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crown, answers this “criterion” in every possible way. I have founded a criterion that nobody can mistake.
The criterion of The Auricula is defined by the Florist's Directory, and copied into Loudon's ; and although prolix, and difficult to understand, it is only in the proportions of the leading features that there can be any very great difference, that is, if I understand the author ; he apologizes for the flowers, which he agrees “should be round,” but says, “we must be content if they are so nearly round, as not to be starry;" but the properties of colour puzzle us, as Loudon says; and he takes it, we think, from the old florists, and they from the Directory. The tube, the eye, and the exterior circle, containing the ground colour with its edge or margin. “ These three,” he says, “should be all well proportioned, which will be the case if the diameter of the tube be one part, the eye three, and the whole pip six, or nearly so." I dispute these proportions; and as in the colour and form consists the entire beauty of an auricula, it was a material point. I assert that, if it is to be done in diameters, the tube should be one, the eye two, the ground three, and the outer edge four; in other words, if the flowers were half an inch, the diameter of the yellow tube should be an
eighth of an inch ; the next circle, enclosing the white, two-eighths ; the next circle, separating the ground colour and the edging, three-eighths ; and the extreme edge four eighths. I have more plainly defined all other points ; and it was only after two evenings' discussion, in which I urged various arguments, and showed examples, that my properties were adopted in opposition to all that had been done before :-a strong proof it was different.
The Polyanthus, as defined by Maddocks, is very like the auricula in proportions ; all I can say is, it was considered that a definition easier understood and less likely to misinterpretation was required, and it was provided by me. As a branch of the primula family, like the auricula, it has very distinct features, but I endeavoured to make them as well understood as possible. The idea of the centre stripe in every petal being required as a perfect thing “to terminate in a fine point,” as pronounced by Maddocks, is simply ridiculous. There is no principle on which a thing so undefined should be admitted to a flower, the very stripe of which is its chief beauty, and never can be so very beautiful as when of an equal width in all its parts. However, it is not to be disputed, that Maddocks was as much before the cultivators of his day in defining
the "criterion ” of a flower, as I have been before other people of my day. Nobody can question the fact, that I struck out into a new path ; the only point they have to settle is whether I am in the right or the wrong road.
The Carnation has had its perfection pointed out after a fashion, for they who have written about the "criterion ” were guilty of the greatest absurdity. The stem, for instance, was “not to be less than thirty, nor more than forty-five inches high.” What on earth can be urged as the principle on which this ridiculous distinction should be given ? If it were worth going into particulars, the stem is the most ugly part of a carnation, and therefore the less of it there is the better; only we are used to them, and it matters but little. The calyx, too, is to be “an inch long, and terminate in broad points.” Now inasmuch as the calyx is, before opening, a pointed pod to begin with, and divides into five to allow the flower to expand, this is an impossible case. There are many other trumpery details, and I do not mean to follow them.
The Picotee is passed over as a thing of no important difference, only having jagged edges, and spotted instead of striped. I have placed both on a very simple footing, making no fuss about minor points of no earthly conse
quence, but which amused the ancients; and making every point that is essential to the beauty of a flower well understood. Imagine Mr. Maddocks so wedded to a serrated edge as to make it a property in the pink, and to admit its inconsistency by requiring the fringe on the edge to be fine. The petals, among other qualities, should, he says, “have very fine fringed or serrated edges ;” and then, as if he began to doubt, he says, “in short, they approach nearest to perfection when the fringe on the edge is so fine as scarcely to be discernible.” Nay, worse than this, beginning to repent, he admits that it “ would be considered a very desirable object to obtain them perfectly rose-leaved.” Why, what tom-foolery all this is ! he says not a word about the outline of the flower, or thickness of petal in carnation, picotee, or pink; under such circumstances there was very little difficulty in persuading a rational assembly that my plain, simple, and intelligible properties were better worth adoption as a standard. But now having pointed out the flowers which had been defined in a clumsy way before, and the “criterion” of perfect specimens such as they were published, let me ask some who feel inclined to detract from the merit, if there be any, of originating my standards, where they will find the criterions for the Geranium ? the Pansy? Rose ? Fuchsia ? Chrysanthemum ? Verbena ? Cineraria ? Rhododendron? Azalea ? and half a score others, which none had ventured to mention ? And why was I to be subject to constant injustice and robbery by persons who ought to be the last to take so mean an advantage ? There may be a difference of opinion as to the right of touching upon those which had been done by others, and the common points of which might bear a similarity; but there can be no doubt as to my exclusive right to the credit of originating many points not touched before, and entirely originating the standards of other flowers.
Mr. Wood, of Nottingham, Mr. Slater, of Manchester, and some others, gave the properties of certain flowers, which had been previously mentioned by Maddocks, Loudon, and others, as if they were fair game. It was unkind, however, and unlandsome, not to give the authority on the points which I originated. They were not content with the credit due to them for anything they might do, but sought to enjoy the credit due to me. A new candidate in the thieving line has started, with a desperation worthy of Jack Sheppard himself; he has not only seized upon á standard exclusively my own, one which I was laughed at for venturing to establish, but which