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plantation is a pretty sight. The long, straight, jointed, slender stems, growing to this great height, are covered with waving, feathery leaves. Most of the stems are yellow, but the skillful Chinaman has a secret of changing them to other colors.
The black bamboos are the aristocrats of the family, for they are cultivated only in the gardens of the rich. In the palace of the emperor there is an officer whose sole duty is to guard the bamboos in the imperial gardens.
The young and tender shoots are boiled and eaten as a vegetable, or are preserved by confectioners and made into delicious sweetmeats. The seeds are eaten too, and it is said that a great famine was prevented nearly a century ago by the seeds of the bamboo.
But it is the long, jointed, hollow stems of the plant that are put to so many different uses. Roads, bridges, fences, boats and aqueducts are made of these stalks. The little children who live in the boats on the rivers are prevented from drowning by bamboo floats, which are tied on
their backs. Poles by which the porters carry heavy burdens from place to place are also made from this plant.
Some of the houses which are built of them are ornamented with screen work, beautifully carved, and inlaid with gold and silver. No nails are used in building; the stems are lashed together, and the houses can be easily moved from place to place. They are furnished with bamboo chairs, tables and bookcases.
Fans, combs, pipes, cups, paper, umbrellas and measures for grain are turned out from bamboo factories. Rain cloaks are made by softening the stems in water, flattening out the sections and splitting them into fine strips.
Medicine for sick people, and whips to punish lawbreakers are also furnished by this wonderful plant. · I do not wonder that the Chinese are so proud of it.
Of one thing I am sure. Hereafter I shall always look upon grandfather's cane with great respect.
WHAT KEPT THE NEW CHIMNEY WAITING
A NEw chimney was going to be built on Grandpa's house, and the boys were in a state of high glee. They were always delighted when there was something going on, and this would be “something like,” Wayne said.
“Mike's coming to mix the mortar, you know, and carry it up the ladder to the mason. He'll tell us stories at noon --- Mike's such fun!”
“Yes,” echoed Casper, “I guess he is! You spell Mike's kind of fun with a big F, and a big U, and a big N! I say, Wayne, let us go get his hod and play we're hod carriers, with mud for mortar, you know — come on!”
“Come on!” shouted Wayne; “it's leaning up against the barn. Mike left it there last Friday when he brought his things over.”
On the way to the barn they saw Grandpa harnessing Old Molly to the big blue cart. That meant a beautiful, jolty ride down to the orchard, and the boys forgot all about playing hod carrier. They climbed in and jolted away.
" Mike's coming to-morrow, you know, Grandpa, and the mason,” said Casper, his voice quiverquavering over the jolts. “Oh, goody!” cried Wayne. But dear old Grandpa shook his white head.
“Not to-morrow, boys; you'll have to wait a bit longer. I sent word to Mr. Keet and Mike last night that they needn't come for a few weeks longer ; I've decided to put the chimney off.”
Both clear little voices were shrill with disappointment. Both little brown faces fell. Grandpa did not speak again at once — he was guiding Old Molly carefully out at the side of the cart road. The boys saw a little crippled butterfly fluttering along in the wheel track — that was why Grandpa turned out. Grandpa's big heart had room enough in it for every little live thing. Back in the track again, farther on, Grandpa spoke.
“I'll show you why we must wait for the new chimney, when we get home, boys,” he said cheerily. “You'll agree with me, I know. It's a case of necessity.”
“But I don't see what made you decide to, Grandpa,” Wayne said soberly. Grandpa's eyes twinkled under their shaggy brows.
"A little bird told me to,” he said, and that was all they found out until they got home. Then the same little bird told them. Grandpa took them up into the attic with a great air of mystery. The old chimney had been partly taken away — halfway down to the attic floor. Grandpa tiptoed up to it and lifted them, one at a time.
“Sh!” he whispered softly; “ look sharp.”
And there, on a little nest of mud, lined with thistle down and straws, that rested lightly on the projecting bricks, sat the little bird! She blinked at the kind faces peering down as if to say :
“Oh, dear, no; I'm not afraid of you! Isn't this a beautiful nest? So exclusive and safe ! There are four little speckly, freckled eggs under me. When I've hatched them and brought up my babies in the way well-educated little chimney swallows should go, then you can build your chimney, you know.” So that was why Grandpa's new chimney had to wait.