In a Green Shade eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 188 pages of information about In a Green Shade.

I shall first of all sink a well, for one must have water, even if one is going to die.  Then I shall make a mist-pool—­that art is not lost yet—­because as well as water to drink I like water to look upon.  Lastly, I will build a hermitage of puddled chalk and straw, and thatch it with reeds, if I can get them.  It will consist of a single room thirty feet long.  It will have a gallery at each end, attained by a ladder.  In each gallery shall be a bed, and the appurtenance thereof, one for use and one for a co-hermit or hermitess, if such there be.  I leave that open.  There must be a stoop, of course.  Nothing enclosed.  No flowers, by request.  The sheep shall nibble to the very threshold.  I don’t forget that there is a fox-earth in the spinney attached.  I saw a vixen and her cubs there one morning as clearly as I see this paper.  She barked at me once or twice, sitting high on her haunches, but the children played on without a glance at me.  They were playing at catch-as-catch-can—­with a full-grown hare.  Sheer fun.  No after-thoughts.  I watched them for twenty minutes.

If I grow anything there at all I shall confine my part of the business to planting, and let Nature do the rest.  It may be absolutely necessary to keep the sheep off for a year or two, and the rabbits—­but that is all.  And what I do plant shall be deciduous, so that I may have the yearly miracle to expect.  It is a mighty eater of time—­and there won’t be much of that left probably; yet a joy which no man who has ever begotten anything, baby or poem, can deny himself.

If anybody wants to see what Nature can do in the way of a season’s growth, I can tell him how to go to work.  Let him plant on the bank of a running water a root of Gunnera manicata.  Let him then wait ten years, observing these directions faithfully.  Every fall, after the first frost—­that frost which blackens his dahlias—­let him cover the crown of his Gunnera with one of its own leaves.  Pile some stable-stuff over that, and then heap upon all the leaf-sweepings of that part of the garden.  Growth starts in mid-April and proceeds by feet a week.  Mine, which is about ten years old now, is thirty-five feet in circumference, nearly twelve feet high, has flowers two-feet-six in length, and in a hot summer has grown leaves seven feet across.  You can go under one of them in a shower of rain and be as dry as in church.  And all that done in five months.  The plant is a rhubarb of sorts and comes from Chili.  I should like to see it over there on the marge of some monstrous great river.  In another order, the Ipomoea (Morning Glory), which comes from East Africa, runs it close.  I had one seed in Sussex which completely overflowed a garden wall, smothering everything upon it.  A kind of Jack’s beanstalk, and every morning starred with turquoise blue trumpet mouths of ravishing beauty, which were dead at noon.  The poor thing was constrained to be a hierodule, gave no seed.  Nature is the prodigal’s foster-mother.

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In a Green Shade from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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