Page:Germ Growers.djvu/184

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179
THE SEED BEDS.

foul growths and vapours which, as I have told you, increased from the southern extremity of the ground northward, came absolutely to an end with the last bed but one. But the last bed, which was the narrowest, with the walks on either side of it which were the widest, occupied more than a third of the whole extent of the cultivated ground. The true extent of the foul growths and vapours was about this: they covered rather more than a third of the ground, and the space which they covered was rather nearer the southern end than the northern end. I had reason to believe before the close of the day that these vapours were deadly; but I had reason also to believe that there was something in the bed to the north beyond them which was deadlier still.

There were many men employed at all the beds, much the greater number at the first bed, but the work at the sixth bed seemed to be far the more important; certainly it proceeded, as far as I was able to judge, with far more care and deliberation. Not, however, that there was anything slovenly about any of the work or of the workers.

I first turned my attention to the first bed, and there I saw a number of men at about equal distances on each of the walks, each provided with an instru-