day it is magnificent in an esplanade and desirable residential properties. It possesses at least a dozen houses of real architectural merit: it owns a lawntennis court; and one can admit, too, without undue pride, that it has already outgrown very many of its earlier faults, still, alas, so visible across the line.

As a community we seldom mix, in the social sense, with our immediate ancestors. The line is our rubicon. The dwellers beyond it work for wages; the dwellers upon this side labor for salaries. The dwellers upon the other side herd genially in workmen's trains at extraordinarily nominal fares; the dwellers upon this side have season tickets, and go townwards with newspapers. The gulf therefore is great, and not crossed with impunity.

Even after four years one has come to wonder whether the first clerk, who took his forty-pound house on the only side of the line worth considering, felt himself to be something of a pioneer. Possibly he did, but it is a little hard to realize that there can ever have been a first. There are now SO many. From a thousand City offices they return to us night by night, their cuffs in paper, and the latest news upon their lips. To a thousand City offices they hurry from us each morning, their pipes in their mouths, and their eyes fixed earnestly upon the neighboring clocks. One likes to emphasize their earnestness, for, though they do not spend much time with us, they are responsible for the atmosphere that pervades the place. The days of our rollicking coatless youth are over; we have grown earnest, though we are still young; for most of these newcomers are young, and the majority have been married but a year or two. They take themselves with enormous seriousness, and the desire to rise dominates them all.

These represent the second stage in our suburban development; but already

in their wake has come the third, the man of leisure. He is, at present, of the retired description, retired from the commerce that the youngsters still pursue, retired upon that competence which can ensure at least one servant and a proportionate distinction. By day he moves sedately through our deserted streets, a rare figure, but recruiting comrades. At even-time he is lost in the younger army that has returned from its duties. These one meets in their leisure hours, pale of face, frockcoated, with caps of tweed or hats of straw. One sees them examining their garden-beds or reading their evening newspapers. They have conferred distinction on our suburb: they have lifted our soul from the vulgar mire; and yet, how unerringly, one reflects, would the youth from Oxford class them bounders. And yet again, what good fellows they are, and how they cleave with both hands to their ideals of respectability. They would sooner die than go hatless; and how magnificently they are seconded (or led perhaps?) by their wives.


It has been our rare privilege to be the witness of a suburban At-home, where all things were done in the completest fashion of a correct society. Nobody was introduced, for example, and the whole air of the little drawingroom was electric with social appraisings. One could tell at a glance that books upon etiquette were not only present, but had been diligently studied in the various houses from which these guests had assembled. And never surely was the half-extended hand more sternly quenched by the frigid bow, or the lady so thoroughly overwhelmed who would take a lump of sugar in her fingers; and only once might one have heard an h drop in a silence that could be felt. Some friends, too, drove up during the afternoon in a hired landau; and this vehicle, as it waited outside, lifted us all to the best

that was in us. Presently some husbands dropped in, dressed for the occasion since early morning in the pink of suburban wardrobes, their tongues glib with the jokes of last week's Punch, and all manner of debonair ways to chide the ladies for their small appetites; one never eats more than two cucumber sandwiches at an Athome in our suburb. Hard, too, will it be to forget the hushed exaltation that was ours when a lady at the piano informed us musically that it was morn. Yet our applause was refined and chastened, and none of us referred to the rehearsals of this ballad that had made at least one of our streets melodious for a fortnight past.

From all this it will be gathered that our suburb has been busy in rounding itself to maturity; and indeed we have already thrown aside the greater part of our earlier gaucheries. But the climax was only reached last week, and we are now hall-marked in very truth. A colonel has come to live in our midst; an army colonel, so we casually refer to him in our conversations with one another. Few of us have spoken with him: he only came on Wednesday; but the postman has left letters at his door, and the neighbors have seen an elderly warrior wandering round the garden. Does he guess, one wonders, in how real a sense he has become the king of all he surveys? Is he aware how infinitely more precious than rubies his visitingcards will so shortly be, how for weeks, nay years, to come they will dominate the surrounding card-trays? For in the card-trays of our suburb the more substantial names have a marvelous faculty of rising to the top, despite the Macmillan's Magazine.

ignorant efforts of our servants to cover them up with later comers, Browns and Smiths and persons of lesser account. But a dean or a colonel will top them all. Year in, year out, he will repose there in an obvious supremacy. His call may have been made ten years, or more, ago and in another place than this; it may never have been repeated; it may indeed, if the truth be told, never have been made at all, and his card be merely the appendage of a wedding-present. But what of such slight considerations as these? He is a dean and he will remain.

"Ah, snobbishness," one can almost hear an enlightened reader exclaim. "Ah, glorious Anglo-Saxon snobbishness, how great thou art, and how invariably thou prevailest!" One can almost hear him sighing; but that is only because we have forogtten to mention the suburban babies. Behold then, upon a cloudless summer evening, these earnest young fathers and these aspiring young mothers paying homage to a thousand perambulators. It is a tender sight, and, perceiving it, one imagines that, for this little moment. the long hours in the City and the social emulations of the tea-table have perhaps been forgotten; that even the colonel himself may have faded into a comparative insignificance. For in reality it is these small atoms of plump humanity that are the lords dominant of our suburb, the last court of appeal, and the very mainspring of all its strivings. At any rate it is a comforting thought. God bless them!

H. H. Bashford.


Though the chiff-chaff has not come yet, signs are plenty that the diastole has begun that sets half the birds of the earth fluttering over unmeasured distances of land and sea. Expansion is the law of Spring. The starling flocks have split into family parties and these are shedding happy pairs, first claimants to eligible knot-holes in beech or elm, or to builders' carelessnesses in the walls of our dwelling-houses. The rick-yards, lately congested with finches and buntings, have scattered their guests among the hedge-rows. The tit bands have burst. with a blaze of nuptial color.

Nobody knows, or ever will know, how much the individuals of our resident species change ground in autumn and spring. It is easy enough to follow the seasonal migrations of a few of them, such as the plover, heron, and kestrel, which wholly disappear from their summer haunts and come back en masse shortly before nesting time; not so easy to say which is the chaffinch that has been on hand in a far field all the winter and which is the one that has just returned from the rick-yard. But we marked the day last January when the wagtail, absent since late October, began again to be seen about the farmyard. It was pleasant to see, too, by way of a single instance, that, like many migrants to and from a greater distance, he returned a few days earlier than his mate. We can also truly notch our calendar of spring by the slow climb of the meadow pipit towards the moor, where it is seen towards May. The pipit flocks of the plain have already been diminished by the return of those that in summer inhabit the foot-hills; they still retain those that belong to the high mountain.

The cottager's bees are out this

sunny morning, as they have been on favorable occasions for a week or two past. They have found, however, little, seemingly nothing to do beyond buzzing round as though wondering why they had been called. But the first yellow crocus is open this morning, and a bee has been seen to dust herself in its pollen. We may imaginė that the first precious point of honey has been taken back to the hive, and communally regarded much in the light of a nugget found in a hitherto unexplored range of country. One crocus cup is not enough to justify the activity of forty thousand bees. They must fly more than a mile, however, for the next blossom-the fragrant butter burr, whose big leaves, aptly called by the French pas d'âne, covered half an acre of wood-bottom last summer. The lesser celandine, which is beginning to star the banks of the lane, does not appeal to the hive bee, nor has she learnt to collect pollen from the hazel catkins. But very soon the "palm" blossoms of the willow will be the centres of bee commerce, and gooseberry blossoms usher in an unbroken supply of honey-bearing flowers.

The boisterous gales have swept away the last vestige of loose hamper from the wood, as from lonely hedgerow trees. Not only the dead leaves, but dead twigs and dead branches have been removed, and all that is upright is lissom and blushing with sap through the semi-transparent bark. Down below, the heaps of last year's wood-ant nests are trickling forth the half-frozen insects to bask in the feeble sunshine and regain a little of the universal force. They lie out not many inches from home, a glistening mass of soft-looking bodies and gently-waving antennæ. Not far away, a far more eloquent register of the year's

sunshine is found in certain old-established clumps of setterwort or stinking hellebore. Starting with the first indication of a stronger sun, and scarcely pausing out of respect for the almost solid weeks of frost that we have had, they have crowned the boldly cut leaves of last year with nearly ten inches of vivid green. The full, tender-looking buds, as big as those of a peony in May, are on the point of opening into the green flower that is the next stage in the plant's wholly beautiful career. We can also find another full blossom in the wood (without counting the tassels of the dog's mercury that are already flinging their pollen). The palm-like trunks of Daphne laureola bear under the glossy leaves that give the plant its specific name clusters of yellowishgreen bells, wide open and hanging in security under their roof, much as the crown imperial blossoms will hang six weeks later.

As we near the lake deep in the bosom of our wood, a brilliant harbinger indeed shoots from its favorite perch for years past, and displays an almost incredible gleam of color. It is Tennyson's "sky blue bird of March." But how much more brilliant than any English sky is the back of our kingfisher. It is a living lapis lazuli that goes threading the aisles of the beech stems to a perch that seems to him safer, but where he glows in his orange-bronze breast almost as brightly as in his blue of flight. He, the halcyon, is a harbinger, for he fled this place when he was in danger of being frozen out (and his prey frozen in), and his return means that in his valuable judgment spring has come to stay.

The pool contains another returned native, or rather, two-a pair of dabchicks that the place has not known since late October. Now that their great migration flight is over (for the

estuary where they spent the winter is thirty miles away), they have folded their wings for many a month. You can scarcely persecute a dabchick into flying from its summer pool, and practically never see it on the wing throughout the summer. Walking is an art that it has almost entirely forgotten, so that the pool itself contains its active life from now till the autumn. When an inexperienced bird selects an unworthy pool that dries up early in the year, it still remains, as helpless as a fish, in spite of the wings that have borne it so bravely over miles of land. A pair of boys can chase it up and down, over and under water, run it to a stand, and kill it for the sake of its tiny breast of grebe. No woman decrees the murder-her grebe toque comes from a larger member of the genus: the boy lives more closely to the dictates of barbarism by wearing the trophy himself. Happily, the dabchicks of our pond are safe except from the gunner, and he is not allowed to walk in this wood.

With a gallantry that is not uncommon among birds, the male dabchick keeps between the human danger and his mate. As that goes round the pond, he drives her towards the middle, near the edge of the weeds, and himself wheels into the more dangerous position. She dives, scarcely making a ripple, and shortly comes up with bright green weed in her bill. The frosts have not hindered this subaqueous meadow from growing; there are already a few pieces that she has cut off drifting near. Soon there will be enough to build her huge floating nest and to warm the eggs by fermentation when she is away.

The wood pigeon is a returned wanderer in these woods, for since late autumn his kind has been clean absent. He is now cooing persistently, or clattering through the beeches, or drifting voluptuously on still wings.

There is even an incipient platform of little sticks newly laid in a pine since the gale blew itself out. Outside the wood near the manor house the rooks are playing round their rests rather than building. Three or four go towering up, and then come down with a glancing twirling fall. Another spreads his tail into a fan, bows upon his perch, and emits a cackling series of caws that he fondly imagines to be music. Possibly he thinks (and his

The Nation.

mate with him) that he is singing far more sweetly than the thrush, who is in fine form to-day. But the thrush at any rate outlasts him and sings alone. When he pauses for a moment there falls from the still air a tiny sound of trumpets and a gaggle of geese comes into view, winging in military formation towards the north. A far higher latitude than ours will welcome its harbingers in the morning.


On February 1, 1902, the Lancet published a long statement from Dr. O'Sullivan Beare, His Majesty's ViceConsul at Bemba, telling how a remedy for blackwater fever had been found at last-but not by European science. When Dr. Beare took up his duties on the East Coast that fell disease was "responsible for more deaths and more invaliding than all others combined." And the doctors were helpless. After describing the various modes of treatment which they had used, Dr. Beare added: "In a word, among the official preparations there appeared to be none on which reliance could be placed, whether employed singly or in combination." Under these distressing circumstances he heard from an intelligent Arab that the natives of some inland district possessed a cure, and at the first opportunity he proceeded thither. "Medicine-men" generally refuse to communicate their secrets, but in this instance, as it seems, they made no difficulty. The remedy proved to be a decoction from the root of a certain species of cassia, which has been named C. Beareana. The effect is rapid as complete. Père O., of the Roman Catholic Mission, tried the first experiment on a German "in the last extremity"; he was out of dan

ger in forty-eight hours and quite himself in six days. Père E. tested the new drug on a Sister to whom the last sacraments had been administered, and it was equally successful. Six white patients and some thirty natives were cured without a single failure.

After this remarkable experience we are free to hope that in Zanzibar, at any rate, English doctors will not wholly ignore the methods of their savage colleagues. But the climate does not foster enterprise nor lend itself to research, and the white man's instinct revolts against the supposition that he has anything to learn in the way of science from the black. All the training and associations of the profession are hostile. Besides, the medical practice of barbarians is an established joke. Readers look for sport when they come across an instance in a traveler's record, and they generally find it, though perhaps of the sort which is akin to disgust or horror. It might be thought that the people themselves in many lands take much the same view. Noise is an essential part of the treatment, as a rule. Joseph Thomson thought he was describing a unique eccentricity when he told, on his first journey, how all the adult population of a village thumped

« ElőzőTovább »