Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/370

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
370
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Nevertheless I gladly admit that the particular expression I had ascribed to him is not to be reckoned among the already too numerous illustrations of what I had described as his "readiness to say unpleasant," and—after reading his last article—I must add, offensive, "things."

With this explanation and apology I take my leave of the professor and of our small personal dispute—small, indeed, beside the infinitely graver and greater issues raised in his reply to the unanswered arguments of Dr. Wace.

I do not care to distract the attention of the public from these to a fencing-match with foils between Prof. Huxley and myself. In sight of Gethsemane and Calvary such a fencing-match seems to me out of place.—Nineteenth Century.

 

FUNGI.

II.—MICROSCOPIC FORMS.[1]

By T. H. McBRIDE,

PROFESSOR OF BOTANY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA.

THE microscopic world is ever fair. In every department of research we revert to our instruments, certainly expecting to be charmed by beauty, whether of movement or mechanism. Rarely are we disappointed, certainly not in the realm of organic form. Here everything is beautiful, and, as the heavens to the astronomer, everything is clean. Even the rudest fungi offer no exception. In them the microscope finds no exception to the law of beauty. The simplicity of structure noted in the previous article runs through nearly all, only varied a thousand times; but whether mycelial thread or spores, one or other or both conjoined, the result, as we hope by illustration here to show, is always symmetry and elegance itself.

To begin, let us revert to the lilac-bush, whose whitened leaves may readily afford illustration of mycelial webs and threads. By September, if not sooner, the entire foliage will have taken on its peculiar whiteness as if thickly dusted with chalk or flour. On certain leaves, however, appear suspicious-looking dark-brown specks or grains, very small, but plainly visible to the naked eye. Removing some of these granules to the microscope, we find the field filled with tiny sculptured spheres ornamented with a profusion of long, interlocking filaments, starting out like so many extended radii of each sphere. A gentle pressure on the cover-glass breaks the sphere, and forthwith (Fig. 1) a dozen tiny sacs

  1. Illustrations from drawings by M. F. Linder and the author.