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and dainty silks for the delicate little lady
at home. But imagine furs and woollens
in the dog-days; and think of moleskin caps
in place of those magical structures of gauze
and flowers, which do duty now for head
gears, and are supposed to protect from sun
and rain! Nothing from sheep or sable, goat
or ermine, could repay us for the loss of
Manchester prints and Irish linens; while,
on the contrary, we could supply their places
by woolly cotton, and the silk-cotton of the
gigantic bombax might be manufactured into
something resembling the woven results of
the cocoon. In eighteen hundred and fifty
one, some very curious and beautiful dresses,
made of this material, were sent to the Great
Exhibition: and if unscientific natives could
accomplish so much, what might not the
knowledge and the energy of the West
obtain? If silkworms had the plague, or the
mulberry-trees were blighted, we might
perhaps make our Lyons and Genoa velvets
out of the hairy coating of the seeds of the
bombax. We may set clothes aside, then, as
proven and undeniable.

There are so many resources in the
vegetable world, that, if one plant died out, we could
find a dozen substitutes, or more, capable of
taking its place and fulfilling its uses.
Suppose that the cotton shrub and the flax plant
should fail us, on what could we fall back?
On the fibres of the pine-apple and the
papyrus; perhaps on the cotton grass or
eriophorum; on the New Zealand flax, which
is of the lily tribe, the phormium tenax
of botanists; on the fibres of the African yucca,
which make very pretty artificial flowers as
well as cloth; on the bΕ“meria nivea, the
nettle from which come the grass-cloth
handkerchiefs of modern wear; on the family
of the amaryllides, specially on the Algerian
agave, originally a native of Mexico, but now
a naturalised Algerine, giving bags, cloaks,
and paper; on the banana, the most generous
of all trees; on some individuals of the
daphne or laurel tribe-- one, the lagetta
linteria, giving a beautiful natural lace from
its inner bark;-- on the hair of certain mallow
seeds; on some of the pulse family; on the
Virginian silk, an asclepias or swallow-wort;
on the bread-fruit tree, a nettle like the
China grass-clothspecimens of cloth woven
from the bread-fruit tree artocarpus, were
sent by the Society Islanders to our Great
Exhibition, and it is the usual dress of the
South Sea Islanders;-- on the broussonetia,
also a nettle, some of its species being better
known as the paper mulberry-tree, which
gives beautifully fine, soft, and white cloth;
and on the fibrous tissues of the mighty
bulrush, the typha latifolia, which, besides
material for cloth, also bears a kind of bread
in the centre of its creeping stems. But the
typha latifolia is serviceable for lint rather
than for woven cloths, and perhaps ought not
to have been admitted among the rest. Now,
the list we have given is by no means
despicable as an array of substitutes for two
specially constituted plants. And of course
there may be more scattered about the world
than we know of, or than have as yet been
discovered and introduced.

From how many growths, too, could we
procure cordage, if the present typical rope-
plant, hemp, became an extinct creation, like
the pterodactyles and deinotheria of old?
From the bamboo, that monstrous grass
which, besides giving cordage, gives also
baskets, fans, flutes, toys, canes, timber,
umbrella sticks, paper, pickles, and that
delicious green crisp nondescript found in the
Chinese pots of chow-chow; from our useful
friend papyrus, which also gives us mats,
as formerly it gave the Pharaohs and the
subjects of the Pharaohs, paper; from the
screw pine, pandamus, which yields sacking
as well as cordage, and one of the most
delicious scents extant; from palm-trees
generally; from the hairy covering of the
Gummuti pine, specially made use of at
Singapore; from the fibres of the palmetto
of the Bahamas; from the fibrous rind of the
cocoa-nut, called coir by shippers and
merchants, which coir makes ropes fully equal to
hempen ones for strength and serviceableness,
besides giving us rugs, mats, and brooms;
from one of the lily tribe, which yields the
famous African hemp; from the pine-apple
family; from nettles, the urtica tenacissima
of India, being the very chief and king of
rope-making nettles; from pulses-- witness
the Bengal hemp or jute; from a mixture of
grass and cotton, such as the natives of
Ashantee weave into wonderfully tough
cordage; in fact, from anything and
everything which has tough fibres that will split,
bend, and twist into lengths and coils, and
bear a good rough strain when all is done.
No animal production equals the cordage
value of these vegetable fibres. Leathern
straps are very useful, and by our pleasant
little machinery of thongs, holes, and buckles,
they are more convenient to use than ropes:
but we believe there is no question of their
comparative strength. The Canadian Indian
sews together his birch bark canoe with
thongs cut from the moose deer's hide; but
a good, stout, well pitched or waxed twine
would be far better. How tough soever
dried sinews and strips of hide may be,
twisted cables are tougher still, and obtained
at a less waste of material.

What race of animals equals in usefulness
of all kinds those general servitors of the
globe, the family of the palms ? Palms
do everything; as Household Words has
already shown.*

* See Vol. ii, p. 585; Vol. XV, pp. 67 and 100; p. 105 of
the present Volume.

Next to the palms come, perhaps, the
pines in variety of uses. We get timber
and turpentine, Canada balsam, Burgundy
pitch, dammar, sandarach, and other resins
less known, from pines. One, the screw-

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