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is plain that a defect of warmth is not the only cause that influences their retreat. —WHITE.
- There the snake throws her enameli'd skin."
-SHAKESPEARE's Midsummer Night's Dream. About the middle of this month (September) we found in a field near a hedge the slough of a large snake, which seemed to have been newly cast. From circumstances it. appeared as if turned wrong side outward, and as drawn off backward, like a stocking or woman's glove. Not only the whole skin, but scales from the very eyes are peeled off,
in the head of the slough like a pair of spectacles. The reptile, at the time of changing his coat, had entangled himself intricately in the grass and weeds, so that the friction of the stalks and blades might promote this curious shifting of the exuviæ.
“ Lubrica serpens Exuit in spinis vestem.”—LUCRET. It would be a most entertaining sight could a person be an eye-witness to such a feat, and see the snake in the act of changing his garment. As the convexity of the scales of the eyes in the slough is now inward, that circumstance alone is a proof that the skin has been turned ; not to mention that now the present inside is much darker than the outer. If you look through the scales of the snake's eyes from the concave side—viz., as the reptile used them, they lessen objects much. Thus it appears from what has been said, that snakes crawl out of the mouth of their own sloughs, and quit the tail part last, just as eels are skinned by a cook maid. Whilst the scales of the eyes are growing loose, and a new skin is forming, the creature in appearance
must be blind, and feel itself in an awkward, uneasy situation.—WHITE.
I have seen many sloughs or skins of snakes entire, after they have cast them off; and once in particular I remember to have found one of these sloughs so intricately interwoven amongst some brakes that it was with difficulty removed without being broken ; this undoubtedly was done by the creature to assist in getting rid of its encumberance.
I have great reason to suppose that the eft or common lizard also casts its skin or slough, but not entire like the snake ; for on the 30th March 1777 I saw one with something ragged hanging to it, which appeared to be part of its old skin.—MARKWICK.
OBSERVATIONS ON VEGETABLES.
TREES, ORDER OF LOSING THEIR LEAVES. One of the first trees that becomes naked is the walnut; the mulberry, the ash, especially if it bears many keys, and the horse-chestnut come next. All lopped trees, while their heads are young, carry their leaves a long while. Apple-trees and peaches remain green very late, often till the end of November : young beeches never cast their leaves till spring, till the new leaves sprout and push them off; in the autumn the beechen-leaves turn of a deep chestnut colour. Tall beeches cast their leaves about the end of October.
SIZE AND GROWTH. Mr. Marsham of Stratton, near Norwich, informs me by letter thus—“I became à planter early ; so that an oak which I planted in 1720 is become now, at one foot from the earth, twelve feet six inches in circumference, and at fourteen feet (the half of the timber length) is eight feet two inches. So if the bark was to be measured as timber, the tree gives 116, feet, buyer's measure. Perhaps you never heard of a larger oak while the planter was living. I flatter myself that I increased the growth by washing the stem, and digging a circle as far as I supposed the roots to extend, and by spreading sawdust, etc., as related in the Phil. Trans. I wish I had begun with beeches (my favourite trees as well as yours); I might then have seen very large trees of my own raising. But I did not begin with beech till 1741, and then by seed ; so that my largest is now at five feet from the ground, six feet three inches in girth, and with its head spreads a circle of twenty yards diameter. This tree was also dug round, washed, etc.STRATTON, 24th July, 1790.”
The circumference of trees planted by myself at one foot from the ground (1790) :Oak in 1730
4 st. 5 in.
1756 The great oak in the Holt, which is deemed by Mr. Marsham to be the biggest in this island, at seven feet from the ground, measures in circumference thirty-four feet. It has in old times lost several of its boughs, and is tending to decay. Mr. Marsham computes that at fourteen feet length this oak contains 1000 feet of timber.
It has been the received opinion that trees grow in height only by their annual upper shoot. neighbour over the way, whose occupation. confines him to one spot, assures me that trees are expanded and raised in the lower parts also. The reason that he gives is this : the point of one of my firs began for the first time to peep over an opposite roof at the beginning of summer ; but before the growing season was over, the whole shoot of the year, and three or four joints of the body beside, became visible to him as he sits on his form in his shop. According to this supposition, a tree may advance in height considerably though the summer shoot shculd be destroyed every year.
FLOWING SAP. If the bough of a vine is cut late in the spring, just before the shoots push out, it will bleed considerably ; but after the leaf is cut, any part may be taken off without the least inconvenience. So oaks may be barked while the leaf is budding; but as soon as they are expanded, the bark will no longer part from the wood, because the sap that lubricates the bark and makes it part is evaporated off through the leaves.
RENOVATION OF LEAVES. When oaks are quite stripped of their leaves by chaffers, they are clothed again soon after midsummer with beautiful foliage ; but beeches, horse-chestnuts, and maples, once defaced by those insects, never recover their beauty again for the whole season.—WHITE.
Many ash trees bear loads of keys every year, others never scem to bear any at all. The prolific ones are naked
of leaves and unsightly; those that are sterile abound in foliage, and carry their verdure a long while, and are pleasing objects. — WHITE.
Beeches love to grow in crowded situations, and will insinuate themselves through the thickest covert, so as to surmount it all : are therefore proper to mend thin places in tall hedges.-WHITE.
May 12th. The sycamore, or great maple, is in bloom, and at this season makes a beautiful
appearance, and affords much pabulum for bees, smelling strongly like honey. The foliage of this tree is very fine, and very ornamental to outlets. All the maples have saccharino juices.- WHITE
GALLS OF LOMBARDY POPLAR. The stalks and ribs of the leaves of the Lombardy poplar are embossed with large tumours of an oblong shape, which by incurious observers have been taken for the fruit of the tree. These galls are full of small insects, some of which are winged, and some not. The parent insect is of the genus of cynips. Some poplars in the garden are quite loaded with these excrescences.—WHITE.
CHESTNUT TIMBER. John Carpenter brings home some old chestnut trees which are very long; in several places the woodpeckers had begun to bore them. The timber and bark of these trees are so very like oak, as might easily deceive an indifferent