The chapters of this book are so arranged as to follow the waxing and waning of plant-life during an average season in the northeastern United States.
By this plan a few repetitions have been absolutely unavoidable, and for these the author apologizes to the - she hopes - "gentle" reader. The only other arrangement possible would have been a systematic one, adopting the most recent views as to the relationship and development of plant-families. I hardly had courage for such an enterprise as this, and moreover the thing has been done so fully, so ably, and so recently, that the student who seeks a systematic botany will find his wants already amply supplied.
This book is written more especially for people who have not time, or, perhaps, inclination, to become actual students, who have not familiarized themselves with botanic nomenclature and tech-nial terms, and who yet love to observe the beauties and the wonders of familiar plant-life.
"A little learning is a dangerous thing," was written before the days of Nature-study. In that domain "a little learning," provided always that it be accurate as far as it goes, is a stimulus to much interesting work, opens the eyes to many beauties, and proves an every-day delight; for what one finds in the fields depends largely upon what one takes into them, and in field and forest, as elsewhere, "the eye sees that which it brings with it the power of seeing".
The young hero of an old German fairy-tale wandered far and wide, seeking the key-flower which he had seen in dreams, and which was to open for him a treasure-house of riches. And when he returned from his long and fruitless quest he found the magic blossom blowing at the threshold of his door.
Perhaps this means that we shall find our purest joys, after all, in the simple things which are in reach of most of us-such as the love of kindred, the friendship of books, and the companionship of Nature, which, constant through all changes, ever shows us the same winsome face.
My sincere thanks are due to the publishers of the "Popular Science Monthly," the New York "Evening Post," "Arthur's Home Magazine," and "Merry Times," for permission to issue, in their present guise, such portions of this book as have appeared in their respective publications.
"And 'tis my faith that every flower Enjoys the air it breathes".