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DUTCH BULBS & GARDENS

CHAPTER I

ON GETTING THERE

UNDOUBTEDLY the way to go to the Bulb Gardens of Holland is to go the way by which the bulbs come to England. Or at least follow that route to a certain extent -- the bulbs usually make part of the inland journey in their own country by canal boat, neither a very possible nor a very comfortable proceeding for the average traveller. But for the rest, their route is the one for those who have leisure and who want to get to the gardens in the most suitable way.

One boards a little Dutch steamer at the Tower Stairs, a steamer that seems in the greatest hurry to be off, but never is, though everyone and everything, including the steam escape, are very busy till it finally shrieks itself under the Tower Bridge and so down the river. These steamers are sometimes slightingly referred to as cargo boats, and certainly the bulbs, in their clean white packing eases, come to England that way; and when they are not coming, Dutch cheeses in quantity and other things take their place. But the passenger accommodation has much to recommend it. I remember a large deck cabin, much larger and lighter than a good deal of the first-class accommodation on the great Indian and Australian liners. I remember sheets of stout Low Country linen, reminiscent in their scent of woodruff of the Spanish mahogany dower chests where housewives lay up their gear with the aromatic herb. I remember a snug place with a swinging lamp and lockers, more suggestive of the cabin of the "Schooner Hesperus," when "the skipper had taken his little daughter to bear him company," than the saloon of a cross-Channel steamer. It is true the food is Dutch, but if, as not infrequently happens, one is sole passenger, one has it when and where one pleases, which is a compensation. It is true, too, there is no stewardess, and not often anyone who speaks much English on board, and that the journey takes rather long, but these are trifles.

By choosing the right tide, one drops down the river in the afternoon, in itself an interesting and instructive thing; spends the night at sea, which if one has to go to sea seems the best time to spend there; and, if it is summer, sees the piers of Ymuenden when sea and sky look like the two halves of a pink pearl in the dawn. After Ymuenden one is in the Great Canal of Amsterdam, and it is a bad sailor who can then find reason to object to the motion or vibration. The latter appears principally to be connected with the steam whistle, which gives notice of approach to railway bridges, and the former to be rather conspicuous by its absence. Children driving goats to pasture and early astir pedestrians seem as if they could easily outdistance the very steady and matronly pace of the little steamer. But it is quite suitable, everything else on the water moves at the same pace, which agreeably allows of greeting and conversation with occasional sister craft, even allows of learning what they have for breakfast on board. And no doubt it is necessary, -- the banks which shut the canal from the land, usually lying below the water-level, are very soft; even as it is, dredgers, those most fascinating craft of childhood, are eternally at work.

It appears to be the cautious custom of the country not to open the swing railway bridges within twenty minutes of the scheduled time of a train's coming. As the trains do not invariably keep time, there are occasionally long waits for the steamers, which, being privately owned, wait the good pleasure of the State-owned railways. But it does not very much matter, there is the better chance to look around and see the country, which is so very flat here that there is a great deal of it to be seen; and so wide and peaceful that it puts to rest the sense of hurry. One who goes to the bulb gardens does well to put that sense to rest, for, seen hastily, run through in a few hours or a day at most, they produce little but an impression of sheets of gorgeous colour, which might possibly have been more beautiful had they been otherwise arranged. Time is wanted to see them, the leisureliness which regards them as gardens rather than as so many acres of scarlet, blue, or white, and the opportunity of knowing a few of the flowers individually. It is for this reason, among others, and as a suitable preparation to the leisurely observation, that a man does well to go to the gardens the way the bulbs come; and does well to possess his soul in patience, while the Dutch captain attends the pleasure of the man who minds the bridge, and while the steamer creeps up to Amsterdam.

The national virtue of Holland, the Holland one sees from the canal, is industry; not energy exactly, certainly not ' hustle' or any kindred thing, but industry, coupled with a neatness which keeps even the ditches tidy, and does not allow of that inalienable right of the English rural dweller, the garden rubbish-heap. The Dutch strike one as more industrious than anything else in the world, unless perhaps ants, to a community of which, it must be admitted, they bear some resemblance. The national ideal, at least in the bulb district, is cleanliness. About the highest praise to be bestowed on anything is that it is clean. A fine tulip bulb in its shining yellow-brown skin is extolled as "so clean "; the curious sandy soil in which the bulbs grow is spoken of with pride as always clean; the great compliment to be paid to a bulb barn is that it is clean. Possibly one of the advantages of the growers' work is that it is clean.,

It is, I believe, customary to speak of Amsterdam as the Venice of the North. For one who has not seen Venice it is impossible to draw a comparison, but it seems difficult to imagine much resemblance between them -- beyond the fact that both possess canals and houses and history. Amsterdam somehow reminds one of Dickens' novels, it is immensely interesting, rather crowded, real, busy, homely, and genuine; not suggestive of devastating passions or high romance exactly, but very comfortable and wholesome. One would expect it to dine early, to attend to business, and have a substantial supper. This is not meant to imply that everyone in Amsterdam does these things, only that that is the general impression produced by the town. One can perfectly understand Amsterdam being the diamond mart of the world; but one cannot imagine an Amsterdamer ruining himself to buy a parure for some fair woman's caprice; or an Amsterdamess jeopardising her immortal soul to secure some special jewel. One no more expects it than one expects the Jews, who are the art dealers and bijou connoisseurs of the world, to be the producers of these same articles. Not that one thinks the less of them on that account. Artists and romancists and subjects of the grand passion, though no doubt adding to the joy of nations, make indifferent folk to live with; the sturdy man of business and the shrewd and kindly citizen might be a deal better for everyday use -- and most lives consist principally of such usings. In Amsterdam one can perfectly understand the famous struggle with Spain and some of the difficulties of the Boer War. But one cannot help feeling that, just as the French Revolution and the '45 are not in the nature of the people, neither are the ways and doings of Renaissance Italy.

From Amsterdam one goes by train to Haarlem, capital of the bulb country; and if one holds any hearsay opinions as to the unexcitable nature of the Dutch people, one corrects them on the way. Phlegmatic in big matters they may be, but in small ones -- No. It is only necessary to observe them seeing each other off at the railway station or starting one of their not too expeditious trains to realise that. The excitement of getting the people in, of arranging seats when in, closing windows and placing the inordinate quantity of packages everyone seems to carry, is astonishing to the Englishman. So too, rather, is the amount of help and service required by the exceedingly capable Holland women. A Holland lady never seems to think of opening a carriage door for herself; one imagines she would almost sooner go past the desired station than do so, though such a catastrophe could not well happen, for, in good time, she uplifts her voice and excitedly calls upon all and sundry to let her out, if no one has, unasked, come to do it. She never attempts to board the train without at least one assistant; if she be stout, two. In the latter ease it is not altogether unnecessary, for the steps are steep, the door narrow, and the stations, like others on the Continent, guiltless of platforms; the difficulties of getting a really fat and baggage-laden lady in are considerable. Inside the train she is very helpless about her belongings and prepared to east herself upon the kindness of any or all men; outside Mevrouw is as capable as any woman in the world. The peculiarity probably arises from the fact that Holland, in some respects, is still rather mid-Victorian; the women, at all events, cling to the ideal of feminine helplessness in public places which was counted becoming in that era.

Haarlem, it is said, is behind the rest of Holland; with what truth I do not know, I know no other part half so well. It is a town not quite like any other, so quiet and bright, so small scale busy with its own concerns, so essentially cosy. There is there a feeling of attending to your own business, and the price of meat mattering more than the Messina earthquake (as, indeed, it is conceivable it may to a good many people); and also a feeling of comfort and the settled home life; the hearth swept and the children coming down to tea. The whole town is intersected by canals, the which, always busy and doing away with a good deal of road traffic, may help to produce the quiet, bright, yet active feeling. The houses, many of them, are right on to the street, with windows low, so that one can hardly help seeing in and having a momentary and intimate glimpse of the lives of the inhabitants. This may help to give the comfortable homely feeling -- it is hard to say, really impossible to say, what produces and wherein lies the spirit and atmosphere of a town.

At Haarlem station it is customary for those who have come in the bulb flowering time of April and May to hire a carriage and go the route prescribed by the driver; thus, without leaving their seats, seeing the gardens, and carrying away the impression of a patchwork quilt of flowers. An arrangement of foursquare bits of colour, separated from each other by as yet scantily-leafed hedges, and, here and there, intersected by pieces of ground resting from bulb culture, and either bare or green with vegetables, which, from sheer exhaustion, if not contrariness, the eye is inclined to prefer to the gorgeous flower patches. But that is not the way to see the bulb gardens. It is better, for one who has leisure, to go first in early summer, when the great mass of flowers is over, and only the later and fewer bulbs are in bloom; when there is opportunity to know them as individuals, and appreciate the exquisite contrast of iris colours and green hedges, and to see to full advantage ranunculus, and the early blooming gladioli, and the hundred varieties of the lily tribe. To see them, as the unaccustomed eye cannot see them when it first meets flowers in sheets, field after field of colour. In June, then, come to Haarlem; there take a tram, and do not forget that the chances are some one in the vehicle will understand English very well indeed. And when the tram has come as near as may be to the destination, walk the rest of the way to the house of the grower. To see the bulb flowers without the grower is not to see them. On arrival at the house there is usually a meal first. It is always mid-day "coffee-drinking" in my memories, and there is never much talk of the flowers at it; questions, rather, about people in England and Holland, and perhaps about fashions and food, and the length of the winter, and the health of Mevrouw. After that there is a rest, during which Mevrouw offers cordials and home-made liquors of a most excellent order, and den Heer finishes important letters. After that, walk forth to the flowers.

The gardens are sometimes rather far from the house, and often not very near each other, one man owning or renting several at considerable distances apart. Some of the younger men use bicycles to get from one to the other, some of the elder tricycles, which seems a doubtful expedient, seeing the nature of the roads. One old man who used the latter method, and wished to try the former, wept tears of sheer rage when his wife and family interfered, for the sake of his safety, to prevent him from learning to ride the swifter machine. And, being Dutch not French, he was not content with weeping, but proceeded to frustrate their well-meant interference. Of an evening, when by his own account he was late working in the office, he took his son's bicycle to a bulb barn, and, by the light of a lantern, rode it up and down the centre aisle. He damaged himself a good deal from time to time, and the bicycle somewhat; but he was not discovered. He explained his own injuries in various ingenious, if not strictly truthful, ways; and of the bicycle's he was never suspected, although he showed himself generous in subscribing to the cost of repairing the mysteriously caused damage. He spent most of the evenings of one winter in this way. It took him all that time to at all master the machine. He was less apt than determined, and, had he not been bent on proving his independence, he might have given up. But he was bent, very seriously -- one knows the concentration with which he ground up and down the barn aisle night after night, peering with short-sighted eyes for unseen obstacles among the lantern shadows, and colliding with the same corner at the same time each turn. In the spring he bought a second-hand bicycle. He was too good a man of business to risk the price of a new one on his own proficiency as a rider on the roads; moreover, he wanted a machine with solid tyres, he preferred the substantiality. On his purchase he rode proudly to his own door, and dismounted in time to save himself from falling off at his wife's feet. He is now occasionally to be seen on the roads, a proud and perspiring man. It is true, he does not ride his bicycle very much when his wife is not about to protest and object, but he is always (verbally at least) all enthusiast about it. It is his opinion that the roads of Holland are the most excellent in the world for cycles. They are, he says, no matter what the weather, always so clean. That is true, clean they are; but good ! -- it is a matter of opinion. There is a foot-wide brick track in the centre, deep sand everywhere else; at least such are the roads to the bulb gardens I know best.

But in den Heer's case part of the bulb land was round the house. He had other farther away. Land so near Haarlem is too valuable for a man to own all he wants there. It would, of course, be to this near garden he would go when the important letters were finished and the visitor rested. It is no impressionist picture of colour splashes to be got there, but detailed, like an old Dutch painting. You do not see the stretches of blue and yellow iris, you see the flowers. They are individuals to den Heer, not masses. He knows them, or, at least, representatives among them. He stops before the long strip of new iris -- mixed sorts raised from seed, in the hope of producing some variety worth saving and propagating.

"Ah, Ah!" he will purr as he touches some one among them, "here we have a good flower, the violet -- the true violet -- observe the eye."

You observe the flower, and the three plush spots on the lower petals, and do not perceive it to be very different, or, to tell the truth, very superior to anything you have seen before. But he perceives it and has already marked the plant.

"This we will multiply," he says, "in time you will see this in the catalogues. You shall give it a name."

You give one, the name of the boat that brought you to Holland perhaps, or perhaps "Amethyst," in honour of the purple tone which den Heer perceives, although you do not. And then you turn to admire another flower, a perfect blue, which seems very beautiful. But the chances are your admiration is misplaced.

"It is nothing," den Heer says with a shrug, at the same time cutting the bloom for you with the smallest and sharpest of knives. "There are many as fine, many better, the Darling, the Solfatare, both more blue. Did this, now, show any rosy markings, that would be something indeed in Iris hispanica."

It no doubt would, though possibly not an improvement in the eyes of the uninitiated. If you are of this opinion, you do not say so, but follow den Heer among the flowers, noticing how one here and there is marked out for the honour of multiplication. A somewhat remote honour, which will not bring them into catalogue fame yet; may not bring them at all. For this reason the naming of the purple iris is hardly important, little more than a graceful compliment to the namer. The chances are rather in favour of the flower not being found worthy of founding a family to use the name; and even if it were, like the thousands of babies daily named, there is small likelihood of its achieving great fame.

Beyond the irises, divided by a high hornbeam screen, there are white gladioli; from the distance little but an irregular white blur in a small field they do not fill; but near spotless flowers, bending like a bevy of shy girls at their first communion, or novices waiting their bridal with the Church. Den Heer will stop to tell you which is the "true Bride," the perfect snow-white flower with no suspicion of purple on the stamen tips or faintly tinging the depth of the throat. He will tell you how the beautiful Bride, no matter how carefully grown and selected, has a tendency in these faint colour stains to show its remote ancestor, the ugly little magenta flower of the Canary Islands. He will also pick out for you the full flower head, twenty florets on a stalk, five open at once, a perfection by no means always obtained.

By the white gladioli is a great patch of the taller and later blooming sort, not yet fully out, but already showing hints of their gorgeous colours, salmon and scarlet, pale yellow and delicate mauve. All the many tints to be found among them since the discovery of varieties at the Cape (where, by the way, the corms are eaten by the Hottentots) has allowed of endless crossings and hybridisings, and has removed them in beauty far from the few indigenous European sorts. Those of which Parkinson wrote with the satisfaction of one catching a famous rival tripping: "Gerard mistaketh the French kind for the Italian."

In the ground which surrounds the grower's house are to bc found the choice varieties. This ground is not often divided into big fields devoted to some one or two kinds of bulbs only. It is more usually given up to smaller patches of special flowers, or new flowers, things which need care, or watching, or else are experiments. It is here there is likely to have been first seen green ixias (Ixia viridiflora) in bloom, and the strange sound of their dry rustling heard, -- the sound which, taken in conjunction with their colour, the blue-green of mildew, is somehow suggestive of Jeremiah's valley of dry bones. Here, too, will be Californian tulips (Calochortus), and the rare great iris of Persia (Iris Susiana), and other things in their season; always much more than can be seen before Mevrouw, standing at the house door, claps her hands to tell that dinner is ready.

To go to the more distant gardens, it is well to choose the morning, if it is spring, the time of the bulbs which have made Holland famous. A windy time, this, in Holland, one well understands then the advantage of pollarding the trees. Also one understands the necessity of the high hedges or screens which separate the garden into squarish patches. They are sometimes of beech, more often hornbeam, they quite enclose the piece of land, only at each corner there is a Square-cut gateless gap, which makes a large area, seen from a distance, suggestive of a gigantic maze. In hyacinth time they are, of course, quite bare of leaves, unless one counts a few yellow ones of last year clinging here and there, a beautiful sombre background to the astonishing vivid delicacy of the flowers. It is a wonderful sight, more especially when one stands among them -- rows of wax pink hyacinths, each perfect and each set in its circle of bright green leaves; behind, the purple brown of the bare hedge; beyond, a glimpse of blue flowers, or pale yellow, or still more dazzling white. A sight wonderful when one stands among them, but also to be appreciated afterwards from a distance -- preferably from the windows of the gardener's little house. If the wind is very cold and den Heer is going to be very long in conference with the gardener, it is possible that, after a certain time, one can admire them more from within over such coffee as the gardener's wife makes. A cup of such coffee, a footstool filled with hot charcoal, and a chair in the most shining kitchen possible to conceive of, are not to be despised, while den Heer, outside, talks about the cutting down of the hyacinth flowers.

To us who grow hyacinths in pots or in beds, where the failure of one is like a missing front tooth, the cutting down of the flowers seems almost a ruthless thing. We admit that it must be necessary, or it would not be done, but we feel that the men who do it ought to have some compunction about it. Though why they should be expected to feel it more than the mowers who cut the equally beautiful flowers in the English hayfields does not appear. The bulbs in Holland are grown for their roots as much as are carrots and potatoes, as much as the grass is grown for hay. It is the poet, not the mower, who sighs over the flowers of the grass that perish; and the poet, if he happens to own hay-fields, does not hesitate to give orders for the cutting at the proper time. And the mower, if he has an eye for beauty, admires the flowers, even though he says nothing about it, and cuts them down to order. A boat-load of cut hyacinth flowers, with their beauty, and their scent, and their cutting off at highest perfection may touch the imagination more than a four-ounce bottle of heavy red- brown oil, which represents the life and fragrance of half a square mile of jasmine flowers. But it should not, if the jasmine was only grown that the oil might be made, the hyacinths equally are only grown that their roots may be fine and saleable; and when their wellbeing demands the cutting of the flowers there is no sacrifice in their going, for to this end they grew and matured and came to flower.

There is yet one other way of going to see a bulb garden, for those who are fortunate enough to know a grower who owns one at a so situated spot. Den Heer owned one, and on a June afternoon we went to it, his son, den Heer Karel, and I. We started from a small quay in Haarlem, travelling by boat -- a boat not so much bigger than a barge, which carried a miscellaneous cargo, and a captain and crew -- two souls inclusive. Captain was clean, crew rather dirty, for a Dutchman, but both very polite. They raised their hats on the slightest provocation, -- it would really have saved trouble if they had kept them off altogether while I was about, and shook hands most formally with all quayside friends before casting off. There was one other passenger, an old peasant woman, with a beautiful head-dress with spiral gold wires standing out over her ears. She hugged a small goat all the voyage, as if she were afraid of its jumping overboard, or eating the green stuff which was part of her luggage, though, since she sat on that and she was a voluminous person, it is difficult to see how it could have managed to do so. There was not much to sit on besides one's luggage if one had any, or that part of the cargo which was smooth enough and firm enough to provide a seat. It is possible den Heer Karel did not quite like the expedition. He had a feeling that it "was singular," and if there is one thing a Dutchman does not like, it is to look singular. Maybe it is this clinging to the conventionalities, which we have rather lost, which gives one the feeling of having gone back some decades when one is among them.

But den Heer Karel was goodness itself, and, without a word of protest, made the expedition. We steamed down the canal -- a narrow canal lying in the old part of the town, where old purple-red houses, with green shutters, and tales haunting their every doorway and steep gable-end, came down to the water's edge; where broad brown craft lay crowded along the water side, and red-capped men lowered barrels from upper stories, and wooden-shod women, with their skirts girt high, clattered down the step, which alone stood between their back doors and the waterway, to fill empty pails, or empty full ones. A life and a folk strangely suggestive, at least to the foreigner, of those of Haarlem city in the days of the Spanish occupation.

The boat did not go fast that June day; indeed, once afloat in her, it was possible to realise at what a really superior speed Amsterdam had been approached on the great canal. It was also now possible to think of that canal as "great." It was very great in comparison to this one. But even at this rate of progress Haarlem was left behind before very long, and on either side was green country. A very straight white road ran by the canal on one side. It was by this on his bicycle den Heer Karel would have gone to the bulb garden had he been alone. A remark on the subject drew from him the assurance that it was much cooler to go this way, and that the glaring white dust of the road often hurt his eyes. The which, with its dwelling on the one point of the journey agreeable to him, seems more really graceful than an assurance of delight in it; this even if he had not added, "besides, then I should not have had company, and now I have, which is pleasant." There is a certain sincere politeness among the Dutch, which is attractive in its simplicity, and at its best recalls the Quakers.

I have been told that the village to which I went that day is surprisingly wicked. The same has been told of every village, except one, with which I have come in contact in England. Possibly, usually, with some truth, though the surprise may have lain more in the nature of the surprisee -- it is hard not to think of picturesque cottages and green fields as Gardens of Eden-than in the outrageous iniquity of the villagers. Certainly den Heel- Karel was no connoisseur of wickedness in any of its branches; he would be likely to find surprising most varieties that came to his notice among the village people whom he individually knew. His uncle, who was the pastor of the village, was of something the same sort, though, so the nephew said, he did not know half the bad things which were done there. The which was easy to believe when one met the pastor, a white-haired old man, whose hopeful eyes saw always the best iii human nature, and whose unconscious saintship inevitably drew out the best, so that the most unrighteous, from shame or from sympathy, made efforts to be righteous in his company.

In the gardens, which were reached at the end of this leisurely voyage, ranunculi were in bloom -- a flower not often to be met in quantity in England, where it is not popular. Why, is not clear, certainly one might have thought it old-fashioned enough to have returned to favour with straight-backed chairs and china dogs and cottage ornaments. The more admired anemones were nearly over that day, only a few crimson and purple flowers remained, so wide open that their black centres were all revealed. They still stood stiff and straight on their stalks, not bending to every breeze, like the ranunculi, which were a mass of dancing rosettes, scarlet for the most part, though at the far corner of the field there was a narrow strip of ivory-white ones, a beautiful colour contrast.

We were still looking at the flowers when the pastor found us, and carried us home to the Pastorie to tea. Tea in handle-less cups, brought from China, long before the ports were open to any but the sturdy old Dutch traders, and handed down from mother to daughter without written bequest, but inalienable as an English coronet. The maidservant, I remember, brought in her cup, not a little handle-less one, but a good substantial young basin, and her mistress filled it from the pot when we had all been served. She was a rosy-checked bare-armed maid, close relation, one might think, to Miss Matty's invaluable Martha, or, in appearance, to Peggotty of greater fame. Like Martha in her taste for the lads, so her mistress said -- a perhaps excusable fault, seeing that many of the water-going profession -- a class notoriously adept at love-making -- were always coming and going to the otherwise quiet little village. Like Martha, too, she was in her unabashed interest in strangers. It was the most wide-eyed attention she bestowed on me, and with the most obvious reluctance that she left the room, with me in it, when she had got her tea.

It was rather a dark little room, though it had two windows; one, decorously veiled by hand-netted curtains, looking on to the cheeriness of the village street; and one on to the small garden, where samples of all the choice bulbs from the great grower in Haarlem were set, and usually failed to bloom, for the pastor, unlike his brother, was a poor gardener. On the other side of the passage was another room, the pastor's study it may have been called. There were no deep-seated leather chairs there -- the chairs were mostly wood, and not inviting to repose; nor any richly sombre rows of leather-bound books, there were only three books, a Bible and two others, and they were shabbily bound. Rather a bare room, the white scrubbed floor quite carpet-less, except for a very small island of mat, which modestly hid itself under the table. The folk who came to see the pastor on questions of mutual dispute or individual difficulty, or any other of the hundred troubles of common humanity, would seem to have been many. They were the sort that wear wooden shoes, hard on carpets and great carriers of dirt, the wife said, and she, no doubt, thought they would be happier if they had not to keep such things in mind-as her husband certainly was. He was most at home, good mail, dispensing the wisdom of comfort in his carpet-less room, with his Bible and tobacco lying together on the deal table, and the smoke of his pipe and his guests' curling to the sunny yellow-washed walls. The big window of this room looked out on to the quay, and from it the pastor could nod greeting to half his parishioners of a morning, and see, if he knew how to look, a good deal of their doings. Even while we stood there that day, one of us very conscious of the quiet brightness, the simple saintliness of the place, the captain of our lately left boat came up on the deck of his little vessel. He came to greet a girl -- the fourth he had kissed, with the well-received amorousness of at least betrothed rights, in my short acquaintance with him. But the pastor did not know that, it was not the sort of thing he knew. He knew how the captain had carried Johan Vorst's bulbs to Haarlem free that year, when the poor fellow lost so much in the floods; how he brought the widow's firing every winter, and how he gave a job to Crooked Jan when he came back from prison, and no one else (but the pastor) would give him a helping hand. These were the things the pastor always knew -- Blessings on the folk who always know the best of us, and expect it, too!

But this is not concerning Dutch bulb fields, it has floated rather far from the subject, like the little canal boat. Yet in a way it concerns them, for to appreciate the flowers, and not only to see them as so many streaks of colour or so many acres of blossoming roots, it is perhaps well to know something of the life and ways of the people who grow them -- a people who have been the greatest gardeners, and some of the greatest sea-carriers and collectors of the world for 400 years; who, with much that is new, have kept a good deal that is old, and who are perhaps less like what we are than what we used to be.

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