They appear to be a strange sort of survival or remnant, not even suitable for the bargain-counter, a hereditary leisure class in the modern democracy of the body, a fertile soil for all sorts of trouble. Here, then, we have this little bunch of idle tissue, about the size of a small hazelnut, ready for any mischief which our Satan-bacilli may find for its hands to do.
It is well known that, from the size of a grain of sand in their natural state, they will distend to the size of a hazelnut after having preyed for some days upon the blood of an animal. The Arabs are invariably infested with lice, not only in their hair, but upon their bodies and clothes; even the small charms or spells worn upon the arm in neatly-sewn leathern packets are full of these vermin.
"What did this, Bob?" asked Papa Jack, gently touching the hazelnut bruise with a finger. "A boy," said Bob. "What boy?" asked Papa Jack. "A big boy?" Silence, and then a shake of the head. "Did you strike him first?" Again Bob shook his head. "What did you do to him?" Still another shake of the head. "Do you mean he just came up and struck you without any provocation?" "He laughed," said Bob.
What its capabilities are in this respect may be gathered from the fact that, while normally of the size of a small hazelnut, it is no uncommon thing to find a mass which absolutely blocks up the whole of the upper part of the pharynx, and may vary from the size of a robin's egg to that of a large English walnut, or even a small hen's egg, according to the age of the child and the size of the throat.
Between the layers of cotton wool she found a single pearl as large as a hazelnut, pink as the Oriental dawn. One side was slightly depressed, as though some mischievous, inquisitive mermaid had touched it in passing. "Oh, the lovely thing!" she gasped. "The lovely thing! But, Denny, I can't accept it!" "And how are you going to refuse it? Keep it. It is an emblem of what you are, honey.
He would sit down on a stone and pluck a leaf, which he would examine with minute care; or watch with the deepest interest the frantic efforts of a little ant, as it staggered along under its gigantic burden of a single seed, climbing over a mountainous twig, tumbling into a cavernous hole the size of a hazelnut, or being brought to a hesitating pause by a mountain torrent a quarter of an inch broad.
"If Tim Thurston happens to be very busy he might use plain talk and tell you to git out of camp." "Then do you mind telling us just how we should approach the chief engineer?" "Whatter yer names?" "Reade and Hazelton." "Bob, trot over and tell Thurston there's two fellows here, named Reade and Hazelnut. Ask him what he wants done with 'em."
On the outskirts, nearer to the prairie, grew birches, aspens, limes, maples, and oaks. Then they met us more rarely, the dense firwood moved down on us in an unbroken wall. Further on were the red, bare trunks of pines, and then again a stretch of mixed copse, overgrown with underwood of hazelnut, mountain ash, and bramble, and stout, vigorous weeds.
First came a birch, then a hazelnut bush, then a black-thorn, then a bare piece of ground without any trees, and then again a few old trees.
This is a history of doings, not of thoughts, or I would have much to tell of what I saw during those months, when, lean as a bone, and brown as a hazelnut, I tracked the course of the great rivers. The roads were rough, where roads there were, but the land smiled under the sun, and the Virginians, high and low, kept open house for the chance traveller.