In new countries gardens take new aspects. A literal version of a garden party in the Transvaal suggests possibilities of emancipation from the conventionalities which weary the older forms of entertainment with us. Its object was not to play in a garden, but to plant one. Guests came from afar, each one bringing a contribution of plants. The afternoon was spent in laying out the beds and planting the offerings, in hard, honest, dirty work. And all the guests went home feeling that they had really lived a day that was worth living, for a garden had been made, in the rough, it is true; but even in the rough in such a new country a garden is a great possession.
The outcome of these considerations is that the love of nature is a great source of happiness for children, happiness of the best kind in taking possession of a world that seems to be in many ways designed especially for them. It brings their minds to a place where many ways meet; to the confines of science, for they want to know the reasons of things; to the confines of art, for what they can understand they will strive to interpret and express; to the confines of worship, for a child’s soul, hushed in wonder, is very near to God.
“If Chaucer, as has been said, is Spring, it is a modern, premature Spring, followed by an interval of doubtful weather. Sidney is the very Spring—the later May. And in prose he is the authentic, only Spring. It is a prose full of young joy, and young power, and young inexperience, and young melancholy, which is the wilfulness of joy; . . .
“Sidney’s prose is treasureable, not only for its absolute merits, but as the bud from which English prose, that gorgeous and varied flower, has unfolded.”—FRANCIS THOMPSON, “The Prose of Poets.”
The study of one’s own language is the very heart of a modern education; to the study of English, therefore, belongs a central place in the education of English-speaking girls. It has two functions: one is to become the instrument by which almost all the other subjects are apprehended; the other, more characteristically its own, is to give that particular tone to the mind which distinguishes it from others. This is a function that is always in process of further development; for the mind of a nation elaborates its language, and the language gives tone to the mind of the new generation. The influences at work upon the English language at present are very complex, and play on it with great force, so that the changes are startling in their rapidity. English is not only the language of a nation or of a race, not even of an empire; and the inflowing elements affirm this. We have kindred beyond the empire, and their speech is more and more impressing ours, forging from the common stock, which they had from us, whole armouries full of expressive words, words with edge and point