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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/556

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

seded, the old faith of the mind sapped, by the maggot in the brain which breeds doubt and, denial, so in these latter days, the old beldam Earth breeds oïdium which blights, the phylloxera which destroys. It was the phylloxera which interested my young Frenchman. He had just come from California, after sending home countless boutures (vineslips) to his father, a vigneron of Burgundy. It is found that these bits of vine, planted in France and then grafted with the vine of the district, will resist in most cases the phylloxera, and so save the vineyard. It was when hearing this from my young vigneron that I seemed to hear that earth-clock strike. The sound I thought was braided of two murmurs where joy and sorrow blended. "Yes," I said to myself, "youth is a good thing, and how beautiful it is to see it sustaining the decrepitude of age!" How proud, thought I, should America be to see her democratic blood mingled with to sustain the princely lives which Bacchus honors! American girls wear the strawberry-leaf and sit not far from the throne itself. And how like this is the marriage between the parvenus of California and those princely ones whose etiquette gleams at royal boards! But how are the mighty fallen! The imperial house of Clos Vougeot is in the dust, and many another lordly house besides. A friend of mine, an expert in the science of wine, crowned his wealth by the purchase of this imperial Clos (field) of Vougeot. This little field, the most precious for its extent in France, a true Field of the Cloth of Gold, whose grape is the highest expression of God's beneficence through the vine he gave us, has a flavor, perfumed, modest, tasting of the violet, which separates it from the crude and harsher vintages as a gentleman is distinguished among roughs. This favorite of the earth, this consummate flower of France, Providence shall not long allow to lie perishing in the dust. And it is the democrat who shall fly to the rescue of this scion of an imperial house. For the world of epicures will not be deprived of its dainties; and it is no more than justice that America should heal the wound she makes, for it is confidently asserted that vines from America, imported into the south of France, brought the phylloxera with them. But this is only guess-work; there is a mystery in the modern sudden distribution over the world of insects and weeds which is not understood. It can not be watched, because it is not suspected, and secretes itself as part of a freight fetched for quite another purpose. Mrs. S. C. Hall has told us how, for ten years before, the weed Anacharis alsanastrum spread with frightful rapidity over the inland waters of England, choking ponds and rivers, as may be seen in the Serpentine of London, the germs of which plant were supposed to have been secreted in imported timber, I have recently, however, read that this plant was dying out, apparently finding its environment unsatisfactory. It is interesting also to hear of a process, the reverse somewhat of California's grape-cure, namely, how the robust weeds of England devour, as Britons do the natives, the weaker weeds of Australia. So have we