The Use of Flowers
Just one moment longer, cousin Mary, I want to put this flower in your hair. Now doesn't it look sweet, sisterAggy?""Oh, yes! very sweet. And here is the dearest little bud I ever saw. I took it from the sweet-briar bush in thelane. Put that, too, in cousin Mary's hair."Little Florence, seeing what was going on, was soon, also, at work upon Mary's hair, that, in a little while, wascovered with buds and blossoms."Now she is our May Queen," said the children, as they hung fondly around their cousin, who had come out intothe country to enjoy a few weeks of rural quiet, in the season of fruits and flowers. "And our May Queen mustsing us a song," said Agnes, who was sitting at the feet of her cousin. "Sing us something about flowers.""Oh, yes!" spoke up Grace, "sing us that beautiful piece by Mrs Howitt, about the use of flowers. You sang itfor us, you remember, the last time you were here."Cousin Mary sang as desired. After she had concluded, she said--"Flowers, according to these beautiful verses, are only useful as objects to delight our senses. They are onlybeautiful forms in nature--their highest use, their beauty and fragrance.""I think that is what Mrs Howitt means," replied Grace. "So I have always understood her. And I cannot see anyother use that flowers have. Do you know of any other use, cousin?""Oh, yes. Flowers have a more important use than merely giving delight to the senses. Without them, plantscould not produce fruit and seed. You notice that the flower always comes before the fruit?""Oh, yes. But why is a flower needed? Why does not the fruit push itself directly out from the stem of a plant?"asked Agnes."Flowers are the most exquisitely delicate in their texture of all forms in the vegetable kingdom. Look at thepetals of this one. Could any thing be softer or finer? The leaf, the bark, and the wood of the plant are all coarse,in comparison to the flower. Now, as nothing is made in vain, there must be some reason for this. The leavesand bark, as well as wood, of plants, all have vessels through which sap flows, and this sap nourishes, sustains,and builds up the plant, as our blood does our bodies. But the whole effort of the plant is to reproduce itself; andto this end it forms seed, which, when cast into the ground, takes root, springs up, and makes a new plant. Toform this seed, requires the purest juices of the plant, and these are obtained by means of the flowers, throughthe exquisitely fine vessels of which these juices are filtered, or strained, and thus separated from all that isgross and impure.""I never thought of that before," said Agnes. "Flowers, then, are useful, as well as beautiful.""Nothing is made for mere beauty. All things in nature regard use as an end. To flowers are assigned a high andimportant use, and exquisite beauty of form and color is at the same time given to them; and with these oursenses are delighted. They are, in more respects than one, good gifts from our heavenly Father."