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´╗┐Title: A Garden of Peace - A Medley in Quietude
Author: Moore, Frank Frankfort
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Garden of Peace - A Medley in Quietude" ***

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A Medley In Quietude

By F. Frankfort Moore

Author of \x93The Jessamy Bride,\x94 Etc

With Illustrations

New York: George H. Doran Company


[Illustration: 0001]

[Illustration: 0008]

[Illustration: 0009]






Dorothy frowns slightly, but slightingly, at the title; but when
challenged to put her frown into words she has nothing worse to say
about it than that it has a certain catchpenny click--the world is
talking about The Peace and she has an impression that to introduce
the word even without the very definite article is an attempt to derive
profit from a topic of the hour--something like backing a horse with a
trusty friend for a race which you have secret information it has won
five minutes earlier--a method of amassing wealth resorted to every day,
I am told by some one who has tried it more than once, but always just
five minutes too late.

I don\x92t like Dorothy\x92s rooted objection to my literary schemes, because
I know it to be so confoundedly well rooted; so I argue with her,
assuring her that literary men of the highest rank have never shown any
marked reluctance to catch the pennies that are thrown to them by the
public when they hit upon a title that jingles with the jingle of the
hour. To descend to an abject pleasantry I tell her that a taking title
is not always the same as a take-in title; but, for my part, even if it

And then I recall how the late R. D. Blackmore (whose works, by the way,
1 saw in a bookseller\x92s at Twickenham with a notice over them--\x93by a
local author\x94) accounted for the popularity of _Lorna Doone_: people
bought it believing that it had something to do with the extremely
popular engagement--\x93a Real German Defeat,\x94 Tenniel called it in his
_Punch_ cartoon--of the Marquis of Lorne and the Princess Louise. And
yet so far from feeling any remorse at arriving at the Temple of Fame
by the tradesman\x92s entrance, he tried to get upon the same track again
a little later, calling his new novel _Alice Lorraine_: people were
talking a lot about Alsace-Lorraine at the time, as they have been doing
ever since, though never quite so loudly as at the present moment (I
trust that the publishers of the novel are hurrying on with that new

But Dorothy\x92s reply comes pat: If Mr. Blackmore did that, all she can
say is that she doesn\x92t think any the better of him for it; just what
the Sabbatarian Scotswoman said when the act of Christ in plucking the
ears of corn on the Sabbath Day was brought under her ken.

\x93My dear,\x94 I cry, \x93you shouldn\x92t say that about Mr. Blackmore: you seem
to forget that his second name was Doddridge, and I think he was fully
justified in refusing to change the attractive name of his heroine of
the South Downs because it happened to catch the ears (and the pence)
of people interested in the French provinces which were pinched by the
Germans, who added insult to injury by transforming Alsace-Lorraine to
Elsass-Lothringen. And so far as my own conscience is concerned----\x94

\x93Your own what?\x94 cried Dorothy.

\x93My own conscience--_literary_ conscience, of course.\x94

\x93Oh, that one? Well?\x94

\x93I say, that so far as--as--as I am concerned, I would not have shrunk
from calling a book _A Garden in Tipperary_ if I had written it a few
years ago when all England and a third of France were ringing with the
name Tipperary.

\x93Only then it would have been a Garden of War, but now it suits
you--your fancy, to make it a Garden of Peace.\x94

\x93It\x92s not too late yet; if you go on like this, I think I could manage
to introduce a note of warfare into it and to make people see the
appropriateness of it as well; so don\x92t provoke me.\x94

\x93I will not,\x94 said Dorothy, with one of her perplexing smiles.

And then she became interesting; for she was ready to affirm that every
garden is a battlefield, even when it is not run by a husband and his
wife--a dual system which led to the most notorious horticultural fiasco
on record. War, according to Milton, originated in heaven, but it has
been carried on with great energy ever since on earth, and the first
garden of which there is a literary record maintained the heavenly
tradition. So does the last, which has brought forth fruit and flowers
in abundance through the slaughter of slugs, the crushing of snails, the
immolation of leather-jackets, the annihilation of \x91earwigs, and is now
to be alluded to as a Garden of Peace, if you please.

Dorothy con be very provoking when she pleases and is wearing the right
sort of dress; and when she has done proving that the most ancient
tradition of a garden points to a dispute not yet settled, between the
man and his wife who were running it, she begins to talk about the awful
scenes that have taken place in gardens. We have been together in a
number of gardens in various parts of the world: from those of the
Borgias, where, in the cool of the evening, Lucrezia and her relations
communed on the strides that the science and art of toxicology was
making, on to the little Trianon where the diamond necklace sparkled in
the moonlight on the eve of the rising of the people against such folk
as Queens and Cardinals--on to the gardens of the Temple, where the
roses were plucked before the worst of the Civil Wars of England
devastated the country--on to Cherry\x92 Orchard, near Kingston in the
island of Jamaica, where the half-breed Gordon concocted his patriotic
treason which would have meant the letting loose of a jungle of savages
upon a community of civilisation, and was only stamped out by the firm
foot of the white man on whose shoulders the white man\x92s burden was
laid, and who snatched his fellow-countrymen from massacre at the
sacrifice of his own career; for party government, which has been the
curse of England, was not to be defrauded of its prey because Governor
Eyre had saved a colony from annihilation. These are only a few of the
gardens in which we have stood together, and Dorothy\x92s memory for their
associations is really disconcerting. I am disconcerted; but I wait, for
the wisdom of the serpent of the Garden comes to me at times--I wait,
and when I have the chance of that edgeways word which sometimes I can\x92t
get in, I say,--

\x93Oh, yes, those were pleasant days in Italy among the cypresses and
myrtles, and in Jamaica with its palms. I think we must soon have
another ramble together.\x94

\x93If it weren\x92t for those children--but where should we go?\x94 she cried.

\x93I\x92m not sure,\x94 I said, as if revolving many memories, \x93but I think some
part of the Pacific Slope----\x94

\x93Gracious, why the Pacific Slope, my man?\x94

\x93Because a Pacific Garden must surely be a Garden of Peace; and that\x92s
where we are going now with the title-page of a book that is to
catch the pennies of the public, and resemble as nearly as I can make
it--consistent with my natural propensity to quarrel with things that do
not matter in the least--one of the shadiest of the slopes of the Island
Valley of Avilion--

               Where falls not hall, or rain, or any snow,

               Nor ever wind blows loudly, for it lies

               Deep-meadow\x92d, happy, fair with orchard-lawns

               And bowery hollows, crown\x92d with summer sea.\x94

Luckily I recollected the quotation, for I had not been letter-perfect I
should have had a poor chance of a bright future with Dorothy.

As it was, however, she only felt if the big tomato was as ripe as it
seemed, and said,--

\x93\x91Orchard-lawns.\x92 H\x92m, I wonder if Tennyson, with all his
\x91careful-robin\x92 observation of the little things of Nature was aware
that you should never let grass grow in an apple orchard.\x94

\x93I wonder, indeed,\x94 I said, with what I considered a graceful
acquiescence. \x93But at the same time I think I should tell you that there
are no little things in Nature.\x94

\x93I suppose there are not,\x94 said she. \x93Anyhow, you will have the biggest
tomato in Nature in your salad with the cold lamb. Is that the bell?\x94

\x93It is the ghost-tinkle of the bell of the bell-wedder who was the
father of the lamb,\x94 said I poetically.

\x93So long as you do not mention the mother of the lamb when you come to
the underdone stratum, I shall be satisfied,\x94 said she.

PS.--(1.30)--And I didn\x92t.

PFS.--(1.35)--But I might have.


This town of ours is none other than Yardley Parva. Every one is
supposed to know that the name means \x93The Little Sheltered Garden,\x94 and
that it was given this name by a mixed commission of Normans and Romans.
The Normans, who spoke a sort of French, gave it the first syllable,
which is the root of what became _jardin_, and which still survives in
the \x93backyard\x94 of American literature; meaning not the backyard of an
English home, where broken china and glass and other incidental rubbish
are thrown to work their way into the bowels of the earth, but a place
of flowers and beans and pumpkins. The surname, Parva, represents the
influence of the Romans, who spoke a sort of Latin. Philologists are not
wholehearted about the \x93ley,\x94 but the general impression is that it had
a narrow escape from being \x93leigh,\x94 an open meadow; ley, however,
is simply \x93lee,\x94 or a sheltered quarter, the opposite to \x93windward.\x94
 Whatever foundation there may be for this philology--whether it is
derived from _post hoc_ evidence or not--every one who knows the place
intimately will admit that if it is not literally exact, it should
be made so by the Town Council; for it is a town of sheltered little
gardens. It has its High Street: and this name, a really industrious
philologist will tell you, is derived, not from its occupying any
elevated position, but from the fact that the people living on either
side were accustomed to converse across the street, and any one wishing
to chat with an opposite neighbour, tried to attract his attention with
the usual hail of \x93hie there!\x94; and as there was much crossquestioning
and answering, there was a constant chorus of \x93hie, hie!\x94 so that it was
really the gibe of strangers that gave it its name, only some fool of a
purist seven or eight hundred years ago acquired the absurd notion that
the word was \x93High\x94 instead of \x93Hie!\x94 So it was that Minnesingers\x92 Lane
drifted into Mincing Lane, I have been told. It had really nothing to do
with the Min Sing district of China, where the tea sold in that street
of tea-brokers came from. Philology is a wonderful study; and no one
who has made any progress in its by-paths should ever be taken aback or
forced to look silly.

The houses on each side of the High Street are many of them just as they
were four or five hundred years ago. Some of them are shops with bow
fronts that were once the windows of parlours in the days when
honest householders drank small ale for breakfast and the industrious
apprentices took down the shutters from their masters\x92 shops and began
their day\x92s work somewhere about five o\x92clock in midsummer, graduating
to seven in midwinter. There are now some noble plate-glass fronts
to the shops, but there are no apprentices, and certainly no masters.
Scores of old, red-tiled roofs remain, but they are no more red than
the red man of America is red. The roofs and the red man are of the same
hue. Sixty years ago, when slate roofs became popular, they found their
way to Yardley Parva, and were reckoned a guarantee of a certain social
standing. If you saw a slate roof and a cemented brick front you might
be sure that there was a gig in the stable at the back. You can now tell
what houses had once been tiled by the pitch of the roofs. This was not
altered on the introduction of the slates.

But with the innovations of plate-glass shop-fronts and slate roofs
there has happily been no change in the gardens at the back of the two
rows of the houses of the High Street. Almost every house has still
its garden, and they remain gay with what were called in my young days
\x93old-fashioned flowers,\x94 through the summer, and the pear-trees that
sprawl across the high dividing walls in Laocoon writhings--the quinces
that point derisive, gnarled fingers at the old crabs that give way to
soundless snarls against the trained branches of the Orange Pippins--the
mulberries that are isolated on a patch of grass--all are to-day what
they were meant to be when they were planted in the chalk which may have
supplied Roman children with marbles when they had civilized themselves
beyond the knuckle-bones of their ancestors\x92 games.

I cannot imagine that much about these gardens has changed during
the changes of a thousand years, except perhaps their shape. When the
Anglo-Saxon epidemic of church-building was running its course, the
three-quarters-of-a-mile of the High Street did not escape. There was a
church every hundred yards or so, and some of them were spacious enough
to hold a congregation of fifty or sixty; and every church had its
church-yard--that is, as we have seen--its garden, equal to the
emergencies of a death-rate of perhaps two every five years; but when
the churches became dwelling-houses, as several did, the church-yard
became the back-yard in the American sense: fruit-trees were planted,
and beneath their boughs the burgesses discussed the merits of ale
and the passing away of the mead bowl, and shook their heads when some
simpleton suggested that the arrow that killed Rufus a few months before
was an accidental one. There are those gardens to-day, and the burgesses
smoke their pipes over the six-thirty edition of the evening paper that
left London at five-fifteen, and listen to stories of Dick, who lost a
foot at the ford of the Somme, or of Tom, who got the M.C. after Mons,
and went through the four years without a scratch, or of Bob, who had
his own opinion about the taking of Jerusalem, outside which two fingers
of his left hand are still lying, unless a thieving Arab appropriated

There the chat goes on from century to century on the self-same
subject--War, war, war. It is certain that men left Yardley Parva for
the First Crusade; one of the streets that ran from the Roman road to
the Abbey which was founded by a Crusading Norman Earl, returns the name
that was given to it to commemorate the capture of Antioch when the news
reached England a year or so after the event; and it is equally certain
that Yardley men were at Bosworth Field, and Yardley men at Tournai in
1709 as well as in 1918--at the Nile in 1798 as well as in 1915; and it
is equally certain that such of them as came back talked of what they
had seen and of what their comrades had done. The tears that the mothers
proudly shed when they talked of those who had not come home in 1918
were shed where the mothers of the Crusaders of 1099 had knelt to pray
for the repose of the souls of their dear ones whose bones were picked
by the jackals of the Lebanon. On the site of one of the churches of
the market-place there is now built a hall of moving pictures--Moving
Pictures--that is the whole sum of the bustle of the thousand
years--Moving Pictures. The same old story. Life has not even got the
instinct of the film-maker: it does not take the trouble to change the
scenes of the exploits of a thousand--ten thousand--years ago, and those
of to-day. Egypt, the Nile, Gaza, Jerusalem, Damascus, Mesopotamia.
Moving pictures--walking shadows--walking about for a while but all
having the one goal--the Garden of Peace; those gardens that surrounded
the churches, where now the apple-trees bloom and fruit and shed their

These little irregular back-gardens are places of enchantment to me and
I think I like those behind the smallest of the shops, which are not
more than thirty feet square, rather than those higher up the town, of a
full acre or two. These bigger ones do not suggest a history beyond the
memory of the gardeners who trim the hedges and cut the grass with a
machine. The small and irregular ones suggest a good deal more than
a maiden lady wearing gloves, with a basket on her arm and a pair of
snipping shears opening its jaws to bite the head off every bloom that
has a touch of brown on its edge. But with me it is not a matter of
liking and not liking; it is a matter of liking and liking better--it is
the artisan\x92s opinion of rival beers (pre-war): all good but some better
than others. The little gardens behind the shops are lyrics; the big
ones behind the villas are excellent prose, and excellent prose is
frequently quite as prosy as excellent verse. They are alive but they
are not full of the joy of living. The flowers that they bring forth
suggest nice girls whose education is being carefully attended to by
gentlemen who are preparing for Ordination. Those flowers do not sing,
and I know perfectly well that if they were made to sing it would be to
the accompaniment of a harmonium, and they would always sing in tune and
in time: but they would need a conductor, they would never try anything
on their own--not even when it was dark and no one would know anything
about it. Somehow these borders make me think of the children of
Blundell\x92s Charity---a local Fund which provides for the education on
religious principles of fifteen children born in wedlock of respectable
parents. They occupy a special bench in the aisle of one of the
churches, and wear a distinctive dress with white collars and cuffs.
They attend to the variations of the Sacred Service, and are always as
tidy and uninteresting as the borders in the wide gardens behind the
houses that are a quarter of a mile beyond the gardens of the High
Street shops.

But it is in these wide gardens that the earliest strawberries are
grown, and to them the reporter of the local newspaper goes in search
of the gigantic gooseberry or the potato weighing four pounds and three
ounces; and that is what the good ladies with the abhorred shears and
the baskets--the Atropussiies, in whose hands lie the fates of the
fruits as well as of the flowers--consider the sum of high gardening:
the growth of the abnormal is their aim and they are as proud of their
achievement as the townsman who took to poultry was of his when he
exhibited a bantam weighing six pounds.

Now I hold that gardens are like nurseries--nurseries of children, I
mean--and that all make an appeal to one\x92s better nature, that none can
be visited without a sense of pleasure even though it may be no more
than is due to the anticipation of getting away from them; therefore, I
would not say a word against the types which I venture to describe; as
I have found them. The worst that I can say of them is that they are
easily described, and the garden or the girl that can be described will
never be near my heart. Those gardens are not the sort that I should
think of marrying, though I can live on the friendliest of terms with
them, particularly in the strawberry season. They do not appeal to
the imagination as do the small and irregular ones at the rear of the
grocer\x92s, the stationer\x92s, the fishmonger\x92s, the bootmaker\x92s, or the
chymist\x92s--in this connection I must spell the name of the shop with
a y: the man who sits in such a garden is a chymist, not a chemist. I
could not imagine a mere chemist sniffing the rosemary and the tansy and
the rue _au naturel_: the mere chemist puts his hand into a drawer and
weighs you out an ounce of the desiccated herbs.

In one of Mr. Thomas Hardy\x92s earlier novels--I think it is _The Mayor of
Casterbridge_--he describes a town, which is very nearly as delightfully
drowsy as our Yardley Parva, as one through which the bees pass in
summer from the gardens at one side to those at the other. In our town
I feel sure that the bees that enter among the small gardens of sweet
scents and savours at one end of the High Street, never reach the
gardens of the gigantic gooseberry at the other; unless they make a
bee-line for them at the moment of entering; for they must find their
time fully occupied among the snapdragons of the old walls, the flowers
of the veronica bushes, and the buttons of the tall hollyhocks growing
where they please.

When I made, some years ago, a tour of Wessex, I went to Casterbridge on
a July day, and the first person I met in the street was an immense
bee, and I watched him hum away into the distance just as Mr. Hardy had
described him. He seemed to be boasting that he was Mr. Hardy\x92s bee,
just as a Presbyterian Minister, who had paid a visit to the Holy Land
to verify his quotations, boasted of the reference made to himself in
another Book.

\x93My dear friends,\x94 said he, \x93I read in the Sacred Book the prophecy
that the land should be in heaps; I looked up from the page, and there,
before my very eyes, lay the heaps. I read that the bittern should cry
there; I looked up, and lo! close at hand stood the bittern. I read that
the Minister of the Lord should mourn there: _I was that Minister_.\x94

[Illustration: 0031]

But there are two or three gardens--now that I come to think of it there
are not so many as three--governed by the houses of the \x93better-class
people\x94 (so they were described to me when I first came to Yardley
Parva), which are everything that a garden should he. Their trees have
not been cut down as they used to be forty years ago, to allow the
flowers to have undisputed possession. In each there are groups of
sycamore, elm, and silver birch, and their position makes one feel that
one is on the border of a woodland through which one might wander
for hours. There are tulip-trees, and a fine arbutus on an irregular,
slightly-sloping lawn, and a couple of enormous drooping ashes--twenty
people can sit in the green shade of either. In graceful groups there
are laburnums and lilacs. Farther down the slope is a well-conceived
arrangement of flower-beds cut out of the grass. Nearly everything in
the second of these gardens is herbaceous; but its roses are invariably
superb, and its lawn with a small lily pond beside it, is ideal. The
specimen shrubs on a lower lawn are perfect as regards both form and
flower, and while one is aware of the repose that is due to a thoughtful
scheme of colour, one is conscious only of the effect, never being
compelled to make use of the word artistic. As soon as people begin
to talk of a garden being artistic you know that it has failed in its
purpose, just as a portrait-painter has failed if you are impressed with
the artistic side of what he has done. The garden is not to illustrate
the gardener\x92s art any more than the portrait is to make manifest the
painter\x92s. The garden should be full of art, but so artfully introduced
that you do not know that it is there. I have heard a man say as if he
had just made a unique discovery,--

\x93How extraordinary it is that the arrangements of colour in Nature are
always harmonious!\x94


Equally extraordinary it is that

               \x93Treason doth never prosper; what\x92s the reason?

               For if it prospers none dare call it treason.\x94

All our impressions of harmony in colour are derived from Nature\x92s
arrangements of colour, and when there is no longer harmony there is no
longer Nature. Is it marvellous that Nature should be harmonious when
all our ideas of harmony are acquired from Nature? A book might be
written on this text--I am not sure that several books have not been
written on it. It is the foundation of the analysis of what may be
called without cant, \x93artistic impression.\x94 It is because it is so trite
that I touch upon it in my survey of a Garden of Peace. We love the
green of the woodland because it still conveys to us the picture of our
happy home of some hundreds of thousands of years ago. We find beauty in
an oval outline because our ancestors of the woodland spent some happy
hours bird-nesting. Hogarth\x92s line of beauty is beautiful because it
is the line of human life--the line that Nature has ever before her
eyes--the line of human love. The colours of countless fruits are a
delight to us because we have associated those colours for tens of
thousands of years with the delight of eating those fruits, and taking
pleasure in the tints of the fruits; we take pleasure in the tints of
flowers because they suggest the joys of the fruits. The impression of
awe and fear that one of Salvator Rosa\x92s \x93Rocky Landscapes\x94 engenders
is due to our very distant ancestors\x92 experience of the frequent
earthquakes that caused these mighty rocks to be flung about when the
surface of our old mother Earth was not so cool as it is to-day, as
well as to the recollection of the very, fearsome moments of a much less
remote ancestor spent in evading his carnivorous enemies who had their
dens among these awful rocks. From a comparatively recent pastoral
parent we have inherited our love for the lawn. There were the sheep
feeding in quiet on the grass of the oasis in the days when man had made
the discovery that he could tame certain animals and keep them to eat at
his leisure instead of having to spend hours hunting them down.

But so deep an impression have the thousands of years of hunting made
upon the race, that even among the most highly civilised people hunting
is the most popular of all enjoyments, and the hunter is a hero while
the shepherd is looked on as a poor sort.

Yes, there are harmonies in Nature, though all makers of gardens do not
appreciate them; the discordant notes that occasionally assail a lover
of Nature in a garden that has been made by a nurseryman are due to the
untiring exertions of the hybridiser. It is quite possible to produce
\x93freaks\x94 and \x93sports\x94 both as regards form and colour--\x93Prodigious
mixtures and confusion strange.\x94 I believe that some professional men
spend all their time over experiments in this direction, and I have no
doubt that some of them, having perpetrated a \x93novelty,\x94 make money out
of it. Equally sure I am that the more conscientious, when they bit upon
a novelty that they feel to be offensive, destroy the product without
exhibiting it. They have not all the hideous unscrupulousness of Dr.
Moreau--the nearest approach to a devil trying to copy the Creator
who made man in His own image. Dr. Moreau made things after his own
likeness. He was a great hybridiser. (Mr. H. G. Wells, after painting
that Devil for us, has recently been showing his skill in depicting the

Now, every one knows that the garden of to-day owes most of its glory to
the judicious hybridiser, but I implore of him to be merciful as he is
strong. I have seen some heartrending results of his experiments which
have not been suppressed, as they should have been. I am told that a
great deal in the way of developing the natural colours of a certain
group of flowers can be done by the introduction of chemicals into their
drinking water. It is like poisoning a well! By such means I believe
an unscrupulous gardener could turn a whole border into something
resembling a gigantic advertisement card of aniline dyes.

But I must be careful in my condemnations of such possibilities. There
is a young woman named Rosamund, who is Dorothy\x92s first-born, and she
is ready at all seasonable times to give me the benefit of her fourteen
years\x92 experiences of the world and its ways, and she has her own views
of Nature as the mother of the Arts. After listening to my old-fashioned
railings against such chromatic innovations as I have abused, she
maintained a thoughtful silence that suggested an absence of conviction.

\x93Don\x92t you see the awfulness of re-dying a flower--the unnaturalness of
such an operation?\x94 I cried.

\x93Why, you old thing, can\x92t you see that if it\x92s done by aniline dyes
it\x92s all right--true to Nature and all that?\x94

\x93Good heavens! that a child of mine--Dorothy, did you hear her? How can
you sit there and smile as if nothing had happened? Have you brought her
up as an atheist or what?\x94

\x93Every one who doesn\x92t agree with all you say isn\x92t a confirmed
atheist,\x94 replied Dorothy calmly. \x93As for Rosamund, what I\x92m afraid of
is that, so far from being an atheist, she is rather too much in the
other direction--like \x91Lo, the poor Indian.\x92 She\x92ll explain what\x92s in
her mind if you give her a chance What do you mean, my dear, by laying
the emphasis on aniline dyes? Don\x92t you know that most of them are

\x93Of course I do, darling,\x94 said Rosamund. \x93But I\x92ve been reading about
them, and so--well, you see, they come from coal tar, and coal is a bit
of a tree that grew up and fell down thousands of years ago, and its
burning is nothing more than its giving back the sunshine that it--what
is the word that the book used?--oh, I remember--the sunshine that
it hoarded when it was part of the forest. Now, I think that if it\x92s
natural for flowers to be coloured by the sunshine it doesn\x92t matter
whether it\x92s the sunshine of to-day or the sunshine of fifty thousand
years ago; it comes from the sun all the same, and as aniline dyes are
the sunshine of long ago it\x92s no harm to have them to colour flowers

\x93Daddy was only complaining of the horrid ones, my dear,\x94 said the
Mother, without looking at me. \x93Isn\x92t that what you meant?\x94 she added,
and now she looked at me, and though I was suspicious that she was
smiling under her skin, I could not detect the slightest symptom of a
smile in her voice.

\x93Of course I meant the hideous ones--magenta and that other sort of
purple thing. I usually make my meaning plain,\x94 said I, with a modified

\x93Oh,\x94 remarked Rosamund, in a tone that suggested a polite negation of

There was another little silence before I said,--\x93Anyhow, it was those
German brutes who developed those aniline things.\x94

\x93Oh, yes; they could do anything they pleased with _coal_ tar,\x94 said
Dorothy. \x93But the other sort could do anything he pleased with the
Germans--and he did.\x94

\x93The other sort?\x94 said I inquiringly.

\x93Yes, the other sort--the true British product--the _Jack Tar_,\x94 said
Dorothy; and Rosamund, who has a friend who is a midshipman in the Royal
Navy, clapped her hands and laughed.

It is at such moments as this that I feel I am not master in my own
house. Time was when I believed that my supremacy was as unassailable as
that of the Lord High Admiral; but since those girls have been growing
up I have come to realise that I have been as completely abolished as
the Lord High Admiral--once absolute, but now obsolete--and that the
duties of office are discharged by a commission. The Board of Admiralty
is officially the Lords Commissioners for discharging the office of Lord
High Admiral.

I hope that this _m\xE9nage_ will be maintained. The man who tries to
impose his opinions upon a household because he is allowed to pay all
the expenses, is--anyhow, he is not me.


I believe I interrupted myself in the midst of a visit to one of the
gardens of the \x93better-class people\x94 who live in the purely residential
end of the High Street. These are the people whose fathers and
grandfathers lived in the same houses and took a prominent part in
preparing the beacons which were to spread far and wide the news that
Bonaparte had succeeded in landing on their coast with that marvellous
flotilla of his. And from these very gardens more than two hundred and
fifty years earlier the still greater grandfathers had seen the blazing
beacons that sent the news flying northward that the Invincible Armada
of Spain was plunging and rolling up the Channel, which can be faintly
seen by the eye of faith from the tower of the Church of St. Mary
sub-Castro, at the highest part of the High Street. The Invincible
Armada! If I should ever organise an aggressive enterprise, I certainly
would not call it \x93Invincible.\x94 It is a name of ill omen. I cannot for
the life of me remember where I read the story of the monarch who was
reviewing the troops that he had equipped very splendidly to go against
the Romans. When his thousand horsemen went glittering by with polished
steel cuirasses and plumed helmets--they must have been the Household
Cavalry of the period--his heart was lifted up in pride, and he called
out tauntingly to his Grand Vizier, who was a bit of a cynic,--

\x93Ha, my friend, don\x92t you think that these will be enough for the

\x93Sure,\x94 was the reply. \x93Oh, yes, they will be enough, avariciuus though
the Romans undoubtedly are.\x94

This was the first of the Invincible enterprises. The next time I saw
the word in history was in association with the Spanish Armada, and
to-day, over a door in my house, I have hung the carved ebony ornament
that belonged to a bedstead of one of the ships that went ashore at
Spanish Point on the Irish coast. Later still, there was a gang of
murderers who called themselves \x93Invincibles,\x94 and I saw the lot of them
crowded into a police-court dock whence they filed out to their doom.
And what about the last of these ruffians that challenged Fate with that
arrogant word? What of Hindenburg\x92s Invincible Line that we heard so
much about a few months ago? \x93Invincible!\x94 cried the massacre-monger,
and the word was repeated by the arch-liar of the mailed fist in half a
dozen speeches. Within a few months the beaten mongrels were whimpering,
not like hounds, but like hyenas out of whose teeth their prey is
plucked. I dare say that Achilles, who made brag a speciality, talked
through his helmet about that operation on the banks of the Styx, and
actually believed himself to be invincible because invulnerable; but his
mother, who had given him the bath that turned his head, would not have
recognised him when Paris had done with him.

[Illustration: 0041]

The funny part of the Hindenburg cult--I suppose it should be written
\x93Kult\x94--was that there was no one to tell the Germans that they were
doing the work of necromancy in hammering those nails into his wooden
head. Everybody knows that the only really effective way of finishing
off an enemy is to make a wooden effigy of him and hammer nails into it
(every sensible person knows that as the nails are hammered home
the original comes to grief). The feminine equivalent of this
robust operation is equally effective, though the necromancers only
recommended it for the use of schools. The effigy is made of wax, and
you place it before a cheerful fire and stick pins into it. It has the
advantage of being handy and economical, for there are few households
that cannot produce an old doll of wax which would otherwise be thrown
away and wasted.

But the Germans pride themselves on having got rid of their
superstition, and when people have got rid of their superstition they
have got rid of their sense of humour. If they had not been so hasty in
naming their invincible lines after Wagner\x92s, operas they would surely
have remembered that with the _Siegfried_, the _Parsifal_, and the rest
there was bound to be included _Der Fliegende Hollander_, the pet name
of the German Cavalry: they were the first to fly when the operatic line
was broken; and then--_G\xF4tterd\xE0mmerung Hellroter!_

And why were the Bolsheviks so foolish as to forget that the Czar was
\x93Nicky\x94 to their paymaster, William, and that that name is the Greek for

Having destroyed Nicky, how could they look for anything but disaster?

The connection of these jottings with our gardens may not be apparent to
every one who reads them. But though the sense of liberty is so great in
our Garden of Peace that I do not hold myself bound down to any of the
convenances of composition, and though I cultivate rather than uproot
even the most flagrant forms of digression in this garden, yet it so
happens that when I begin to write of the most distinguished of the
gardens of Yardley Parva, I cannot avoid recalling that lovely Saturday
when we were seated among its glorious roses, eating peaches that had
just been plucked from the wall. We were a large and chatty company, and
among the party that were playing clock golf on a part of a lovely lawn
of the purest emerald, there did not seem to be one who had read the
menace of the morning papers. Our host was a soldier, and his charming
wife was the daughter of a distinguished Admiral. At the other side
of the table where the dish of peaches stood there was another naval
officer, and while we were swapping stories of the Cape, the butler was
pointing us out to a telegraph messenger who had come through the French
window. The boy made his way to us, taking the envelope from his
belt. He looked from one of us to the other, saying the name of my
_vis-a-vis_--\x93Commander A--------?\x94

\x93I\x92m Commander A--------\x94 said he, taking the despatch envelope and
tearing it open. He gave a whistle, reading his message, and rose.

\x93No reply,\x94 he told the messenger, and then turned to me.

\x93Great King Jehoshaphat!\x94 he said in a low tone. \x93There is to be no
demobilisation of the Fleet, and all leave is stopped. I\x92m ordered
to report. And you said just now that nothing was going to happen.
Good-bye, old chap! I\x92ve got to catch the 6.20 for Devonport!\x94

We had been talking over the morning\x92s news, and I had said that the
Emperor was a master of bluff, not business.

\x93I\x92m off,\x94 he said. \x93You needn\x92t say anything that I\x92ve told you. After
all, it may only be a precautionary measure.\x94

He went off; and I never saw him again.

The precautionary measure that saved England from the swoop that Germany
hoped to bring off as successfully as Japan did hers at Port Arthur in
1904, was taken not by the First Lord of the Admiralty, but by Prince
Louis of Battenberg, who was hounded out of the Service by the clamorous
gossip of a few women who could find no other way of proving their

And the First Lord of the Admiralty let him go; while he himself
returned to his \x93gambling\x94--he so designated the most important--the most
disastrous--incident of his Administration--\x93a legitimate gamble.\x94 A
legitimate gamble that cost his country over fifty thousand lives!

Within a month of the holding of that garden party our host had marched
away with his men, and within another month our dear hostess was a


That garden, I think, has a note of distinction about it that is not
shared by any other within the circle taken by the walls of the little
town, several interesting fragments of which still remain. The house by
which it was once surrounded before the desire for \x93short cuts\x94 caused
a road to be made through it, is by far the finest type of a minor
Elizabethan mansion to be found in our neighbourhood. It is the sort of
house that the house-agents might, with more accuracy than is displayed
in many of their advertisements, describe as \x93a perfect gem.\x94 It has
been kept in good repair both as regards its stone walls and its roof of
stone slabs during the three hundred--or most likely four hundred years
of its existence, and it has not suffered from that form of destruction
known as restoration. It had some narrow escapes in its time, however.
An old builder who had been concerned in some of the repairs shook his
head sadly when he assured me that a more pigheaded gentleman than the
owner of the house at that time he had never known.

\x93He would have it done with the old material,\x94 he explained sadly.
\x93That\x92s how it comes to be like what it is to-day.\x94 And he nodded in the
direction of the exquisitely-weathered old Caen blocks with the great
bosses of house-leek covering the coping. \x93It was no use my telling him
that I could run up a nine-inch brick wall with proper coping tiles that
would have a new look for years if no creepers were allowed on it, for
far less money; he would have the old stone, and those squared flints
that you see there.\x94

\x93Some people are very obstinate, thank God!\x94 said I.

\x93I could have made as good a job of it as I did of St. Anthony\x92s
Church--you know the new aisle in St. Anthony\x92s, sir,\x94 said he.

I certainly did know the new aisle in St. Anthony\x92s; but I did not
say that I did in the tone of voice in which I write. It is the most
notorious example of what enormities could be perpetrated in the
devastating fifties and sixties, when a parson and his churchwardens
could do anything they pleased to their churches.

In a very different spirit was the Barbican of the old Castle of Yardley
repaired under the care of a reverential, but not Reverend, director.
Every stone was numbered and put back into its place when the walls were
made secure.

The gardens and orchards and lawns behind the walls which were
reconstructed by the owner whose obstinacy the builder was lamenting,
must extend over three or four acres. Such a space allows for a deep
enough fringe of noble trees, giving more than a suggestion of a
park-land which had once had several vistas after the most approved
eighteenth century type, but which have not been maintained by
some nineteenth century owners who were fearful of being accused of
tolerating anything so artificial as design in their gardens. But the
\x93shrubberies\x94 have been allowed to remain pretty much as they were
planted, with magnificent masses of pink may and innumerable lilacs. The
rose-gardens and the mixed borders are chromatic records of the varying
tastes of generations.

What made the strongest appeal to me when I was wandering through the
grounds a year or two before that fatal August afternoon was the beauty
of the anchusas. I thought that I had never seen finer specimens or a
more profuse variety of their blues. One might have been looking down
into the indigo of the water under the cliffs of Capri in one place,
and into the delicate ultramarine spaces of the early morning among the
islands of the \xC6gean in another.

I congratulated one of the gardeners upon his anchusas, and he smiled in
an eminently questionable way.

\x93Maybe I\x92m wrong in talking to you about them,\x94

I said, looking for an explanation of his smile. \x93Perhaps it is not you
who are responsible for this bit.\x94

\x93It\x92s not that, sir,\x94 he said, still smiling. \x93I\x92m ready to take all the
responsibility. You see, sir, I was brought up among anchusas: I was one
of the gardeners at Dropmore.\x94

I laughed.

\x93If I want to know anything about growing anchusas I\x92ll know where to
come for information,\x94 I said.

The great charm about these gardens, as well as those of the Crusaders\x92
planting now enjoyed by the people of the High Street, is that among the
mystery of their shady places one would not be surprised or alarmed to
come suddenly upon a nymph or a satyr, or even old Pan himself. It does
not require one to be

               \x93A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn,\x94

to have such an impression conveyed to one, any more than it is
necessary for one to be given over exclusively to a diet of nuts and
eggs to enjoy, as I hope we all do, a swing on a bough, or, as we grow
old, alas! on one of those patent swings made in Paris, U.S.A., where
one gets all the exuberance of the oscillation without the exertion.
Good old Pan is not dead yet, however insistently the poet may announce
his decease. He will be the last of all the gods to go. We have no
particular use for Jove, except as the mildest form of a swear word,
nor for Neptune, unless we are designing a fountain or need to borrow
an emblem of the Freedom of the Seas--we can even carry on a placid
existence though Mercury has fallen so low as to be opposite \x93rain and
stormy\x94 on the barometric scale, but we cannot do without our Pan--the
jolly, wicked old fellow whom we were obliged to incorporate in our new
theological system under the name of Diabolus. It was he, and not the
much-vaunted Terpsichore, who taught the infant world to dance, to
gambol, and to riot in the woodland. He is the patron of the forest
lovers still, as he was when he first appeared in the shape of an
antelope skipping from rock to rock while our arboreal ancestors
applauded from their boughs and were tempted to give over their
ridiculous swinging by their hands and tails and emulate him on our
common mother Earth.

Is there any one of us to-day, I wonder, who has not felt as Wordsworth
did, that the world of men and cities is too much with us, and that
the shady arbours hold something that we need and that we cannot find
otherwhere? The claims of the mysterious brotherhood assert themselves
daily when we return to our haunts of a hundred thousand years ago: we
can still enjoy a dance on a woodland clearing, and a plunge into the
sparkling lake by which we dwelt for many thousand years before some
wretch found that the earth could be built up into caves instead of dug
into for domestic shelter.

Let any one glance over the illustrated advertisements in _Country
Life_ and see how frequently the \x93old world gardens\x94 are set forth as
an irresistible attraction of \x93a desirable residence.\x94 The artful
advertisers know that the appeal of the old world is still all-powerful,
especially with those who have been born in a city and have lived in
a city for years. Around Yardley there has sprung up quite recently a
colony of red-brick and, happily, red-roofed villas. Nearly all have
been admirably constructed, and with an appreciation of the modern
requirements in which comfort and economy are combined. They have all
gardens, and no two are alike in every particular; but all are trim and
easily looked after. They produce an abundance of flowers, and they are
embowered in flowering shrubs, every one of which seems to me to be a
specimen. More cheerful living-places could not be imagined; but it is
not in these gardens that you need look for the cloven vestiges of a
faun or the down brushed from the butterfly wings of a fairy. Nobody
wants them there, and there is no chance of any of these wary folk
coming where they are not wanted. If old Pan were to climb over one of
these walls and his footprints were discovered in the calceolaria bed,
the master of the house would put the matter in the hands of the local
police, or write a letter signed \x93Ratepayer\x94 to the local _Chronicle_,
inquiring how long were highly-taxed residents to be subjected to such
incursions, and blaming the \x93authorities\x94 for their laxity.

But there is, I repeat, no chance of the slumbers of any of the
ratepayers being disturbed by a blurred vision of Proteus rising from
the galvanised cistern, or by the blast of Triton\x92s wreathed horn. They
will not be made to feel less forlorn by a glimpse of the former, and
they would assuredly mistake the latter for the hooter of Simpson\x92s

\x93The authorities\x94 look too well after the villas, and the very
suggestion of \x93authorities\x94 would send Proteus and Triton down to the
deepest depths they had ever sounded. They only come where they are
wanted and waited for. It takes at least four generations of a garden\x92s
growth to allow of the twisted boughs of the oak or the chestnut turning
into the horns of a satyr, or of the gnarled roots becoming his dancing

It was one of the most intelligent of the ratepayers of these bright and
well-kept \x93residences\x94 who took me to task for a very foolish statement
he had found in a novel of mine (6d. edition) which he said he had
glanced at for a few minutes while he was waiting for a train. I had
been thoughtless enough to make one of the personages, an enterprising
stockbroker, advocate the promotion of a company for the salvage of the
diamonds which he had been told Queen Guinevere flung into the river
before the appearance of the barge with the lily maid of Astolat
drifting to the landing-place below the terrace.

\x93But you know they were not real diamonds--only the diamonds of the
poet\x92s imagination,\x94 he said.

\x93I do believe you are right,\x94 said I, when I saw that he was in earnest.
And then the mongoose story came to my mind. \x93They were not real
diamonds,\x94 I said. \x93But then the man wasn\x92t a real company promoter.\x94


Two hundred years is not a long time to look back upon in the history
of Yardley Parva: but it must have been about two hundred years ago that
there were in the High Street some houses of distinction. They belonged
to noblemen who had also mansions in the county, but who were too
sociable and not sufficiently fond of books to be resigned to such
isolation from their order as a mansion residence made compulsory. In
the little town they were in touch with society of a sort: they could
have their whist or piquet or faro with their own set every afternoon,
and compare their thirsts at dinner later in the day.

One of these modest residences of a ducal family faces the street
to-day, after suffering many vicissitudes, but with the character of
its fa\xE7ade unimpaired. The spacious ground-floor has been turned into
shops--it would be more correct to say that the shops had been turned
into the ground-floor, for structurally there has been no drastic
removal of walls or beams, it has not been subjected to any violent
evisceration, only to a minor gastric operation--say for appendicitis.
On the upper floors the beautiful proportions of the rooms remain
uninjured, and the mantelpieces and the cornices have also been

The back of this house gives on to a part of the dry moat from which the
screen-wall of our Castle rises, for Yardley had once a Castle of its
own, and picturesque remnants of the Keep, the great gateway, and the
walls remain with us. Forty feet from the bed of the moat on this side
the walls rise, and the moat must have been the site of the gardens
of the ducal house, curving to right and left for a couple of hundred
yards, and his lordship saw his chance for indulging in one of the most
transfiguring fads of his day by making two high and broad terraces
against the walls, thereby creating an imposing range of those hanging
gardens that we hear so much of in old gardening books. The Oriental
tradition of hanging gardens may have been brought to Europe with one of
those wares of Orientalism that were the result of the later crusades;
for assuredly at one time the reported splendours of Babylon, Nineveh,
and Eckbatana in this direction were emulated by the great in many
places of the West, where the need for the protection of the great
Norman castles was beginning to wane, and the high, bare walls springing
from the fosses, dry and flooded, looked gaunt and grim just where
people wanted a more genial outlook.

Powis Castle is the best example I can think of in this connection.
No one who has seen the hanging gardens of these old walls can fail to
appreciate how splendidly effective must have been the appearance of the
terraces of Yardley when viewed from the moat below. But in the course
of time, as the roads improved, making locomotion easier, the ducal
mansion was abandoned in favour of another some miles nearer the coast,
and the note of exclusiveness being gone from the shadow of the Castle
walls, the terraces ceased to be cultivated; the moat being on a level
with the High Street, it became attractive as a site of everyday
houses, until in the course of time there sprang up a row, and then
a public-house or two, and corporate offices and law-courts that only
required a hanging garden at assize times, when smugglers and highwaymen
were found guilty of crimes that made such a place desirable--all these
backed themselves into the moat until it had to be recognised as a
public lane though a _cul-de-sac_ as it is to-day. At the foot of the
once beautiful terraces outhouses and stables were built as they were
needed, with the happiest irregularity, but joined by a flint wall over
which the straggling survivors of the trees and fruits of the days gone
by hang skeleton branches. One doorway between two of the stables opens
upon a fine stairway made of solid blocks of Portland stone, leading
into a gap in the screen-wall of the Castle, the terrace being to right
and left, and giving access to the grounds beyond, the appreciative
possessor of which writes these lines. _Sic transit gloria_. Another
stone stairway serves the same purpose at a different place; but all the
other ascents are of brick and probably only date back to the eighteenth
century. They lead to some elevated but depressing chicken-runs.

I called the attention of our chief local antiquarian to the succession
of broad terraces and suggested their decorative origin. He shook his
head and assured me that they were ages older than the ducal residence
in the High Street. They belonged to the Norman period and were coeval
with the Castle walls. When I told him that I was at a loss to know why
the Norman builder should first raise a screen-wall forty feet up from
a moat, to make it difficult for an enemy to scale, and then go to an
amazing amount of trouble to make it easily accessible to quite a large
attacking force by a long range of terraces, he smiled the smile of
the local antiquarian--a kindly toleration of the absurdities of the

\x93My dear sir, they would not mind such an attack. They could always
repel it by throwing stones down from the top--it\x92s ten feet thick
there--yes, heavy stones, and melted lead, and boiling water.\x94

I did not want to throw cold water upon his researches as to the defence
of a medi\xE6val stronghold, so I thanked him for his information. He
disclaimed all pretensions to exclusive knowledge, and said that he
would be happy to tell me anything else that I wanted to learn about
such things.

I could not resist expressing my fear to him, as we were parting,
that the Water Company would not sanction the domestic supply from the
kitchen boiler being used outside the house for defensive purposes; but
he stilled my doubts by an assurance that in those days there was no
Water Company. This was well enough so far as it went, but when I asked
where the Castle folk got their water if there was no Company to supply
it, he was slightly staggered, I could see; but, recovering himself,
he said there would certainly have been a Sussex dew-pond within the
precincts, and, as every one knew, this was never known to dry up.

I did not say that in this respect they had something in common with
local antiquarians; but asked him if it was true that swallows spent the
winter in the mud at the bottom of these ponds. He told me gravely that
he doubted if this could be; for there was not enough mud in even the
largest dew-pond to accommodate all the swallows. So I saw that he was
as sound a naturalist as he was an antiquarian.

By the way, I wonder how White of Selborne got that idea about the
swallows hibernating in the mud at the bottom of ponds. When so keen a
naturalist as White could believe that, one feels tempted to ask what is
truth, and if it really is to be found, as the swallows are not, at
the bottom of a well. One could understand Dr. Johnson\x92s crediting the
swallow theory, and discrediting the story of the great earthquake at
Lisbon, for he had his own lines of credence and incredulity, and he was
what somebody called \x93a harbitrary gent\x94; but for White to have accepted
and promulgated such an absurdity is indeed an amazing thing.

But, for that matter, who, until trustworthy evidence was forthcoming a
few months ago, ever fancied that English swallows went as far south as
the Cape of Good Hope? This is now, however, an established fact; but
I doubt if White of Selborne would have accepted it, no matter what
evidence was claimed for its accuracy. Several times when aboard ship
off the Cape I have made pets of swallows that came to us and remained
in the chief saloon so long as there was a fly to be found; and once in
the month of October, on the island of St. Helena, I watched the sudden
appearance of a number of the same birds; but it was never suggested
that they had come from England. I think I have seen them at Madeira
in the month of January, but I am not quite certain about my dates in
regard to this island; but I know that when riding through Baines\x92 Kloof
in South Africa, quite early in January, swallows were flying about me
in scores.

[Illustration: 0059]

What a pity it seems that people with a reputation for wisdom were for
so long content to think of the swallows only as the messengers of
a love poem: the \x93swallow sister--oh, fleet, sweet swallow,\x94 or the
\x93swallow, swallow, flying, flying south\x94--instead of piling up data
respecting the wonder of their ways! The same may be said of the
nightingale, and may the Lord have mercy on the souls of those who say

Are we to be told to be ready to exchange _Itylus_ for a celluloid tab
with a date on It? or Keats\x92s _Ode_ for a corrected notation of the
nightingale\x92s trills? At the same time might not a poet now and again
take to heart the final lines--the summing up of the next most beautiful
Ode in the language--

                   \x93Beauty is Truth, Truth beauty?

Every fact in Nature seems to me to lead in the direction of poetry,
and to increase the wonder of that of which man is but an insignificant
part. We are only beginning to know a little about the part we were
designed to play in Nature, but the more we know the more surprised,
and, indeed, alarmed, we must be when by a revelation its exact position
is made known to us. We have not yet learned to live. We have been fools
enough to cultivate the forgetting of how to do things that we were
able to do thousands of years ago. The half of our senses have been
atrophied. It is many years since we first began to take leave of our
senses and we have been at it ever since. It is about time that we
started recognising that an acquaintance with the facts of Nature is the
beginning of wisdom. We crystallised our ignorance in phrases that have
been passed on from father to son, and quoted at every opportunity. We
refer to people being \x93blind as a bat,\x94 and to others being--as \x93bold
as a lion,\x94 or \x93harmless as a dove.\x94 Did it never strike the inventor of
any of these similes that it would be well before scattering them abroad
to find out if they were founded on fact? The eyesight of the bat is a
miracle. How such a creature can get a living for the whole year during
the summer months is amazing. The lion is a cowardly brute that runs
away yelling at the sight of a rhinoceros and submits without complaint
to the insults of the elephant. A troop of doves will do more harm to a
wheat-field in an hour than does a thunderstorm.

And the curious thing is that in those quarters where one would
expect to find wisdom respecting such incidents of Nature one finds
foolishness. Ten centuries of gamekeepers advertise their ignorance
in documentary evidence nailed to the barn doors; they have been
slaughtering their best friends all these years and they continue doing

After formulating this indictment I opened my _Country Life_, and found
in its pages a confirmation of my evidence by my friend F. C. G., who is
proving himself in his maturity as accomplished a Naturalist as, in his
adolescence, he was a caricaturist in the _Westminster Gazette_. These
are his lines:--


                   Two stoats, a weasel, and a jay,

                   In varied stages of decay,

                   Are hanging on the gibbet-tree

                   For all the woodland folk to see,

                   And tattered rags swing to and fro

                   Remains of what was once a crow.

                   What were their crimes that when they died

                   The Earth was not allowed to hide

               Their mangled corpses out of sight,

                   Instead of dangling in the light?

                   They didn\x92t sin against the Law

                   Of \x93Naturered in tooth and claw,\x94

                   But \x91gainst the edicts of the keeper

                   Who plays the part of Death the Reaper,

                   And doth with deadly gun determine

                   What creatures shall be classed as vermin.

                   Whether we gibbets find, or grace,

                   Depends on accident of place,

                   For what is vice in Turkestan

                   May be a virtue in Japan.

F. C. G.

And what about gardeners? Why, quite recently I was solemnly assured by
one of the profession that I should \x93kill without mercy\x94--those were his
words--every frog or toad I found in a greenhouse!

But for that matter, don\x92t we remember the harsh decrees of our pastors
and masters when as children we yielded to an instinct that had not
yet been atrophied, and slaughtered all the flies that approached us. I
remember that, after a perceptor\x92s reasoning with me through the medium
of a superannuated razor-strop, I was told that to kill a bluebottle was
a sin. Now science has come to the rescue of the new generation from
the consequences of the ignorance of the old, and the boy who kills
most flies in the course of a season is handsomely rewarded. What is
pronounced a sin in one generation is looked on as a virtue in the

I recollect seeing it stated in a _Zoology for the Use of Schools_,
compiled by an F.R.S., with long quotations from Milton at the head of
every chapter, that the reason why some fishes of the Tropics were so
gorgeously coloured was to enable them to be more easily seen by the
voracious enemy that was pursuing them. That was why God had endowed the
glowworm with his glow--to give him a better chance of attracting the
attention of the nightingale or any other bird that did not go to roost
before dark! And God had also given the firefly its spark that it might
display its hospitality to the same birds that had been entertained by
the glow-worm! My Informant had not mastered the alphabet of Nature.

Long after I had tried to see things through Darwin\x92s eyes I was
perplexed by watching a cat trying to get the better of a sparrow in the
garden. I noticed that every time it had crouched to make its pounce
the cat waved its tail. Why on earth it should try to make itself
conspicuous in this way when it was flattening itself into the earth
that was nearest to it in colour, and writhing towards its prey, seemed
to me remarkable. Once, however, I was able to watch the cat approach
when I was seated beyond where the sparrow was digging up worms, and the
cat had slipped among the lower boughs of an ash covered with trembling

There among the trembling leaves I saw another trembling leaf--the
soothing, swaying end of my cat\x92s tail; but if I had not known that it
was there I should not have noticed it apart from the moving leaves. The
bird with all its vigilance was deceived, and it was in the cat\x92s jaws
in another moment.

And I had been calling that cat--and, incidentally, Darwin--a fool for
several years! I do not know what my Zoologist \x93for the Use of Schools\x94
 would have made of the transaction. Would he have said that a cat
abhorred the sin of lying, and scorned to take advantage of the bird,
but gave that graceful swing to its tail to make the bird aware of its
menacing proximity?

I lived for eleven years in a house in Kensington with quite a spacious
garden behind it, and was blest for several years by the company of a
pair of blackbirds that made their nest among the converging twigs of a
high lilac. No cat could climb that tree in spring, as I perceived when
I had watched the frustrated attempts of the splendid blue Persian who
was my constant companion. Of course I lived in that garden for hours
every day during the months of April, May, June, and July, and we
guarded the nest very closely, even going so far as to disturb the
balance of Nature by sending the cat away on a visit when the young
birds were being fledged. But one month of May arrived, and though I
noticed the parent blackbirds occasionally among the trees and shrubs,
I never once saw them approaching the old nest, which, as in previous
seasons, was smothered out of sight in the foliage about it, for a
poplar towered above the lilac, and was well furnished.

I remarked to my man that I was afraid our blackbirds had deserted us
this year, and he agreed with me. But one day early in June I saw the
cat look wistfully up the lilac.

\x93He hasn\x92t forgotten the nest that was there,\x94 I said. \x93But I\x92m sure
he\x92ll find out in which of the neighbouring gardens the new one has been

But every day he came out and gazed up as if into the depths of the
foliage above our heads.

\x93Ornithology is his hobby,\x94 said I, \x93but he\x92s not so smart as I fancied,
or he would be hustling around the other gardens where he should know
murder can be done with impunity.\x94

The next day my man brought out a pair of steps, and placing them firmly
under the lilac, ascended to the level of where the nest had been in
former years.

At once there came the warning chuckle of the blackbirds from the boughs
of the poplar.

\x93Why, bless my soul! There are four young ones in the nest, and they\x92re
nearly ready to fly,\x94 sang out the investigator from above, and the
parents corroborated every word from the poplar.

I was amazed. It seemed impossible that I could have sat writing under
that tree day after day for two months, watching for signs that the
birds were there, and yet fail to notice them at their work either of
hatching or feeding. It was not carelessness or indifference they had
eluded; it was vigilance. I had looked daily for their coming, and
there was no fine day in which I was not in the garden for four hours,
practically immovable, and the nest was not more than ten feet from the
ground, yet I had remained in ignorance of all that was going on above
my head!

With such an experience I do not think that it becomes me to sneer too
definitely at the stupidity of gamekeepers or farmers. It is when I read
as I do from week to week in _Country Life_ of the laborious tactics
of those photographers who have brought us into closer touch with the
secret life of birds than all the preceding generations of naturalists
succeeded in doing, that I feel more charitably disposed toward the men
who mistake friends for foes in the air.

Every year I give prizes to the younger members of our household
to induce them to keep their eyes and their ears open to their
fellow-creatures who may be seen and heard at times. The hearing of the
earliest cuckoo meets with its reward, quite apart from the gratifying
of an aesthetic sense by the quoting of Wordsworth. The sighting of the
first swallows is quoted somewhat lower on the chocolate exchange,
but the market recovers almost to a point of buoyancy on hearing the
nightingale. The cuckoo is an uncertain customer and requires some
looking after; but the swallows are marvellously punctual. We have never
seen them in our neighbourhood before April the nineteenth. For five
years the Twenty-first is recorded as their day. The nightingale does
not visit our garden, which is practically in the middle of the town;
but half a mile away one is heard almost every year. Upon one happy
occasion it was seen as well as heard, which constituted a standard of
recognition not entertained before.

I asked for an opinion of the bird from the two girls who had had this
stroke of luck.

Each took a different standpoint in regard to its attainments.

\x93I never heard anything so lovely in all my life,\x94 said Rosamund, aged
ten. \x93It made you long to--to--I don\x92t know what. It was lovely.\x94

\x93And what was your opinion, Olive?\x94 I asked of the second little girl.

My Olive branch looked puzzled for a few minutes, but she had the sense
to perceive that comparative criticism is safe, when a departure from
the beaten track is contemplated. Her departure was parabolic.

\x93I didn\x92t think it half as pretty a bird as Miss Midleton\x92s parrot,\x94 she
said with conviction.

Miss Midleton\x92s parrot is a gorgeous conglomeration of crimson and blue,
like the \x91at of \x91arriet, that should be looked at through smoked glasses
and heard not at all.

I think that I shall have Olive educated to take her place in a poultry
run; while Rosamund looks after the rose garden.


My antiquary came to me early on the day after I had asked him for
information about the hanging gardens.

\x93I\x92ve been talking to my friend Thompson on the subject of those hanging
gardens of the Duke\x92s,\x94 said he; \x93and I thought that you would like to
hear what he says. He agrees with me--I fancied he would. The Duke had
no power to hang any one in his gardens, Thompson says; and even if he
had the power, the pear-trees that we see there now weren\x92t big enough
to hang a man on.\x94

\x93A man--a man! My dear sir, I wasn\x92t thinking of his hanging men there:
it was clothes--clothes--linen--pants--shirts--pajamas, and the like.\x94

\x93Oh, that\x92s quite another matter,\x94 said he.

I agreed with him.


In a foregoing page I brought those who are ready to submit to my
guidance up to the boundary wall of my Garden of Peace by the stone
staircases sloping between the terraces of the old hanging gardens of
the Castle moat. With apologies for such a furtive approach I hasten to
admit them through the entrance that is in keeping with their rank and
station. I bow them through the Barbican Entrance, which is of itself a
stately tower, albeit on the threshold of modernity, having been built
in the reign of Edward II., really not more than six hundred years ago.
I feel inclined to apologise for mentioning this structure of yesterday
when I bring my friends on a few yards to the real thing--the true
Castle gateway, gloriously gaunt and grim, with the grooves for the
portcullis and the hinges on which the iron-barbed gate once swung.
There is no suggestion in its architecture of that effeminacy of the
Perpendicular Period, which may be seen in the projecting parapet of
the Barbican, pierced to allow of the molten lead of my antiquary being
ladled out over the enemy who has not been baffled by the raising of the
drawbridge. Molten lead is well enough in its way, and no doubt, when
brought up nice and warm from the kitchen, and allowed to drop through
the apertures, it was more or less irritating as it ran off the edge of
the helmets below and began to trickle down the backs of an attacking
party. The body-armour was never skintight, and molten lead has had at
all times an annoying way of finding out the joinings in a week-day coat
of mail; we know how annoying the drip of a neighbour\x92s umbrella can be
when it gets through the defence of one\x92s mackintosh collar and meanders
down one\x92s back.--No, not a word should be said against molten lead as a
sedative; but even its greatest admirers must allow that as a medium
of discouragement to an enemy of ordinary sensitiveness it lacked the
robustness of the falling Rock.

The Decorative note of the Perpendicular period may have been in harmony
with such trifling as is incidental to molten lead, but the stern and
uncompromising Early Norman gate would defend itself only with the
Rock. That was its character; and when a few hundredweight of solid
unsculptured stone were dropped from its machicolated parapet upon the
armed men who were fiddling with the lock of the gate below, the people
in the High Street could hardly have heard themselves chatting across
that thoroughfare on account of the noise, and tourists must have
fancied that there was a boiler or two being repaired by a conscientious
staff anxious to break the riveting record.

Everything remains of the Castle gateway except the Gate. The structure
is some forty feet high and twelve feet thick. The screen-wall was
joined to it on both sides, and when you pass under the arch and through
a more humble doorway in the wall you are at the entrance to my Garden
of Peace.

This oaken door has a little history of its own. For several years after
I came to Yardley Parva I used to stand opposite to it in one of the
many narrow lanes leading to the ramparts of the town. I knew that
the building to which it belonged, and where some humble industry was
carried on, embodied the ancient church of Ste. Ursula-in-Foro. The
stone doorway is illus- trated in an old record of the town, and I saw
where the stone had been worn away by the Crusaders sharpening the barbs
of their arrows on it for luck. I had three carefully thought-out plans
for acquiring this door and doorway; but on consideration I came to the
conclusion that they were impracticable, unless another Samson were to
come among us with all the experience of his Gaza feat.

I had ceased to pass through that ancient lane; it had become too much
for me; when suddenly I noticed building operations going on at the
place; a Cinema palace was actually being constructed on the consecrated
site of the ancient church! Happily the door and the doorway were not
treated as material for the housebreaker; they were removed into the
cellar of the owner of the property, and from him they were bought by me
for a small sum--much less than I should have had to pay for the shaped
stones alone. The oak door I set in the wall of my house, and the
doorway I brought down my garden where it now features as an arch
spanning one of the paths.

But my good fortune did not end here; for a few years later a fine
keystone with a sculptured head of Ste. Ursula was dug up in the little
garden behind the site of the tiny church, and was presented to me with
the most important fragments of two deeply-carved capitals such as one
now and again sees at the entrance to a Saxon Church; and so at last
these precious relics of mediaeval piety are joined together after
a disjunctive interval of perhaps five or six hundred years, and,
moreover, on a spot not more than a few hundred feet from where they had
originally been placed.

Sir Martin Conway told some years ago of his remarkable discovery in the
grounds of an English country house, of one of the missing capitals of
Theodocius, with its carved acanthus leaves blown by the wind and the
monogram of Theodocius himself. A more astounding discovery than this
can hardly be imagined. No one connected with it was able to say how
it found its way to the place where it caught the eye of a trustworthy
antiquarian; and this fact suggested to me the advisability of attaching
an engraved label to such treasure trove, giving their history as far
as is known to the possessors. The interest attaching to them would be
thereby immensely increased, and it would save much useless conjecture
on the part of members of Antiquarian Societies. Some people seem to
think that paying a subscription to an Antiquarian Society makes one
a fully qualified antiquarian, just as some people fancy that being a
Royal Academician makes one a good painter.

The great revival in this country in the taste for the Formal Garden and
the Dutch Garden has brought about the introduction of an immense number
of sculptured pieces of decoration; and one feels that in the course
of lime our gardens will be as well furnished in this way as those of
Italy. The well-heads of various marbles, with all the old ironwork that
one sees nowadays in the yards of the importers, are as amazing as
the number of exquisite columns for pergolas, garden seats of the most
imposing character, vases of bronze as well as stone or marble, and
wall fountains. And I have no doubt that the importers would make any
purchaser acquainted with the place of origin of most of these. Of
course we knew pretty well by now where so many of the treasures of the
Villa Borghese are to be found; but there are hundreds of other pieces
of sixteenth and seventeenth century Italian work that arrive in
England, and quite as many that go to the United States, without any
historical record attached to them. I do hope that the buyers of
these lovely things will see how greatly their value and the interest
attaching to them would be increased by such memoranda of their origin.

The best symbol of Peace is a ploughshare that was once a sword; and
surely a garden that has been made in the Tiltyard of a Norman Castle
may be looked on as an emblem of the same Beatitude. That is how it
comes that every one who enters our garden cries,--

\x93How wonderfully peaceful!\x94

I have analysed their impression that forces them to say that. The mild
bustle of the High Street of a country town somehow imposes itself upon
one, for the simple reason that you can hear it and observe it. The
hustle of London is something quite different. One is not aware of it.
You cannot see the wood for the trees. It is all a wild roar. But when
our High Street is at its loudest you can easily distinguish one sound
from another.

Then the constant menace of motor-cars rushing through the High Street
leaves an impression that does not vanish the moment one turns into the
passage of the barbican; and upon it comes the sight of the defensive
masonry, which is quite terrific for the moment; then comes the looming
threat of the Norman gateway which gives promise of no compromise! It is
not necessary that one should have a particularly vivid imagination to
hear the clash and clang of armoured men riding forth with lances and
battleaxes; and when one steps aside out of their way, the rest is
silence and the silence is rest.

\x93How wonderfully peaceful!\x94 every one cries.

And so\x92t is.

You can hear the humming of a bee--the flick of a swallow\x92s wing, the
tinkle of the fountain--a delightful sound like the counting out of the
threepenny pieces in the Church Vestry after a Special Collection--and
the splash of a blackbird in its own particular bath. These are the
sounds that cause the silence to startle you. \x93Darkness visible,\x94
 is Milton\x92s phrase. But to make an adaptation of it is not enough to
express what one feels on entering a walled garden from a street even of
a country town. There is an outbreak of silence the moment the door is
closed, and it is in a hushed tone that one says, when one is able to

\x93How wonderfully peaceful!\x94

I think that a garden is not a garden unless it is walled. Perhaps a
high hedge of yew or box conveys the same impression as a built-up wall;
but I am not quite certain on this point. The impression has remained
with us since the days when an Englishman\x92s home was his castle and an
Englishman\x92s castle his home. What every one sought was security, and a
consciousness of security only came when one was within walls. In going
through a country of wild animals one has a kindred feeling when the
fire is lighted at nightfall. Another transmitted instinct is that which
forces one to look backward on a road when the sound of steps tells one
that one is being followed. The earliest English gardens of which any
record remains were walled. In the illustrations to the _Romaunt of the
Rose_, we see this; and possibly the maze became a feature of the garden
in order to increase the sense of security from the knife of an enemy
whose slaughter had been overlooked by the mediaeval horticultural
enthusiast, who sought for peace and quiet on Prussian principles.

I think it was the appearance of the walls that forced me to buy my
estate of a superficial acre. Certainly until I saw them I had no
idea of such a purchase. If any one had told me on that morning when I
strolled up the High Street of Yardley Parra while the battery of my car
was being re-charged after the manner of those pre-magneto times, that I
should take such a step I would have laughed. But it was a day of August
sunshine and there was an auction of furniture going on in the house.
This fact gave me entree to the \x93old-world garden\x94 of the agent\x92s
advertisement, and when I saw the range of walls ablaze with
many-coloured snapdragons above the double row of hollyhocks in the
border at their foot, I \x93found peace,\x94 as the old Revivalists used to
phrase the sentiment, only their assurance was of a title to a mansion
in the skies, while I was less ambitious. I sought peace and ensued it,
purchasing the freehold, and I have been ensuing it ever since.

[Illustration: 0077]

The mighty walls of the old Castle compass us about as they did the
various dwellers within their shelter eight hundred years ago. On one
side they vary from twelve feet to thirty in height, but on the outer
side they rise from the moat and loom from forty to fifty feet above
the lowest of the terraces. At one part, where a Saxon earthwork makes a
long curved hillock at the farther end of the grounds, the wall is only
ten feet above the grassy walk, but forty feet down on the other side.
The Norman Conqueror simply built his wall resting against the mound
of the original and more elementary fortification. Here the line of
the screen breaks off abruptly; but we can see that at one time it was
carried on to an artificial hill on the summit of which the curious
feature of a second keep was built--the well-preserved main keep forms
an imposing incident of the landscape in the opposite direction.

The small plateau which was once enclosed by the screen-wall is not more
than three acres in extent; from its elevation of a couple of hundred
feet it overlooks the level country and the shallow river-way for
many miles--a tranquil landscape of sylvan beauty dominated by the
everlasting Downs. Almost to the very brink of the lofty banks of the
plateau on one side we have an irregular bowling-green, bordered by a
row of pollard ashes. From a clause in one of my title deeds I find that
three hundred years ago the bowling-green was in active existence and
played a useful part as a landmark in the delimitation of the frontier.
It is brightly green at all seasons; and the kindly neighbouring
antiquarian confided in me how its beauty was attained and is

\x93Some time ago an American tourist asked the man who was mowing it how
it came to be such a fine green, and says the man, \x91Why, it\x92s as easy
as snuffling: all you\x92ve got to do is to lay it down with good turf at
first and keep on cutting it for three or four hundred years and the
thing is done.\x92 Smart of the fellow, wasn\x92t it?\x94

\x93It was very smart,\x94 I admitted.

Our neighbour showed his antiquarian research in another story as well
as in this one. It related to the curate of a local parish who, in the
unavoidable absence of his vicar, who was a Rural Dean, found himself
taking a timid breakfast with the Bishop of the Diocese. He was
naturally a shy man and he was shying very highly over an egg that he
had taken and that was making a very hearty appeal to him. Observing
him, the Bishop, with a thorough knowledge of his Diocese, and being
well aware that the electoral contest which had been expected a
few months earlier had not taken place, turned to the curate and

But if you\x92ve heard the story before what he remarked will not appeal
to you so strongly as the egg did to the clergyman; so there is nothing
gained by repeating the remark or the response intoned by the curate.

But when our antiquarian told us both we heartily agreed with him that
that curate deserved to be a bishop.

We are awaiting without impatience. I trust, the third of this Troika
team of anecdotes--the one that refers to the Scotsman and Irishman who
came to the signpost that told all who couldn\x92t read to inquire at the
blacksmith\x92s. That story is certain to be revealed to us in time. The
antiquarian from the stable of whose memory the other two of the team
were let loose cannot possibly restrain the third.

Such things are pleasantly congenial with the scent of lavender in an
old-world garden that knows nothing of how busy people are in the new
world outside its boundary. But what are we to say when we find in a
volume of serious biography published last year only as a previously
unheard-of instance of the wit of the \x93subject,\x94 the story of the
gentleman who, standing at the entrance to his club, was taken for the
porter by a member coming out?

\x93Call me a cab,\x94 said the latter.

\x93You\x92re a cab,\x94 was the prompt reply.

The story in the biography stops there; but the original one shows the
wit making a second score on punning points.

\x93What do you mean?\x94 cried the other. \x93I told you to call me a cab.\x94

\x93And I\x92ve called you a cab. You didn\x92t expect me to call you handsome,\x94
 said the ready respondent.

Now that story was a familiar Strand story forty years ago when H. J.
Byron was at the height of his fame, and he was made the hero of the pun
(assuming that it is possible for a hero to make a pun).

But, of course, no one can vouch for the mint from which such small coin
issues. If a well-known man is in the habit of making puns all the puns
of his generation are told in the next with his name attached to them.
H. J. Byron was certainly as good a punster as ever wrote a burlesque
for the old Gaiety; though a good deal of the effect of his puns was due
to their delivery by Edward Terry. But nothing that Byron wrote was so
good as Burnand\x92s title to his Burlesque on _Rob Roy_, the play which
Mrs Bateman had just revived at Sadler\x92s Wells. Burnand called it
_Robbing Roy, or Scotch\x92d, not Kilt_. The parody on \x93Roy\x92s Wife,\x94 sung
by Terry, was exquisite, and very topical,--

                   Roy\x92s wife of Alldivalloch!

                        Oh, while she

                        Is wife to me,

          Is life worth living, Mr. Mallock?\x94

Mr. Mallock\x92s book was being widely discussed in those days, and _Punch_
had his pun on it with the rest.

\x93Is Life worth living?\x94

\x93It depends on the liver.\x94

The Garrick Club stories of Byron, Gilbert, and Burnand were
innumerable. To the first-named was attributed the dictum that a play
was like a cigar. \x93If it was a good one all your friends wanted a box;
but if it was a bad one no amount of puffing would make it draw.\x94

The budding _litt\xE9rateurs_ of those days--and nights--used to go from
hearing stories of Byron\x92s latest, to the Junior Garrick to hear Byron
make up fresh ones about old Mrs. Swanborough of the Strand Theatre.
Some of them were very funny. Mrs. Swan-borough was a clever old
lady with whom I was acquainted when I was very young. She never gave
utterance to the things Byron tacked on to her. I recollect how amused
I was to hear Byron\x92s stories about her told to me by Arthur Swanborough
about an old lady who had just retired from the stage, and then, passing
on to Orme Square on a Sunday evening, to hear \x93Johnny Toole,\x94 as he was
to the very youngest of us, tell the same stories about a dear old girl
who was still in his company at the Folly Theatre.

So much for the circulation of everyday anecdotes. Dean Swift absorbed
most of the creations of the early eighteenth century; then Dr. Johnson
became the father of as many as would till a volume. Theodore Hook, Tom
Hood, Shirley Brooks, Albert Smith, Mark Lemon, and several others whose
names convey little to the present generation, were the reputed parents
of the puns which enlivened the great Victorian age. But if a scrupulous
historian made up his mind to apply for a paternity order against any
one of these gay dogs, that historian would have difficulty in bringing
forward sufficient evidence to have it granted.

The late Mr. M. A. Robertson, of the Treaty Department of the Foreign
Office, told me that his father--the celebrated preacher known to fame
as \x93Robertson of Brighton\x94--had described to him the important part
played by the pun in the early sixties. At a dinner-party at which the
Reverend Mr. Robertson was a guest, a humorist who was present picked up
the menu card and set the table on a roar with his punning criticism
of every _plat_. Robertson thought that such a spontaneous effort was
a very creditable _tour de force_--doubtless the humorist would have
called it a _tour de farce_--but a few nights later he was at another
party which was attended by the same fellow-guest, and once again the
menu, which happened to be exactly the same also, was casually picked up
and dealt with _seriatim_ as before, with an equally hilarious effect.
He mentioned to the hostess as a curious coincidence that he should find
her excellent dinner identical with the one of which he had partaken at
the other house: and then she confided in him that the great punster
had given her the bill of fare that afforded him his opportunity of
displaying his enlivening trick! Robertson gave me the name of this
Victorian artist, but there is no need for me to reveal it in this
place. The story, however, allows us a glimpse into the studio of one of
the word-jugglers of other days; and when one has been made aware of the
machinery of his mysteries, one ceases to marvel.

Two brothers, Willie and Oscar Wilde, earned many dinners in their time
by their conversational abilities; and I happen to know that before
going out together they rehearsed very carefully the exchange of their
impromptus at the dinner table. Both of these brothers were brilliant
conversationalists, and possessed excellent memories. They were equally
unscrupulous and unprincipled. The only psychological distinction
between the two was that the elder, Willie, possessed an impudence of a
quality which was not among Oscar\x92s gifts. Oscar was impudent enough to
take his call on the first night of _Lady Windermere\x92s Fan_ smoking
a cigarette, and to assure the audience that he had enjoyed the play
immensely; but he was never equal to his brother in this special line.
Willie was a little over twenty and living with his parents in Dublin,
where he had a friendly little understanding with a burlesque actress
who was the principal boy in the pantomime at the Gaiety Theatre. She
wrote to him one day making an appointment with him for the night, and
asking him to call for her at the stage door. The girl addressed the
letter to \x93Wm. Wilde, Esq.,\x94 at his home, and as his father\x92s name was
William he opened it mechanically and read it. He called Willie into his
study after breakfast and put the letter before him, crying, \x93Read that,

The son obeyed, folded it up and handed it back, saying quietly,--

\x93Well, dad, do you intend to go?\x94

To obtain ready cash and good dinners, Willie Wilde, when on the staff
of a great London newspaper was ready to descend to any scheming and
any meanness. But the descriptive column that he wrote of the sittings
of the Parnell Commission day after day could not be surpassed for
cleverness and insight. He would lounge into the Court at any time he
pleased and remain for an hour or so, rarely longer, and he spent the
rest of the day amusing himself and flushing himself with brandies
and soda at the expense of his friends. He usually began to write his
article between eleven and twelve at night.

Such were these meteoric brothers before the centrifugal force due to
their revolutionary instinct sent them flying into space.

But one handful of the meteoric dust of the conversation of either was
worth all the humour of the great Victorian punsters.


From the foregoing half-dozen pages it is becoming pretty clear that a
Garden of Peace may also be a Garden of Memories. But I am sure that one
of the greatest attractions of garden life to a man who has stepped out
of a busy world--its _strepitumque virumque_, is that it _compels_ him
to look forward, while _permitting_ him to look back. The very act of
dropping a seed into the soil is prospective. To see things growing is
stimulating, whether they are children or other flowers. One has no time
to think how one would order one\x92s career, avoiding the mistakes of the
past, if one got a renewal of one\x92s lease of life, for in a garden we
are ever planning for the future; but these rustling leaves of memory
are useful as a sort of mulch for the mind.

And the garden has certainly grown since I first entered it ten years
ago. It was originally to be referred to in the singular, but now it
must be thought of in the plural. It was a garden, now it is gardens;
and whether I have succeeded or not my experience compels me to believe
that to aim at the plural makes for success. Two gardens, each of thirty
feet square, are infinitely better than one garden of sixty. I am sure
of that to-day, but it took me some time to find it out. A garden to be
distinctive must have distinct features, like every other thing of life.

I notice that most writers on garden-making begin by describing what
a wilderness their place was when they first took it in hand. I cannot
maintain that tradition. Mine had nothing of the wilderness about it.
On the contrary, it was just too neat for my taste. The large lawn on
to which some of the lower rooms of the house opened, had broad paths on
each side and a broad flower border beyond. There was not a shrub on the
lawn and only one tree--a majestic deodar spreading itself abroad at an
angle of the nearest wing of the house; but on a knoll at the farther
end of the lawn there were, we discovered next summer, pink and white
mays, a wild cherry, and a couple of laburnums, backed by a towering
group made up of sycamores and chestnuts. Such a plan of planting could
not be improved upon, I felt certain, though I did not discuss it at
the time; for I was not out to make an alteration, and my attention was
wholly occupied with the appearance of the ancient walls, glorious with
snapdragon up to the lilacs that made a coping of colour for the whole
high range, while the lower brick boundary opposite was covered with
pears and plums clasping hands in espalier form from end to end.

But I was not sure about the flower borders which contained alternate
clumps of pink geraniums and white daisies. Perhaps they were too
strongly reminiscent of the window-boxes of the Cromwell Road through
which I had walked every day for nearly twenty years, and in time one
grows weary even of the Cromwell Road!

But so well did the accident of one elbow of the wall of the
bowling-green pushing itself out lend itself to the construction of the
garden, that the first and most important element in garden-design was
attained. This, I need hardly say, is illusion and surprise. One
fancied that here the limits of the ground had been reached, for a fine
deciduous oak seemed to block the way; but with investigation one found
oneself at the entrance to a new range of grounds which, though only
about three times as large as the first, seemed almost illimitable.

The greater part had at one time been an orchard, we could see; but the
trees had been planted too close to one another, and after thirty or
forty years of jostling, had ceased to be of any pictorial or commercial
value, and I saw that these would have to go. Beyond there was a kitchen
garden and a large glass-house, and on one side there was a long curve
of grass terrace made out of the Saxon or Roman earthwork, against
which, as I have already said, the Norman walls were built, showing only
about twelve or fifteen feet above the terrace, while being forty or
fifty down to the dry moat outside. This low mural line was a mass of
antirrhinums, wallflowers, and such ferns as thrive in rock crevices.

There was obviously not much to improve in all this. We were quite
satisfied with everything as it stood. There was nothing whatsoever of
the wilderness that we could cause to blossom as the rose, only--not a
rose was to be seen in any part of the garden!

We were conscious of the want, for our Kensington garden had been a mass
of roses, and we were ready to join on to Victor Hugo\x92s \x93_Une maison
sans enfants,\x94 \x93un jardin sans roses?_\x94 But we were not troubled; roses
are as easily to be obtained as brambles--in fact rather more easily--
and we had only to make up our minds where to plant them and they would
blush all over the place the next summer.

We had nothing to complain of but much to be thankful for, when, after
being in the house for a month, I found the old gardener, whom we had
taken over with the place, wheeling his barrow through a doorway which I
knew led to a dilapidated potting-shed, and as I saw that the barrow
was laden with rubbish I had the curiosity to follow him to see where he
should dispose of it.

He went through a small iron gate in the wall alongside the concealed
potting-house, and, following him, I found myself to my amazement in a
small walled space, forty feet by thirty, containing rubbish, but giving
every one with eyes to see such a picture of the Barbican, the Castle
Gate with the Keep crowning the mound beyond, as made me shout--such a
picture as was not to be found in the county!

If it had a fault at all it was to be found in its perfection. Every
one has, I hope, seen the Sham Castle, the castellated gateway, built on
Hampton Down, near Bath, to add picturesqueness to the prospect as seen
from the other side. This is as perfectly made a ruin as ever was built
up by stage carpenters. There was no reason why it should not be so,
for it was easy to put a stone in here and there if an improvement were
needed, or to dilapidate a bit of a tower until the whole would meet
with the approval even of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who are, I
am given to understand, the best informed authorities in England on the
assessment of dilapidations. I must confess that the first glimpse I
had of the picture that stood before my eyes above my newly-acquired
rubbish-heaps suggested the perfection of a sham. The _mise-en-sc\xE8ne_
seemed too elaborate--too highly finished--no detail that could add to
the effect being absent. But there it was, and I remained looking at it
for the rest of the day.

The over-conscientious agents had said not a word in the inventory
of the most valuable asset in connection with the property. They
had scrupulously advertised the \x93unique and valuable old-fashioned
residence,\x94 and the fact that it was partially \x93covered by creepers\x94--a
partiality to which I was not very partial--and that the \x93billiard
saloon\x94 had the same advantages--they had not failed to allude to the
gardens as \x93old-world and quaint,\x94 but not one word had they said about
this view from the well-matured rubbish-heaps!

It was at this point that I began to think about improvements, and the
first essay in this direction was obvious. I had the rubbish removed,
the ground made straight, a stone sundial placed in the centre, and a
Dutch pattern of flower-beds cut around it.

On the coping of the walls--they were only six feet high on our side,
but forty on the culside--I placed lead and stone vases and a balustrade
of wrought iron-work. I made an immense window in the wall of the
potting-shed--a single sheet of plate-glass with four small casements
of heraldic stained glass; and then the old potting-shed I panelled in
coloured marbles, designed a sort of domed roof for it and laid down a
floor in mosaics. I had in my mind a room in the Little Trianon in all
this; and I meant to treat the view outside as a picture set in
one wall. Of course I did not altogether succeed; but I have gone
sufficiently far to deceive more than one visitor. Entering the room
through a mahogany door set with a round panel of beautifully-clouded
onyx--once a table-top in the gay George\x92s pavilion\x92 at Brighton--a
visitor sees the brass frame of the large window enclosing the picture
of the Barbican, the Gateway, and the Keep, and it takes some moments to
understand it.

All this sounds dreadfully expensive; but through finding a really
intelligent builder and men who were ready to do all that was asked of
them, and, above all, through having abundance of material collected
wherever it was going at shillings instead of pounds, I effected the
transformation at less than a sixth of the lowest assessment of the cost
made by professional friends. To relieve myself from any vain charge
of extravagance, I may perhaps be permitted to mention that when the
property was offered for sale in London a week before I bought it, not
a single bid was made for it, owing to an apparent flaw in one of the
title-deeds frightening every one off. Thus, without knowing it. I
arrived on the scene at the exact psychological moment--for a purchaser;
and when I got the place I found myself with a considerable sum in hand
to spend upon it, and that sum has not yet been all spent. The bogey
fault in the title was made good by the exchange of a few letters, and
it is now absolutely unassailable.

It must also be remembered by such people as may be inclined to talk of
extravagance, that it is very good business to spend a hundred pounds
on one\x92s property if the property is thereby increased in value by three
hundred. I have the best of all reasons for resting in the assurance
that for every pound I have spent I am three to the good. There is no
economy like legitimate expenditure.

I wonder if real authorities in garden design would think I was right in
treating after the Dutch fashion the little enclosed piece of ground on
which I tried my prentice hand.

In order to arrive at a conclusion on this point I should like to be
more fully informed as to what is congruous and what incongruous. What
are the important elements to consider in the construction of a Dutch
garden, and are these elements in sympathy with the foreground of such a
picture as I had before me when I made up my mind on the subject?

Now I have seen many Dutch gardens in Holland, and in Cape
Colony--relics of the old Dutch Colonial days--and every one knows how
conservative is this splendid if somewhat over-hospitable race. Some
of the gardens lying between Cape Town and Simon\x92s Bay, and also on the
higher ground above Mossel Bay are what old-furniture dealers term \x93in
mint condition\x94--I disclaim any suggestion of a pun upon the herb, which
in Dutch houses at the Cape is not used in sauce for lamb. They are as
they were laid out by the Solomons, the Cloetes, the Van der Byls, and
the other old Dutch Colonial families; so far from adapting, themselves
to the tropical and subtropical conditions existing in the Colony, they
brought their home traditions into their new surroundings with results
that were both happy and profitable. There are certainly no finer or
more various bulbs than those of Dutch growth at the Cape, and I have
never seen anything more beautiful than the heaths on the Flats between
Mowbray and Rondesbosch at the foot of the Devil\x92s Peak of Table

[Illustration: 0096]

A Dutch gentleman once said to me in Rotterdam, \x93If you want to see
a real Dutch garden you must go to the Cape, or, better still, to
England--for it.\x94

He meant that in both places greater pains are taken to maintain the
original type than, generally speaking, in Holland.

I know that he spoke of what he knew, and with what chances of
observation I have had, I long ago came to the conclusion that the
elements of what is commonly called a Dutch garden do not differ so
greatly from, those that went to the making of the oldest English herb
and flower garden. This being so, when I asked myself how I should lay
out a foreground that should be congenial with the picture seen through
the window of the marble-panelled room, I knew that the garden should
be as like as possible that which would be planted by the porter\x92s wife
when the Castle was at its best. The porter\x92s lodge would join on to
the gate, and one side of the gateway touches my ground, where the lodge
would be; so that, with suggestions from the Chatelaine, who had seen
the world, and the Chaplain, who may have been familiar with the
earliest gardens in England--the monastery gardens--she would lay out
the little bit of ground pretty much, I think, as I have done. In those
days people had not get into the way of differentiating between gardens
and gardens--there was no talk about \x93false notes\x94 in design, men did
not sleep uneasily o\x92 nights lest they had made an irremediable mistake
in giving hospitality to a crimson peony in a formal bed or in failing
to dig up an annual that had somehow found a place in a herbaceous
border. But a garden bounded by walls must be neat or nothing, and so
the porter\x92s wife made a Dutch garden without being aware of what she
was doing, and I followed her example, after the lapse of a few hundred
years, knowing quite well what I was doing in acting on the principle
that the surroundings should suggest the garden. I know now, however,
that because William the Conqueror had a fine growth of what we
call _Dianthus Caryophylla_ at his Castle of Falaise, we should have
scrupulously followed his example. However, the elements of a Dutch
garden are geometrical, and within four walls and with four right
angles one cannot but be geometrical. One cannot have the charming
disorderliness of a meadow bounded by two meandering streams. That
is why I know I was right in refusing to allow any irregularity in my
treatment of the ground. I put my sundial exactly in the middle and made
it the centre for four small beds crossed by a narrow grass path; and
except for the simple central design there is no attempt at colour
effect. But every one of the little beds is brilliant with tulips or
pansies or antirrhinum or wallflowers, as the season suggests. There
is the scent of lavender from four clumps--one at each angle of the
walls--and over the western coping a pink rose climbs. To be consistent
I should confine the growth of this rose to an espalier against the
wall. I mean to be consistent some day in this matter and others nearly
as important, and I have been so meaning for the past ten years.

I picked up some time ago four tubs of box and placed one in each corner
of the grass groundwork of the design; but I soon took them away; they
were far too conspicuous. They suggested that I was dragging in Holland
by the hair of the head, so to speak.

It is the easiest thing in the world to spoil a good effect by
over-emphasis; and any one who fancies that the chief note in a Dutch
garden is an overgrowth of box makes a great mistake. It is like putting
up a board with \x93This way to the Dutch garden,\x94 planted on its face.

I remember years ago a play produced at the Hay-market, when Tree had
the theatre and Mr. J. Comyns Carr was his adviser. It was a successor
to an adaptation of _Called Back_, the first of the \x93shilling shockers,\x94
 as they were styled. In one scene the curtain rose upon several of the
characters sucking oranges, and they kept at it through the whole scene.
That is what it is termed \x93local colour\x94; and it was hoped that every
one who saw them so employed was convinced that the scene was laid in
Seville. It might as well have been laid in the gallery of a theatre,
where refreshment is taken in the same form.

M. Bizet achieved his \x93local colour\x94 in Carmen in rather a more subtle
way. He did not bother about oranges. The first five bars of the
overture prepared us for Spain and we lived in it until the fall of the
curtain, and we return to it when one of the children strums a few notes
of \x93_L\x92amour est un oiseau rebelle_,\x94 or the Toreador\x92s braggadocio.

But although I have eaten oranges in many parts of the world since I
witnessed that play at the Haymarket, I have never been reminded of it,
and to-day I forget what it was all about, and I cannot for the life of
me recollect what was its name.

So much for the ineffectiveness of obvious effects.


It is a dreadful thing to live in the same town as an Atheist! I had
no idea that a house in Yardley Parva would ever be occupied by such an
one. I fancied that I was leaving them all behind me in London, where I
could not avoid getting into touch with several; no one can unless one
refuses to have anything to say to the intellectual or artistic classes.
People in London are so callous that they do not seem to mind having
atheists to dinner or talking with them without hostility at a club.
That is all very well for London, but it doesn\x92t do in Yardley Parva,
thank God! Atheism is very properly regarded as a distinct social
disqualification--almost as bad as being a Nonconformist.

Friswell is the name of our atheist. What brought him here I cannot
guess. But he bought a house that had once been the rectory of a
clergyman (when I mention the Clergy in this book it must be taken
for granted that I mean a priest of the Church of England) and the
predecessor of that clergyman had been a Rural Dean. How on earth
the agent could sell him the house is a mystery that has not yet been
solved, though many honest attempts in this direction have been made.
The agent was blamed for not making such inquiries as would have led
to the detection of the fellow. He was held responsible for Friswell\x92s
incorporation as a burgess, just as Graham the greengrocer was held
responsible for the epidemic of mumps which it is known he brought into
the town in a basket of apples from Baston.

But the agent\x92s friends make excuses for him. While admitting that he
may have been culpably careless in order to secure a purchaser for a
house that nobody seemed to want in spite of its hallowed associations,
they are ready to affirm that these atheists have all the guile of their
Master so that even if the agent had been alert in making the essential
inquiries, the man would not hesitate to give the most plausible answers
in order to accomplish his object--the object of the wolf that has his
eye on a sheepfold.

This may be so--I decline to express an opinion one way or another. All
I know is that Friswell has written some books that are known in every
part of the civilised world and in Germany as well, and that we find him
when he comes here quite interesting and amusing. But needless to say
we do not permit him to go too far. We do not allow ourselves to be
interested in him to the jeopardising of our principles or our position
in Yardley Parva. We do not allow ourselves to be amused at the
reflection that he is going in the wrong direction; on the contrary, we
shudder when it strikes us. But so insidious are his ways that--Heaven
forgive me--I feel that he tells me much that I do not know about
what is true and what is false, and that if he were to leave the
neighbourhood I should miss him.

It is strange that he should be married to a charming woman, who is a
daughter of probably the most orthodox vicarage in the Midlands--a home
where every Sunday is given over to such accessories of orthodoxy as an
Early Service, Morning Church, Sirloin of Beef with Yorkshire Pudding,
Fruit Tart and Real Egg Custard, Sunday School, the Solution of
Acrostics, Evening-song, and Cold Chicken with Salad.

And yet she could ally herself with a man who does not hesitate to
express the opinion that if a child dies before it is baptized it should
not be assumed that anything particular happens to it, and that it was
a great pity that the Church was upheld by three murderers, the first
being Moses, who promulgated the Ten Commandments, the second Paul,
who promulgated the Christianity accepted by the Church, and the third
Constantine, who promulgated the Nicene Creed. I have heard him say
this, and much more, and yet beyond a doubt his wife still adores him.
laughs at him, says he is the most religious man she ever knew, and goes
to church regularly!

One cannot understand such a thing as this. In her own vicarage home
every breath that Mrs. Fris-well breathed was an inspiration of the
Orthodox--and yet she told me that her father, who was for twenty-seven
years Vicar of the parish and the Bishop\x92s Surrogate, thought very
highly of Mr. Friswell and his scholarship!

That is another thing to puzzle over. Of course we know that scholarship
has got nothing to do with Orthodoxy--it is the weak things of the world
that have been chosen to confound the wise---but for a vicar of the
Church of England to remain on friendly terms with an atheist, and to
approve of his daughter\x92s marriage with such an one, is surely not to be
understood by ordinary people.

I do not know whether or not I neglected my duty in refraining from
forbidding Friswell my garden when I heard him say that the God
worshipped by the Hebrews with bushels of incense must have been
regarded by them as occupying a position something like that of the
chairman of the smoking concert; and that the High Church parson here
was like a revue artist, whose ambition is to have as many changes of
costume as was possible in every performance; but though I was at the
point of telling him that even my toleration had its limits, yet somehow
I did not like to go to such a length without Dorothy\x92s permission; and
I know that Dorothy likes him.

She says the children are fond of him, and she herself is fond of Mrs.

\x93Yes,\x94 I told her, \x93you would not have me kill a viper because Rosamund
had taken a fancy to its markings and its graceful action before darting
on its prey.\x94

\x93Don\x92t be a goose,\x94 said she. \x93Do you suggest that Mr. Friswell is a

\x93Well, if a viper may be looked on as a type of all----\x94

\x93Well, if he is a viper, didn\x92t St. Paul shake one off his hand into
the fire before any harm was done? I think we would do well to leave Mr.
Friswell to be dealt with by St. Paul.\x94

\x93Meaning that----\x94

\x93That if the exponent of the Christianity of the Churches cannot be
so interpreted in the pulpits that Mr. Friswell\x92s sayings are rendered
harmless, well, so much the worse for che Churches.\x94

\x93There\x92s such a thing as being too liberal-minded, Dorothy,\x94 said I

\x93I suppose there is,\x94 said she; \x93but you will never suffer from it, my
beloved, except in regard to the clematis which you will spare every
autumn until we shall shortly have no blooms on it at all.\x94

That was all very well; but I was uncertain about Rosamund. She is quite
old enough to understand the difference between what Mr. Friswell says
in the garden and what the Reverend Thomas Brown-Browne says in the
pulpit. I asked her what she had been talking about to Mr. Friswell when
he was here last week.

\x93I believe it was about Elisha,\x94 she replied. \x93Oh, yes; I remember I
asked him if he did not think Elisha a horrid vain old man.\x94

\x93You asked him that?\x94

\x93Yes; it was in the first lesson last Sunday--that about the bears he
brought out of the wood to eat the poor children who had made fun of
him--horrid old man!\x94

\x93Rosamund, he was a great prophet--one of the greatest,\x94 said I.

\x93All the same he was horrid! He must have been the vainest as well as
the most spiteful old man that ever lived. What a shame to curse the
poor children because they acted like children! You know that if that
story were told in any other book than the Bible you would be the first
to be down on Elisha. If I were to say to you, Daddy, \x91Go up, thou bald
head!\x92--you know there\x92s a little bald place on the top there that you
try to brush your hair over--if I were to say that to you, what would
you do?\x94

\x93I suppose I should go at you bald-headed, my dear,\x94 said I

\x93I don\x92t like the Bible made fun of,\x94 said Dorothy, who overheard what I
did not mean for any but the sympathetic ears of her eldest daughter.

\x93I\x92m not making fun of it, Mammy,\x94 said the daughter. \x93Just the
opposite. Just think of it--forty-two children--only it sounds much more
when put the other way, and that makes it all the worse--forty and two
poor children cruelly killed because a nasty old prophet was vain and

\x93It doesn\x92t say that he had any hand in it, does it?\x94 I suggested in
defence of the Man of God.

\x93Well, not--directly,\x94 replied Rosamund. \x93But it was meant to make out
that he had a hand in it. It says that he cursed them in the name of the

\x93And what did Mr. Friswell say about the story?\x94 inquired Dorothy.

\x93Oh, he said that, being a prophet, Elisha wasn\x92t thinking about the
present, but the future--the time we\x92re living in--the Russian Bear or
the Bolsheviks or some of the--the--what\x92s the thing that they kill Jews
with in Russia, Mammy?\x94

\x93I don\x92t know--anything that\x92s handy, I fancy, and not too expensive,\x94
 replied the mother.

\x93He gave it a name--was it programme?\x94 asked the child.

\x93Oh, a pogrom--a pogrom; though I fancy a programme of Russian music
would have been equally effective,\x94 I put in. \x93Well, Mr. Friswell may
be right about the bears. I suppose it\x92s the business of a prophet to
prophesy. But I should rather fancy, looking at the transaction from the
standpoint of a flutter in futures, and also that the prophet had the
instincts of Israel, that his bears had something to do with the Stock

\x93Mr. Friswell said nothing about that,\x94 said Rosamund. \x93But he explained
about Naaman and his leprosy and how he was cured.\x94

\x93It tells us that in the Bible, my dear,\x94 said Dorothy, \x93so of course it
is true. He washed seven times in the Jordan.\x94

\x93Yes, Mr. Friswell says that it is now known that half a dozen of the
complaints translated leprosy in the Bible were not the real leprosy,
and it was from one of these that Naaman was suffering, and what Elisha
did was simply to prescribe for him a course of seven baths in the
Jordan which he knew contained sulphur or something that is good for
people with that complaint. He believes in all the miracles. He says
that what was looked on as a miracle a few years ago is an everyday
thing now.\x94

\x93He\x92s quite right, darling,\x94 said Dorothy approvingly. Then turning to
me, \x93You see, Mr. Friswell has really been doing his best to keep the
children right, though you were afraid that he would have a bad effect
upon them.\x94

\x93I see,\x94 said I. \x93I was too hasty in my judgment. He is a man
of uncompromising orthodoxy. We shall see him holding a class in
Sunday-school next, or solving acrostics instead of sleeping after the
Sunday Sirloin. Did he explain the Gehazi business, Rosamund?\x94

\x93He said that he was at first staggered when he heard that Elisha had
refused the suits of clothes; but if Elisha did so, he is sure that his
descendants have been making up for his self-denial ever since.\x94

\x93But about Gehazi catching the leprosy or whatever it was?\x94

\x93I said I thought it was too awful a punishment for so small a thing,
though, of course, it was dreadfully mean of Gehazi. But Mr. Friswell
laughed and said that I had forgotten that all Gehazi had to do to make
himself all right again was to fellow the prescription given to Naamun;
so he wasn\x92t so hard on the man after all.\x94

\x93There, you see!\x94 cried Dorothy triumphantly. \x93You talk to me about the
bad influence Mr. Friswell may have upon the children, and now you find
that he has been doing his best to make the difficult parts of the Bible
credible! For my own part, I feel that a flood of new light has been
shed by him over some incidents with which I was not in sympathy

\x93All right, have it your own way,\x94 said I.

\x93You old goose!\x94 said she. \x93Don\x92t I know that why you have your knife in
poor Friswell is simply because he thought your scheme of treillage was
too elaborate.\x94

\x93Anyhow I\x92m going to carry it out \x91according to plan,\x92 to make use of a
classic phrase,\x94 said I.

And then I hurried off to the tool-house; and it was only when I had
been there for some time that I remembered that the phrase which I had
fancied I was quoting very aptly, was the explanation of a retreat.

I hoped that it would not strike Dorothy in that way, and induce her to
remind me that it was much apter than I had desired it to be.

But there is no doubt that Friswell was right about Gehazi carrying out
the prescription given to Naaman, for he remained in the service of the
prophet, and he would not have been allowed to do that if he had been a


I have devoted the foregoing chapter to Friswell without, I trust, any
unnecessary acrimony, but simply to show the sort of man he was who took
exception to the scheme of Formal Garden that I disclosed to him long
ago. He actually objected to the Formal Garden which I had in my mind.

But an atheist, like the prophet Habakkuk of the witty Frenchman, is
\x93_capable de tout_\x94

I have long ago forgiven Friswell for his vexatious objection, but I
admit that I am only human, and that now and again I awake in the still
hours of darkness from a nightmare in which I am tramping over formal
beds of three sorts of echiverias, pursued by Friswell, flinging at me
every now and again Mr. W. Robinson\x92s volume on _Garden Design_,
which, as every one knows, is an unbridled denunciation of Sir Reginald
Blomfield\x92s and Mr. Inigo Triggs\x92s plea for _The Formal Garden_. But I
soon fall asleep again with, I trust, a smile struggling to the surface
of the perspiration on my brow, as I reflect upon my success in spite of
Friswell and the antiformalists.

More than twenty-five years have passed since the battle of the books
on the Formal Garden took place, adding another instance to the many
brought forward by Dorothy of a garden being a battlefield instead of
a place of peace. I shall refer to the fight in another chapter;
for surely a stimulating spectacle was that of the distinguished
horticulturalist attacking the distinguished architect with mighty
billets of yews which, like Samson before his fall, had never known
shears or secateur, while the distinguished architect responded with
bricks pulled hastily out from his builders\x92 wall. In the meantime I
shall try to account for my treatment of my predecessor\x92s lawn, which,
as I have already mentioned, occupied all the flat space between the
house and the mound with the cherries and mays and laburnums towered
over by the sycamores and chestnuts.

It was all suggested to me by the offer which 1 had at breaking-up price
of what I might call a \x93garden suite,\x94 consisting of a fountain, with
a wide basin, and the carved stone edging for eight beds--sufficient
to transform the whole area of the lawn \x93into something rich and
strange,\x94--as I thought.

I had to make up my mind in a hurry, and I did so, though not without
misgiving. I had never had a chance of high gardening before, and I had
not so much confidence in myself as I have acquired since, misplaced
though it may be, in spite of my experience, I see now what a bold step
it was for me to take, and I think it is quite likely that I would have
rejected it if I had had any time to consider all that it meant. I had,
however, no more than twenty-four hours, and before a fourth of
that time had passed I received some encouragement in the form of my
publisher\x92s half-yearly statement.

Now, Dorothy and I had simply been garden-lovers--I mean lovers of
gardens, though I don\x92t take back the original phrase. We had never been
garden enthusiasts. We had gone through the Borghese, the Villa d\x92Este,
the Vatican, the bowers behind the Pitti and the Uffizi, and all the
rest of the show-places of Italy and the French Riviera--we had spent
delightful days at every garden-island of the Caribbean, and had gone on
to the plateaus of South America, where every prospect pleases and there
is a blaze of flowers beneath the giant yuccas--we had even explored Kew
together, and we had lived within a stone\x92s throw of Holland House and
the painters\x92 pleasaunces of Melbury Road, but with all we had remained
content to think of gardens without making them any important part of
our life. And this being so, I now see how arrogant was that act of
mine in binding myself down to a transaction with as far-reaching
consequences to me as that of Dr. Faustus entailed to him.

Now I acknowledge that when I looked out over the green lawn and thought
of all that I had let myself in for, I felt anything but arrogant. The
destruction of a lawn is, like the state of matrimony in the Church
Service, an act not to be lightly entered into; and I think I might
have laid away all that stone-work which had come to me, until I should
become more certain of myself--that is how a good many people think
within a week or two of marriage--if I had not, with those doubts
hanging over me, wandered away from the lawn and within sight of the
straggling orchard with its rows of ill-planted plums and apples that
had plainly borne nothing but leaves for many years. They were becoming
an eye-sore to me, and the thought came in a flash:--

\x93This is the place for a lawn. Why not root up these unprofitable and
uninteresting things and lay down the space in grass?\x94

Why not, indeed? The more I thought over the matter the more reconciled
I became to the transformation of the house lawn. I felt as I fancy the
father of a well-beloved daughter must feel when she tells him that
she has promised to marry the son of the house at the other side of
his paddock. He is reconciled to the idea of parting with her by the
reflection that she will still be living beyond the fence, and that
he will enjoy communion with her under altered conditions. That is the
difference between parting _with_ a person and parting _from_ a person.

And now, when I looked at the house lawn, I saw that it had no business
to be there. It was an element of incongruity. It made the house look as
if it were built in the middle of a field. A field is all very well in
its place, and a house is all very well in its place, but the place of
the house is not in the middle of a field. It looks its worst there and
the field looks its worst when the house is overlooking it.

I think that it is this impression of incongruity that has made what is
called The Formal Garden a necessity of these days. We want a treatment
that will take away from the abruptness of the mass of bricks and mortar
rising straight up from the simplest of Nature\x92s elements. We want a
hyphenated House-and-Garden which we can look on as one and indivisible,
like the First French Republic.

In short, I think that the making of the Formal Garden is the marriage
ceremony that unites the house to its site, \x93and the twain shall be one

That is really the relative position of the two. I hold that there are
scores of forms of garden that may be espoused to a house; and I am not
sure that such a term as Formal is not misleading to a large number of
people who think that Nature should begin the moment that one steps out
of one\x92s house, and that nothing in Nature is formal. I am not going to
take on me any definition of the constituent elements of what is termed
the Formal Garden, but I will take it on me to stand up against such
people as would have us believe that the moment you enter a house
you leave Nature outside. A house is as much a product of Nature as
a woodland or a rabbit warren or a lawn. The original house of that
product of Nature known as man was that product of Nature known as a
cave. For thousands of years before he got into his cave he had made his
abode in the woodland. It was when he found he could do better than hang
on to his bough and, with his toes, take the eggs out of whatever nests
he could get at, that he made the cave his dwelling; and thousands of
years later he found that it was more convenient to build up the clay
into the shape of a cave than to scoop out the hillside when he wanted
an addition to the dwelling provided for him in the hollows made by that
natural incident known as a landslide. But the dwelling-house of to-day
is nothing more than a cave built up instead of scooped out.
Whether made of brick, stone, or clay--all products of Nature--it
is fundamentally the same as the primeval cave dwelling; just as a
Corinthian column is fundamentally identical with the palm-tree which
primeval man brought into his service when he wished to construct a
dwelling dependent of the forest of his pendulous ancestors. The rabbit
is at present in the stage of development of the men who scooped out
their dwellings; the beaver is in the stage of development of the men
who gave up scooping and took to building; and will any one suggest that
a rabbit warren or a beaver village is not Nature?

Sir R. Blomfield, in his book to which I have alluded, will not have
this at all. \x93The building,\x94 he says, \x93cannot resemble anything in
Nature, unless you are content with a mud hut and cover it with grass.\x94
 That may be true enough; but great architect that he is, he would
have shown himself more faithful to his profession if he had been more
careful about his foundations. If he goes a little deeper into the
matter he will find that man has not yet been civilised or \x93architected\x94
 out of the impressions left upon him by his thousands of years of
cave-dwelling, any more than he has been out of his arboreal experiences
of as many thousand years. While, as a boy, he retains vividly those
impressions of his ancestors which gradually wear off--though never so
completely as to leave no trace behind them--he cannot be restrained
from climbing trees and enjoying the motion of a swing; and his chief
employment when left to his own devices is scooping out a cave in a
sand-bank. For the first ten or fifteen years of his life a man is in
his instincts many thousand years nearer to his prehistoric relations
than he is when he is twenty; after that the inherited impressions
become blurred, but never wholly wiped out. He is still stirred to the
deepest depths of his nature by the long tresses of a woman, just as was
his early parent, who knew that he had to depend on such long tresses to
drag the female on whom he had set his heart to his cave.

Scores of examples could be given of the retention of these inherited
instincts; but many of them are in more than one sense of the phrase,
\x93far-fetched.\x94 When, however, we know that the architectural design
which finds almost universal favour is that of the column or the
pilaster--which is little more than the palm-tree of the Oriental forest
of many thousand years ago--I chink we are justified in assuming that
we have not yet quite lost sight of the fact that our dwellings are most
acceptable when they retain such elements as are congenial with their
ancient homes, which homes were undoubtedly incidents in the natural

That is why I think that the right way to claim its appropriateness for
what is called the Formal Garden is, not that a house has no place in
Nature, and therefore its immediate surrounding should be more or less
artificial, but that the house is an incident in Nature modified by
what is termed Art, and therefore the surround should be of the same

At the same time, I beg leave to say in this place that I am not so
besotted upon my own opinion as to be incapable of acknowledging
that Sir R. Blomfield\x92s belief that a house can never be regarded as
otherwise than wholly artificial, may commend itself to a much larger
client\xE8le than I can hope for.

In any case the appropriateness of the Formal Garden has been proved
(literally) down to the ground. As a matter of fact, no one ever thought
of questioning it in England until some remarkable innovators, who
called themselves Landscape Gardeners, thought they saw their way
to work on a new system, and in doing so contrived to destroy many
interesting features of the landscape.

But really, landscape gardening has never been consistently defined. Its
exponents have always been slovenly and inconsistent in stating their
aims; so that while they claim to be all for giving what they call
Nature the supreme place in their designs, it must appear to most people
that the achievement of these designs entails treating Nature most
unnaturally. The landscape gardeners of the early years of the cult
seem to me to be in the position of the boy of whom the parents said,
\x93Charlie is so very fond of animals that we are going to make a butcher
of him.\x94 To read their enunciation of the principles by which they
professed to be inspired is to make one feel that they thought the
butchery of a landscape the only way to beautify it.

But, I repeat, the examples of their work with which we are acquainted
show but a small amount of consistency with their professions of faith.
When we read the satires that were written upon their work in the
eighteenth century, we really feel that the lampooners have got hold
of the wrong brief, and that they are ridiculing the upholders of the
Formal Garden.

So far as I was concerned in dealing with my insignificant garden home,
I did not concern myself with principles or theories or schools or
consistency or inconsistency; I went ahead as I pleased, and though
Friswell shook his head--I have not finished with him yet on account
of that mute expression of disagreement with my aims--I enjoyed myself
thoroughly, if now and again with qualms of uneasiness, in laying out
what I feel I must call the House Garden rather than the Formal Garden,
where the lawn had spread itself abroad, causing the wing of the house
to have something of the appearance of a lighthouse springing straight
up from a green sea. As it is now, that green expanse suggests a
tropical sea with many brilliant islands breaking up its placid surface.

That satisfies me. If the lighthouse remains, I have given it a _raison
d\x92etre_ by strewing the sea with islands.

I made my appeal to Olive, the practical one.

\x93Yes,\x94 she said, after one of her thoughtful intervals. \x93Yes, I think it
does look naturaler.\x94

And I do believe it does.


I differ from many people who knew more about garden-making than I know
or than I ever shall know, in believing that it is unnecessary for the
House Garden--I will adopt this name for it--to be paved between the
beds. I have seen this paving done in many cases, and to my mind it adds
without any need whatsoever a certain artificiality to the appearance
of this feature of the garden. By all means let the paths be paved with
stone or brick; I have had all mine treated in this way, and thereby
made them more natural in appearance, suggesting, as they do, the dry
watercourse of a stream: every time I walk on thorn I remember the
summer aspect of that beautiful watercourse at Funchal in the island of
Madeira, which becomes a thoroughfare for several months of the year;
but I am sure that the stone edgings of the beds and of the fountain
basin look much better surrounded by grass. All that one requires to do
in order to bring the House Garden in touch with the house is to bring
something of the material of the house on to the lawn, and to force
the house to reciprocate with a mantle of amp\xE9lopsis patterned with

All that I did was to remove the turf within the boundary of my stone
edging and add the necessary soil. A week was sufficient for all,
including the fountain basin and the making of the requisite attachment
to the main water pipe which supplies the garden from end to end.

And here let me advise any possible makers of garden fountains on no
account to neglect the introduction of a second outlet and tap for
the purpose of emptying the pipe during a frost. The cost will be very
little extra, and the operation will prevent so hideous a catastrophe as
the bursting of a pipe passing through or below the concrete basin. My
plumber knew his business, and I have felt grateful to him for making
such a provision against disaster, when I have found six inches of ice
in the basin after a week\x92s frost.

At first I was somewhat timid over the planting of the stone-edged beds.
I had heard of carpet bedding, and I had heard it condemned without
restraint. I had also seen several examples of it in public gardens at
seaside places and elsewhere, which impressed me only by the ingenuity
of their garishness. Some one, too, had put the veto upon any possible
tendency on my part to such a weakness by uttering the most condemnatory
words in the vocabulary of art--Early Victorian! To be on the safe
side I planted the beds with herbaceous flowers, only reserving two for
fuchsias, of which I have always been extremely fond.

I soon came to find out that a herbaceous scheme in that place was a
mistake. For two months we had to look at flowers growing, for a month
we had to look at things rampant, and for a month we had to watch things
withering. At no time was there an equal show of colour in all the beds.
The blaze of beauty I had hoped for never appeared: here and there
we had a flash of it, but it soon flickered out, much to our
disappointment. If the period of the ramp had synchronised for all the
beds it would not have been so bad; but when one subject was rampant the
others were couchant, and no one was pleased.

The next year we tried some more dwarf varieties and such annuals as
verbenas, zinnias, scabious, godetias, and clarkias, but although every
one came on all right, yet they did not come on simultaneously, and I
felt defrauded of my chromatic effects. A considerable number of people
thought the beds quite a success; but we could not see with their eyes,
and our feeling was one of disappointment.

Happily, at this time I bought for a few shillings a few boxes of the
ordinary _echeveria secunda glauca_, and, curiously enough, the same day
I came upon a public place where several beds of the same type as mine,
set in an enclosed space of emerald grass, were planted with
echeveria and other succulents, in patterns, with a large variety of
brilliantly-coloured foliage and a few dwarf calceolarias and irisines.
In a moment I thought I saw that this was exactly what I needed--whether
it was carpet bedding or early Victorian or inartistic, this was what I
wanted, and I knew that I should not be happy until I got it. Every bed
looked like a stanza of Keats, or a box of enamels from the Faubourg de
Magnine in Limoges, where Nicholas Laudin worked.

That was three years ago, and although I planted out over three thousand
echeverias last summer, 1 had not to buy another box of the same
variety; I had only to find some other succulents and transplant some
violas in order to achieve all that I hoped for from these beds. For
three years they have been altogether satisfying with their orderly
habits and reposeful colouring. The glauca is the shade that the human
eye can rest upon day after day without weariness, and the pink and blue
and yellow and purple violas which I asked for a complement of colours,
do all that I hoped they would do.

Of course we have friends who walk round the garden, look at those beds
with dull eyes of disapproval, and walk on after imparting information
on some contentious point, such as the necessity to remove the shoots
from the briers of standard roses, or the assurance that the slugs
are fond of the leaves of hollyhock. We have an occasional visitor who

\x93Isn\x92t carpet-bedding rather old-fashioned?\x94

So I have seen a lady in the spacious days of the late seventies shake
her head and smile pityingly in a room furnished with twelve ribbon-back
chairs made by the great Director.

\x93Old-fashioned--gone out years ago!\x94 were the terms of her criticism.

But so far as I am concerned I would have no more objection to one of
the ribbon-borders of long ago, if it was in a suitable place, than I
would have to a round dozen of ribbon-back chairs in a panelled room
with a mantelpiece by Boesi and a glass chandelier by one of the Adam
Brothers. It is only the uninformed who are ready to condemn something
because they think that it is old-fashioned, just as it is only the
ignorant who extol something because it happens to be antique. I was
once lucky enough to be able to buy an exquisitely chased snuff-box
because the truthful catalogue had described it as made of pinchbeck.
For the good folk in the saleroom the word pinchbeck was enough. It
was associated in their minds with something that was a type of the
meretricious. But the pinchbeck amalgam was a beautiful one, and the
workmanship of some of the articles made of it was usually of the
highest class. Now that people are better educated they value--or at
least some of them value--a pinchbeck buckle or snuff-box for \x91its
artistic beauty.

We see our garden more frequently than do any of our visitors, and we
are satisfied with its details--within bounds, of course. It has never
been our ambition to emulate the authorities who control the floral
designs blazing in the borders along the seafront of one of our
watering-places, which are admired to distraction by trippers under the
influence of a rag-time band and other stimulants. We do not long so
greatly to see a floral Union Jack in all its glory at our feet, or
any loyal sentiment lettered in dwarf beet and blue lobelia against a
background of crimson irisine. We know very well that such marvels are
beyond our accomplishment. What we hoped for was to have under our
eyes for three months of the year a number of beds full of wallflowers,
tulips, and hyacinths, and for four months equally well covered with
varied violas, memsembrianthium, mauve ageratum, the pr\xE6cox dwarf roses,
variegated cactus used sparingly, and as many varieties of eche-veria
used lavishly, with here and there a small dracaena or perhaps a tuft
of feathery grass or the accentuations of a few crimson begonias to show
that we are not afraid of anything.

We hold that the main essential of the beds of the House Garden is
\x93finish.\x94 They must look well from the day they are planted in the third
week of May until they are removed in the last week of October. We do
not want that barren interval of a month or six weeks when the tulips
have been lifted and their successors are growing. We do not want a
single day of empty beds or colourless beds; we do not want to see a
square inch of the soil. We want colour and contour under our eyes from
the first day of March until the end of October, and we get it. We have
no trouble with dead leaves or drooping blooms--no trouble with snails
or slugs or leather-jackets. Every bed is presentable for the summer
when the flowers that bloom in the spring have been removed; the effect
is only agreeably diversified when the begonias show themselves in July.

Is the sort of thing that I have described to be called carpet-bedding?
I know not and I trow not; all that I know is that it is the sort of
thing that suits us.

Geometry is its foundation and geometry represents all that is
satisfying, because it is Nature\x92s closest ally when Nature wishes to
produce Beauty. Almost every flower is a geometrical study. Let rose
bushes ramp as they may, the sum of all their ramping is that triumph of
geometry, the rose. Let the clematis climb as unruly as it may, the
end of its labours is a geometrical star; let the dandelion be as
disagreeable as it pleases--I don\x92t intend to do so really, only for the
sake of argument--but its rows of teeth are beautifully geometrical, and
the fairy finish of its life, which means, alas! the magical beginning
of a thousand new lives, is a geometrical marvel.

But I do not want to accuse myself of excusing myself over much for my
endeavour to restore a fashion which I was told had \x93gone out.\x94 I only
say that if what I have done in my stone-edged geometrical beds is to
be slighted because some fool has called it carpet-bedding, I shall at
least have the satisfaction of knowing that I have worked on the
lines of Nature. Nature is the leader of the art of carpet-bedding on
geometrical lines. Nature\x92s most beautiful spring mattress is a carpet
bed of primroses, wild hyacinths, daffodils, and daisies--every one
of them a geometrical marvel. As a matter of fact the design of every
formal bed in our garden is a copy of a snow crystal.

Of course, so far as conforming to the dictates of fashion in a garden
is concerned, I admit that I am a nonconformist. I do not think that any
one who has any real affection for the development of a garden will be
ready to conform to any fashion of the hour in gardening. I believe that
there never was a time when the artistic as well as the scientific side
of garden design was so fully understood or so faithfully adhered to
as it is just now. There is nothing to fear from the majority of the
exponents of the art; it is with the unconsidering amateurs that the
danger lies. The dangerous amateur is the one who assumes that there
is fashion in gardening as there is a fashion in garments, and that one
must at all hazards live up to the _dernier cri_ or get left behind in
the search for the right thing. F or instance, within the last six or
seven years it has become \x93the right thing\x94 to have a sunk garden. Now a
sunk garden is, literally, as old as the hills; the channel worn in the
depth of a valley by an intermittent stream becomes a sunk garden in
the summer. The Dutch, not having the advantage of hills and vales, were
compelled to imitate Nature by sinking their flower-patches below the
level of the ground. They were quite successful in their attempt to
put the garden under their eyes; by such means they were able fully to
admire the patterns in which their bulbs were arranged. Put where is the
sense in adopting in England the handicap of Holland? It is obvious that
if one can look down upon a garden from a terrace one does not need
to sink the ground to a lower level. And yet I have known of several
instances of people insisting on having a sunk garden just under a
terrace. They had heard that sunk gardens were the fashion and they
would not be happy if there was a possibility of any one thinking that
they were out of the fashion.

Then the charm of the rock garden was being largely advertised and
talked about, so mounds of broken bricks and stones and \x93slag\x94 and
rubbish arose alongside the trim villas, and the occupants slept in
peace knowing that those heights of rubbish represented the height--the
heights of fashion. Then came the \x93crevice\x94 fashion. A conscientious
writer discoursed of the beauty of the little things that grow between
the bricks of old walls, and forthwith yards of walls, guaranteed to be
of old bricks, sprang up in every direction, with hand-made crevices in
which little gems that had never been seen on walls before, were stuck,
and simple nurserymen were told that they were long behind the time
because they were unable to meet the demand for house leeks. I have seen
a ten-feet length of wall raised almost in the middle of a villa garden
for no other purpose than to provide a foot-hold for lichens. The last
time I saw it it was providing a space for the exhibition of a printed
announcement that an auction would take place in the house.

But by far the most important of the schemes which of late have been
indulged in for adding interest to the English garden, is the \x93Japanese
style.\x94 The \x93Chinese Taste,\x94 we all know, played a very important part
in many gardens in the eighteenth century, as it did in other directions
in the social life of England. The flexible imagination of Thomas
Chippendale found it as easy to introduce the leading Chinese notes
in his designs as the leading French notes; and his genius was so well
controlled that his pieces \x93in the Chinese Taste\x94 did not look at all
incongruous in an English mansion. The Chinese wallpaper was a beautiful
thing in its way, nor did it look out of place in a drawing-room with
the beautifully florid mirrors of Chippendale design on the walls, and
the noble lacquer caskets and cabinets that stood below them. Under the
same impulse Sir Thomas Chambers was entrusted with the erection of the
great pagoda in Kew Gardens, and Chinese junks were moored alongside
the banks to enable visitors to drink tea \x93in the Chinese Taste.\x94 The
Staffordshire potters reproduced on their ware some excellent patterns
that had originated with the Celestials, and in an attempt to be
abreast of the time, Goldsmith made his _Citizen of the World_ a Chinese

For obvious reasons, however, there was no Japanese craze at that
time. Little was known of the supreme art of Japan, and nothing of the
Japanese Garden. Now we seem to be making up for this deprivation of the
past, and the Japanese style of gardening is being represented in many
English grounds. I think that nothing could be more interesting, or, in
its own way, more exquisite: but is it not incongruous in its new-found

It is nothing of the sort, provided that it is not brought into close
proximity to the English garden. In itself it is charming, graceful, and
grateful in every way; but unless its features are kept apart from those
of the English garden, it becomes incongruous and unsatisfactory. It is,
however, only necessary to put it in its place, which should be as far
away as possible from the English house and House Garden, and it will
be found fully to justify its importation. It possesses all the elements
that go to the formation of a real garden, the strongest of these being,
in my opinion, a clear and consistent design; unless a garden has both
form and design it is worth no consideration, except from the very
humblest standpoint.

Its peculiar charm seems to me to be found in what the nurseryman\x92s
catalogue calls the \x93dwarf habit.\x94 It is essentially among the
miniatures. Though it may be as extensive as one pleases to make it, yet
it gains rather than loses when treated as its trees are by the skilful
hands of the miniaturist. Without suggesting that it should be reduced
to toy dimensions, yet I am sure that it should be so that no tall human
being should be seen in it. It is the garden of a small race. A big
Englishman should not be allowed into it. It would not be giving it fair

Fancying that I have put its elements into a nutshell, carrying my
minimising to a minimum, I repeat the last sentence to Dorothy.

\x93You would not exclude Mr. Friswell,\x94 said she.

\x93Atheist Friswell is not life-size: he may go without rebuke into the
most miniature Japanese garden in Bond Street,\x94 I reply gratefully.

\x93And how about Mrs. Friswell?\x94 she asks.

\x93She is three sizes too big, even in her chapel shoes,\x94 I replied.

Mrs. Friswell, in spite of her upbringing--perhaps on account of
it--wears the heelless shoes of Little Bethel.

\x93Then Mr. Friswell will never be seen in a Japanese garden,\x94 said

She does like Mrs. Friswell.

[Illustration: 0130]


But there is in my mind one garden In which I should like to see
the tallest and most truculent of Englishmen. It is the Tiergarten at
Berlin. I recollect very vividly the first time that I passed through
the Brandenburger Gate to visit some friends who occupied a flat in
the block of buildings known as \x93In den Zelten.\x94 I had just come within
sight of the sentry at the gate-house when I saw him rush to the door of
the guard-room and in a few seconds the whole guard had turned out with
a trumpet and a drum. I was surprised, for I had not written to say that
I was coming, and I was quite unused to such courtesy either in Berlin
br any other city where there is a German population.

Before the incident went further I became aware of the fact that all the
vehicles leaving \x93Unter den Linden\x94 had become motionless, and that the
officers who were in some of them were standing up at the salute. The
only carriage in motion was a landau drawn by a pair of gray horses,
with a handsome man in a plain uniform and the ordinary helmet of an
infantry soldier sitting alone with his face to the horses. I knew
him in a moment, though I had never seen him before--the Crown Prince
Frederick, the husband of our Princess Royal--the \x93Fritz\x94 of the
intimate devotional telegrams to \x93Augusta\x94 from the battlefields of
France in 1870.

That Crown Prince was the very opposite to his truculent son and
that contemptible blackguard, his son\x92s son. Genial, considerate, and
unassuming, disliking all display and theatrical posing, he was much
more of an English gentleman than a German Prince. His son Wilhelm had
even then begun to hate him--so I heard from a high personage of the

I am certain that it was his reading of the campaign of 1870-1 that
set this precious Wilhelm--this Emperor of the penny gaff--on his last
enterprise. If one hunts up the old newspapers of 1870 one will read
in every telegram from the German front of the King of Prussia and the
Crown Prince marching to Victory, in the campaign started by a forgery
and a lie, by that fine type of German trickery, unscrupulousness,
brutality, and astuteness, Bismarck. Wilhelm could not endure the
thought of the glory of his house being centred in those who had gone
before him, and he chafed at the years that were passing without history
repeating itself. He could with difficulty restrain himself from his
attempt to dominate the world until his first-begotten was old enough to
dominate the demi-monde of Paris--\x93Wilhelm to-day successfully stormed
Le Chemin des Dames,\x94 was the telegram that he sent to the Empress, in
imitation of those sent by his grandfather to his Augusta. _Le Chemin
des Dames!_--beyond a doubt his dream was to give France to his eldest,
England to his second, and Russia to the third of the litter. After
that, as he said to Mr. Gerard, he would turn his attention to America.

That was the dream of this Bonaparte done in German silver, and now his
house is left unto him desolate--unto him whose criminality, sustained
by the criminal conceit of his subjects, left thousands of houses
desolate for evermore.

But we are now in the Garden of Peace, whose sweet savour should not be
allowed to become rank by the mention of the name of the instigator of
the German butcheries.

There is little under my eyes in this garden to remind me of one on the
Rhine where I spent a summer a good many years ago. Its situation was
ideal. The island of legends, Nonnenworth, was all that could be seen
from one of the garden-houses; and one of the windows in the front
was arranged in small squares of glass stained, but retaining their
transparency, in various colours--crimson, pink, dark blue, ultramarine,
and two degrees yellow. Through these theatrical mediums we were
exhorted to view the romantic island, so that we had the rare chance
of seeing Nonnenworth bathed in blood, or in flames of fire. It was
undoubtedly a great privilege, but I only availed myself of it once;
though our host, who must have looked through those glasses thousands of
times, was always to be found gazing through the flaming yellow at the
unhappy isle.

From the vineyard nearer the house we had the finest view of the ruins
of the Drachenfels, and, on the other side of the Rhine, of Rolandseck.
Godesburg was farther away, but we used to drive through the lovely
avenue of cherry-trees and take the ferry to the hotel gardens where we

Another of the features of the great garden of our villa was a fountain
whose chief charm was found in an arrangement by which, on treading on
a certain slab of stone at the invitation of our host, the uninitiated
were met by a deluging squirt of water.

This was the lighter side of hospitality; but it was at one time to be
found in many English gardens, one of the earliest being at our Henry\x92s
Palace of Nonsuch.

In another well-built hut there was the apparatus of a game which is
popular aboard ship in the Tropics: I believe it is called Bull; it
is certainly an adaptation of the real bull. There is a framework of
apertures with a number painted on each, the object of the player being
to throw a metal disc resembling a quoit into the central opening.
Another hut had a pole in the middle and cords with a ring at the end of
each suspended from above, and the trick was to induce the ring to catch
on to a particular hook in a set arranged round the pole. These were the
games of exercise; but the intellectual visitors had for their diversion
an immense globe of silvered glass which stood on a short pillar and
enabled one to get in absurd perspective a reflection of the various
parts of the garden where it was placed. This toy is very popular in
some parts of France, and I have heard that about sixty years ago it was
to be found in many English gardens also. It is a great favourite in the
German _lustgarten_.

These are a few of the features of a private garden which may commend
themselves to some of my friends; but the least innocuous will never be
found within my castle walls. I would not think them worth mentioning
but for the fact that yesterday a visitor kept rubbing us all over with
sandpaper, so to speak, by talking enthusiastically about her visits to
Germany, and in the midst of the autumn calm in our garden, telling us
how beautifully her friend Von Rosche had arranged his grounds. She had
the impudence to point to one of the most impregnable of my \x93features,\x94
 saying with a smile,--

\x93The Count would not approve of that, I\x92m afraid.\x94

\x93I am so glad,\x94 said Dorothy sweetly. \x93If I thought that there was
anything here of which he would approve, I should put on my gardening
boots and trample it as much out of existence as our relations are with
those contemptible counts and all their race.\x94

And then, having found the range, I brought my heavy guns into action
and \x93the case began to spread.\x94

I trust that I made myself thoroughly offensive, and when I recall some
of the things I said, my conscience acquits me of any shortcomings in
this direction.

\x93You were very wise,\x94 said Dorothy; \x93but I think you went too far when
you said. \x91Good-bye, Miss Haldane.\x92 I saw her wince at that.\x94

\x93I knew that I would never have a chance of speaking to her again,\x94 I

\x93Oh, yes; but--Haldane--Haldane! If you had made it Snowden or MacDonald
it would not have been so bad; but Haldane!\x94

\x93I said Haldane because I meant Haldane, and because Haldane is a
synonym for colossal impudence--the impudence cf a police-court attorney
defending a prostitute with whom he was on terms of disgusting intimacy.
What a trick it was to leave the War Office, out of which he knew he
would be turned, and then cajole his friend Asquith into giving him
a peerage and the Seals, so that he might have his pension of five
thousand pounds a year for the rest of his natural life! If that is to
be condoned, all that I can say is that we must revise all our notions
of political pettifogging. I forget at the moment how many retired Lord
Chancellors there are who are pocketing their pension, but have done
nothing to earn it.\x94

\x93What, do you call voting through thick and thin with your party

\x93I don\x92t. That is how, what we call a sovereign to-day is worth only nine
shillings, and a man who got thirty shillings a week as a gardener only
gets three pounds now: thirty shillings in 1913 was mere than three
pounds to-day. And in England----\x94

\x93Hush, hush. Remember, \x91My country right or wrong.\x92\x94

\x93I do remember. That is why I rave. When my country, right or wrong is
painted out and \x91my party, right or wrong\x92 substituted, isn\x92t it time
one raved?\x94

\x93You didn\x92t talk in that strain when you wrote a leading article every
day for a newspaper.\x94

\x93I admit it; but--but--well, things hadn\x92t come to a head in those old

\x93You mean that they had not come into your head, _mon vieux_, if you
will allow me to say so.\x94

I did allow her to say so--she had said so before asking my leave, which
on the whole I admit is a very good way of saying things.

To be really frank, I confess that I was very glad that the dialogue
ended here. I fancied the possibility of her having stored away in that
wonderful group of pigeon holes which she calls her memory, a memorandum
endorsed with the name of Campbell-Bannerman or a _dossier_ labelled
\x93Lansdowne.\x94 For myself I recollect very well that a vote of the
representatives of the People had declared that Campbell-Bannerman
had left the country open to destruction by his failure to provide
an adequate supply of cordite. In the days of poor Admiral Byng such
negligence would have been quickly followed by an execution; but with
the politician it was followed by a visit to Buckingham Palace and a
decoration as a hero. When it was plain that Lord Lansdowne had made,
and was still making, a muddle of the South African War, he was promoted
to a more important post in the Government--namely, the Foreign Office.
With such precedents culled from the past, why should any one be
surprised to find the instigator of the Gallipoli gamble, whose
responsibility was proved by a Special Commission of Inquiry, awarded
the most important post next to that of the Prime Minister?

Yes, on the whole I was satisfied to accept my Dorothy\x92s smiling rebuke
with a smile; and the sequel of the incident showed me that I was wise
in this respect; for I found her the next day looking with admiring eyes
at our Temple.

Our Temple was my masterpiece, and it was the \x93feature\x94 which our
visitor had, without meaning it, commended so extravagantly when she had
assured us that her friend Count Von Bosche would not have approved of

\x93I think, my child, now that I come to think of it, that your
single-sentence retort respecting the value of the Count\x92s possible
non-approval was more effective than my tirade about the vulgarity of
German taste in German gardens, especially that one at Honnef-on-Rhine,
where I was jocularly deluged with Rhine water. You know how to hit off
such things. You are a born sniper.\x94

\x93Sniping is a woman\x92s idea of war,\x94 said Dorothy.

\x93I don\x92t like to associate women and warfare,\x94 said I shaking my head.

\x93That is because of your gentle nature, dear,\x94 said she with all the
smoothness of a smoothing-iron fresh from a seven-times heated furnace.
\x93But isn\x92t it strange that in most languages the word War is a noun

\x93They were always hard on woman in those days,\x94 said I vaguely. \x93But
they\x92re making up for it now.\x94

\x93What are you talking about?\x94 she cried. \x93Why, they\x92re harder than ever
on women in this country. Haven\x92t they just insisted on enchaining them
with the franchise, with the prospect of seats in the House of Commons?
Oh, Woman--poor Woman!--poor, poor Woman--what have you done to deserve


The Temple is one of the \x93features\x94 which began to grow with great
rapidity in connection with the House Garden. And here let me say that,
in my opinion, one of the most fascinating elements of the House Garden
is the way in which its character develops. To watch its development is
as interesting as to watch the growth of a dear child, only it is never
wilful, and the child is--sometimes. There is no wilfulness in the
floral part: as I have already explained, the \x93dwarf habit\x94 of the stock
prevents all ramping and every form of rebellion: but it is different
with the \x93features.\x94 I have found that every year brings its suggestions
of development in many directions, and surely this constitutes the main
attractiveness of working out any scheme of horticulture.

I have found that one never comes to an end in this respect; and I am
sure that this accounts for the great popularity of the House Garden,
in spite of its enemies having tried to abolish it by calling it Formal.
The time was when one felt it necessary to make excuses for it--Mr.
Robinson, one of the most eminent of its detractors, was, and still is,
I am happy to be able to say, the writer to whom we all apply for advice
in an emergency. He is \xC6sculapius living on the happiest terms with

But when we who are her devotees wish to build a Temple for her worship,
we don\x92t consult \xC6sculapius: he is a physician, not an architect, and
Mr. Robinson has been trying to convince us for over twenty years that
an architect is not the person to consult, for he knows nothing about
the matter. \xC6sculapius is on the side of Nature, we are told, and he
has been assuring us that the architect is not; but in spite of all its
opponents, the garden of form and finish is the garden of to-day. Every
one who wishes to have a garden worth talking about--a garden to look
out upon from a house asks for a garden of form and finish.

I am constantly feeing that I am protesting too much in its favour,
considering that it needs no apologist at this time of day, when, as I
have just said, opinion on its desirability is not divided, so I will
hasten to relieve myself of the charge of accusation by apology. Only
let me say that the beautiful illustrations to Mr. Robinson\x92s volume
entitled _Garden Design and Architects\x92 Gardens_--they are by Alfred
Parsons--go far, in my opinion, to prove exactly the opposite to what
they are designed to prove. We have pictures of stately houses and
of comparatively humble houses, in which we are shown the buildings
starting up straight out of the landscape, with a shaggy tree or group
of trees cutting off at a distance of only a few yards from the walls,
some of the most interesting architectural features; we have pictures of
mansions with a woodland behind them and a river flowing in front, and
of mansions in the very midst of trees, and looking at every one of them
we are conscious of that element of incongruity which takes away from
every sense of beauty. In fact, looking at the woodcuts, finely executed
as they are, we are forced to limit our observation to the architecture
of the houses only; for there is nothing else to observe. We feel as
if we were asked to admire an unfinished work--as if the owner of the
mansion had spent all his money on the building and so was compelled
to break off suddenly before the picture that he hoped to make of the
\x93place\x94 was complete or approaching completeness.

Mr. Robinson\x92s strongest objection is to \x93clipping.\x94 He regards with
abhorrence what he calls after Horace Walpole, \x93vegetable sculpture.\x94
 Well, last year, being in the neighbourhood of one of the houses which
he illustrates as an example of his \x93natural\x94 style of gardening, I
thought I should take the opportunity of verifying his quotations.
I visited the place, but when I arrived at what I was told was the
entrance, I felt certain that I had been misdirected, for I found myself
looking through a wrought-iron gate at an avenue bounded on both sides
with some of the most magnificent clipped box hedges I had ever seen.
Within I was overwhelmed with the enormous masses treated in the same
way. It was not hedges they were, but walls--massive fortifications, ten
feet high and five thick, and all clipped I I never saw such examples of
topiary work. To stand among these _b\xEAtes noires_ of Mr. Robinson
made one feel as if one were living among the mastodons and other
monstrosities of the early world: the smallest suggested both in form
and bulk the Jumbo of our youth--no doubt it had a trunk somewhere, but
it was completely hidden. The lawn--at the bottom of which, by the way,
there stood the most imposing garden-house I had ever seen outside
the grounds of Stowe--was divided geometrically by the awful bodies of
mastodons, mammoths, elephants, and hippopotamuses, the effect being
hauntingly Wilsonian, Wagnerian, and nightmarish, so that I was glad to
hurry away to where I caught a glimpse of some geometrical flower
beds, with patterns delightfully worked in shades of blue--Lord Roberts
heliotrope, ageratum, and verbena.

I asked the head-gardener, whom the war had limited to two assistants,
if he spent much time over the clipping, and he told me that it took two
trained men doing nothing else but clipping those walls for six weeks
out of every year!

From what Mr. Robinson has written one gathers that he regards the
clipping of trees as equal in enormity to the clipping of coins--perhaps
even more so. If that is the case, it is lucky for those topiarists that
he is not in the same position as Sir Charles Mathews.

And the foregoing is a faithful description of the \x93landscape\x94
 around one of the houses illustrated in his book as an example of the
\x93naturalistic\x94 style.

But perhaps Mr. Robinson\x92s ideas have become modified, as those of the
owner of the house must have done during the twenty-five years that have
elapsed since the publication of his book, subjecting Mr. Blomfield
(as he was then) and Mr. Inigo Triggs to a criticism whose severity
resembles that of the _Quarterly Review_ of a hundred years ago, or the
_Saturday_ of our boyhood.

To return to my Temple, within whose portals I swear that I have said
my last word respecting the old battle of the styles, I look on its
erection as the first progeny of the matrimonial union of the house with
its garden. I have mentioned the mound encircled with flowering shrubs
at the termination of the lawn. I am unable to say what part was played
by this raised ground in the economy of the Norman Castle, but before
I had been looking at it for very long I perceived that it was clearly
meant to be the site of some building that, would be in keeping with the
design of the garden below it--some building in which one could sit and
obtain the full enjoyment of the floral beds which were now crying out
with melodious insistence for admiration.

The difficulty was to know in what form the building should be cast. I
reckoned that I had a free choice in this matter. The boundary wall of
the Castle is, of course, free from all architectural trammels. I could
afford to ignore it. If the Keep or the Barbican had been within sight,
my freedom in this respect would have been curtailed to the narrowest
limits: I should have been compelled to make the Norman or the Decorated
the style, for anything else would have seemed incongruous in close
proximity to a recognised type; but under the existing conditions I saw
that the attempt to carry out in this place the Norman tradition would
result in something that would seem as great a mockery as the sham
castle near Bath.

But I perceived that if I could not carry out the Norman tradition
I might adopt the eighteenth century tradition respecting a garden
building, and erect one of the classic temples that found favour with
the great garden makers of that period--something frankly artificial,
but eminently suggestive of the Italian taste which the designers had
acquired in Italy.

I have wondered if the erection of these classical buildings in English
gardens did not seem very incongruous and artificial when they were
first brought before the eyes of the patron; and the conclusion that I
have come to is that they seemed as suitable to an English home as did
the pure Greek fa\xE7ade of the mansion itself, the fact being that there
is no English style of architecture. Italy gave us the handsomest
style for our homes, and when people were everywhere met with classical
fa\xE7ades--when the Corinthian pillar with, perhaps, its modified Roman
entablature, was to be seen in every direction, the classical garden
temple was accepted as in perfect harmony with its surroundings. So the
regular couplets of Dryden, Pope, and a score of lesser versifiers were
acclaimed as the most natural and reasonable form for the expression
of their opinions. Thus I hold that, however unenterprising the garden
designers were in being content to copy Continental models instead of
inventing something as original as Keats in the matter of form, the
modern garden designer has only to copy in order to produce--well, a
copy of the formality of their time. But if people nowadays do not wish
their gardens to reflect the tastes of their ancestors for the classical
tradition, they will be very foolish if they do not adopt something
better--when they find it.

[Illustration: 0150]

Of course I am now still referring to the garden out of which the
house should spring. The moment that you get free from the compelling
influence of the house, you may go as you please; and to my mind you
will be as foolish if you do not do something quite different from the
House Garden as you would be if you were to do anything different within
sight of the overpowering House--almost as foolish as the people who
made a beautiful fountain garden and then flung it at the head of that
natural piece of water, the Serpentine.

My temple was to be in full view of the house, and I wished to maintain
the tradition of a certain period, so I drew out my plans accordingly. I
had space only for something about ten feet square, and I found out what
the simplest form of such a building would cost. It could be done in
stone for some hundreds of pounds, in deal for less than a fourth of
that sum.

Both estimates were from well-known people with all the facilities for
turning out good work at the lowest figure of profit; but both estimates
made me heavy-hearted. I tried to make up my mind not to spend the rest
of my life in the state of the Children of Israel when their Temple was
swept away; but within six months I had my vision restored, and unlike
the old people who wept because the restoration was far behind the
original in glory, I rejoiced; for, finding that I could not afford
to have the structure in deal, I had it built of marble, and the cost
worked out most satisfactorily. In marble it cost me about a fourth of
the estimate in deal!

I did it on the system adopted by the makers of the Basilica of St. Mark
at Venice. Those economical people built their walls of brick and
laid their marbles upon that. My collection of marbles was distinctly
inferior to theirs, but I flatter myself that it was come by more
honestly. The only piece of which I felt doubtful, not as regards
beauty, but respecting the honourable nature of its original acquiring,
was a fine slab, with many inlays. It was given to Augustus J. C. Hare
by the Commander of one of the British transports that returned from the
Black Sea and the Crimea in 1855, and it was originally in a church
near Balaclava. In the catalogue of the sale of Mr. Hare\x92s effects at
Hurstmonceaux, the name of the British officer was given and the name of
his ship and the name of the church, but the rest is silence. I cannot
believe that that British officer would have been guilty of sacrilege;
but I do not know how many hands a thing like this should pass through
in order to lose the stain of sacrilege, so I don\x92t worry over the
question of the morality of the transaction, any more than the devout
worshippers do beneath the mosaics of St. Mark--that greatest depository
of stolen goods in the world.

All the rest of my coloured marbles that I applied to the brickwork of
my little structure came mostly from old mantelpieces and restaurant
tables, but I was lucky enough to alight upon quite a large number of
white Sicilian tiles, more than an inch thick, which were invaluable
to me, and a friendly stonemason gave me several yards of statuary
moulding: it must have cost originally about what I paid for my entire

It was a great pleasure to me to watch the fabric arise, which it
did like the towers of Ilium, to music--the music of the thrushes and
blackbirds and robins of our English landscape in the early summer when
I began my operations--they lasted just on a fortnight--and the splendid
colour-chorus of the borders. But what is a Temple on a hill without
steps? and what are steps without piers, and what are piers without

All came in due time. I found an excellent quarry not too far away, and
from it I got several tons of stone that was easily shaped and squared,
and there is very little art needed to deal efficiently with such
monoliths as I had laid on the slope of the mound--the work occupied a
man and his boy just three days. The source of the piers is my secret;
but there they are with their stone vases to-day, and now from the
marble seat of the temple, thickly overspread with cushions, one can
overlook the parterres between the mound and the house, and feel no
need for the sunk garden which is the ambition of such as must be on the
crest of the latest wave of fashion.


Atheist Friswell has been wondering where he saw a mount like mine
crowned with just such a structure, and he has at last shepherded his
wandering memory to the place. I ventured to suggest the possibilities
of the island Scios, and Jack Heywood, the painter, who, though our
neighbour, still remains our friend, makes some noncompromising remark
about Milos \x93where the statues come from.\x94

\x93I think you\x92ll find the place in a picture-book called _Beauty Spots
in Greece_\x94 remarked Mrs. Friswell. Dorothy is under the impression
that Friswell\x92s researches in the classical lore of one Lempri\xE8re is
accountable for his notion that there is, or was, at one time in the
world a Temple with some resemblance to the one in which we were sitting
when he began to wonder.

\x93Very likely,\x94 said he, with a brutal laugh. \x93The temples on the hills
were sometimes dedicated to the sun--Helios, you know.\x94

Of course we all knew, or pretended that we knew.

\x93And what did your artful Christians do when they came upon such a
fane?\x94 he inquired.

\x93Pulled it down, I suppose; the early artful Christians had no more
sense of architectural or antiquarian beauty than the modern exponents
of the cult,\x94 said Heywood.

\x93They were too artful for that, those early Christian propagandists,\x94
 said Friswell. \x93No, they turned to the noble Greek worshippers whom they
were anxious to convert, and cried, dropping their aspirates after the
manner of the moderns, \x91dedicated to Elias, is it?\x92 Quite so---Saint
Elias--he is one of our saints. That is how it comes that so many
churches on hills in the Near East have for their patron Saint Elias.
Who was he, I should like to know.\x94

\x93I would do my best to withhold the knowledge from you,\x94 said Dorothy.
\x93But was there ever really such a saint? There was a prophet, of course,
but that\x92s not just the same.\x94

\x93I should think not,\x94 said Friswell. \x93The old prophets were the grandest
characters of which there is a record--your saints are white trash
alongside them--half-breeds. They only came into existence because of
the craving of humanity for pluralities of worship. The Church has found
in her saints the equivalents to the whole Roman theology.\x94

\x93Mythology,\x94 said I correctively.

\x93There\x92s no difference between the words,\x94 he replied.

\x93Oh, yes, my dear, there is,\x94 said his wife. \x93There is the same
difference between theology and mythology as there is between convert
and pervert.\x94

\x93Exactly the same difference,\x94 he cried. \x93Exactly, but no greater.
Christian hagiology--what a horrid word!--is on all-fours with Roman
mythology. The women who used to lay flowers in the Temple of Diana
bring their lilies into the chapel of the Madonna. There are chapels
for all the saints, for they have endowed their saints with the powers
attributed to their numerous deities by the Greeks and the Romans. There
are enough saints to go round---to meet all the requirements of the most
freakish and exacting of district visitors. But the Jewish prophets were
very different from the mystical and mythical saints. They lived, and
you feel when you get in touch with them that you are on a higher plane

\x93Have you found out where you saw that Temple on the mound over there,
and if you have, let us know the name of the god or the goddess or
saint or saintess that it was dedicated to, and I\x92ll try to pick up a
Britannia metal figure cheap to put in the grove alongside the Greek
vase,\x94 said I.

He seemed in labour of thought: no one spoke for fear of interrupting
the course of nature.

\x93Let me think,\x94 he muttered. \x93I don\x92t see why the mischief I should
associate a Greek Temple with Oxford Street, but I do--that particular
Temple of yours.\x94

\x93If you were a really religious business man you might be led to
think of the City Temple, only it doesn\x92t belong to the Greek Church,\x94
 remarked Heywood.

\x93Let me help you,\x94 said the Atheist\x92s wife; \x93think of Truslove and
Hanson, the booksellers. Did Arthur Rackham ever put a Temple into one
of his picture-books?\x94

\x93After all, you may have gone on to Holborn--Were you in Batsford\x92s?\x94
 suggested Dorothy.

\x93Don\x92t bother about him,\x94 said I. \x93What does it matter if he did once
see something like our Temple; he\x92ll never see anything like it again,

\x93It may have been Buszards\x92--a masterpiece of Buszards,--pure
confectioners\x92 Greek architecture--icing veined to look like marble,\x94
 said Dorothy.

\x93I have it---I knew I could worry it out if you gave me time,\x94 cried

\x93Which we did,\x94 said I. \x93Well, whisper it gently in our ears.\x94

\x93It was in a scene in a play at the Princess\x92s Theatre,\x94 he cried
triumphantly. \x93Yes, 1 recollect it distinctly--something just like your
masterpiece, only more slavishly Greek--the scene was laid in Rome, so
they would be sure to have it correct.\x94

\x93What play was it?\x94 Dorothy asked.

\x93Oh, now you\x92re asking too much,\x94 he replied. \x93Who could remember the
name of a play after thirty or forty years? All that I remember is that
it was a thoroughly bad play with a Temple like yours in it. It was the
fading of the light that brought it within the tentacles of my memory.\x94

\x93So like a man--to blame the dusk,\x94 said his wife.

\x93The twilight is the time for a garden--the summer twilight, like this,\x94
 said Mr. Heywood.

\x93The moonless midnight is the time for some gardens,\x94 said Dorothy, who
is fastidious in many matters, though she did marry me.

\x93The time for a garden was decided a long time ago,\x94 said I--\x93as long
ago as the third chapter of Genesis and the eighth verse: \x91They heard
the voice of the Lord God walking in the Garden in the cool of the

\x93You say that with a last-word air--as much as to say \x91what\x92s good
enough for God is good enough for me,\x92\x94 laughed Friswell.

\x93I think that if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it would be in a
garden at the cool of the day,\x94 said Mrs. Friswell gently.

\x93There are some people who would fail to hear it at any time,\x94 said
I, pointedly referring to Friswell. He gave a laugh. \x93What are you
guffawing at?\x94 I cried with some asperity I trust.

\x93Not at your Congregational platitudes,\x94 he replied. \x93I was led to
smile when I remembered how the colloquial Bible which was compiled by
a Scotsman, treated that beautiful passage. He paraphrased it, \x91The Lord
went oot in the gloamin\x92 to hae a crack wi\x92 Adam ower the garden gate.\x92\x94

\x93I don\x92t suppose he was thought irreverent,\x94 said Dorothy. \x93He wasn\x92t
really, you know.\x94

\x93To take a step or two in the other direction,\x94 said Mrs. Friswell; \x93I
wonder if Milton had in his mind any of the Italian gardens he must have
visited on his travels when he described the Garden of Eden.\x94

\x93There\x92s not much of an Italian garden in Milton\x92s Eden,\x94 said Dorothy,
who is something of an authority on these points. \x93But it is certainly
an Italian twilight that he describes in one place. Poor Milton! he
must have been living for many years in a perpetual twilight before \x91t
darkened into his perpetual night.\x94

\x93You notice the influence of the hour,\x94 said Heywood. \x93We have fallen
into a twilight-shaded vale of converse. This is the hour when people
talk in whispers in gardens like these.\x94

\x93I dare say we have all done so in our time,\x94 remarked some one with a
sentimental sigh that she tried in vain to smother.

\x93Ah, God knew what He was about when He put a man and a woman into a
garden alone, and gave them an admonition,\x94 said Friswell. \x93By the way,
one of the most remarkable bits of testimony to the scientific accuracy
of the Book of Genesis, seems to me to be the discovery, after many
years of conjecture and vague theorising, that man and woman were
originally one, so that the story of the formation of Eve by separating
from Adam a portion of his body is scientifically true. I don\x92t suppose
that any of you good orthodox folk will take that in; but it is a fact
all the same.\x94

\x93I will believe anything except a scientific fact,\x94 said Dorothy.

\x93And I will believe nothing else,\x94 said Friswell. \x93The history of
mankind begins with the creation of Eve--the separation of the two-sexed
animal into two--meant a new world, a world worth writing about--a world
of love.\x94

\x93Listen to him--there\x92s the effect of twilight in a Garden of Peace for
you,\x94 said I. \x93Science and the Book of Genesis, hitherto at enmity, are
at last reconciled by Atheist Friswell. What a triumph! What a pity that
Milton, who made his Archangel visit Adam and his bride and give them a
scientific lecture, did not live to learn all this!\x94

\x93He would have given us a Nonconformist account of it,\x94 said Mrs.
Friswell. \x93I wonder how much his Archangel would have known if Milton
had not first visited Charles Deodati.\x94

There was much more to be said in the twilight on the subject of the
world of love--a world which seems the beginning of a new world to those
who love; and that was possibly why silence fell upon us and was only
broken by the calling of a thrush from among the rhododendrons and the
tapping of the rim of Heywood\x92s empty pipe-bowl on the heel of his shoe.
There was so much to be said, if we were the people to say it, on the
subject of the new Earth which your lover knows to be the old Heaven,
that, being aware of the inadequacy of human speech, we were silent for
a long space.

And when we began to talk again it was only to hark back from Nature to
the theatre, and, a further decadence still--the Gardens of the Stage.

The most effective garden scene in my recollection is that in which
Irving and Ellen Terry acted when playing Wills\x92 exquisite adaptation
of _King Ren\xEA\x92s Daughter_, which he called _Iolanthe_. I think it was
Harker who painted it. The garden was outside a mediaeval castle,
and the way its position on the summit of a hill was suggested was an
admirable bit of stagecraft. Among the serried lines of pines there was
at first seen the faint pink of a sunset, and this gradually became
a glowing crimson which faded away into the rich blue of an Italian
twilight. But there was enough light to glint here and there upon the
armour of the men-at-arms who moved about among the trees.

The parterre in the foreground was full of red roses, and I remember
that Mr. Ruskin, after seeing the piece and commenting upon the
_mise-en-sc\xE8ne_, said that in such a light as was on it, the roses of
the garden would have seemed black!

This one-act play was brought on by Irving during the latter months
of the great run of _The Merchant of Venice_. It showed in how true
a spirit of loyalty to Shakespeare the last act, which, in nearly all
representations of the play, is omitted, on the assumption that with the
disappearance of Shylock there is no further element of interest in the
piece, was retained by the great manager. It was retained only for the
first few months, and it was delightfully played. The moonlit garden
in which the incomparable lines of the poet were spoken was of the true
Italian type, though there is nothing in the text of what is called
\x93local colour.\x94

Juliet\x92s garden on the same stage was not so definitely Italian as it
might have been. But I happen to know who were Irving\x92s advisers. Among
them were two of the most popular of English painters, and if they had
had their own way Romeo would have been allowed no chance: he would have
been hidden by the clumps of yew, and juniper, and oleander, and ilex,
and pomegranate. A good many people who were present during the run of
_Romeo and Juliet_ were very much of the opinion that if this had taken
place it would have been to the advantage of all concerned. Mr. Irving,
as he was then, was not the ideal Romeo of the English playgoer. But
neither was the original Romeo, who was, like the original Paolo, a man
of something over forty.

I have never seen it pointed out that a Romeo of forty would be quite
consistent with the Capulet tradition, for Juliet\x92s father in the
play was quite an elderly man, whereas the mother was a young woman of
twenty-eight. As for Juliet\x92s age, it is usually made the subject of a
note of comment to the effect that in the warm south a girl matures so
rapidly that she is marriageable at Juliet\x92s age of thirteen, whereas
in the colder clime of England it would be ridiculous to talk of one
marrying at such an age.

There can be no doubt that in these less spacious days the idea of a
bride of thirteen would not commend itself to parents or guardians, but
in the sixteenth century, twelve or thirteen was regarded as the right
age for the marriage of a girl. If she reached her sixteenth birthday
remaining single, she was ready to join in the wail of Jephtha\x92s
Daughter. In a recently published letter written by Queen Elizabeth,
who, by the way, although fully qualified to take part in that chorale,
seemed to find a series of diplomatic flirtations to be more satisfying
than matrimony, she submitted the names of three heiresses as ripe for
marriage, and none of them had passed the age of thirteen. The Reverend
John Knox made his third matrimonial venture with a child of fifteen.
Indeed, one has only to search the records of any family of the
sixteenth or seventeenth century to be made aware of the fact that
Shakespeare\x92s Juliet was not an exceptionally youthful bride. In Tenbury
Church there is a memorial of \x93Ioyse, d. of Thos. Actone of Sutton,
Esquire.\x94 She was the wife of Sir Thomas Lucy, whom she married at the
age of twelve. If any actor, however, were to appear as a forty-two year
Romeo and with a Juliet of thirteen, and a lady-mother of twenty-eight,
he would be optimistic indeed if he should hope for a long run for his

Of course with the boy Juliets of the Globe Theatre, the younger they
were the better chance they would have of carrying conviction with them.
A Juliet with a valanced cheek would not be nice, even though she were
\x93nearer heaven by the attitude of a chopine\x94 than one whose face was

I think that Irving looked his full age when he took it upon him to play
Romeo; but to my mind he made a more romantic figure than most
Romeos whom I have seen. But every one who joined in criticising the
representation seemed unable to see more of him than his legs, and these
were certainly fantastic. I maintained that such people began at the
wrong end of the actor: they should have begun at the head. And this was
the hope of Irving himself. He had the intellect, and I thought his legs
extremely intellectual.

I wonder he did not do some padding to bring his calves into the market,
and make--as he would have done--a handsome profit out of the play.
In the old days of the Bateman Management of the Lyceum, he was never
permitted to ignore the possibilities of making up for deficiencies
of Nature. In the estimation of the majority of theatre-goers, the
intellect of an actor will never make up for any neglect of the
adventitious aid of \x93make-up.\x94 When _Eugene Aram_ was to be produced,
it was thought advisable to do some padding to make Irving presentable.
There was a clever expert at this form of expansion connected with the
theatre; he was an Italian and, speaking no English, he was forced into
an experiment in explanation in his own language. He wished to enforce
the need for a solid shape to fit the body, rather than a patchwork of
padding. In doing so he had to made constant use of the word _corpo_,
and as none of his hearers understood Italian, they thought that he was
giving a name to the contrivance he had in his mind; so when the thing
passed out of the mental stage into the actor\x92s dressing-room, it
was alluded to as the corpo. The name seemed a happy one and it had a
certain philological justification; for several people, including the
dresser, thought that corpo was a contraction for corporation, and in
the slang of the day, that meant an expansion of the chest a little
lower down.

Mrs. Bateman, with whom and with whose family I was intimate, told me
this long after the event, and, curiously enough, it arose out of a
conversation going on among some visitors to the house in Ensleigh
Street where Mrs. Bateman and her daughters were living. I said I
thought the most expressive line ever written was that in the _Inferno_
which ended the exquisite Francesca episode:--

               \x93E caddi come un corpo morto cade.\x94

Mrs. Bateman and her daughter Kate (Mrs. Crowe) looked at each other and
smiled. I thought that they had probably had the line quoted to them _ad
nauseam_, and I said so.

\x93That is not what we were smiling at,\x94 said Mrs. Bateman. \x93It was at the
recollection of the word _corpo._\x94

And then she told me the foregoing.

Only a short time afterwards in the same house she gave me a bit of
information of a much more interesting sort.

I had been at the first performance of Wills\x92 play _Ninon_ at the
Adelphi theatre, and was praising the acting of Miss Wallis and Mr.
Fernandez. When I was describing one scene, Mrs. Bateman said,--

\x93I recollect that scene very well; Mr. Wills read that play to us when
he was writing _Charles I._; but there was no part in it strong enough
for Mr. Irving, He heard it read, however, and was greatly taken with
some lines in it--so greatly in fact that Mr. Wills found a place for
them in _Charles I._ They are the lines of the King\x92s upbraiding of
the Scotch traitor, beginning, \x91I saw a picture of a Judas once.\x92 Some
people thought them among the finest in the play.\x94

I said that I was certainly among them.

That was how they made up a play which is certainly one of the most
finished dramas in verse of the latter half of the nineteenth century.

It was Irving himself who told me something more about the same play.
The subject had been suggested to Wills and he set about it with great
fervour. He brought the first act to the Lyceum conclave. It opened in
the banqueting hall of some castle, with a score of the usual cavaliers
having the customary carouse, throwing about wooden goblets, and tossing
off bumpers between the verses of some stirring songs of the type
of \x93Oh, fill me a beaker as deep as you please,\x94 leading up to the
unavoidable brawl and the timely entrance of the King.

\x93It was exactly the opposite to all that I had in my mind,\x94 Irving
told me, \x93and I would have nothing to do with it. I wanted the domestic
Charles, with his wife and children around him, and I would have nothing

Happily he had his own way, and with the help of the fine lines
transferred from _Ninon_, the play was received with acclamation, and,
finely acted as it is now by Mr. H. B. Irving and his wife, it never
fails to move an audience.

I think it was John Clayton who was the original Oliver Cromwell. I was
told that his make-up was one of the most realistic ever seen. He was
Cromwell--to the wart! Some one who came upon him in his dressing-room
was lost in admiration of the perfection of the picture, and declared
that the painter should sign it in the corner, \x93John Clayton, pinx.\x94 But
perhaps the actor and artist was Swinburne.

[Illustration: 0168]

Only one more word in the Bateman connection. The varying fortunes of
the family are well known--how the Bateman children made a marvellous
success for a tune--how the eldest, Kate, played for months and years
in _Leah_, filling the treasury of every theatre in England and
America--how when the Lyceum was at the point of closing its odors,
_The Bells_ rang in an era of prosperity for all concerned; but I don\x92t
suppose that many people know\x92 that Mrs. Bateman, the wife of \x93The
Colonel,\x94 was the author of several novels which she wrote for
newspapers at one of the \x93downs\x94 that preceded the \x93ups\x94 in her life.

And Compton Mackenzie is Mrs. Bateman\x92s grandson!

And Fay Compton is Compton Mackenzie\x92s youngest sister.

There is heredity for you.


It was melancholy--but Atheist Friswell alone was to blame for it--that
we should sit out through that lovely evening and talk about tawdry
theatricals, and that same tawdriness more than a little musty through
time. If Friswell had not begun with his nonsense about having seen my
Temple somewhere down Oxford Street we should never have wandered from
the subject of gardens until we lost ourselves among the wings of the
Lyceum and its \x93profiles\x94 of its pines in _Iolanthe_, and its \x93built\x94
 yews and pomegranates in _Romeo and Juliet_. But among the perfume of
the roses surrounding us, with an occasional whiff of the lavender mound
and a gracious breath like that of

                   \x93The sweet South

               That breathes upon a bank of violets

               Giving and taking odours,\x94

we continued talking of theatres until the summer night was reeking with
the smell of sawdust and oranges, to say nothing of the fragrance of
the _poudre de ninon_ of the stalls, wafted over opera wraps and
diamond-studded shirt-fronts--diamond studs, when just over the
glimmering marble of my temple the Evening Star was glowing!

But what had always been a mystery to Friswell as the extraordinary lack
of judgment on Irving\x92s part in choosing his plays. Had he ever made a
success since he produced that adaptation of _Faust?_

Beautifully staged and with some splendid moments due to the genius of
the man himself and the never-failing charm of the actress with whom he
was associated in all, yet no play worth remembering was produced at
the Lyceum during that management. _Faust_ made money, as it always has
since the days of Marlowe; but all those noisy scenes and meaningless
moments on the misty mountains--only alliteration\x92s artful aid can deal
adequately with such digressions from the story of Faust and Gretchen
which was all that theatregoers, even of the better class, who go
to tire pit, wanted--seemed dragged into the piece without reason or
profit. To be sure, pages and pages of Goethe\x92s _Faust_ are devoted to
his attempt to give concreteness to abstractions. (That was Friswell\x92s
phrase; and I repeat it for what it is worth). But in the original all
these have a meaning at the back of them; but Irving only brought them
on to abandon them after a line or two. The hope to gain the atmosphere
of the weird by means of a panorama of clouds and mountain peaks
may have been realised so far as some sections of the audience were
concerned; but such a manager as Henry Irving should have been above
trying for such cheap effects.

_Faust_ made money, however, and helped materially to promote the
formation of the Company through which country clergymen and daily
governesses in the provinces hoped to advance the British Drama and earn
20 per cent, dividends.

I was at the first night of every play produced at the Lyceum for over
twenty years, and I knew that Irving never fell short of the highest
and the truest possible conception of any part that he attempted. At his
best he was unapproachable. It was not the actor who failed, when
there was failure; it was the play that failed. Only one marvellously
inartistic feature was in the adaptation of _The Courier of Lyons_. He
assumed that the sole way by which identification of a man is possible
is by his appearance--that the intonation of his voice counts
for nothing whatsoever. He acted in the dual r\xF4le of Dubose and
Lesurges--the one a gentle creature with a gentle voice, the other a
truculent ruffian who jerked out his words hoarsely--the very antithesis
to the mild gentleman in voice, in gait, and in general demeanour,
though closely resembling him in features and appearance. The impression
given by this representation was that any one who, having heard Dubose
speak, would mistake Lesurges for him must be either stone-deaf or
an idiot. But each of the parts was finely played; and the real old
stage-coach arriving with its team smoking like Sheffield, helped to
make a commonplace melodrama interesting.

Personally I do not think that he was justified in trying to realise at
the close of the trial scene in _The Merchant of Venice_, the tableau of
Christ standing mute and patient among the mockers. It was an attempt to
obtain by suggestion some pity and sympathy for an infamous and inhuman
scoundrel. In that pictorial moment Shylock the Jew was made to pose as
Christ the Jew.

Mrs. Friswell had not seen Irving\x92s Shylock, but she expressed her
belief that Shylock was on the whole very badly treated; and Dorothy was
ready to, affirm that Antonio was lacking in those elements that go to
the composition of a sportsman. He should not have wriggled out of his
bargain by the chicanery of the law.

\x93They were a bad lot, and that\x92s a fact,\x94 I ventured to say.

\x93They were,\x94 acquiesced Friswell. \x93And if you look into the history
of the Jews, they were also a bad lot; but among them were the most
splendid men recorded as belonging to any race ever known on this earth;
and I\x92m not sure that Irving wasn\x92t justified in trying to get his
audiences to realise in that last moment something of the dignity of the
Hebrew people.\x94

\x93He would have made a more distinct advance in that direction if he had
cut out the \x91business\x92 of stropping his knife a few minutes earlier, \x91To
cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there,\x92\x94 I remarked.

\x93If he had done that Shakespeare would not have had the chance of his
pun--the cheapest pun in literature--and it would not be like the author
to have neglected that,\x94 said Mrs. Friswell.

They all seemed to know more of the play than I gave them credit for

It was Heywood who inquired if I remembered another of Irving\x92s plays at
the close of which a second greatly misjudged character had appealed for
sympathy by adopting the same pose.

Of course I did--I remembered it very distinctly. It was in _Peter the
Great_, that the actor, waiting with sublime resignation to hear the
heart-rending death-shriek of his son whom he had condemned to drink
a cup of cold poison, is told by a hurrying messenger that his
illegitimate child has just died--then came the hideous shriek, and the
actor, with his far-away look of patient anguish, spoke his words,--

\x93Then I am childless!\x94

And the curtain fell.

He appealed for sympathy on precisely the same grounds as were
suggested by the prisoner at the bar who had killed his father with a
hatchet, and on being convicted by the jury and asked by the judge if
he could advance any plea whereby the sentence of death should not be
pronounced upon him, said he hoped that his lordship would not forget
that he was an orphan.

In this drama the first act was played with as much jingling of
sleigh-bells as took place in another and rather better known piece in
the repertoire of the same actor.

But whatever were its shortcomings, _Peter the Great_ showed that poor
Lawrence Irving could write, and write well, and that he might one day
give to the English theatre a great drama.

Irving was accused of neglecting English authors; but the accusation was
quite unjust. He gave several of them a chance. There was, of course,
W. G. Wills, who was a true dramatist, and showed it in those plays to
which I have referred. But it must not be forgotten that he produced a
play by Mr. H. D. Traill and Mr. Robert Hitchens, and another by Herman
Merrivale; Mr. J. Comyns Carr took in hand the finishing of _King
Arthur_, begun by Wills, and made it ridiculous, and helped in
translating and adapting _Madame Sans G\xEAne_. Might not Lord Tennyson
also be called an English author? and were not his three plays, _Queen
Mary, The Cup, and Bechet_ brought out at the Lyceum? Irving showed
me how he had made the last-named playable, and I confess that I was
astonished. There was not a single page of the book remaining untouched
when he had done with it. Speech after speech was transferred from one
act to another, and the sequence of the scenes was altered, before the
drama was made possible. But when he had finished with it _Bechet_
was not only possible and playable, it was the noblest and the best
constructed drama in verse that the stage had seen for years.

I asked him what Lord Tennyson had said about this chopping and
changing; but he did not give me a verbatim account of the poet\x92s
greeting of his offspring in its stage dress--he only smiled as one
smiles under the influence of a reminiscence of something that is better

When he went to Victorien Sardou for a new play and got _Robespierre_,
Irving got the worst thing that he had produced up to that date; but
when he went a second time and got _Dante_, he got something worse
still. Sir Arthur Pinero\x92s letter acknowledging the debt incurred by the
dramatists of England to M. Sardou for showing them how a play should be
written was a masterpiece of irony.

The truth is that Irving was the greatest of English actors, and he was
at his best only when he was interpreting the best. When he was acting
Shakespeare he was supreme. In scenes of passion he differed from most
actors. They could show a passion in the hands of a man, he showed the
man in the hands of a passion. And what actor could have represented
Corporal Brewster in _Waterloo_ as Irving did?

About the changes that we veterans have seen in the stage during the
forty years of our playgoing, we agree that one of the most remarkable
is the introduction of parsons and pyjamas, and of persons with a past.
All these glories of the modern theatre were shut out from the theatres
of forty years ago. When an adaptation of _Dora_ by the author of
_Fedora_ and _Theodora_ was made for the English stage under the name
of _Diplomacy_, the claim that the Countess with a past had upon the
Diplomatist who is going to marry--really marry--another woman, was
turned into a claim that she had \x93nursed him through a long illness.\x94
 The censor of those days thought that that was quite as far as any one
should go in that direction. It was assumed that _La Dame aux Cam\xE9lias_
could never be adapted without being offensive to a pure-minded English
audience. I think that _A Clerical Error_ was the first play in which a
clergyman of the Church of England was given the entr\xE9e to a theatre
in London. To be sure, there were priests of the Church of Rome in Dion
Roufcicault\x92s Irish plays, but they were not supposed to count. I heard
that Mr. Pigott, the Censor, only passed the parson in _A Clerical
Error_ on the plea of the young nurse for something equally forbidden,
in _Midshipman Easy_, that \x93it was a very little one.\x94 But from that day
until now we have had parsons by the score, ladies wearing camellias and
little else, by the hundred. As for the pyjama drama, I don\x92t suppose
that any manager would so much as read a play that had not this duplex
garment in one scene. I will confess that I once wrote a story for
_Punch_ with a pyjama chorus in it. If it was from this indiscretion
that a manager conceived the idea of a ballet founded on the same
costume I have something to answer for.

But in journalism and literature a corresponding change has come about,
only more recently. It is not more than ten or twelve years since
certain words have enjoyed the liberty of the press. In a police-court
case the word that the ruffian in the dock hurled at a policeman was
represented thus--\x93d----n,\x94 telling him to go to \x93h----\x94 no respectable
newspaper would ever put in the final letter.

But now we have had the highest examples of amalgamated newspapers
printing the name of the place that was to be found in neither gazette
nor gazetteer, in bold type at the head of a column, and that too in
connection with the utterance of a Prime Minister. As for the d----n of
ten years ago, no one could have believed that Bob Acres\x92 thoughtless
assertion that \x93damns have had their day,\x94 should be so luridly
disproved. Why, they have only now come into their inheritance. This
is the day of the damn. It occupies the _Place aux Dames_ of Victorian
times; and now one need not hope to be able to pick up a paper or a
book that has not most of its pages sprinkled with damns and hells as
plentifully as a devil is sprinkled with cayenne. I am sure that in the
cookery books of our parents the treatment of a devilled bone would not
be found, or if the more conscientious admitted it, we should find it
put, \x93how to cook a d--------bone,\x94 or, \x93another way,\x94 as the cookery
book would put it more explicitly, \x93a d--------d bone.\x94

\x93It is satisfactory to learn that the Church which so long enjoyed the
soul right to the property in these words, has relinquished its claim
and handed over the title deeds of the freehold, with all the patronage
that was supposed to go with it,\x94 said Friswell. \x93I read in the papers
the other day that the Archbishop had received the report of the
Committee he appointed to inquire into the rights of both words, and
this recommended the abolition of both words in the interpretation
accepted for them for centuries in religious communities; and in future
damnation is to be taken to mean only something that does not commend
itself to all temperaments, and hell is no more than a picturesque but
insanitary dwelling.\x94

\x93I read something like that the other day,\x94 said Dorothy. \x93But surely
they have not gone so far as you say.\x94

\x93They have gone to a much more voluminous distance, I assure you,\x94 said
he. \x93It is to enable us all to say the Athanasian Creed without our
tongue in our cheek. Quicunque vult may repeat \x91Qui-cunque Vult\x92 with a
full assurance that nothing worth talking about will happen.\x94

\x93All the Bishops\x92 Committees in the world cannot rob us Englishmen of
our heritage in those words,\x94 I cried, feeling righteously angry at the
man\x92s flippancy. \x93If they were to take that from us, what can they give
us in its place--tell me that?\x94

\x93Oh, there is still one word in the same connection that they have been
afraid to touch,\x94 said he cheerfully. \x93Thank Heaven we have still got
that to counteract any tendency of our language to become an\xE6mic.\x94


I had been practically all my life enjoying gardens of various kinds,
but I had given attention to their creations without giving a thought to
their creation; I had taken the gifts of Flora, I would have said if I
had been writing a hundred years ago, without studying the features or
the figure of the goddess herself. If I were hard pressed for time and
space I would say directly that I lived among flowers, but knew nothing
of gardens. I had never troubled myself to inquire into the details of
a garden\x92s charm. I had watched gardeners working and idling, mowing
and watering, tying up and cutting down, but I had never had a chance of
watching a real gardener making a garden.

It is generally assumed that the first gardener that the world has known
was Adam. A clergyman told me so with the smile that comes with the
achievement of a satisfactory benefice--the indulgent smile of the
higher criticism for the Book of Genesis. But people who agree with that
assumption cannot have read the Book with the attention it deserves,
or they would have seen that it was the Creator of all Who planted the
first garden, and there are people alive to-day who are ready to affirm
that He worked conscientiously on the lines laid down by Le Notre. Most
gardeners whom I have seen at work appeared to me to be well aware
of the fact that the garden was given to man as a beatitude, and that
agriculture came later and in the form of a Curse; and in accordance
with this assurance they decline to labour in such a way as to make the
terms of the Curse apply to themselves. If they wipe their brows with
their shirt-sleeve, it is only because that is the traditional movement
which precedes the consulting of their watch to see if that five minutes
before the striking of the stable clock for the dinner hour will allow
of their putting on their coats.

A friend of mine who had been reading Darwin and Wallace and Lyell
and Huxley and the rest of them, greatly to the detriment of his
interpretation of some passages in the Pentateuch, declared that the
record of the incident of the Garden Designer in the first chapters of
Genesis, being unable to do anything with his gardener and being obliged
(making use of a Shakespearian idiom) to fire him out, showed such a
knowledge of the trade, that, Darwin or no Darwin, he would accept the
account of the transaction without reservation.

The saying that God sent food but the devil sent cooks may be adapted to
horticulture, as a rule, 1 think; but it should certainly not be applied
indiscriminately. The usual \x93jobber\x94 is a man from whom employers expect
a great deal but get very little that is satisfactory. That is because
employers are unreasonable. The ordinary \x93working gardener\x94 does not
think, because he is not paid to think: he does not get the wages of
a man who is required to use his brain. When one discovers all that a
gardener should know, and learns that the average wage of the trade
is from one pound to thirty shillings a week, the unreasonableness of
expecting a high order of intelligence to be placed at your service for
such pay will be apparent.

Of course a \x93head\x94 at an establishment where he is called a \x93curator\x94
 and has half a dozen assistants, gets a decent salary and fully earns
it; but the pay of the greater number of the men who call themselves
gardeners is low out of all proportion to what their qualifications
should be.

Now this being so, is the improvement to come by increasing the wages of
the usual type of garden jobber? I doubt it. My experience leads me to
believe very strongly in the employer\x92s being content with work only,
and in his making no demand for brains or erudition from the man to
whom he pays twenty-five shillings a week--pre-war rates, of course:
the war-time equivalent would, of course, be something like \xA32 5s.--the
brains and erudition should be provided by himself. The employer or some
member of his family should undertake the direction of the work and ask
for the work only from the man.

I know that the war days were the means of developing this system beyond
all that one thought possible five or six years ago; and of one thing I
am sure, and this is that no one who has been compelled to \x93take up\x94 his
own garden will ever go back to the old way, the leading note of which
was the morning grumble at the inefficiency of the gardener, and the
evening resolution to fire him out. The distinction between exercise and
work has, within the past few fateful years, been obliterated; and
it has become accepted generally that to sweat over the handle of a
lawnmower is just as ennobling as to perspire for over after over at
a bowling crease; and that the man who comes in earth-stained from his
allotment, is not necessarily the social inferior of the man who carries
away on his knees a sample of the soil of the football field. There may
be a distinction between the work and the play; but it is pretty much
the same as the difference between the Biblical verb to sweat and
the boudoir word to perspire. The pores are opened by the one just as
healthfully as by the other. And in future I am pretty sure that we
shall all sweat and rarely perspire.

I need not give any of the \x93instances\x94 that have come under my notice of
great advantage accruing to the garden as well as to the one who gardens
without an indifferent understudy--every one who reads this book is in a
position to supply such an omission. I am sure that there is no country
town or village that cannot mention the name of some family, a member
or several members of which have been hard at work raising flowers or
vegetables or growing fruit, with immediately satisfactory results, and
a prospect of something greatly in advance in the future.

I am only in a position to speak definitely on behalf of the working
proprietor, but I am certain that the daughters of the house who have
been working so marvellously for the first time in their lives, at the
turning out of munitions, taking the place of men in fields and
byres, and doing active duties in connection with hospitals, huts, and
canteens, will not now be content to go back to their tennis and teas
and \x93districts\x94 as before. They will find their souls in other and more
profitable directions, and it is pretty certain that the production of
food will occupy a large number of the emancipated ones. We shall have
vegetables and fruit and eggs in such abundance as was never dreamt of
four years ago. Why, already potato crops of twelve tons to the acre are
quite common, whereas an aggregate of eight and nine tons was considered
very good in 1912. We all know the improvement that has been brought
about in regard to poultry, in spite of the weathercockerel admonition
of the Department of the Government, which one month sent out a million
circulars imploring all sorts and conditions of people to keep poultry,
and backed this up with a second million advising the immediate
slaughter of all fowls who had a fancy for cereals as a food; the others
were to be fed on the crumbs that fell from the master\x92s table, but if
the master were known to give the crumbs to birds instead of eating
them himself or making them into those poultices, recommended by another
Department that called them puddings, he would be prosecuted. Later
on we were to be provided with a certain amount of stuff for pure bred
fowls, in order that only the purest and best strains should be kept;
but no provision in the way of provisions was made for the cockerels!
The cockerels were to be discouraged, but the breeding of pure fowls was
to be encouraged!

It took another million or so of buff Orpmgton circulars to explain
just what was meant by the Department, and even then it needed a
highly-trained intelligence to explain the explanation.

[Illustration: 0186]

When we get rid of these clogs to industry known as Departments, we
shall, I am sure, all work together to the common good, in making
England a self-supporting country, and the men and women of England a
self-respecting people, and in point of health an A 1 people instead of
the C 3 into which we are settling down complacently. The statistics of
the grades recently published appeared to me to be the greatest cause
for alarm that England has known for years. And the worst of the matter
is that when one asks if a more ample proof of decadence has ever been
revealed, people smile and inquire if the result of the recent visits
of the British to France and Italy and Palestine and Mesopotamia suggest
any evidence of decadence. They forget that it was only the A classes
that left England; only the A classes were killed or maimed; the lower
grades remained at home with their wives in order that the decadent
breed might be carried on with emphasised decadence.

If I were asked in what direction one should look for the salvation
of the race from the rush into Avernus toward which we have been
descending, I would certainly say,--

\x93The garden and the allotment only will arrest our feet on the downward

If the people of England can throw off the yoke of the Cinema and take
to the spade it may not yet be too late to rescue them from the abyss
toward which they are sliding.

And it is not merely the sons who must be saved, the daughters must be
taken into account in this direction; and when I meet daily the scores
of trim and shapely girls with busts of Venus and buskins of Diana,
walking--_vera incessu patuit dea_--as if the land belonged to
them--which it does--I feel no uneasiness with regard to the women with
whom England\x92s future rests. If they belong to the land, assuredly the
land belongs to them.

But the garden and not the field is the place for our girls. We know
what the women are like in those countries where they work in the fields
doing men\x92s work. We have seen them in Jean Fran\xE7ois Millet\x92s pictures,
and we turn from them with tears.

               \x93Women with labour-loosened knees

               And gaunt backs bowed with servitude.\x94

We do not wish to see them in England. I have seen them in Italy, in
Switzerland, and on the Boer farms in, South Africa. I do not want to
see them in England.

Agriculture is for men, horticulture for women. A woman is in her right
place in a garden. A garden looks lovelier for her presence. What an
incongruous object a jobbing gardener in his shirt-sleeves and filthy
cap seems when seen against a background of flowers! I have kept out of
my garden for days in dread of coming upon the figure which I knew
was lurking there, spending his time looking out for me and working
feverishly when he thought I was coming.

But how pleasantly at home a girl in her garden garb appears, whether on
the rungs of a ladder tying up the roses, or doing some thinning out
on a too rampant border! There should be no work in a garden beyond her
powers--that is, of course, in a one-gardener garden--a one-greenhouse
garden. She has no business trying to carry a tub with a shrub weighing
one hundred and fifty pounds from one place to another; but she can
wheel a brewer\x92s or a coalman\x92s sack barrow with two nine-inch wheels
with two hundredweight resting on it for half a mile without feeling
weary. No garden should be without such a vehicle. One that I bought
ten years ago from a general dealer has enabled me to superannuate
the cumbersome wheelbarrow. You require to lift the tub into the
wheelbarrow, but the other does the lifting when you push the iron
guard four inches under the staves at the bottom. As for that supposed
bugbear--the carting of manure, it should not exist in a modern garden.
A five-shilling tin of fertiliser and a few sacks of Wakeley\x92s hop
mixture will be enough for the borders of a garden of an acre, unless
you aim at growing everything to an abnormal size. But you must know
what sort of fertilising every bed requires.

I mention these facts because we read constantly of the carting of
manure being beyond the limits of a girl-gardener\x92s strength, to say
nothing of the distasteful character of the job. The time is coming when
there will be none of the old-fashioned stable-sweepings either for the
garden or the field, and I think we shall get on very well without it,
unless we wish to grow mushrooms.

The only other really horrid job that I would not have my girl face is
pot-washing. This is usually a winter job, because, we are told, summer
is too busy a time in the garden to allow of its being done except when
the ice has to be broken in the cistern and no other work is possible.
But why should the pots be washed out of doors and in cold vater? If
you have a girl-gardener, why should you not give her the freedom of the
scullery sink where the hot water is laid on? There is no hardship in
washing a couple of hundred pots in hot water and _in_ a warm scullery
on the most inclement day in January.

The truth is that there exists a garden tradition, and it originated
with men who had neither imagination nor brains, and people would have
us believe that it must be maintained--that frogs and toads should be
slain and that gardener is a proper noun of the masculine gender--that
manure must be filthy and that a garden should never look otherwise than
unfinished at any time of the year--that radiation is the same as frost,
and that watering should be done regularly and without reference to the
needs of the individual plants.

Lady Wolseley has done a great deal toward giving girls the freedom of
the garden. She has a small training ground on the motor road between
Lewes and Eastbourne. Of course it is not large enough to pay its way,
and I am told that in order to realise something on the produce, the
pony cart of a costermonger in charge of two of the young women goes
into Lewes laden with vegetables for sale. I have no doubt that the
vegetables are of the highest grade, but I am afraid that if it
becomes understood that the pupils are to be trained in the arts of
costermongery the prestige of her college, as it has very properly been
called by Lady Wolseley, will suffer.

What I cannot understand is why, with so admirable a work being done
at that place, it should not he subsidised by the State. It may be,
however, that Lady Wolseley has had such experience of the way in
which the State authorities mismanage almost everything they handle, as
prevents her from moving in this direction. The waste, the incompetence,
and the arrogance of all the Departments that sprang into existence with
the war are inconceivable. I dare say that Lady Wolseley has seen enough
during the past four years to convince her that if once the \x93State\x94 had
a chance of putting a controlling finger upon one of the reins of the
college pony it would upset the whole apple-cart. The future of so
valuable an institution should not be jeopardised by the intrusion of
the fatal finger of a Government Department. The Glynde College should
be the Norland Institution of the nursery of Flora.


It was when a gardener with whom I had never exchanged a cross word
during the two years he was with me assured me that work was not work
but slavery in my garden--he had one man under him and appealed to me
for a second--that I made my apology to him and allowed him to take
unlimited leave of me and his shackles. He had been with me for over two
years, and during all this time the garden had been going from bad to
worse. At the end of his bondage it was absolutely deplorable. At no
time had we the courage to ask any visitor to walk round the grounds.

And yet the man knew the Latin name of every plant and every flower from
the cedar on the lawn to the snapdragon--he called it antirrhinum--upon
the wall; but if he had remained with me much longer there would have
been nothing left for him to give a name to, Latin or English.

I took over the garden and got in a boy to do the pot-washing at six
shillings a week, and a fortnight later I doubled his wages, so vast
a change, or rather, a promise of change, as was shown by the place.
Within a month I was paying him fifteen shillings, and within six
months, eighteen. He was an excellent lad, and in due time his industry
was rewarded by the hand of our cook. I parted with him reluctantly at
the outbreak of the war, though owing to physical defects he was never
called up.

It was when I was thrown on my own resources after the strain of
leave-taking with my slave-driven professor that I acquired the secret
of garden design which I have already revealed--namely, the multiplying
of \x93features\x94 within the garden space.

It took time for me to carry out my plans, for I was very far from
seeing, as a proper garden designer would have done in a glance, how the
ground lent itself to \x93features\x94 in various directions; and it was
only while I was working at one part that the possibilities of others
suggested themselves to me. It was the incident of my picking up in
a stonemason\x92s yard for a few shillings a doorway with a shaped
architrave, that made me think of shutting off the House Garden, which
I had completed the previous year, from the rest. I got this work done
quite satisfactorily by the aid of a simple balustrade on each side.
Here there was an effective entrance to a new garden, where before
nothing would grow owing to the overshadowing by the sycamores beyond my
mound. My predecessor took refuge in a grove of euonyma, behind which
he artfully concealed the stone steps leading to the Saxon terrace. This
was one of the \x93features\x94 of his day--the careful concealing of such
drawbacks in the landscape as stone steps. Rut as I could not see that
they were after all a fatal blot that should put an end to all hope to
make anything of the place, I pulled away the masses of euonyma, and
turned the steps boldly round, adding piers at the foot.

Here then was at my command a space of forty feet square, walled in,
and in the summer-shade of the high sycamores, and the winter-shade of a
beautifully-shaped and immense deciduous oak. And what was I to do with

Before I left the interrogatory ground I saw with great clearness the
reflection of the graceful foliage in a piece of water. That was just
what was needed at the place, I was convinced--a properly puddled Sussex
dew-pond such as Gilbert White\x92s swallows could hardly resist making
their winter quarters as the alternative to that long and tedious trip
to South Africa. The spot was clearly designed by Nature as a basin. On
three sides it had boundaries of sloping mounds, and I felt myself equal
to the business of completing the circle so that the basin would be in
its natural place.

I consulted my builder as to whether or not my plan was a rightly
puddled one--which was a way of asking if it would hold water in a
scientific as well as a metaphorical sense. He advised concrete, and
concrete I ordered, though I was quite well aware of the fact that in
doing so I must abandon all hopes of the swallows, for I knew that with
concrete there would be none of that mud in the pond which the great
naturalists had agreed was indispensable for the hibernating of the

A round pond basin was made, about fifteen feet in diameter, and
admirably made too. In the centre I created an island with the nozzle
of a single _jet d\x92eau_, carefully concealed, and by an extraordinary
chance I discovered within an inch or two of the brim of the basin, the
channel of an ancient scheme of drainage--it may have been a thousand
years old--and this solved in a moment the problem of how to carry
off the overflow. The water was easily available from the ordinary
\x93Company\x92s\x94 pipe for the garden supply; so that all that remained for
me to do was to tidy up the ground, which I did by getting six tons
of soft reddish sandstone from a neighbouring quarry and piling it in
irregular masses on two sectors of the circular space, taking care to
arrange for a scheme of \x93pockets\x94 for small plants at one part and for
large ferns at another. The greatest elevation of this boundary was
about fifteen feet, and here I put a noble cliff weighing a ton and a
half, with several irregular steps at the base, the lowest being just
above a series of stone rectangular basins, connected by irregular
shallow channels in a descent to the big pond. Then I got a leaden pipe
with an \x93elbow\x94 attachment to the Company\x92s water supply beneath, and
contrived a sort of T-shaped spray which I concealed on the level of the
top of my cliff, and within forty-eight hours I had a miniature cascade
pouring over the cliff and splashing among the stone basins and the ir
channels--\x93_per averpace coi seguaci sui_\x94--in the large pond below.

[Illustration: 0197]

Of course it took a summer and a winter to give this little scheme a
chance of assimilating with Nature; but once it began to do so it did so
thoroughly. The cliff and the rocky steps, which I had made in memory
of the cascade at Platte Klip on the side of Table Mountain where I
had often enjoyed a bath, became beautifully slimy, and primroses were
blooming so as to hide the outlines of the rectangle, while Alpines and
sedums and harts-tongue ferns found accommodation in the pockets among
the stones. In the course of another year the place was covered with
vegetation and the sandstones had become beautifully weathered, and
sure enough, the boughs of the American oak had their Narcissus longings
realised, but without the Narcissus sequel.

Here, then, was a second \x93feature\x94 accomplished; and we walk out of
the sunshine of the House Garden, and, passing through the carved stone
doorway, find ourselves in complete shade with the sound of tinkling
water in the air--when the taps are turned in the right direction; but
in the matter of water we are economical, and the cascade ceased to flow
while the war lasted.

I do not think that it is wrong to try to achieve such contrasts in
designing a range of gardens. The effect is great and it will never
appear to be cheap, provided that it is carried out naturally. I do not
think that in a place of the character of that just described one should
introduce such objects as shrubs in tubs, or clipped trees; nor should
one tolerate the appearance for the sake, perhaps, of colour, of any
plant or flower that might not be found in the natural scene on which
it is founded. We all know that in a rocky glen we need not look for
brilliant colour, therefore the introduction of anything striking
in this way would be a jarring note. To be sure I have seen the
irrepressible scarlet geranium blazing through some glens in the island
of St. Helena; but St. Helena is in the tropics, and a tropical glen is
not the sort to which we have become accustomed in England. If one has
lived at St. Helena for years and, on coming to England, wishes to be
constantly reminded of the little island of glens and gorges and that
immense \x93combe\x94 where James Town nestles, beyond a doubt that strange
person could not do better than create a garden of gullies with the
indigenous geranium blazing out of every cranny. But I cannot imagine
any one being so anxious to perpetuate a stay among the picturesque
loneliness of the place. I think it extremely unlikely that if Napoleon
I. had lived to return to France, he would have assimilated any portion
of the gardens of Versailles with those that were under his windows
at Longwood. I could more easily fancy his making an honest attempt to
transform the ridge above Geranium Valley on which Longwood stands--if
there is anything of that queer residence left by the white ants--the
natural owners of the island--into a memory of the Grand Trianon, only
for the \x93_maggior dolore_\x94 that would have come to him had such an
enterprise been successful.

My opinion is that a garden should be such as to cause a visitor to

\x93How natural!\x94 rather than, \x93How queer!\x94

A lake may be artificial; but it will only appear so if its location
is artificial; and, therefore, in spite of the fact that there are
countless mountain tarns in Scotland and Wales, it is safest for the
lake to be made on the lowest part of your ground. I dare say that a
scientific man without a conscience could, by an arrangement of forced
draught apparatus, cause an artificial river to flow uphill instead of
down; but though such a stream would be quite a pleasing incident of one
of the soirees of the Royal Society at Burlington House, I am certain
that it would look more curious than natural if carried out in an
English garden ground. The artificial canals of the Dutch gardens and
of those English gardens which were made to remind William III. of his
native land, will look natural in proportion to their artificiality.
This is not so hard a saying as it may seem; I mean to say that if the
artificial canal apes a natural river, it will look unnatural. If it
aims at being nothing but a Dutch canal, it will be a very interesting
part of a garden--a Dutch garden--plan, and as such it will seem in the
right and natural place. If a thing occupies a natural place--the place
where you expect to find it--it must be criticised from the standpoint
of its environment, so to speak, and not on the basis of the canons that
have a general application.

And to my mind the difference between what is right and what is wrong in
a garden is not the difference between what is the fashion and what is
not the fashion; but between the appropriate and the inappropriate. A
rectangular canal is quite right in a copy of the Dutch garden; but it
would be quite wrong within sight of the cascades of the Villa d\x92Este or
any other Italian garden. Topiary work is quite right in a garden that
is meant frankly to be a copy of one of the clipped shrubberies of
the seventeenth and of the eighteenth century that preceded landscape
treatment, but it is utterly out of place in a garden where flowers
grow according to their own sweet will, as in a rosery or a herbaceous
border. A large number of people dislike what Mr. Robinson calls
\x93Vegetable Sculpture,\x94 and would not allow any example to have a place
on their property; but although I think I might trust myself to resist
every temptation to admit such an element into a garden of mine, I
should not hesitate to make a feature of it if I wanted to be constantly
reminded of a certain period of history. It would be as unjust to
blame me on this account as it would be to blame Mr. Hugh Thomson for
introducing topiary into one of his exquisite illustrations to Sir Roger
de Coverley. I would, I know, take great pleasure in sitting for hours
among the peacocks and bears and cocked hats of the topiary sculptor,
because I should feel myself in the company of Sir Roger and Will
Wimble, and I consider that they would be very good company indeed; but
I admit that I should prefer that that particular garden was on some
one else\x92s property. I should spend a very pleasant twenty minutes in.
a neighbour\x92s--a near neighbour\x92s--reproduction of the grotto at Pope\x92s
Villa at Twickenham, not because I should be wanting in a legitimate
abhorrence of the thing, but because I should be able to repeople it
with several very pleasant people--say, Arbuthnot, Garth, and Mr. Henry
Labouchere. But heaven forbid that I should spend years of my life in
the construction of a second Pope\x92s grotto as one of the features of my
all-too-constricted garden space.

One could easily write a book on \x93Illustrating Gardens,\x94 meaning not the
art of reproducing illustrations of gardens, but the art of constructing
gardens that would illustrate the lives of certain interesting people
at certain interesting periods. The educational value of gardens formed
with such an intent would be great, I am sure. I had occasion some
time ago to act the part of their governess to my little girls, and to
Dorothy\x92s undisguised amazement I took the class into the garden, and
not knowing how to begin--whether with an inquiry into the economic
value of a thorough grounding in Conic Sections, or a consideration of
the circumstances attending the death of Mary Queen of Scots--I have
long believed that a modern coroner\x92s jury would have found that the
cause of death was blood poisoning, as there is no evidence that the
fatal axe was aseptic, not having been boiled before using--I begged the
girls to walk round with me.

\x93This is something quite new,\x94 said Rosamund--\x93lessons in a garden.\x94

\x93Is it?\x94 I asked. \x93Did Miss Pinkerton ever tell you about a man named

It was generally admitted that if she had ever done so they would have
remembered the name.

I saw at once that this was a chance that might not occur again for me
to recover my position. The respect that I have for Miss Pinkerton is
almost equal to that I have for Lempri\xE8re or Dr. Wilkam Smith.

I unfolded like a philaetery the stores of my knowledge on the subject
of the garden of Academus, where Plato and his pupils were wont to meet
and discover--

               \x93How charming is divine philosophy!

               Not harsh and crabbed as some fools affirm,

               But musical as is Apollo\x92s lute,\x94

and the children learned for the first time the origin of the name
Academy. They were struck powerfully with the idea, which they thought
an excellent one, of the open-air class.

This was an honest attempt on my part to illustrate something through
the medium of the garden; but Miss Pinkerton\x92s methods differed from
those of Plato: the blackboard was, in her opinion, the only medium of
illustration for a properly organised class.

It was a daily delight to me when I lived in Kensington to believe that
Addison must have walked through my garden when he had that cottage on
the secluded Fulham Road, far away from the distracting noise and bustle
of the town, and went to pay a visit to his wife at Holland Park. Some
of the trees of that garden must have been planted even before Addison\x92s
day. There was a mighty mulberry-tree--a straggler from Melbury (once
Mulbery) Road--and this was probably one of the thousands planted by
King James when he became possessed of that admirable idea of silk
culture in England. Now, strange to say, I could picture to myself
much more vividly the presence of Addison in that garden than I can the
bustle of the old Castle\x92s people within the walls which dominate
my present ground. These people occupied the Castle from century to
century. When they first entered into possession they wore the costume
of the Conquest, and no doubt they honoured the decrees of fashion as
they changed from year to year; but they faded away without leaving a
record of any personality to absorb the attention of the centuries, and
without such an individuality I find it impossible to realise the scene,
except for an occasional hour when the moonlight bathes the tower of the
ruined keep, and I fancy that I hear the iron tread of the warder going
his rounds--I cannot plunge myself into the spacious days of plate
armour. It is the one Great Man or the one Great Woman that enables us
nowadays to realise his or her period, and our Castle has unhappily no
ghost with a name, and one ghost with a name is more than an armed host
of nonentities. There is a tradition--there is just a scrap of evidence
to support it--that Dr. Samuel Johnson once visited a house in the High
Street and ate cherries in the garden. Every time I have visited that
house I have seen the lumbering Hogarthian hero intent upon his feast,
and every time that I am in that garden I hear the sound of his \x93Why,

I complained bitterly to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle when he was with us in
the tilt-yard garden, that we had not even the shadow of a ghost--ghosts
by the hundred, no doubt, but no real ghost of some one that did things.

\x93You will have to create one for yourself,\x94 he said.

\x93One must have bones and flesh and blood--plenty of blood, before one
can create a ghost, as you well know,\x94 said I. \x93I have searched every
available spot for a name associated with the place, but I have found

\x93Don\x92t be in a hurry; he\x92ll turn up some day when you\x92re not expecting
him,\x94 said my friend.

[Illustration: 0208]

But I am still awaiting an entity connected with the Castle, and I
swear, as did the young Lord Hamlet:--

\x93By Heaven! I\x92ll make a ghost of him that lets me.\x94


Our Garden of Peace is a Garden of Freedom--freedom of thought, freedom
of converse. In it one may cultivate all the flora of illiteracy without
rebuke, as well as the more delicate, but possibly less fragrant growths
of literature, including those hybrids which I suppose must give great
satisfaction to the cultivators. We assert our claim to talk about
whatever we please: we will not submit to be told that anything is out
of our reach as a subject: if we cannot reach the things that are
so defined we can at least make an attempt to knock them down with a
bamboo. Eventually we may even discourse of flowers; but if we do we
certainly will not adopt the horticultural standard of worth, which
is \x93of no/some commercial value.\x94 A good many things well worthy of a
strict avoidance in conversation possess great commercial value, and
others that we hold very close to our hearts are of no more intrinsic
value than a Victoria Cross. We have done and shall do our best,
however, not to make use of the word culture, unless it be in connection
with a disease. The lecturers on tropical diseases talk of their
\x93cholera cultures\x94 and their \x93yellow fever cultures\x94 and their \x93malaria
cultures but we know that there is a more malignant growth than any of
these: it is spelt by its cultivators with the phonetic \x93K\x94 and it has
banished the word that begins with a \x93c\x94 from the English language,
unless, as I say, in referring to the development of a malady. That is
where victory may be claimed by the vanquished: the beautiful word is
banished for ever from the English literature in which it once occupied
an exalted place.

It is because of the Freedom which we enjoy in this Garden of Peace of
ours that I did not hesitate for a moment to quote Tennyson to Dorothy
a few\x92 days ago, when we were chatting about Poets\x92 Gardens, from
the \x93garden inclosed\x94 of the Song of Solomon--the most beautiful ever
depicted--to that of _Maud_. It requires some courage to quote Tennyson
beyond the limits of our own fireside in these days. The days when he
was constantly quoted now seem as the days of No\xEB, before the Flood--the
flood of the formless which we are assured is poetry nowadays. It is
called \x93The New School.\x94 Some twenty-five or thirty years ago something
straddled across our way through the world labelled \x93New Art.\x94 Its
lines were founded upon those of the crushed cockroach, and it may have
contributed to the advance of the temperance movement; for its tendency
was certainly to cause any inebriate who found a specimen watching
him wickedly from the mouth of a vase of imitation pewter on the
mantel-shelf in a drawingroom, or in the form of a pendant in
sealing-wax enamel on the neck of a young woman, to pull himself
together and sign anything in reason in the direction of abstaining.

The new poetry is the illiterary equivalent of the old \x93New Art.\x94 It
is flung in our faces with the effect of a promiscuous handful from the
bargain counter of a draper\x92s cheap sale--it is a whiz of odd lengths
and queer colours, and has no form but plenty of flutter. Poetry may not
be as a great critic said it was--form and form and nothing but form;
but it certainly is not that amorphous stuff which is jerked into many
pages just now. I have read pages of it in which the writers seem to
have taken as a model of design one of the long dedications of the
eighteenth century, or perhaps the \x93lettering\x94 on the tombstone of the
squire in a country church, or, most likely of all, the half column of
\x93scare headings\x94 in a Sunday newspaper in one of the Western States of

It may begin with a monosyllable, and be followed by an Alexandrine;
then come a stuttering halfdozen unequal ribbon lengths, rather
shop-soiled, and none of them riming; but suddenly we find the tenth
line in rime with the initial monosyllable which you have forgotten.
Then there may come three or four rimes and as many half-rimes--f-sharp
instead of f--and then comes a bundle of prosaic lines with the mark
of the scissors on their ragged endings: the ravellings are assumed
to adorn the close as the fringes of long ago were supposed to give a
high-class \x93finish\x94 to the green rep upholstering of the drawing-room
centre ottoman.

And yet alongside this sort of thing we pick up many thin volumes of
verse crowded with beauty of thought, of imagination, of passion.

And then what do we find given to us every week in _Punch_ and several
of the illustrated papers? Poem after poem of the most perfect form
in rhythm and rimes--faultless double rimes and triple and quadruple
syllables all ringing far more true than any in _Hudibras_ or the
_Ingoldsby Legends_. Sir Owen Seaman\x92s verses surpass anything in the
English language for originality both in phrase and thought, and Adrian
Ross has shown himself the equal of Gilbert in construction. The editor
of _Punch_ has been especially happy in his curry-combing of the German
ex-Kaiser; we do not forget that it was his poem on the same personage,
which appeared in _The World_ after the celebrated telegram to Kruger,
that gave him his sure footing among the _\xE9lite_ of satirical humour.

                   \x93The Pots--

                   Dam silly,\x94

was surely the most finished sting that ever came from the tail of what
I venture to call \x93vespa-verse.\x94

I remember how, when I came upon Barham\x92s rime,--

                   \x93Because Mephistopheles

          Had thrown in her face a whole cup of hot coffee-lees,\x94

I thought that the limits of the \x93triple-bob,\x94 as I should like to
call it, had been reached. Years afterwards I found myself in a fit of
chuckling over Byron\x92s

               \x93Tell us ye husbands of wives intellectual,

               Now tell us truly, have they not hen-pecked you all?\x94

After another lapse I found among the carillon of Calverley,--

               \x93No, mine own, though early forced to leave you,

               Still my heart was there where first we met;

               In those \x91Lodgings with an ample sea-view,\x92

               Which were, forty years ago, \x91To Let.\x92\x94

The _Bab Ballads_ are full of whimsical rimes; but put all these that I
have named together and you will find that they are easily outjingled
by Sir Owen Seaman. The first \x93copy of verses\x94 in _Punch_ any week is a
masterpiece in its way, and assuredly some of his brethren of Bouverie
Street are not very far behind him in the merry dance in which he sets
the _pas_.

A good many years ago--I think it was shortly after the capitulation
of Paris--there was a correspondence in _The Graphic_ about the English
words for which no rime could be found. One was \x93silver,\x94 the other
\x93month.\x94 It was, I think, Burnand who, contrived,--

               \x93Argentum, we know, is the Latin for silver,

               And the Latin for spring ever was and is still, ver.\x94

But then purists shook their heads and said that Latin was not English,
and the challenge was for English rimes.

As for \x93month,\x94 Mr. Swinburne did not hesitate to write a whole volume
of exquisite poems to a child to bring in his rime for month: it was
millionth but the metre was so handled by the master that it would
have been impossible for even the most casual reader to make the word a
dissyllable. In the same volume he found a rime for babe in \x93astrolabe.\x94

(With regard to my spelling of the word \x93rime,\x94 I may here remark that I
have done so for years. I was gratified to find my lead followed in the
_Cambridge History of English Literature._)

And all this weedy harvest of criticism and reminiscence has come
through my quoting Tennyson without an apology! All that I really had to
say was that there is no maker of verses in England to-day who has
the same mastery of metre as Tennyson had. It is indeed because of the
delicacy of his ear for words that so many readers are disposed to think
his verse artificial. But there are people who think that all art is
artificial. (This is a very imminent subject for consideration in a
garden, and it has been considered by great authorities in at least two
books, to which I may refer if I go so far as to write something about a
garden in these pages.) All that I will say about the art, the artifice,
the artfulness, or the artificiality of the pictures that Tennyson
brings before my eyes through his mastery of his medium, is that I have
always placed a higher value upon the meticulous than upon the slap-dash
in every form of art. It was said that the late Duke of Cambridge could
detect a speck of rust on a sabre quicker than any Commander-in-Chief
that ever lived; but I do not therefore hold that he was a greater
soldier than Marlborough. But if Marlborough could make the brightness
of his sabres do the things that he meant them to do, his victories were
all the more brilliant.

I dare say there are quite a number of people who think that Edmund
Yates\x92s doggerel about a brand of Champagne--it commences something like
this, if my memory serves me:--

               \x93Dining with Bulteen

                   Captain of Militia,

               Ne\x92er was dinner seen

                   Soapier or fishyer------\x94

quite equal to the best that Calverley or Seaman ever wrote, because it
has that slap-dash element about it that disregards correct rimes; but
I am not among those critics. Tennyson does not usually paint an
impressionist picture, though he can do so when he pleases; he is rather
a pre-Raphaelite; but, however he works, he produces his picture and
it is a picture. Talk of Art and Nature--there never was a poet who
reproduced Nature with an art so consummate; there never was a poet who
used his art so graphically. Of course I am now talking of Tennyson
at his best, not of Tennyson of _The May Queen_, which is certainly
deficient enough in art to please---as it has pleased--the despisers of
the meticulous, but of Tennyson in his lyrical mood--of the garden-song
in _Maud_, of the echo-song in _The Princess_---both diamonds, not in
the rough, but cut into countless facets--Tennyson in _The Passing of
Arthur_, and countless pages of the _Idylls_, Tennyson of the pictorial
simplicity of _Enoch Arden_ and the full brush of _Ulysses, Tithonus,
Lucretius_, the battle glow of _The Ballad of the Revenge_, the muted
trumpet-notes of _The Defence of Lucknow._

And yet through all are those lowering lines which somehow he would
insist on introducing in the wrong places with infinite pains! It was
as if he took the trouble to help us up a high marble staircase to
the cupola of a tower, and to throw open before our eyes a splendid
landscape, only to trip us up when we are lost in wonder of it all, and
send us headlong to the dead earth below.

It was when we were looking down a gorge of tropical splendour in
the island of Dominica in the West Indies opening a wide mouth to the
Caribbean, that the incomparable lines from _Enoch Arden_ came upon me
in the flash of the crimson-and-blue wings of a bird--one of the many
lories, I think it was--that fled about the wild masses of the brake
of hibiscus, and I said them to Dorothy. Under our eyes was a tropical
garden on each side of the valley--a riot of colour--a tropical sunset
laid at our feet in the tints of a thousand flowers down to where the
countless palms of the gorge began to mingle with the yuccas that swayed
over the sea-cliffs in the blue distance.

               \x93The league-long roller thundering on the reef,

               The moving whisper of huge trees that branch\x92d

               And blossom\x92d in the zenith, or the sweep

               Of some precipitous rivulet to the wave,

               As down the shore he ranged, or all day long

               Sat often in the seaward-gazing gorge,

               A shipwreck\x92d sailor, waiting for a sail.

               No sail from dav to day, but every day

               The sunrise broken into scarlet shafts

               Among the palms and ferns and precipices;

               The blaze upon the waters to the east;

               The blaze upon, his island overhead;

               The blaze upon the waters to the west;

               Then the great stars that globed themselves in Heaven,

               The hollower-bellowing ocean, and again

               The scarlet shafts of sunrise--but no sail.\x94

There was the most perfect picture of the tropical island.

Some months after we had returned to England I found the _Enoch Arden_
volume lying on the door at Dorothy\x92s feet. She was roseate with
indignation as I entered the room. I paused for an explanation.

It came. She touched the book with her foot--it was a symbolic spurn--as
much as any one with a conscience could give to a royal-blue tooled
morocco binding.

\x93How could he do it?\x94 she cried.

\x93Do what?\x94

\x93Those two lines at the end. Listen to this\x94--she picked up the book
with a sort of indignant snatch:--

               \x93\x91There came so loud a calling of the sea

               That all the houses in the haven rang.

               He woke, he rose, he spread his arms abroad

               Crying with a loud voice, \x93A sail! a sail!

               I am saved,\x94 and so fell back and spoke no more.

               So past the strong, heroic soul away.

               And when they buried him the little port

               Had seldom, seen a costlier funeral.\x92

\x93Now tell me if I don\x92t do well to be angary,\x94 cried Dorothy. \x93Those two
lines--\x91a costlier funeral\x92! he should have given the items in the bill
and said what was the name of the undertaker. Oh, why didn\x92t you warn
me off that awful conclusion? What should you say the bill came to? Oh,
Alfred, Lord Tennyson!\x94

I shook my head sadly, of course.

\x93He does that sort of thing now and then,\x94 I said sadly. \x93You remember
the young lady whose \x91light blue eyes\x92 were \x91tender over drowning dies\x92?
and the \x91oaths, insult, filth, and monstrous blasphemies.\x92\x94

\x93I do now, but they are not so bad as that about the costly funeral. Why
does he do it--tell me that--put me wise?\x94

\x93I suppose we must all have our bit of fun now and again. Kean, when in
the middle of his most rousing piece of declamation, used to turn
from his spellbound audience and put out his tongue at one of the
scene-shifters. If you want to be kept constantly at the highest level
you must stick to Milton.\x94

There was a pause before Dorothy said,--

\x93I suppose so; and yet was there ever anything funnier than his
description of the battle in heaven?\x94

\x93Funny? Majestic, you mean?\x94 said I, deeply shocked.

\x93Well, majestically funny, if you wish. The idea of those \x91ethereal
virtues\x92 throwing big stones at one another, and knowing all the time
that it didn\x92t matter whether they were hit or not--the gashes closed
like the gashes we loved making with our spades in the stranded
jelly-fish at low tide. But I suppose you will tell me that Milton must
have his joke with the rest of them. Oh, I wonder if all poetry is not a

That is how Tennyson did for himself by not knowing where to stop. I
expect that what really happened was that when he had written:--

               \x93So past the strong, heroic soul away,\x94

he found that there was still room for a couple of lines on the page and
he could not bear to see the space wasted.

And it was not wasted either; for I remember talking to the late Dr.
John Todhunter, himself a most accomplished poet and a scholarly critic,
about the \x93costlier funeral\x94 lines, and he defended them warmly.

And the satisfying of Dr. Todhunter must be regarded as counting for a
good deal more in the balance against my poor Dorothy\x92s disapproval.

Lest this chapter should appear aggressively digressive in a book that
may be fancied to have some-thing to do with gardens, I may say
that while Alfred, Lord Tennyson had a great love for observing the
peculiarities of flower and plant growths, he must have cared precious
little for the garden as the solace of one\x92s declining years. He did
not pant for it as the hart pants for the water-brooks. He never came to
think of the hours spent out of a garden as wasted. He did not live
in his garden, nor did he live for it. That is what amazes us in these
days, nearly as much as the stories of the feats of Mr. Gladstone with
the axe of the woodcutter. Not many of us would have the heart to stand
by while a magnificent oak or sycamore is being cut down. We would
shrink from such an incident as we should from an execution. But forty
years ago the masses were ready to worship the executioner. They used to
be admitted in crowds to Hawarden to watch the heroic old gentleman
in his shirt-sleeves and with his braces hanging down, butchering a
venerable elm in his park, and when the trunk crashed to the ground they
cheered vociferously, and when he wiped the perspiration from his brow,
they rushed forward to dip their handkerchiefs in the drops just as men
and women tried to damp their handkerchiefs in the drippings of the axe
of the headsman, who, in a stroke, slew a monarch and made a martyr,
outside the Banqueting House in Whitehall.

And when the excursionists were cheering the hero of Hawarden, Thomas
Hardy was writing _The Woodlanders_. Between Hardy and Hawarden there
was certainly a great gulf fixed. I do not think that any poet ever
wrote an elegy so affecting as the chapter on the slaying of the oak
outside the house of the old man who died of the shock. But the scent
of the woodland clings to the whole hook; I have read it once a year for
more than a quarter of a century.

Tennyson never showed that he loved his garden as Mr. Hardy showed he
loved his woodland. In the many beautiful lines suggesting his affection
for his lawns and borders Tennyson makes a reader feel that his joy was
purely Platonic--sometimes patronisingly Platonic. It is very far from
approaching the passion of a lover for his mistress. One feels that he
actually held that the garden was made for the poet not the poet for the
garden, which, I need hardly say, we all hold to be a heresy. The union
between the true garden-lover and the garden may be a m\xE9salliance, but
that is better than _marriage de convenance_.

But to return to the subject of Poets\x92 Gardens, we agreed that the
gardens of neither of the poet\x92s dwelling-places were worth noticing;
but they were miracles of design compared with that at the red brick
villa where the white buses stopped at Putney--the house where the body
of Algernon Charles Swinburne lay carefully embalmed by his friend,
Theodore Watts-Dunton. Highly favoured visitors were occasionally
admitted to inspect the result of the process by which the poet had his
palpitations reduced to the discreet beats of the Putney metronome, and
visitors shook their heads and said it was a marvellous reformation.
So it was--a triumph of the science of embalming, not \x93with spices and
savour of song,\x94 but with the savourless salt of True Friendship. The
reformed poet was now presentable, but he was no longer a live poet: the
work of reformation had changed the man into a mummy--a most presentable
mummy; and it was understood that the placid existence of a mummy is
esteemed much more than the passionate rapture of an early morning lark,
or of the nightingale that has a bad habit of staying out all night.

It is a most unhappy thing that the first operation of the professional
embalmer is to extract the brains of his subject, and this was done
through the medium of a quill--a very suitable implement in the case of
a writer: he has begun the process himself long before he is stretched
on the table of the operator. Almost equally important it is that the
subject should be thoroughly dried. Mr. Swinburne\x92s true friend knew his
business: he kept him perpetually dry and with his brain atrophied.

The last time I saw the poet he was on view under the desiccating
influence of a biscuit factory. He looked very miserable, and I know
that I felt very miserable observing the triumph of the Watts-Dunton
treatment, and remembering the day when the glory and glow of _Songs
before Sunrise_ enwrapt me until I felt that the whole world would
awaken when such a poet set the trumpet to his lips to blow!

Mr. Watts-Dunton played the part of Vivien to that merle Merlin, and all
the forest echoed \x93Fool!\x94

But it was really a wonderful reformation that he brought about.

I looked into the garden at that Putney reformatory many times. It was
one of the genteelest places I ever saw and so handy for the buses. It
was called, by one of those flashes of inspiration not unknown in the
suburbs, \x93The Pines.\x94 It might easily have been \x93The Cedars\x94 or \x93The
Hollies,\x94 or even \x93Laburnum Villa.\x94

The poet was carefully shielded by his true friend. Few visitors were
allowed to see him. The more pushing were, however, met half-way.
They were permitted as a treat to handle the knob of Mr. Swinburne\x92s

Was it, I wonder, a Transatlantic visitor who picked up from the
linoleum of the hall beside the veneered mahogany hat-stand, and the
cast-iron umbrella-holder, a scrap of paper in the poet\x92s handwriting
with the stanza of a projected lyric?--

               \x93I am of dust and of dryness;

                   I am weary of dryness and dust!

               But for my constitutional shyness

                   I\x92d go on a bust.\x94


I came across an excellent piece of advice the other day in a
commonplace volume on planning a garden. It was in regard to the place
of statuary in a garden. But the writer is very timid in this matter. He
writes as if he hoped no one would overhear him when he says that he
has no rooted objection, although many people have, to a few bits of
statuary; but on no plea would he allow them the freedom of the garden;
their place should be close to the house, and they should be admitted
even to that restricted territory only with the greatest caution. On
no account should anything of that sort be allowed to put a foot beyond
where the real garden begins--the real clearly being the herbaceous
part, though the formal is never referred to as the ideal.

He gives advice regarding the figures as does a \x93friend of the family\x94
 when consulted about the boys who are Inclined to be wild or the girls
who are a bit skittish. No, no; one should be very firm with Hermes;
from the stories that somehow get about regarding him, he is certainly
inclined to be fast; he must not be given a latch-key; and as for
Artemis--well, it is most likely only thoughtlessness on her part, but
she should not be allowed to hunt more than two days a week. Still, if
looked after, both Hermy and Arty will be all right; above all things,
however, the list of their associates should be carefully revised: the
fewer companions they have the better it will be for all concerned.

Now, I venture to agree with all this advice generally. Fond as I am of
statuary, whether stone or lead, I am sure that it is safest in or about
the House Garden; and no figure that I possess is in any other part of
my ground; but this is only because I do not possess a single Faun or
Dryad or Daphne. If I were lucky enough to have these, I should know
where to place them and it would not be in a place of formality, but
just the opposite. They have no business with formalities, and would
look as incongruous among the divinities who seem quite happy on
pedestals as would Pan in modern evening dress, or a Russian _danceuse_
in corsets, or a Polish in anything at all.

If I had a Pan I would not be afraid to locate him in the densest part
of a shrubbery, where only his ears and the grin between them could be
seen among the foliage and his goat\x92s shank among the lower branches.
His effigy is shown n its legitimate place in Gabe\x92s Picture, \x93F\xEAte
Galante.\x94 That is the correct habitat of Pan, and that is where he would
be shown in the hall of the Natural History Museum where every \x93exhibit\x94
 has its natural _entourage_. If I had a Dryad and had not a pond with
reeds about its marge, I would make one for her accommodation, for,
except with such surroundings she should not be seen in a garden. I
have a Daphne, but she is an indoor one, being frailly made, and with
a year\x92s work of undercutting, in Greek marble--a precious copy of
Bernini\x92s masterpiece. But if I had an outdoor Daphne, I would not rest
easy unless I knew that she was within easy touch of her laurel.

That is why I do not think that any hard and fast rule should be laid
down in the matter of the disposal of statuary in a garden ground. But
on the general principle of \x93the proper place,\x94 I certainly am of the
opinion expressed by the writer to whom I have referred--that this
element of interest and beauty should be found mainly in connection
with the stonework of the house. In any part of an Italian garden stone
figures seem properly placed; because so much of that form of garden
is made up of sculptured stone; but in the best examples of the art you
will find that the statuary is placed with due regard to the \x93feature\x94
 it is meant to illustrate. It is, in fact, part of the design and
eminently decorative, as well as being stimulating to the memory and
suggestive to the imagination. In most of the English gardens that
were planned and carried out during the greater part of the nineteenth
century, the stone and lead figures that formed a portion of the
original design of the earlier days were thrown about without the least
reference to their fitness for the places they were forced to occupy;
and the consequence was that they never seemed right: they seemed to
have no business where they were; hence the creation of a prejudice
against such things. Happily, however, now that it is taken for granted
that garden design is the work of some one who is more of an architect
than a horticulturist, though capability in the one direction is
intolerable without its complement in the other, the garden ornamental
is coming into its own again; and the prices which even ordinary and by
no means unique examples fetch under the hammer show that they are being
properly appreciated.

It is mainly in public parks that one finds the horticultural skill
overbalanced, not by the architectural, but by the \x93Parks Committee\x94
 of the Town Council; consequently knowing, as every one must, the usual
type of the Town Council Committee-man, one can only look for a display
of ignorance, stupidity, and bad taste, the result of a combination of
the three being sheer vulgarity. The Town Council usually have a highly
competent horticulturist, and his part of the business is done well;
but I have known many cases of the professional man being overruled by a
vulgar, conceited member of the Committee even on a professional point,
such as the arrangement of colour in a bed of single dahlias.

\x93My missus abominates yaller,\x94 was enough to veto a thoroughly artistic
scheme for a portion of a public garden.

I was in the studio of a distinguished portrait painter in London on
what was called \x93Show Sunday\x94--the Sunday previous to the sending of the
pictures to the Hanging Committee of the Royal Academy, and there I was
introduced by the artist, who wanted to throw the fellow at somebody\x92s
head, not having anything handy that he could, without discourtesy,
throw at the fellow\x92s head, to a gentleman representing the Committee
of Selection of a movement in one of the most important towns in the
Midlands, to present the outgoing Lord Mayor with a portrait of himself.
With so aggressively blatant a specimen of cast-iron conceit I had never
previously been brought in contact. At least three of the portraits on
the easels in the studio were superb. At the Academy Exhibition they
attracted a great deal of attention and the most laudatory criticism.
But the delegate from the Midlands shook his head at them and gave a
derisive snuffle.

\x93Not up to much,\x94 he muttered to me. \x93I reckon I\x92ll deal in another
shop. I ain\x92t the sort as is carried away by the sound of a name. I may
not be one of your crickets; but I know what I like and I know what I
don\x92t like, and these likenesses is them. Who\x92s that old cock with the
heyglass--I somehow seem to feel that I\x92ve seen him before?\x94

I told him that the person whom he indicated was Lord Goschen.

\x93I guessed he was something in that line--wears the heyglass to make
people fancy he\x92s something swagger. Well, so long.\x94

That was the last we saw of the delegate. He was not one of the
horny-handed, I found out; but he had some connection with these
art-arbiters; he was the owner of a restaurant that catered for artisans
of the lower grade.

I had the curiosity to inquire of a friend living in the town he
represented so efficiently, respecting the commission for the portrait,
and he gave me the name of a flashy meretricious painter whose work was
treated with derision from Chelsea to St. John\x92s Wood. But my informant
added that the Committee of the Council were quite pleased with the
portrait, and had drunk the health of the painter on the day of its

When a distinguished writer expressed the opinion that there is
safety in a multitude of councillors, he certainly did not mean Town
Councillors. If he did he was wrong.

When on the subject of the garden ornamental, I should like to venture
to express my opinion that it is a mistake to fancy that it is not
possible to furnish your grounds tastefully and in a way that will add
immensely to their interest unless with conventional objects--in the way
of sundials or bird baths or vases or seats. I know that the Venetian
well-heads which look so effective, cost a great deal of money, and so
does the wrought-iron work if it is at all good, and unless it is good
it is not worth possessing. But if you have an uncontrollable ambition
to possess a wellhead, why not get the local builder to construct one
for you, with rubble facing of hits of stone of varying colour, only
asking a mason to make a sandstone coping for the rim and carve the
edge? This could be done for three or four pounds, and if properly
designed would make a most interesting and suggestive ornament.

There is scarcely a stonemason\x92s yard in any town that will not furnish
a person of some resource with many bits of spoilt carving that could be
used to advantage if the fault is not obtrusive. If you live in a brick
villa, you may consider yourself fortunate in some ways; for you need
not trouble about stonework--brick-coloured terra-cotta ornaments will
give a delightful sense of warmth to a garden, and these may be
bought for very little if you go to the right place for them; and your
builder\x92s catalogue will enable you to see what an endless variety of
sizes and shapes there is available in the form of enrichments for shop
fa\xE7ades. Only a little imagination is required to allow of your seeing
how you can work in some of these to advantage.

But, in my opinion, nothing looks better in a villa garden than a few
large flower-pots of what I might perhaps call the natural shape. These
never seem out of place and never in bad taste. Several that I have seen
have a little enrichment, and if you get your builder to make up a low
brick pedestal for each, using angle bricks and pier bricks, you will
be out of pocket to the amount of a few shillings and you will have
obtained an effect that will never pall on you. But you must remember
that the pedestal--I should call it the stand--should be no more than
a foot high. I do not advocate the employment of old terra-cotta
drain-pipes for anything in a garden. Nothing can be made out of
drain-pipes except a drain.

There is, of course, no need for any garden to depend on ornaments for
good effect; a garden is well furnished with its flowers, and you will
find great pleasure in realising your ideas and your ideals if you
devote yourself to growth and growth only; all that I do affirm is that
your pleasure will be greatly increased if you try by all the means in
your power to make your garden worthy of the flowers. The \x93love that
beauty should go beautifully,\x94 will, I think, meet with its reward.

Of course, if you have a large piece of ground and take my advice in
making several gardens instead of one only, you may make a red garden of
some portion by using terra-cotta freely, and I am sure that the effect
would be pleasing. I have often thought of doing this; but somehow I was
never in possession of a piece of ground that would lend itself to such
a treatment, though I have made a free use of terracotta vases along the
rose border of my house garden, and I found that the placing of a large
well-weathered Italian oil-jar between the pillars of a colonnade,
inserting a pot of coloured daisies, was very effective, and intensely
stimulating to the pantomime erudition of our visitors, for never did
one catch a glimpse of these jars without crying, \x93Hallo! Ali Baba.\x94 I
promised to forfeit a sum of money equivalent to the price of one of the
jars to a member of our family on the day when a friend walks round the
place failing to mention the name of that wily Oriental. It is quite
likely that behind my back they allude to the rose colonnade as \x93The Ali
Baba place.\x94

Before I leave the subject of the garden ornamental, I must say a word
as to the use of marble.

I have seen in many of those volumes of such good advice as will result,
if it is followed, in the creation of a thoroughly conventional garden,
that in England the use of marble out-of-doors cannot be tolerated. It
may pass muster in Italy, where there are quarries of varions marbles,
but it is quite unsuited to the English climate. The material is
condemned as cold, and that is the last thing we want to achieve in
these latitudes, and it is also \x93out of place\x94--so one book assures me,
but without explaining on what grounds it is so, an omission which turns
the assertion into a begging of the question.

But I am really at a loss to know why marble should be thought out of
place in England. As a matter of fact, it is not so considered, for in
most cemeteries five out of every six tombstones are of marble, and all
the more important pieces of statuary--the life-size angels--I do not
know exactly what is the life-size of an angel, or whether the angel has
been standardised, so I am compelled to assume the human dimensions--and
the groups of cherubs\x92 heads supported on pigeon\x92s wings are almost
invariably carved in marble. These are the objects which are supposed
to endure for centuries (the worst of it is that they do), so that
the material cannot be condemned on account of its being liable to
disintegrate under English climatic conditions: the mortality of marble
cannot cease the moment it is brought into a graveyard.

The fact of its being mainly white accounts for the complaint that it
conveys the impression of coldness; but it seems to me that this is just
the impression which people look to acquire in some part of a garden.
How many times has one not heard the exclamation from persons passing
out of the sunshine into the grateful shade,--

\x93How delightfully cool!\x94

The finest chimney-pieces in the world are of white marble, and a
chimney-piece should certainly not suggest cold.

That polished marble loses its gloss when it has been for some time in
the open air is undeniable. But I wonder if it is not improved by the
process, considering that in such a condition it assumes a delicate gray
hue in the course of its \x93weathering\x94 and a texture of its own of a
much finer quality than can be found in ordinary Portland, Bath, or Caen

I really see no reason why we should be told that marble--white
marble--is unsuited to an English garden. In Italy we know how beautiful
is its appearance, and I do not think that any one should be sarcastic
in referring to the fa\xE7ades of some of the mansions in Fifth Avenue, New
York City. At least three of these represent the best that can be
bought combined with the best that can be thought. They do not look
aggressively ostentatious, any more than does Milan Cathedral or
Westminster Abbey, or Lyons\x92 restaurants. Marble enters largely into
the \x93frontages\x94 of Fifth Avenue as well as those of other abodes of the
wealthy in some of the cities of the United States; but we are warned
off its use in the open air in England by writers who are not timid in
formulating canons of what they call \x93good taste.\x94 In the fa\xE7ade of the
Cathedral at Pisa, there is a black column among the gray ones which are
so effectively introduced in the Romanesque \x93blind arcading.\x94 I am sorry
that I forget what is the technical name for this treatment; but I have
always thought, when feasting upon the architectural masterpiece, that
the master-builder called each of these little columns by the name of
one of his supporters, but that there was one member of the Consistory
who was always nagging him, and he determined to set a black mark
opposite his name; and did so very effectively by introducing the
dark column, taking good care to let all his friends know the why
and wherefore for his freak. I can see very plainly the grins of the
townsfolk of the period when they saw what had been done, and hear the
whispers of \x93Signor Antonio della colonna nigra,\x94 when the grumbler
walked by. The master-builders of those times were merry fellows, and
some of them carried their jests--a few of them of doubtful humour--into
the interior of a sacred building, as we may see when we inspect the
carving of the underneath woodwork of many a _miserere._

I should like to set down in black and white my protest against the
calumniator of marble for garden ornaments in England, when we have so
splendid an example of its employment in the Queen Victoria Memorial
opposite Buckingham Palace--the noblest work of this character in

I should like also to write something scathing about the superior person
who sneers at what I have heard called \x93Gin Palace Art.\x94 This person
is ready to condemn unreservedly the association of art with the
public-house, the hotel, and even the tea-room. Now, considering the
recent slump in real palaces--the bishops have begun calling their
palaces houses--I think that some gratitude should be shown to those
licensed persons who so amply recognise the fact that upon them devolves
the responsibility of carrying on the tradition of the Palace. Long ago,
in the days when there were real Emperors and Kings and Popes, it was
an understood thing that a Royal Residence should be a depository of all
the arts, and in every country except England, this assumption was nobly
acted upon. If it had not been for the magnificent patronage--that is
the right word, for it means protection--of many arts by the Church and
by the State of many countries, we should know very little about the
arts to-day. But when the men of many licences had the name \x93gin-palace\x94
 given to their edifices--it was given to them in the same spirit of
obloquy as animated the scoffers of Antioch when they invented the name
\x93Christian\x94--they nobly resolved to act as the Christians did, by trying
to live up to their new name. We see how far success has crowned their
resolution. The representative hostelries of these days go beyond the
traditional king\x92s house which was all glorious within--they are all
glorious--so far as is consistent with educated taste--as to their
exterior as well. A \x93tied house\x94 really means nowadays one that is tied
down to the resolution that the best traditions of the palace shall be

Let any one who can remember what the hotels and public-houses and
eating-houses of forty years ago were like, say if the change that has
been brought about is not an improvement that may be considered almost
miraculous. In the old days when a man left the zinc counters of one
of these places of refreshment, he was usually in a condition that was
alluded to euphemistically as \x93elevated but nowadays the man who pays a
visit to a properly equipped tavern is elevated in no euphemistic sense.
I remember the cockroaches of the old Albion--they were so tame that
they would eat out of your hand. But if they did, the _habitu\xE9s_ of that
tavern had their revenge: some of these expert gastronomes professed
to be able to tell from the flavour of the soup whether it had been
seasoned with the cockroaches of the table or the black beetles of the

\x93What do you mean, sir?\x94 cried an indignant diner to the waiter--\x93I
ordered portions for three, and yet there are only two cockroaches.\x94

I recollect in the old days of The Cock tavern in Fleet Street it was
said when the report was circulated that it was enlarging its borders,
that the name on the sign should be appropriately enlarged from the Cock
to the Cockroach.

I heard an explanation given of the toleration shown by some of the
frequenters of these places to the cockroach and the blackbeetle.

\x93They\x92re afraid to complain,\x94 said my informant, \x93lest it should be
thought that they were _seeing them, again_.\x94

I shall never forget the awful dewey stare of a man who was facing a
tumbler (his third) of hot punch in the Cheshire Cheese, at a mouse
which made its appearance only a yard or two from where we were sitting
shortly before closing time one night. He wiped his forehead and still
stared. The aspect of relief that he showed when I made a remark about
the tameness of the mouse, quite rewarded me for my interposition
between old acquaintances.

Having mentioned the Cheshire Cheese in connection with the transition
period from zinc to marble--marble is really my theme--I cannot resist
the temptation to refer to the well-preserved tradition of Dr. Johnson\x92s
association with this place. Visitors were shown the place where Dr.
Johnson was wont to sit night after night with his friends--nay, the
very chair that he so fully occupied was on view; and among the most
cherished memories of seeing \x93Old London\x94 which people from America
acquired, was that of being brought into such close touch with the
eighteenth century by taking lunch in this famous place.

\x93There it was just as it had been in good old Samuel\x92s day,\x94 said a man
who knew all about it. \x93Nothing in the dear old tavern had been changed
since his day--nothing whatever--not even the sand or the sawdust or the

But it so happens that in the hundreds of volumes of contemporary
Johnsoniana, not excepting Boswell\x92s biography, there is no mention of
the name of the Cheshire Cheese. There is not a shred of evidence to
support the belief that Johnson was ever within its doors. The furthest
that conjecture can reasonably go in this connection is that one has no
right to assume that from the list of the taverns frequented by Johnson
the name of the Cheshire Cheese should be excluded.

The fate of the Cheshire Cheese, however, proves that while tradition as
an asset may be of great value to such a place, yet it has its limits.
Just as soap and the \x93spellin\x92 school\x94 have done away with the romance
of the noble Red Man, so against the influence of the marble of
modernity, even the full flavoured aura of Dr. Johnson was unable to
hold its own.

Thus I am brought back--not too late, I hope--to my original theme, which
1 think took the form of a protest against the protestations of those
writers who believe that marble should not find its way into the
ornamentation of an English garden. I have had seats and tables and
vases and columns of various marbles in my House Garden--I have even
had a fountain basin and carved panels of flowers and birds of the same
material--but although some of them show signs of being affected by the
climate, yet nothing has suffered in this way--on the contrary, I find
that Sicilian and \x93dove\x94 marbles have improved by \x93weathering.\x94

I have a large round table, the top of which is inlaid with a variety
of coloured marbles, and as I allow this to remain out-of-doors during
seven months of the year, I know what sorts best withstand the rigours
of an English South Coast June; and I am inclined to believe that the
ordinary \x93dove\x94 shows the least sign of hardship at the end of the
season. Of course, the top has lost all its polish, but the cost of
repolishing such a table is not more than ten shillings--I had another
one done some years ago, and that is the sum I was charged for the work
by a well-known firm on the Fulham Road; so that if I should get tired
of seeing it weather-beaten, I can get it restored without impoverishing
the household.

And the mention of this leads me on to another point which should not be
lost sight of in considering any scheme of garden decoration.

My Garden of Peace has never been one of \x93peace at any price.\x94 I have
happily been compelled to give the most inflexible attention to the
price of everything. I like those books on garden design which tell you
how easily you can get leaden figures and magnificent chased vases of
bronze if you wish, but perhaps you would prefer carved stone. You
have only to go to a well-known importer with a cheque-book and a
consciousness of a workable bank balance, and the thing is done. So you
will find in the pre-war cookery books the recipe beginning: \x93Take two
dozen new-laid eggs, a quart of cream, and a pint of old brandy,\x94 etc.
These bits of advice make very good reading, and doubtless may be read
with composure by some people, but I am not among their number.

That table, with the twelve panels and a heavy pedestal set on castors,
cost me exactly half a crown at an auction. When new it was probably
bought for twelve or fourteen pounds: it is by no means a piece of work
of the highest class; for a first-class inlaid table one would have to
pay something like forty or fifty pounds: I have seen one fetch \xA3150 at
an auction. But my specimen happened to be the Lot 1 in the catalogue,
and people had not begun to warm to their bidding, marble, as I have
already said, is regarded as cold. Another accident that told against
its chances of inspiring a buyer was the fact that the pedestal wanted
a screw, without which the top would not be in its place, and this made
people think it imperfect and incapable of being put right except at
great expense. The chief reason for its not getting beyond the initial
bid was, however, that no one wanted it. The mothers, particularly those
of \x93the better class,\x94 in Yardley, are lacking in imagination. If they
want a deal table for a kitchen, they will pay fifteen shillings for
one, and ten shillings for a slab of marble to make their pastry on; but
they would not give half a crown for a marble table which would serve
for kitchen purposes a great deal better than a wooden one, and make a
baking slab--it usually gets broken within a month--unnecessary.

[Illustration: 0242]

Why I make so free a use of marble and advise others to do so, is not
merely because I admire it in every form and colour, but because it
can be bought so very cheaply upon occasions--infinitely more so than
Portland or Bath stone. These two rarely come into the second-hand
market, and in the mason\x92s yard a slab is worth so much a square foot or
a cubic foot. But people are now constantly turning out their shapeless
marble mantelpieces and getting wooden ones instead, and the only person
who will buy the former is the general dealer, and the most that he will
give for one that cost \xA310 or \xA312 fifty years ago is 10s. or 12s. I
have bought from dealers or builders possibly two dozen of these, never
paying more than 10s. each for the best--actually for the one which I
know was beyond question the best, I paid 6s., the price at which it was
offered to me. An exceptionally fine one of statuary marble with fluted
columns and beautifully carved Corinthian capitals and panels cost me
10s. This mantelpiece was discarded through one of those funny blunders
which enable one to get a bargain. The owner of the house fancied that
it was a production of 1860, when it really was a hundred years earlier.
There are marble mantelpieces and marble mantelpieces. Some fetch 10s.
and others \xA3175. I knew a dealer who bought a large house solely to
acquire the five Bossi mantelpieces which it contained. Occasionally
one may pick up an eighteenth century crystal chandelier which has been
discarded on the supposition that it was one of those shapeless and
tasteless gasaliers which delighted our grandmothers in the days of rep
and Berlin wool.

But from these confessions I hope no one will be so ungenerous as to
fancy that my prediction for marble is to be accounted for only because
of the chances of buying it cheaply. While I admit that I prefer buying
a beautiful thing for a tenth of its value, I would certainly refuse
to have anything to do with an ugly thing if it were offered to me
for nothing. But the beauty of marble is unassailable. It has been
recognised in every quarter of the world for thousands of years.
The only question upon which opinion is divided is in regard to its
suitability to the English climate. In this connection I beg leave
to record my experience. I take it for granted that when I allude
to marble, it will not be supposed that I include that soft
gypsum--sulphate of lime--which masquerades under the name of alabaster,
and is carved with the tools of a woodcarver, supplemented by a drill
and a file, in many forms by Italian craftsmen. This material will last
in the open air very little longer than the plaster of Paris, by which
its numerous component parts are held together. It is worth nothing.
True alabaster is quite a different substance. It is carbonate of lime
and disintegrates very slowly. The tomb of Machiavelli in the Santa
Croce in Florence is of the true alabaster, as are all the fifteenth and
sixteenth century sarcophagi in the same quarter of the church; but none
can be said to have suffered materially. It was widely used in memorial
tablets three hundred or four hundred years ago. Shakespeare makes
Othello refer to the sleeping Desdemona,--

               \x93That whiter skin of hers than snow,

               And smooth as monumental alabaster.\x94

We know that it was the musical word \x93alabaster\x94 that found favour with
Shakespeare, just as it was, according to Miss Ethel Smyth, Mus. Doc.,
the musical word \x93Tipperary,\x94 that helped to make a song containing
that word a favourite with Shakespeare\x92s countrymen, who have never been
found lacking in appreciation of a musical word or a rag-time inanity.


Again may I beg leave to express the opinion that there is no need for
any one to depend upon conventional ornaments with a view to make the
garden interesting as well as ornamental. With a little imagination,
one can introduce quite a number of details that are absolutely unique.
There is nothing that looks better than an arch made out of an old stone
doorway. It may be surmounted by a properly supported shield carved with
a crest or a monogram. A rose pillar of stone has a charming appearance
at the end of a vista. The most effective I have seen were made of
artificial stone, and they cost very little. Many of the finest garden
figures of the eighteenth century were made of this kind of cement,
only inferior in many respects to the modern \x93artificial stone.\x94 It is
unnecessary to say that any material that resists frost will survive
that comparatively soft stone work which goes from bad to worse year by
year in the open.

But I do not think that, while great freedom and independence should be
shown in the introduction of ornamental work, one should ever go so far
as to construct in cold blood a ruin of any sort, nor is there any need,
I think, to try to make a new piece look antique.

But I have actually known of a figure being deprived of one of its
arms in order to increase its resemblance to the Venus of the island
of Milos! Such mutilation is unwarrantable. I have known of Doctors of
Medicine taking pains to make their heads bald, in compliance with the
decrepit notion that knowledge was inseparable from a venerable age.
There may be an excuse for such a proceeding, though to my mind this
posturing lacks only two letters to be imposturing; but no excuse can
be found for breaking the corner off a piece of moulding or for treating
a stone figure with chemicals in order to suggest antiquity. Such
dealers as possess a clientele worth maintaining, know that a thing \x93in
mint condition,\x94 as they describe it, is worth more than a similar
thing that is deficient in any way. That old story about the artificial
worm-eating will not be credited by any one who is aware of the fact
that a piece of woodwork showing signs of the ravages of the wood moth
is practically worthless. There would be some sense in a story of a man
coming to a dealer with a composition to prevent worm-holes, as they are
called, being recognised. Ten thousand pounds would not be too much to
pay for a discovery that would prevent woodwork from being devoured by
this abominable thing. Surely some of the Pasteur professors should be
equal to the task of producing a serum by which living timber might be
inoculated so as to make it immune to such attacks, or liable only to
the disease in a mild form.

But there are dealers in antiques whose dealings are as doubtful as
their Pentateuch (according to Bishop Colenso\x92s researches). Heywood
tells me that he came across such an one in a popular seaside town which
became a modern Hebrew City of Refuge, mentioned in one of the Mosaic
books, during the air raids. This person had for sale a Highland
claidh-earnh-mdr--that is, I can assure you, the proper way to spell
claymore--which he affirmed had once belonged to the Young Pretender.
There it was, with his initials \x93Y. P.,\x94 damascened upon the blade, to
show that there could be no doubt about it.

And Friswell remembered hearing of another enterprising trader in
antiquities who had bought from a poor old captain of an American whaler
a sailor\x92s jack-knife--Thackeray called the weapon a snickersnee--which
bore on the handle in plain letters the name \x93Jonah,\x94 very creditably
carved. Everybody knows that whales live to a very great age; and it
has never been suggested that there was at any time a clearing-house for

I repeat that there is no need for garden ornaments to be ancient; but
if one must have such things, one should have no difficulty in finding
them, even without spending enormous sums to acquire them. But say
that one has set one\x92s heart upon having a stone bench, which always
furnishes a garden, no matter what its character may be. Well, I have
bought a big stone slab--it had once been a step--for five shillings.
I kept it until I chanced to see a damaged Portland truss that
had supported a heavy joist in some building. This I had sawn into
two--there was a well-cut scroll on each side--and by placing these bits
in position and laying my slab upon them, I concocted a very imposing
garden bench for thirteen shillings. If I had bought the same already
made up in the ordinary course of business, it would have cost me at
least \xA35. If I had seen the thing in a mason\x92s yard, I would have bought
it at this price.

Again, I came upon an old capital of a pillar that had once been in an
Early Norman church--it was in the backyard of a man from whom I was
buying bulbs. I told the man that I would like it, and he said he
thought half a crown was about its value. I did not try to beat him
down--one never gets a bargain by beating a tradesman down--and I set
to work rummaging through his premises. In ten minutes I had discovered a
second capital; and the good fellow said I might have this one as I
had found it. I thought it better, however, to make the transaction a
business one, so I paid my second half-crown for it. But two years had
passed before I found two stone shafts with an aged look, and on these
I placed my Norman relics. They look very well in the embrace of a
Hiawatha rose against a background of old wall. These are but a few
of the \x93made-ups\x94 which furnish my House Garden, not one of which I
acquired in what some people would term the legitimate way.

I have a large carved seat of Sicilian marble, another of \x93dove\x94 marble,
and three others of carved stone, and no one of them was acquired by me
in a complete state. Why should not a man or woman who has some training
in art and who has seen the best architectural things in the world
be able to design something that will be equal to the best in a
stonemason\x92s yard, I should like to know?

And then, what about the pleasure of working out such details--the
pleasure and the profit of it? Surely they count for something in this
life of ours.

Before I forsake the fascinating topic of stonework, I should like
to make a suggestion which I trust will commend itself to some of my
readers. It is that of hanging appropriate texts on the walls of a
garden. I have not attempted anything like this myself, but I shall
certainly do it some day. Garden texts exist in abundance, and to have
one carved upon a simple block of stone and inserted in a wall would, I
think, add greatly to the interest of the garden. I have seen a couple
of such inscriptions in a garden near Florence, and I fancy that in the
Lake District of England the custom found favour, or Wordsworth would
not have written so many as he did for his friends. The \x93lettering\x94--the
technical name for inscriptions--would run into money if a poet paid by
piece-work were employed; unless he were as considerate as the one who
did some beautiful tombstone poems and thought that,--

          \x93Beneath this stone repose the bones, together with the


          Of one who ere Death cut him down was Thomas Andrew


was good; and so it was; but as the widow was not disposed to spend so
much as the \x93lettering\x94 would cost, he reduced his verse to:--

               Beneath this stone there lies the corp

               Of Mr. Thomas Andrew Thorpe.\x94

Still the widow shook her head and begged him to give the question of a
further curtailment his consideration. He did so, and produced,--

                        \x93Here lies the corp

                   Of T. A. Thorpe.\x94

This was a move in the right direction, the heartbroken relict thought;
still if the sentiment, was so compressible, it might be further
reduced. Flowery language was all very well, but was it worth the extra
money? The result of her appeal was,--



I found some perfect garden texts in every volume I glanced through,
from Marlowe to Masefield.

Yes, I shall certainly revive on some of my walls, between the tufts of
snapdragon, a delightful practice, feeling assured that the crop will
flower in many directions. The search for the neatest lines will of
itself be stimulating.

But among the suitable objects for the embellishment of any form of
garden, I should not recommend any form of dog. We have not completed
our repairing of one of our borders since a visit was paid to us quite
unexpectedly by a young foxhound that was being \x93walked\x94 by a dealer in
horses, who has stables a little distance beyond the Castle. Our third
little girl, Francie by name, has an overwhelming sympathy for animals
in captivity, especially dogs, and the fact that I do not keep any since
I had an unhappy experience with a mastiff several years ago, is not
a barrier to her friendship with \x93Mongrel, puppy, whelp, or hound, and
curs of low degree\x94 that are freely cursed by motorists in the High
Street; for in Yardley dogs have trained themselves to sleep in the
middle of the road on warm summer days. Almost every afternoon Francie
returns from her walks abroad in the company of two or three of her
borrowed dogs; and if she is at all past her time in setting out from
home, one of them comes up to make inquiries as to the cause of the

Some months ago the foxhound, Daffodil, who gallantly prefers being
walked by a little girl, even though she carries no whip, rather than
by a horsey man who is never without a serviceable crop with a lash,
personally conducted a party of three to find out if anything serious
had happened to Francie; and in order to show off before the others,
he took advantage of the garden gate having been left open to enter and
relieve his anxiety. He seemed to have done a good deal of looking round
before he was satisfied that there was no immediate cause for alarm, and
in the course of his stroll he transformed the border, adapting it to
an impromptu design of his own--not without merit, if his aim was a
reproduction of a prairie.

After an industrious five minutes he received some token of the
gardener\x92s disapproval, and we hope that in a few months the end of our
work of restoration will be well in sight.

But Nemesis was nearer at hand than that horticultural hound dreamt
of. Yesterday Francie appeared in tears after her walk; and this is
the story of _illo lachrymo_: It appears that the days of Daffodil\x92s
\x93walking\x94 were over, and he was given an honourable place in the hunt
kennels. The master and a huntsman now and again take the full pack from
their home to the Downs for an outing and bring them through the town on
their way hack. Yesterday such a route-march took place and the hounds
went streaming in open order down the street. No contretemps seemed
likely to mar the success of the outing; but unhappily Daffodil had not
learned to the last page the discipline of the kennels, and when at the
wrong moment Francie came out of the confectioner\x92s shop, she was spied
by her old friend, and he made a rush in front of the huntsman\x92s horse
to the little girl, nearly knocking her down in the exuberance of his
greeting of her.

Alas! there was \x93greeting\x94 in the Scotch meaning of the word, when
Daffodil ignored the command of the huntsman and had only eaten five of
the chocolates and an inch or two of the paper bag, when the hailstorm
fell on him....

\x93But once he looked back before he reached the pack,\x94 said Francie
between her sobs--\x93he looked back at me--you see he had not time to say
\x91goodbye,\x92 that horrid huntsman was so quick with his lash, and I knew
that that was why poor Daffy looked back--to say \x91good-bye\x92--just his
old look. Oh, I\x92ll save up my birthday money next week and buy him. Poor
Daff! Of course he knew me, and I knew him--I saw him through Miss
Richardson\x92s \x91window above the doughnut tray--I knew him among all the
others in the pack.\x94

Dorothy comforted her, and she became sufficiently herself again to be
able to eat the remainder of the half-pound of chocolates, forgetting,
in the excitement of the moment, to retain their share for her sisters.

When they found this out, their expressions of sympathy for the cruel
fate that fell upon Daffodil were turned in another direction.

They did not make any allowance for the momentary thoughtlessness due to
an emotional nature.

The question of the purchase of the young hound has not yet been
referred to me; but without venturing too far in prejudging the matter,
I think I may say that that transaction will not be consummated. The
first of whatever inscriptions I may some day put upon my garden wall
will be one in Greek:--

[Illustration: 0256]


Dorothy and I were having a chat about some designs in Treillage when
Friswell sauntered into the garden, bringing with him a tine book on the
Influence of Cimabue on the later work of Andrea del Castagno. He
had promised to lend it to me, when in a moment of abstraction I had
professed an interest in the subject.

Dorothy showed him her sketches of the new scheme, explaining that it
was to act as a screen for fig-tree corner, where the material for a
bonfire had been collecting for some time in view of the Peace that we
saw in our visions of a new heaven and a new earth long promised to the
sons of men.

Friswell was good enough to approve of the designs. He said he thought
that Treillage would come into its own again before long. He always
liked it, because somehow it made him think of the Bible.

I did not like that. I shun topics that induce thoughts of the Bible in
Friswell\x92s brain. He is at his worst when thinking and expressing his
thoughts on the Bible, and the worst of his worst is that it is just
then he makes himself interesting.

But how on earth Treillage and the Bible should become connected in any
man\x92s mind would pass the wit of man to explain. But when the appearance
of my Temple compelled Friswell to think of Oxford Street, London, W.,
when his errant memory was carrying him on to the Princess\x92s Theatre, on
whose stage a cardboard thing was built--about as like my Temple as
the late Temple of the Archdiocese of Canterbury was like the late Dr.
Parker of the City Temple.

\x93I don\x92t recollect any direct or mystical reference to Treillage in
the Book,\x94 said I, with a leaning toward sarcasm in my tone of voice.
\x93Perhaps you saw something of the kind on or near the premises of the
Bible Society.\x94

\x93It couldn\x92t be something in a theatre again,\x94 suggested Dorothy.

\x93I believe it was on a garden wall in Damascus, but I\x92m not quite sure,\x94
 said he thoughtfully. \x93Damascus is a garden city in itself. Thank Heaven
it is safe for some centuries more. That ex-All Highest who had designs
on it would fain have made it Potsdamascus.\x94

\x93He would have done his devil best, pulling down the Treillage you saw
there, because it was too French. Don\x92t you think, Friswell, that you
should try to achieve some sort of Treillage for your memory? You are
constantly sending out shoots that come to nothing for want of something
firm to cling to.\x94

\x93Not a bad notion, by any means,\x94 said he. \x93But it has been tried by
scores of experts on the science of--I forget the name of the science: I
only know that its first two letters are mn.\x94

\x93Mnemonics,\x94 said Dorothy kindly.

\x93What a memory you have!\x94 cried Friswell. \x93A memory for the word that
means memory. I think most of the artificial memories or helps to memory
are ridiculous. They tell you that if you wish to remember one thing you
must be prepared to recollect half a dozen other things--you are to be
led to your destination by a range of sign-posts.\x94

\x93I shouldn\x92t object to the sign-posts providing that the destination was
worth arriving at,\x94 said I. \x93But if it\x92s only the front row of the dress
circle at the Princess\x92s Theatre, Oxford Street, London, West--\x94

\x93Or Damascus, Middle East,\x94 he put in, when I paused to breathe. \x93Yes,
I agree with you; but after all, it wasn\x92t Damascus, but only the
General\x92s house at Gibraltar.\x94

\x93Have mercy on our frail systems, Friswell,\x94 I cried. \x93\x91We are but
men, are we!\x92 as Swinburne lilts. Think of our poor heads. Another such
abrupt memory-post and we are undone. How is it with you, my Dorothy?\x94

\x93I seek a guiding hand,\x94 said she. \x93Come, Mr. Friswell; tell us how a
General at Gib, suggested the Bible to you.\x94

\x93It doesn\x92t seem obvious, does it?\x94 said he. \x93But it so happened that
the noblest traditions of the Corps of Sappers was maintained by the
General at Gib, in my day. He was mad, married, and a Methodist. He
had been an intimate friend and comrade of Gordon, and he invited
subscriptions from all the garrison for the Palestine Exploration Fund.
He gave monthly lectures on the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, and at
every recurring Feast of Tabernacles he had the elaborate trellis that
compassed about his house, hung with branches of Mosaic trees. That\x92s
the connection--as easily obvious as the origin of sin.\x94

[Illustration: 0260]

\x93Just about the same,\x94 said I. \x93Your chain of sign-posts is complete:
Treillage--General--Gibraltar--Gordon--Gospel. That is how you are
irresistibly drawn to think of the Bible when you see a clematis
climbing up a trellis.\x94

\x93My dear,\x94 said Dorothy, \x93you know that I don\x92t approve of any attempt
at jesting on the subject of the Bible.\x94

\x93I wasn\x92t jesting--only alliterative,\x94 said I. \x93Surely alliteration is
not jocular.\x94

\x93It\x92s on the border,\x94 she replied with a nod.

\x93The Bible is all right if you are only content not to take it too
seriously, my dear lady,\x94 said Friswell. \x93It does not discourage simple
humour--on the contrary, it contains many examples of the Oriental idea
of fun.\x94

\x93Oh, Mr. Friswell! You will be saying next that it is full of puns,\x94
 said Dorothy.

\x93I know of one, and it served as the foundation of the Christian
Church,\x94 said he.

\x93My dear Friswell, are you not going too far?\x94

\x93Not a step. The choosing of Peter is the foundation of your Church, and
the authority assumed by its priests. Simon Barjonah, nicknamed Peter,
is one of the most convincingly real characters to be found in any
book, sacred or profane. How any one can read his record and doubt the
inspiration of the Gospels is beyond me. I have been studying
Simon Barjonah for many years--a conceited braggart and a coward--a
blasphemer--maudlin! After he had been cursing and swearing in his
denial of his Master, he went out and wept bitterly. Yes, but he wasn\x92t
man enough to stand by the Son of God--he was not even man enough to
go to the nearest tree and hang himself. Judas Iscariot was a nobler
character than Simon Barjonah, nicknamed Peter.\x94

\x93And what does all this mean, Mr. Friswell?\x94

\x93It means that it\x92s fortunate that Truth is not dependent upon the truth
of its exponents or affected by their falseness,\x94 said he, and so took
his departure.

We went on with our consideration of our Treillage--after a considerable
silence. But when a silence comes between Dorothy and me it does not
take the form of an impenetrable wall, nor yet that of a yew hedge
with gaps in it; but rather that of a grateful screen of sweet-scented
honeysuckle. It is the silence within a bower of white clematis--the
silence of \x93heaven\x92s ebon vault studded with stars unutterably
bright\x94--the silence of the stars which is an unheard melody to such as
have ears to hear.

\x93Yes,\x94 said I at last, \x93I am sure that you are right: an oval centre
from which the laths radiate--that shall be our new trellis.\x94

And so it was.

Our life in the Garden of Peace is, you will perceive, something of what
the catalogues term \x93of rampant growth.\x94 It is as digressive as a wild
convolvulus. I perceive this now that I have taken to writing about
it. It is not literary, but discursive. It throws out, it may he, the
slenderest of tendrils in one direction; but this \x93between the bud and
blossom,\x94 sometimes Hies off in another, and the effect of the whole is
pleasantly unforeseen.

It is about time that we had a firm trellis for the truant tendrils.

And so I will discourse upon Treillage as a feature of the garden.

Its effect seems to have been lost sight of for a long time, but happily
within recent years its value as an auxiliary to decoration is being
recognised. I have seen lovely hits in France as well as in Italy. It
is one of the oldest imitations of Nature to be found in connection with
garden-making, and to me it represents exactly what place art should
take in that modification of Nature which we call a garden. We want
everything that grows to be seen to the greatest advantage. Nature grows
rampant climbers, and if we allowed them to continue rampageous, we
should have a jungle instead of a garden; so we agree to give her a
helping band by offering her aspiring children something pleasant to
cling to from the first hour of their sending forth grasping fingers in
search of the right ladder for their ascent. A trellis is like a family
living: it provides a decorative career for at least one member of the

The usual trellis-work, as it is familiarly called: has the merit of
being cheap--just now it is more than twice the price that it was five
years ago; but still it does not run into a great deal of money unless
it is used riotously, and this, let me say, is the very worst way in
which it could be adapted to its purpose. To fix it all along the face
of a wall of perhaps forty feet in length is to force it to do more than
it should be asked to do. The wall is capable of supporting a climbing
plant without artificial aid. But if the wall is unsightly, it were best
hidden, and the eye can bear a considerable length of simple trellis
without becoming weary. In this connection, however, my experience
forces me to believe that one should shun the \x93extending\x94 form of
lattice-shaped work, but choose the square-mesh pattern.

This, however, is only Treillage in its elementary form. If one wishes
to have a truly effective screen offering a number of exquisite outlines
for the entwining of some of the loveliest things that grow, one must go
further in one\x92s choice than the simple diagonals and rectagonals--the
simple verticals and horizontals. The moment that curves are introduced
one gets into a new field of charm, and I know of no means of gaining
better effects than by elaborating this form of joinery as the French
did two centuries ago, before the discovery was made that every form
of art in a garden is inartistic. But possibly if the French
_treillageurs_--for the art had many professors--had been a little
more modest in their claims the landscapests would not have succeeded in
their rebellion. But the _treillageurs_ protested against such beautiful
designs as they turned out being obscured by plants clambering over
them, and they offered in exchange repouss\xE9 metal foliage, affirming
that this was incomparably superior to a natural growth. Ordinary
people refused to admit so ridiculous a claim, and a cloud came over
the prospects of these artists. Recently, however, with a truer
rapprochement between the \x93schools\x94 of garden design, I find several
catalogues of eminent firms illustrating their reproductions of some
beautiful French and Dutch work.

Personally, I have a furtive sympathy with the conceited Frenchmen. It
seems to me that it would be a great shame to allow the growths upon a
fine piece of Treillage to become so gross as to conceal all the design
of the joinery. Therefore I hold that such ambitious climbers as Dorothy
Perkins or Crimson Rambler should be provided with an unsightly wall
and bade to make it sightly, and that to the more graceful and less
distracting clematis should any first-class woodwork be assigned. This
scheme will give both sides a chance in the summer, and in the winter
there will be before our eyes a beautiful thing to look upon, even
though it is no longer supporting a plant, and so fulfilling the
ostensible object of its existence.

There should be no limit to the decorative possibilities of the
Treillage lath. A whole building can be constructed on this basis. I
have seen two or three very successful attempts in such a direction
in Holland; and quite enchanting did they seem, overclambered by Dutch
honeysuckle. I learned that all were copied from eighteenth century
designs. I saw another Dutch design in an English garden in the North.

It took the form of a sheltered and canopied seat. It had a round tower
at each side and a gracefully curved back. The \x93mesh\x94 used in this
little masterpiece was one of four inches. It was painted in a tint that
looks best of all in garden word--the gray of the _echeveria glauca_,
and the blooms of a beautiful Aglaia rose were playing hide-and-seek
among the laths of the roof. I see no reason why hollow pillars for
roses should not be made on the Treillage principle. I have seen such
pillars supporting the canopied roof of more than one balcony in front
of houses in Brighton and Hove. I fancy that at one time these were
fashionable in such places. In his fine work entitled _The English
Home from Charles I. to George IV._, Mr. J. Alfred Gotch gives two
illustrations of Treillage adapted to balconies.

But to my mind, its most effective adaptation is in association with a
pergola, especially if near the house. To be sure, if the space to
be filled is considerable, the work for both sides would be somewhat
expensive; but then the cost of such things is very elastic; it is
wholly dependent upon the degrees of elaboration in the design. But in
certain situations a pergola built up in this way may be made to do duty
as an anteroom or a loggia, and as such it gives a good return for an
expenditure of money; and if constructed with substantial uprights--I
should recommend the employment of an iron core an inch in diameter for
these, covered, I need hardly say, with the laths--and painted every
second year, the structure should last for half a century. Sir Laurence
Alma-Tadema carried out a marvellous scheme of this type at his house
in St. John\x92s Wood. It was on a Dutch plan, but was not a copy of any
existing arrangement of gardens. I happen to know that the design was
elaborated by himself and his wife on their leaving his first St. John\x92s
Wood home: it was a model of what may be called \x93_l\x92haut Treillage_.\x94

Once again I would venture to point out the advantage of having a.
handsome thing to look at during the winter months when an ordinary
pergola looks its worst.

Regarding pergolas in general a good deal might be written. Their
popularity in England just now is well deserved. There is scarcely a
garden of any dimensions that is reckoned complete unless it encloses
one within its walls. A more admirable means of dividing a ground space
so as to make two gardens of different types, could scarcely be devised,
in the absence of a yew or box growth of hedge; nor could one imagine
a more interesting way of passing from the house to the garden than
beneath such a roof of roses. In this case it should play the part
of one of those \x93vistas\x94 which were regarded as indispensable in the
eighteenth century. It should have a legitimate entrance and it should
not stop abruptly. If the exigencies of space make for such abruptness,
not a moment\x92s delay there should be in the planting of a large climbing
shrub on each side of the exit so as to embower it, so to speak. A
vase or a short pillar should compel the dividing of the path a little
further on, and the grass verge--I am assuming the most awkward of
exits--should he rounded off in every direction, so as to cause the
ornament to become the feature up to which the pergola path is leading.
I may mention incidentally at this moment that such an isolated ornament
as I have suggested gives a legitimate excuse for dividing any
garden walk that has a tendency to weary the eye by its persistent
straightness. Some years ago no one ever thought it necessary to make
an excuse for a curve in a garden walk. The gardener simply got out his
iron and cut out whatever curve he pleased on each side, and the
thing was done. But nowadays one must have a natural reason for every
deflection in a path; and an obstacle is introduced only to be avoided.

I need hardly say that there are pergolas and pergolas. I saw one that
cost between two and three thousand pounds in a garden beyond Beaulieu,
between Mont Boron and Monte Carlo--an ideal site. It was made up of
porphyry columns with Corinthian carved capitals and wrought-iron work
of a beautiful design, largely, but not lavishly, gilt, as a sort of
frieze running from pillar to pillar; a bronze vase stood between each
of the panels, and the handles of these were also gilt. I have known of
quite respectable persons creating quite presentable pergolas for less
money. In that favoured part of the world, however, everything bizarre
and extravagant seems to find a place and to look in keeping with its

The antithesis to this gorgeous and thoroughly beautiful piece of work
I have seen in many gardens in England. It is the \x93rustic\x94 pergola, a
thing that may be acquired for a couple of pounds and that may, with
attention, last a couple of years. Anything is better than this--no
pergola at all is better than this. In Italy one sees along the
roadsides numbers of these structures overgrown with vines; but never
yet did I see one that was not either in a broken-down condition or
rapidly approaching such a condition; although the poles are usually
made of chestnut which should last a long time--unlike our larch, the
life of which when cut into poles and inserted in the cold earth does not
as a rule go beyond the third year.

Rut there is something workable in this line between the
three-thousand-pounder of the Riviera, and the three-pounder of Clapham.
If people will only keep their eyes open for posts suitable for the
pillars of a pergola, they will be able to collect a sufficient number
to make a start with inside a year. The remainder of the woodwork I
should recommend being brought already shaped and creosoted from some of
those large sawmills where such work is made a speciality of. But there
is no use getting anything that is not strong and durable, and every
upright pillar should be embedded in concrete or cement. For one of
my own pergolas--I do not call them pergolas but colonnades--I found a
disused telegraph pole and sawed it into lengths of thirty inches each.
These I sank eighteen inches in the ground at regular intervals and on
each I doweled two oak poles six inches in diameter. They are standing
well; for telegraph posts which have been properly treated are nearly as
durable as iron. All the woodwork for this I got ready sawn and \x93dipped\x94
 from a well-known factory at Croydon. It is eighty feet long and paved
throughout. One man was able to put it up inside a fine fortnight in the
month of January.

A second colonnade that I have is under forty feet in length. I made
one side of it against a screen of sweetbrier roses which had grown to
a height of twenty feet in five years. The making of it was suggested
to me by the chance I had of buying at housebreaker\x92s price a number
of little columns taken from a shop that was being pulled down to give
place, as usual, to a new cinema palace.

An amusing sidelight upon the imperiousness of fashion was afforded us
when the painter set to work upon these. They had once been treated in
that form of decoration known as \x93oak grained\x94--that pale yellow colour
touched with an implement technically called a comb, professing to give
to ordinary deal the appearance of British oak, and possibly deceiving a
person here and there who had never seen oak. But when my painter began
to burn off this stuff he discovered that the column had actually been
papered and then painted and grained. This made his work easy, for he
was able to tear the paper away in strips. But when he had done this he
made the further discovery that the wood underneath was good oak with a
natural grain showing!

Could anything be more ridiculous than the fashion of sixty or seventy
years ago, when the art of graining had reached its highest level? Here
were beautiful oak columns which only required to be waxed to display
to full advantage the graceful natural \x93feathering\x94 of the wood, papered
over and then put into the hands of the artist to make it by his process
of \x93oak-graining\x94 as unlike oak as the basilica of St. Mark is unlike
Westminster Abbey!

But for a large garden where everything is on a heroic scale, the only
suitable pergola is one made up of high brick or stone piers, with
massive oak beams for the roof. Such a structure will last for a century
or two, improving year by year. The only question to consider is the
proper proportions that it should assume--the relations of the length
to the breadth and to the height. On such points I dare not speak. The
architect who has had experience of such structures must be consulted.
I have seen some that have been carried out without reference to the
profession, and to my mind their proportions were not right. One had the
semblance of being stunted, another was certainly not sufficiently broad
by at least two feet.

In this connection I may be pardoned if I give it as my opinion that
most pergolas suffer from lack of breadth. Six feet is the narrowest
breadth possible for one that is eight feet high to the cross beams.
I think that a pergola in England should be paved, not in that
contemptible fashion, properly termed \x93crazy,\x94 but with either stone
slabs or paving tiles; if one can afford to have the work done in
panels, so much the better. In this way nothing looks better than small
bricks set in herring-bone patterns. If one can afford a course of
coloured bricks, so much the better. The riotous gaiety of colour
overhead should be responded to in some measure underfoot.

There is no reason against, but many strong reasons for, interrupting
the lines of a long pergola by making a dome of open woodwork between
the four middle columns of support--assuming that all the rest of the
woodwork is straight---and creating a curved alcove with a seat between
the two back supports, thus forming at very little extra expense, an
additional bower to the others which will come into existence year by
year in a garden that is properly looked after.

When I was a schoolboy I was brought by my desk-mate to his father\x92s
place, and escorted round the grounds by his sister, for whom I
cherished a passion that I hoped was not hopeless. This was while my
friend was busy looking after the nets for the lawn tennis. There were
three summer-houses in various parts of the somewhat extensive grounds,
and in every one of them we came quite too suddenly upon a pair of quite
too obvious lovers.

The sister cicerone hurried past each with averted eyes--after the first
glance--and looked at me and smiled.

We were turning into another avenue after passing the third of these
love-birds, when she stopped abruptly.

\x93We had better not go on any farther,\x94 said she.

\x93Oh, why not?\x94 I cried.

\x93Well, there\x92s another summer-house down there among the lilacs,\x94 she

We stood there while she looked around, plainly in search of a route
that should be less distracting. It was at this moment of indecision
that I gazed at her. I thought that I had never seen her look so
lovely. 1 felt myself trembling. I know that my eyes were fixed upon the
ground--I could not have spoken the words if I had looked up to her--she
was a good head and shoulder taller than I was:--

\x93Look here, Miss Fanny, there may be no one in the last of the
summer-houses. Let us go there and sit--sit--the same as the others.\x94

\x93Oh, no; I should be afraid,\x94 said she.

\x93Oh, I swear to you that you shall have no cause, Miss Fanny; I know
what is due to the one you love; you will be quite safe--sacred.\x94

\x93What do you know about the one I love?\x94 she asked--and there was a
smile in her voice.

\x93I know the one who loves you,\x94 I said warmly.

\x93I\x92m so glad,\x94 she cried. \x93I know that he is looking for me everywhere,
and if he found us together in a summer-house he would be sure to kill
you. Captain Tyson is a frightfully jealous man, and you are too nice
a boy to be killed. Do you mind running round by the rhododendrons and
telling Bob that he may wear my tennis shoes to-day? I got a new pair

I went slowly toward the rhododendrons. When I got beyond their shelter
I looked back.

I did not see her, but I saw the sprightly figure of a naval man
crossing the grass toward where I had left her, and I knew him to be
Commander Tyson, R.N.

Their second son is Commander Tyson, R. N., today.

But from that hour I made up my mind that a properly designed garden
should have at least five summer-houses.

I have just made my fifth.


I am sure that the most peaceful part of our Garden of Peace is the
Place of Roses. The place of roses in the time of roses is one bower.
It grew out of the orchard ground which I had turned into a lawn in
exchange for the grassy space which I had turned into the House Garden.
The grass came very rapidly when I had grubbed up the roots of the old
plums and cherries. But then we found that the stone-edged beds and the
central fountain had not really taken possession, so to speak, of
the House Garden. This had still the character of a lawn for all its
bedding, and could not be mown in less than two hours.

And just as I was becoming impressed with this fact, a gentle general
dealer came to me with the inquiry f a tall wooden pillar would be of
any use to me. I could not tell him until I had seen it, and when I had
seen it and bought it and had it conveyed home I could not tell him.

It was a fluted column of wood, nearly twenty feet high and two in
diameter, with a base and a carved Corinthian capital--quite an imposing
object, but, as usual, the people at the auction were so startled by
having brought before them something to which they were unaccustomed,
they would not make a bid for it, and my dealer, who has brought me many
an embarrassing treasure, got it fur the ten shillings at which he had
started it.

It lay on the grass where it had been left by the carters, giving to the
landscape for a whole week the semblance of the place of the Parthenon
or the Acropolis; but on the seventh day I clearly saw that one cannot
possess a white elephant without making some sacrifices for that
distinction, and I resolved to sacrifice the new lawn to my hasty
purchase. There are few things in the world dearer than a bargain, and
none more irresistible. Rut, as it turned out, this was altogether an
exceptional thing--as a matter of fact, all my bargains are. I made it
stand in the centre of the lawn and I saw the place transformed.

It occupied no more than a patch less than a yard \x91n diameter; but it
dominated the whole neighbourhood. On one side of the place there is
a range of shrubs on a small mound, making people who stand by the new
pend of water-lilies believe that they have come to the bottom of the
garden; on another side is the old Saxon earthwork, now turned into an
expanse of things herbaceous, with a long curved grass path under the
ancient castle walls; down the full length of the third side runs a
pergola, giving no one a glimpse of a great breadth of rose-beds or of
the colonnade beyond, where the sweet-briers have their own way.

There was no reason that I could see (now that I had set my heart on the
scheme) why I should not set up a gigantic rose pillar in the centre of
the lawn and see what would happen.

[Illustration: 0278]

What actually did happen before another year had passed was the erecting
of a tall pillar which looked so lonely in the midst of the grass--a
lighthouse marking a shoal in a green sea--that I made four large
round beds about it, at a distance of about twenty feet, and set up
a nine-foot pillar in the centre of each, planting climbing roses of
various sorts around it, hoping that in due time the whole should be
incorporated and form a ring of roses about the towering centre column.

It really took no more than two years to bring to fruition my most
sanguine hopes, and now there are four rose-tents with hundreds of
prolific shoots above the apex of each, clinging with eager fingers
to the wires which I have brought to them from the top of the central
pillar, and threatening in time to form a complete canopy between forty
and fifty feet in diameter.

In the shade of these ambitious things one sits in what I say is the
most peaceful part of the whole place of peace. Even \x93winter and rough
weather\x94 may be regarded with complacency from the well-sheltered seats;
and every year toward the end of November Rosamund brings into the house
some big sprays of ramblers and asks her mother if there is any boracic
lint handy. He jests at scars who never felt an Ards Rover scrape down
his arm in resisting lawful arrest. But in July and August, looking
down upon the growing canopy from the grass walk above the herbaceous
terrace, is like realising Byron\x92s awful longing for all the rosy lips
of all the rosy girls in the world to \x93become one mouth\x94 in order that
he might \x93kiss them all at once from North to South.\x94 There they are,
thousands and tens of thousands of rosy mouths; but not for kisses, even
separately. Heywood, who, being a painter, is a thoroughly trustworthy
consultant on all artistic matters, assures me that Byron was a fool,
and that his longing for a unification of a million moments of \xE6sthetic
delight was unworthy of his reputation. There may be something in this.
I am content to look down upon our eager roses with no more of a longing
than that September were as far off as Christmas.

It was our antiquarian neighbour who, walking on the terrace one day
in mid-July, told us of a beautiful poem which he had just seen in the
customary corner of the _Gazette_--the full name of the paper is _The
Yardley Gazette, East Longuorth Chronicle, and Nethershire Observer_,
but one would no more think of giving it all its titles in ordinary
conversation than of giving the Duke of Wellington all his. It is with
us as much the _Gazette_ as if no other Gazette had ever been published.
But it prints a copy of verses, ancient or modern, every week, and our
friend had got hold of a gem. The roses reminded him of it He could only
recollect the first two lines, but they were striking:--

               \x93There\x92s a bower of rose by Bendameer\x92s stream

               And the nightingale sings in it all the night long.\x94

Bendameer was some place in China, he thought, or perhaps Japan--but for
the matter of that it might not be a real locality, but merely a place
invented by the poet. Anyhow, he would in future call the terrace walk
Bendameer, for could any one imagine a finer bower of roses than that
beneath us? He did not believe that Bendameer could beat it.

If our friend had talked to Sir Foster Fraser--the only person I ever
met who had been to Bendameer\x92s stream--he might have expressed his
belief much more enthusiastically. On returning from his bicycle tour
round the world, and somewhat disillusioned by the East, ready to affirm
that fifty years of Europe were better than a cycle in Cathay, he told
me that Bendameer\x92s stream was a complete fraud. It was nothing but a
muddy puddle oozing its way through an uninteresting district.

In accordance with our rule, neither Dorothy nor I went further than to
confess that the lines were very sweet.

\x93I\x92ll get you a copy with pleasure,\x94 he cried. \x93I knew you would like
them, you are both so literary; and you know how literary I am myself--I
cut out all the poems that appear in the _Gazette_. It\x92s a hobby, and
elevating. I suppose you don\x92t think it possible to combine antiquarian
tastes and poetical.\x94 Dorothy assured him that she could see a distinct
connection between the two; and he went on: \x93There was another about
roses the week before. The editor is clearly a man of taste, and he puts
in only things that are appropriate to the season. The other one was
about a garden--quite pretty, only perhaps a little vague. I could not
quite make out what it meant at places; but I intend to get it off by
heart, so I wrote it down in iny pocket-book. Here it is:--

                   \x93Rosy is the north,

                        Rosy is the south,

                   Rosy are her cheeks

                        And a rose her mouth.\x94

Now what do you think of it? I call it very pretty--not so good, on
the whole, as the bower of roses by Bendameer\x92s stream, but still quite
nice. You would not be afraid to let one of your little girls read
it--yes, every line.\x94

Dorothy said that she would not; but then Dorothy is afraid of
nothing--not even an antiquarian.

He returned to us the next day with the full text--only embellished with
half a dozen of the _Gazette\x92s_ misprints--of the _Lalla Rookh_ song,
and read it out to us in full, but failing now and again to get into the
lilt of Moore\x92s melodious anapaests--a marvellous feat, considering how
they sing and swing themselves along from line to line. But that was not
enough, He had another story for us--fresh, quite fresh, from the stock
of a brother antiquarian who recollected it, he said, when watching the
players on the bowling-green.

\x93I thought I should not lose a minute in coming to you with it,\x94 he
said. \x93You are so close to the bowling-green here, it should have
additional interest in your eyes. The story is that Nelson was playing
bowls when some one rushed in to say that the Spanish Armada was in
sight. But the news did not put him off his game. \x91We\x92ll have plenty of
time to finish our game and beat the Spaniards afterwards,\x92 he cried;
and sure enough he went on with the game to the end. There was a man for

\x93And who won?\x94 asked Dorothy innocently.

\x93That\x92s just the question I put to my friend,\x94 he cried. \x93The story is
plainly unfinished. He did not say whether Nelson and his partner won
his game against the other players; but you may be sure that he did.\x94

\x93He didn\x92t say who was Nelson\x92s partner?\x94 said Dorothy.

\x93No, I have told you all that he told me,\x94 he replied.

\x93I shouldn\x92t be surprised to hear that his partner was a man named
Drake,\x94 said I. \x93A senior partner too in that transaction and others.
But the story is a capital one and show\x92s the Englishman as he is
to-day. Why, it was only the year before the war that there was a verse
going about,--

               \x91I was playing golf one day

                   When the Germans landed;

               All our men had run away,

                   All our ships were stranded.

               And the thought of England\x92s shame

               Almost put me off my game.\x92\x94

Our antiquarian friend looked puzzled for some time; then he shook his
head gravely, saying:--

\x93I don\x92t like that. It\x92s a gross libel upon our brave men--and on our
noble sailors too: I heard some one say in a speech the other day that
there are no better seamen in the world than are in the British Navy.
Our soldiers did not run away, and all our ships were not stranded. It
was one of the German lies to say so. And what I say is that it was very
lucky for the man who wrote that verse that there was a British fleet
to prevent the Germans landing. They never did succeed in landing, I\x92m
sure, though I was talking to a man who had it on good authority that
there were five U-boats beginning to disembark some crack regiments of
Hun cavalry when a British man-o\x92-war--one, mind you--a single ship--came
\x91n sight, and they all bundled back to their blessed U-boats hi double
quick time.\x94

\x93I think you told me about that before,\x94 said I--and he had. \x93It was
the same person who brought the first news of the Russian troops going
through England--he had seen them on the platform of Crewe stamping off
the snow they had brought on their boots from Archangel; and afterwards
he had been talking with a soldier who had seen the angels at Mons, and
had been ordered home to be one of the shooting party at the Tower of
London, when Prince Louis was court-martialled and sentenced.\x94

\x93Quite true,\x94 he cried. \x93My God! what an experience for any one man to
go through. But we are living in extraordinary times--that\x92s what I\x92ve
never shrunk from saying, no matter who was present--extraordinary

I could not but agree with him I did not say that what I thought the
most extraordinary feature of the times was the extraordinary credulity
of so many people. The story of the Mons angels was perhaps the most
remarkable of all the series. A journalist sitting in his office in
London simply introduced in a newspaper article the metaphor of a host
of angels holding up the advancing Germans, and within a week scores of
people in England had talked with soldiers who had seen those imaginary
angels and were ready to give a poulterer\x92s description of them, as
Sheridan said some one would do if he introduced the Phoenix into his
Drury Lane Address.

It was no use the journalist explaining that his angels were purely
imaginary ones; people said, when you pointed this out to them:--

\x93That may be so; but these were the angels he imagined.\x94

Clergymen preached beautiful sermons on the angel host; and I heard of a
man who sold for half a crown a feather which had dropped from the wing
of one of the angels who had come on duty before he had quite got over
his moult.

When Dorothy heard this she said she was sure that it was no British
soldier who had shown the white feather in France during that awful

\x93If they were imaginary angels, the white feather must have been
imaginary too,\x94 said Olive, the practical one.

\x93One of the earliest of angel observers was an ass, and the tradition
has been carefully adhered to ever since,\x94 said Friswell, and after that
there was, of course, no use talking further.

But when we were still laughing over our antiquarian and his novelties
in the form of verse and anecdote, Friswell himself appeared with a
newspaper in his hand, and he too was laughing.

It was over the touching letter of an actress to her errant husband,
entreating him to return and all would be forgiven. I had read it and
smiled; so had Dorothy, and wept.

But it really was a beautiful letter, and I said so to Friswell.

\x93It is the most beautiful of the four actresses\x92 letters to errant
spouses for Divorce Court purposes that I have read within the past few
months,\x94 said he. \x93But they are all beautiful--all touching. It makes
one almost ready to condone the sin that results in such an addition to
the literature of the Law Courts. I wonder who is the best person to go
to for such a letter--some men must make a speciality of that sort of
work to meet the demands of the time. But wouldn\x92t it be dreadful if the
errant husband became so convicted of his trespass through reading the
wife\x92s appeal to return, that he burst into tears, called a taxi and
drove home! But these Divorce Court pleading letters are of great value
professionally they have quite blanketed the old lost jewel-case stunt
as a draw. I was present and assisted in the reception given by the
audience to the lady whose beautiful letter had appeared in the paper in
the morning. She was overwhelmed. She had made up pale in view of that
reception; and there was something in her throat that prevented her from
going on with her words for some time. The \x91poor things!\x92 that one heard
on all sides showed how truly sympathetic is a British audience.\x94

\x93I refuse to listen to your cynicism,\x94 cried Dorothy; \x93I prefer to
believe that people are good rather than bad.\x94

\x93And so do I, my dear lady,\x94 said he, laughing. \x93But don\x92t you see that
if you prefer to think good of all people, you cannot exclude the poor
husband of the complete letter-writer, and if you believe good of him
and not bad, you must believe that his charming wife is behaving badly
in trying to get a divorce.\x94

\x93She doesn\x92t want a divorce: she wants him to come back to her and
writes to him begging him to do so,\x94 said she.

\x93And such a touching letter too,\x94 I added.

\x93I have always found \x91the profession,\x92 as they call themselves, more
touchy than touching,\x94 said he. \x93But I admit that I never was so touched
as when, at the funeral of a brother artist, the leading actor of
that day walked behind the coffin with the brokenhearted widow of the
deceased on his right arm and the broken-hearted mistress on the left.
Talk of stage pathos!\x94

\x93For my part, I shall do nothing of the sort,\x94 said I sharply. \x93I think,
Friswell, that you sometimes forget that it was you who gave this place
the name of A Garden of Peace. You introduce controversial topics--The
Actor is the title of one of these, The Actress is the title of the
other. Let us have done with them, and talk poetry instead.\x94

\x93Lord of the Garden of Peace! as if poetry was the antithesis of
polemics--verses of controversies!\x94 cried he. \x93Never mind! give us a
poem--of The Peace.\x94

\x93I wish I could,\x94 said I. \x93The two copies of verses which, as you know,
without having read them, I contributed to the literature--I mean the
writings--in connection with the war could scarcely be called pacific.\x94

\x93They were quite an effective medium for getting rid of his superfluous
steam,\x94 said Dorothy to him. \x93I made no attempt to prevent his writing

\x93It would have been like sitting on the safety-valve, wouldn\x92t it?\x94 said
he. \x93I think that literature would not have suffered materially if
a good number of safety-valves had been sat upon by stouter wives of
metre-engineers than you will ever be, O guardian lady of the Garden of
Peace! The poets of the present hour have got much to recommend them to
the kindly notice of readers of taste, but they have all fallen short
of the true war note on their bugles. Perhaps when they begin to pipe of
peace they will show themselves better masters of the reed than of the

\x93Whatever some of them may be----\x94 I began, when he broke in.

\x93Say some of _us_, my friend: you can\x92t dissociate yourself from your
pals in the dock: you will be sentenced _en bloc_, believe me.\x94

\x93Well, whatever _we_ may be we make a better show than the Marlborough
Muses or the Wellington or the Nelson Muses did. What would be thought
of _The Campaign_ if it were to appear to-morrow, I wonder. But it
did more in advancing the interests of Addison than the complete

\x93Yes, although some feeble folk did consider that one hit of it was
verging on the blasphemous--that about riding on the whirlwind and
directing the storm,\x94 remarked Friswell; he had a good memory for things
verging on the blasphemous.

\x93The best war poem is the one that puts into literary form the man in
the street yelling \x91hurrah!\x92\x94 said I. \x93If the shout is not spontaneous,
it sounds stilted and it is worthless.\x94

\x93I believe you,\x94 said Friswell. \x93If your verse does not find an echo in
the heart of the rabble that run after a soldiers\x92 band, it is but as
the sounding brass and tinkling cymbals that crash on the empty air. But
touching the poets of past campaigns----\x94

\x93I was thinking of Scott\x92s _Waterloo_,\x94 said I; \x93yes, and Byron\x92s
stanzas in _Childe Harold_, and somebody\x92s \x91_Twas in Trafalgar\x92s Bay, We
saw the Frenchmen lay_--\x91the Frenchmen lav,\x92 mind you--that\x92s the most
popular of all the lays, thanks to Braham\x92s music and Braham\x92s tenor
that gave it a start. I think we have done better than any of those.\x94

\x93But have you done better than _Scot\x92s what hae act Wallace hied? or of
Nelson and the North, Sing the glorious day\x92s renown? or Ye Mariners
of England, That guard our native seas? or not a drum was heard or a
funeral note?_--I doubt it. And to come down to a later period, what
about the lilt of the Light Brigade at Balaclava, by one Tennyson? Will
any of the poems of 1914 show the same vitality as these?\x94

\x93The vital test of poetry is not its vitality,\x94 said I, \x93any more than
being a best-seller is a test of a good novel. But I think that when a
winnowing of the recent harvest takes place in a year or two, when we
become more critical than is possible for a people just emerging from
the flames that make us all see red, you will find that the harvest
of sound poetry will be a record one. We have still the roar of the
thunderstorm in our cars; when an earthquake is just over is not
the time for one to be asked to say whether the _Path\xE9tique_ or the
_Moonlight_ Sonata is the more exquisite.\x94

\x93Perhaps,\x94 said Friswell doubtfully. \x93But I allow that you have \x91jined
your flats\x92 better than Tennyson did. The unutterable vulgarity of
that \x91gallant six hunderd,\x92 because it happened that \x91some one had
blundered,\x92 instead of \x91blundred,\x92 will not be found in the Armageddon
band of buglers. But I don\x92t believe that anything so finished as
Wolfe\x92s _Burial of Sir John Moore_ will come to the surface of the
melting-pot--I think that the melting-pot suggests more than
your harvest. Your harvest hints at the swords being turned into
ploughshares; my melting-pot at the bugles being thrown into the
crucible. What have you to say about \x91Not a drum was heard\x92?\x94

\x93That poem is the finest elegy ever written,\x94 said I definitely.
\x93The author, James Wolfe, occupies the place among elegists that
single-speech Hamilton does among orators, or Liddell and Scott in a
library of humour. From the first line to the last, no false note is
sounded in that magnificent funeral march. It is one grand monotone
throughout. It cannot be spoken except in a low monotone. It never rises
and it never falls until the last line is reached, \x91We left him alone in
his glory.\x92\x94

\x93And the strangest thing about it is that it appeared first in
the poets\x92 corner of a wretched little Irish newspaper--the _Newry
Telegraph_, I believe it was called,\x94 said Dorothy--it was Dorothy\x92s
reading of the poem that first impressed me with its beauty.

\x93The more obscure the crypt in which its body was burned, the more--the
more--I can\x92t just express the idea that I\x92m groping after,\x94 said

\x93I should like to help you,\x94 said Dorothy. \x93Strike a match for me, and
I\x92ll try to follow you out of the gloom.\x94

\x93It\x92s something like this: the poem itself seems to lead you into
the gloom of a tomb, so that there is nothing incongruous in its
disappearing into the obscurity of a corner of a wretched rag of a
newspaper--queer impression for any one to have about such a thing,
isn\x92t it?\x94

\x93Queer, but--well, it was but the body that was buried, the soul of the
poetry could not be consigned to the sepulchre, even though \x91Resurgam\x92
was cut upon the stone.\x94

\x93You have strolled away from me, said I. All that I was thinking about
Wolfe and that blessed _Newry Telegraph_, was expressed quite adequately
by the writer of another Elegy:--

               \x93Full many a gem of purest ray serene,

               The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear;

               Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,

               And waste its sweetness on the desert air.\x94

That was a trite reflection; and as apposite as yours, Friswell; unless
you go on to assume that through the desert air there buzzed a bee to
carry off the soul of the blushing flower and cause it to fertilise a
whole garden, so that the desert was made to blossom like the rose.\x94

\x93Who was the bee that rescued the poem from the desert sheet that
enshrouded it?\x94 asked Dorothy.

\x93I have never heard,\x94 I said, nor had Friswell.

There was a long pause before he gave a laugh, saying--

\x93I wonder if you will kick me out of your garden when I tell you the
funny analogy to all this that the mention of the word desert forced
upon me.\x94

\x93Try us,\x94 said 1. \x93We know you.\x94

\x93The thought that I had was that there are more busy bees at work than
one would suppose; and the mention of the desert recalled to my mind
what I read somewhere of the remarkable optimism of a flea which a man
found on his foot after crossing the desert of the Sahara. It had lived
on in the sand, goodness knows how long, on the chance of some animal
passing within the radius of a leap and so carrying it back to a
congenial and not too rasorial a civilisation. How many thousand million
chances to one there were that it should not be rescued; yet its chance
came at last.\x94


\x93Well, my flea is your bee, and where there are no bees there may be
plenty of fleas.\x94

\x93Yes; only my bee comes with healing in its wings, and your flea is the
bearer of disease,\x94 said I; and I knew that I had got the better of him
there, though I was not so sure that he knew it.

Friswell is a queer mixture.

After another pause, he said,--

\x93By the way, the mention of Campbell and his group brought back to
me one of the most popular of the poems of the period--_Lord Ullin\x92s
Daughter_.--You recollect it, of course.\x94

\x93A line or two.\x94

\x93Well, it begins, you know:--

               \x93A chieftain to the Highlands bound,

                   Cries, \x91Boatman, do not tarry,

               And I\x92ll give thee a silver pound,

                   To row us o\x92er the ferry.\x92

Now, for long I felt that it was too great a strain upon our credulity
to ask us to accept the statement that a Scotsman would offer a ferryman
a pound for a job of the market value of a bawbee; but all at once the
truth flashed upon me: the pound was a pound Scots, or one shilling and
eightpence of our money. You see?\x94

\x93Yes, I see,\x94 said Dorothy; \x93but still it sounds extravagant. A Highland
Chief--one and eight-pence! The ferryman never would have got it.\x94

I fancied that we had exhausted some of the most vital questions bearing
upon the questionable poetry of the present and the unquestionable
poetry of the past; but I was mistaken; for after dinner I had a visit
from Mr. Gilbert.

But I must give Mr. Gilbert a little chapter to himself.


Of course I had known for a long time that Mr. Gilbert was \x93quite a
superior man\x94--that was the phrase in which the Rural Dean referred to
him when recommending me to apply to him for information respecting a
recalcitrant orchid which had refused one year to do what it had been
doing the year before. He was indeed \x93quite a superior man,\x94 but being
a florist he could never be superior to his business. No man can be
superior to a florist, when the florist is an orchidtect as well. I went
to Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Gilbert came to me, and all was right. That was
long ago. We talked orchids all through that year and then, by way
of lightening our theme, we began to talk of roses and such like
frivolities, but everything he said was said in perfect taste. Though
naturally, living his life on terms of absolute intimacy with orchids,
he could not regard roses seriously, yet I never heard him say a
disrespectful word about them: he gave me to understand that he regarded
the majority of rosarians as quite harmless--they had their hobby, and
why should they not indulge in it, he asked. \x93After all, rosarians are
God\x92s creatures like the rest of us,\x94 he said, with a tolerant smile.
And I must confess that, for all my knowledge of his being a superior man,
he startled me a little by adding,--

\x93The orchid is epic and the rose lyric, sir; but every one knows how
an incidental lyric lightens up the hundred pages of an epic. Oh, yes,
roses have their place in a properly organised horticultural scheme.\x94

\x93I believe you are right, now that I come to look at the matter in that
light,\x94 said I. \x93You find a relaxation in reading poetry?\x94 I added.

\x93I have made a point of reading some verses every night for the past
twenty-five years, sir,\x94 he replied. \x93I find that\x92s the only way by
which I can keep myself up to the mark.\x94

\x93I can quite understand that,\x94 said I. \x93Flowers are the lyrics that, as
you say, lighten the great epic of Creation. Where would our poets be
without their flowers?\x94

\x93They make their first appeal to the poet, sir; but the worst of it
is that every one who can string together a few lines about a flower
believes himself to be a poet. No class of men have treated flowers
worse than our poets even the best of them are so vague in their
references to flowers as to irritate me.\x94

\x93In what way, Mr. Gilbert?\x94

\x93Well, you know, sir, they will never tell us plainly just what they are
driving at. For instance we were speaking of roses, just now--well, we
have roses and roses by the score in poems; but how seldom do we find
the roses specified! There\x92s Matthew Arnold, for example; he wrote
\x93Strew on her roses, roses\x94; but he did not say whether he wanted her
to be strewn With hybrid teas, Wichuraianas, or poly-anthas. He does not
even suggest the colour. Now, could anything be more vague? It makes
one believe that he was quite indifferent on the point, which would,
of course, be doing him a great injustice: all these funeral orders are
specified, down to the last violets and Stephanotis. Then we have, \x93It
was the time of roses\x94--now, there\x92s another ridiculously vague phrase.
Why could the poet not have said whether he had in his mind the ordinary
brier or an autumn-flowering William Allen Richardson or a Gloire de
Dijon? But that is not nearly so irritating as Tennyson is in places.
You remember his \x93Flower in the crannied wall.\x94 There he leaves a
reader in doubt as to what the plant really was. If it was Saracta
Hapelioides, he should have called it a herb, or if it was simply the
ordinary Scolopendrium marginatum he should have called it a fern. If
it was one of the _Saxifrageo_ he left his readers quite a bewildering
choice. My own impression is that it belonged to the _Evaizoonia_
section--probably the _Aizoon sempervivoides_. though it really might
have been the _cartilaginea_. Why should we be left to puzzle over
the thing? But for that matter, both Shakespeare and Milton are most
flagrant offenders, though I acknowledge that the former now and again
specifies his roses: the musk and damask were his favourites. But why
should he not say whether it was _Thymus Scrpyllum or atropurpureus_ he
alluded to on that bank? He merely says, \x93Whereon the wild thyme blows.\x94
 It is really that vagueness, that absence of simplicity--which has made
poetry so unpopular. Then think of the trouble it must be to a foreigner
when lie comes upon a line comparing a maiden to a lily, without
saying what particular _lilium_ is meant. An Indian squaw is like a
lily--_lilium Brownii_; a Japanese may appropriately be said to be like
the _lilium sulphureum_. Recovering from a severe attack of measles a
young woman suggests _lilium speciosum_; but that is just the moment
when she makes a poor appeal to a poet. To say that a maiden is like a
lily conveys nothing definite to the mind; but that sort of neutrality
is preferable to the creation of a false impression, so doing her a
great injustice by suggesting it may be that her complexion is a bright
orange picked out with spots of purple.\x94

That was what our Mr. Gilbert said to me more than a year ago; and now
he comes to me before I have quite recovered from the effects of
that discussion with Friswell, and after a few professional remarks
respecting a new orchid acquisition, begins: \x93Might I take the liberty
of reading you a little thing which I wrote last night as an experiment
in the direction of the reform I advocated a year ago when referring to
the vagueness of poets\x92 flowers? I don\x92t say that the verses have any
poetical merit; but I claim for them a definiteness and a lucidity that
should appeal to all readers who, like myself, are tired of slovenly and
loose way in which poets drag flowers into their compositions.\x94

1 assured him that nothing would give me greater pleasure than to hear
his poem; and he thanked me and said that the title was, _The Florist to
his Bride._ This was his poem:--

               Do you remember, dearest, that wild eve,

                   When March came blustering; o\x92er the land?

                   We stood together, hand in hand,

               Watching the slate-gray waters heave--

               Hearing despairing boughs behind us grieve.

               It seemed as I, no forest voice was dumb.

                   All Nature joining in one cry;

               The Amp\xE9lopsis Veitchii,

               Giving gray hints of green to come,

               Shrank o\x92er the leafless Prunus Avium.

               Desolate seemed the grove of Comferia,

                   Evergreen as deciduous;

               Hopeless the hour seemed unto us;

               Helpless our beauteous Cryptomeria--

               Helpless in Winter\x92s clutch our Koelreuteria.

               We stood beneath our Ulmus Gracilis,

                   And watched the tempest-tom Fitzroya,

                   And shaken than the stout Sequoia;

               And yet I knew in spite of this,

               Your heart was hopeful of the Springtide\x92s kiss.

               Yours was the faith of woman, dearest child.

                   Your eyes--Centaurea Cyavus--

                   Saw what I saw not nigh to us,

               And that, I knew, was why you smiled,

               When the Montana Pendula swung wild.

               I knew you smiled, thinking of suns to come,

                   Seeing in snowflakes on bare trees

                   Solanum Jasmino\xEFdes--

               Seeing ere Winter\x92s voice was dumb,

               The peeping pink Mesembrianthium.

               I knew you saw as if they flowered before us,

                   The sweet Rhoilora Canadensis,

                   The lush Wistaria Sinensis,

               The Lepsosiphon Densifiorvs--

               All flowers that swell the Summer\x92s colour-chorus.

               And, lightened by your smile, I saw, my Alice,

                   The modest R\xE9sida Odorata--

                   Linaria Reticulata--

               I drank the sweets of Summer\x92s chalice,

               Sparkling Calendula Officinalis.

               To me your smile brought sunshine that gray day,

                   The saddest Salex Babylonien

                   Became Anemone Japonica

               And the whole world beneath its ray,

               Bloomed one Escholtzia Californico.

               Still in thy smile the summer airs caress us;

                   And now with thee my faith is sure:

                   The love that binds us shall endure--

               Nay, growing day by day to bless us,

               Ti\x92l o\x92er us waves Supervirens Cupressus.

\x93I hope I haven\x92t bored you, sir. I don\x92t pretend to be a poet; but you
see what my aim is, I\x92m sure--lucidity and accuracy--strict accuracy,
sir. Something that every one can understand.\x94

I assured him that he had convinced me that he understood his business:
he was incomparable--as a florist.


Among the features of our gardens for which I am not responsible, is
the grass walk alongside the Castle Wall, where it descends on one side,
by the remains of the terraces of the Duke\x92s hanging gardens, fifty feet
into the original fosse, while on the other it breasts the ancient Saxon
earthwork, which reduces its height to something under fifteen, so that
the wall on our side is quite a low one, but happily of a breadth that
allows of a growth of wild things--lilacs and veronicas and the like--in
beautiful luxuriance, while the face is in itself a garden of crevices
where the wallflowers last long enough to mix with the snapdragons and
scores of modest hyssops and mosses and ferns that lurk in every cranny.

Was it beneath such a wall that Tennyson stood to wonder how he should
fulfil the commission he had received from _Good Words_--or was it _Once
a Week?_--for any sort of poem that would serve as an advertisement
of magazine enterprise, and he wrote that gem to which Mr. Gilbert had

               \x93Flower in the crannied wall,

                   I pluck you out of the crannies;

               Hold you here, stem and all in my hand.

               Little flower; but if I could understand

               What you are, stem and all and all in all,

               I should know what God and man is,\x94

I should like equal immortality to be conferred upon the parody which is
of far greater merit than the original:--

               \x91Terrier in my granny\x92s hall,

                   I whistle you out of my granny\x92s;

               Hold you here, tail and all in my hand.

               Little terrier; but if I could understand

               What you are, tail and all and all in all,

                   I should know what black-and-tan is.\x94

I could understand the inspiration that should result in sermons from
stones--such as the poet\x92s forgetting that his mission was not that
of the sermonising missionary, but of the singer of such creations of
beauty as offer themselves to nestle to the heart of man--when walking
round the gracious curve that the grass path makes till it is arrested
by the break in the wall where the postern gate once hung, guarded by
the sentinel whose feet must have paced this grass path until no blade
of grass remained on it.

Early every summer the glory of the snapdragons and the wallflowers is
overwhelmed for a time by the blossom of the pear-trees and the plums
which spread themselves abroad and sprawl even over the top of the wall.
By their aid the place is transformed for a whole month in a fruitful
year. In 1917 it was as a terrific snowstorm had visited us. It was with
us as with all our neighbours, a wonderful year for pears, apples, and
plums. Pink and white and white and pink hid the world and all that
appertained to it from our eyes, and when the blossoms were shed we
were afraid to set a foot upon the grass path: it would have been a
profanity to crush that delicate embroidery. It seemed as if Nature had
flung down her copious mantle of fair white satin before our feet; but
we bowed our heads conscious of our unworthiness and stood motionless in
front of that exquisite carpeting.

[Illustration: 0304]

And then day after day the lovely things of the wall that had been
hidden asserted themselves, and a soft wind swept the path till all the
green of the new grass path flowed away at our feet, and Nature
seemed less virginal. Then came the babes--revealed by the fallen
blossoms--plump little cherubic faces of apples, graver little papooses
of the russet Indian tint, which were pears, and smaller shy things
peeping out from among the side shoots, which we could hardly recognise
as plums; rather a carcanet of chrysoprase they seemed, so delicately
green in their early days, before each of them became like the ripe
Oriental beauty, the _nigra sed formoasa_, of the Song of Solomon, and
for the same reason: \x93Because the sun hath looked upon me,\x94 she cried.
When the sun had looked upon the fruit that clustered round the clefts
in our wall, he was as one of the sons of God who had become aware for
the first time of the fact that the daughters of men were fair; and the
whole aspect of the world was changed.

Is there any part of a garden that is more beautiful than the orchard?
At every season it is lovely. I cannot understand how it is that the
place for fruitgrowing is in so many gardens kept away from what is
called the ornamental part. I cannot understand how it has come about
that flowering shrubs are welcomed and flowering apples discouraged in
the most favoured situations. When a considerable number of the
former have lost their blossoms, they are for the rest of the year as
commonplace as is possible for a tree to be; but when the apple-blossom
has gone, the houghs that were pink take on a new lease of beauty, and
the mellow glory of the season of fruitage lasts for months. The berry
of the gorse which is sometimes called a gooseberry, is banished like
a Northumberland cow-pincher of the romantic period, beyond the border;
but a well furnished gooseberry bush is as worthy of admiration as
anything that grows in the best of the borders, whether the fruit is
green or red. And then look at the fruit of the white currant if you
give it a place where the sun can shine through it--clusters shining
with the soft light of the Pleiades or the more diffuse Cassiopea; and
the red currants--well, I suppose they are like clusters of rubies; but
everything that is red is said to be like a ruby; why not talk of the
red currant bush as a firmament that holds a thousand round fragments of
a fractured Mars?

There was a time in England when a garden meant a place of fruit rather
than flowers, but by some freak of fashion it was decreed that anything
that appealed to the sense of taste was \x93not in good taste\x94--that was
how the warrant for the banishment of so much beauty was worded--\x93not in
good taste.\x94 I think that the decree is so closely in harmony with
the other pronouncements of the era of _mauvaise honte_--the era of
affectations--when the \x93young lady\x94 was languid and insipid--\x93of dwarf
habit,\x94 as the catalogues describe such a growth, and was never
allowed to be a girl--when fainting was esteemed one of the highest
accomplishments of the sex, and everything that was natural was
pronounced gross--when the sampler, the sandal, and the simper wexe the
outward and visible signs of an inward and affected femininity: visible?
oh, no; the sandal was supposed to be invisible; if it once appeared
even to the extent of a taper toe, and attention was called to its
obtrusion, there was a little shriek of horror, and the \x93young lady\x94 was
looked at askance as demie-vierge. It was so much in keeping with the
rest of the parcel to look on something that could be eaten as something
too gross to be constantly in sight when growing naturally, that I think
the banishment of the apple and the pear and the plum and the gooseberry
to a distant part of the garden must be regarded as belonging to the
same period. But now that the indelicacy of the super-delicacy of
that era has passed--now that the shy sandal has given place to the
well-developed calf above the \x93calf uppers\x94 of utilitarian boots--now
that a young man and a young woman (especially the young woman) discuss
naturally the question of eugenics and marriage with that freedom which
once was the sole prerogative of the prayerbook, may we not claim an
enlargement of our borders to allow of the rehabilitation of the apple
and the repatriation of the pear in a part of the garden where all
can enjoy their decorative qualities and anticipate their gastronomic
without reproach? Let us give the fruit its desserts and it will return
the compliment.

The Saxon earthwork below the grass walk is given over to what is
technically termed \x93the herbaceous border,\x94 and over one thousand eight
hundred square feet there should be such a succession of flowers growing
just as they please, as should delight the heart of a democracy. The
herbaceous border is the democratic section of a garden. The autocrat of
the Dutch and the Formal gardens is not allowed to carry out any of
his foul designs of clipping or curtailing the freedom of Flora in this
province. There should be no reminiscences of the tyrant stake which in
far-distant days of autocracy was a barrier to the freedom of growth,
nor should the aristocracy of the hot-house or even the cool greenhouse
obtrude its educated bloom among the lovers of liberty. They must
be allowed to do as they damplease, which is a good step beyond the
ordinary doing as they please. The government of the herbaceous border
is one whose aim is the glorification of the Mass as opposed to the

It is not at all a bad principle--for a garden--this principle which
can best be carried out by the unprincipled. English democracy includes
princes and principles: but there is a species which will have nothing
to do with principles because they reckon them corrupted by the first
syllable, and hold that the aristocrat is like Hamlet\x92s stepfather,
whose offence was \x93_rank_ and smells to heaven.\x94 I have noticed,
however, in the growth of my democratic border that there are invariably
a few pushing and precipitate individuals who insist on having their
own way--it is contrary to the spirit of Freedom to check them--and the
result is that the harmony of the whole ceases to exist. But there are
some people who would prefer a Bolshevist wilderness to any garden.

I have had some experience of Herbaceous Borders of mankind....

The beauty of the border is to be found in the masses, we are told in
the Guides to Gardening. We should not allow the blues to mix with the
buffs, and the orange element should not assert its ascendancy over the
green. But what is the use of laying down hard and fast rules here when
the essence of the constitution of the system is No Rule. My experience
leads me to believe that without a rule of life and a firm ruler, this
portion of the garden will become in the course of time allied to
the prairie or the wilderness, and the hue that will prevail to the
destruction of any governing scheme of colour or colourable scheme of
government will be Red.

Which things are an allegory, culled from a garden of herbs, which, as
we have been told, will furnish a dinner preferable to one that has for
its _pi\xE8ce de resistance_ the stalled ox, providing that it is partaken
of under certain conditions rigidly defined.

We have never been able to bring our herbaceous border to the point of
perfection which we are assured by some of those optimists who compile
nurserymen\x92s catalogues, it should reach. We have massed our colours and
nailed them to the mast, so to speak--that is, we have not surrendered
our colour schemes because we happen to fall short of victory; but still
we must acknowledge that the whole border has never been the success
that we hoped it would be. Perhaps we have been too exacting--expecting
over much; or it may be that our standard was too Royal a one for the
soil; but the facts remain and we have a sense of disappointment.

It seems to me that this very popular feature depends too greatly
upon the character of the season to be truly successful as regards
_ensemble_. Our border includes many subjects which have ideas of
their own as regards the weather. A dry spring season may stunt (in
its English sense) the growth of some dowers that occupy a considerable
space, and are meant to play an important part in the design; whereas
the same influence may develop a stunt (in the American sense) in a
number of others, thereby bringing about a dislocation of the whole
scheme, when some things will rush ahead and override their neighbours
some that lasted in good condition up to the October of one year look
shabby before the end of July the next. One season differs from another
on vital points and the herbs differ in their growth had almost written
their habit--in accordance with the differences of the season. We have
had a fine show in one place and a shabby show next door; we have had
a splendid iris season and a wretched peony season--bare patches beside
luxuriant patches. The gailardias have broken out of bounds one summer,
and when we left \x93ample verge and room enough\x94 for them the next, they
turned sulky, and the result was a wide space of soil on which a score
of those _gamins_ of the garden, chickweed and dandelion, promptly began
operations, backed up by those _apaches_ of a civilised borderland,
the ragged robin, and we had to be strenuous in our surveillance of the
place, fearful that a riot might ruin all that we had taken pains to
bring to perfection. So it has been season after season--one part quite
beautiful, a second only middling, and a third utterly unresponsive.
That is why we have taken to calling it the facetious border.

Our experience leads us to look on this facetious herbaceous border as
the parson\x92s daughter looks on the Sunday School--as a place for the
development of all that is tricky in Nature, with here and there a bunch
of clean collars and tidy trimmings--something worth carrying on over,
but not to wax enthusiastic over. So we mean to carry on, and take
Flora\x92s \x93buffets and awards\x94 \x93with equal thanks.\x94 We shall endeavour to
make our unruly tract in some measure tractable; and, after all, where
is the joy of gardening apart from the trying? It was a great
philosopher who affirmed at the close of a long life, that if he were
starting his career anew and the choice were off not to wax enthusiastic
over. So we mean to carry on, and take Flora\x92s \x93buffets and awards\x94
 \x93with equal thanks.\x94 We shall endeavour to make our unruly tract in some
measure tractable; and, after all, where is the joy of gardening apart
from the trying? It was a great philosopher who affirmed at the close of
a long life, that if he were starting his career anew and the choice
were offered to him between the Truth and the Pursuit of Truth, he would
certainly choose the latter. That man had the true gardening spirit.

Any one who enters a garden without feeling that he is entering a big
household of children, should stay outside and make a friend of the
angel who was set at the gate of the first Paradise with a flaming
sword, which I take it was a gladiolus--the gladiolus is the _gladius_
of flowerland--to keep fools on the outside. The angel and the proper
man will get on very well together at the garden gate, talking of things
that are within the scope of the intelligence of angels and men Who
think doormats represent Nature in that they are made of cocoa-nut
fibre. We have long ago come to look on the garden as a region of living
things--shouting children, riotous children, sulky children; children
who are rebellious, perverse, impatient at restriction, bad-tempered,
quarrelsome, but ever ready to \x93make it up,\x94 and fling themselves into
your arms and give you a chance of sharing with them the true joy of
life which is theirs.

This is what a garden of flowers means to any one who enters it in
a proper spirit of comradeship, and not in the attitude of a School
Inspector. We go into the garden not to educate the flowers, but to be
beloved by them--to make companions of them and, if they will allow us,
to share some of the secrets they guard so jealously until they find
some one whom they feel they can trust implicitly. A garden is like the
object of Dryden\x92s satire, \x93Not one, but all mankind\x92s epitome,\x94 and a
knowledge of men that makes a man a sympathetic gardener. I think that
Christ was as fond of gardens as God ever was. \x93Consider the lilies of
the field, how they grow: they toil not neither do they spin, and yet I
say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one
of these.\x94

[Illustration: 0314]

There is the glorious charter of the garden, the truth of which none can
dispute--there is the revelation of the spirit of the garden delivered
to men by the wisest and the most sympathetic garden-lover that ever
sought a Gethsemane for communion With the Father of all, in an hour of

I wonder what stores of knowledge of plant-life existed among the wise
Orientals long ago. Were they aware of all that we suppose has only been
revealed to us--\x93discovered\x94 by us within recent years? Did they
know that there is no dividing line between the various elements of
life--between man, who is the head of \x93the brute creation,\x94 and the
creatures of what the books of my young days styled \x93the Vegetable
Kingdom\x94? Did they know that it is possible for a tree to have a deeper
love for its mate than a man has for the wife whom he cherishes? I made
the acquaintance some years ago of an Eastern tree which was brought
away from his family in the forest and, though placed in congenial sod,
remained, for years making no advance in growth--living, but nothing
more--until one day a thoughtful man who had spent years studying
plants of the East, brought a female companion to that tree, and had the
satisfaction of seeing \x93him\x94 assume a growth which was maintained year
by year alongside \x93her,\x94 until they were both shown to me rejoicing
together, the one vieing, with the other in luxuriance of foliage
and fruit. Every one who has grown apples or plums has had the same
experience. We all know now of the courtship and the love and the
marriage of things in \x93the Vegetable Kingdom,\x94 and we know that there
is no difference in the process of that love which means life in \x93the
Animal Kingdom\x94 and \x93the Vegetable Kingdom.\x94 In some directions their
\x93human\x94 feelings and emotions and passions have been made plain to
us; how much more we shall learn it is impossible to tell; but we know
enough to save us from the error of fancying that they have a different
existence from ours, and every day that one spends in a garden makes us
ready to echo Shelley\x92s lyrical shout of \x93Beloved Brotherhood!\x94

That is what 1 feel when I am made the victim of some of the pranks of
the gay creatures of the herbaceous border, who amuse themselves at our
expense, refusing to be bound down to our restrictions, to travel the
way we think good plants should go, and declining to be guided by an
intelligence which they know to be inferior to their own. The story of
the wilful gourd which would insist on crossing a garden path in the
direction it knew to be the right one, though a human intelligence tried
to make it go in another, was told by an astonished naturalist in the
pages of _Country Life_ a short time ago. I hope it was widely read. The
knowledge that such things can be will give many thousand readers access
to a held of study and of that legitimate speculation which is the
result of study and observation. It will ever tend to mitigate the
disappointment some of us may be inclined to harbour when we witness
our floral failures, though it is questionable if the recognition of the
fact that our failures are due to our own stupid bungling, will diminish
the store of that self-conceit which long ago induced us to think of
ourselves as the sole _raison d\x92\xEAtre_ of all Creation.


WE, were working at the young campanulas when our friend Heywood came
upon us--Heywood, for whose intelligence we have so great a respect,
because he so frequently agrees with our outlook upon the world of woman
and other flowers cherished by us. Heywood is a good artist; but because
he believes that Womankind is a kind woman indefinitely multiplied,
he paints more faithful portraits of men than of women; he also paints
landscapes that live more faithfully than the human features that
he depicts and receives large sums for depicting. He is a student of
children, and comes to Rosamund quite seriously for her criticism. She
gives it unaffectedly, I am glad to notice; and without having to make
use of a word of the School-of-Art phraseology.

We have an able surgeon (retired) living close to us here, and he is
still so interested in the Science he practised--he retired from the
practice, not from the science--that when he is made aware of an unusual
operation about to be performed in any direction--London, Paris, or (not
recently) Vienna, he goes off to witness the performance, just as we go
to some of the most interesting _premi\xE8res_ in town. In the same
spirit Heywood runs off every now and again to Paris to see the latest
production of his old master, or the acquisition of an old Master at
one of the galleries. It lets him know what is going on in the world, he
says, and I am sure he is quite right.

But, of course, Atheist Friswell has his smile--a solemn smile it is
this time--while he says,--

\x93Old Masters? Young mississes rather, I think.\x94

\x93Young what?\x94 cried Dorothy.

\x93Mysteries,\x94 he replied. \x93What on earth do you think I said?\x94

\x93Another word with the same meaning,\x94 says she.

But these artistic excursions have nothing to do with us among our
campanulas to-day. Heywood has been aware of a funny thing and came to
make us laugh with him.

\x93Campanulas!\x94 he cried. \x93And that is just what I came to tell you
about--the campanile at St. Katherine\x92s.\x94

Yardley Parva, in common with Venice, Florence, and a number of other
places, has a campanile, only it was not designed by Giotto or any other
artist. Nor is it even called a campanile, but a bell-tower, and it
belongs to the Church of St. Katherine-sub-Castro--a Norman church
transformed by a few-adroit touches here and there into the purest
Gothic of the Restoration--the Gilbert Scoti-Church-Restoration period.

But no one would complain with any measure of bitterness at the
existence of the bell-tower only for the fact that there are bells
within it, and these bells being eight, lend themselves to many feats
of campanology, worrying the inhabitants within a large area round about
the low levels of the town. The peace of every Sabbath Day is rudely
broken by the violence of what the patient folk with no _arri\xE8re pens\xE9e_
term \x93them joy bells.\x94

\x93You have not heard a sound of them for some Sundays,\x94 said Heywood.

\x93I have not complained,\x94 said I. \x93Ask Dorothy if I have.\x94

\x93No one has, unless the bell-ringers, who are getting flabby through
lack of exercise,\x94 said he. \x93But the reason you have not heard them is
because they have been silent.\x94

\x93The British Fleet you cannot see, for it is not in sight,\x94 said I.

\x93And the reason that they have been silent was the serious illness
of Mr. Livesay, whose house is close to St. Katherine\x92s. Dr. Beecher
prescribed complete repose for poor Livesay, and as the joy bells of St.
Katherine\x92s do not promote that condition, his wife sent a message to
the ringers asking them to oblige by refraining from their customary
uproar until the doctor should remove his ban. They did so two Sundays
ago, and the Sunday before last they sent to inquire how the man was. He
was a good deal worse, they were told, so they were cheated out of their
exercise again. Yesterday, however, they rang merrily out--merrily.\x94

\x93We heard,\x94 said Dorothy. \x93So I suppose Mr. Livesay is better.\x94

\x93On the contrary, he is dead,\x94 said Heywood.

\x93He died late on Saturday night. My housekeeper, Mrs. Hartwell, had just
brought me in my breakfast when the bells began. \x91Listen,\x92 she cried.
\x91Listen! the joy bells! Mr. Livesay must have died last night.\x92\x94

It was true. The bell-ringers had made their call at poor Livesay\x92s
house on Sunday morning, and on receiving the melancholy news, they
hurried off to let their joy bells proclaim it far and wide.

But no one in Yardley Parva, lay or clerical, except Heyward and
ourselves seemed to think that there was anything singular in the

We had a few words to say, however, about joy bells spreading abroad the
sad news of a decent man\x92s death, and upon campanology in general.

But when Friswell heard of the affair, he said he did not think it more
foolish than the usual practice of church bells.

\x93We all know, of course, that there is nothing frightens the devil like
the ringing of bells,\x94 said he.

\x93That is quite plausible,\x94 said I. \x93Any one who doubts it must have
lived all his life in a heathen place where there are no churches. Juan
Fernandez, for example,\x94 I added, as a couple of lines sang through my
recollection. \x93Cowper made his Alexander Selkirk long for \x91the sound of
the churchgoing bell.\x92\x94

\x93That was a good touch of Cowper\x92s,\x94 said Friswell. \x93He knew that
Alexander Selkirk was a Scotsman, and with much of the traditional
sanctimoniousness of his people, when he found himself awful bad or
muckle bad or whatever the right phrase is, he was ready to propitiate
heaven by a pious aspiration.\x94

\x93Nothing of the sort,\x94 cried Dorothy. \x93He was quite sincere. Cowper knew
that there is nothing that brings back recollections of childhood, which
we always think was the happiest time of our life, like the chiming of
church bells.\x94

\x93I dare say you are right,\x94 said he, after a little pause. \x93But like
many other people, poet Cowper did not think of the church bells except
in regard to their secondary function of summoning people to the sacred
precincts. He probably never knew that the original use of the bells was
to scare away the Evil One. It was only when they found out that he
had never any temptation to enter a church, that the authorities turned
their devil-scaring bells to the summoning of the worshippers, and they
have kept up the foolish practice ever since.\x94

\x93Why foolish?\x94 asked Dorothy quite affably. \x93You don\x92t consider it
foolish to ring a bell to go to dinner, and why should you think it so
in the matter of going to church?\x94

\x93My dear creature, you don\x92t keep ringing your dinner bell for half an
hour, with an extra five minutes for the cook.\x94

\x93No,\x94 said she quickly. \x93And why not? Because people don\x92t need any
urging to come to dinner, but they require a good deal to go to church,
and then they don\x92t go.\x94

\x93There\x92s something in that,\x94 said he. \x93Anyhow they\x92ve been ringing those
summoning bells so long that I\x92m sure they will go on with them until
all the churches are turned into school-houses.\x94

\x93And then there will be a passing-bell rung for the passing of the
churches themselves--I suppose the origin of the passing-bell was the
necessity to scare away the devil at the supreme moment,\x94 remarked

\x93Undoubtedly it was,\x94 said Friswell. \x93The practice exists among many of
those races that are still savage enough to believe in the devil--a good
handmade tom-tom does the business quite effectually, I\x92ve heard.\x94

\x93Do you know, my dear Friswell, I think that when you sit down with us
in our Garden of Peace, the conversation usually takes the form of the
dialogue in _Magnall\x92s Questions_ or the _Child\x92s Guide_ or _Joyce\x92s
Science_. You are so full of promiscuous information which you cannot

He roared in laughter, and we all joined in.

\x93You have just said what my wife says to me daily,\x94 said he. \x93I\x92ll try
to repress myself in future.\x94

\x93Don\x92t try to do anything of the sort,\x94 cried Dorothy. \x93You never cease
to be interesting, no matter how erudite you are.\x94

\x93What I can\x92t understand is, how he has escaped assassination all these
years,\x94 remarked Heywood. \x93I think the time is coming when whoso slayeth
Friswell will think that he doeth God\x92s service. Just think all of you
of the mental state of the man who fails to see that, however heathenish
may be the practice of church-bell-ringing, the fact that it has brought
into existence some of the most beautiful buildings in the world makes
the world its debtor for evermore!\x94

\x93I take back all my words--I renounce the devil and all his work,\x94 cried
the other man. \x93Yes, I hold that Giotto\x92s Campanile justifies all the
clashing and banging and hammering before and since. On the same
analogy I believe with equal sincerity that the Temple of Jupiter fully
justifies the oblations to the Father of gods, and the Mosque of Omar
the massacres of Islam.\x94

\x93Go on,\x94 said Dorothy. \x93Say that the sufferings of Alexander Selkirk
were justified since without them we should not have _Robinson Crusoe_.\x94

\x93I will say anything you please, my Lady of the Garden,\x94 said he
heartily. \x93I will say that the beauty of that border beside you
justifies Wakeley\x92s lavish advertisements of Hop Mixture.\x94

I felt that this sort of thing had gone on long enough, so I made a
hair-pin bend in the conversation by asking Dorothy if she remembered
the day of our visit to Robinson Crusoe\x92s island.

\x93I never knew that you had been to Juan Fernandez,\x94 said Friswell.

And then I saw how I could score off Friswell.

\x93I said Robinson Crusoe\x92s island, not Alexander Selkirk\x92s,\x94 I cried.
\x93Alexander Selkirk\x92s was Juan Fernandez, Robinson Crusoe\x92s was Tobago in
the West indies, which Dorothy and I explored some years ago.\x94

\x93Of course I should have remembered that,\x94 said he. \x93I recollect now
what a stumbling-block to me the geography of _Robinson Crusoe_ was when
I first read the book. A foolish explanatory preface to the cheap copy I
read gave a garbled version of the story of Selkirk and his island, and
said no word about Daniel Defoe having been wise enough to change Juan
Fernandez for another.\x94

\x93You were no worse than the writer of a paragraph I read in one of the
leading papers a short time ago, relative to the sale of the will which
Selkirk made in the year 1717--years after Captain Woodes Rodgers had
picked him up at the island where he had been marooned nearly four years
before,\x94 said Dorothy, who, I remembered, had laughed over the erudition
of the paragraph. \x93The writer affirmed that the will had been made
before the man \x91had sailed unwittingly for Tristan d\x92Acunha\x92--those
were his exact words, and this island he seemed to identify with Bishop
Keber\x92s, for he said it was \x91where every prospect pleases and only man
is vile.\x92 What was in the poor man\x92s mind was the fact that some one
had written a poem about Alexander Selkirk, and he mixed Cowper up with

\x93You didn\x92t write to the paper to put the fellow right,\x94 said Heywood.

\x93Good gracious, no!\x94 cried Dorothy. \x93I knew that no one in these
aeroplaning days would care whether the island was Tristan d\x92Acunha or
Juan Fernandez. Besides, there was too much astray in the paragraph for
a simple woman to set about making good. Anyhow the document fetched \xA360
at the sale.\x94

\x93You remember the lesson that was learnt by the man who wrote to correct
something a newspaper had written about him, said Heywood. The editor
called me a swindler, a liar, and a politician,\x92 said he, relating his
experience, \x91and like a fool 1 wrote to contradict it. I was a fool: for
what did the fellow do in the very next issue but prove every statement
that he had made!\x92\x94

\x93Oh, isn\x92t it lucky that I didn\x92t write to that paper?\x94 cried Dorothy.

But when we began to talk of the imaginary sufferings of Robinson
Crusoe, and to try to imagine what were the real sufferings of Selkirk,
Friswell laughed, saying,--

\x93I\x92m pretty sure that what the bonnie Scots body suffered from most
poignantly was the island not having any of his countrymen at hand, so
that they could start a Burns Club or a Caledonian Society, as the six
representatives of Scotland are about to do in our town of Yardley,
which has hitherto been free from anything of that sort. Did you ever
hear the story of Andrew Gareloch and Alec MacClackan?\x94

We assured him that we had never heard a word of it.

He told it to us, and this is what it amounted to:--Messrs. Andrew
Gareloch and Alec MacClackan were merchants of Shanghai who were
unfortunate enough to be wrecked on their voyage home. They were the
sole survivors of the ship\x92s company, and the desert island on
which they found themselves was in the Pacific, only a few miles in
circumference. In the lagoon were plenty of fish and on the ridge of the
slope were plenty of cocoa-nuts. After a good meal they determined to
name the place. They called it St. Andrew Lang Syne Island, and became
as festive and brotherly--they pronounced it \x93britherly\x94--as was
possible over cocoa-nut milk: it was a long time since either of
them had tasted milk of any sort. The second day they founded a local
Benevolent Society of St. Andrew, and held the inaugural dinner; the
third day they founded a Burns Club, with a supper; the fourth day they
starts a Scots Association, with a series of monthly reunions for the
discussion of the Minstrelsy of the Border; the fifth day they laid out
golf links with the finest bunkers in the world, and instituted a club
lunch (strictly nonalcoholic); the sixth day they formed a Curling
Club--the lagoon would make a braw rink, they said, if it only froze;
and if it didn\x92t freeze, well, they could still have an annual Curlers\x92
Supper; the Seventh Day they _kept_. On the evening of the same day a
vessel was sighted bearing up for the island; but of course neither of
the men would hoist a signal on the Seventh Day, and they watched the
craft run past the island; though they were amazed to see that she had
only courses and a foresail set, in spite of the fact that the breeze
was a light one. The next morning, when they were sitting at breakfast,
discussing whether they should lay the foundation stone--with
a commemorative lunch--of a Free Kirk, a Wee Free Kirk, a U.P.
meeting-house or an Ould Licht meeting-house--they had been fiercely
debating on the merits of each during the previous twenty years--they
saw the vessel returning with all sail on her. To run up one of their
shirts to a pole at the entrance to the lagoon was a matter of a moment,
and they saw that their signal was responded to. She was steered by
their signals through the entrance to the lagoon and dropped anchor.

She turned out to be the _Bonnie Doon_, of Dundee, Douglas MacKellar,
Master. He had found wreckage out at sea and had thought it possible
that some survivors of the wreck might want passages \x93hame.\x94

\x93Nae, nae,\x94 cried both men. \x93We\x92re no in need o\x92 passages hame just
the noo. But what for did ye no mak\x92 for the lagoon yestreen in the

\x93Hoot awa\x92--hoot awa\x92! ye wouldna hae me come ashore on the Sawbath
Day,\x94 said Captain MacKellar.

\x93Ye shortened sail though,\x94 said Mr. MacClackan. \x93Ay; on Saturday nicht:
I never let her do more than just sail on the Sawbath. But what for did
ye no run up a signal, ye loons, if ye spied me sae weel?\x94

\x93Hoot awa\x92--hoot awa\x92, man, ye wouldna hae a body mak\x92 a signal on the
Sawbath Day.\x94

\x93Na--na; no a reglar signal; but ye micht hae run up a wee bittie--just
eneuch tae catch me e\x92en on. Ay an\x92 mebbe ye\x92ll be steppin\x92 aboard the

\x93Weil hae to hae a clash about it, Captain.\x94

Well, they talked it over cautiously for a few hours; for captain
MacKellar was a hard man at a bargain, and he would not agree to give
them a passage under two pound a head. At last, however, negotiations
were concluded, the men got aboard the _Bonnie Doon,_ and piloted her
through the channel. They reached the Clyde in safety, and Captain
Mac-Kellar remarked,--

\x93Weel, ma freens, I\x92m in hopes that ye\x92ll pay me ower the siller this

\x93Ay, ye maun be in the quare swithers till ye see the siller; but we\x92ll
hand it ower, certes,\x94 said the passengers. \x93In the meantime, we\x92d tak\x92
the leeberty o\x92 callin\x92 your attention to a wee bit contra-claim that we
hae japped doon on a bit slip o\x92 paper. It\x92s three poon nine for
Harbour Dues that ye owe us, Captain MacKellar, and twa poon ten for
pilotage--it\x92s compulsory at yon island, so \x91tis, so mebbe ye\x92ll mak\x92
it convenient to hand us ower the differs when we land. Ay, Douglas
MacKellar, ma mon, ye shouldna try to get the better o\x92 Brither-Scots!\x94

Captain MacKellar was a God-fearing man, but he said, \x93Dom!\x94


Whatever my garden may be, I think I can honestly claim for it that it
has no educational value. The educational garden is one in which all
the different orders and classes and groups and species and genera are
displayed in such a way as to make no display, but to enable an ordinary
person in the course of ten or twelve years to become a botanist. Botany
is the syntax of the garden. A man may know everything about syntax and
yet never become a poet; and a garden should be a poem.

I remember how a perfect poem of a garden was translated into the most
repulsively correct prose by the exertions of a botanist. It was in a
semi-public pleasure ground maintained by subscribers of a guinea each,
and of course it was administered by a Committee. After many years of
failure, an admirable head-gardener was found--a young and enthusiastic
man with eye for design and an appreciation of form as well as colour.
Within a short space of time he turned a commonplace pleasure-ground
into a thing of beauty; and, not content with making the enormous domed
conservatory and the adjoining hothouse a blaze of colour and fragrance,
he attacked an old worn-out greenhouse and, without asking for outside
assistance, transformed it into a natural sub-tropical landscape--palms
and cacti and giant New Zealand ferns, growing amid rocky surroundings,
and wonderful lilies filling a large natural basin, below an effective
cascade. The place was just what such a place should be, conveying the
best idea possible to have of a moist corner of a tropical forest, only
without the overwhelming shabbiness which was the most striking note
of every tropical forest I have ever seen in a natural condition. In
addition to its attractiveness in this respect, it would have become a
source of financial profit to the subscribers, for the annual \x93thinning
out\x94 of its superfluous growths would mean the stocking of many private

On the Committee of Management, however, there was one gentleman whose
aim in life was to be regarded by his fellow-tradesmen as a great
botanist: he was, to a great botanist, what the writer of the cracker
mottoes is to a great poet, or the compiler of the puzzle-page of a
newspaper is to a great mathematician; but he was capable of making a
fuss and convincing a bunch of tradesmen that making a fuss is a proof
of superiority; and that botany and beauty are never to be found in
association. He condemned the tropical garden as an abomination, because
it was impossible that a place which could give hospitality to a growth
of New Zealand fern, _Phormium Hookeri_, should harbour a sago palm
_Metroxylon Elatum_, which was not indigenous to New Zealand; and then
he went on to talk about the obligations of the place to be educational
and not ornamental, showing quite plainly that to be botanical should be
the highest aim of any one anxious for the welfare of his country.

The result of his harangue was the summoning of the head-gardener
before the Board and his condemnation on the ground that he had put the
Beautiful in the place that should be occupied by the Educational. He
was ordered to abandon that unauthorised hobby of his for gratifying
the senses of foolish people who did not know the difference between
_Phormium Hookeri_ and _Metroxylon Elatum_, and to set to work to lay
out an Educational Garden.

He looked at the members of the Board, and, like the poker player
who said, \x93I pass,\x94 when he heard who had dealt the cards, he made no
attempt to defend himself. He laid out the Educational Garden that was
required of him, and when he had done so and the Board thought that he
was resigned to his fate as the interpreter of the rules of prosody as
applied to a garden, he handed in his resignation, and informed them
that he had accepted a situation as Curator of a park in a rival town,
and at a salary--a Curator gets a salary and a gardener only wages--of
exactly double the sum granted to him by the employers from whom he was
separating himself.

In three years the place he left had become bankrupt and was wound up.
It was bought at a scrapping figure by the Municipality, and its swings
are now said to be the highest in five counties.

I saw the Educational Garden that he laid out, and knew, and so did he,
that he was \x93laying out\x94--the undertaker\x92s phrase--the whole concern.
When he had completed it, I felt that I could easily resist the
temptation to introduce education at the expense of design into any
garden of mine.

It is undeniable that a place constructed on such a botanical system may
be extremely interesting to a number of students, and especially so to
druggists\x92 apprentices; but turning to so-called \x93educational purposes\x94
 a piece of garden that can grow roses, is like using the silk of an
embroiderer to darn the corduroys of a railway porter.

But it was a revelation to some people how the growing of war-time
vegetables where only flowers had previously been grown, was not out
of harmony with the design of a garden. I must confess that it was with
some misgiving that I planted rows of runner beans in a long wall border
which had formerly been given over to annuals, and globe artichokes
where lilies did once inhabit--I even went so far as to sow carrots in
lines between the echeverias of the stone-edged beds, and lettuces
at the back of my fuchsia bushes. But the result from an \xE6sthetic
standpoint was so gratifying that I have not ceased to wonder why such
beautiful things should be treated as were the fruit-trees, and looked
on as steerage passengers are by the occupants of the fifty-guinea
staterooms of a fashionable Cunarder. The artichoke is really a garden
inmate; alongside the potatoes in the kitchen garden, it is like the
noble Sir Pelleas who was scullery-maid in King Arthur\x92s household.
The globe artichoke is like one of those British peers whom we hear
of--usually when they have just died--as serving in the forecastle of a
collier tramp. It is a lordly thing, and, I have found, it makes many
of the most uppish forms in the flower garden hide diminished heads. An
edging of dwarf cabbages of some varieties is quite as effective as one
of box, and Dell\x92s \x93black beet\x94 cannot be beaten where a foliage effect
is desired. Of course the runner bean must be accepted as a flower. If
it has been excluded from its rightful quarters, it is because the idea
is prevalent that it cannot be grown unless in the unsightly way that
finds favour in the kitchen garden. It would seem as if the controllers
of this department aimed at achieving the ugly in this particular. They
make a sort of gipsy tripod of boughs, only without removing the twigs,
and let the plant work its way up many of these. This is not good enough
for a garden where neatness is regarded as a virtue.

I found that these beans can be grown with abundant success in a border,
by running a stout wire along brackets, two or three feet out from a
wall, and suspending the roughest manila twine at intervals to carnation
wires in the soil below. This gives an unobtrusive support to the
plants, and in a fortnight the whole, of this flimsy frontage is hidden,
and the blossoms are blazing splendidly. I have had rows of over a
hundred feet of these beans, but not one support gave way even in the
strongest wind, and the household was supplied up to the middle of

I am sure that such experiments add greatly to the interest of
gardening; and I encourage my Olive branch in her craving after a flower
garden that shall be made up wholly of weeds. She has found out, I
cannot say how, that the dandelion is a thing of beauty--she discovered
one in a garden that she visited, and having never seen one before,
inquired what was its name. I told her that the flower was not
absolutely new to me, but lest I should lead her astray as to its name,
she would do well to put her inquiry to the gardener and ask him for
any hints he could give her as to its culture, and above all, how to
propagate it freely. If he advised cuttings and a hot bed, perhaps
he might be able to tell her the right temperature, and if he thought
ordinary bonemeal would do for a fertiliser for it.

Beyond a doubt a bed of dandelions would look very fine, but one cannot
have everything in a garden, and I hope I may have the chance, hitherto
denied to me, of resigning myself to its absence from mine, even though
it be only for a single week.

But there are many worthy weeds to be found when one looks carefully for
them, and I should regard with great interest any display of them in a
bed ( in a neighbour\x92s garden, providing that that garden was not within
a mile of mine).

The transformation just mentioned of a decrepit greenhouse into the
sub-tropical pleasure-ground, was not my inspiration for my treatment of
a greenhouse which encumbered a part of my ground only a short time ago.
It was a necessity for a practice of rigid economy that inspired me when
I examined the dilapidations and estimated the cost of \x93making good\x94 at
something little short of fifty pounds. It had been patched often enough
before, goodness knows, and its wounds had been poulticed with putty
until in some places it seemed to be suffering from an irrepressible
attack of mumps.

Now the building had always been an offence to me. It was like an
incompetent servant, who, in addition to being incapable of earning
his wages, is possessed of an enormous appetite. With an old-fashioned
heating apparatus the amount of fuel it consumed year by year was
appalling; and withal it had more than once played us false, with the
result that several precious lives were lost in a winter when we looked
to the greenhouse to give us some colour for indoors. With such a list
of convictions against it, I was not disposed to be lenient, and the
suggestion of the discipline of a Reformatory was coldly received by me.

The fact was, that in my position as judge, I resembled too closely the
one in Gilbert\x92s _Trial by Jury_ to allow of my being trusted implicitly
in cases in which personal attractions are to be put in the scales of
even-handed Justice; and with all its burden of guilt that greenhouse
bore the reputation of unsightliness. If it had had a single redeeming
feature, I might have been susceptible to its influence; but it had
none. It had been born commonplace, and old age had not improved it.

Leaning against the uttermost boundary wall of the garden, it had been
my achievement to hide it by the hedge of briar roses and the colonnade;
but it was sometimes only with great difficulty that we could head
off visitors from its doors. Heywood heaped on it his concentrated
opprobrium by calling it the Crystal Palace; but Dorothy, who had been a
student of _Jane Eyre_, had given it the name of \x93Rochester\x92s Wife,\x94 and
we had behaved toward it pretty much as Jane\x92s lover had behaved in his
endeavour to set up a younger and more presentable object in the place
of his mature demented partner: we had two other glass-houses that we
could enter and see entered without misgiving; so that when we
stood beside the offending one with the estimate of the cost of its
reformation, I, at any rate, was not disposed to leniency.

\x93A case for the Reformatory,\x94 said Dorothy, and in a moment the word
brought to my mind the advice of the young lord Hamlet, and I called

\x93Reform it altogether.\x94

\x93What do you mean?\x94 she asked; for she sometimes gives me credit for
uttering words with a meaning hidden somewhere among the meshes of

\x93I have spoken the decision of the Court,\x94 I replied. \x93\x91Reform it

\x93At a cost--a waste--of sixty odd pounds?\x94

\x93I will not try to renew its youth like the eagles,\x94 said I, in the tone
of voice of a prophet in the act of seeing a vision. \x93I shall make a new
thing of it, and a thing of beauty into the bargain.\x94

She laughed pretty much as in patriarchal days Sara, laughed at the
forecast of an equally unlikely occurrence.

After an interval she laughed again, but with no note of derision.

\x93I see it all now-all!\x94 she cried. \x93You will be the Martin Luther of its
Reformation: you will cut the half of it away; but will the Church stand
when you have done with it?\x94

\x93Stronger than it ever was. I will hear the voice of no protestant
against it,\x94 I replied.

My scheme had become apparent to her in almost every particular as it
had flashed upon me; and we began operations the very next day.

And this is what the operation amounted to--an Amputation.

When a limb has suffered such an injury as to make its recovery hopeless
as well as a danger to the whole body, the saving grace of the surgeon\x92s
knife is resorted to, and the result is usually the rescue of the
patient. Our resolution was to cut away the rotten parts of the roof
of the greenhouse and convert the remainder, which was perfectly sound,
into a peach-shelter; and within a couple of weeks the operation had
been performed with what appeared to us to be complete success.

We removed the lower panes of glass without difficulty--the difficulty
_was_ to induce the others to remain under their bondage of ancient
putty: \x93They don\x92t make putty like that nowadays,\x94 remarked my builder,
who is also, in accordance with the dictation of a job like this, a
housebreaker, a carpenter, and a glazier--a sort of unity of many tools
that comes to our relief (very appropriately) from the United States.

[Illustration: 0340]

I replied to him enigmatically that putty was a very good servant, but
a very bad master. The dictum had no connection with the matter in hand,
but it sounded as if it had, and that it was the crystallisation of
wisdom; and the good workman accepted it at its face value. He removed
over two hundred panes, each four feet by ten inches, without breaking
one, and he removed more than a thousand feet of the two-inch laths from
the stages, the heavier ones being of oak; he braced up the seven foot
depth of roof which we decreed should shelter our peaches, and \x93made
good\x94 the inequalities of the edges. In short, he made a thoroughly good
job of the affair, and when he had finished he left us with a new and
very interesting feature of the garden. A lean-to greenhouse is, as a
rule, a commonplace incident in a garden landscape, and it is doubtful
if it pays for its keep, though admittedly useful as a nursery; but a
peach-alley is interesting because unusual. In our place of peace
this element is emphasised through our having allowed the elevated,
brick-built border that existed before, to remain untouched, and also
the framework where the swing-glass ventilators had been hung. When
our peach-trees were planted, flanked by plums and faced by apples _en
espalier,_ we covered the borders with violas of various colours, and
enwreathed the framework with the Cape Plumbago and the Jasmine Solanum.
and both responded nobly to our demands.

Nothing remained in order to place the transformation in harmony with
its surroundings but to turn the two large brick tanks which had served
us well in receiving the water from the old roof, into ornamental
lily ponds, and this was accomplished by the aid of some of the stone
carvings which I had picked up from time to time, in view of being able
to give them a place of honour some day. On the whole, we are quite
satisfied with this additional feature. It creates another surprise for
the entertainment of a visitor, and when the peaches and plums ripen
simultaneously, following the strawberries, we shall have, if we are to
believe Friswell, many more friends coming to us.

\x93If they are truly friends, we shall be glad,\x94 says Dorothy.

\x93By your fruits ye shall know them,\x94 says he, for like most professors
of the creed of the incredulous, he is never so much at his ease as when
quoting Scripture.

This morning as I was playing (indifferently) the part of Preceptress
Pinkerton, trying to induce on Rosamund, Olive, Francie, Marjorie, and
our dear, wise John, a firm grasp of the elements of the nature of the
English People as shown by their response to the many crusades in which
they have taken part since the first was proclaimed by Peter the Hermit,
I came to that part of nay illuminating discourse which referred to the
Nation\x92s stolidity even in their hour of supreme triumph.

\x93This,\x94 said I, \x93may be regarded by the more emotional peoples of Europe
as showing a certain coldness of temperament, in itself suggesting a
want of imagination, or perhaps, a cynical indifference--\x91cynical,\x92 mind
you, from _kyon_, a dog--to incidents that should quicken the beating of
every human heart. But I should advise you to think of this trait of
our great Nation as indicating a praiseworthy reserve of the deepest
feelings. I regard with respect those good people who to-day are going
about their business in the streets of our town just in the usual way,
although the most important news that has reached the town since the
news of the capture of Antioch in 1099, is expected this evening. And
you will find that they will appear just as unconcerned if they learn
that the terms of the Armistice have been accepted--they will stroll
about with their hands in their pockets--not a cheer.... Is that your
mother calling you, John?\x94

\x93No; I think it\x92s somebody in the street?\x94 said John.

\x93Oh, I forgot. It\x92s Monday--market day. There\x92s more excitement in
Yardley High Street if a cow turns into Waterport Lane than there
will be when Peace is proclaimed. But still, I repeat, that this
difference... What was that? two cows must have turned into--Why, what\x92s
this--what\x92s--sit down, all of you--I tell you it\x92s only--\x94

\x93Hurrah--hurrah--hurrah--hurrah--hurrah!\x94 comes from the five young
throats of five rosy-cheeked, unchecked children, responding to the five
hundred that roar through the streets.

In five minutes the front of our house is ablaze with flags, and five
Union Jacks are added to the hundreds that young and old wave over
their heads in the street; and amid the tumult the recent admirer of
the stolid English People is risking his neck in an endeavour to fix a
Crusader\x92s well-worn helmet in an alcove above the carven lions on the
perch of his home.

There, high over us, stands the Castle Keep as it stood in the days of
the First Crusade.

\x93And ever above the topmost roof the banner of England blew.\x94

Going out I saw a cow stray down Waterport Lane; but no one paid any
attention to its errantry.

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