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is nevertheless established; but he has threatened to go through the whole series, I allude to the standard of perfection for the Cineraria, which, being a star, I insisted should be a circle, and was for months ridiculed for my extravagance. This very standard has been filched by a friend, who gives it as his own, because he has changed the language ; instead of honourably quoting my standard, and approving or objecting, he disguises it, and gives it as if it were original. This fact has induced the parties in whom the copyright is vested to collect and publish the whole in a cheap form, that the world may at least see, by the many imitations, how low men will stoop to obtain credit for talents they do not possess.
All I need say of the standards at this time is, that they are one and all founded on principle, and that the strongest proof of this is their universal adoption ; for the few who profess to differ are only drops in the ocean ; little stones thrown in smooth water, ruffling the surface in circles that weaken as they extend, until they are lost, and the water is as unruffled as before they made their little splashes. I endeavoured to picture to myself what form, colour, texture, proportion, and quality, would look the most beautiful, and for every point I had a motive. The
circle exposes the largest surface, and is, therefore, the richest ; all divisions in flowers detract from their richness ; therefore, wherever it is attainable, I have insisted on its being the most perfect. The Cineraria, a flower forming a complete star ; and the Pansy, which had its five divisions so palpable as to form a heart with the top petals, wings with the side petals, and a tail with the lower one ; the Geranium with its deep indentures; the Verbena with its fivenotched bars ; were among the most notorious of the subjects that had to be brought to a circle, to answer my notions of beauty. I was opposed, but they have been appreciated by the public, who did not know why, for their widened petals, and compact flowers, even from a collection; and now the people who considered me mad, or nearly so, for dictating the circle as perfection, prize all these, and many other subjects not named, according as they approach it. The Bury Florists adopted the principal standards, and reprinted them ; and although they betrayed a meanness that a respectable man would have been ashamed of, by publishing them as their own instead of mine, it is a proof that I had hit their taste. The Norwich Society has honourably printed them, with an acknowledgment of the authorship. Many leading Societies have
advertised that their productions will be judged by the standard laid down by me ; and although the Horticultural Society of London, and the Royal Botanical Society, do not publish the standards by which flowers are to be judged, they appoint judges who profess to do it according to mine, and whose only fault is that they every now and then lose sight of a property, or of the absence of a property, in their estimate of the qualities.
The thickness of a petal carries with it other valuable points ; they remain in perfection much longer; they are more dense in colour, that is, more opaque ; they hold their form better; and these are qualities of great consequence. Smoothness of edge requires no defence ; indentations, raggedness, and serrated margins look rough and unfinished or damaged ; and cannot well be more condemned than they are, even by persons who pick out a smooth flower, without knowing why. The flatness of the Pansy, the Auricula, and Polyanthus is best adapted to show off their peculiar texture. The spherical face of double flowers, such as the Ranunculus, Dahlia, Carnation, Picotee, Pink, and Rose, is the richest form that can be imagined ; and while half a ball is enough for subjects grown or shown on cards, two-thirds is the
handsomest proportion for others that grow out from their foliage, and show their sides as well as fronts. All flowers are less bright at the back of their petals, than they are in front; therefore nothing should cup too much. The Tulip should in perfection show all the inside and its markings at one view : this it cannot do if the sides are upright or turn in ; all there is above half must turn in ; therefore was it that I, contrary to everybody who had written before, insisted that the perfection would be from a third to a half of a hollow ball ; any shade deeper than half is a detriment, because as it turns in it hides beauty. Even Mr. Slater's ridiculous sixteenth added to the half makes it worse, though too trifling to be worth notice ; less than a third would detract from the richness, and is losing the character of the flower. The slight cup to the Geranium, Azalea, Rhododendron, &c., heightens the colour of the flowers ; and I might go through every point that I have adopted, and show, if necessary, that there was an object for it.
I have, however, said enough for the occasion; the approval of good Florists, and the unintentional evidence of the million who choose a good flower according to my standard without knowing why, show that I am not far out in my judgment; while another kind of evidence, dis