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tions, on her head, in order that the case for disestablishment may not be spoiled by their removal. Already in many parts of England and Wales Dissenters are driven to take their stand on what they consider the practical evils of the Church system. We hear very little complaint of the Church religion nowadays. Remove the abuses, of which those aimed at by Lord Cranborne's bill are the most conspicuous, and you cut the ground from under the feet of a large body of Nonconformists. Their representatives in the House of Commons know this but too well, and they know that with the subsidence of the cry for disestablishment would come the subsidence of the zeal for Radicalism. Mr Balfour should know this as well as anybody, and should feel that the furtherance of the Benefices Bill is not only a duty which he owes to the Church, but one imperatively demanded by the interests of the whole Conservative party in Great Britain.
Now, then, what does Mr Balfour mean? What do the Government mean? And how are we to take their frank admission that, at the very outset of their career, with unbroken forces and in the full flush of their popularity, to pass two great measures in one session was a feat beyond their strength? One explanation is, that men believing themselves destined only to take turn and turn about with their opponents, and to make way for another Government as soon as they have served their term, cannot be expected to be very much in earnest about any thing. Public confidence which goes no further than that is not good for much, and for those who believe in the swing of the pendulum, a little opposition, we
VOL. CLXI.-NO. DCCCCLXXV.
daresay, goes a long way. then Mr Balfour does not believe in it. He rejects the metaphor altogether. He tells us that he sees Conservatism gaining ground, slowly indeed but steadily, throughout the island. If that is his belief, are we not entitled to say, "What then does Mr Balfour mean" when he declares that himself and his colleagues are unable to do what other strong Governments have done before them?
It was the practice of Mr Disraeli, Lord Derby, and Sir Robert Peel to call occasional meetings of their supporters, and discuss party politics with them confidentially. In the Life of Lord George Bentinck "the country gentlemen of England," whom Sir Robert was so proud to lead, are "the men whose spirit he had so often quickened, and whose counsel he had so often solicited, in his fine Conservative speeches in Whitehall Gardens." Would it not be well for Lord Salisbury and Mr Balfour to do the same thing,-to meet their party from time to time for the interchange of ideas on the leading questions of the day? The Unionist members of the House of Commons have scarcely any opportunities of hearing or seeing Lord Salisbury, and getting to know exactly what he thinks on these subjects. We believe the trouble would be amply repaid. If the party felt that they were being consulted by their leaders and carried along with them, each individual would attach less importance perhaps than he does now to his own personal opinions, while the consciousness that he had been fully taken into the confidence of the Government and knew their inner mind might reconcile him to much which, in default of such friendly.
communications, he is disposed to There are those, of course, who tell look on with distrust. us that our empire is an incubus, and that our character has been formed not through our institutions but in spite of them. Very well. These are the two sidesthe two theories which have long confronted each other-each hav ing its able champions. It is rather late in the day now to discuss their comparative merits. Conservatives, among whom include the great majority of Liberal Unionists, are supposed to have made their choice. And in that case let them learn to repeat with the Duke of Wellington, that "a good Government for the country is more important than any other consideration."
It may be that the policy of the Government in succeeding sessions will be stronger and bolder than the language which they have used in the recess, with the shadow of a great reverse upon them, might warrant us in expecting. Their deeds may be better than their words. But whether or no, we would have all Ministerialists remember that the final cause of Conservatism and Conservative Governments is not so much legislation as the maintenance of a great political and social system under which the British empire has been reared and the national character has been formed.
Printed by William Blackwood and Sons,
WHAT shall we wish thee for the coming year?
In thee to honour and revere
The Woman and the Queen,
Who has to them the bright exemplar been
Can guerdon princelier than this be won,-
We from our heart of hearts shall heaven implore,
NEW YEAR'S EVE, 1896.
SOME IMPRESSIONS OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.1
BY BEATRICE HARRADEN.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA has to be known well before it can be loved; and even when it is thoroughly appreciated for its many delightful characteristics, there will often remain certain of its peculiarities which may perchance jar on the sensitiveness of those accustomed to the tender charms of a more caressing land. On the other hand, the real beauties and advantages of the country and climate are so obvious that one need not hesitate to draw attention to some features likely to prove a little disappointing to any new-comers who are looking for a land of waving palm-trees and rich natural luxuriance and generous growth of green. Green there is, and of the brightest emerald the eye might wish to see; but it passes all too swiftly, burnt up by the downpour of golden sunshine, and gives place to every shade of delicate brown and amber, which we learn to like well enough, only not as we love the blessed green. Palms are there also, but not growing at random as some of us may have feverishly fancied; man's hand must plant and tend them, and water them unceasingly. As for the rich luxuriance, it is there also or rather the possibility of it is there under the dusty soil, waiting only for our help and labour to give it a development, which for fulness and rapidity is nothing less than miraculous. Indeed, one of the greatest pleasures in Southern California is the power which we
all possess, if we only choose to use it, of transforming the brushgrown plains and hills into a fair and fruitful garden-land. It is almost like a fairy story to see what wonders may be wrought from the very onset, and to mark how soon the willing earth answers to an honest care. But she demands devoted and hard worknot the mere scratching of the ground and the smoking of a cigarette; and perhaps it is not out of place here to insist specially on the truth of this statement for the benefit of those who have any idea of coming to Southern California and taking up the onerous duties of ranch life. It is one thing to have done a little gardening at home, toying, no doubt, with a spade and a rake and a watering-can; and quite another thing to start a fruit-farm, to follow a plough or cultivator over virgin soil, and wield a heavy hoe all day long, to the fierce heat and glare of the sun, and to evolve and carry out some scheme of irrigation, which often of necessity entails endless trouble and anxiety. These are not light tasks, and should not therefore be undertaken lightly; but a judicious fulfilment of them assures success to a man who has been wise enough to content himself with a small ranch; for it seems to be established beyond any question that small ranches conducted in a businesslike fashion have every chance of yielding fair returns, whereas the larger fruit - farms involve
1 Copyright, 1897, by Beatrice Harraden in the United States of America.
too much work and too much with its brown velvet centre and
Quite apart, however, from pecuniary considerations, country life in the south of California has a great deal in it which is very delightful the riding and driving, the sense of unrestrained freedom, the pleasure in the wide-stretching plains and rolling foothills and distant ranges of mountains, bare and uncompromising on a first introduction, but taking on rare charms of light and shadow and southern glamour, when once the slight acquaintance with them has ripened into friendship.
Then there are the excursions by moonlight, the sleeping out of doors, the fragrances in the air wafted from the orange and lemon blossoms, and in the spring-time from the myriads of wild-flowers, which, when aided by the winter rains, leap into luxuriance charged with divers sweetnesses. But if the rainy season has been niggardly one, then we must needs content ourselves with a few poor stragglers who serve just to remind us of the treasures of gold and blue and red and yellow and purple and white laid at our feet in such profusion during a previous year. Then we must dream of the fields of the flaming eschscholtzia, the Californian poppy, seen to perfection perhaps on the foothills of the San Gabriel valley, and covering the ground there and elsewhere with a rich orange mantle we must dream, too, of the masses of brodea, pale lavender in hue, toning in so softly with the numberless yellow flowers; the yellow violet, with its peculiar Oriental fragrance; the gentle little cream-cup, paler than our beloved English primrose; the marguerite of varying shade and form; the handsome leptosyne,
its strong vanilla perfume; and scores of others springing up to take the place of those which die down all too quickly. We must pay due tribute also to the rich indigo larkspur, the lupins and vetches, the brown and mauve lilies, the gilias, the red painter's brush, the wild pea of brilliant pink, the delicate shooting - star with petals of white tinged with purple, the tiny baby-blue eyes, one of the nemophila family, white flowers, as many as you will, and some of them as wee as a pin's head, and the pretty little blossoms of the alfilaria, which, together with the blossoms of the elderberry, are the welcome harbingers of spring. Later on in the season and in different parts of the south we shall find other treasures: the Mariposa lily, so called because of its likeness to a butterfly, and the Romnya, a monster poppy of crinkled white satin, and the thistle, a handsome and stately fellow indeed, and countless others, some of them known only to those of us who are able to climb up steep places or dive into deep cañons, for one has to be fairly strong to be a good botanist in Southern California. It is not enough to have a penetrating eye: one must be able to bear fatigue and heat and glare, and to have enough enthusiasm to fight sturdily through the dense chaparral, and enough caution to give a wide berth to those evil-looking fiends, the rattlesnakes, who kill so easily, but who themselves are so easily despatched.
If, however, owing to a dry winter, we have been cheated of these many lovely wild - flowers, there at least remain certain consolations which are not likely to fail us: the sumac will, in spite