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home-view in all the countryside. It is wintergreen (Trientalis Children love to play there, and europea), pride of the northern thither will many a lover and his woods. Why our English name lass stroll out on Sunday after- is wintergreen were hard to tell. noons. They never trouble about When in June their prime was the old grim past! whilst I, who done, the little white flowers loosed forget it never, often turn my steps hold and fell away-not petal by that way in fond iteration. A part petal, but whole, like scattered of the attraction simply means, it snow - stars. Then, along with must be owned, that after a long fresh green summer, the substance walk southward, to return round of leaves and stalks decayed, until by the Gallow Brae is usually the all the plant seemed dipped in a nearest way home.
brown autumnal dye. By-andAcross the moss—rich in June by each sombre coloured triple and July with golden sedge and leaf upheld a pearly seed or two. bog - buttercup, or white with Often in warm September days downy tufts of pussies (cotton- has this white seed deceived ungrass)—the uncertain track is lost wary strangers, who, forgetting -at times a little unaccountably, how the flowery time is long past, in a great voiceless pine - wood. think to find fresh blooms upon It may be found again on the the wintergreen. Soon these margin of a little lonely loch, brown reliquiæ with their pearls whence it leads back through the shall perish and burn away into pines, out into the cheerful roads. oblivion-small mimic flames of The Great Wood (so named by crimson. none except myself !) is not really Signs of some small arboreous very large, only its extent is life are
not wanting in the greater than some other neigh- wood. The ground is littered bouring woods. The charm of it with short ends and tassels of firis ideal. Even in autumn it is twigs nipt off from upper branches. all suffused with the fragrance of Squirrels mostly are accused of the firs. The tall trees stand the mischief (mischief far more apart, and give breathing-room for likely to be the work of the every kind of wood wild-flower to insidious pine - beetle).
A surer push up and thrive, through the token of the unseen active presbrown carpet of fallen fir-needles. ence somewhere of these little Patches of purple heather, with sportive beings is, that every red intervals of rosy ling, mix with "tode-stol” has been skinned on the bright emerald of wood-sorrel. the very first day of its appearing. Hosts of small scabious toss light In the brisk clear atmosphere of the balls of lilac wool in all the fir-wood no such unwelcome guest more open greener spaces, above as a "corpse candle," so called, will a network of creeping tormen- ever peer in among the throngs tilla. Ferns there are in pro- of fine tawny agarics springing fusest, daintiest variety, half-hid- up from under tawny fir-needles. ing scarcer crowberry with dark These, with shy violet ones that polished foliage. Thinly scattered enliven sometimes the moist dead through all the outer fringes of leaves lying underneath isolated the wood — luxuriantly crowding beech, seem to escape attention the deeper, cooler shades—the eye from the squirrels. They are is conscious of pale-brown triplet never peeled as are the scarlet leaves on delicate inch-long stalks. and orange. Do the little rascal
" shadow - tails" taste a sugary in a straight line," the Bishop said, flavour in the fine colour? They "a squirrel might leap from tree hide away so cleverly that rarely to tree.” A suggestive enough does the whisk of a tail of one sketch this, of the country Milton betray it. Later in autumn they knew and loved, with its small become more fearless, and are bold old villages set in the midst of enough to chatter and scold, at forest-land. hide-and-seek among the branches. Other, lesser forms of life abound Then is the time to scatter nuts in late summer days in this woody and almonds for them on the wild. There is a curious semblance lawn close under our windows, of a transmigration into winged and look for repayment in watch- life, in the hosts of new-born, yeling the delicious grace of their lowish, filmy moths fluttering just gambolling. The shadow-tails will above the yellow withered grasses ! dance about the lawn light as They have just escaped from silky withered leaves,—with frugal fore- cells where in their chrysalis state thought, in contrast to their usual they lie; and until they rise and frivolity, - sowing the turf with fly, one would scarce guess the exisevery nut they do not crack and tence of these living leaves, these eat. Could one but be a St Francis faded moths, so exactly are moth and attain the gift of charming and dry grass matched in colour, wild creatures of the woods! There to a shade. Should the spinning of are those at whose call a squirrel cocoons not yet have begun, and the will climb down from some high hour for retirement from the world branch and take a nut from the not come, the eye may chance upon hand, or perch inconveniently on some lovely caterpillar fattening the book in their lap if they hap- on the heather. Nature truly gives pen to be reading under a tree. rein to fancy of a marvellous order There is a lady I know, one who in her decorations of some of these draws to her all living creatures. amongst the lowliest of her creaShe was visited last week by a tures. Nature's consummate taste fine hedgehog, on the morning of and infinite variety are here disher eighty-fifth birthday. When played in endless combinations of she opened the garden door, there both form and tint. A favourite sat Prickles waiting on the door-type-one sees it everywhere-is mat. He was regaled with milk, and done with ornamental side-stripes next morning came again for more, of electric blue and black Velvet bringing a pair of young ones with cross - bands, set off with a head him. Such examples, however, of decoration of black peacock's crests the power we covet are rare. and tufts of spun silver all along Whilst at play with the shadow- the back. Not one in ten thousand tails, dare it be whispered how of these art masterpieces in miniathe only bit of a sermon I ever ture is like to be seen of men. But remembered much of afterwards, to the serene grandeur of the mind occurred in one (preached by the of Nature, what matter? The Bishop of Oxford) at the service heather in the shaded woods is not of completion of a village church- broad or deep enough to sustain tower in Bucks. Referring to the with safety a caterpillar so grand old towers as land-marks, the ser- as one we once met on a grousemon went on to describe that par- moor over the hill, within sound ticular district of Mercia as it was
of the sea.
The girth of it was in the olden days. "For forty miles huge, and in length it measured nigh four inches. The green of it its tallest pines along the right matched the heather leaf on which bank. Down into the water they it fed, and it bore on each seg- fell, and there ever after they are ment tiny raised rosettes in pink, likely to lie neglected and decayset on rings of black velvet, closely ing—for it is worth no one's while imitating the pink heath - buds. to remove them. All the repose The copy was so true that living of the tiny lakelet with its clear creature and flowering spray were reflections has vanished. The one in appearance. This black pretty water-looking-glass is shatvelvet, so much used for insect tered, without a hope of mending. patterns of all varieties, may pos- Earlier in the summer we might sibly be meant to represent an have forgotten all this ruin, in the effect of shadow or of empty space, pleasure of watching the dragonbehind or under the mimicry in flies on the reedy margin. Strong, the pattern, whatever it may be. swift, hungry hunters ! arrayed in Another beauty, a good - sized lucid tinsel, coursing up and down hairy caterpillar, who has a habit in the glory of the latest sunof crossing the path, is clothed glance. Myriads of ephemeræ in sleek chestnut fur, with the cus- there are, in the plenitude of their tomary trimmings of black velvet. monotonous enjoyment. There is He is a fine fellow in his way, a kind of pathos about them as feeding on and on till the end of they rise and fall by the million in autumn; so the warm fur coat rhythmic dance above the water, must be comfortable. There are to the tune of "a short life and a no bright pigments in reserve for merry one”! Two hours is the the painting of the imago's wings, longest allotted to any one of them at least of these species. When —cut short to a few minutes by the perfect moth comes forth it is many a greedy trout. This is how dark night. In the dark they take an observant parish minister detheir pleasure, and dark colours scribes ephemeræ, in a county suit well the brown heathlands history of the last century (it may where they play.
be concluded they are the creatures On dry autumnal afternoons, alluded to): "About sunset the though sundown be near at hand, loch is infested by flies of the gnat there seems no need to hurry home- kind, which fasten in great numbers ward. It is so sweet to sit down on every part of the fisher's clothes, a while, cushioned among blaeberry and, leaving their skins, fly off and ferns, and let Time's steps sportive as from a prison. The steal past uncounted! The stillness incumbent has often returned home is profound like the still silence covered with their spolia opima." in a dream ; for now the "squirrels Flies of the gnat kind, and others, granary is full
, and no birds sing.” are but a by-interest. It is the Between the red pine-stems a level spoilt loch that for the moment ray strikes along the glistening fills the thoughts with unavailing pathway netted over with gossa- regrets. Happily the wood itself mer, weaving a silvery weft which was not laid waste by that outstretches endlessly afar, till lost at rageous gale in 1894. Folk talked last in the golden sun-mist. The of the “blind fury” of it. It might way home takes us by the edges of be more graphically true to affirm the little loch. Since this time that the storm fiend that luckless last year how spoilt it is! The day deliberately picked out for great December gale flung down ruin the loftiest old trees, the fin. est woods, the shelter that could None now can say what might least be spared, the choicest and have been the forgotten tragedy healthiest plantations throughout that drove her to despair. The bare the land. And then woods even fact has come down to us. The of the grandest were overthrown old ground-officer, when questioned, with no Salvator-like picturesque will half angered repeat: “It ness. Fifty broad acres on one' was juist a bride, an' she drooned estate have been seen prostrate; hersel' as brides wull," as if quite yet the effect is not fine. The a usual thing to occur! That trees fell all one way as the wind fatal winter, when the blast of the blew, and lay along the ground in Terrible One rushed past, not all rows. But for the uptorn roots the magnificent girth and strength it might have been the work of the of the great beech availed to save estate woodman. In wooded spaces him. In one moment he and his of less extent the effect is often brothers fell, and the dark pool less formal, the timber more tossed lay bare to winds and weather. about and broken up, as though Not always indeed by any means the trees had made in vain a brave are Nature's laws kind to man. stand against the wind.
The great tract of wood a few Meanwhile, with a quiet persist- miles off, where upwards of a hunence, Nature repairs herself. I dred thousand Scotch fir and spruce have seen an unthinned plantation, went down, felled by the stormy the firs standing so thick that for power of the wind, knows since years sunlight had never penetrated another power, in its way as the gloom. During a storm down great-the resistless might of the they crashed, and a broad way infinitely little. The tiny pinethrough was cleared. The wood beetle, always at work more or was ruined. But in less than six less undermining the bark, found months after, a faint film of green his labour made easier by the prone had overspread the bare ground; condition of the timber. So they and wood-sorrel and foxglove and increased enormously, until their vigorous stinging nettles, with seed- multitudes, becoming tired of the ling sycamore and chestnut and fallen logs, unscrupulously transgreen things whose existence was ferred themselves to the healthy unguessed, came up from the trees that remained upright. earth, obedient to the law of sun- Under the beetles' persistent onshine.
The reproach of barren slaught these soon grew to be disgloom was lifted, and the whole eased and useless. There seems place smiled in living green. In no way of getting rid of the plague, the pleasaunce of an old house except to burn up the whole wood. near the river Dee, no repair Meanwhile, the little curculii go like this seems possible. In the on prospering and multiplying to middle of a beech-grove one giant their hearts' content. tree made as fine a picture as And now the little spoilt loch heart of landscape - painter could is left behind, and we are on the desire. For generations the group road once more. Long ago yet of trees had stood on guard, over- well within memory — a certain shadowing “The Bride's Well," a fairy ointment, the recipe whereof shallow pool of clear translucent is lost, used to be rubbed over the water, where, tradition tells, a bride eyes of children as they slept. who had fled from the house on I myself remember, when a child, her bridal night was drowned. lying awake in the long Northern
summer twilight listening to the however, would not look twice at nurses gossiping together in the my wayside gardens, for they connursery. Talking of their former tain, as a rule, nothing scarce or places one said to the other, “Mr curious. They are charmful solely Wilson can up ilka nicht while because of the silent jubilation, as the bairns were sleepin', to rub it were, of these crowded flowers ointment on their een to mak’ and green leafage of them down them see the fairies ”! Something there at your feet as you pass. of the kind is wanted now to en- The magic of them is their boundable many of us to see and enjoy less variety—not of species, but of in our walks things whose chiefest individual growth and manner. charm lies not in size or rarity. It is the gaudium of them. Most There are wild gardens at our gates joyful gauds indeed, with their that for the many simply do not fresh yellows and pure whites, exist. No one takes a walk pur- their blues and their purples ! posely to see and enjoy them; yet All seem to be there at the same there they are, ever at hand, ever moment; nevertheless, week by ready to enchant the eye that sees. week, one after another, each These narrow gardens need no separate beauty takes the lead. care—indeed care would destroy Deep beds of Galium, yellow or them. The gardener is never
white (ladies' bedstraw), give seen to sow a single seed there, place to starry firmaments of the though one sees a thousand un
little stitchwort, luxuriant yellow paid labourers at work in them all balls of giant bird's-foot trefoil summer, till frost sets in and snow (Lotus corniculatus), and spotted hides them. The birds of the air persicaria, delicately pink. Here know well their labour rights ! and there, where green rushes beThe gardens that lie on the edges tray some underthread of a little of the roads between two stone roadside runnel, is pale forget-medikes are fascinating indeed! The not, or a large-flowered yellow and farther north one travels, the brown-speckled mimulus, standing richer and more varied is the erect, looking what it is—a wanflowery edging. The sight of derer from the garden. Raggedthese flowers in their brief bright robin and rosy statice and season of delight is joyful enough hundred others, with ladies' to beguile the longest walks. mantle (Alchemilla), and too many Miles of road are never weari- far for naming, add variety and some, even on that almost treeless colour. Latest of all comes little north-east coast, with such an ac- quaint Euphrasia. And then, lastcompaniment of blooming flower- ing long into the bad weather, borders. Endless are the varieties there is sometimes seen the exof vetches. One-Vicia cracca- quisite Galeopsis tetrahit (it bears is the commonest of all, covered no plain English name that I with lilac clusters. I have seen
This belongs to the a long quarter of a mile of beech turnip-field over the dike-chanchedge on the Peterhead road liter- ing now and again with the others ally netted over with lilac vetch. in the road. It is like a glorified One would toil on a long way to "archangel ” or dead-nettle. But feast the eye on such wealth of if an angel, then did its flowerethereal loveliness. A botanist, change surprise it suddenly, while
1 Now entirely naturalised as a wild-flower, it forgets it was ever otherwise.