HAVING now returned home after a stay of several months in Texas, the writer resumes with pleasure her work in connection with the INSTRUCTOR. Perhaps its readers will be interested in the narration of a few facts gathered during her absence, together with some incidents of travel. 

The "Lone Star State," so called because its coat of arms consists of a single star, is the largest in the Union, its area being greater than that of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the six New England States, all combined. Texas is naturally divided into three parts: the seacoast, of nearly a thousand miles in extent, and running inland from seventy-five to a hundred miles; the uplands, or Middle Texas, which is diversified with hill and valley, forest and prairie; and far to the west and northwest, still the home of the savage and the feeding place of the buffalo, the great plains and tablelands, broken by lofty mountain chains.

In the south, along the semi-tropical line of the Gulf of Mexico, is the region of the lemon, the citron, and the orange; farther north are rice, sugar, and cotton fields; and beyond these are produced vast crops of grain. Bounded by perpetual spring on the south, and by almost eternal winter on its farthest borderline, the State presents a variety of soil and climate; the remarks, which follow will apply particularly to the northeastern portion.

The soil is very fertile, farmers cultivating their land year after year, without enriching it. Texans claim that their climate is remarkably healthful; the summers are long, but the heat is said to be no more oppressive than at the North; sunstrokes are of even less frequent occurrence, and the nights are usually cool. Yet it is the opinion of visitors who have had good opportunities for observation, that they never before saw so much poverty and sickness as they have seen in Texas.

Almost every one has the "chills;" fevers prevail in summer, and pneumonia in winter. No doubt much of this is due to the habits of the people. Ardent spirits are freely drank by nearly all classes, and tobacco is used, not only by men, but by women and children. Most women indulge the habit of "dipping" snuff. Swine's flesh is largely used, and it is difficult to obtain any article of food, which is free from its contamination.

Yet even these wrong habits cannot wholly account for the sickness prevailing; for many Northern families who are free from them have suffered from the diseases incident to the climate until they are but shadows of themselves; and they have been glad to flee from the State. Many more would leave, had they the means. So much for the boasted healthfulness of Texas. 

M. A. D.


OUR young friends who would like a glimpse of the sunny South are invited to join us in a two days' ride from Denison, Texas, to Dallas, a distance of seventy miles. 

We have only two carriages, but as no room is required for imaginary passengers they can all be accommodated.

We set off on the seventh of March, a lovely, spring-like day, such as sometimes come to us at the North the last of April. Our road for a few miles lay through the "Cross Timbers," which extend in a northeasterly direction through the State, but beyond this the country is a rolling prairie, dotted here and there with farmhouses, fresh green wheatfields, and brown cotton fields.

The peach, plum, and cherry trees are now in full bloom, and as we remember that the snowflakes are still flying around our Northern homes we feel that this, at least, is a pleasant contrast.

The leafless branches of many forest trees are enlivened by green tufts of the mistletoe, a curious and interesting plant. 

Although an evergreen, it is not, like the pine, spruce, etc., covered with "needles," but with small, thick, smooth leaves. The mistletoe is a parasite. This word means, "eating at the table of another," and is given to the mistletoe because, instead of growing out of the ground, it fastens itself to the branches of a tree, sends its roots under the bark, and lives on the nourishment thus obtained. It is supposed that the seeds are carried to the trees by birds that feed on the mistletoe berries, and then wipe off on the bark the seeds that adhere to their bills.

It is too early for flowers, but in their season some beautiful varieties grow wild here, and many others in wonderful profusion farther toward the south. Among these are mimosas, wax plants, cardinal flowers, trumpet flowers, lilies, geraniums, asters, dahlias, verbenas, and many other flowers cultivated at the North. In the southern part of the State the oleander grows to the height of over twenty feet. It is often planted in rows, forming hedges, like immense green walls.

The rivers, or creeks, of this country have wide channels, from fifteen to thirty feet deep. Few of the streams are bridged. 

The road usually winds down the steep bank, and along the bed of the stream, to a good fording place. When swelled by heavy rains, they are impassable.

Occasionally we pass a plantation occupied before the war by slaveholders, the large house of the master being still surrounded by the Negro cabins. Many houses have one peculiar feature, the chimneys, which are very large, to give room for fireplaces, are on the outside of the building. We saw one large white house, which had a huge red brick chimney at each end, and another in front!

But our "corner" is full, and we must reserve the remainder of our description for another time. 

M. A. D.