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PUFF-BALLS AND TOADSTOOLS.   159

favorable, each one will become the centre of such living activities that all about it the earth will respond to its call and myriad million atoms will come trooping to its demand in order that it may grow and furnish other " puff-balls " while the earth endures. The sun is a globe fourteen hundred thousand times larger than this earth, and we know something of its sub-stance, and the dimensions are very great, and nations have worshipped it as the fountain of light and the giver of life ; but, after all, one may find in this little gray-skinned ball the evidences of vital powers intelligently fashioning in a few hours more of these wonderful seeds than there are stars within the whole range of the best telescope ! The human mind is startled and amazed in the presence of such microscopic marvels, and the night-sky, lit with many million suns, as it surely is, does not demand a grander cause for its existence than this tiny sphere at our feet, stuffed with millions of living germs wherein are held the latent forces that will reproduce their kind when opportunity offers.

I make such comment as this because I am persuaded that the supreme benefit of all natural-history studies lies in their power to arouse the faculties to considerations that take hold on


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