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A Talk With Luther Burbank
The Wizard Tells cf Some Successes and Some Failures. -:- Whllo tho plant creations of Luth er Burbank have made his name a household word throughout tbe world, very few even of the residents of his adopted State know anything 0f the Wizard's" personality. He has no time for the limelight, even if be had the taste, and, as ha tells you, he can ,s,lc more readily to his (lowers than to an audience of peo ple. On rare occasions, ' however, hen he emerges from his picketed ground for a little journey In the world, to nttend a florists' conven tion or what not, he can be persuad ed to address a sympathetic company on the subject to which his life Is de votedthe Improvement of plants, you can do anything you like with observed as a picture of his thorn less cactus patch at Santa Rosa came to view. "Twelve years ago I became Impressed with the possibilities of the opuntla rtictus, or prickly pear, as a forace plants If only the spines and the bristles could be done away with. There exist in nature certain of th cactus tribe which are thorn less, but none of these are of stiffl dent size or are rapid enough grow ers to bo of practical value to the stock raiser. I .had specimens of opuntiiis sent to me from all over tbe world, and by selection and cross In;, raising year after year thousands of new seedlings, only to be grubbed up as unavailing, I nl last was rg warded In creating a variety absolute-, ly without Eplnes or bristles. The original plant from a seed has grown In threu years to a height of elx feet and is six and one-half feet In 4lr.ir.fter. "I have half a dozen other snlne lesB varieties, and they were all put on the market for the first time last summer, altnougn some ilishop.est dealers both here and in Europe liave been offering so-called spinek'33 cac tus for a couple of years. The thorn lefs varieties cannot be raised from seed . but are propagated only from tunings, which must first be wilted In the sun for a week or two before they v. Ill grow; After that they will rcot anywhere any end up even In yojr overcoat pocket or on the floor back of the ctove." A single leaf of the best varletv of the thornless cactus: the Santa r.o?a was sold for 8100O to John M. Rutland, of Melbourne. Australia, with the right to sell in the South ern Hemisphere; and one leaf of an-' other variety was disposed of to the same Australian horticulturist for 1300. "Eut the forage proposition," con tinued Mr. Burbank, "is by no means ill there Is to cactus culture. The fruits have wonderful possibilities. Hany of my helpers prefer 'pear' to apricots or peaches, and I myself find It delicious. There Is great variety la the taste of the different sorts, ind my ambition now Is to produce t;pe that will bepr distinct varl .' of cactus fruit, tbe same as dif ferent varieties of apples are char tcterized by different flavors. "Changing the subject now to flow rs, the famous eschscholtzla, or Cal ifornia poppy, used to be known only "i a yellow flower, but now the flor 'st will sell you a crimson variety. This was six or seven years in the faking. I have often noticed indi viduals with a bronzy tint on the out side of the petals; but one day I came across one that had a streak of fed Inside the cup. I saved Its seed, "d by the process of selection finally fot a good crlniBon. It takes five or Si" penerattnna tn fiv nnv new varietv. "Speaking of poppies, I was once orprised to get a new red garden I IPPy ns the result of a cross be- teen two white varieties, the com- VALETS I OU ALL AT OXFORD. Uf Easy nt the Knidisli University, Says a Student From Missouri. . Morrison Beall Giffen, at the Uni versity of Missouri last year and now Shocks scholar at Oxford, has wrlt fa a letter to the head of the Cos nrolltan Club In Columbia, of which J9 was a charter member aud the 8rt chairman. s!r. (jlffen says that during the last "o months he has been kept busy reIaring for an examination which " must take before tho Christmas nolldaya. Oxford has a peculiar system of '"amiiiation. There are three exani "ilons only during the entire worse, one for entrance, one in the c"Hle of the course and one at the td. Life Is very easy at Oxford pcr "ai's too easy thinks Giffen. There l servants for everything. A day's I'foxraw hegins at 7.30 o'clock In tbe mrclt)g, when a servant wakes the jdf-nt and gets his bath ready. b"-akfast is brought into the room At 20 o'clock. frora $ o'clock to noon the student . "JPimscd to study. At 1 o'clock a ',!t 'uacli la brought into his room. mon white opium poppy .,a another. Often I am until.,, to amount for ,ln. "suits nf r,y experiments, but in his case tl ,,:i ,,tl v.as to bo found in tue tend. ,;i.y of the opium poppy sometimes to ptoduee red flow its; cud, though thn particular flow T I Used ill thl rrrv was wUltPi thP hereditary strata wa, iu Mood ar.d crop;-! out lr. the offprint;. 'A d-rideratiiM iu the improve ment of plants la to retire new varle. t;''s that .shall inn ,!10rn qk.;lv nan the original on-3. Few people note the fact that different Individ ual plants of the lamo species often have different rates f -rrowtb. You think one blade cf bin.. ,:rass in your lawn prows just as fa.:, as another. while, as a matter of f. ei. so mo pro- dure their fe-d fou;- o quickly ns othe'-s. five times as 'It .is tho bump wnv Vt.jtn t,.P0Si i have been working for a good whilo to produce a quick b-arlm.- chestnut. The ordinary chestnut of the woods may take firteen years from the seed ing stage, but as a nstilt of my ex perimenting I have a specimen' tree on my grounds this year, si:: months old, that has borne two perfect burrs and each has its regulation quota of nuts. Now I ran almost promise you chestnuts wliilo you wait. "Failures? Oil, yes. I have fail ures. Here is a picture of an im proved prune plum. It excels the old kinds in size and sweetness, but It Is a complete failure ns a prune for the reason that the skin, instead of split ting lightly In shallow lines in the 'dip' to which prunes are subjected before dying, cracks wide open like a plum skin in canning. "Then there was my cross of the raspberry mid strawberry. Theoret ically that cross ought to produce a good new fruit. I succeeded In get- tinz between "00 and 500 vigorous seedlings from the crossing, and they thnve well. The plants had the tri foliate leaves of the strawberry pa rent, but occasionally they would rend up canes that was the rasp berry In them. By and by they bloomed, large, perfect flowers, that gave every evidence of maturing seds, but not a solitary fruit set up on the whole plantation. It was a stralghtout failure, but somebody will be able to establish that cross yet. "One interesting feature In plant experimentation is the occasional cropping out of reve-sions to primi tive forms now lost through long cul tivation. This fact gives us a hint as to the original form of some plants no longer found wild. I am just now running Indian corn" in his New England way Mr. Burbank calls It Injun corn "back to where it wa3 maybe two or three thousand years ago. Corn, as we know It to day, Is an artificial product, the re sult of generations or centuries of selection before the white man ever saw it. I have already secured forms with the grains borne in the tassel, like other grasses, , for corn is a grass. "The variation In the leaves of plants makes an absorbing study, and I would like now and then to de velop something new In the foliage line, for leaves can be mado as beau tiful as flowers; but there Is so much to be done among the flowers that I am leaving the leaves for the pres ent." LulhT Burbpnk's talk is singular ly free from egotism. He is absorbed In the love of his subject, and as he touches lightly now on one feature of It, now on another, he Impresses you with the feeling that his work far from being hard to do. Is really very easy. That, however. Is the simplicity of genius. Philadelphia Record. At 2 o'clock ho goes out for physical exercise and may not return until about 6. Then comes the afternoon tea, to which one usually invites a friend. Dinner is served at 7 o'clock in the common dining room, where students and teachers dine together. The place In which Giffen has dinner Is a big fine room with a high celling. The sides are panelled in oak and hung with the portraits of ancient bene factors of the college. The silver used at the table is from fifty to 300 years old. After dinner the students usually go out to amuse themselves. University MIssourlan. And He rrobably Did. "What can I do," roared tho fiery orator, "when I see my country going to ruin, when I see our oppressors' hands at our throats, strangling us, and the black clouds of hopelessness and despair gathering on the horizon to obliterate the golden sun of pros perity. What. I ask, what can I do?" "Sit down!" shouted the audience. New York Times. Tbe Laplander can travel about ISO mile': a day on his skates. SOME TUNNEL BUILDERS. The "Solitary Dees" Dig Out Their Homes Under the Earth. Not all the bees one sees on the flowers tiro tho busy little fellows who supply our tables with honey. Of course, you all Know that the great lar.illy of bees may be roughly divided into the social bee3, those that live together in populous communities and Hie solitary bees which live only one or two in a home. Instead of buiiding their homes of wax tome of these Industrious little solitary lellows, are tunnel builders and O.vavntc their homes in tho earth, jy no n,eans is theirs a light task, and tin, amount of work some times done; by a single bee is enor mous almost beyond belief. It hB3 been approximately calculated that the little lilu,; digger bee (Augochlora) digs such a tunnel Iu proportion to her weight that If a man weighing 185 pounds would equal It he must dig a hole four feel In diameter and 129.") miles deep. And this represents less than halt' the work done, for this com putation takes nu uccount of the branches and cells. Furthermore, It has been since discovered that this little bee digs two of these tunnels during her lifetime. The tunnels of some of the solitary bees are driven horizontally in tho sides of steep slopes, and others are sunk vertically from the surface of tho level ground, according to the hab its of the different species. Leading from the lunln passageway, there are short brunches which terminate each In a widened chamber or cell. The whole Interior of thla cell Is plastered with a cement that makes the walls smooth and waterproof and also hard ens them so the earth does not fall In. These little bees differ slightly In their opinions as to which Is the best food and, consequently, some species store their cells with a pellet of pol len while others are sure that honey, with a little pollen added, is by far the best food for a young bee. In either case, an egg Is placed on the food mass and the entrance to tho cell closed up. When the lowest cell Is properly stocked and sealed, then tho next higher one, and so on toward the top. In this way the earth from each succeeding cell fills the passageway below It and so prevents access to the cells by the natural enemies of tho bees. St. Nicholas. Maine Fox Skins. It Is estimated that about seventy five thousand fox skins are sold out of Maine every year. Very few of the uiy animals are shot. Many are killed by the use of poisoned bait, while hundreds of others are killed In "drives" known as the "New Hump shire method." This is not sportsman like, but the fur hunters are in the game for cash, not sport. No accur ate statistics are available B3 to tho number of foxes captured in Maine in a year, but some time ago Charles E. Oak of Caribou, then land agent, said at n committee hearing that more than 50,000 fox skins were sold out of Arros took County alone every year. Out tide of Aroostook County, where sever al men make a business of fox hunting, perhaps 25,000 pelts are taken In a year, making the total output of the state 75.OO0. The price of good fox skins reached the highest notch last winter, even red pelts commanding from $4.50 to $3 each, as against 13.50 two years ago and $2.50 five years ago. Foi silver grays, which are rare, and blacks, which, are very rare, prices re main very much as In former years, though tbe rates have advanced some what, and the market Is- much stead ier since the close of the war between Japan and Russia, as nearly all these expensive sklna are marketed in Rus sia. One fox skin In 200 is from a "cross" fox, and Is valued at $30; one In 10,000 Is a silver gray, and Is worth from $200 to $500, and perhaps one in 600,000 is a pure and radiant black, which may bring $800 or even $1500, thus making tho coat of the bluck fox the most valuable garment worn by any animal on top of earth. Kennebec Journal. Scottish Fishing Colony. A delegation of Scottish fishermen Is now visiting Australia, and its mem bers have proposed to Sir Thomas Bent, Premier of Victoria, the es tablishment of a fishing colony on Snake Island, some seventy miles to the southeast of Melbourne. They promise to bring out 250 families from Scotland and settle them on tho isl and, where the canning, curing and oil extraction Industries would pro vide plenty of employment. They have satisfied themselves that the waters thereabouts are well stocks with fish of considerable commercial value. Snake Island has an area of 6000 acre3 and Is at present used as a sanctuary for the preservation of birds and oth er animals. London Chronicle. An Encumbrance. Little Helen had been very noisy all day long. Her papa asked her to stand i" the corner to punish her. After crying a while she very Indig nantly said, "1 do wish papa had never uarried in this family." Delineator. WHALING A THING- OF TEE FAST. The New Bedford Mercury says "that there are some facts in connection with the announcement that the Arctic whaling fleet will not sail out or San Francisco this spring which have not been told. Tho reason given, that the catih of the Dundee fleet has glutted the market with bone, may be put aside, for tbe truth is the Dundee IK-et had an unsuccessful season, and the bo-.io I not of a-qualiiy that competes with that taken trom tbe mammoth bowi,cails which are the prizes of the ArcticR licet. It is triU', however, there is un ample stock of Aietlo bono on band, and Inasmuch as tin re Is no prof it worth whiie at a pil e under $5 a pound, ami an iuereus.'d supply would tend to depress t lie pile:', the whalln agents have no Incentive to fit the ships. "Tho hazard of lire and fortune In Arctic whaling Is out of till proportion to the we:ilth It has brought. The fact that the great fleet of half a bundled or more whalers that once respited to the Arctic has been reduced to six or eight, the others have been giounds in the remorseless ice Iloaes, is impres sive. The little remnant that lus es caped the clutch cf the lee daunts at least the men who have hitherto looked upon the hairbreadth escapes and dis astrous chances as but a p-rt of the day's work. "Nevertheless, it i3 probable the Bhl3 would have kept 0:1 'through fog to fcg, by luck and log, sailing as Bet ing sailed,' trusting to him who 'clears the grounding bergs and i-tcers the grinding floe,' until the Ice had claimed the last f hip, had it not been for the attitude of the United States govern ment. As It Is, 1 hero Is very small chance that any of the fleet of steam whalers will ever again sail to the north. Until within a few years It was truly said: 'There's never a law or God or man runs north of Fifty-three." "This Is no longer the case. The revenue cutter service dispenses law in the Arctic now, nnd the agents say it is capricious and arbitrary authority which adds the last ilsk and establishes a prohibition upon the whaling indus try there. When the revenue cutter of ficer overhauled steamer William Bay lies a conplo of seasons ago and placed Captain Bodfish under arrest, ordering him to report at Nome October 1, tk: voyage of the ship wa3 broken, and the owners and men lost thousands of dollars, as It was necessary for the ship to leave in the height of the whal ing season. From the n?.ture of the Arctic business it often happens that the crews comprlso desperate and dan gerous men. There la bound to be con tinual trouble, and if the revenue offi cers can take the captains out of their ships upon complaints of such men and thereby break voyages the chance Is one no Investor will taue. The agents do not expect the masters of their ves sels shall escape the consequences of misbehavior, but If their are accused they say there can be no harm in wait ing for the return ot the vessels before making an arrest. Capt. Bodfttb, It may be added, was acquitted of tbe charges brought against him. "The whaling ngents say the shore traders conspire against them, and have used the missionaries, who are themselves traders in many cases, to make representations to the President, as a result of which the revenue ser vice has been unduly exneting. Many of the w haler:) have engaged in trading, and have Incensed the shore traders by getting, in some cases, a monopoly of the business. The methods of the traders have not been different from those of the shore tradors, but a ship ran be held to an accounting where a detached trader cannot. In some ships trading is forbidden, the owner taking the ground that the time wasted with the natives can be more profitably em ployed In whaling; but some of the men of the ship may carry on a private enterprise and the owners suffer vi carious punishment In greater degree than the actual offender. 'At best, the whaling ventures In the Arctic are not as profitable as is gener ally assumed. It costs about $20,nt)0 to fit a vessel for a voyage. Assuming the ship escapes the countless perils and takes three whales, which is a fair average catch, or better, this means a revenue of $30,000. It requires $10,000 to settle the voyage, and If the vesuel Is to be Eent to sea again the $20,000 Is required for refitting. The whales are retreating to the north and east, and It Is only under the roost favorable cir cumstances a vessel can chase them to their last stand and get out befoie the pack closes in upon them. "Thee circumstances. In connection with the alleged oppression of the gov ernment, has led the owners to take their profits and retire from the enter prise. The vessel will lay up in the San Francisco docks, and It Is doubt ful If they ever again 'hear the floe pack clear and the blast of. the old hull whale.' It may be the whalemen may fit out palling vessels and make occa sional voyages to the Arctic, bul It is safe to predict that tbe doom of the steam whaler lsealcd. ' "No steam whalers have been built In many years, aud It Is now admitted they were a mistake. They frightened the whales from the grounds they had frequented, and there weto oilier cir cumstances that wet o a draw back. The masters of steam vessels are required to take out a license, and tome of the best whalemen could not meet tie re quirements. .So It happened that the 'boat-header' system was introduced. Men of tlie merchant service were placed ill command of the steam whaiers in sumo llutunees and ex pert whalemen were idiipped u.s bcat l:f :.ders t a lay above that allowed tho li;aste:s of tho vessels. The Loathead er was In command of the boats when 'hey lowered for whales, and at other times he wan all anomalous figute nbi.ard :;hip. 'The dlsa teis of 1ST1 and 1S79 de stroyed the vessels by whoNvale, thJ s'!irii:.ndu;iii pn yi -1 upcu them, and tho be park picked them olf one by one. To the ever-present foes ot I'.atuie the United States government contrib uted its menace to the Investment, and so ends another Incident of the bravest Industry In which dating men ever engaged." WOMEN PAYING PENALTY. Increased Death Rate Among Female Wagc-Earnero. Women have begun to pay the pen alty for entering the fields of employ ment formerly occupied by men exclu sively, according to a mortuary table for Manhattan and the Bronx recently pn pared by Dr. William 11. Gullfoy, the registrar of records of the health rii pinnicnt. He has compared two pc rii.ds 1SC3, when women had not tak en up general employment in commer cial and piofe. slo:;al life, nnd 1907, when there Is hardly an occupation in which they do not ligure. Despite tho tremendous gain made In the fight for supremacy over the gicat white plague the deaths from till causes between the B':p3 cf 45 and lij or over show that at the period when the manner of the past life Is most potential for health or dis ease, tho death rate exceeds that of forty years ago. Between the ages of 45 and 54 In 1SCS the percentage ot deaths from all causes was 17. CO. as compared with 19.C7 In 1907; between the aes of 65 and C4,ln 1808, 29 37, acd In 19'j7, 3S.43; for C5 yeais and over S8.40 In 1SG8, and 97.30 In 1907. In tuberculosis of all kinds there has been a great reduction In the death rate for all years. TWs reduced the foregoing figures, or the showing of an increased percentage of deaths would be still greater. From other diseases the increase has been uniform. Life Insurance companies have lonf? recognized this adverse condition, hav ing observed the gradual increase of deaths among women who are In busl w ss. While the health departments the country over keep the statistics as accurately as possible, they are not as accurately as practically as by tho life companies, which figure the dan gers of risks' to a nicety unknown in other lines of activity. Dr. Gullfoy tecs great advancement in the fight against tuberculosis, but even in t ha disease he has hbown that the mean average of death among women has shortened tbe duration of life since lbtiS. New York Tribune. Experts In Climbing. Some of the guides are experts in climbing. There are a number who are noted for their skill In what the Alpinist calls "snow and ice work." Thut means going up a peak which hus so many snow fields and glaciers that its sides and summits may be nearly covered with them. Thq gla cier guide can tell you all about "cor nices" snow masses which project from the edge of precipices and over hang the valley beneath like the roof of a house. Experience has told him whetner a cornice can be crossed safe ly or whether it may break off if one ventures upon it, He Is also an ex pert with the ice axe carried In his belt, cutting footholds In the glittering walls that may rise 60 or luO feet above your head. These Ice precipic es are frequently found at the heads of glaciers, which, as the schoolboy knows, are merely rivers of frozen water slowly moving down the face of a mountain on account of the force of gravity and the great pressure of the ice masses which form their source on the upper part of the Blopc. Oth er guides make a specialty of "rock work," conducting persons up peaks which may be only partly covered with snow and ico, but having sides of bare rock so steep that in places the cliffs may be almost straight up aud down. Here it would seem that one must be as spry and as sure-footed as tho chamois the rare goat that llveb up amid the Alps. While the crevasse and other dangers of the snow and Ico fields may be absent, the mountain may be so abrupt that -the cllrfiber must ascend hundreds of feet pullii; himself up with his arms aiding his legs, uhlle often the guide hauls him to tne top of the most difficult slopes by miia strerjfth. St. Nicholas.