The only links that connected the simple, primitive people of this little hamlet, with the purely ideal was their flowers. They did not know about the participle mysteries that science has discovered in those beautiful children of God, the flowers. They could not, like the poor pariahs to whom the proud Hindoos of India will not speak, converse poetic stories with those daughters of spring and summer; yet, they saw something in their flowers beyond the visible and lowly circumstances of their own every-day life—something that lifted their eyes from the ground to heaven. The marigold, that star of the earth, with its bright, yellow petals, reminded them of the golden stars of heaven; the daisy, with its pure white blossom, bathed in the dew and sunlight of smiling morning, recalled to their minds the stories they had heard in their childhood about the diadems of fairies; and the blue forget-me-nots seemed to twinkle like the blue eyes of the angels. And when winter came, and the fair summer flowers faded away; moralizings on life, on death and eternity, came sighing in their expiring exhalations, over that simple people’s souls. It was from being taught, in this way, to love the flowers of the country, that I Cultivated sympathies which pre-disposed me to love city flowers.
When I was first transplanted from my own green, native valley, into the heart of a great city; when my early home was levelled to the ground, and when its flowers were withered, never to bloom any more, I felt as if I had come amongst grim walls to wither too, and had been uprooted from the light and life of my youth that I might die. The birds that wailed around me in their prison cages, seemed to weep for the hawthorn and alder trees that were growing beside the ruins of my old home, and I wept with them, for I, too, was sighing for nature.
As I became familiar with the lanes, and streets, and byways of the city, I began at last to find, that there were flowers, too—flowers beautiful as the roses in the gardens of paradise, and bright as the smile of Abel when he worshipped his God. Day by day, in my little walks, I passed a large square encompassed by a low wall and lofty iron railing, in which several hundreds of boys and girls with rosy cheeks and light hearts, sported, and sang like fairies holding festival. Here were faces lovelier than roses; lips brighter than ripe cherries, and eyes purer than dew; from the day I first beheld those flowers of the city, I ceased to sigh for the country and its flowers. I used to stand and gaze at them with grateful delight, and live over again my own childhood’s hours, as I watched their childhood’s sports. By and by I knew and became known to several of those children; I gave them kind words, and they returned me beautiful smiles.