In the same paper the genial 'Wiltshire Rector,' in his annual homily, has an interesting and true story to tell of gardeners who have actually as a colony gone on, fathers succeeded by sons, from a.d. 1422 to this very year - that is, for 456 years, and in the same place. It is in France, the land of fruit culture. There is a Scottish colony of gardeners at St Martin d'Auxigny near Bourges. Its history is this: "When Charles VII. of France was in retirement at Bourges he had a Scottish guard, whose High Constable was John Stuart of Darnley. In 1422 this gentleman established himself with his companions-inarms at St Martin's. Special privileges were granted to the settlers until the revolution of 17S9. The colony now numbers three thousand inhabitants; and the people, thus in some degree isolated, have maintained their nationality to the present day, the members marrying among themselves. Even now the people of the surrounding district call them 'the English,' but they call themselves 'the Scotch.' They have a strong regard for the country of their forefathers; they are Protestants in religion, and are very industrious and honest. They devote themselves, as they have always done since their settlement as a colony, to the culture of fruit.

Each male possesses a small plot of ground, and the produce is sent to Bourges, Orleans, and Paris. Who knows but these interesting people had Scotch gardeners for their remote ancestors, and when they dropped soldiering resumed gardening".

Who killed the Culford Grape-Vine sport? Did it perish for want of gem-mules in its system? or has it been laughed out of existence? Will Mr D. T. Fish sing its requiem? Will the ' Gardener's Chronicle' come out with a black border? Dejection reigns in Wellington Street, and there is gloom around:

Bury St Edmunds !

Ye still may see the Culford Vines

In summer when they're green,

But Culford's Golden Champion " sport"

Will never more be seen.

Alas! we are afraid it is ' The Gardener' and Mr William Thomson that have slain the "sport." But for this journal the Culford apparition would, without doubt, have been "chronicled" as a fact - if an unexplained and unaccountable one. It would have gone forth to the world as a reality, and backed by " scientific" authority that did not hesitate to set reasonable evidence and probabilities aside, to make room for mere assertions that were confessedly opposed to the best ascertained facts of vegetable physiology bearing on the case. Individuals may occasionally be excused for declining to be " convinced against their will," but what are we to think of the professedly philosophical exponent of the truth so far forgetting itself as to descend to such a position, and lend its influence to support a phenomenon that, to say the least, cannot stand to be tested fully and fairly by the common rules of evidence. Yes ! it was 'The Gardener' that all but thrashed the life out of the "sport," and took the wind out of the sails of its advocates, and with such effect too that they have not yet recovered from the shock - he who runs may read - and now Mr William Thomson has given the finishing stroke.

The eyes which Mr Grieve sent to him to grow, that he might be not faithless but believing, have turned out as those who did not believe in the " sport" expected, and contrary to what its advocates wished; hence the object of the latter is now to explain Mr Thomson's evidence in another way. But what is most heartily amusing in the aspect of the "sport" question now, is the repudiation by those who have written in favour of it of the term "advocates of the sport" - among whom, if the term be allowed, one would naturally name Mr D. T. Fish as leading counsel. He it was who went over to Culford to elucidate the matter; he it was who propounded the gemmule theory; and he it was who generally took the "sport" under his care. But he was no " advocate of the sport." Oh, dear, no ! There was nothing in all he said and did as its champion that savoured of such a thing - nothing whatever. All he had got to do was simply to record what he saw, and he did not venture a word more. He did not come forward as the advocate of the "sport," because his old friend of twenty years' standing besought him to do so.

He did not see a bunch of Grapes growing from a Trebbiano shoot and call it a Golden Champion as his friend did, nor did he, when he found that the " sport " conformed to no recognised law of growth or production, put forward the gemmule hypothesis for the occasion, and make as much of it as an advocate could do who had a bad case, and only one string to his bow. Neither did he, with the 'cute tactics of the advocate, maintain that the failure of the Vine eyes to grow, which Mr Grieve planted, was proof of the bona fide character of the "sport;" nor in anticipation of probable results did he insinuate that if the eyes sent to Mr Thomson did grow, they might "hie back again," and prove the same thing or nothing at all! He did not make use of Darwin, nor invoke his own remarkable experiences concerning "striking instances of variation from normal types " to establish his case; nor did he supplement his vision and only guide in the matter by one single speculation on the subject. No; these are not the tactics of the advocate, and Mr Fish did none of these things.

No one would think of accusing him of being an advocate of anything - even of the "limekiln".

What happened to Mr Worthington G. Smith when he visited Edinburgh? Can anybody tell us? Here is that accurate observer's description of the capital of the north, and what he saw there:- "When a traveller finds himself in a magnificent city, with stone houses eight and nine storeys high, and where ' haggis' is sold in the provision shops, and where 'tripe,' 'hot tripe,' 'hot tripe suppers,' meets him printed at every turn, where, in the ancient and venerable and archaeological slums he sees, ' porridge at 8 ' painted on privileged-gates, and where hardy northmen, emerging from 'wynds' and 'closes,' throw glasses of 'usquebaugh ' down their throats without the glass touching or nearing their lips, then he may feel sure he is in Edinburgh".

Is it possible that some wag directed Mr W. G. Smith, on his arrival, away from Princes Street and the New Town into the "wynds" and "closes" about the High Street, and left him there like the " mitherless bairn,"

"Wha stan's last and lanely, and naebody carin'".

Mr W. G. Smith would no doubt soon see a haggis where he found himself. A few turns would take him into the " Coogate," where he would see the "magnificent city with stone houses eight and nine storeys high." Another turn or two would lead him to the slums and closes about the "Old Flesh-market," where he would find the "tripe," and a little further on in St Mary's Wynd he would see the natives swallowing the whisky "without the glass touching or nearing their lips," where he seems to have brought his visit to a close, and gone south again to write for the 'Chronicle' "A true and particular account of Mr Worthington G. Smith's visit to Edinburgh and the north, and all he saw there." It is distressing to learn that on the great subject of "Puddock Stools," Edinburgh and the north is still under a cloud, and on the whole we fear the haggis, the tripe, the whisky, the porridge, combined with the air of the north generally, have been too much for the advocate of a toad-stool diet and discoverer of the "resting-spore," who may have felt just a little out of his latitude, and may be just a trifle neglected as well.

Porridge and whisky are good stiffeners of the spinal column, which, north of the Tweed, supports a head that needs a hat a size larger than usual - hence, probably, it is that the "salus" and the "resting-spore" are at a discount there, and that in Mr W. G. Smith's mind the Modern Athens is associated only with tripe, haggis, porridge, and whisky.

"Little Dips in Lethe," by Shirley Hibberd, is the title of an article in the last Christmas Number of the 'Gardener's Magazine.' What is "Lethe," does the reader ask? Well, being inexperienced, we would rather reserve our opinion as to the nature of the compound in which Mr Shirley Hibberd "dipped" more than once as he tells us; but Mr Hibberd himself confesses that "he felt as if he had taken Scotch whisky." He was conscious of that " agreeable state of warmth and lightness " which the "whisky" imparts, and we may be sure Mr Shirley Hibberd knows what he is talking about. After one of his "dips,"* he says, " I now felt that madness had really come upon me, and I began to bathe my temples and drink soda-water " - a cure, it may be here mentioned, which has also been occasionally used successfully in cases of madness produced by other stimulants than "Lethe." But these were not the only experiences of Mr S. Hibberd while under the influence of "Lethe." He continues - "For a moment I paused, considering, and then the parietal bones of my head expanded widely, as if parting at the sutures, and again collapsed with a sort of shuffling sound," - a statement we do not doubt for a single moment.

This tendency of his head to expand seemed so great on one occasion that it (his head) appeared "to fill the room." And he further states that he went to bed while under the influence of the drug, and his "head swelled to awful dimensions;" "but," he continues, "I was really asleep, and never could call to mind at what time I went to bed, or at what point of the illusion sleep came over me." Instances will no doubt occur to the reader of people who have been similarly affected at times. Going to bed and forgetting afterwards as to how and when that event happened is a not uncommon experience to some people. Could it be at one of these periods of abnormal expansion that Mr Shirley Hibberd evolved the great idea of "pulley-trained fruit trees?" And was that famous lecture which he delivered before the R. S. A. conceived under a similar inspiration? It is exceedingly desirable that we should know this, because there are many horticultural and other writers "with hard-bound brains," who would be benefited by a little "expansion " of their top storey. Altogether we regard "Little Dips in Lethe" as one of the most suggestive contributions to the literature of the 'Gardener's Magazine ' that has yet appeared in its pages.


* Query "nips," - Printers' Devil.