« AnteriorContinua »
be in flame, all native government which resisted the movement being first swept out of the path. It is not probable that the movement would spread farther. It is barred southwards by tribes still pagan, Arabia never obeys any initiative but her own, and the Turkish government would feel only jealousy of an outburst which, if defeated, would cost it all influence in Africa, and if successful, might evolve a rival, and perhaps hostile Khalifate. Turks are not loved by other Mussulman races, nor do they love them. As to India, where Mr. Threlfall, we see, expects commotion, the only powerful Mussulman Prince is a Shah of the Persian kind, and the general Mussulman population, besides accepting its guidance from Mecca, is greatly hampered by its geographical position, scattered as it is everywhere among Hindoos. The Mahommedans, when vivified by a descent of their more energetic co-religionists from the north, have twice conquered India, but at this moment all the fighting races, Sikh, Ghoorka, and Mahratta, are Hindoo. The great Indian insurrection, whenever it comes-and it may not come for a century, or may never come --will be, we think, like the Mutiny, an explosion of Asiatic rather than religious feeling.
As to the direction of the movement it is most difficult to form an opinion. The line of least resistance would be southwards, the Senoussi ordering his followers to conquer practically the whole interior of Africa from Libya to the Congo, and consolidating the dozen or so half-Mussulman States which exist there into one enormous monarchy. This would, on the whole, be the best direction for the interests of Europe, for she would have ample time to arrange her defence, and might even, if the Senoussi were an able ruler, arrange with him some endurable modus vivendi. On the other hand, every Arab in the world, whether pure-blooded or
half-blooded, regards Egypt as a treasure house which properly belongs to him, and the Desert forces, urged by the hope of plunder, may, through the Hinterland of Barca, precipitate themselves upon the Nile. The fear of England is, however, on all the tribes of Central Africa. The French have been enemies of the Senoussi for forty years, and the impulse which, in the early Middle Ages, drove the Arabs steadily westward till they were stopped by the Atlantic may impel them again. The Senoussi has scores of thousands of disciples in Tunis, Algeria, and Morocco, and it is most probable that the storm: would first of all burst in that direction, the effort being to overwhelm all three, and so recover the whole of the ancient. Mahommedan Empire within Africa. In other words, the French, who in Algeria and Tunis are always holding a wolf by the ears, would have to endure. the fury of the first onset, and perhaps for a moment be overwhelmed by it. We should, however, have to assist them in withstanding it, first because the cause would be that of Europe against barbarism, and secondly because a revived Moorish Empire, holding the southern shore of the Mediterranean from Barca to Mogador, would soon make Egypt untenable by any white man. These, however, are speculations for the future; the present necessity is only to warn Europe that five hundred miles south of the Mediterranean a mighty cloud is gathering which any day may burst over North Africa and force Europe either to abandon its possessions and its hopes in that . vast region or to maintain them by the sword. We cannot do anything to avert the storm, but the stronger and more perfect our force of artillery is in Egypt the less we shall be taken by surprise. Brave as the followers of the Senoussi may be, they are not likely to . prove the superiors of Sikhs.
The dictum, “it is all a matter of and intelligence. It was not until Tutaste," has in it that soupçon of truth dor times that they could emerge into which may be found in many an ac- the world once more. It is to the state. cepted saying. It is true so far as it ly decorum of those days that the goes, but that is only a very little way. school of art appeals. But if Bacon disThe canons of taste are the verdict of courses rapturously of “Prince-like centuries of cultivated thought devoted gardens," Linnæus wept with delight to a given subject; and, though no one at the first field of gorse which he saw can be denied the right of private judg- in bloom. If the creation of a garden ment, the balance of truth will general- be an attempt to enhance the beauty of ly incline towards the experts. Their the world, there is room for all sorts opinions have already been sifted and of gardening; and if there be any spot over-ruled or modified; and to set aside from which the turmoil of controversy their garnered wisdom is an enterprise should be excluded, it is here. When not lightly to be undertaken.
Epicurus planted a garden, his design Our love of flowers has a long pedi- was not to provide an incentive to disgree, for though the gardens of the Ro- putation, but a needful sedative. mans were laid waste during the bar- How completely this principle may be barism which followed their departure, overlooked is manifested by the first the gardener's art was revived by the two of the books before us. Possibly Church. War and rapine with the it were unreasonable to expect an archnecessity of protecting rather than em- itect and a landscape gardener to see bellishing the narrow precincts of a with the same eyes; yet there should be stronghold-were the employment of an intimate sympathy. The finished the laity. But within the peaceful picture should lie before the mind's eye walls of the monastery the gentler arts of the architect; but years before the found a retreat; and the work of ac- first stone is laid, the trees and shrubs, climatization was carried on with zeal which are to be the main features of
the garden, should be started on their • 1. The Wild Garden. By W. Robinson.
career. The quarrel might well have Fourth edition. London: John Murray, 1894. 2. Garden Craft, Old and New. By John D.
been avoided had each author known Sedding. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, and Co., better how to entrench himself within 1896.
his position and recognize his limita3. Wood and Garden. By Gertrude Jekyll. London: Longmans, 1899.
tions. The "garden enclosed,” with its
ordered grace and sweetness, is not effect. “There are loftier scenes," as necessarily a "stone yard," a mechan- Hawthorne says, “in many countries ic's playground, a Dutchman's fad; nor, than the best that England can show; on the other hand, does freedom from but for the picturesqueness of the the trammels of art imply a wilderness. smallest object that lies under its genOn one side there is the disciple of Na- tle gloom and sunshine there is no ture,' to whom the plumb-line, the scenery like it anywhere." shears, and the foot-rule are anathema; Before passing to the general considon the other there is the trained artist, eration of our subject we must notice with his quick sensibility and rever- one of the latest contributions to the ence for the antique beauty of a state- swelling tide of garden literature. The lier time, to whom a garden represents pleasant scenes which the author of Nature glorified by its passage through “Wood and Garden" conjures up before man's mind-the living memorial of her readers' eyes have the merit of a dead past.
To one the "immortal realism, being record of work Brown" is the apostle of a nobler and achieved. The catalogue of failures, of a living creed. To the other he is a bar- which works of this nature too often barian, who would wheel away the very consist, may provide amusement to gods of Greece.
some and afford a warning to others. Happily, the dispute is none of ours. But they suggest the inquiry, Why not We are not called upon to walk with subordinate your hopes to the condiBacon and Temple and Evelyn among tions under which you have to work? their pleached alleys, dappled with Success is, on the whole, a healthier tender gloom, nor to appraise the mo- diet than disappointment. Miss Jekyll tives of those who swept away their pays a just tribute to the influence work. It is to Nature, a more exact- which Mr. Robinson's publications ing mistress than either, that we are have exercised upon the art of gardencalled upon to do homage. The true ing; yet, while disclaiming any desire gardener must possess the attributes of to rival the plant-lore collected in his both the poet and the artist; and ac- works, she gives horticultural hints cordingly both factions have laid claim which the tyro will welcome and the to their advocacy. Milton, Herrick, expert will not despise. Herbert, and Donne are suffused with The assumption that we have seen garden imagery. But before we de- the last of the dreary formalism of the scend to Thomson, as the propounder of interregnum is to bury the dead past a naturalistic style, it must be remem- too summarily. It ignores the caprice bered that it was among the woods and of fashion, against which even a thing by the streams that Chaucer and many of beauty cannot strive successfully. another English bard loved to go a- The value of varieties is in no way maying. Gainsborough's school called in question by suggesting that doubtedly had its influence; but the a novelty is not necessarily more beaulandscape gardeners-pioneers of the tiful than the type, while it is very comWild Garden-cannot boast of having monly inferior in hardihood. There is infected the national taste with their true enthusiasm for the beautiful in love of scenery. For, co-existing with Miss Jekyll's work, and there is a clear the extreme of artificiality in garden perception of the fact that in proporcraft, there ever lingered in the English tion as the gardener makes this his aim, character the love of woodland, flower he will contribute to the world's happi. and field. Our climate may be toujours ness and to the restfulness of his own affreux, but it is favorable to scenic spirit. “Sweet peas on tiptoe for a
flight” need not be grown prosaically pulling down, and levelling were their between rows of sticks; and if “the rul- watchwords; and the result was the ing grace" that tended Shelley's garden bare even surface which taxed all the was too ethereal for mortal imitation. ingenuity of those who undertook to her spirit still haunts the gardener's repair their errors. It is curious to note ideal.
the enthusiasm with which the new The reaction against the traditional ideas were hailed. Brown-acclaimed formal garden set in during the early "the immortal” by his contemporaries part of the eighteenth century. -was their chief exponent. To him creased formality-and that often of a and his coadjutor Kent is due the devulgar and puerile character-had come struction of many of the most finished in the train of the Dutch dynasty. The specimens of formal garden craft work of the great masters of their which ever adorned a country. craft had been debased in its passage A little more Nature might have been through feeble hands, and fell a ready admissible, but not the drastic remedy prey to the destructive criticism which of wheeling away terraces and walls, was the fashion of the hour. Horace and laying open the "garden enclosed" Walpole had little difficulty in bringing as a foreground to the distant landridicule upon the taste which conde. scape. When this change had been efscended to embellish our gardens with fected it was found too often that the “giants, animals, monsters, coats of landscape was not Nature. It bore the arms, mottoes in yew, box and holly." mark of man's handicraft-the only difThese were the stock-in-trade of the ference being that it was of a coarser London gardeners of the day, who dealt character. It needs the kindly Heimweh in “fine-cut greens and clipt yews in of an American to find sanctity, as the shape of birds, dogs, men, and Hawthorne did, in an English turnipships.” Pope lent the aid of his rail- field. It was quickly discovered that lery, and the tribe of critics and essay
forefathers valued a screen for ists extolled the charms of Nature, other reasons besides the peaceful sewhich were not powerful enough, how- clusion which it afforded. Hence arose ever, to entice them from their congen- the necessity of making Nature. Rocks, ial coffee-houses. The world seems to mounds and lakes had to be improvised, have grown captious and to have out- which failed of their effect because lived its enthusiasms as we contrast the they were not in keeping with the surwell-poised phrases of Addison with the roundings. Expenditure the most lavjoyous outburst of Gerarde: “Go for- ish, and taste the most consummate, warde in the name of God; graffe, set, can never cure what we term Nature's plant, nourishe up trees in every corner
defects. of your ground.”
That our gardens were not more enRevolution was in the air. There was tirely wrecked in their transition from a craving for deliverance from dog. Art to that parody of Nature which matic laws. Had the apostles of free- was substituted for it is due to the gendom been prepared with a new and ius and perseverance of Humphrey positive faith to take the place of that Repton. It is indicative of his liberal from which they emancipated them- mind that having begun by blessing he selves, all might have been well. But came near to cursing. He inveighs so intent were they upon destruction bitterly against the puerilities perpethat irretrievable mischief had been trated by Brown, whose habit it was wrought before the task of reconstruc- to destroy the natural contour of the tion could be undertaken. Opening out, ground by lowering every hillock and
filling every hollow, and who—such irreconcilable, it may suffice to summon was his penchant for what in this sense one typical witness, of whose inborn may be properly termed "artificial wat- sensitiveness to every phase and mood er"-ventured to excavate his lakes of Nature it were superfluous to speak. without any regard to the naturalness Read Wordsworth's idea of a garden, of the situation. Repton's philosophic and mark how fairly he, who in garden mind divined that the old must be craft was the equal of Bacon and Eveblended with the new. Instead of try- lyn, could hold the balance between ing to teach Nature better ways, he the rival schools. In a letter to Sir took her into partnership. His catholic George Beaumont, quoted by Mr. taste appeals to us from his pages. His Myers, he says: drawings, in which a plan of the new grounds fits over the old-with spaces Laying out grounds, as it is called, cut out to show such portions as were may be considered a liberal Art, in to be retained-prove that, like every
some sort like poetry and painting,
and its object is or ought to be to true gardener, he had a picture of the
move the affections under the control future in his mind's eye.
of good sense, that is, of the best and How difficult was his task may be wisest; but, speaking with more pregathered from the frequent references cision, it is to assist Nature in moving to the obstacles which he encountered. the affections of those who have the It must be remembered, too, in appre
deepest perception of the beauties of
Nature. ciating his work, that his best designs were often marred by the mischievous
We have noted the disestablishment intervention of his patrons. Not un
which overtook the old English garden naturally he demurs to the dictum that one who is always on the spot must
-reform degenerating into iconoclasm; know best. If so, a constant attendant
the attempts, always unavailing, to is, in time of need, a better adviser reconstitute the past; the chaos which than a physician.
ensued. We are still in the transition In the advertisement, which explains the scope of his
state, but that is the fashion of the day. treatise, published in 1803, he says:
Good may come of evil, but it behooves
us to remember that the break-up of a So difficult is the application of any system leaves us the difficult task of rules of Art to the works of Nature reconstruction without the aid of rules. that I do not presume to give this The wondrous enthusiasm which shed Book any higher title than “Observa
its glamor over the garden in Elizations tending to establish fixed Princi
bethan days has not spent itself. ples, in the Art of Landscape Garden
In our sober English fashion we still ing."
love flowers, though our praise takes And he adds:
something of that saddened tone which
is appropriate to a disillusioned era. In every other polite art there are In the garden, at least, there is no room certain established rules or general for despondency. The world's floral principles to which the professor may treasures which have been poured so appeal in support of his opinion; but
lavishly upon us are not yet exhausted. in Landscape Gardening every one de
The horticulturist, at any rate, may livers his sentiments or displays his taste as whim or caprice may dictate,
view with complacency the opening up without having studied the subject.
of China and the dark places of the
earth. To prove that Art and Nature are not The man of the world will see in all