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Kruger are not without reason for sus Empire. Germans misjudge us bepicions. It is a melancholy picture for cause at this moment they are not inthis generation of lads to hear that clined to credit us with the same moJameson and Rhodes have been popular tives they claim for themselves. We heroes for acts which ordinarily send ask our German friends to believe that men to long terms of hard labor in we do not wage war merely because prison. It is not cheering to find that some money speculators and filibusters when thousands of brave English vol are interested. We are ashamed of unteers have been killed in the trenches such elements in our national life, and the first people to profit by victory are we beg Germans to believe that on a group of financiers, largely Jew and both sides of the Atlantic are honest German by the way, who own Johan- public-spirited men seeking to uo good nesburg, and who watch their mining rather than evil. And further core wc shares rising in London while soldiers beg Germans to remember that wherin the field are falling never to rise ever the Union Jack waves, there Geragain. The Press does not say much man commerce enters on the same footabout this side of the war, because the ing as that of England, and that the great papers of New York and London German in Hong Kong is treated more are under financial influence; but it is liberally than the Englishman in Klao a fact which all Europe comments on, Chow. England has been the policeand which leads Germans to think that man of the Far East for now more than the British Army, as well as the Colo- fifty years, and what commerce Gernial Office, is moved by other than mor many and the rest of the world enjoy al considerations.
in those waters is owing to British adThe German has difficulty in pierc- ministration, honesty, enterprise and ing this web of hypocrisy, of brutal money. The English flag nas carried jingoism and cynical financial reason civil liberty to every colony over which ing. But if he does, he finds beneath it has waved, and Germany has no reaa warm national sentiment which has son to think that England in South Afdrawn to the battle-field youngsters rica will depart from the traditions esfrom every county and every colony tablished in Australia and Canada, in in defence of an ideal—the unity of an Hong Kong and Singapore. The Contemporary Review.
The stars look down from heaven above
When human hearts are breaking,
That sets poor mortals aching.
This love, they say, this fatal bane,
To us it cometh never,
Our deathless course forever.
THE VOGUE OF THE GARDEN BOOK.
There is a species of literature which place in which to talk with his friends, has lately attracted serious attention and it is a record of these conversations amongst us, and must, therefore, be which he mainly gives us in his prose reckoned with as one of the instructive writings. Mrs. Earle followed him or entertaining forces of the day. It quickly with the same departure from is not a new thing—it has existed for a old traditions, but with a different obcouple of hundred years or more-but ject, or, at any rate, a different result. in its present shape it is new, and in a From her we chiefly learn the art of larger degree than formerly it is attrac- cookery, as from Mr. Austin we learn tive to the reader. The garden book of --or should attempt to learn-the art of a century and more than a century ago conversation. And so the thing has was emphatically a book on gardening; gone on for half a dozen years. Some it was crammed with cultural instruc- writers choose birds for a main subtions; it abounded in technical details. ject; some choose friends, or Men of The garden book of this present cen- Wrath; some, books; and all under tury was also, until lately, entirely in- titles which lead the public to suppose structive; it cared not to amuse; its aim that it is buying a gardening bookwas gardening and nothing more. In gardening books being a craze of the the eighties there were indications of moment-when it is simply buying a an approaching change in the purpose diary written in or suggested by a garof garden literature, and the last half- den. dozen years have seen this change In so far as the object nowadays is stereotyped into its present features, to amuse rather than to instruct, there less instructive, perhaps, but certainly is no harm in the change. There is more entertaining than the old. There plenty of room for this as well as for can be no doubt about the demand for the orthodox horticultural volume this latest form of floricultural work, which will never be really superseded. and we may tremble at the thought But the mischief will come when the that this demand will probably bring ordinary Miss, in a fervid desire to conupon us within the next few years a tribute to the world's enjoyment, flies perfect avalanche of garden diaries, to a garden and writes within its prewritten to supply the public craving, scriptive recesses her journal intime which appears to express itself very for publication's sake-a diary which plainly in its appreciation and encour- will represent her gentle, simple soul, agement of the new fiction, as it may with its aimless efforts at floriculture, fairly and truthfully be termed.
and its pretty, unnecessary thoughts I think that to Mr. Alfred Austin be- on men and books and things, which longs the onus of first successfully we shall feel that we have somewhere sending forth this style of literature in heard before, or even read before. This the guise of a gardening work. There is assuredly the kind of book we shall were other writers immediately preced- get, and it is essentially the kind that ing him who were influencing the this sort of work should not be allowed change, but he, I think, was the first to fall into, if it is to have any perwho frankly and determinedly and manent value. successfully altered the scope of the We should begin by a clear undergarden book. He used his garden as a standing of what form the garden book
should take, if it is likely, as at present already we love and can trust. Unit seems to promise, to have an abiding luckily, some of these books tend in place on our library shelves.
exactly the contrary direction; their Of course the garden book must not facts are disputable, and tieir voices be merely utilitarian, for of this kind are mere echoes. we have works that cannot be super- The garden book may be poetical, seded, such as Mr. William Robinson's but it must not be written by a poet, invaluable "English Flower Garden" or, at any rate, it must not be written and "Hardy Flowers.” These, and by an articulate poet. The poetic feelothers like them, are written by ex- ing is almost essential, but it must perts, and the mere dilettante cannot express itself in words of others than hope to rival them in instructive qual- the compiler. Of course, the imaginaity. Nor should these books, while tion can picture an ideal garden book, claiming to be garden books, deal al- written by a poet who might happen most solely with matters apart from to be possessed of sufficient knowledge gardens. On the contrary, they must of horticulture to make his book valutreat first of flowers, both from a prac- able in the double way. It tends to tical and from an æsthetic point of sadness to reflect on the loss we have view, and, that provision secured, the had in that such work was never given writer may then wander afield to us, for instance, by Tennyson, and we things less vital, such as his taste or might even gladly have dispensed with studies may suggest. Some rule or some utilitarian value out of gratitude other must be laid down, and more or for other features of charm which unless adhered to, if this kind of litera- doubtedly we should have secured. But, ture is not to fall into contempt; and failing such a book by a great and I think that, broadly speaking, such original poet, we are forced to
fall a line as the following may be sug- back upon a more modest desire for gested.
the second best; and the second best I The ideal garden book should contain conceive to be a book by a competent the experience of the writer as a spe- gardener who is, above all, no versecialist in his own subject of gardening, maker, though a true critic of verse, in combination with the thoughts or and who can, therefore, give us choice the words or the views of persons who thoughts and passages from our splenare specialists in other matters, such as did heritage of literature to lend charm poetry, or ethics, or metaphysics. We to his volume of practical instruction. I do not want a gardening dictionary might name half a dozen writers who from the amateur, because we can get could admirably perform the task, but it in more trustworthy shape from the hitherto they have not spoken in this expert; we do not want mere gentle way. thoughts on nature, or other deep sub- Let us examine some of these books jects, whether of earth or heaven, be- which have made the vogue in garden cause we know where to turn for our literature, and judge how far they are reading on these subjects, as delivered able to satisfy the demand for such by persons who have given their lives reading at its highest standard. I will to the study of them. If we want this choose from among a considerable numsort of book at all, we want, as I have ber, three volumes of unequivocal sucsaid, the simple empirical experience cess, which consequently seem to stand of the amateur gardener combined with out from their companions on the bookthe best he (or more usually she) can shelf, and of themselves to accentuate give us of the ideas of the great whom the need in man's soul at the present
time for this range of work. As there which Milton might turn out to be reis no denying their enormous success, sponsible? Even the boldest is bound we may regard them as satisfactory to to hold his breath for a time and to the general public, which has bought make good his character as critic over them in their thousands. A short anal- the prose; and herein is another diffiysis of each will enable us to judge of culty. The heaven-sent gift of words their scope and object; and when we has sometimes tiresome limitations. have examined these features as closely The poet may be inspired in his verse, as is possible, we may then be able to and not altogether inspired in his prose, decide whether this sort of book is as which is one of those mysteries that valuable from the point of view of en hurt the understanding. How else can tertainment or instruction as it might be explained such a sentence as this: be, or whether the type is capable of "I am greatly interested in seeing the improvement.
result of a new border I have made in If the requisites for a garden book the extreme north angle of the garden, are indeed those I have indicated, we and which Veronica has christened must not expect the ideal book from Poet's Corner"? This and some similar Mr. Alfred Austin, for has he not his modes of expression make us fear that bench with the poets? His disabilities, the less is not always included in the if thus they may be regarded, come, of greater, that the afflatus sent for poetry course, paradoxically enough from his does not necessarily contain the essengreater gifts. The ideal garden chron tials of prose. Well, it is but a small icler should be only appreciative of matter; still, we are justified, I think, poetry, whereas Mr. Alfred Austin, as in asking as much of perfection as we we who read our Times (even if not in believe ourselves likely to get. the habit of perusing volumes of verse) Four persons inhabit “The Garden know well, is indeed articulate. He that I Love:" the writer, who is also the gives us poems to fit our many Impe. gardener, his sister Veronica, and his rial moods, and we have the full en friends, the Poet and Lamia. At least joyment at first hand of the inspiring we are artfully persuaded that there afflatus, because we are assured that are four persons; in reality there are we receive them just as they come to only two, Veronica and the gardenerhim. The mere man evidently does not poet rolled with Lamia into one. When venture to correct, to add to, or to take these speak seriously-and there is a from the God-given beauties sent to the good deal of serious speaking in the poet's pen.
book-you would not know, if you In “The Garden that I Love” we get shut your eyes, which of them is ada considerable amount of Mr. Austiu's dressing you. Lamia, to be sure, has verse. We do not know exactly how her frivolous moments, when, for a much, for both he and Shakespeare are brief space, she makes a possible third; alike without inverted commas. This but when she is rhetorical she is one is a great pity. The original verse
with the gardener and the poet, Ver. might have stood unsupported, but onica, on the other hand, has a separsurely Shakespeare and other similar ate identity; she is a simple being, and writers should have been propped by if she has views she keeps them carequotation marks. How else can we fully to herself. There is something distinguish between them and bim? very lovable about Veronica. She lisThe situation even disarms criticism. tens patiently for hours to all that the for how could the mere reviewer ven
others have to say, and then she goes ture to take exception to a passage for away and makes tea for them.
knows how exhausted they must be. essential, but it would follow, not acThey give away so many treasures of company, the frenzy. A poet must feel thought that they must necessarily be much in order to make his readers feel left swept and empty; the need of sus- a little; he must weep many tears to tenance is plainly indicated, and Ver- ensure that they shall weep a few. onica supplies it.
When a poet places us in a situation Perhaps, however, the exhaustion is where tears are obviously indicated, I less than it might have been if circum- fancy we are warranted in blaming stances had not come to their aid; and him if they do not come. If we accuse herein we see the wisdom of the Pooh- him, not of restraint, but, like the Bah arrangement. The chronicler can gagged man, of want of power, I think give us treasures of verse from the we could justify our opinion. I do not mouth of the poet, pages of floricultural for a moment mean to disparage the details through the lips of the gardener, poet's admiration of restraint as a and gems of general utility from the necessary and beautiful quality in irresponsible Lamia. The talents of verse, but merely to contend that most the three, if displayed in one person, of the restraint that calls itself by that would invite incredulity. We should name is of the sort that cannot help think it impossible that one small head itself, and this must be regarded as a could carry all the aphorisms and defect, and not as a beauty. gnomic sayings which the three are But if the poet sometimes rouses in anxious to distribute. We should be- us the spirit of contradiction, the gargin to fear cerebral congestion. So, dener takes his revenge by mystifying to spare ourselves distress and anxiety, us just as we think we are getting on we allow the writer to persuade us nicely. It is a wonderful garden that that there are, indeed, three heads un- he owns, and its orientation is exceedder the three hats, and thus we breathe ingly difficult to understand. In one again.
place we are told that it slopes from The poet sometimes gives vent to an northeast to southwest, and in another untenable theory, but the gardener and that it looks southeast. But even this Lamia of course cannot be expected to readjustment of Nature's aspects will set him right, and dear little Veronica not quite account for all the wonders adores him far too much to do so. He that are in that garden. On the 30th is bold enough to justify in the name of of May the gardener's wood is covered restraint the bald and simple verse with primroses, and this is not menwhich is held by some of our later poets tioned as an out-of-the-way state of to be one with the true stuff. It is things, but is given as a mere matter difficult to go with him here. Restraint of fact. We who have not his gift of is, no doubt, an admirable quality, but extending the seasons to keep our we cease to admire it when it is com- gardens in beauty, have indeed seen pulsory. We cannot esteem the re- primroses on the 30th of May, but we straint of a gagged man, who refrains have never had the luck of beholding from using bad language. Restraint a wood in the south of England "diaand nothing more, of which we see so pered with them” on that date. We much, is a poor thing as a quality of can only hear and sigh for our more verse, and it is even difficult to see limited seasons. On the same day the how l'âme agitée of a great poet, in its gardener describes his tulips as having moments of finest frenzy, could be closed their petals for the night. Though “controlled by the serenity of the it is a little late for Dutch tulips, we mind.” Rigorous self-criticism is an might be persuaded to recognize the