Puslapio vaizdai

Pancake, giving as it did the context of every reference in literature to pancakes, was the most scholarly of the four; the Tuesday article, which hazarded the opinion that Rome may at least have been begun on a Tuesday, the most daring. But all of them were published.

This early success showed Annesley the possibilities of the topical article; it led him also to construct a revised calendar for his own use. In the "Bupp Almanac" the events of the day were put back a fortnight; so that, if the Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude fell upon the 17th, Annesley's attention was called to it upon the 3rd, and upon the 3rd he surveyed the Famous Partnerships of the epoch. Similarly, The Origin of Lord Mayor's Day was put in hand on October 26th.

He did not, however, only glorify the past; current events claimed their meed of copy. In the days of his dependence Annesley had travelled, so that he could well provide the local color for such sketches as Kimberley as I Knew It (1901) and Birmingham by Moonlight (1903). His Recollections of St. Peter's at Rome were hazy, yet sufficient to furnish an article with that title at the time of the Coronation. But I must confess that Dashes for the Pole came entirely from his invaluable Encyclopædia.

Annesley Bupp had devoted himself to literature for two years before his first article on trams was written. This was called Voltage, was highly technical, and convinced every editor to whom it was sent (and by whom it was returned) that the author knew his subject thoroughly. So when he followed it up with How to be a Tram Conductor, he had the satisfaction not only of seeing it in print within a week, but of reading an editorial reference to himself as "the noted expert on our overhead system." Two other articles in the same paper-Some

Curious Tram Accidents and Tram or Bus: Which?-established his position. Once recognized as the authority on trams, Bupp was never at a loss for a subject. In the first place there were certain articles, such as Tramways in 1904, Progress of Tramway Construction in the Past Year, Tramway Inventions of the Last Twelvemonth, and The Tram: Its Future in 1905, which flowed annually from his pen. From time to time there would arise the occasion for the topical article on trams-Trams as Army Transports and How our Trams fared during the Recent Snow, to give two obvious examples. And always there was a market for such staple articles as Trams in Fiction.

You will understand, then, that by the end of 1906 Annesley Bupp had a reputation; to be exact, he had two reputations. In Fleet Street he was known as a writer upon whom a subeditor could depend; a furnisher of what got to be called "Buppy"-matter which is paid at a slightly higher rate than ordinary copy, because the length and quality of it never vary. Outside Fleet Street he was regarded simply as a literary light; Annesley Bupp, the fellow whose name you saw in every paper; an accepted author.

It was not surprising, therefore, that at the beginning of 1907 public opinion forced Annesley into newer fields of literature. It demanded from him, among other things, a weekly review of current fiction entitled Fireside Friends. He wrote this with extraordinary fluency; a few words of introduction, followed by a large fragment of the book before him, pasted beneath the line, "Take this, for instance." An opinion of any kind he rarely ventured; an adverse opinion, like a good friend, never.

About this time, he was commissioned to write three paragraphs each day for an evening paper. The first

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

dence," for he has had, like all great men, his countless imitators.) Trams also he deserted with the publication of his great work on the subjectTramiana. But as a writer on Literature and Old London he has a European reputation and his recent book, In the Track of Shakespeare: A Record of a Visit to Stratford-on-Avon, created no little stir.

He is in great request at public dinners, where his speech in reply to the toast of Literature is eagerly attended.

He contributes to every symposium in the popular magazines.

It is all the more to be regretted that his autobiography, The Last of the Bupps, is to be published posthumously.

A. A. M.


It is curious to notice how certain species of British plants love to frequent the vicinity of roads. They seem to prefer the grassy wastes and mossy banks, the hedgerows and ditches that border our lanes and thoroughfares to more sequestered localities. Even in these days of scientific road-making, when the highways are under the control of county councils, and waysides and hedges are kept in trim and orderly condition, it is remarkable how many interesting wild flowers continue to blossom by the roadside.

There must have been still more of them before the wide stretches of greensward and rough herbage contiguous to the public roads were taken in and brought under cultivation. In Chaucer's days, when in "the moneth of May" the pious folk followed the pilgrims' way to Canterbury,

The holy blisful marter for to seeke,

what a wealth of wild flowers must have met their gaze! In later ages, we know from Pepys' Diary and other contemporary documents, the high roads often ran for many miles together through unenclosed country, and that what is now an endless succession of fields and meadows and homesteads was then rough moorland and swampy fen. We have, too, the records of several of our early botanists, and it is a fascinating task to follow in the footsteps of Gerarde and Ray, of Johnson and Goodyer and Turner, as they travelled on horseback in search of simples along the high roads and through the bye-ways of the country. A perusal of their writings, dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, reveals the abundance of rare and interesting species which then flowered beside the public thoroughfares.

Old Master Gerarde, that excellent "Master in Chirurgerie" and "chief

Herbalist" to James I., the owner likewise at Holborn of one of the finest physic-gardens in England, where he cultivated "near eleven hundred sorts of plants," spent much time in thus moving about the country. The county of Essex was well known to him, and as he rode along "the Colchester highway from Londonward between Esterford"-now known as Kelvedon-"and Wittam," he noticed "by the wayes side" the small green leaved Hounds tongue, a rare and choice plant "against the biting of dogs." The Lesser Teasell or Shepheards-rod he found growing beside the highway "leading from Braintree to Henningham castle in Essex, and not in any other place except here and there a plant upon the highway from MuchDunmow to London." John Ray, too, was accustomed to make what he calls "Itineraries" in search of rare plants, and the records of several of these expeditions have fortunately been preserved. He frequently mentions choice plants as growing by the highway. The Maideu Pink he noticed "by the Roadsides on the sandy Hill you ascend going from Lenton to Nottingham, plentifully;" and the "Least Hares-ear on a bank by the Northern Road a little beyond Huntingdon." The very rare Lizard orchis he found growing on the right-hand side of the "great Highway going to a village called Grimsteed-Green from Dartford in Kent." In his Welsh Itinerary he noticed the Cambrian poppy "by the wayside near the upper end of Llanberis pool." Passing from Cornwall into Devon "on the hill which you ascend, after you are come over the passage to go to Plymouth," the exceedingly rare Eryngium campestre was growing in plenty. "I do not remember," he adds, "to have seen it anywhere else in England." It is interesting to know that the plant was flourishing on the very same spot last

summer. Numberless other instances might be quoted. The Dwale or Deadly Nightshade was growing "in a ditch by the highway side near Alton in Hampshire" when Dr. Robert Turner passed along the road about the year 1660; and shortly before that date Mr. John Goodyer, a famous botanist, saw enough maidenhair spleenwort growing on the banks of the road "between Rake and Headley neere Wollmer Forest," to "lode an horse therewith"; and as he passed an inclosure "on the right hand side of the way as you go from Droxford to Poppie hill in Hampshire" he noticed "the Bastard Tode-flax flowring abundantly."

These wide stretches of turf beside the public roads on which the gipsies were wont to encamp, remained untouched until comparatively modern times. In his "Lovers' Journey," our poet-botanist, George Crabbe, describes the road, beside which he found many interesting plants, which lay between Aldeburgh and Beccles. First "O'er a barren heath beside the coast," it ran; then "through lanes of burning sand," where the dark poppy flourished on the dry and sterile soil; across "common pasture wild and wide," past "scatter'd hovels on the barren green," over the "high-raised dam, with level fen on either side," where "a grave Flora scarcely deigns to bloom," beside "the rushy moor where the rare moss in secret shade is found." At length the country again becomes enclosed, and "See!" he says: The wholesome wormwood grows beside the way, Where dew-press'd yet the dog-rose bends the spray;

Fresh herbs the fields, fair shrubs the banks adorn, And snow-white bloom falls flaky from the thorn;

No fostering hand they need, no sheltering wall; They spring uncultured, and they bloom for all.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

The condition of the countryside has doubtless greatly changed since George Crabbe wrote his famous "Tales." Still, in spite of the Commons Inclosure Act of 1845 and the consequent reclaiming of countless miles of roadside wastes, and the stubbing up of banks and hedgerows, many beautiful plants continue to flourish by the highway. Now, as in the sixteenth century, the wild clematis, named by Gerarde the Travellers-Joy because of its habit of "decking and adorning waies and hedges where people travel," gladdens the eyes with its fine white tufts of feathered seed-vessels which have earned for the plant its popular name of old-man's-beard. In the month of June the brambles are in flower along the tangled hedgerows, and the lovely dog-roses, and the fragrant honeysuckle. Many of our native shrubs, too, blossom on the banks by the way. side the dogwood, the spindle-tree, the privet, the buckthorn; and, sweetest of all, the may.

In the chalky districts of Hampshire there is no more characteristic plant along the roadsides than the Dark Mullein, a tall and handsome species with long, crowded spikes of bright yellow flowers, the stamens of which are covered with purple hairs. Sometimes, in company with the Dark Mullein, a few plants of the Wild Chicory with its large delicate skyblue flowers will be seen, but not often, for it is a rare plant in Hampshire. In other counties, however, it is more frequently met with. We once noticed it, in remarkable abun dance, gracing the roadside near Medmenham, in Bucks, not far from the site of the old abbey, formerly a convent of Cistercian monks; and we know it well in West Cornwall. The Shepheards-rod of the old herbalist, "the knobbed heads of which are no bigger than a nutmeg," though but seldom seen in Hampshire, has yet man

aged to maintain its position in several places by the roadside for a long series of years. On the London road to Gosport, between the villages of Chawton and Farringdon, the tall and stately plant presents a dignified appearance in the thick hedgerow that borders the thoroughfare. In a similar situation, a few miles further on, a large patch of the scarce soapwort makes a fine show with its handsome flesh-colored flowers. Another rare Hampshire species, the Spreading Campanula, marked by its loose panicles of cup-shaped flowers of a light purple hue, still flourishes on a steep bank beside the high road on the very spot where it was first noticed by a distinguished botanist, who afterwards became Dean of Winchester, nearly a century ago.

In the West of England several choice plants, strange to the eye of an East Anglian, may sometimes be seen on the roadsides. In the neighborhood of Dartmouth the lovely Green Alkanet, with broad, ovate leaves, and exquisite flowers of a rich azure blue, is not uncommon. It is so striking a flower that the most unobservant traveller could hardly fail to notice it. We have also met with it on the hedge banks around Saltash, where the Wild or Bastard Balm is also found. This latter plant, though less beautiful, is even more conspicuous than the Green Alkanet, and its large creamy-white flowers blotched with pink or purple have a handsome appearance against the dark herbage of the hedgerow. In several localities in the district we noticed the Bastard Balm, among others "on a woody bank by a comb to the south of Saltash," perhaps the very spot where John Ray "first found it growing in great plenty on July 5th, 1662."

On the other hand, the eastern counties can show wayside flowers which are unknown in the West. The very rare Lesser Green-leaved Hound's

tongue found by John Ray "in London Road near Witham, but more plentifully about Braxted by the way-sides" has never travelled as far as Devon or Cornwall. In parts of Essex, especially in the north of the county, about Saffron Walden and Finchingfield, a striking clover peculiar to a few of the eastern counties will often be noticed on the wastes that border the roads. It is known as the Sulphur-colored clover, and its large heads of dull yellow flowers can hardly escape observation. John Ray mentions it as growing on the roadsides about Cherry Hinton in Cambridgeshire, and it is also to be seen, together with the Lesser Calamint, by his old home at Black Notley in Essex. The Lesser Calamint, is an attractive aromatic plant with light purple flowers, and in late summer and autumn it is one of the most characteristic of Essex wayside plants. As one travels in August along the high road near Thorpe-leThe Saturday Review.

Soken, in the vicinity of Walton-on-the Naze, a tal plant with large umbels of yellow flowers may be seen flourishing on the sides of the ditch that divides the roadway from the marshes beyond. For a space of some twenty or thirty yards it has taken possession of the wayside. Its interest lies, not merely in its great rarity-it only grows in one or two localities in England--but still more in the fact that it was growing on the same spot, and that spot within a few feet of the high road, as far back as the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Gerarde found it there, and speaks of it as Suphurwort, for "the roots thereof, as big as a man's thigh, are full of yellow sap or liquor, smelling not much unlike brimstone called sulphur, which hath induced some to call it Suphurwort." It was afterwards noticed by the great Essex naturalist, John Ray, and there it was last summer in conspicuous abundance "by the high-way side."


It has been possible in old days for patriots and poets to speak of their country with a certain dignity and reserved, though proud, affection. It has been possible, even when the country was at the height of wealth and dominion, and very easily possible when she stood in peril either of oppression from without or of internal ruin through her own errors and perversion. We need hardly recall the noble utterances of patriotism from the psalms in Zion's praise ("When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion," "My feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem!" "By the waters of Babylon," and so many other immortal verses)-from these outbursts of Zion's praise right down the course

of nations to John of Gaunt's lines on England, and Ireland's "Dark Rosaleen," and the odes to France. Patriotic utterances are probably the most familiar passages in all literature.

It would be hard to decide what to choose as the greatest embodiment of the praise of country, but many would turn to Virgil when, like a farmer coming from his vines and bees, and beholding far-off the towers of a lofty city, with rivers sliding under its ancient walls, he, too, is stirred to devotion before the greatness of Rome, that revelation of divine accomplishment, that fairest sight the world contained. But nobler, perhaps, even than the spirit of reverence and trust pervading Virgil's aspect of Rome was the ac

« AnkstesnisTęsti »