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By JOSEPH POWELL (Captain of the Camp) 




By hope MIRRLEES 7/- net 


By J. E. GURDON 7/6 net 








The Castle Gateway and Keep. 









Copyright 19 19 


























facing page 8 































ft 9 




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't like Dorothy's 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 were 

And then I recall how the late R. D. Blackmore 
(whose works, by the way, I saw in a bookseller's at 
Twickenham with a notice over them — 'by a local 


author') accounted for the popularity of Lorna Doone : 
people bought it believing that it had something to 
do with the extremely popular engagement — 'a Real 
German Defeat,' Tenniel called it in his Punch cartoon 
— of the Marquis of Lome and the Princess Louise. 
And yet so far from feeling any remorse at arriving 
at the Temple of Fame by the tradesman's 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's reply comes pat : If Mr Blackmore 
did that, all she can say is that she doesn't 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. 

'My dear,' I cry, 'you shouldn't 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 ' 

'Your own what?' cried Dorothy. 

'My own conscience — literary conscience, of course.' 

'Oh, that one? WeU?' 


'I 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 

'Only then it would have been a Garden of War, 
but now it suits you — your fancy, to make it a Garden 
of Peace.' 

'It's 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't provoke me.' 

' I will not,' said Dorothy, with one of her perplexing 

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 fniit and 
flowers in abundance through the slaughter of slugs, 
the crushing of snails, the immolation of leather- 
jackets, the annihilation of earwigs, and is now to be 
alluded to as a Garden of Peace, if you please. 

Dorothy can 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 
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's 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's 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't get in, I say, — 

'Oh, 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 


'If it weren't for those children — but where should 
we go?' she cried. 

'I'm not sure,' I said, as if revolving many memories, 
'but I think some part of the Pacific Slope ' 

'Gracious, why the Pacific Slope, my man?' 

'Because a Pacific Garden must surely be a Garden 
of Peace; and that's 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 
AviUon — 

'Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow. 
Nor ever wind blows loudly, for it lies 
Deep-meadow'd, happy, fair with orchard-lawns 
And bowery hollows, crown'd with summer sea.' 

Luckily I recollected the quotation, for if 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, — 

'" Orchard -lawns." H'm, I wonder if Tennyson, 
with all his " careful-robin " observation of the little 
things of Nature was aware that you should never 
let grass grow in an apple orchard.' 

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

'I suppose there are not,' said she. 'Anyhow, you 


will have the biggest tomato in Nature in your salad 
with the cold lamb. Is that the bell?' 

'It is the ghost-tinkle of the bell of the bell-wedder 
who was the father of the lamb,' said I poetically. 

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

• ••«••• 

PS.— (1.30)— And I didn't. 

• •••••• 

PPS.— (1.35)— But I might have. 


This tovm of ours is none other than Yardley 
Parva. Every one is supposed to know that the name 
means 'The Little Sheltered Garden/ 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 
'back-yard' of American literature; meaning not the 
back-yard 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 whole- 
hearted about the 'ley,' but the general impression 
is that it had a narrow escape from being 'leigh,' an 
open meadow ; ley, however, is simply ' lee,' or a 
sheltered quarter, the opposite to 'windward.' 

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 
'hie there !'; and as there was much cross-questioning 
and answering, there was a constant chorus of 'hie, 
hie ! ' 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 ' High ' instead of ' Hie ! ' So it 
was that Minnesingers' 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' shops and began their day's work some- 
where about five oclock in midsimimer, 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 'old-fashioned flowers,' 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 civilised themselves 
beyond the knuckle-bones of their ancestors' 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, retains the name that was given to it to com- 
memorate 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 j^ears — 
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 leaves. 

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 Uking; it is a matter of liking and liking 
better — it is the artisan's opinion of rival beers (pre- 
war) : all good but some better than others. The 
little gardens behind the shops are lyrics; the big one 
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's 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 un- 
interesting 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 Atropussies, 
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's 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 easUy 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 friendhest 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's, the stationer's, the 
fishmonger's, the bootmaker's, or the chymist's — 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's 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's 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. 

'My dear friends,' said he, 'I 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.' 

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 'better-class people' 
(so they were described to me when I first came to 
Yardley Parva), which are everything that a garden 
should be. 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 line 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 \\ith 
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's art any more than 
the portrait is to make manifest the painter's. 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, — 

'How extraordinary it is that the arrangements 
of colour in Nature are always harmonious ! ' 

Extraordinary ! 

Equally extraordinary it is that 

'Treason doth never prosper; what's the reason? 
For if it prospers none dare call it treason.' 

All our impressions of harmony in colour are derived 
from Nature's 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 hannony 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, 'artistic impression.' 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's 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's 'Rocky Landscapes' engenders 
is due to our very distant ancestors' 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 employments, 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 dis- 
cordant 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 'freaks' and 'sports' both 
as regards form and colour — 'Prodigious mixtures 
and confusion strange.' 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 'novelty,' make money out of it. 
Equally sure I am that the more conscientious, when 
they hit 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 God.) 

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 Rosa- 
mund, who is Dorothy's first-born, and she is ready 
at all seasonable times to give me the benefit of her 
fourteen years' 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. 

'Don't you see the awfulness of re-dyeing a flower 
— the unnaturalness of such an operation?' I cried. 

'Why, you old thing, can't you see that if it's done 
by aniline dj'es it's all right — true to Nature and all 

'Good 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?' 

'Every one who doesn't agree with all you say isn't 
a confirmed atheist,' replied Dorothy calmly. 'As 
for Rosamund, what I'm afraid of is that, so far from 
being an atheist, she is rather too much in the other 
direction — like " Lo, the poor Indian." She'll explain 
what's in her mind if you give her a chance. What 
do you mean, my dear, by laying the emphasis on 
aniline dyes? Don't you know that most of them 
are awful ? ' 


'Of course I do, darling,' said Rosamund. 'But 
I've 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 gi\ing 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's natural for flowers to be coloured by the sunshine 
it doesn't matter whether it's 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's no harm to have them to 
colour flowers now.' 

'Daddy was only complaining of the horrid ones, 
my dear,' said the Mother, without looking at me. 
' Isn't that what you meant ? ' 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. 

'Of course I meant the hideous ones — magenta 
and that other sort of purple thing. I usually make 
my meaning plain,' said I, with a modified bluster. 

'Oh,' remarked Rosamund, in a tone that suggested 
a polite negation of acquiescence. 

There was another little silence before I said, — 

'Anyhow, it was those German brutes who developed 
those aniline things.' 

'Oh, yes; they could do anything they pleased with 
coal tar,' said Dorothy. 'But the other sort could do 
anything he pleased mth the Germans — and he did ! ' 

' The other sort ? ' said I inquiringly. 

'Yes, the other sort — the true British product — 


the Jack Tar,' 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 menage will be maintained. The 
man who tries to impose his opinions upon a house- 
hold 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 'better-class people' 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 earher 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 ' Invincible.' 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 poHshed 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, — 



'Ha, my friend, don't you think that these will be 
enough for the Romans?' 

'Sure,' was the reply. 'Oh, yes, they will be enough, 
avaricious though the Romans undoubtedly are.' 

This was the first of the Invincible enterprises. 
The next time I saw the word in history was in associa- 
tion 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 'Invincibles,' 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's Invincible 
Line that we heard so much about a few months ago? 
' Invincible ! ' 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 AchiUes, 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. 

The funny part of the Hindenburg cult — I suppose 
it should be written 'Kult' — 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's 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 — Gotter- 
dammerung Hellroter ! 

And why were the Bolsheviks so foolish as to forget 
that the Czar was ' Nicky ' to their paymaster, William, 
and that that name is the Greek for ' Victory ' ? 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 — ' Commander A ? ' 

'I'm Commander A ' said he, taking the despatch 

envelope and tearing it open. He gave a whistle, 
reading his message, and rose. 

'No reply,' he told the messenger, and then turned 
to me. 

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

We had been talking over the morning's news, and 


I had said that the Emperor was a master of bluff, 
not business. 

'I'm off,' he said. 'You needn't say anything that 
I've told you. After all, it may only be a precautionary 

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 'gambling' — he so 
designated the most important — the most disastrous 
— incident of his Administration — 'a legitimate gamble.' 
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 widow. 

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 'short 
cuts' 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 'a perfect gem.' 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 pig-headed gentleman than 
the owner of the house at that time he had never 

'He would have it done with the old material,' 
he explained sadly. 'That's how it comes to be like 
what it is to-day.' And he nodded in the direction of 
the exquisitely-weathered old Caen blocks with the great 
bosses of house-leek covering the coping. 'It 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.' 

' Some people are very obstinate, thank God ! ' 
said I. 

'I could have made as good a job of it as I did of 
St Anthony's Church — you know the new aisle in St 
Anthony's, sir,' said he. 

I certainly did know the new aisle in St Anthony's; 
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 'shrubberies' 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 var\dng 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 ^Egean in another. 

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

'Maybe I'm wrong in talking to you about them,' 



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

'It's not that, sir,' he said, still smiling. 'I'm ready 
to take all the responsibility. You see, sir, I was 
brought up among anchusas : I was one of the gardeners 
at Dropmore.' 

I laughed. 

' If I want to know anything about growing anchusas 
I'll know where to come for information,' I said. 

The great charm about these gardens, as well as 
those of the Crusaders' 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 

'A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn/ 

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 'rain and stormy' on the 


barometric scale, but we cannot do without our Pan 
— the joDy, 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 

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 stiU 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 advertise- 
ments in Country Life and see how frequently the 
'old world gardens' are set forth as an irresistible 
attraction of 'a desirable residence.' The artful 
advertisers know that the appeal of the old world is 
still all-powerful, especially with those who have been 
bom 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 modem 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 ' Rate- 
payer' to the local Chronicle, inquiring how long 
were highly-taxed residents to be subjected to such 
incursions, and blaming the 'authorities' for their 

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's 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's saw-mill. 

'The authorities' look too well after the villas, and 
the very suggestion of 'authorities' 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's 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 'residences' 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. 

'But you know they were not real diamonds — only 
the diamonds of the poet's imagination,' he said. 

'I do believe you are right,' said I, when I saw that 
he was in earnest. And then the mongoose story came 
to my mind. 'They were not real diamonds,' I said. 
'But then the man wasn't a real company promoter.' 


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 

One of these modest residences of a ducal family 
faces the street to-day, after suffering many vicissi- 
tudes, but with the character of its facade 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 preserved. 

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 creat- 
ing 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 OrientaHsm 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 out- 

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 im- 
proved, 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 pubhc-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 them- 
selves 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 stragghng 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 sohd 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 pos- 
sessor 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- 

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-waU 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 tyro — saying, — 

'My dear sir, they would not mind such an attack. 
They could always repel it by throwing stones down 
from the top — it's ten feet thick there — yes, heavy 
stones, and melted lead, and boiling water.' 

I did not want to throw cold water upon his re- 
searches as to the defence of a mediaeval 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 

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 accom- 
modate all the swallows. So I saw that he was as 
sound a naturalist as he was an antiquarian. 

By the way, I wonder how WTiite 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's 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 'a 
harbitrary gent'; 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. Severed 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' Kloof in South Africa, quite early 
in January, swallows were flying about me in 

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 
'swallow sister — oh, fleet, sweet swallow,' or the 
'swallow, swallow, flying, flying south' — 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 it ! 

Are we to be told to be ready to exchange Itylus 
for a celluloid tab with a date on it? or Keats's Ode 
for a corrected notation of the nightingale's 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 — 

' Beauty 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 acquain- 
tance with the facts of Nature is the beginning of 
wisdom. We crystaUised our ignorance in phrases 
that have been passed on from father to son, and 
quoted at every opportunity. We refer to people 
being ' Wind as a bat,' and to others being — as ' bold as 
a lion,' or 'harmless as a dove.' 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 com- 
plaint 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 so. 

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't sin against the Law 

Of 'Nature red in tooth and claw,' 

But 'gainst 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 'kill without mercy' — those were his words 
— every frog or toad I found in a greenhouse ! 

But for that matter, don't 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 preceptor's 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 genera- 
tion 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 glow-worm 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's 
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 
sHpped among the lower boughs of an ash covered 
with trembHng leaves. 

There among the trembling leaves I saw another 
trembhng leaf — the soothing, swaying end of my 
cat's 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's 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 'for the Use of Schools' 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 

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 m the foHage about it, for 
a poplar towered above the lilac, and was well 

I remarked to my man that I was afraid our black- 
birds 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. 

'He hasn't forgotten the nest that was there,' I said. 
' But I'm sure he'll find out in which of the neighbouring 
gardens the new one has been built.' 

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

'Ornithology is his hobby,' said I, 'but he's 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.' 

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 black- 
birds from the boughs of the poplar. 

' Why, bless my soul ! There are four young ones 
in the nest, and they're nearly ready to fly,' sang out 
the investigator from above, and the parents cor- 
roborated 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 naturahsts 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 gratifjdng 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 recog- 
nition not entertained before. 



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

Each took a different standpoint in regard to its 

'I never heard anything so lovely in all my life,' 
said Rosamund, aged ten. 'It made you long to — 
to — I don't know what. It was lovely.' 

'And what was your opinion, Olive?' 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 para- 

'I didn't think it half as pretty a bird as Miss 
Midleton's parrot,' she said with conviction. 

Miss Midleton's parrot is a gorgeous conglomeration 
of crimson and blue, like the 'at of 'arriet, 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 

'I've been talking to my friend Thompson on the 
subject of those hanging gardens of the Duke's,' said 
he; 'and 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't big enough 
to hang a man on.' 

'A man — a man! My dear sir, I wasn't thinking 
of his hanging men there : it was clothes — clothes — 
linen — pants — shirts — pyjamas, and the like.' 

'Oh, that's quite another matter,' 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 H., really not 
more than six hundred years ago. I feel incHned 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 skin-tight, 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's umbrella can be when it 
gets through the defence of one's mackintosh collar 
and meanders down one's 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 sensitive- 
ness 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 stem and uncom- 
promising 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 

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 illustrated 
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 advisabihty 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 quahfied 
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 time 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 nowa- 
days 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 know pretty well by now where 
so many of the treasures of the ViUa 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, — 

' How wonderfully peaceful ! ' 

I have analysed their impression that forces them 
to say that. The mUd 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 bustle 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. 

' How wonderfully peaceful ! ' every one cries. 

And so it is. 

You can hear the humming of a bee — the flick of a 
swallow's wing, the tinkle of the fountain — a dehghtful 
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. 'Darkness visible,' is Milton's 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 
speak, — 

' How wonderfully peaceful ! ' 

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 re- 
mained with us since the days when an Englishman's 
home was his castle and an Englishman's 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 Romaimt 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. Cer- 
tainly 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 Parva 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 ' old- 
world garden' of the agent's 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 'found peace,' 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. 

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 Hne 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 

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 over- 
looks 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 dehmitation 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 maintained. 

' Some 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, " Why, it's as easy as snuffling : all 


you've 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." Smart of the fellow, 
wasn't it?' 

'It was very smart/ 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 shjdng 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 remarked 

But if you've 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 repeat- 
ing the remark or the response intoned by the 

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

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't read to inquire at 
the blacksmith's. 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 pre\dously unheard-of instance of the wit of the 
'subject,' the story of the gentleman who, standing 
at the entrance to his club, was taken for the porter 
by a member coming out? 

'Call me a cab,' said the latter, 

'You're a cab,' 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. 

'What do you mean?' cried the other. 'I told you 
to call me a cab.' 

'And I've called you a cab. You didn't expect me 
to call you handsome,' said the ready respondent. 

Now that story was a familiar Strand story forty 
years ago when H. J. B3T:on 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 B}Ton wrote 
was so good as Burnand's title to his Burlesque on 
Rob Roy, the play which ]\Irs Bateman had just revived 
at Sadler's Wells. Bumand called it Robbmg Roy, or 


Scotch' d, not Kilt. The parody on 'Roy's Wife,' 
sung by Terry, was exquisite, and very topical, — 

' Roy's wife of AUdivalloch ! 
Roy's wife of AUdivalloch ! 

Oh, while she 

Is wife to me, 
Is life worth living, Mr Mallock?* 

Mr Mallock's book was being widely discussed in 
those days, and Punch had his pun on it with the rest. 

'Is Life worth living?' 'It depends on the liver.' 

l*he Garrick Club stories of Byron, Gilbert, and 
Bumand were innumerable. To the first-named was 
attributed the dictum that a play was like a cigar. 
Tf 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.' 

The budding litterateurs of those days — and nights 
— used to go from hearing stories of Byron's 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 Swanborough 
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's 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 ' Johnny 
Toole,' 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 fill 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 

The late Mr M. A. Robertson, of the Treaty Depart- 
ment of the Foreign Office, told me that his father 
— the celebrated preacher known to fame as 
'Robertson of Brighton' — 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 inside the cabinet of the necromancer 
and 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 excel- 
lent 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's gifts. Oscar was impudent enough to take 
his call on the first night of Lady Windermere's 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 'Wm. Wilde, 
Esq., ' at his home, and as his father's 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, ' Read that, sir ! ' 

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

' Well, dad, do you intend to go ? ' 

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 Pamell 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 him- 
self 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 centri- 
fugal force due to their revolutionary instinct sent 
them flying into space. 

But one handful of the meteoric dust of the conver- 
sation of either was worth aU 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 strepitnmque 
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's career, avoiding the mistakes of 
the past, if one got a renewal of one's 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 hi 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 remi- 
niscent of the window-boxes of the Cromwell Road 
through which I had walked every day for nearly 
twenty years, and in time one grows w^eary 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 wilder- 
ness 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's ' Une maison sans enfants,' 'un 
jardin sans roses.' 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 along- 
side 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 per- 
fection. 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-scene 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 con- 
nection with the property. They had scrupiilously 
advertised the 'unique and valuable old-fashioned 
residence,' and the fact that it was partially 'covered 
by creepers' — a partiality to which I was not very 
partial — and that the 'billiard saloon' had the same 
advantages — they had not failed to allude to the 
gardens as 'old-world and quaint,' 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 outside — 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's pavilion 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 

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's 
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 
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 

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 Ijdng between Cape Town and Simon's Bay, and 
also on the higher ground above Mossel Bay are what 
old-furniture dealers term 'in mint condition' — 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 sub-tropical 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's 
Peak of Table Mountain. 

A Dutch gentleman once said to me in Rotterdam, 
'If you want to see a real Dutch garden you must go 
to the Cape, or, better still, to England — for it.' 

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's wife when the Castle 
was at its "best. The porter's 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 got into the way of differentiating 
between gardens and gardens — there was no talk about 
'false notes' in design, men did not sleep uneasily o' 


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's 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 this simple central design there 
is no attempt at colour effect. But every one of the 
little beds is brilliant with tulips or pansies or antirr- 
hinum 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 comer 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 

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 hke putting up 
a board with 'This way to the Dutch garden,' 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 'shilhng shockers,' 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 is 
termed 'local colour'; 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 'local colour' 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 ' L amour est un oiseau rebelle,' 
or the Toreador's 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 

So much for the ineffectiveness of obvious 


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't do in Yardley Parva, thank God ! Atheism 
is very properly regarded as a distinct social disquali- 
fication — almost as bad as being a Noncomformist. 
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's incor- 
poration 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's 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. AU 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 pro- 
mulgated 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 Friswell 
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's 
Surrogate, thought very highly of Mr Friswell and 
his scholarship 1 

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's 
marriage with such an one, is surely not to be under- 
stood 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 
Hke that of the chairman of the smoking concert; 
and that the High Church parson here was hke a revue 
artist, Vv'hose 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's permission; 
and I know that Dorothy likes him. 

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

'Yes,' I told her, 'you 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.' 

'Don't be a goose,' said she. 'Do you suggest that 
Mr Friswell is a viper?' 

'Well, if a viper may be looked on as a type of 
all ' 

'Well, if he is a viper, didn't 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.' 

'Meaning that ' 

'That if the exponent of the Christianity of the 
Churches cannot be so interpreted in the pulpits that 
Mr Friswell's sayings are rendered harmless, well, so 
much the worse for the Churches.' 

'There's such a thing as being too liberal-minded, 
Dorothy,' said I solemnly. 

'I suppose there is,' said she; 'but 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.' 

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. 

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

'You asked him that?' 

'Yes; 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 ! ' 

'Rosamund, he was a great prophet — one of the 
greatest,' said I, 

' All 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, " Go up, thou bald head ! " — you know 
there's 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 ? ' 

' I suppose I should go at you bald-headed, my dear,' 
said I incautiously. 

'I don't like the Bible made fun of,' said Dorothy, 



who overheard what I did not mean for any but the 
S5mipathetic ears of her eldest daughter. 

'I'm not making fun of it, Mammy,' said the daughter. 
'Just 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 ill-tempered ! ' 

' It doesn't say that he had any hand in it, does it ? ' 
I suggested in defence of the Man of God. 

'Well, not — directly,' replied Rosamund. 'But it 
was meant to make out that he had a hand in it. It 
says that he cursed them in the name of the Lord.' 

'And what did Mr Friswell say about the story?' 
inquired Dorothy. 

'Oh, he said that, being a prophet, Elisha wasn't 
thinking about the present, but the future — the time 
we're living in — the Russian Bear or the Bolsheviks 
or some of the — the — what's the thing that they kill 
Jews with in Russia, Mammy?' 

'I don't know — anything that's handy, I fancy, 
and not too expensive,' rephed the mother. 

'He gave it a name — was it programme?' asked 
the child, 

'Oh, a pogrom — a pogrom; though I fancy a pro- 
gramme of Russian music would have been equally 
effective,' I put in. 'Well, Mr Friswell may be right 
about the bears. I suppose it's 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 Exchange.' 


'Mr Friswell said nothing about that,' said Rosa- 
mund. 'But he explained about Naaman and his 
leprosy and how he was cured.' 

'It tells us that in the Bible, my dear,' said Dorothy, 
'so of course it is true. He washed seven times in the 

'Yes, 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 
EHsha 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.' 

'He's quite right, darling,' said Dorothy approvingly. 
Then turning to me, 'You 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 

'I see,' said I. 'I 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 ?' 

'He 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,' 

'But about Gehazi catching the leprosy or whatever 
it was ? ' 

'I 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 follow the prescription 
given to Naaman; so he wasn't so hard on the man 
after aU.' 

' There, you see ! ' cried Dorothy triumphantly. 
' You 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 sjonpathy before.' 

'All right, have it your own way,' said I. 

'You old goose !' said she. 'Don't I know that why 
you have your knife in poor Friswell is simply because 
he thought your scheme of treillage was too elaborate.' 

'Anyhow Fm going to carry it out " according to 
plan," to make use of a classic phrase,' 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 leper. 


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 'capable de tout.' 

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 dark- 
ness 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's volume on Garden Design, which, as every 
one knows, is an unbridled denunciation of Sir Reginald 
Blomfield's and Mr Inigo Triggs's 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 1 reflect upon my success in spite of 
Friswell and the anti-formalists. 

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 faU, had never known 
shears or secateur, while the distinguished architect 
responded with bricks pulled hastily out from his 
builders' wall. In the meantime I shall try to account 
for my treatment of my predecessor's 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 I had 
at breaking-up price of what I might call a 'garden 
suite,' 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 'into something 
rich and strange,' — 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 pubUsher's 
half-yearly statement. 

Now, Dorothy and I had simply been garden-lovers 
— I mean lovers of gardens, though I don't take back 
the original phrase. We had never been garden 
enthusiasts. We had gone through the Borghese, 


the Villa d'Este, 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's throw 
of Holland House and the painters' pleasaunces of 
Melbury Road, but with all we had remained content 
to think of gardens without making them any im- 
portant part of our hfe. 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 hghtly 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 
plainlj' borne nothing but leaves for many years. 
They were becoming an eye-sore to me, and the thought 
came in a flash : — 

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


Why not, indeed? The more I thought over the 
matter the more reconciled I became to the trans- 
formation 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 Hving beyond the fence, 
and that he will enjoy communion with her under 
altered conditions. That is the difference between 
parting xvith 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's 
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, 'and 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's 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 funda- 
mentally identical with the palm-tree which primeval 
man brought into his service when he wished to con- 
struct a dwelling independent 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 develop- 
ment 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. 'The building,' he says, 
'cannot resemble anything in Nature, unless you are 
content with a mud hut and cover it with grass.' 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 
'architected' 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, 'far-fetched.' 
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 think 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 character. 

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's 
belief that a house can never be regarded as otherwise 
than wholly artificial, may commend itself to a much 
larger clientele 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, 'Charlie is so very fond of animals that 
we are going to make a butcher of him.' 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 con- 
sistency 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 insig- 
nificant 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 Hghthouse 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'etre by strewing the sea with islands. 

I made my appeal to Olive, the practical one. 

'Yes,' she said, after one of her thoughtful intervals. 
'Yes, I think it does look naturaler.' 

And I do believe it does. 


I DIFFER from many people who know 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 m 
this way, and thereby made them more natural in 
appearance, suggesting, as they do, the dry water- 
course of a stream: every time I walk on them I 
remember the summer aspect of that beautiful water- 
course 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 ampelopsis patterned 
with clematis. 

All that I did was to remove the turi 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 suppUes 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 Mttle 
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's 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 pubhc 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 con- 
siderable number of people thought the beds quite 
a success; but we could not see v/ith their eyes, and 
our feeling was one of disappointment. 

Happily, at this time I bought for a few shillings 
a few boxes of Ihe 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, I 
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 weari- 
ness, 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 says, — 

'Isn't carpet-bedding rather old-fashioned?' 

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. 

' Old-fashioned — gone out years ago ! ' 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 Bossi 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 pinch- 
beck buckle or snuff-box for its 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 sea- 
front 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 lobeha 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 praecox dwarf roses, variegated cactus, 
used sparingly, and as many varieties of echeveria 
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 'finish.' 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 tuhps have been hfted 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's 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't intend to do so really, only for 
the sake of argument — but its rows of teeth are beauti- 
fully 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 by excusing 
myself over much for my endeavour to restore a fashion 
which I was told had 'gone out.' 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's 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. 
For instance, within the last six or seven years it has 
become 'the right thing' 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 com- 
pelled to imitate Nature by sinking their flower-patches 
below the level of the ground. They were quite suc- 
cessful 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. But 
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 ' slag ' 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 ' crevice' 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 'Japanese style.' The 
'Chinese Taste,' we all know, played a very important 
part in many gardens in the eighteenth century, as it 
did in other directions in the social Ufe 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 'in the 
Chinese Taste' 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 'in the Chinese Taste.' 
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 home? 

It is nothing of the sort, provided that it is not 


brought into close proximity to the EngHsh 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's catalogue calls the 'dwarf habit.' 
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 play. 

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

'You would not exclude Mr Friswell,' said 

' Atheist Friswell is not Hf e-size : he may go without 
rebuke into the most miniature Japanese garden in 
Bond Street,' I reply gratefully. 

'And how about Mrs Friswell?' she asks. 


' She is three sizes too big, even in her chapel shoes/ 
I rephed. 

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

'Then Mr Friswell will never be seen in a Japanese 
garden,' said Dorothy. 

She does hke Mrs Friswell. 


But there is in my mind one garden in which I should 
Uke to see the tallest and most truculent of Englishmen. 
It is the Tiergarten at Berhn. 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 'In den Zelten.' 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 or 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 'Unter den 
Linden' 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 'Fritz' of the intimate 
devotional telegrams to 'Augusta' from the battlefields 
of France in 1870. 

That Crown Prince was the very opposite to his 



truculent son and that contemptible blackguard, his 
son's son. Genial, considerate, and unassuming, dis- 
liking 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 — 'Wilhelm to-day successfully stormed Le 
Chemin des Dames,' was the telegram that he sent to 
the Empress, in imitation of those sent by his grand- 
father 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 

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, ultra- 
marine, 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 lunched. 

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 

This was the Hghter side of hospitahty; but it was 
at one time to be found in many English gardens, 
one of the earliest being at our Henry's 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 sus- 
pended 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 Bosche had arranged 
his grounds. She had the impudence to point to 
one of the most impregnable of my 'features,' saying 
with a smile, — 

'The Count would not approve of that, I'm afraid., 

'I am so glad,' said Dorothy sweetly. 'If 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.' 

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

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 

'You were very wise,' said Dorothy; 'but I think 
you went too far when you said, " Good-bye, Miss 
Haldane." I saw her wince at that.' 

' I knew that I would never have a chance of speaking 
to her again,' I replied. 

' Oh, yes; but — Haldane — Haldane ! If you had 
made it Snowden or MacDonald it would not have 
been so bad; but Haldane!' 

'I said Haldane because I meant Haldane, and 
because Haldane is a synonym for colossal impudence 
— the impudence of 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 pocket- 
ing their pension, but have done nothing to earn it.' 

'What, do you call voting through thick and thin 
with your party nothing ? ' 

'I don't. 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 more 
than three pounds to-day. And in England ' 

'Hush, hush. Remember, " My country right or 

' I do remember. That is why I rave. When " my 
country, right or wrong " is painted out and " my 
party, right or wrong " substituted, isn't it time one 
raved ? ' 

'You didn't talk in that strain when you wrote a 
leading article every day for a newspaper.' 

'I admit it; but — but — well, things hadn't come 
to a head in those old days.' 

'You mean that they had not come into your head, 
mon vieux, if you will allow me to say so.' 

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 possibihty 
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 'Lansdowne.' For 


myself I recollect very well that a vote of the represen- 
tatives 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's smiHng 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 
'feature' 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 it. 

'I think, my child, now that I come to think of it, 
that your single-sentence retort respecting the value 
of the Count's 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 

'Sniping is a woman's idea of war,' said Dorothy, 

'I don't like to associate woman and warfare,' said 
I shaking my head. 

'That is because of your gentle nature, dear,' said 
she with all the smoothness of a smoothing-iron fresh 
from a seven-times heated furnace. 'But isn't it 
strange that in most languages the word War is a noun 
feminine ? ' 

'They were always hard on woman in those days,' 
said I vaguely. 'But they're making up for it now.' 

'What are you talking about?' she cried. 'Why, 
they're harder than ever on women in this country. 
Haven't 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 this?' 


The Temple is one of the 'features' 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 ' dwarf 
habit' of the stock prevents all ramping and every 
form of rebellion: but it is different with the 'features.' 
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 ^Esculapius hving 
on the happiest terms with Flora. 

But when we who are her devotees wish to build a 
Temple for her worship, we don't consult ^sculapius : 

107 H 


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. iEsculapius 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 feeling 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 
reHeve myself of the charge of accusation by apology. 
Only let me say that the beautiful illustrations to 
Mr Robinson's volume entitled Garden Design and 
Architects' 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 architec- 
tural 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 'place' was complete or approaching 

Mr Robinson's strongest objection is to 'clipping.' 
He regards with abhorrence what he calls after 
Horace Walpole, 'vegetable sculpture.' Well, last 
year, being in the neighbourhood of one of the 
houses which he illustrates as an example of his 
'natural' 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 never 
saw such examples of topiary work. To stand among 
these hetes noires of Mr Robinson made one feel as if 
one were living among the mastodons and other 
monstrosities of the early world : the smallest sug- 
gested 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 hippo- 
potamuses, 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 
'landscape' around one of the houses illustrated in his 
book as an example of the 'naturalistic' style. 

But perhaps Mr Robinson's 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 

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 incon- 
gruous 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 facade 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 ever5rwhere met with classical facades — 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 modem 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. 

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 
1 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 glor>', 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 
BasiHca 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's 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 sacri- 
lege, so I don't 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 
vases ? 

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 Hke 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 
'where the statues come from.' 

' I think you'll find the place in a picture-book called 
Beauty Spots in Greece,' remarked Mrs Friswell. 
Dorothy is under the impression that Friswell's 
researches in the classical lore of one Lempriere 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 

'Very likely,' said he, with a brutal laugh. 'The 
temples on the hills were sometimes dedicated to the 
sun — Helios, you know.' 

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

'And what did your artful Christians do when they 
came upon such a fane ? ' he inquired. 

'Pulled it down, I suppose; the early artful Christians 
had no more sense of architectural or antiquarian 
beauty than the modern exponents of the cult,' said 

'They were too artful for that, those early Christian 



propagandists,' said Friswell. 'No, they turned to 
the noble Greek worshippers whom they were anxious 
to convert, and cried, dropping their aspirates after 
the manner of the moderns, " dedicated to Ehas, is it? 
Quite so — Saint EHas — 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 EHas. Who 
was he, I should like to know.' 

'I would do my best to withhold the knowledge 
from you,' said Dorothy. 'But was there ever really 
such a saint? There was a prophet, of course, but 
that's not just the same.' 

' I should think not,' said Friswell. ' The 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.' 

'Mythology,' said I correctively. 

' There's no difference between the words,' he replied. 

'Oh, yes, my dear, there is,' said his wife. 'There 
is the same difference between theology and mythology 
as there is between convert and pervert.' 

'Exactly the same difference,' he cried. 'Exactly, 
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 liHes 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 altogether.' 

'Have 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'll try to pick up a 
Britannia metal figure cheap to put in the grove 
alongside the Greek vase,' said I. 

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

'Let me think,' he muttered. 'I don't see why the 
mischief I should associate a Greek Temple with 
Oxford Street, but I do — that particular Temple of 

'If you were a really religious business man you 
might be led to think of the City Temple, only it 
doesn't belong to the Greek Church,' remarked 

'Let me help you,' said the Atheist's wife; 'think 
of Truslove and Hanson, the booksellers. Did Arthur 
Rackham ever put a Temple into one of his picture- 
books ? ' 

'After all, you may have gone on to Holborn — 
Were you in Batsford's?' suggested Dorothy. 

'Don't bother about him,' said I. 'What does it 
matter if he did once see something like our Temple; 
he'll never see anything like it again, unless ' 

'It may have been Buszards' — a masterpiece of 
Buszards, — pure confectioners' Greek architecture — 
icing veined to look like marble,' said Dorothy. 


'I have it — I knew I could worry it out if you gave 
me time,' cried Friswell. 

'Which we did,' said I. 'Well, whisper it gently 
in our ears.' 

' It was in a scene in a play at the Princess's Theatre,' 
he cried triumphantly. 'Yes, I 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.' 

' What play was it ? ' Dorothy asked. 

'Oh, now you're asking too much,' he replied. 'Who 
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.' 

'So like a man — to blame the dusk,' said his wife. 

'The twUight is the time for a garden — the summer 
twilight, hke this,' said Mr Heywood. 

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

'The time for a garden was decided a long time ago,' 
said I — 'as long ago as the third chapter of Genesis 
and the eighth verse : " They heard the voice of the 
Lord God walking in the Garden in the cool of the day." ' 

'You say that with a last-word air — as much as to 
say " what's good enough for God is good enough for 
me,"' laughed Friswell. 

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

'There are some people who would fail to hear it 


at any time,' said I, pointedly referring to Friswell. 
He gave a laugh. 'What are you guffawing at?' I 
cried with some asperity I trust. 

'Not at your Congregational platitudes,' he replied. 
'I was led to smile when I remembered how the col- 
loquial Bible which was compiled by a Scotsman, 
treated that beautiful passage. He paraphrased it, 
" The Lord went oot in the gloamin' to hae a crack 
wi' Adam ower the garden gate."' 

'I don't suppose he was thought irreverent,' said 
Dorothy. 'He wasn't really, you know.' 

'To take a step or two in the other direction,' said 
Mrs Friswell; 'I 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.' 

'There's not much of an Italian garden in Milton's 
Eden,' said Dorothy, who is something of an authority 
on these points. ' But it is certainly an Italian twilight 
that he describes in one place. Poor Milton ! he 
must have been Uving for many years in a perpetual 
twilight before it darkened into his perpetual night.' 

'You notice the influence of the hour,' said Hej^wood. 
' We have fallen into a twilight-shaded vale of converse. 
This is the hour when people talk in whispers in gardens 
like these.' 

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

'Ah, God knew what He was about when He put a 
man and a woman into a garden alone, and gave them 
an admonition,' said Friswell. 'By 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 scientifi- 
cally true. I don't suppose that any of you good 
orthodox folk will take that in; but it is a fact all the 

'I will believe anything except a scientific fact,' 
said Dorothy. 

'And I will believe nothing else,' said Friswell. 
'The 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.' 

'Listen to him — there's the effect of twilight in a 
Garden of Peace for you,' said I. 'Science and the 
Book of Genesis, hitherto at enmity, are at last recon- 
ciled 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 ! ' 

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

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's 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' exquisite adaptation of King Rene's 
Daughter, which he called lolanthe. 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 stage- 
craft. 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 twiUght. But there was enough 
light to glint here and there upon the annour 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-scene, 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 oj 
Venice. It showed in how true a spirit of loyalty to 
Shakespeare the last act, which, in nearly all represen- 
tations 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 'local 

Juliet's garden on the same stage was not so definitely 
Italiarf as it might have been. But I happen to know 
who were Irving's 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 pome- 
granate. 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's father in the play was quite an 
elderly man, whereas the mother was a young woman 
of twenty-eight. As for Juliet's 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's 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 lor the marriage of a girl. If she reached her 
sixteenth birthday remaining single, she was read}' to 
join in the wail of Jephtha's 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 Kncjx 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's 
Juliet was not an exceptionally youthful bride. In 
Tenbury Church there is a memorial of 'loyse, d. of 
Thos. Actone of Sutton, Esquire.' 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 mth 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 venture. 

Of course with the boy Juliets of the Globe Theatre, 
the younger they were the better chance they would 
have of carrjdng conviction with them. A Juliet with 
a valanced cheek would not be nice, even though she 
were 'nearer heaven by the altitude of a chopine' 
than one whose face was smooth. 

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 adven- 
titious aid of 'make up.' 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 ex- 
planation in his ov/n 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 make 
constant use of the word corpo, and as none of his 
hearers understood Itahan, 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's 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 con- 
traction for corporation, and in the slang of the day, 
that meant an expansion of the chest a Httle lower 


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 Hving. 
I said I thought the most expressive Hne ever written 
was that in the Inferno which ended the exquisite 
Francesca episode : — 

*E caddi come un corpo morto cade.' 

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. 

'That is not what we were smiling at,' said Mrs 
Bateman. 'It was at the recollection of the word 

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' 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, — 

'I 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's upbraiding of the Scotch traitor, beginning, 


" I saw a picture of a Judas once." Some people 
thought them among the finest in the play.' 

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 Ir^dng 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 'Oh, fill me a beaker as deep as you 
please,' leading up to the unavoidable brawl and the 
timely entrance of the King. 

' It was exactly the opposite to all that I had in my 
mind,' Irving told me, 'and 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 else.' 

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, 'John Clayton, pinx.' But 
perhaps the actor and artist was Swinburne. 

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 time — 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 doors, The Bells rang in 
an era of prosperity for all concerned; but I don't 
suppose that many people know that Mrs Bateman, 
the wife of 'The Colonel,' was the author of several 
novels which she wrote for newspapers at one of the 
'downs' that preceded the 'ups' in her Ufe. 

And Compton Mackenzie is Mrs Bateman's grand- 
son ! 

And Fay Compton is Compton Mackenzie's youngest 

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 'profiles' of its pines 
in lolanthe, and its 'built' 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 

'The sweet South 
That breathes upon a bank of violets 
Giving and taking odours,' 

we continued talking of theatres until the summer 
night was recking 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's 



part in choosing his plays. Had he ever made a success 
since he produced that adaptation of Fattst ? 

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's artful aid 
can deal adequately with such digressions from the 
story of Faust and Gretchen which was all that theatre- 
goers, even of the better class, who go to the pit, wanted 
■ — seemed dragged into the piece without reason or 
profit. To be sure, pages and pages of Goethe's Faust 
are devoted to his attempt to give concreteness to 
abstractions. (That was Friswell's 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 role of Dubosc 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 Dubosc 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 

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's 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. 

'They were a bad lot, and that's a fact,' I ventured 
to say. 

'They were,' acquiesced Friswell. 'And 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'm not sure that Irving wasn't justified in trying 
to get his audiences to realise in that last moment 
something of the dignity of the Hebrew people.' 

'He would have made a more distinct advance in 
that direction if he had cut out the " business " of 
stropping his knife a few minutes earlier, " To cut the 
forfeiture from that bankrupt there,"' I remarked. 

'If 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,' said Mrs Friswell. 

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

It was Heywood who inquired if I remembered 
another of Irving's 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, — 

' Then I am childless ! ' 

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 

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 

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 Hitch ens, and another by Herman Merrivale; 
Mr J. Comyns Carr took in hand the fmishing of King 
Arthur, begun by Wills, and made it ridiculous, and 
helped in translating and adapting Madame Sans Gene. 
Might not Lord Tennyson also be called an English 
author? and were not his three plays. Queen Mary, 
The Cup, and Becket 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 Becket 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's greeting of his off- 
spring in its stage dress — he only smiled as one smiles 
under the influence of a reminiscence of something 
that is better over. 

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's 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 in- 
terpreting 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 intro- 
duction 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 'nursed him through a long illness.' 
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 Camelias 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 clergjonan of the Church of 
England was given the entree to a theatre in London. 
To be sure, there were priests of the Church of Rome 
in Dion Boucicault's 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 'it was a very little one.' 
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't 
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 — 'd n,' 

telling him to go to ' h ' ; 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 conneclion with the utterance of a Prime 

Minister. As for the d n of ten years ago, no one 

could have beheved that Bob Acres' thoughtless 
assertion that 'damns have had their day,' 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 ad- 
mitted it, we should find it put, 'how to cook a d 

bone,' or, 'another way,' as the cookery book would 

put it more explicitly, 'a d d bone.' 

'It 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,' said Friswell. 'I 


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 aboHtion of both words in the 
interpretation accepted for them for centuries in 
rehgious 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.' 

'I read something like that the other day,' said 
Dorothy. 'But surely they have not gone so far as 
you say.' 

'They have gone to a much more voluminous 
distance, I assure you,' said he. 'It is to enable us 
all to say the Athanasian Creed without our tongue 
in our cheek. Quicunque vult may repeat "Ouicunque 
Vult " with a full assurance that nothing worth talking 
about will happen.' 

'All the Bishops' Committees in the world cannot 
rob us Enghshmen of our heritage in those words,' 
I cried, feeling righteously angry at the man's flippancy. 
' If they were to take that from us, what can they give 
us in its place — tell me that ? ' 

'Oh, there is still one word in the same connection 
that they have been afraid to touch,' said he cheerfully. 
'Thank Heaven we have still got that to counteract 
any tendency of our language to become anaemic' 


I HAD been practically all my life enjojdng 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's 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 

It is generally assumed that the first gardener that 
the world has known was Adam. A clergjonan 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 Shake- 
spearian 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 reserva- 

The saying that God sent food but the devil sent 
cooks may be adapted to horticulture, as a rule, I 
think; but it should certainly not be applied indis- 
criminately. The usual 'jobber' is a man from whom 
employers expect a great deal but get very little that 
is satisfactory. That is because employers are un- 
reasonable. The ordinary 'working gardener' 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 

Of course a 'head' at an establishment where he is 
called a 'curator' 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's 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 £2 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 
'take up' 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 lawn- 
mower 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 'instances' that have 
come under my notice of great advantage accruing 
to the garden as well as to the one who gardens with- 
out 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 Uves, 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 
'districts' 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 19 12. We all know the 
improvement that has been brought about in regard 
to poultry, in spite of tne 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's 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 Orpington 
circulars to explain just what was meant by the 
Department, and even then it needed a highly-trained 
intelligence to explain the explanation. 

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-sup- 
porting country, and the men and women of England 
a self-respecting people, and in point of health an 
A I 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, — 

'The garden and the allotment only will arrest our 
feet on the downward path.' 

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 incessti patuit dea — as if the 
land belonged to them — which it does — I feel no 
uneasiness with regard to the women with whom 
England's 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's 
work. We have seen them in Jean Francois Millet's 
pictures, and we turn from them with tears. 

'Women with labour-loosened knees 
And gaunt backs bowed with servitude.' 

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 

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 tjdng 
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's or a coalman's 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's 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's strength, to say nothing of the dis- 
tasteful 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 water? 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 mascuHne 
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 East- 
bourne. 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 be sub- 
sidised 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 'State' 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 ex- 
changed 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 'features' within the garden 

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 'features' in various directions; and it \\'as 
only while I was working at one part that the possi- 
bilities of others suggested themselves to me. It was 
the incident of my picking up in a stonemason's 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 'features' of his day — 
the careful concealing of such drawbacks in the land- 
scape as stone steps. But 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 it? 

Before I left the interrogatory ground I saw with 
great clearness the reflection of the graceful foHage 
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's 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 meta- 
phorical 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 birds. 

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'eau, 
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 'Company's' 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 
' pockets ' 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 'elbow' attachment to 
the Company's 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 their 
channels — 'per aver' pace coi seguaci sui' — in the large 
pond below. 

Of course it took a summer and a winter to give 
this Uttle scheme a chance of assimilating with Nature; 
but once it began to do so it did so thoroughly. The 
cHff 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 bathe, 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 accommoda- 
tion 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 'feature' 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 tinkhng 
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 irrepres- 
sible 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 'combe' 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 Longvvood. 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 ' maggior dolore ' 
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 exclaim, — 

'How natural !' rather than, 'How queer !' 
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 arrange- 
ment 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 HI. 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 environ- 
ment, 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'Este 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 disHke 
what Mr Robinson calls 'Vegetable Sculpture,' 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 shovild 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's property. 
I should spend a very pleasant twenty minutes in a 
neighbour's — a near neighbour's — reproduction of the 
grotto at Pope's 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's grotto as one of the features of my 
all-too-constricted garden space. 

One could easily write a book on ' Illustrating Gardens,' 
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's 
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 circum- 
stances attending the death of Mary Queen of Scots 
— I have long believed that a modern coroner's 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. 

'This is something quite new,' said Rosamund — 
'lessons in a garden.' 

'Is it?' I asked. 'Did Miss Pinkerton ever tell you 
about a man named Plato ? ' 

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 Lempriere or Dr William Smith. 

I unfolded Uke a philactery the stores of my 
knowledge on the subject of the garden of Academus, 
where Plato and his pupils were wont to meet and 
discover — 

' How charming is divine philosophy ! 
Not harsh and crabbed as some fools affirm. 
But musical as is Apollo's lute,' 

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's 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 


m\^ 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's 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's 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 -^ny 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 ]\Ian or the 
one Great Woman that enables us nowadays to reahse 
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 
'Why. sir ' 

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. 

'You will have to create one for yourself,' he said. 

'One must have bones and flesh and blood — plenty 
of blood, before one can create a ghost, as you well 
know,' said I. 'I have searched every available spot 
for a name associated with the place, but I have 
found nothing.' 

'Don't be in a hurry; he'll turn up some day when 
you're not expecting him,' said my friend. 

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

' By Heaven ! I'll make a ghost of him that lets 


Our Garden of Peace is a Garden of Freedom — freedom 
of thought, freedom of converse. In it one may culti- 
vate all the flora of illiteracy without rebuke, as well 
as the more delicate, but possibly less fragrant growths 
of Hterature, 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 'of ~, commercial value.' A good many 
things well worthy of a strict avoidance in conversa- 
tion possess great commercial value, and others that 
we hold very close to our hearts are of no more in- 
trinsic 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 'cholera 
cultures' and their 'yellow-fever cultures' and their 
'malaria cultures'; but we know that there is a more 
mahgnant growth than any of these : it is spelt by its 
cultivators with the phonetic 'K' and it has banished 
the word that begins with a 'c' from the English lan- 
guage, 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 EngHsh 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 days ago, 
when we were chatting about Poets' Gardens, from the 
'garden inclosed' of the Song of Solomon — ^the most 
beautiful ever depicted — to that of Maud. It requires 
some courage to quote Tennyson beyond the hmits 
of our o^vn fireside in these days. The days when he 
was constantly quoted now seem as the days of Noe, 
before the Flood — the flood of the formless which we 
are assured is poetry nowadays. It is called ' The New 
School.' Some twenty-five or thirty years ago some- 
thing straddled across our way through the world 
labelled 'New Art.' Its Unes were founded upon those 
of the crushed cockroach, and it may have contributed 
to the advance of the temperance movement; for its 
tendeticy was certainly to cause any inebriate who 
found a specimen watching him \vickedly from the 
mouth of a vase of imitation pewter on the mantel- 
shelf in a drawing-room, 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 ilhterary equivalent of the old 
'New Art.' It is flung in our faces with the effect of a 
promiscuous handful from the bargain counter of a 
draper's 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 ' lettering ' on the tombstone of the squire in a 
country church, or, most hkely of all, the half column 
of ' scare headings' in a Sunday newspaper in one of 
the Western States of America. 

It may begin with a monosyllable, and be followed 
by an Alexandrine; then come a stutteiing half-dozen 
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 ra veilings are 
assumed to adorn the close as the fringes of long ago 
were supposed to give a high-class 'finish' 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 quad- 
ruple syllables all ringing far more true than any in 
Hudibras or the Ingoldsby Legends. Sir Owen Seaman's 
verses surpass anything in the Enghsh 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 Kriiger, that gave him his sure 
footing among the elite of satirical humour. The 

•Pots • 

Dam silly,' 

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

I remember how, when I came upon Barham's 
rime, — 

' Because Mephistopheles 
Had thrown in her face a whole cup of hot 

I thought that the limits of the 'triple-bob,' as I should 
like to call it, had been reached. Years aftei wards I 
found myself in a fit of chuckling over Bjnron's 

' Tell us, ye husbands of wives intellectual, 
Now tell us truly, have they not hen-pecked 
you all ? ' 

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

'No, mine own, though early forced to leave you. 

Still my heart was there where first we met; 
In those " Lodgings with an ample sea-view," 
Which were, forty years ago, " To Let." ' 


The Bah 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 'copy of verses' 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 Enghsh words for which no 
rime could be found. One was 'silver,' the other 
'month.' It was, I think, Bumand who contrived, — 

'Argentum, we know, is the Latin for silver. 
And the Latin for spring ever was and is still, ver.' 

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

As for 'month,' 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 'milHonth'; 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 'astrolabe.' 

(With regard to my spelling of the word 'rime,' 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 reminis- 
cence 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 art- 
fulness, or the artificiahty 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 Uved; 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 briUiant. 

I dare say there are quite a number of people who 
think that Edmund Yates's doggerel about a brand of 
Champagne — it commences something Hke this, if my 
memory serves me : — 

'Dining with Bulteen 
Captain of Militia, 
Ne'er was dinner seen 
Soupier or fishyer ' 

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 hues 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 in- 
comparable 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 tliink it was — that fled about the 
wild masses of the brake of hibiscus, and I said them 
to Dorothy. Uhder 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- 
cUffs in the blue distance. 

'The league-long roller thundering on the reef. 
The moving whisper of huge trees that branch'd 
And blossom'd 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'd sailor, waiting for a sail. 
No sail from day 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 

The hoUower-bellowing ocean, and again 
The scarlet shafts of sunrise — but no sail.' 

There was the most perfect picture of the tropical 

Some months after we had returned to England I 
found the Enoch Arden volume lying on the floor at 
Dorothy's 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 

' How could he do it ? ' she cried. 

'Do what?' 

'Those two lines at the end. Listen to this' — she 
picked up the book with a sort of indignant snatch : — 

* " There 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, ' A sail ! a sail ! 
I am saved,' 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." 

'Now tell me if I don't do well to be angry,' cried 
Dorothy. ' Those two lines — " a costHer funeral " ! 
He should have given the items in the bill and said 
what was the name of the undertaker. Oh, why didn't 
you warn me off that awful conclusion? What should 
you say the bill came to ? Oh, Alfred, Lord Tennyson ! ' 

I shook my head sadly, of course. 

'He does that sort of thing now and then,' I said 
sadly. 'You remember the young lady whose "light 
blue eyes" were "tender over drowning flies"? and 
the " oaths, insult, filth, and monstrous blasphemies."' 

' I 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 ? ' 

' I 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.' 

There was a pause before Dorothy said, — 

'I suppose so; and yet was there ever anything 
funnier than his description of the battle in heaven ? ' 

' Funny ? Majestic, you mean ? ' said I, deeply shocked. 

'Well, majestically funny, if you wish. The idea of 
those " ethereal virtues " throwing big stones at one 
another, and knowing all the time that it didn't 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 fraud.' 

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

' So past the strong, heroic soul away,' 

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

And it was not wasted either; for I remember talking 
to the late Dr John Todhunter, himself a most accom- 
plished poet and a scholarly critic, about the 'costHer 
funeral' Unes, 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's disapproval. 


Lest this chapter should appear aggressively digres- 
sive in a book that may be fancied to have something 
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's decUning years. 
He did not pant for it as the heart pants for the water- 
brooks. He never came to think of the hours spent 
out of a garden as wasted. He did not Hve in his garden, 
nor did he Uve 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 magnifi- 
cent 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, butcher- 
ing 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 hand- 
kerchiefs 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 Wood- 
landers. 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 book ; 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 Hues 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 
poe^ 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 mesalliance, but 
that is better than a manage de convenance. 

But to return to the subject of Poets' Gardens, we 
agreed that the gardens of neither of the poet's dweUing- 
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 Swdnbume lay carefuUy 
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 'with spices 
and savour of song,' 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 reforma- 
tion 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's 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 MerUn, and all the forest echoed ' Fool ! ' 

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, 'The Pines.' It might easily have been 'The 
Cedars' or 'The Hollies,' or even 'Laburnum Villa.' 



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

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's handwriting with the 
stanza of a projected lyric? — 

T am weary of dust and of dryness; 

I am weary of dryness and dust 1 
But for my constitutional shyness 

I'd go on a bust ' 


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 wTiter 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 ' friend 
of the family' when consulted about the boys who are 
incUned 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 incHned 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 formahties, and would 
look as incongruous among the divinities who seem 
quite happy on pedestals as would Pan in modem 
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's shank among the lower branches. 
His efhgy is shown in its legitimate place in Gabe's 
Picture, 'Fete Galante.' 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 'exhibit' 
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 sur- 
roundings 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's work of undercutting, in Greek 
marble — a precious copy of Bernini's masterpiece. But 
if I had an outdoor Daphne, I would not rest easy 
unless I knew that she was within easy touch of her 

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 'the proper place,' 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 ItaHan 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 'feature' 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 
Enghsh 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 earHer 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 pubUc parks that one finds the horti- 
cultural skill overbalanced, not by the architectural, 
but by the 'Parks Committee' 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 

'My missus abominates yaller,' was enough to veto 
a thoroughly artistic scheme for a portion of a public 

I was in the studio of a distinguished portrait painter 
in London on what was called 'Show Sunday'' — 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's head, not having anything 
handy that he could, without discourtesy, throw at the 
fellow's head, to a gentleman representing the Com- 
mittee of Selection of a movement in one of the most 
important towns in the Midlands, to present the out- 
going 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 criti- 
cism. But the delegate from the Midlands shook his 
head at them and gave a derisive snuffle. 

'Not up to much,' he muttered to me. 'I reckon I'll 


deal in another shop. I ain't 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 hke and I know what I 
don't Uke, and these hkenesses is them. Who's that 
old cock with the heyglass — I somehow seem to feel 
that I've seen him before?' 

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

'I guessed he was something in that line — wears the 
heyglass to make people fancy he's something swagger. 
Well, so long.' 

That was the last we saw of the delegate. He was 
not one of the homy-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's 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 presentation. 

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

When on the subject of the garden ornamental, I 
should Hke 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 \vith 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 well- 
head, why not get the local builder to construct one 
for you, with rubble facing of bits 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's 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 Uve in 
a brick villa, you may consider yourself fortunate in 
some ways; for you need not trouble about stone- 
work — ^brick-coloured terra-cotta ornaments will give a 
deUghtful 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's catalogue will enable 
you to see what an endless variety of sizes and shapes 
there is available in the form of enrichments for shop 
facades. Only a little imagination is required to allow 
of your seeing how you can work in some of these to 

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 
reaUsing your ideas and your ideals if you devote your- 
self to growth and growth only; all that I do affirm is 
that your pleasure \\ill be greatly increased if you try 
by all the means in your power to make your garden 
worthy of the flowers. The ' love that beauty should go 
beautifully,' 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 por- 
tion 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 treat- 
ment, though I have made a free use of terra-cotta 
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, 'Hallo! Ali Baba.' 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 faihng to mention the 
name of that wily Oriental. It is quite hkely that 
behind my back they allude to the rose colonnade as 
'the Ali Baba place.' 

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 various marbles, 
but it is quite unsuited to the EngUsh cUmate. The 
material is condemned as cold, and that is the last thing 
we want to achieve in these latitudes, and it is also 
'out of place' — 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 Hfe-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' heads supported on 
pigeon's 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, — 

'How delightfully cool!' 

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 'weathering' and a texture of its 
own of a much finer quality than can be found in 
ordinary Portland, Bath, or Caen stones. 

I really see no reason why we should be told that 
marble — white marble — is unsuited to an EngHsh 
garden. In Italy we know how beautiful is its appear- 
ance, and I do not think that any one should be sar- 
castic in referring to the facades 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' restaurants. 
Marble enters largely into the ' frontages ' 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 
'good taste.' In the fafade of the Cathedral at Pisa, 
there is a black column among the gray ones which 
are so effectively introduced in the Romanesque 'bUnd 
a reading.' 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 mcLster-builder called each of these Uttle 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 'Signor Antonio della colonna nigra,' 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 Uke 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 England. 

I should Hke also to write something scathing about 
the superior person who sneers at what I have heard 
called 'Gin Palace Art.' 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 responsibihty 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 Uttle about the arts to-day. But 
when the men of many licences had the name 'gin- 
palace' 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 ' Christian ' 
— they nobly resolved to act as the Christians did, by 
trying to Uve up to their new name. We see how far 
success has crowned their resolution. The represent- 
ative hostelries of these days go beyond the traditional 
king's 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 'tied house' 
really means nowadays one that is tied down to the 
resolution that the best traditions of the palace shall 
be maintained. 

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 euphemisti- 
cally as 'elevated'; 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 habitues of that 
tavern had their revenge : some of these expert gastro- 
nomes professed to be able to tell from the flavour of 
the soup whether it had been seasoned with the cock- 
roaches of the table or the black beetles of the kitchen. 

' What do you mean, sir ? ' cried an indignant diner 
to the waiter — ■' I ordered portions for three, and yet 
there are only two cockroaches.' 

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 cock- 
roach and the blackbeetle. 

'They're afraid to complain,' said my informant, 
'lest it should be thought that they were seeing them 

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 appear- 
ance 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's 
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 'Old London' 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. 

'There it was just as it had been in good old Samuel's 
day,' said a man who knew all about it. 'Nothing in 
the dear old tavern had been changed since his day — 
nothing whatever — not even the sand or the sawdust 
or the smells.' 

But it so happens that in the hundreds of volumes 
of contemporary Johnsoniana, not excepting Boswell's 
biography, there is no mention of the name of the 
Cheshire Cheese. There is not a shred of evidence 
to support the behef 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 hst 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 'speUin' school' 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 I 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 ' dove ' marbles have improved by ' weather- 

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 beheve that the ordinary ' dove ' 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 shilHngs — 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. 

^, .„ 


Entrance to the Italian Garden. 



My Garden of Peace has never been one of 'peace 
at any price.' 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 con- 
sciousness of a workable bank balance, and the thing 
is done. So you will find in the pre-war cookery books 
the recipe beginning : ' Take two dozen new-laid eggs, 
a quart of cream, and a pint of old brandy,' 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 £150 at an auction. 
But my specimen happened to be the Lot i 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 lie 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 'the better class,' 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 — un- 

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's 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 ;^io or ^^12 fifty years ago is los. or 12s. I 
have bought from dealers or builders possibly two dozen 
of these, never paying more than los. 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 los. 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 i860, 
when it really was a hundred years earlier. There are 
marble mantelpieces and marble mantelpieces. Some 
fetch los. and others £175. I knew a dealer who bought 


a large house solely to acquire the five Bossi mantel' 
pieces which it contained. Occasionally one may pick 
up an eighteenth century crystal chandeUer which has 
been discarded on the supposition that it was one of 
those shapeless and tasteless gasahers which delighted 
our grandmothers in the days of rep and BerUn wool. 

But from these confessions I hope no one will be so 
ungenerous as to fancy that my predilection for marble 
is to be accounted for only because of the chances of 
bu}dng it cheaply. While I admit that I prefer buying 
a beautiful thing for a tenth of its value, I would cer- 
tainly 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 hme — which masquerades under the name of 
alabaster, and is carved with the tools of a wood- 
carver, supplemented by a drill and a file, in many 
forms by Itahan craftsmen. This material will last in 
the open air very little longer than the plaster of 
Paris, by which its numerous component parts arg 
held together. It is worth nothing. True alabaster 
is quite a different substance. It is carbonate of 
hme 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, — 

'That whiter skin of hers than snow, 
And smooth as monumental alabaster.' 

We know that it was the musical word 'alabaster' 
that found favour with Shakespeare, just as it was, 
according to Miss Ethel Smyth, Mus. Doc, the musical 
word 'Tipperary,' that helped to make a song con- 
taining that word a favourite with Shakespeare's 
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 abso- 
lutely 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 
modem 'artificial stone.' 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 con- 
struct 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 'in mint con- 
dition,' 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 prac- 
tically 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's researches). Heywood tells me that he came 
across such an one in a popular seaside town which 
became a modem Hebrew City of Refuge, mentioned 
in one of the Mosaic books, during the air-raids. This 
person had for sale a Highland claidh-eamh-mor — 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 'Y. P.,' 
damascened upon the blade, to show that there could 
be no doubt about it. 

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

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's 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 £5. If I had seen the 
thing in a mason's yard, I would have bought it at this 

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 Hke it, and he said he 
thought half a crown was about its value. I did not 
try to beat him dowoi — 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 'made-ups' 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 Sicihan marble, another 
of ' dove ' 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's 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 Ufe of ours. 

Before I forsake the fascinating topic of stonework, 
I should hke 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 hke 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 ' letter- 
ing' — 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 

'Beneath this stone repose the bones, together with 

the corp, 
Of one who ere Death cut him down was Thomas 
Andrew Thorpe,' 

was good; and so it was; but as the widow was not 
disposed to spend so much as the ' lettering ' would cost, 
he reduced his verse to : — 

'Beneath this stone there lies the corp 
Of Mr Thomas Andrew Thorpe.' 

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

'Here lies the corp 
Of T. A. Thorpe.' 

This was a move in the right direction, the heart- 
broken 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 dehghtful practice, 
feeHng assured that the crop will flower in many direc- 
tions. The search for the neatest Hnes will of itself be 

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 
'walked' by a dealer in horses, who has stables a httle 
distance beyond the Castle, Our third httle 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 'Mongrel, puppy, whelp, or hound, 
and curs of low degree' 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 gal- 
lantly 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, per- 
sonally 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's 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 horti- 
cultural hound dreamt of. Yesterday Francie appeared 
in tears after her walk; and this is the story of illce 
lachrymcB : It appears that the days of Daffodil's 
'walking' 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 back. 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 dis- 
ciphne of the kennels, and when at the wrong moment 
Francie came out of the confectioner's shop, she was 
spied by her old friend, and he made a rush in 
front of the huntsman's horse to the little girl, nearly 
knocking her down in the exuberance of his greeting 
of her. 

Alas ! there was ' greeting ' 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 hail- 
storm fell on him. . . . 

'But once he looked back before he reached the pack,' 
said Francie between her sobs — 'he looked back at me 
— you see he had not time to say " good-bye," that 
horrid huntsman was so quick with his lash, and I 
knew that that was why poor Daffy looked back — to 
say " good-bye " — just his old look. Oh, FU 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's window above the 
doughnut tray — I knew him among all the others in 
the pack.' 

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 : — 

E^w Si ii Kvveu 


Dorothy and I were having a chat about some designs 
in Treillage when Friswell sauntered into the garden, 
bringing with him a fine 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 
comer, 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 o^vn again before long. He always Hked it, because 
somehow it made him think of the Bible. 

I did not Hke that. I shun topics that induce 
thoughts of the Bible in Friswell's 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's 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's Theatre, on whose stage a 



cardboard thing was built — about as like ffiy Temple 
as the late Temple of the Archdiocese of Canterbury 
was Uke the late Dr Parker of the City Temple. 

'I don't recollect any direct or mystical reference to 
Treillage in the Book/ said I, with a leaning toward 
sarcasm in my tone of voice. ' Perhaps you saw some- 
thing of the kind on or near the premises of the Bible 

'It couldn't be something in a theatre again,' sug- 
gested Dorothy. 

'I beUeve it was on a garden wall in Damascus, but 
I'm not quite sure,' said he thoughtfully. 'Damascus 
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.' 

'He would have done his devil best, pulling down 
the Treillage you saw there, because it was too French. 
Don't 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 cHng to.' 

'Not a bad notion, by any means,' said he. 'But 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.' 

'Mnemonics,' said Dorothy kindly. 

'What a memory you have!' cried Friswell. 'A 
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.' 


*I shouldn't object to the sign-posts providing that 
the destination was worth arriving at,' said I. 'But if 
it's only the front row of the dress circle at the Princess's 
Theatre, Oxford Street, London, West ' 

' Or Damascus, Middle East,' he put in, when I paused 
to breathe. 'Yes, I agree with you; but after all, it 
wasn't Damascus, but only the General's house at 

'Have mercy on our frail systems, Friswell,' I cried. 
' " We are but men, are we ! " as Swinburne lilts. 
Think of our poor heads. Another such abrupt memory- 
post and we are undone. How is't with you, my 

'I seek a guiding hand,' said she. 'Come, Mr Fris- 
well; tell us how a General at Gib. suggested the Bible 
to you.' 

' It doesn't seem obvious, does it ? ' said he. ' But 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 trelUs that compassed about his house, hung 
with branches of Mosaic trees. That's the connection 
■ — as easily obvious as the origin of sin.' 

'Just about the same,' said I. 'Your chain of sign- 
posts is complete : Treillage — General — Gibraltar — Gor- 
don—Gospel. That is how you are irresistibly drawn 
to think of the Bible when you see a clematis climbing 
up a trellis.' 

A Glimpse of the Italian Garden. 


'My dear,' said Dorothy, 'you know that I don't 
approve of any attempt at jesting on the subject of 
the Bible.' 

'I wasn't jesting — only alliterative,' said I. 'Surely 
alliteration is not jocular.' 

'It's on the border,' she replied with a nod. 

' The Bible is all right if you are only content not 
to take it too seriously, my dear lady, ' said Friswell. 
' It does not discourage simple humour — on the con- 
trary, it contains many examples of the Oriental 
idea of fun. ' 

' Oh, Mr Friswell ! You will be saying next that it 
is full of puns,' said Dorothy. 

' I know of one, and it served as the foundation of the 
Christian Church,' said he. 

'My dear Friswell, are you not going too far?' 

' Not 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 
man}^ years — a conceited braggart and a coward — a 
blasphemer — maudHn ! After he had been cursing and 
swearing in his denial of his Master, he went out and 
wept bitterly. Yes, but he wasn't 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, nick- 
named Peter.' 

'And what does all this mean, Mr Friswell?' 

' It means that it is fortunate that Truth is not 



dependent upon the truth of its exponents or affected 
by their falseness,' 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 ' heaven's 
ebon vault studded with stars unutterably bright ' — the 
silence of the stars which is an unheard melody to 
such as have ears to hear. 

'Yes,' said I at last, 'I am sure that you are right : 
an oval centre from which the laths radiate — that shall 
be our new trellis.' 

And so it was. 

Our life in the Garden of Peace is, you will perceive, 
something of what the catalogues term 'of rampant 
growth.' It is as digressive as a wild convolvulus. I 
perceive this now that I have taken to writing about 
it. It is not Uterary, but discursive. It throws out, 
it may be, the slenderest of tendrils in one direction; 
but this 'between the bud and blossom,' sometimes 
flies 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 bits in France as well as in Italy. It is one 


of the oldest imitations of Nature to be found in con- 
nection 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 every- 
thing 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 
hand 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 'extending' form of 
lattice-shaped work, but choose the square-mesh 

This, however, is only Treillage in its elementary 
form. If one wishes to have a truly effective screen 
offering a number of exquisite outhnes for the entwining 


of some of the loveliest things that grow, one must go 
further in one's 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 dis- 
covery 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 rebelUon. But the treillageurs pro- 
tested against such beautiful designs as they turned 
out being obscured by plants clambering over them, 
and they offered in exchange repousse metal foliage, 
affirming that this was incomparably superior to a 
natural growth. Ordinary people lefused to admit so 
ridiculous a claim, and a cloud came over the prospects 
of these artists. Recently, however, with a truer 
rapprochement between the 'schools' of garden design, 
I find several catalogues of eminent firms illustrating 
their reproductions of some beautiful French and Dutch 

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 cHmbers 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 Umit to the decorative possi- 
biUties 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 EngUsh 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 'mesh' 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 ante-room 
or a loggia, and as such it gives a good return for an 
expenditure of money; and if constructed with sub- 
stantial uprights — I should recommend the employ- 
ment 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's 
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's Wood home : 
it was a model of what may be called 'I'haut Treillage.' 

Once again I would venture to point out the advan- 
tage of havdng a handsome thing to look at during the 
winter months when an ordinary pergola looks its 

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 'vistas' 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's 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 farther on, and the grass verge — I am assuming 
the most awkward of exits — should be 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 surroundings. 


The antithesis to this gorgeous and thoroughly 
beautiful piece of work I have seen in many gardens in 
England. It is the ' rustic ' 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 hfe of which when cut 
into poles and inserted in the cold earth does not as a 
rule go beyond the third year. 

But 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 speciaUty 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 wood- 


work for this I got ready sawn and 'dipped' 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's 
price a number of Httle columns taken from a shop 
that was being pulled down to give place, as usual, to 
a new cinema palace. 

An amusing sideHght 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 ' oak grained ' — 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 
bum 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 'feathering' of 
the wood, papered over and then put into the hands 
of the artist to make it by his process of ' oak-graining ' 


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 con- 
sider 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 archi- 
tect 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 'crazy,' 
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 httle 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's 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. 

'We had better not go on any farther,' said she. 

' Oh, why not ? ' I cried. 

'Well, there's another summer-house down there 
among the lilacs,' she repHed. 

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. 
I felt myself trembUng. 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 shoulders taller than I was : — 

' Look 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.' 


'Oh, no; I should be afraid,' said she. 

'Oh, 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.' 

' What do you know about the one I love ? ' she 
asked — and there was a smile in her voice. 

'I know the one who loves you,' I said warmly. 

Tm so glad,' she cried. 'I 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 telUng Bob that he may wear my 
tennis shoes to-day? I got a new pair yesterday.' 

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., to-day. 

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

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 stiU 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 
if 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 embar- 
rassing treasure, got it for 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. But, 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 
in 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 
pond of water-lilies beUeve 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 piUar in the centre of the lawn and 
see what would happen. 

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 Hghthouse 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 o' 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 

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 'winter and rough weather' 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 hke realising Byron's awful longing for all 
the rosy hps of all the rosy girls in the world to ' become 
one mouth' in order that he might 'kiss them all at 
once from North to South.' 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 
aesthetic 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 Longworth 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 Mnes, but they were striking : — ■ 

'There's a bower of rose by Bendameer's stream 
And the nightingale sings in it all the night long.' 

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's 
stream — he might have expressed his beHef 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 

The Entrance to a Greenhouse 


better than a cycle in Cathay, he told mc that Bcnda- 
meer's 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 

' I'll get you a copy \vith pleasure,' he cried. ' I knew 
you would Hke them, you are both so Hterary; and 
you know how literary I am myself — I cut out all the 
poems that appear in the Gazette. It's a hobby, and 
elevating. I suppose you don't think it possible to com- 
bine antiquarian tastes and poetical.' Dorothy assured 
him that she could see a distinct connection between 
the two; and he went on : 'There 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 my pocket-book. 
Here it is : — 

'Rosy is the north. 

Rosy is the south, 
Rosy are her cheeks 
And a rose her mouth.' 

Now what do you think of it ? I call it very pretty — not 
so good, on the whole, as the bower of roses by Benda- 
meer's stream, but still quite nice. You would not be 
afraid to let one of your Uttle girls read it — yes, every 




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's 
misprints — of the Lalla Rookh song, and read it out to 
us in full, but faihng now and again to get into the 
Hit of Moore's melodious anapaests — a marvellous feat, 
considering how they sing and swing themselves along 
from Une 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 bowUng-green. 

'I thought I should not lose a minute in coming to 
you with it,' he said. ' You are so close to the bowUng- 
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. " We'll have plenty of time to finish our game 
and beat the Spaniards afterwards," he cried; and 
sure enough he went on vdth the game to the end. 
There was a man for you 1 ' 

' And who won ? ' asked Dorothy innocently. 

'That's just the question I put to my friend,' he 
cried. 'The 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.' 

'He didn't say who was Nelson's partner?' said 

'No, I have told you all that he told me,' he 

'I shouldn't be surprised to hear that his partner 
was a man named Drake,' said I. 'A senior partner 


too in that transaction and others. But the story is 
a capital one and shows the Enghshman as he is to-day. 
Why, it was only the year before the war that there 
was a verse going about, — 

"I was playing golf one day 

WTien the Germans landed; 
All our men had run away. 

All our ships were stranded. 
And the thought of England's shame 
Almost put me off my game.'" 

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

' I don't like that. It's a gross Hbel 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'm 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'- 
war — one, mind you — a single ship — came in sight, 
and they all bundled back to their blessed U-boats 
in double quick time.' 

'I think you told me about that before,' said I — and 
he had. ' It 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 
of^ 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.' 

'Quite true,' he cried. 'My God! what an experience 
for any one man to go through. But we are Hving in 
extraordinary times — that's what I've 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 news- 
paper article the metaphor of a host of angels holding 
up the advancing Germans, and \\ithin a week scores 
of people in England had talked with soldiers who 
had seen those imaginary angels and were ready to give 
a poulterer's 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 : — 

'That may be so; but these were the angels he 

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 time. 

'If they were imaginary angels, the white feather 
must have been imaginary too/ said Olive, the practical 

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

But when we were still laughing over our anti- 
quarian 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 

' It is the most beautiful of the four actresses' letters 
to errant spouses for Divorce Court purposes that I 
have read within the past few months,' said he. 'But 
they are all beautiful — all touching. It makes one 
almost ready to condone the sin that results in such 
an addition to the Uterature of the Law Courts. I 
wonder who is the best person to go to for such a letter 
— some men must make a speciaHty of that sort of work 
to meet the demands of the time. But wouldn't it be 
dreadful if the errant husband became so convicted 
of his trespass through reading the wife's 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 " poor 
things ! " that one heard on all sides showed how truly 
sympathetic is a British audience.' 

'I refuse to Hsten to your cynicism,' cried Dorothy; 
'I prefer to believe that people are good rather than 

'And so do I, my dear lady,' said he, laughing. 'But 
don't 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 trjdng to get a divorce.' 

' She doesn't want a divorce : she wants him to 
come back to her and writes to him begging him to do 
so,' said she. 

'And such a touching letter too,' I added, 

'I have always found "the profession," as they call 
themselves, more touchy than touching,' said he. 
'But 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 broken- 
hearted widow of the deceased on his right arm and the 
broken-hearted mistress on the left. Talk of stage 
pathos 1 ' 


'For my part, I shall do nothing of the sort,' said 
I sharply. ' I 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.' 

' Lord of the Garden of Peace ! as if poetry was the 
antithesis of polemics — verses of controversies ! ' cried he. 
'Nevermind! give us a poem of peace — of The Peace.' 

'I wish I could,' said L 'The 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' 

'They were quite an effective medium for getting 
rid of his superfluous steam,' said Dorothy to him. 'I 
made no attempt to prevent his wxiting them.' 

' It would have been like sitting on the safety-valve, 
wouldn't it?' said he, 'I think that Uterature 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, 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 wiU show themselves better masters 
of the reed than of the conch.' 

' Whatever some of them may be ' I began, when 

he broke in. 

' Say some of us, my friend : you can't dissociate 
yourself from your pals in the dock : you will be 
sentenced en bloc, believe me.' 


'Well, 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 Spectator.' 

'Yes, although some feeble folk did consider that 
one bit of it was verging on the blasphemous — that 
about riding on the whirlwind and directing the storm,' 
remarked Friswell; he had a good memory for things 
verging on the blasphemous. 

' The best war poem is the one that puts into Hterary 
form the man in the street yelling " hurrah ! " ' said I. 
'If the shout is not spontaneous, it sounds stilted and 
it is worthless.' 

'I beheve you,' said Friswell. 'If your verse does 
not find an echo in the heart of the rabble that run after 
a soldiers' band, it is but as the sounding brass and 
tinkUng cymbals that crash on the empty air. But 
touching the poets of past campaigns ' 

'I was thinking of Scott's Waterloo,' said I; 'yes, 
and Byron's stanzas in Childe Harold, and somebody's 
'Twas in Trafalgar's Bay, We saw the Frenchmen lay — 
" the Frenchmen lay," mind you — that's the most 
popular of all the lays, thanks to Braham's music and 
Braham's tenor that gave it a start. I think we have 
done better than any of those.' 

'But have you done better than Scots wha' hae wi' 
Wallace bled ? or Of Nelson and the North, Sing the 
glorious day's 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 hit of the Light Brigade 


at Balaclava, by one Tennyson? Will any of the 
poems of 1914 show the same vitality as these?' 

'The vital test of poetry is not its vitality,' said I, 
'any 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 thunder- 
storm in our ears; when an earthquake is just over 
is not the time for one to be asked to say whether the 
Pathetique or the Moonlight Sonata is the more 

'Perhaps,' said Friswell doubtfully. 'But I allow 
that you have " jined your flats " better than Tennyson 
did. The unutterable vulgarity of that " gallant six 
hunderd," because it happened that " some one had 
blundered," instead of " blundred," will not be found 
in the Armageddon band of buglers. But I don't 
believe that anything so finished as Wolfe's 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 " Not a drum was heard" ? ' 

'That poem is the finest elegy ever written,' said I 
definitely. ' The author, James Wolfe, occupies the place 
among elegists that single-speech Hamilton does among 
orators, or Liddell and Scott in a Hbrary 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, " We left him alone in his glory." ' 

'And the strangest thing about it is that it appeared 
first in the poets' corner of a wretched little Irish news- 
paper — the Newry Telegraph, I believe it was called,' 
said Dorothy — it was Dorothy's reading of the poem 
that first impressed me with its beauty. 

'The more obscure the crypt in which its body was 
buried, the more — the more — I can't just express the 
idea that I'm groping after,' said Friswell. 

'I should hke to help you,' said Dorothy. 'Strike a 
match for me, and I'll try to follow you out of the 

' It's 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 comer of a wretched rag of a newspaper 
— queer impression for any one to have about such a 
thing, isn't it?' 

'Queer, but — well, it was but the body that was 
buried, the soul of the poetry could not be consigned to 
the sepulchre, even though "Resurgam" was cut upon 
the stone.' 

'You 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 : — 

'Full 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.' 


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.' 

'Who was the bee that rescued the poem from the 
desert sheet that enshrouded it ? ' asked Dorothy. 

'I have never heard,' I said, nor had Friswell. 

There was a long pause before he gave a laugh, 

' I 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.' 

'Try us,' said I. 'We know you.' 

' The 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 some- 
where 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 con- 
genial 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.' 


'Well, my flea is your bee, and where there are no 
bees there may be plenty of fleas.' 

'Yes; only my bee comes with heaUng in its wings, 
and your flea is the bearer of disease,' 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, — 

' By 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's Daughter. You 
recollect it, of course.' 

'A line or two.' 

' Well, it begins, you know : — 

*A chieftain to the Highlands bound, 
Cries, "Boatman, do not tarry, 
And I'll give thee a silver pound, 
To row us o'er the ferry." 

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 ? ' 

'Yes, I see,' said Dorothy; 'but still it sounds 
extravagant. A Highland Chief — one and eightpence ! 
The ferryman never would have got it.' 

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 'quite a superior man' — that was the phrase in 
which the Rural Dean referred to him when recommend- 
ing 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 
'quite a superior man,' 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 Uke frivoUties, 
but everything he said was said in perfect taste. Though 
naturally, Uving his hfe 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. 'After 
all, rosarians are God's creatures like the rest of us,' 
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, — 

'The 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 

'I beUeve you are right, now that I come to look at 
the matter in that Hght,' said I. 'You find a relaxation 
in reading poetry ? ' I added. 

'I have made a point of reading some verses every 
night for the past twenty-five years, sir,' he replied. 
' I find that's the only way by which I can keep myself 
up to the mark.' 

' I can quite understand that,' said I. ' Flowers are the 
lyrics that, as you say, Hghten the great epic of Creation. 
Where would our poets be without their flowers ? ' 

'They make their first appeal to the poet, sir; but 
the worst of it is that every one who can string together 
a few fines 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.' 

' In what way, Mr Gilbert ? ' 

'Well, 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's Matthew Arnold, for 
example; he wrote " Strew on her roses, roses "; but 
he did not say whether he wanted her to be strewn 
with hybrid teas, Wichuraianas. or polyanthas. He 
does not even suggest the colour. Now, could any- 
thing 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, " It was the time of 


roses " — ^now, there's another ridiculously vague phrase. 
Why could the poet not have said whether he had in 
his mind the ordinary brier or an autumn-flowering 
Wilham Allen Richardson or a Gloire de Dijon? But 
that is not nearly so irritating as Tennyson is in places. 
You remember his "Flower in the crannied wall." 
There he leaves a reader in doubt as to what the plant 
really was. If it was Saracha 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 SaxifragecB 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 cariilagtnea. Why should we be left to puzzle 
over the thing ? But for that matter, both Shakespeare 
and Milton are most flagrant offenders, though I acknow- 
ledge that the former now and again specifies his roses : 
the musk and the damask were his favourites. But 
why should he not say whether it was Thymus Serpylliim 
or atropurpureus he alluded to on that bank? He 
merely says, " Whereon the wild thyme blows." 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 he comes upon 
a Hne comparing a maiden to a lily, without saying what 
particular lilium is meant. An Indian squaw is Hke 
a lily — lilium Brownii; a Japanese may appropriately 
be said to be Uke 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.' 

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 : ' Might 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' flowers ? I don't 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 the slovenly and loose way in which 
poets drag flowers into their compositions.' 

I 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'er the land? 
We stood together, hand in hand. 
Watching the slate-gray waters heave — 
Hearing despairing boughs behind us grieve. 

It seemed as if no forest voice was dumb. 

All Nature joining in one cry; 

The Ampelopsis Veitchii, 
Giving gray hints of green to come. 
Shrank o'er the leafless Prumis Avium. 


Desolate seemed the grove of Coniferia, 

Evergreen as deciduous; 

Hopeless the hour seemed unto us; 
Helpless our beauteous Cryptomcria — 
Helpless in Winter's clutch our Koelreiileria. 

We stood beneath our Ulmus Gracilis, 
And watched the tempest -torn Fitzroya, 
More shaken than the stout Sequoia; 

And yet I knew in spite of this, 

Your heart was hopeful of the Springtide's kiss. 

Yours was the faith of woman, dearest child. 
Your eyes — Centaur ea Cyanus — 
Saw what I saw not nigh to us, 
And that, I knew, was why you smiled, 
When the Montana Pendida swung \\ild. 

I knew you smiled, thinking of suns to come. 
Seeing in snowflakes on bare trees 
Solanum Jasminoides — 
Seeing ere Winter's voice was dumb, 
The peeping pink Mesemhrianthinm. 

I knew you saw as if they flowered before us, 

The sweet Rhodora Canadensis, 

The lush Wistaria Sinensis, 
The Lepsosiphon Densiflorus — 
All flowers that swell the Summer's colour-chorus. 



And, lightened by your smile, I saw, my Alice, 
The modest Resida Odorata — 
Linaria Reticulata — ■* 

I drank the sweets of Summer's chalice. 

Sparkling Calendula Officinalis. 

To me your smile brought sunshine that gray day. 

The saddest Salex Bahylonica 

Became Anemone Japonica 
And the whole world beneath its ray, 
Bloomed one Escholizia Californicce. 

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, 
TiU o'er us waves Supervirens Cupressus. 

' I hope I haven't bored you, sir, I don't pretend to 
be a poet; but you see what my aim is, I'm sure — 
lucidity and accuracy — strict accuracy, sir. Some- 
thing that every one can understand.' 

I assured him that he had convinced me that he 
understood his business : he was incomparable — as a 


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's 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 advertise- 
ment of magazine enterprise, and he wrote that gem 
to which Mr Gilbert had referred? — 

'Flower 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.' 


I should like equal immortality to be conferred upon 
the parody which is of far greater merit than the 
original : — 

'Terrier in my granny's hall, 

I whistle you out of my granny's; 
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.' 

I could understand the inspiration that should result 
in sermons from stones — such as the poet's forgetting 
that his mission was not that of the sermonising mission- 
ary, 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 19 17 it was as if 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 motion- 
less in front of that exquisite carpeting. 

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 Uttle 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 formosa, of the Song of Solomon, and for the same 
reason : 'Because the sun hath looked upon me,' 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 fruit- 
growing 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 boughs 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 goose- 
berry, 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 wliite 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 ' not in good taste ' — that was 
how the warrant for the banishment of so much beauty 
was worded — 'not in good taste.' I think that the 
decree is so closely in harmony with the other pro- 
nouncements of the era of maiivaise honte — the era of 
affectations — when the 'young lady' was languid and 
insipid — 'of dwarf habit,' as the catalogues describe 
such a growth, and was never allowed to be a girl — 
when fainting was esteemed one of the highest accom- 
pHshments of the sex, and everything that was natural 
was pronounced gross — when the sampler, the sandal, 
and the simper were 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 atten- 
tion was called to its obtrusion, there was a little 
shriek of horror, and the 'young lady' was looked at 
askance as demie-vi^rge. 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-deUcacy of that 
era has passed — ^now that the shy sandal has given 
place to the well developed calf above the 'calf uppers' 
of utiUtarian 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 prayer-book, 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 

The Saxon earthwork below the grass walk is given 
over to what is technically termed 'the herbaceous 
border,' 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 auto- 
cracy was a barrier to the freedom of growth, nor should 
the aristocracy of the hot -house or even the cool green- 
house obtrude its educated bloom among the lovers 
of liberty. They must be allowed to do as they dam- 
please, 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 Individual. 

It is not at all a bad principle — for a garden — this 
principle which can best be carried out by the un- 
principled. 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 their first syllable, and hold that the 
aristocrat is like Hamlet's stepfather, whose offence 
was 'rank and smells to heaven. ' I have noticed, how- 
ever, 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 mc to 
believe that without a rule of life and a firm ruler, this 
portion of the garden will become in the course of time 
alHed 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 

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 piece 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's 
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 disappoint- 

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 in- 
cludes 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 flowers 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 dis- 
location of the whole scheme. Then 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 — I 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 'ample verge and room 
enough' 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 dandeHon, 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 caUing it the facetious border. 

Our experience leads us to look on this facetious 
herbaceous border as the parson's 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 carrjdng 
on over, but not to wax enthusiastic over. So we mean 


to carry on, and take Flora's 'buffets and awards' 'with 
equal thanks.' 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 gladms 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 intelhgence 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 rebelUous, perverse, impatient at restriction, 
bad-tempered, quarrelsome, but ever ready to 'make 
it up,' 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's satire, 'Not one, but all mankind's epitome,' 
and a knowledge of men makes a man a sympathetic 
gardener. I think that Christ was as fond of gardens 
as God ever was. 'Consider 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.' 

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 trial. 

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 — 'discovered' 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 'the brute creation,' and the creatures of what the 
books of my young days styled 'the Vegetable King- 
dom'? 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 soil, 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 'him' assume 


a growth which was maintained year by year alongside 
'her,' 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 gro^\^l apples 
or plums has had the same experience. We all know 
now of the courtship and the love and the marriage of 
things in 'the Vegetable Kingdom,' and we know that 
there is no difference in the processes of that love 
which means Ufe, in 'the Animal Kingdom' and 'the 
Vegetable Kingdom.' In some directions their 'human' 
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's lyrical 
shout of 'Beloved Brotherhood!' 

That is what I 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 
naturaUst 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 field 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'etre 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 beUeves that Woman- 
kind is a kind woman indefinitely multipUed, he paints 
more faithful portraits of men than of women; he also 
paints landscapes that Hve 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) Uving close to us 
here, and he is stiU 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 premieres in town. In the same spirit 
Hejrwood 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, — 

'Old Masters? Young mississes rather, I think.' 

' Young what ? ' cried Dorothy. 

' Mysteries,' he repHed. ' What on earth do you think 
I said?' 

'Another word with the same meaning,' 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. 

' Campanulas ! ' he cried. ' And that is just what I 
came to tell you about — the campanile at St Kath- 

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 Scott-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 campano- 
logy, 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 \iolence 
of what the patient folk with no arriere pensee term 
'them joy bells.' 

'You have not heard a sound of them for some 
Sundays,' said He3^wood, 


'I have not complained,' said I. 'Ask Dorothy if I 

'No one has, unless the bell-ringers, who are getting 
flabby through lack of exercise,' said he. 'But the 
reason you have not heard them is because they have 
been silent.' 

' " The British Fleet you cannot see, for it is not in 
sight," ' said I. 

'And the reason that they have been silent was the 
serious illness of Mr Livesay, whose house is close to 
St Katherine's. Dr Beecher prescribed complete repose 
for poor Livesay, and as the joy bells of St Katherine's 
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.' 

'We heard,' said Dorothy. 'So I suppose Mr Livesay 
is better.' 

'On the contrary, he is dead,' said Heywood. 'He 
died late on Saturday night. My housekeeper, Mrs 
Hartwell, had just brought me in my breakfast 
when the bells began. " Listen," she cried. " Listen \ 
the joy bells ! Mr Livesay must have died last 
night." ' 

It was true. The bell-ringers had made their call 
at poor Livesay's 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 



Heywood and ourselves seemed to think that there was 
anything singular in the incident. 

We had a few words to say, however, about joy bells 
spreading abroad the sad news of a decent man's 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. 

' We all know, of course, that there is nothing frightens 
the devil Uke the ringing of bells,' said he. 

'That is quite plausible,' said I. 'Any one who 
doubts it must have Hved all his hfe in a heathen place 
where there are no churches. Juan Fernandez, for 
example,' I added, as a couple of Unes sang through my 
recollection. 'Cowper made his Alexander Selkirk long 
for " the sound of the church-going bell." ' 

'That was a good touch of Cowper 's,' said Friswell. 
*He knew that Alexander Selkirk was a Scotsman, and 
with much of the traditional sanctimoniousness of his 
people, when he found himself awfu' bad or muckle 
bad or whatever the right phrase is, he was ready to 
propitiate heaven by a pious aspiration.' 

'Nothing of the sort,' cried Dorothy. 'He 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 Ufe, Uke the chiming of 
church bells.' 

' I dare say you are right,' said he, after a little pause. 
' But 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.' 

' Why fooUsh ? ' asked Dorothy quite affably. ' You 
don't consider it foohsh to ring a bell to go to dinner, 
and why should you think it so in the matter of going 
to church ? ' 

' My dear creature, you don't keep ringing your dinner 
bell for half an hour, with an extra five minutes for the 

'No,' said she quickly. 'And why not? Because 
people don't need any urging to come to dinner, but 
they require a good deal to go to church, and then they 
don't go.' 

' There's something in that,' said he. ' Anyhow they've 
been ringing those summoning bells so long that I'm 
sure they will go on with them until all the churches are 
turned into school-houses.' 

'And 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,' remarked 

'Undoubtedly it was,' said Friswell. 'The practice 
exists among many of those races that are still savage 
enough to beheve in the devil — a good hand-made 
tom-tom does the business quite effectually, I've 

'Do 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's Questions or the Child's Guide or Joyce's 


Science. You are so full of promiscuous information 
which you cannot hide ? ' 

He roared in laughter, and we all joined in. 

'You have just said what my wife says to me daily,* 
said he. 'I'll try to repress myself in future.' 

'Don't try to do anything of the sort,' cried Dorothy. 
'You never cease to be interesting, no matter how 
erudite you are.' 

'What I can't understand is, how he has escaped 
assassination all these years,' remarked Heywood. 'I 
think the time is coming when whoso slayeth Friswell 
will think that he doeth God's 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 ! ' 

' I take back all my words — I renounce the devil and 
all his works,' cried the other man. 'Yes, I hold that 
Giotto's Campanile justifies all the clashing and banging 
and hammering before and since. On the same analogy 
I beheve 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.' 

'Go on,' said Dorothy. 'Say that the sufferings of 
Alexander Selkirk were justified since without them 
we should not have Robinson Crusoe.' 

'I will say anything you please, my Lady of the 
Garden,' said he heartily. 'I will say that the beauty 
of that border beside you justifies Wakeley's lavish 
advertisements of Hop Mixture.' 

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's island. 

' I never knew that you had been to Juan Fernandez,' 
said Friswell. 

And then I saw how I could score off Friswell. 

'I said Robinson Crusoe's island, not Alexander 
Selkirk's,' I cried. 'Alexander Selkirk's was Juan 
Fernandez, Robinson Crusoe's was Tobago in the West 
Indies, which Dorothy and I explored some years ago.' 

'Of course I should have remembered that,' said he. 
'I 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.' 

'You were no worse than the 'WTiter 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 17 17 — years after Captain Woodes Rodgers 
had picked him up at the island where he had been 
marooned nearly four years before,' said Dorothy, who, 
I remembered, had laughed over the erudition of the 
paragraph. 'The writer affirmed that the will had 
been made before the man " had sailed unwittingly 
for Tristan d'Acunha" — those were his exact words, and 
this island he seemed to identify with Bishop Heber's, 
for he said it was " where every prospect pleases and 
only man is vile." What was in the poor man's mind 
was the fact that some one had written a poem about 
Alexander Selkirk, and he mixed Cowper up with 


' You didn't write to the paper to put the fellow right,' 
said Heywood. 

' Good gracious, no ! ' cried Dorothy. ' I knew that 
no one in these aeroplaning days would care whether 
the island was Tristan d'Acunha 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 £60 at the sale.' 

'You remember the lesson that was learnt by the 
man who wrote to correct something a newspaper 
had written about him,' said Hejrwood. ' " The editor 
called me a swindler, a liar, and a pohtician," said he, 
relating his experience, " and like a fool I 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 ! " ' 

'Oh, isn't it lucky that I didn't write to that paper? ' 
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, — 

'I'm pretty sure that what that bonnie Scots body 
suffered from most poignantly was the island not having 
any of his countrymen at hand, so that they could 
start a Bums 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 ? ' 

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's 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 ' britherly ' — 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 Bums Club, with a supper; the fourth 
day they started 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 non-alcoholic); the sixth day they 
formed a Ciirling Club — the lagoon would make a 
braw rink, they said, if it only froze; and if it didn't 
freeze, well, they could still have an annual Curlers' 
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 Auld 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 

She turned out to be the Bonnie Boon, of Dundee, 
Douglas MacKellar, Master. He had found wreckage 
out at sea and had thought it possible that some sur- 
vivors of the wreck might want passages 'hame.' 

'Nae, nae,' cried both men. 'We're no in need o' 
passages hame just the noo. But what for did ye no 
mak' for the lagoon yestreen in the gloamin' ? ' 

' Hoot awa' — hoot awa' ! ye wouldna hae me come 
ashore on the Sawbath Day,' said Captain MacKellar. 

'Ye shortened sail though,' said Mr MacClackan. 

' Ay ; 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 ? ' 

' Hoot awa' — hoot awa', man, ye wouldna hae a body 
mak' a signal on the Sawbath Day.' 

'Na — na; no a reg'lar signal; but ye micht hae run 
up a wee bittie — just eneuch tae catch me e'en on. Ay 
an' mebbe ye'll be steppin' aboard the noo?' 

'We'll hae to hae a clash about it. Captain.' 

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 MacKellar remarked, — 

'Weel, ma freens, I'm in hopes that ye'Il pay me 
ower the siller this day.' 

' Ay, ye maun be in the quare swithers till ye see the 
siller; but we'll hand it ower, certes,' said the passengers. 
* In the meantime, we'd tak' the leeberty o' calUn' your 
attention to a wee bit contra-claim that we hae japped 
doon on a bit sUp o' paper. It's three poon nine for 
Harbour Dues that ye owe us, Captain MacKellar, 
and twa poon ten for pilotage — it's compulsory at yon 
island, so 'tis, so mebbe ye'll mak' it convenient to 
hand us ower the differs when we land. Ay, Douglas 
MacKellar, ma mon, ye shouldna try to get the better 
o' Brither-Scots ! ' 

Captain MacKellar was a God-fearing man, but he 
said, ' Dom 1 ' 


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 an 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 Mlies 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 'thinning out' 
of its superfluous growths would mean the stocking of 
many private conservatories. 

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 E latum), 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 orna- 
mental, 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 condemna- 
tion 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 fooHsh 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, 'I pass,' 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 inter- 
preter of the rules of prosody as apphed 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 MunicipaUty, and its swings are now said 
to be the highest in five counties. 

I saw the Educational Garden that he laid out, and I 
knew, and so did he, that he was 'laying out' — the 
undertaker's 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' 
apprentices; but turning to so-called 'educational 
purposes ' a piece of garden that can grow roses, is hke 


using the silk of an embroiderer to dam 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 liUes did once 
inhabit — I even went so far as to sow carrots in Hues 
between the echeverias of the stone-edged beds, and 
lettuces at the back of my fuchsia bushes. But the 
result from an aesthetic 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 state-rooms of a fashionable Cunarder. 
The artichoke is really a garden inmate; alongside the 
potatoes in the kitchen garden, it is hke the noble Sir 
PeUeas who was scullery-maid in King Arthur's house- 
hold. The globe artichoke is Hke one of those British 
peers whom we hear of — usually when they have just 
died — as serving in the forecastle of a coUier 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 
DeU's 'black beet' 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 gro%vn 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 sus- 
pending the roughest manila twine at intervals to 
carnation wires in the soil below. This gives an unobtru- 
sive 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 November. 

I am sure that such experiments add greatly to the 
interest of gardening; and I encourage my OHve 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 dandeUon 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 neigh- 
bour's 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 dilapida- 
tions and estimated the cost of ' making good ' at some- 
thing Httle 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 

Now the building had always been an offence to me. 
It was Hke 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 green- 
house to give us some colour for indoors. With such a 
hst 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's 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 bom 
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 brier 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 'Rochester's Wife,' and 
we had behaved toward it pretty much as Jane's 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. 

'A case for the Reformatory,' said Dorothy, and in 
a moment the word brought to my mind the advice 
of the young lord Hamlet, and I called out, — 

'Reform it altogether.' 

'What do you mean?' she asked; for she 
sometimes gives me credit for uttering words with a 
meaning hidden somewhere among the meshes of 


*I have spoken the decision of the Court,' I replied. 
' " Reform it altogether." ' 

' At a cost — a waste — of sixty odd pounds ? ' 

'I will not try to renew its youth like the eagles,' 
said I, in the tone of voice of a prophet in the act of 
seeing a vision. ' I shall make a new thing of it, and a 
thing of beauty into the bargain.' 

She laughed pretty much as in patriarchal days 
Sarai laughed at the forecast of an equally unlikely 

After an interval she laughed again, but with no note 
of derision. 

' I see it all now — all ! ' she cried. ' You 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 ? ' 

'Stronger than it ever was. I will hear the voice of 
no protestant against it,' 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 

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's 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 



We removed the lower panes of glass without diffi- 
culty — the difficvilty was to induce the others to remain 
under their bondage of ancient putty : ' They don't 
make putty like that nowadays,' 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. 

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 'made good' 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 frame- 
work 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, follo\\dng the straw- 
berries, we shall have, if we are to believe Friswell, 
many more friends coming to us. 

'If they are truly friends, we shall be glad,' says 

'By your fruits ye shall know them,' says he, for 
like most professors of the creed of the incredulous, 
he is never so much at his ease as when quoting 

This morning as I was playing (indifferently) the part 
of Preceptress Pinkerton, trying to induce on Rosamund, 
OUve, 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 pro- 
claimed by Peter the Hermit, I came to that part of my 
illuminating discourse which referred to the Nation's 
stolidity even in their hour of supreme triumph. 

' This,' said I, ' may be regarded by the more emotional 
peoples of Europe as showing a certain coldness of 


temperament, in itself suggesting a want of imagina- 
tion, or perhaps, a cynical indifference — "cynical," 
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 ? ' 

'No; I tliink it's somebody in the street? ' said John. 

'Oh, I forgot. It's Monday — market day. There's 
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's this — what's — sit down, all of 

you — I tell you it's only ' 

' Hurrah — hurrah — hurrah — hurrah — hurrah ! ' comes 
from the five young throats of five rosy-cheeked, un- 
checked 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's well-worn helmet in an alcove above 
the carven lions on the porch of his home. 

There, high over us, stands the Castle Keep as it 
stood in the days of the First Crusade. 

'And ever above the topmost roof the banner of 
England blew.' 

Going out I saw a cow stray down Waterport Lane; 
but no one paid any attention to its errantry. 



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The Youn^ Physician is the history of the formative years of a 
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POEMS: 1 916-18 


Major Bret' Young's first volume of poems, Five Decrees South, 
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