« ElőzőTovább »
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.
or threads. embryo, beginning. afforded, given.
various, different. imported, sent into. agreeable, pleasant. intermixed, mixed to
gether. introduction, bringing
into use. utensils, vessels for use
in a house. occasionally, some
times. delicious, very pleasant
to the taste. conveyance, carrying. exudes, is discharged.
Where are palm trees found ? Describe them generally. How many known species of palms are there? Name one of the most interesting of the palm tribe. Describe its trunk. What is it crowned with? How large are the leaves ? What does a single leaf resemble? Describe the nuts. What is the shape of the external rind ? What surrounds the nut? How many scars has the nut at one end? How do they differ? What is found inside the kernel? Where is the cocoa nut palm a native of? What is produced from the kernel of the nut? What is this oil used for? About how many nuts does a tree produce in a year? What is done with the fibrous coats which surround the nuts? What is it called when it has been dressed ? Of what use is it? What are the leaves used for? What are the trunks made into? If the tree be bored whilst growing, what happens? What is the juice called? What is done with it?
THE BLIND BOY.
1. I stood one bright morn on the brow of the
mountain, And gazed on the beautiful landscape below; Here a bright sunny mead, here a silvery foun
tain, Shone forth as its rippling waves onward would
flow; And my spirit seem'd raised from the things of
this earth, And revelld in scenes to which fancy gave birth. 2. The bright orb of day in full glory was shining,
Diffusing its life-giving beams all around;
smiling, And gladness and pleasure were everywhere
found; And I cried, “Who could gaze on a scene such
as this, And not be absorb'd in the magic of bliss?" 3. A deep sigh was the echo which stole on my ear;
I started, and turn'd from the brilliant scene, For my heart it was chill'd to think woe was so
When all nature seem'd rapt in a joy so serene, And discover'd, alas, that this heart-rending sigh
Had its source in the breast of a boy who stood by. 4. My gay spirit was check’d—but I cried with
surprise, Canst thou look on a landscape with charms
so replete, And not be inspired by those bright sunny
skies With a joy which would all other passions de
feat?" The boy's answer was short, but it gave to my
mind A thrill of keen anguish, 'twas,—“Alas, I am
blind." brow, the edge. absorbed, lost in one's gazed, looked.
self. landscape, view. brilliant, bright. mead, grass field.