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anecdotes, stories. narrations, accounts. eminently, in a great illustrious, celebrated. degree.
frankness, openness. accurate, strictly correct. relinquish, give up. luxurious, rich.
maternal, motherly. applauded, praised. assigned, given. indiscretion, foolish act. dignified, of noble bearincurred, received.
Describe Washington's mother. What did she require from her son? What was Washington's character when a boy? How did he repay his mother's care ? What did he want to do when he was fourteen? What office was obtained for him? Why did he give it up? To what
? great office was he afterwards appointed ?
THE COCOA NUT PALM.
1. The family of palms forms one of the most magnificent in the vegetable kingdom. The palms are natives of tropical regions, and are generally large trees with leafless stems, each having a bunch of very large leaves at its summit. These trees are not only remarkable for the elegance of their form and the great height to which several of them attain,
but are also of the greatest importance on account of the numerous services which they render to the inhabitants of the countries in which they naturally grow. There are upwards of 450 known species of palms.
2. One of the most interesting of the palm tribe is the cocoa nut tree, as regards both the variety and utility of its products. This tree grows to a height of from 50 to 70 feet. Its trunk is straight, naked,
and marked with the scars of the fallen leaves, and is crowned with a bunch of from twelve to fifteen feather-like fronds (palm leaves), each 12 to 14 feet long. The upper leaves are erect, the middle horizontal, and the lower ones rather drooping. A single leaf closely resembles an ostrich feather magnified a great number of times beyond its natural size.
3. The nuts are of an oval shape, from three to eight inches in length. They hang from the summit of the tree in clusters of a dozen, or more together. The external rind of the nuts has a smooth surface, and is of a somewhat triangular shape. This incloses an extremely fibrous substance of considerable thickness, which immediately surrounds the nut. The latter has a thick and hard shell with three black scars at one end, through one of which the embryo of the future tree pushes its way. This scar may be pierced with a pin; the others are as hard as the rest of the shell. The kernel is sometimes nearly an inch in thickness, and incloses a considerable quantity of sweet and watery liquid of a whitish colour, which has the name of milk. This palm is a native of Africa, the East and West Indies, and South America.
4. Food, clothing, and the means of shelter and protection are all afforded by the cocoa nut tree. The kernels of the nuts, which somewhat resemble the filbert in taste, are used as food, which is prepared in various modes, and sometimes they are cut up into pieces and dried. They yield an oil, which is largely imported into this country. It is used in candlemaking, and in the manufacture of soap and pomatum. The fluid contained in the nut is a cool and agreeable drink.
5. Cocoa nut trees first produce fruit when six or seven years old, after which each tree yields from
50 to 100 nuts annually. The fibrous coats which surround the cocoa nuts, after having been soaked in water for some time, become soft. They are then beaten to free them from the other substances with which they are intermixed, and which fall away like sawdust, the stringy part only being left. This, which is called coir, or cocoa nut fibre, is spun
into yarn, woven into sail-cloth, and twisted into cables. Coir cables are strong, light, and elastic, but they are not so common now as they were before the introduction of iron cables. Coir is also made into mats and fishing-nets. The woody shells of the nut are hard enough to receive a high polish, and are formed into drinking cups and other domestic utensils, which are sometimes expensively mounted in silver.
6. On the summit of the tree, the tender fronds at their first springing up, are folded over each other so as somewhat to resemble a cabbage. These are occasionally eaten, and are a very delicious food; but as their removal causes the destruction of the tree, they are in general considered too expensive a treat.
7. The maturer fronds are used for the thatching of buildings, and are wrought into baskets, brooms, mats, sacks, hammocks, and many other useful articles.
8. The trunks are made into boats; they also furnish timber for the construction of houses, and when their central portion is cleared away they form gutters for the conveyance of water.
9. If, whilst growing, the body of the tree be bored, a white and sweetish liquor exudes from the wound, which is called toddy. This is collected in vessels, and is a favourite drink in many parts where the tree grows. When fresh it is very sweet; in a few hours, however, it becomes somewhat acid, and in this state is very agreeable; but in the space of twenty-four hours it is complete vinegar.
magnificent, grand. various, different. summit, top.
imported, sent into. tropical, hot.
agreeable, pleasant. annually, yearly.
intermixed, mixed tospecies, sorts or kinds. gether. utility, usefulness. introduction, bringing products, that which is produced.
utensils, vessels for use horizontal, level.
in a house. magnified, enlarged. occasionally, someextercal, outer.
times. fibrous, containing fibres delicious, very pleasant or threads.
to the taste. embryo, beginning. conveyance, carrying. afforded, given.
exudes, is discharged.
wrought fi-bre CO-coa
twist-ed sur-face re-ceive pierced some-what ker-nel sur-round li-quid fam-i-ly thatch-ing el-e-gance flu-id re-sem-bles thick-ness to-geth-er