Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/199

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THE CELL-STATE.

They lay up, till fall, provision in their stems or roots, which does not come into use again until the next spring. And, when the collected capital enters into circulation again after the first warm days, the old cells are not able to undertake anew the business of turning it to use. The plant does not put its new wine into old bottles. It forms new cells, new organs, adapted to the demand of the new season. Now those tissues which we may call the procreative tissues come into play. Their cells begin to undergo a continuous division; their number is multiplied—new colonies, new cell-villages are founded. New points are formed at the ends of the roots, the young cells of which suck food from the soil with refreshed vigor; a new conducting tissue is formed in the stem between the wood and the bark, representing a new yearly ring. A grand act of renovation has also been in preparation at the ends of the limbs and twigs and at the bases of the leaves. Little cones of reproductive tissue are developed at these spots, in which innumerable cells originate by division, and, in accordance with an innate structural plan, a definite number of vesicles shoot in most symmetrical order of arrangement from each of these cones. Every cone is the beginning of a little stalk, the vesicles that grow from them are the beginnings of leaves; the whole structure is covered with thick scales and is now called a bud, in which the tender beginnings of leaves are protected by the scales from frost and storm. The buds are started in the summer, completed in the fall; are dormant during the winter, and are awakened to new life in the spring. The scale-armor now becomes superfluous, is cast aside; the little leaves rack and stretch themselves, and joyfully spread themselves out in the air and light; the little stalk grows longer and longer; in a little while the buds have shot out into young limbs, in the fresh foliage of which, excited by the light of the sun, the restless labor of the cells begins anew; or, after a marvelous transformation into flower-stalks, they produce those sexually developed procreative cells which are destined by a series of mysterious processes to found a new cell-state.

Thus is the cell-state of the plant subject to a continual rejuvenation. The individual citizens (the cells) and the villages (the leaves) have but a short life, but the state in its entirety may endure for centuries in lasting youth. If the hands of men, or the elements, do not inflict a violent death, the cell-state, as so many primitive giant trees have shown, may outlast the mightiest kingdoms of men.

Gifted writers on social politics have recently endeavored to illustrate the development and interrelations of human society by analogy with a living being and its cells. We have taken the converse course, and have endeavored to make the life of the plant and its cells comprehensible by a similitude with a state organization and its citizens. We have endeavored to show that what man has regarded as the highest ideal of his conscious effort in the struggles of the world's history has been prefigured in quiet accomplishment in the world of plants.