A garden after a shower has always an especial charm; everything is sweeter and fresher, even in its often bedraggled condition. I have a passion for dabbling in water-coloring of this description, and cannot keep my hands from the weeds and flowers, when I venture forth to see how my favorites have borne the storm. It is a delight to put one's arms about a bouncing peony, with its red cheeks all cold and dripping, and tie a string around it to keep its bright faces clean. The forward flowers kiss you as you struggle to encircle them; the wet leaves box your ears, as if you were taking a liberty. It is some time before you can accomplish your purpose, and you arise from the encounter quite breathless and dripping, with the pink and white faces, huddled up together, all laughing at your condition.
It is June, and the last of the Fleur-de-lis are quite broken down, their pearly petals draggled in mud and defaced by water. This delicate French beauty will put up with no plebeian touch, but withers and dies if brought in contact with the earth. The Roses stand up, after their bath, quite fresh and shining, but the buds, which are so blighted by a heavy rain that they do not open afterward, remind me of the Austrian violinist in "A Week in a French Country House," who greatly admired an English beauty, but confided to a friend his reason for not offering to marry her: -
"She vould vash me, and I should die".
Many things are broken down and require tying up. If the rain has continued for several days the chickweeds are rampant, and overrun everything. New plants that have been on the anxious seat during the dry weather have decided to stay, and are putting forth satisfactory leaves.
The joyful Pear-trees shake their drops down upon you, the cat-bird sits on the grape trellis and inquires what you are doing there. It is a way he has. He lives in the Box arbor, and thinks he owns the earth, and that our strawberries are his. He scolds the cat, and defies the robin, and has such a trig, gentlemanly air about him, with his well-brushed dark coat, that one might christen him Sir Charles Gran-dison. He makes me a bow, and says civil things (or uncivil) in his own tongue,which, unfortunately, I do not understand.
"I thought you told me this parrot could talk? "
"So he can - ze parrot lankwich - you don't expect all ze lankwiches for ten tollar, do you?"
Thus our cat-bird, which costs us nothing but strawberries, discourses in a jargon which we would fain comprehend, so as to answer him according to his deserts; and sometimes of a Sunday morning he sings us a glorious tune.
When the rain comes, Apollo, the parrot, climbs to the top of the tree in which he is perched, and spreads all his bright feathers to catch the shower. Elongating his wings, he makes them meet over his brow in the very attitude of the cherubim, and then, turning a somersault, he hangs head downward, that the water may thoroughly drench his plumage. With all his gold, and red, and green glittering with raindrops, he resembles some superb blossom quivering on a stem, and makes a beautiful spectacle of himself. When his bath is done he chatters and laughs with glee, and sings his merriest song, with some disregard of rhythm and tune, but none of harmony, till all the smaller birds begin to pipe in company.