Page:Parsons How to Know the Ferns 7th ed.djvu/118

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within fifteen miles of my home in Albany, I never saw the plant until this summer some hundred miles nearer the centre of the State. During a morning call I chanced to mention that I was anxious to find two or three ferns which were said to grow in the neighborhood. My hostess told me that twenty-five years before, on some limestone cliffs about eight miles away, she had found two unknown ferns which had been classified and labelled by a botanical friend. Excusing herself she left me and soon returned with carefully pressed specimens of the Purple Cliff Brake and the little Rue Spleenwort, the two ferns I was most eager to find. Such moments as I experienced then of long-deferred but peculiar satisfaction go far toward making one an apostle of hobbies. My pleasure was increased by the kind offer to guide me to the spot which had yielded the specimens.

One morning soon after we were set down at the little railway station from which we purposed to walk to the already-mentioned cliffs. We were not without misgivings as we followed an indefinite path across some limestone quarries, for a plant may easily disappear from a given station in the course of twenty-five years. In a few moments the so-called path disappeared in a fringe of bushes which evidently marked the beginning of a precipitous descent. Cautiously clinging to whatever we could lay hold of, bushes, roots of trees or imbedded rocks, we climbed over the cliff's side, still following the semblance of a path. On our left a stream plunged