Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/500

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486
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

showy accomplishments to girls in the harem. Already the invalid has begun to help himself by free schools and public libraries, which must inevitably, in time, revolutionize public thought. Even if the germ of the desire for freedom has, as Adalet confesses, entered woman's views in its least desirable form, it is something to have the love of freedom reawakened at the source whence youth draws its first impressions; and, after the desire for freedom for what it can give to the woman herself, must surely follow a desire for that which will enable her to give most worthily to others.


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WHERE BANANAS GROW.

By JAMES ELLIS HUMPHREY.

IN spite of the fact that a bunch of bananas was a rare sight, and a single one a luxury, when we who are still young were children, they have become so common that we have ceased to ask the questions naturally prompted by unaccustomed sights; and this, not because those questions are no longer unanswered, but as the result of that familiarity which makes us forget our ignorance. We know that we owe this acceptable addition to our bill of fare to the tropics. We admire its texture and enjoy its flavor; but we rarely give it serious thought unless constrained to do so while yielding to the smooth invitation to tarry a while that its cast-off skin extends. We shudder at dreadful stories of venomous tarantulas and scorpions lurking in those compact clusters; and the horrors of a region that harbors such creatures outweigh all other thoughts. Concerning the facts of its climate, the growth of its products, the life of its people, we rarely inquire.

There is, perhaps, no other temperate country where the use of fruit is so widespread or so extensive as in the United States. Not only does our own unrivaled domain furnish varied soils and climates perfectly adapted to the temperate and subtropical fruits of the world, but our facilities for transporting and preserving them place the products of the most favored regions within reach of every one during prolonged seasons. The dweller in New York or Boston is thus able to supplement his home fruits by those of Delaware and New Jersey, of the Indian River, and of Los Angeles and San Bernardino in an uninterrupted and unfailing succession which has nearly banished the dried apple of our childhood.

But the influence of external conditions is as potent here as in other features of our life, and the nature of the food supply