Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/230

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218
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

that somebody was pulling her nose, and resented it accordingly. At the close of this final séance, at which I had invited the presence of Colonel de Rochas, I explained to him the extent of the imposture, and showed him the false glass of water and the twin doll, the sham magnet, and the method which we had pursued in working the electro-magnet under a system of contradictory directions. I may venture to repeat that Colonel de Rochas acted in this, as throughout, as a gentleman of the most perfect good faith. He was duly and adequately impressed with this new order of facts. It is of course impossible to say what may be the conclusions at which he will ultimately arrive, but I understood him to incline to the vague belief that "it was all suggestion."—Nineteenth Century.

(To be continued.}

 

ADAPTATIONS OF SEEDS AND FRUITS.
By J. W. FOLSOM.

IF we consider the great variety of seeds and fruits, we naturally inquire its meaning; and if we are sufficiently interested to observe carefully the part which seeds play in Nature, we soon find that in innumerable ways they are adapted to their surroundings. On the seed, primarily, rests the all-important responsibility of perpetuating the species, and success or failure in this duty depends upon the manner in which the seed is adapted to encounter the dangers that threaten it.

The manifold adaptations of this kind which Nature exhibits have been brought about chiefly by natural selection, resulting from the cooperation of two laws: the law of heredity and the law of variation. Under the former, characteristics of a parent are transmitted to its offspring. In obedience to the latter, no offspring is exactly like its parent, but differs from it more or less. The variation being inherited by the succeeding generation will, if of favorable nature, tend to be perpetuated indefinitely. Contrarily, variation in an unfavorable direction will conduce to extermination of the species from the very nature of the case. Thus it follows that the accumulation of advantageous variations, however slight, and the necessary destruction of species possessing unfriendly characteristics, results in producing kinds well fitted for existence.

Bearing the above in mind as a general explanation, let us consider some of its effects as displayed in seeds and fruits.

We usually find seeds in a seed vessel of some sort, the whole affair constituting the "fruit." Common to all immature fruits is their necessity for protection, and this is met in various ways.