Sur les flancs escarpes du riant Salvatore
Et sous l'apre frimas De l'hiver, j'ai trouve la neigeuse Hellebore
S'etalant sous mes pas.
Sa fleur cherchait abri sous le sombre fenillage
Bronze par les autans, Et dans son pale eclat on pressentait le gage
Des beaux jours du printemps.
Oh ! rose de Noel qui fleuris sous la glace
Pendant les jours mauvais, Dis-moi comment tu fais pour demeurer vivace
Sous les brouillards epais.
Dis-moi d'ou tu recus la douce quietude
Que je lis sur ton front, Dis-moi qui t'a donne la ferme certitude
Que les beaux jours viendront.
Je voudrais comme toi garder l'ame sereine
Dans les jours de malheur, Et quand survient le deuil et la lutte et la peine
Toujours croire au bonheur.
Pale soleil d'hiver qui fleuris l'Hellebore
Au matin de Noel, Viens chasser mes brouillards et puisse ton aurore
Toujours luire en mon ciel.
The loveliest things at the February and March Drill Hall shows, are the small early bulbous irises. They are most interesting plants, more so than orchids I think, but I must own they do not last nearly so long, either cut or on the plant. It is the great merit of orchids, even those kinds that are easy to grow, that on the plant and off it their flower branches last so long. An excellent way to support the flower in the pot is a small cane, split open at the top, holding the branch, and stuck in the earth of the pot. I am now going to try growing some of the small bulbous irises. They should be planted in pots or pans in loamy soil, no manure, and treated exactly like hyacinths or narcissi, covered with cocoanut-fibre in a cold frame, matted at night to keep out the frost, and then brought into the greenhouse early in February and carefully watered, to be induced to flower. I. reticulata and I. persica Heldreichii are the best, I am told, but there are several varieties, and all are pretty. Almost the greatest winter excitement of our gardens is the beautiful I. stylosa.People who manage them well seem very successful with them from December to April, but, like most irises, they seem to do better if close to some other plant, which means, I suppose, dryness through the summer. They will grow well on the sunny side of a yew hedge, but never flower well till the second or third year. The foliage is thick and untidy, and one has to look for the flowers or one may miss them, and for the house they are best picked in the bud. I am going to try the little Snake's-head of Italy, I. tuberosa, in pans.It seems too dry for it here out of doors.
In these days of horticultural crocuses I do not think the original type plants are cultivated nearly enough in our gardens. Early in March this year, and it was a late bad spring, they were most beautiful at Kew. G. etruscus, C. biflorus, G. chrysanthus were the names on the labels. I see C. Imperati and C. calvigatus, for a cold frame, are recommended in 'English Flower Garden.'
Epimedium rubrum and E. macranthum make charming greenhouse plants in early spring, potted up in September (I imagine) and kept in a frame. The little dwarf Narcissus Bulbocodium and N. cyclamineus look charming in pots and pans. All these species seem much more interesting than a large number of ordinary hyacinths, double or single.
Mr. James Ehoades sent me this little poem the other day, saying that he should have dedicated it to me had he known me sooner. It appeared in the ' Westminster Gazette,' June 1899:
Are flowers the very thoughts of God
Made visible to bless ? If so it be, 0 happy ye
Who such a faith confess, As, led by April, blossom-crowned,
Ye roam o'er vale and hill, With every here a cowslip found,
And there a daffodil!
Are the birds' songs but jets of joy
From the Eternal Bliss ? If it be true, 0 happy few
With such a faith as this, As, thrilled by many a feathered throat,
Ye roam o'er hills and vales, With every now the cuckoo's note,
And then the nightingale's 1
Travelling to London the other day by rail, third class, the extreme dirt of the carriage recalled to my mind a paragraph I had seen in the'Westminster Gazette,' and made me write the following letter to the Editor. I republish it here because it seems to me that the subject cannot too often be brought before the public, who are still alarmingly ignorant of and careless as to the infectiousness of tuberculosis.
sir,-I noticed in your issue of December 23 a short paragraph bringing to our notice how much room there still was for improvement in the methods that could be adopted for the prevention of the spread of the tubercles which cause consumption. The ignorance of the general public on the subject, even the educated public, is the only excuse that can be offered for the constant neglect of the most ordinary sanitary precautions. I live in what might be called a distant suburb, and often travel backwards and forwards to London in a third-class carriage; so do a number of young people of both sexes, and so do rough workmen who know no better and who expectorate freely on the floor of the carriage. Many of these may be gravely ill from tubercles without being the least aware of it, or of the danger to which their spitting may expose their fellow-travellers in all sorts of accidental ways. Both old and young generally insist on all the windows being closed in winter.Spitting can only gradually be put a stop to, as it is done by a class who do not even understand how dirty it is, and who consider they have a right to do it if they like.
The proper cleansing of third-class carriages depends on the railway companies, and as it is done now it would be considered quite insufficient for a cattle-truck. A dirty broom is inserted and the surface dirt partly swept into a dust-pan. This enables what is left to dry the quicker, increasing the real danger, for the infection only spreads when the expectoration becomes dust. We have heard much abuse of the fashionable long skirts in the streets of London, but seated in a carriage no woman's dress, be it ever so short, can help touching the floor. A poor woman will probably dry her skirt at the kitchen fire and brush it either there or in her bedroom; the maid of a rich woman is likely to do exactly the same; and in this way thousands of grains of poison may be spread in the house, and the boy or girl just leaving childhood behind, is the accidental victim of the mother's journey. Surely it is an imperative duty to clean and disinfect carriages, and it seems to me directors should have felt guilty of a very heavy responsibility, which they did not thoroughly understand, when they refused to allow the National Association for the Prevention of Consumption to put up, free of expense to the companies, an intelligent notice in the railway carriages about the dangers of expectoration. A better way of educating the public I cannot imagine, while giving offence to none, though certainly necessitating a more intelligent way of keeping the carriages clean. A notice put up in the booking office is absolutely useless, as no one has time to read it there. Much the same may be said of the long-delayed notice in our post-offices, where it is generally hung in an out-of-the-way corner with postal directions about mail days to all the ends of the earth.Itrust greater knowledge may do away with this conservative prejudice which dislikes nothing so much on most health subjects as truth and light.'
It is rather curiously typical of the national attitude towards important legislation on health subjects, that, although the Bang has taken such lively interest in the Society for the Prevention of Tuberculosis, and done all that a Sovereign could do to bring the subject to public notice, assisted by the most influential people in the land, yet that railway directors, heads of firms, and that hopelessly immovable body, the general public, should take so little alarm and pay so little attention to all that has been put before them. Last July (1901) the press for many days teemed with accounts of that very remarkable meeting of medical and scientific men, the Congress on Tuberculosis. I attended one or two of the meetings, and it was my privilege to be there the day Professor Koch made his famous statement on the difference between the tubercle in man and the tubercle in cattle, and stated his belief that the two things were not interchangeable. How the scientific world will decide about this in the future we do not yet know. The great interest to me, and one of a peculiarly dramatic kind, was to be overlooking a large hall crowded with people well versed in the subject, who were quietly told in very broken English a fact which they had not expected to hear. The greatest oratory would, perhaps, hardly have called forth so evident a thrill through the whole audience, though courtesy necessitated the suppression of either surprise or opposition. Apparently, from all statistics, England though, perhaps, the most afflicted with this terrible scourge, is yet the most backward in sanitary precautions. M. Brouardel gave some interesting statistics as to what is being done in France
He delivered his lecture in his own language with all the charm and crispness of his nationality. All the lectures delivered at this Congress are, I believe, still to be got from the Secretary of the Society in Hanover Square.
As with so many other improvements in general health, the future rests not so much with the medical profession as with the general public, but they must understand before they can act. How few people believe that common colds without inflammation ought to be treated like consumption with an open-air cure, not only for the good of the patient but also for the benefit of other people, as fresh air is the great destroyer of infection. In the case of having to lie up for an accident or an operation, the same thing applies; if the patient lies day and night by an open window the difference to general health on recovery is hardly believable compared with having been shut up in the ordinary sick-room with the windows only opened once a day for ten minutes.