distance, with a fragrance resembling
that of the finest cloves. It is a native of
Bengal, where it rambles among the forests,
and is called the Midnapore Creeper.

The common goat's-beard (Tragopogon
pratense) grows in many parts of Britain, and is
called Go-to-bed-at-noon, from the fact of its
flowers closing about that time.

* See Household Words, Number 422, page 436.


THE story of the unfortunate clergyman
who writes this has been told before.† It
has been already told how with his feelings
wrenched, as it were, from their sockets, he
fled in disorderly rout; and it has been
thought that the further miscarriages of
Reverend Alfred Hoblush may not prove
unfruitful as warning to the unwary. An
outline, therefore, of the subsequent career of
this clergyman is now submitted.

† See page 113 of the eighteenth volume.

That fine piece of philosophy which I
believe some one has set to music, to the effect
that, A heart bowed down by weight of woe,
To weakest hopes will cling, has been
exemplified abundantly by suffering victims
through all ages. My faltering signature
must indeed be now set at the bottom of that
list: for, when I cast about me, in direct
straits, after my abrupt resignation of the
curacy of Saint Stylites, for new clerical
employment, I must have had but faintest
hope to cling to, when I thought of the
Right Reverend Doctor Bridles, Bishop of
Tweakminster, and my own relation on the
maternal side. When I say my relation, it
must be conceded that there is a certain
dimness over the steps of the pedigree. It
stood something in this wise: my mother's
second cousin was twice married; and my
mother's second cousin's second wife was
first cousin once removed to Doctor Bridles's
wife. To which prelate, therefore, I
naturally looked, as to the head of our house;
and, with but small confidence, wrote humbly
to his lordship, craving some ecclesiastical
preferment in his diocese.

That same evening, very much to my
surprise, there came a letter couched in the
handsomest terms, in which the Lord Bishop
of Tweakminster hoped he would see his
kinsman Hoblush at the episcopal breakfast-
table next morning: that, over that agreeable
meal, they might discuss my business
conveniently. But what a sudden change in the
postscriptum to a tone slightly testy! for it
said, " Don't keep me waiting. I hate cold
tea. Indeed, I dislike it so much, that I
never wait for mortal;" which testiness I
knew, from tradition, to come of sudden
gouty twinges which had seized him in the
very act of signing his right reverend

Punctual, then, to the instant, the Reverend
Alfred Hoblush was shown into the breakfast
room precisely at the instant when his
lordship was filling himself out tea.

"Just in time, Hoblush," he said, with
that short manner for which he is so remarkable.
"Just take the muffins off the hob,
will you. Mrs. Bridles, I regret to say, is
indisposed. Help yourself."

No words of mine can describe the kind
manner with which my venerated kinsman
interested himself in my concerns. He was
even good enough to let me detail to him my
worldly prospects, and what likelihood there
was of their being advanced when Providence
(as he put it) was pleased to remove that
parent to whom I was indebted for the blessing
of existence. When he heard that on
that event I should come into, as it is called,
a handsome income over one thousand pounds
yearly, I noticed that the good bishop's lips
insensibly became oval-shaped, as if about to
give utterance to a whistle. Almost

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