Does it ever seem to you strange that our contrariness began within the year of our legendary creation, when Eve came to misery not by gazing in a bonnet shop, but when innocently wandering in her garden, the most beautiful of earth? By which we women gardeners should all take warning, for though the Tree of Life may be found in every garden,
“Yet sin and sorrow’s pedigree
Spring from a garden and a tree.”
December 10. Snow a month earlier than last year, but we rejoice in it, for it will keep the winds from the roots of the trees not yet wholly settled and comfortable in their new homes. The young hemlocks are bewitching in their wreaths and garlands, and one or two older trees give warmth to the woods beyond the Opal Farm and sweep the low, snow-covered meadow, that looks like a crystal lake, with their feathery branches. The cedars were beautiful in the May woods and so are they now, where I see them through the gap standing sentinels against the white of the brush lot. It seems to me that we cannot have too many evergreens any more than we can have too much cheerfulness.
[Illustration: THE LOW, SNOW-COVERED MEADOW THAT LOOKS LIKE A CRYSTAL LAKE. Copyright, 1902, H. Hendrickson]
There are no paths in the garden now, a hint that our feet must travel elsewhere for a time, and I confess that Lady Lazy has not yet redeemed herself, and at present likes her feet to fall upon soft rugs. The Infant’s gray squirrels, Punch and Judy, and the persistent sparrows have found their way to the house, taking their daily rations from the roof of the shed. Punch, stuffed to repletion, has a cache under the old syringa bushes, the sparrows seeming to escort him in his travels to and fro, but whether for companionship or in hope of gain, who can say?
The plans for the remodelling of Opal Farm-house are really very attractive and yet it will be delightfully simple to care for. Maria and The Man have agreed better about them than over anything I have ever heard them discuss; but then, as it is purely a business arrangement, I suppose that Maria feels free from her usual pernickety restraint.
We surmise that either she has much more laid by than we supposed or she is waxing extravagant, for she has had the opal, that The Man gave her once in exchange for an old coin, surrounded with very good diamonds and set as a ring! Really I never before noticed what fine strong white hands she has.
I shall ask Father Penrose for the Cyclopaedia—it has a substantial sound that may soften his suspicion that we are not practical and were not properly grieved over the loss of the hens!
Woodridge, January 3. In the face of circumstances that prevent my holding the pen in my own hand, I am resolved that the first chronicle of the New Year shall be mine,—for by me it has sent The Garden, You, and I a new member and our own garden a new tree, an oak we hope.