Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 17.djvu/653

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CLIMBING PLANTS.

several whole phrases. Shortly, two, three words are spoken in connection; then the child is able, in broken phrases, to give an imperfect account of something that has happened. It is not a very long step from these beginnings to the construction of real sentences. The use of the pronouns, verbs, and articles, is attended with difficulties for some months, but the way is broken. The sentence gradually assumes a correct shape, and the child at last gives clear evidence of his intellectual power, more through his shrewd questions than his answers.

If we compare the defects of childish speech with the lapses of grown persons after their faculties have been disturbed by sickness, we shall discover parallels of uncommon interest and astonishing completeness. All the faults of speech caused by sickness have their miniature counterpart in the child. From illness, the matured man is no longer in a condition; in childhood, the unmatured man is not yet in a condition, to speak correctly. In the former case, existing powers are disturbed; in the latter the powers of articulation and phrase-making have not been perfected. One condition helps us to understand the other. The parallel can not, however, be pursued here, for the material for illustrating it is rich and will not admit of abridgment. My present purpose has simply been to sketch the fundamental conditions of the earliest development of the infant mind independently of the theories of the day, and to set forth the extraordinary significance of the study.

 

CLIMBING PLANTS.
By FRANCIS DARWIN, F. L. S.

I THINK most people have a general idea of what a climbing plant is. Even in the smoky air of London two representatives of the class flourish. A certain house in Portman Square shows how well the Virginian creeper will grow; and the ivy may be seen making a window-screen for some London dining-rooms.

Many other climbing plants will suggest themselves—the vine, the honeysuckle, the hop, the bryony—as forming more or less striking elements in the vegetation.

If we inquire what qualities are common to these otherwise different plants, we find that they all have weak and straggling stems, and that, instead of being forced, like many weakly-built plants, to trail on the ground, they are all enabled to raise themselves high above it, by attaching themselves in some way to neighboring objects. This may be effected in different ways: by clinging to a flat surface, like the ivy; or twining round a stick, like the hop; or making use of tendrils, like the vine.