ARTHUR, Ellie, and Freddie were taking a walk- one summer afternoon with their Aunt Mary. They counted a visit at Aunt Mary's farm as a great occasion, for there were so many interesting things to see. An after-noon's walk with her through the fields and woods was sure to reveal to their eager eyes and minds many strange and beautiful things in the flowers and leaves and mosses, that, if alone, they would have tramped over carelessly; in the butterflies and insects that buzzed and fluttered around; and in the birds that sang, and built their nests in the trees. But there was always so much to see and to learn, with Aunt Mary to, point out and explain the dozens of little things that they never would have noticed.

On this afternoon they were walking along in a shady path bordered on one side by a little brook, which ran through a bit of meadow. Soon Aunt Mary stopped, and from among the tall sedges and blue flags that grew along the banks of the brook, gathered some queer little plants that her sharp eyes had discovered.

The children had never seen such plants before, although they had been past that spot many times, and had picked cardinal-flowers and, water-lilies in that same brook. Each little plant was formed of a cluster of round leaves spreading out an inch or two each way from the root, and a slender stalk in the center four or five inches high, with one or two tiny white, star-shaped flowers on top.

"Oh, how pretty!" said Ellie, who always saw the beautiful side of everything, while the boys were more interested to know all the strange facts, and to learn the use of every part. In answer to a question from Freddie, Aunt Mary told them that the plant was called the "sundew." She said, too, that botanists call it Drosera, which name is made from a Greek word meaning "dewy."

"And I can see the little dewdrops," said Ellie.

Then the children examined the plant carefully, for it was quite different in looks from any thing they had ever seen. The little leaves were quite round, not more than half an inch across, and were curiously covered on the upper side with fine red-dish' hairs. There were longer hairs around the edge, forming a deep border, or fringe, and each hair was terminated by a little knob, or gland, which gave out a tiny drop of glistening dew—at least

they looked like minute dewdrops not so large as the head of a pin; but they would not dry up in the sunshine (so Aunt Mary said), and that is why the plant is called "sundew."

The boys had by this time gathered some more of the plants, and found that there were two kinds, one of which had smaller leaves, which were longer than they were wide. The flowers, however, were all nearly alike. They grow along the side of the stalk, and open in turn, one after another, each remaining open but one day, and never expanding but in sunshine. Above the open flower the stalk with the buds is bent over and coiled, straightening

as the flowers expand, so that the open blossom is always highest.

While Aunt Mary was explaining this, Arthur had discovered that the little drops on the leaves were very sticky, and of course had to ask what they were for.

"Why, to look pretty, of course," answered Ellie.

But Aunt Mary told them that although the leaves were very pretty, they were arranged with hairs and dewdrops for a curious and remarkable purpose. "The fact is," said she, "the sundew is a fly-catcher, and a very ingenious one."

"I don't see how these little leaves can catch flies," said Ellie.

"It is only very small insects that are caught, of course. The way of it is this. These drops shining in the sun prove very attractive to any little flies and gnats that may come near. Some of them naturally alight on the leaves, right among the drops glistening on the ends of the little hairs; but then they find that the drops are sticky, and they cannot get away easily. Then, too, the long hairs around the edge of the leaf seem to suddenly become alive, and they slowly bend over and hold the victim securely; then the sides of the leaf roll up and partly enclose it, and there the poor fly is fast in a trap, and there it stays till it dies."

"Why, who would think such a pretty little plant could be a fly-trap?" exclaimed Ellie.

"But it is," Aunt Mary answered, "and sometimes you can find the leaves curled up with little dead flies inside of them.

"Now, children, let us see what we can learn from this pretty but very deceitful plant, that will help us to be wiser and better. Are there not many things in the world that, like the sundew, seem not only harmless, but really attractive and pleasant, but of which, experience tells us that the beautiful appearance is only a disguise to hide the trap beneath?—

Do you think of anything like this, Arthur?"

"Yes," said he in a minute. "You know the other day we learned the verses: Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright: at the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.' "

"Yes, that is a very good application of the subject. We may consider the sundew as a good illustration, or symbol, of the wine-cup. The real danger and sin of drinking are often concealed by attractive appearances; and for this reason many are led into a trap subtle and deadly, which holds its victim with a power that only the greatest effort and the grace of God can break.

"Let us," she continued, as they walked homeward, "shun whatever habits the experience of others has shown to be dangerous, although we may not see the full sin and danger at the beginning."




S. S. Visitor.