I was persuaded to go to London, like most of the world, with the idea of seeing the Coronation. The day was foggy, hot, and heavy, and the tired-looking crowds were already trapesing through the streets as I drove from Waterloo about mid-day. The tawdry decorations, the streets and thoroughfares blocked with stands, the side streets shut off by dangerous barriers such as I had never seen before, gave me an ominous feeling of wonder as to what was going to happen. I think London never looks so bad and so depressingly like a mean but gigantic village as on these festive occasions. Grosvenor Square was a mass of workmen decorating handsomely and with feverish haste, and when the news of the King's illness burst on the town like an unexpected blast from some evil genius, the almost magic arrest of all movement produced an effect which, in its own peculiar way, was one of the most remarkable experiences I have ever had. The contrast was so striking between cause and effect. The sickness of one man is, as a rule, so small an event, but in this case multitudes were instantly stupefied by the fact. By the evening the whole world was sympathetically affected by the sorrow and disappointment that had fallen upon London, and the proposed coronation was only celebrated on a few ships at sea, and in the islands of the Hebrides. It was, to many of us, rather a revelation of the methods of conducting weekly papers, that though the news of the King's illness was known on Tuesday, several of the weekly newspapers published loyal paragraphs about the Coronation, including detailed descriptions of facts which had never taken place.

I carried out my programme of the afternoon, which was to go with a friend to the great Rose Show at Holland House. As a show it was disappointing, for the season was a late one, and the roses were hardly out, and hung their heads in the intense heat. The crowd was gloomy and with bated breath spoke of but one topic. The beautiful building and gardens of Holland House remain a unique remnant of the many handsome houses and grounds that used to constitute the suburbs of London. Holland House, in spite of the black smoke-veil cast over it, is still one of the most splendid of the Jacobean dwellings. It was built by the well-known John Thorpe for Sir Walter Cope in 1607. Poor man! He had no son, and it went to his daughter and heiress. She married a smart Cavalier who lost his head in 1649, and Fairfax's soldiers were quartered in his hall. The after history of the house, with all its Whig associations, in the time of the third Lord Holland, have been so much written about and are so well known that they need no repetition here. Even in my youth I can remember the huge 'breakfasts,' as they were called (really garden-parties), when many of the celebrities still haunted the place. In a delightful alcove behind the house there remains the inscription written by the late Lord Holland: 'Here Rogers sat, and here for ever dwell with me those pleasures that he sang so well.' I fear poor Rogers would hardly be much known now but for the lovely Turner and Stothard illustrations which adorn his books. The gardens have been much enlarged and improved by the present owners. I was anxious to see the several acres which used to be pasture and have been lately added to the grounds, and I must confess it was with a feeling of astonishment that I saw what can be done with care and cultivation in what is now virtually London itself. One had to look at the stems of the few remaining old trees to realise what was the amount of soot in the air, and what an atmosphere the gardener had to contend against. The roses looked as healthy as at Kew, and the Penzance briars and free-growing climbing roses ramped about as if they really believed they were in the country. The most interesting part of the new garden was an imitation of a Japanese garden. This is a very distinct feature which could easily be adopted where both money and water were plentiful and where the ground sloped gently. It was partly a small rock-garden, partly turf, and then a series of pools cleverly cemented and connected by an artificial rill which fed the various basins, some large and some small. In these were different varieties of aquatic plants, especially the new water-lilies (Nymphcea). It all looked very charming, and on the whole this was the best arrangement I have ever seen for growing aquatic plants.In a small way it could be imitated with tubs hidden by little rockeries, and placed one below the other with connecting tubes, also hidden. The whole of Holland House garden is a most interesting lesson as to what can be done in poor old London.

This week of the King's illness was the only really hot one we have had this summer, and during it the whole air was full of the most gloomy prognostications, the gloomiest emanating from the medical profession, and from certain headquarters of spiritualistic prophecy, all of which, as we know, happily came to nothing.

A volume came out this summer called 'A Little Book of Life and Death,' selected and arranged by Elizabeth Waterhouse, with a frontispiece from a painting by Mr. G. F. Watts. To those friends who liked so much the verses which were not mine in my other books I recommend this selection, for I think it so good as to be almost original. It is partly prose and partly verse, and from the former I take the following to give a taste of its general quality: 'We are evidently in the midst of a process, and the slowness of God's processes in the material world prepares us, or ought to prepare us, for something analogous in the moral world; so that at least we may be allowed to trust that He who has taken untold ages for the formation of a bit of old red sandstone may not be limited to threescore years and ten for the perfecting of a human spirit.' - Thomas Erskine of Lin-lathen.