There's famine in the land, its grip is tightening still; There's trouble, black and bitter, on every side I glance, There are dead upon the roadside, and dead upon the hill, But my Jamie's safe and well away in France,

Happy France, In the far-off, gay and gallant land of France.

The sea sobs to the grey shore, the grey shore to the sea. Men meet and greet, and part again as in some evil trance, There's a bitter blight upon us, as plain as plain can be, But my Jamie's safe and well away in France,

Happy France, In the far-off, gay and gallant land of France.

Oh not for all the coined gold that ever I could name

Would I bring you back, my Jamie, from your song, and feast, and dance, Would I bring you to the hunger, the weariness and shame, Would I bring you back to Clare out of France,

Happy France, From the far-off, gay and gallant land of France.

I'm no great sleeper now, for the nights are cruel cold, And if there be a bit or sup 'tis by some friendly chance, But I keep my old heart warm, and I keep my courage bold By thinking of my Jamie safe in France,

Happy France, In the far-off, gay and gallant land of France.

On my return from Ireland, I found a somewhat disconsolate letter from my German friend who is a great gardener. She seems to have forgotten while she was writing that in many parts of England, too, the soil is heavy and cold. As a rule, in the centre of Europe the spring comes late, as she says, but when it does come it stays ; while with us there are often glorious warm April days which bring everything on, and May frosts which cut off in a single night the azaleas in full bloom. All climates and all soils have their trials, and it is in fighting these whims of nature that the real interest of gardening consists How dull it would be if all seasons were alike, and still more so if all soils were the same and all climates temperate ! As it is, everything makes a difference: a little clay, a mound of earth, a piece of wall, a shelter, a little hole which collects the water and so doubles the rainfall, and so on - endless lessons, as my friend says, to teach patience and one sort of philosophy - namely, not the resignation which says, 'a visitation of Providence,'but the strength to begin again, and the wits to find out what has been done wrong and caused the failure. For those who dwell on soils in some respects unkindly, I insert the letter,as I think we gain strength from the difficulties and experiences of others, which is only perhaps a more amiable way of saying, 'There is something in the misfortunes of our best friends that is not altogether disagreeable to us.'

Looking back upon, perhaps, the most barbarous and death-dealing spring-time in all my garden memories, along a very grey line of disappointments and failures, sowings of annuals repeatedly killed by cold and wet during this April and May, tender and half-hardy bedding things shrivelled and checked by frosts and torn by raging gales, there are very few bright lights to uplift the desponding amateur's heart and teach philosophy and patience. Years of apparent "love's labour lost" are suddenly crowned by a few of those haphazard successes by which nature seems to teach us the double lesson never to despair while we can strive, and never to forget that we are blind gropers in the dark. In my case, the object lesson is taught by a few humble little Alpines. You shall have the upshot of it at once, prefacing it by the fact, which must always be borne in mind, that, alas! none of my experiences can be of use to you or any English friends, as everything that does well in your warm sand dies with me, and what will grow in my cold soil - limeless and slaty as it is - would probably suffer and die from dryness at the roots in yours.

My chief joy has been the growth and bloom of that little gem Campanula rupestris. Tiny wee plants of this were sent me by Mr. Leichtlin of Baden-Baden. At first they filled me with apprehension, for with their thick woolly leaves and prostrate growth, and their fragile branches, emerging from a woody root-stock not half an inch from the ground, they seemed to me doomed to die in my heavy, wet, impermeable soil. But I knew how to manage the new arrival, thanks to my experience with another child of many anxieties, the Campanula pulla, which I had tried in vain to grow for six years. This year it is full of growth, and has thrown up a dozen or more of its lovely, graceful, and delicate deep violet bells, as a result of planting it last year in a half shady nook of my little rock garden, in almost pure gravel mixed with a little leaf mould and sand. I planted it very firmly, and every bit of earth between its little crowns I entirely covered with small flat stones. The Campanula rupestris was given a little deeply-dug rock-pocket, in a rather more sunny and sloping place than the C. pulla. It had a little lime rubble mixed with the gravel, and I carefully avoided bringing the trailing woolly shoots into contact with the soil, laying a flat stone under each. The bloom was perfectly lovely, and I think by far the best and most interesting among the dwarf trailing species. The flowers are about an inch long, very constricted in the throat and deeply cut at the edges. The colour is a most delicate pale lilac with darker stripes going from the constricted part up the chalice. It seeds profusely, but the seed is not ripe yet, and I watch anxiously to see whether it will be fit to use, as it is the only way to propagate it. The little side-growths off the woody centre do strike in sandy soil in a cold frame, but they never make good strong plants. Another little success, after some trouble, has been the Adenophora Potanini, a crotchety thing at all times and horribly anxious not to be moved. It is perhaps not as good as the best platycodon, but desirable from the point of view of variety in the rockery's compound tribe. I have also had a fine batch of Liatris spicata, which I look upon with anxious eyes, as I lost all the Liatris scariosa last year, and fear my soil is too heavy, cold, and water-logged in winter for either of them. Rather a pretty group at the top of my rocks was formed by the Sidalcea Candida, a charming little stiff white mallow not over a foot in height,several tufts of

Geranium argenteum, and a lovely, loose-hanging, white variety, of which, alas! I do not know the name. To complete the list of my little consolations in adversity, let me tell you that the Ramondia pyrenaica threw up such masses of their lovely flower stalks that the rosettes of leaves were well-nigh hidden. I have a new variety of this plant from Mr. Leichtlin with almost pure white flowers. I will go no further for fear of ending this with a wail, for the failures have far and away outnumbered the successes, and it has chiefly been to raise my flagging courage that I have apparently been praising what is my severest lesson in humility.'