Page images
PDF
EPUB

was

no

markable character, must have and to close my bedroom door a paragraph to himself at a behind me, and I have practimore convenient season. cally shut off oral communica

Let me now attempt to give tion with the outside world, some idea of our house and and can sit down to work or garden, both of them so ad- read at my leisure, with the mirably adapted to the pur- certainty that when I raise pose for which they were orig- my eyes from my book or inally designed.

paper, look which way I will, "Hardly any sitting - room I shall see a most delightful accommodation." That

bit of scenery. To-day it my early verdict about the happens to be raining. That house. A week later I began means that at present my balto change my mind, and now cony here is unavailable, and I am inclined to fancy that that at home I should be shut in house of the same up in my smoking-room. But size have I ever seen quite so here I am, sitting in a verandah much sitting-room accommoda- downstairs, to all intents and tion. True, of sitting - rooms purposes in the open air, but proper there are only three, completely sheltered from the which I may call drawing-room, rain which is plashing down dining-room, and ante - room, in front of me, and only so far opening the one into the other troubled by the wind that I in the order given. On the have to put my hat on my other hand, not only is every loose sheets of paper.

It is single bedroom — these apart not quite so large as my balfrom the servants' quarters cony, which measures 18 x 14 number about fifteen-admir- feet, but as to-day I seem to ably fitted up as a sitting. have a monopoly of it, it is room, but every other one large enough for my purpose opens out on to its own par- of doing some quiet work in ticular balcony or verandah, the cool fresh air. Now in which, for some time at all the matter of this cool fresh events on most days of the air in tropical weather, I canweek, is available for reading, not help noticing that the writing—and in my own case, ordinary English housewife is smoking What I shall do not so wise in her generation without my beloved balcony as her German contemporary. when I get back to England Or is it that her appliances are I have no conception. Mine not so good ? It is our English is, I believe, accounted the practice, is it not, upon a hot worst bedroom in the house. day to draw down the blinds, Let me say at once that, given open doors and windows, and in my dear balcony, I would invite what we fondly imagine not exchange it for any bed- to be a cool draught to perroom in any house that I have meate the room? Our cool ever seen. I have only to drag draught is in reality so much out a lounge-chair, a working- tepid air which we in vain chair, and my writing - table, attempt to expel from the

a

house later in the day. The sized tennis - court. On the German housekeeper, on the west side we have the useful, other hand, not only draws on the east the ornamental, down the thick sun-blinds and divisions, but neither the latter closes the curtains, when the nor the former is so strictly consun is shining on a given sidefined to its proper character of the house, but carefully as not to admit a sensible procloses every door and window portion of the opposite element. by way of entirely excluding For instance, on the useful side, the entrance of the outside air. where there is a swing, climbWithin half an hour of the sun ing poles, and other gymnastic going off, blinds are drawn up, appliances, to say nothing of curtains thrown back, windows my friend Herr Kind's great and doors propped wide open, rabbit-cage; where the house and the evening breeze is freely linen is day after day hung admitted. Open air and plenty out to dry, and where currantof it is part and parcel of the bushes, raspberry canes, &c., rest-cure, hence the numerous bear crops that I have never verandahs and balconies, some seen equalled elsewhere, there or other of which are compara- are in addition two or three tively cool at any hour of the shady retreats, sheltered hottest day. Hence, too, the walk, and a delightfully gay shady retreats and little air- herbaceous border. traps in a garden which always On the other side of the reminds me of a celebrated house the amount of bright hunter belonging, I fancy, to flowers and variegated shrubs Mr Soapey Sponge. “Multum crowded into a small spacein Parvo was the quadruped's crowded without the appearname, and “multum in parvo" ance of being either jumbled or is the distinctive feature of our overcrowded—is nothing short garden. Did Elizabeth's German of marvellous. We even run garden, I wonder, contain quite to a pond and tiny waterfall, so much variety of shade and fed by a fountain,—not a large colouring in so limited a space ? pond certainly, but large

" It must be a good deal enough to hold three distinct larger than it looks," I said to varieties of water-lily, one or myself the other day, and another of which is always in thereupon I set to work and flower. And, lest there should stepped it. Walking on the be a lack of vitality, there is gravel paths round the whole a flourishing colony of goldrectangle, in the centre of fish, and a hive of bees from which the house

small a neighbour's garden find in house-stands, I calculated the our pond their favourite drinkoutside measurement to be two ing-place. Is it my fancy, or hundred yards, and I verified are the colours of the geraniums this measurement later and begonias more vivid than In other words, on either side with us in England ? Let it of the house, east and west, not be supposed, however, that there is rather more than

we are limited here to gerancomfortable room for a full- iums and begonias. All the

no

on,

a

ordinary flowers that bloom in sun is shining too brightly on my border at home seem to my own balcony, and my kind greet my view in this minia- German instructress is slicing ture garden, and there are beans or stoning cherries in several colours of phlox, snap- my favourite verandah. Now dragon, and verbena, which are and again I take this opporentirely new to me. Roses, tunity of improving my Gerboth dwarf and standard, evi- man vocabulary, but we both dently grow apace, and I can feel so woefully guilty when count quite a formidable num- later on a cherry-stone is found ber of varieties. The fuchsias, in the fruit compôte that I —they have in Germany more generally postpone my lesson than fifty varieties of fuchsia, till

later in the day. - planted for the most part For be it said at once that in artificial rockwork, are idleness of hands and feet forms feature of the place, and our no part of the rest -cure for terrace is brightened up by two either man or woman who is fine specimens of oleander supposed to be suffering from standing in mammoth pots and exhausted brain or shattered still blooming as gaily as they nerves.

To sit down - with were blooming ten weeks ago. folded hands and brood over Unstinted watering seems to his or her misfortunes and be the main secret of our maladies is a proceeding on a gardener's success. The sharp patient's part which our kindly and sudden thunder - showers, Frau Doctor would never tolwhich occur on an average two erate, far less recommend. It or three days in every week, would be an act of impertinence supply a good deal of the to write all that I know about water, but on the off-days, so this lady's life. That she will soon as the sun has gone down, never read an English magazine out comes the hose, and in an is a mere accident: she has hour and a half's solid work found better things to occupy the whole garden, shrubs and her time than the study of our all, receives a downright good English language. But in a drenching I have had 00- spirit of respectful, nay, even casion to note that our gar- reverential admiration, I

may dener is no respecter of persons, be so far permitted to lift the but evidently holds the theory veil as to mention a few cirthat it is his business to water cumstances common, as I know, thoroughly, and that an un- to the lives of other good expected shower-bath in sum- women besides herself. Left, mer weather never yet damaged then, a widow when little more man or beast. The useful side than a girl, after a cruelly short of our ornamental garden is spell of happy married life, represented by cunningly de- instead of succumbing to a lifevised shady corners and air- long sorrow she set herself traps, in some one of which I resolutely to grapple with it, can always find a chair and a and to devote her widowhood table, to say nothing of cool- to the unselfish task of mitigatness and solitude, when the ing the sufferings of others.

[ocr errors]

Having studied medicine suffici. of the day. Against this it ently to qualify for an M.D. may be fairly said that the degree, she founded this es- cheerful optimist is in no need tablishment, over which may of a rest-cure, and that cheery she long be spared to preside. optimism is the end-in - itself For it seems to me to be of rather than a means to the the nature of an impossibility end. True, this, to a certain that any one else, man or extent, but, on the other hand, woman, could quite adequately the spirit of cheery optimism fill her place.

is at least as infectious as its She requires, I can see, in contradictory, which I take to the first place, that implicit be gloomy depression. Two confidence from her patients or common sayings are familiar pensioners which she is not to us all, the first that “One only eminently qualified to might as well try to be merry command, but most evidently at a Quaker's meeting, does command. The onlooker, second that “ An hour spent in is it not a common saying, sees So-and-so's company is enough more of the game than the to give a fellow a fit of the player does. As I myself am blues.” The plain English of only here by what I may call this is that every man's mood a special act of grace granted will be partially regulated by in

my favour by the Frau the company in which he finds Doctor, at the urgent request himself for the time being. of the still greater authority For some days I may, at the to whose skilful treatment of risk of appearing egotistical, a dearly loved patient I owe fairly say that I myself was unbounded gratitude, I am going through the process of privileged to speak of what I being “tried pretty highly,” see in others rather than ex- but even though the actual perience in my own case. Yet eating and drinking were should I be worse than grace- burden to me, I never felt unless if I failed to acknowledge reasonably depressed or wholly how much this particular pen- miserable at the dinner-table. sioner owes to the ever-ready In other words, it was imposand confidence-inspiring sym- sible to sit there without being pathy of his kind friend and to a greater or less degree inhostess, how often when the fected by the atmosphere of clouds were darkest she has cheery optimism. encouraged him to look at the I watch our dear hostess as silver lining, how once and she sits at the head of her again, without giving a hint table, knowing that I am of her kind intention, when she watching one who has deeply has fancied that his patience suffered. Without an apparent was waning and his hopes effort she at once engages her waxing faint, she herself has immediate surrounders in a gone straight to headquarters bright and sparkling conversaand brought to him fresh tion, and one after another the grounds for encouragement. rest of the company is drawn Cheery optimism is the order into it.

into it. She seems never to be

a

at a loss for a gay remark, “Speak slowly,” ejaculates never at a loss most certainly my instructress, who is not a for a smart repartee. Nor is little jealous of her pupil's proit without due forethought, I gress, and happens to be sitting am sure, that she has planted at exactly opposite to me. Presthe farther end of the table my ently, when I decline to undergenial friend, Herr R-. For stand, she proffers her assistthe Herr, it is easy to see, has ance. And, finally, my hostess's many quaint conceptions of his small son, Herr Kind, as I call own, and almost as happy a him, adds his childish pipe, and knack as our hostess herself between the trio something is of putting his companions on at last knocked into my stupid good terms with himself and head. At any rate, a silent each other. Nor does he lack tongue has been set wagging. that courteous consideration for But even in the heat of a strangers which is typical of lively conversation our Frau the well-bred German. For on Doctor is not neglectful of andays when, owing to the ab- other duty. A careful regulasence of another English-speak- tion of diet forms no small part ing guest who can interpret for of the system, and from her me the gist of the gay conver- seat of authority she keeps a sation, I am in danger of being vigilant eye on some of her left out in the cold, out comes guests. One day an emphatic the Herr's pocket - book and nod of the head causes my little pencil, and with astonishing Bavarian friend to reconsider rapidity he writes down a few her decision to reject some Latin words which tell me all vegetable concoction that is I want to know. I will not being handed to her; on anpretend that his Latin is quite other a warning shake is suffiof the same quality as that of cient to induce an old Dutch Cicero, but it is always to the gentleman, blessed with a very point, always— when written, comprehensive appetite, to renot when spoken-intelligible, place on the dish the portion and the charity of the intention of ice-cream which he was in is obvious. Now and again I the act of transferring to his myself may be found to be plate. playing the part of an object- “ You're like the mother of lesson to some member of the a family, Frau Doctor,” he company. My left-hand neigh- grunts, but not ungraciously, bour, for instance, maybe while he submits to the decree. showing symptoms of lapsing “And you the naughtiest into taciturnity.

in- boy in it,” is the instant and stant our hostess pounces upon uncompromising answer. him, and he is invited to pass

Alas! I could not if I would on some remark to me. As he reveal one-half of the mysteries has no English and my know- of the diet. It is a matter in ledge of German is very limited, which perhaps, by the grace of and as furthermore I am some- Providence, I take less personal what deaf and obtuse, he has interest than do some of my all his work cut out.

neighbours here. To the aver

In an

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »