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OTHER TALES OF FIELDS AND FLOWERS.
JULIANA HORATIA EWING.
SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE,
London: Northumberland Avenue, W.C.
43, Queen Victoria Street, E.C.
Brighton: 129, North Street.
New York: E. & J.B. YOUNG & CO.
[Published under the direction of the General Literature Committee.]
PAGE Mary's Meadow 13 Letters from a Little Garden 117 Garden Lore 155 Sunflowers and a Rushlight 161 Dandelion Clocks 201 The Trinity Flower 215 Ladders to Heaven 233 MARY'S MEADOW.
"Mary's Meadow" first appeared in the numbers of Aunt Judy's Magazine from November 1883 to March 1884. It was the last serial story which Mrs. Ewing wrote, and I believe the subject of it arose from the fact that in 1883, after having spent several years in moving from place to place, she went to live at Villa Ponente, Taunton, where she had a settled home with a garden, and was able to revert to the practical cultivation of flowers, which had been one of the favourite pursuits of her girlhood.
The Game of the Earthly Paradise was received with great delight by the readers of the story; one family of children adopted the word "Mary-meadowing" to describe the work which they did towards beautifying hedges and bare places; and my sister received many letters of inquiry about the various plants mentioned in her tale. These she answered in the correspondence columns of the Magazine, and in July 1884 it was suggested that a "Parkinson Society" should be formed, whose objects were "to search out and cultivate old garden flowers which have become scarce; to exchange seeds and plants; to plant waste places with hardy flowers; to circulate books on gardening amongst the Members;" and further, "to try to prevent the extermination of rare wild flowers, as well as of garden treasures."
Reports of the Society, with correspondence on the exchanges of plants and books, and quaint local names of flowers, were given in the Magazine until it was brought to a close after Mrs. Ewing's death; but I am glad to say that the Society existed for some years under the management of the founder, Miss Alice Sargant, and when she was obliged to relinquish the work it was merged in the "Selborne Society," which aims at the preservation of rare species of animals as well as plants.
The "Letters from a Little Garden" were published in Aunt Judy's Magazine between November 1884 and February 1885, and as they, as well as "Mary's Meadow," were due to the interest which my sister was taking in the tending of her own Earthly Paradise,—they are inserted in this volume, although they were left unfinished when the writer was called away to be
"Fast in Thy Paradise, where no flower can wither!"
Horatia K.F. Eden.
NOTE.—If any readers of "Mary's Meadow" have been as completely puzzled as the writer was by the title of John Parkinson's old book, it may interest them to know that the question has been raised and answered in Notes and Queries.
I first saw the Paradisi in sole Paradisus terrestris at Kew, some years ago, and was much bewitched by its quaint charm. I grieve to say that I do not possess it; but an old friend and florist—the Rev. H.T. Ellacombe—was good enough to lend me his copy for reference, and to him I wrote for the meaning of the title. But his scholarship, and that of other learned friends, was quite at fault. My old friend's youthful energies (he will permit me to say that he is ninety-four) were not satisfied to rust in ignorance, and he wrote to Notes and Queries on the subject, and has been twice answered. It is an absurd play upon words, after the fashion of John Parkinson's day. Paradise, as Aunt Judy's readers may know, is originally an Eastern word, meaning a park, or pleasure-ground. I am ashamed to say that the knowledge of this fact did not help me to the pun. Paradisi in sole Paradisus terrestris means Park—in—son's Earthly Paradise!
J.H.E., February 1884.
How fresh, O Lord, how sweet and clean Are Thy returns! ev'n as the flowers in spring; To which, besides their own demean, The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring. Grief melts away Like snow in May, As if there were no such cold thing. Who would have thought my shrivel'd heart Could have recover'd greenness? It was gone Quite under ground; as flowers depart To see their mother-root, when they have blown; Where they together All the hard weather, Dead to the world, keep house unknown.
O that I once past changing were, Fast in Thy Paradise, where no flower can wither! Many a spring I shoot up fair, Offering at heaven, growing and groaning thither; Nor doth my flower Want a spring-shower, My sins and I joining together.
These are Thy wonders, Lord of love, To make us see we are but flowers that glide: Which when we once can find and prove, Thou hast a garden for us, where to bide. Who would be more, Swelling through store, Forfeit their Paradise by their pride.
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