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PUFF-BALLS AND TOADSTOOLS.   15'T

attention to some of them. In the first place, let it be understood that this puff-ball is one of the great Fungus family, wherein are all toadstools, mushrooms, mildews, black-knot, potato-blight, rusts, etc.

The puff-ball is not a freak of nature, but the seed-vessel of a low order of plants. When it first appears as a small solid ball breaking through the soil then the real plant may be found running in white threads through the ground. These grow with great rapidity, and at the proper time they put out into the light this tiny globe, that is fed from the roots and grows with astonishing vigor and rapidity. In four or five days it has reached an inch or two in diameter, changed inside from a clear white pulp to a sack of purple-brown powder. It has shrivelled up at the base, burst open at the top, broken away from its anchorage, become the sport of the winds, breathing from its tattered chimney little clouds of dust, until decay finishes its existence. All this has a meaning. There is method in it from start to finish, and it is the privilege of the human mind to investigate and understand it, in a measure at least. If we breathe on a bit of glass and then force the smoke of the puff-ball against it till there is a little cloud on the glass, and place it under


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