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medicine. Culpepper, the herbalist, says of it: “The flowers, either green or dried, are much used in possets, broths, and drinks, as a comforter of the heart and spirits, and to expel any malignant or pestilential quality that may annoy them.”
The Pansy, which is sometimes called Heart'8-ease, is one of the many kinds of violets : its Latin nam is Viola tricolor. The word is derived from the French pensée—thought-and given to it, perhaps, because of the quiet, thoughtful look which the flower has when in full bloom. The poet Dryden writes concerning it :
The daughters of the flood have searched the mead
Pansies to please the sight, and cassia sweet to smell. And Bunyan, in his “Pilgrim's Progress," writes of the Shepherd Boy : “I dare say this boy lives a merrier life, and wears more of the herb lled heart's-ease in his bosom, than he that is clad in silk and velvet.”
The finest garden pansies are very hard to rear; they require great care and attention, or they will go back to their wild forms. Culpepper says: “It is called three faces in a hood, live-inidleness, call-me-to-you ; and in Sussex we call them pansies.” The pansy grows wild in the fields, especially such as are very barren : it is sometimes found on the tops of high hills.
The Gillyflower, or Wallflower, is a plant which grows wild “upon the church walls, and old walls of many houses, and other stone walls in divers places.” When wild its flowers are always yellow. It is cultivated in gardens, where it is a great favourite on account of the sweet smell of its flowers. The cultivated kinds are of various colours, brown and purple being the most common. The term "gillyflower” is supposed to mean “ July flower,” from its coming into bloom in that month. Mortimer, in his work on husbandry, says : “Gillyflowers, or rather July flowers, so called from the month they blow in, may be reduced to these sortsred and white, purple and white, scarlet and white.” The poet Gay mentions it in his pastorals :
Fair is the gillyflower, of gardens sweet ;
Fair is the marigold, for pottage meet. It was formerly used in medicine. Culpepper says: “Galen, in his seventh book of simple medicines, saith that the yellow wallflowers work more powerfully than any of the other kinds,
and are therefore of more use in physic. It comforteth and strengtheneth any weak part, and is a singular remedy for the gout.” His description of the time when it flowers is very good: “All the single kinds do flower many times in the end of autumn; and if the winter be mild, all the winter long; but especially in the months of February, March, and April, until the heat of the spring do spend them. But the double kinds continue not flowering in that manner all the year long, though they flower very early sometimes, and in some places very late.”
Hollyhock, or Rose-mallow, is one of the greatest ornaments of our garden. It is a native of India, where it is to be seen in almost every garden. It blossoms in the autumn, and continues in bloom till the winter comes on. It has both double and single blossoms, which vary much in colour. It grows very high, varying from eight to fifteen feet. Cattle are very fond of its leaves. It is of the same genus or kind as the marsh-mallow, which is found in salt marshes near the sea, and on the banks of rivers. From the leaves of the hollyhock a blue colouring matter, resembling indigo, is extracted; and strong fibres, suitable for making cord, have been produced from the stem.
The Sweet William, or Bearded Pink, belongs to the same order of plants as the pink and the carnation. It is a native of central Europe, and is to be found in almost every garden in Great Britain. It has leaves of a lance-like shape, and bears flowers of a fine crimson colour, crowded together at the top of the stem. Gerard, who lived in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and was gardener to Lord Burleigh, esteemed it "for its beauty to deck up the bosoms of the beautiful, and garlands and crowns of pleasure.”
The Carnation, a double-flowering variety of the clove pink. The word is also used to denote the natural colour of the human flesh. It has been cultivated from a very early date in Europe, though it does not appear to have been known to the ancients. There are three varieties—flakes, which have two colours only, the stripes being large; bizarres, which have three colours, also in stripes; and picotees, which have a white ground, spotted with red, purple, or other colours. It is a favourite flower with florists in Germany and Italy. There is a kind of carnation called the tree carnation, which is not much admired.
The Pink is another variety of this same order of plants. The
great beauty of the flowers has been admired in all ages. It is one of the hardiest and least expensive of fine flowers. The kind in most repute is that called Pheasants' Eyes.
The Sunflower is a native of tropical America, where it sometimes grows to the height of twenty feet. It is cultivated in all parts of the world, and in the south of Europe is grown as a field-crop, the oil which the seeds yield being almost as valuable as olive oil, and the seeds themselves very useful as food for cattle; the American Indians make bread of them. Bees are fond of alighting on this plant, on account of the large quantity of honey it contains. It follows the sun in its journey from the east to the west of the horizon ; and from this circumstance, or from its large circular head with the golden fringe, is derived its name of sunflower.
The Mignonette is an annual plant, highly valued for the delicious fragrance of its flowers, which are not at all showy, or even pretty. It is a native of the north of Africa. It is cultivated in gardens, or in window-boxes, as in Tennyson's “ May Queen :".
She'll find my garden tools upon the granary floor.
About the parlour window, and the box of mignonette.
The Rose is a shrub, varying from one foot to six or eight feet in height, celebrated far and near for the beauty and fragrance of its flowers. The wild rose has single flowers ; in the kinds that are cultivated the flowers are double or semi-double. There are red, white, purple, and yellow roses in numberless variations. Roses are cultivated in all the temperate parts of the world, extending even as far north as Lapland. The chief varieties are the damask rose, a native of Syria; the hundred-leaved Provence, or cabbage rose; the Chinese rose, the Scotch rose, the musk rose, the ever-blowing rose, and the sweetbrier rose. A scent is extracted from the flowers called otto of roses. New varieties are obtained from seed, but it is generally propagated by layers.
The rose is frequently alluded to in English literature. · Milton, in his great poem of“ Paradise Lost,” represents the rose to have been without thorn in Paradise :
Or the flowery lap
Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose.
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet. The phrase sub rosa, or under the rose, means to speak anything with safety, in secret, so as not to be discovered—the rose being, among the ancients, the symbol of secresy.
The plant called Southernwood, which is popularly known under the name of Old Man, is found in most British gardens. It is a bushy shrub, and abounds with leaves which give out a pleasant smell ; they are used on the continent in the manufacture of beer. Their smell is very unpleasant to bees, and is used to expel moths from linen. Culpepper, the herbalist, states that it “is an antidote or counter-poison against all deadly poison, and driveth away serpents and other venomous creatures.”
The Nasturtium, or Indian Cress, whose bright yellow flowers so beautifully adorn our gardens, is a native of Peru, in South America. It is one of our finest climbing plants, and is seen to advantage when entwined within a trellis in front of a house. Its unripe fruit is used by housekeepers instead of capers, and its leaves are sometimes used in making salads. In its native climate it blooms all the year round, but in England it is not able to endure the winter, and is sown annually. It was introduced into England in the year 1686. It requires well watering in dry weather.
When King Edward the Second was among his torturers, who hurried him to and fro, that no man should know where he was, they set him down upon a bank; and one time, the more to disguise his face, shaved him, and washed him with the cold water of a ditch hard by: The king said, “Well, yet I will have warm water for my beard ;” and so shed abundance of tears.
KING James was wont to be very earnest with the country gentlemen to go from London to their country houses ; and sometimes he would say thus to them: “Gentlemen, at London you are like ships at sea, which show like nothing ; but in your country villages you are like ships in a river, which look like great things.
The Basket Woman.
Dunstable, in Bedfordshire, called Chalk Hill, there is a hut, or rather'a hovel, which travellers could scarcely suppose could be inhabited, if they did not see the smokë rising from its peaked roof. An old woman lives in this hovel, and with her a little boy
and girl, the children of a beggår, who died and left these orphans perishing with hunger. They thought themselves very happy the first time the good old woman took them into her hut, bid them warm themselves at her small fire, and gave them a crust of mouldy bread to eat. She had not much to give; but what she had she gave with goodwill. She was very kind to these poor children, and worked hard at her spinning-wheel and at her knitting to support herself and them. She earned money also in another way: she used to follow all the carriages as they went up Chalk Hill, and when the horses stopped to take breath or to rest themselves, she put stones behind the carriage wheels, to prevent them rolling backwards down the steep, slippery hill.
The little boy and girl loved to stand beside the good-natured old woman's spinning-wheel, when she was spinning, and talk to her. At these times she taught them something which she said she hoped they would remember all their lives; she explained to them what is meant by telling the truth, and what it is to be honest; she taught them to dislike idleness, and to wish that they could be useful.
One evening, as they were standing beside her, the little boy said to her : “Grandmother"--for that was the name by which she liked that these children should call her—“how often you are forced to get up from your spinning-wheel to put stones under the wheels to prevent them from rolling back! The people who are in the carriages give you a halfpenny or a penny for doing this, don't they ?” “ Yes, child.” “But
is very hard work for you to go up and down that hill; you often
that you are tired, and then you know that you cannot spin all the time. Now if we might go up the hill and put the stones behind