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PUFF—BALLS, TOADSTOOLS AND
THAT SORT OF THING.

" THE grisly toadstool grown there mought I see

And loathed paddock lording on the same." — SPENSEE.

I WANT to say a word for these overlooked, half-despised commonplaces of nature. Puff-balls " are known on sight by all frequenters of fields and pastures and rural road-sides. Country boys find some amusement iu squeezing the " smoke " out of them. They are looked upon as things that grow without seed or root. but come up at night in a hurry, wherever they will. In England they were long regarded as something not good. A common name for them is the " Devil's snuff-box, " also " Puck's fist " or " Puck-ball "— and Puck here is only another word for " Old Fellow."

So far js this dainty tiling from being a "Devil's snuff-box '' that it is a veritable casket of wonders. It would require a large book to explain and illustrate them all, but we will call


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