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“Then you seriously suppose, Doctor, that gardening is good for the constitution ?” “I do. For King, Lords, and Commons. Grow your own cabbages. Sow your own turnips, – and if you wish for a gray head, cultivate carrots.” “Well, Doctor, if I thought — ” “Don’t think, but do it. Take a garden and dig away as if you were going to bury all your care in it. When you're tired of digging, you can roll — or go to your walls, and set to work at your fruit-trees, like the Devil and the Bag of Nails.” “Well, at all events, it is worth trying; but I am sadly afraid that so much stooping — ” “Phoo, phoo! The more pain in your back, the more you’ll forget your hyps. Sow a bed with thistles, and then weed it. And don't forget cucumbers.” “Cucumbers l’’ “Yes, unwholesome to eat, but healthy to grow, for then you can have your frame as strong as you please, and regulate your own lights. Melons still better. Only give your melon to the melon-bed, and your colly to the collyflowers, and your Melancholy’s at an end.” “Ah! you're joking, Doctor “No matter. Many a true word is said in jest. I’m the only physician, I know, who prescribes it, but take a garden— first remedy in the world—for when Adam was put into one he was quite a new man /* But, Mrs. Gardiner. I had taken leave of her, as I thought, by the wash-house door, and was hurrying towards the wicket-gate, when her voice apprised me that she was still following me. “There is one thing that you ought to see at any rate, if nobody else does.” And with gentle violence she drew me into a nook behind a privet hedge, and with some emotion asked me if I knew where I was. My answer of course was in the negative. “It’s Bucklersbury.” The words operated like a spell on my memory, and I immediately recognized the old civic shrubbery. Yes, there they were, the Persian Lilac, the Guelder Rose, the Monthly Rose, and the Laurustinus, but looking so fresh and flourish
ing, that it was no wonder I had not known them; and besides the chests and tubs were either gone, or plunged in the earth. “Not quite so grubby as I were in town,” said the Widow, “but the same plants. Old friends like, with new faces. Just take a sniff of my laylock — it’s the same smell as I had when in London, except the smoke. And there's my monthly rose —look at my complexion now. You remember how smudgy I was afore. Perhaps you'd like a little of me for old acquaintance,” and plucking from each, she thrust into my hand a bouquet big enough for the Lord Mayor's coachman on the Ninth of November. “Yes, we’ve all grown and blown together,” she continued, looking from shrub to shrub, with great affection. “We’ve withered and budded, and withered and budded, and blossomed and sweetened the air. We're interesting, ain't we?” O very — there’s a sentiment in every leaf. “Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. I often come here to enjoy 'em, and have a cry — for you know he smelt 'em and admired 'em as well as us,” and the mouldy glove might again have had to wipe a moistened eye, but for an alarm familiar to her ear, though not to mine, except through her interpretation. “My peas my peas old Jones's pigeons !” And rushing off to the defence of her Blue Prussians, she gave me an opportunity of which I availed myself by retreating in the opposite direction, and through the wicket. It troubles me to this day that I cannot remember the shutting it; my mind misgives me that in my haste to escape it was most probably left open, like Abon Hassan's door, and with as unlucky consequences. Even as I write, distressing images of a ruined Eden rise up before my fancy — cocks and hens scratching in flower borders — pigs routing up stocks or rolling in tulips — a horse cropping rose-buds, and a bullock in Bucklersbury l and all this perhaps not a mere vision I That woeful figure with starting tears and clasped hands contemplating the scene of havoc, not altogether a fiction Under this doubt, it will be no wonder that I have never revisited the Widow, or that when I stroll in the suburbs my steps invariably lead me in any other direction than towards Paradise Place.
I HAVE told a lie
I have written the thing that is not, and the truth came not from my pen. There was deceit in my ink, and my paper is stained with a falsehood. Nevertheless, it was in ignorance that I erred, and consequently the lie is white.
When I told you, Gentle Reader, that any day you pleased you might behold my heroine, Mrs. Gardiner, I was not aware that Mrs. Gardiner was no more.
“No more | *
No — for by advices just received, she is now Mrs. Burrel, the wife of the quondam little old Bachelor at Number Eight.
# what !—married Why then she did go over the wall to him as she promised.”
No, miss — he came over to her.
“What!—By a rope ladder.”
No — there was no need for so romantic an apparatus. The wall, as already described, was a dwarf one, about breast high, over which an active man, putting one hand on the top, might have vaulted with ease. How Mr. Burrel, unused to such gymnastics, contrived to scramble over it, he did not know himself; but as he had scraped the square toes of each shoe — damaged each drab knee — frayed the front of his satin waistcoat — and scratched his face, the probability is, that after clambering to the summit, he rolled over, and pitched headlong into the scrubby holly-bush on the other side.
For a long time it appears, without giving utterance to the slightest sentiment of an amorous nature, he had made himself particular, by constantly haunting the dwarf wall that divided him from the widow, - overlooking her indeed more than was proper or pleasant. For once, however, he happened to look at the right moment, for casting his eyes towards Number Nine, he saw that his fair neighbor was in a very disagreeable and dangerous predicament—in short, that she was in her own water-butt, heels upwards.
He immediately jumped over the brick partition, and bellowing for help, succeeded, he knew not how, in hauling the unfortunate lady from her involuntary bath.
“Then it was not a suicide P” By no means, madam. It was simply from taking her hobby to water. In plainer phrase, whilst endeavoring to establish an aquatic lily in her waterbutt, she overbalanced herself and fell in. The rest may be guessed. Before the Widow was dry, Mr. Burrel had declared his passion — Gratitude whispered that without him she would have been “no better than a dead lignum vitae" — and she gave him her hand. The marriage day, however, was not fixed. At the desire of the bride, it was left to a contingency, which was resolved by her “orange-flowering” last Wednesday—and so ended the “Horticultural Romance" of Mrs. Gardiner.
A T A L E 0 F T E R R 0 R.
THE following story I had from the lips of a well-known Aeronaut, and nearly in the same words.
It was on one of my ascents from Vauxhall, and a gentleman of the name of Mavor had engaged himself as a companion in my aerial excursion. But when the time came his nerves failed him, and I looked vainly around for the person who was to occupy the vacant seat in the car. Having waited for him till the last possible moment, and the crowd in the gardens becoming impatient, I prepared to ascend alone; and the last cord that attached me to the earth was about to be cast off, when suddenly a strange gentleman pushed forward and volunteered to go up with me into the clouds. He pressed the request with so much earnestness, that having satisfied myself by a few questions of his respectability, and received his promise to submit in every point to my directions, I consented to receive him in lieu of the absentee; whereupon he stepped with evident eagerness and alacrity into the machine. In another minute we were rising above the trees; and in justice to my companion, I must say, that in all my experience, no person at a first ascent had ever shown such perfect coolness and self-possession. The sudden rise of the machine, the novelty of the situation, the real and exaggerated dangers of the voyage, and the cheering of the spectators, are apt to cause some trepidation, or at any rate excitement in the boldest individuals; whereas the stranger was as composed and comfortable as if he had been sitting quite at home in his own librarychair. A bird could not have seemed more at ease, or more in its element, and yet he solemnly assured me upon his honor, that he had never been up before in his life. Instead of exhibiting any alarm at our great height from the earth, he evinced the liveliest pleasure whenever I emptied one of my bags of sand, and even once or twice urged me to part with