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read all about Wilbur Wright, and I've seen him on the bioscope, and I'm a first-class driver of a car, as you know. Half-an-hour's examination of the engines on the ground would be all I should want. Why, you've often said what a genius for mechanics I have. In any case one must begin some time, and that's where an old friend should come in. If anything goes wrong with the thing I'll buy you another, if you don't mind waiting for the money. A pal couldn't say more than that.
With kind regards to Miss Ferney, believe me, Yours sincerely,
Sir Henry Ferney, M.P., to Mr. Charles Hapgood. (Telegram.)
Sorry this week-end impossible. Ferney.
Miss Hapgood to Mr. Travis Pullman. My dear Mr. Pullman,-I don't know what it is that Charlie wants from you, but if you could possibly see your way to lend it I should be so happy. The poor boy is a wreck of disappointment, and it affects all of us. He says you are the only man who can do him this little favor, whatever it is. Please do
brightest sunshine. April and May together held a larger number of sunny days than stand to the credit of any other April and May in the English chronicle of weather. Then came June with a waterpot to suit Aquarius, and June rained as she rained in 1903, but in colder winds. In most places the rain was very sadly needed. April and May had not only been dry, but there had been a long succession of East winds, and after weeks of hot sun and an East wind blowing the desire for the sound and the smell of rain can become for the countryman the deepest of all. Under a dry East wind fields and gardens parch as if they could not draw breath. Wind and rain beat up from the South-West, and the sap runs, the scent spreads from the flower.
Not all of the rain of last June came on a West wind. But a good deal of it did, and in some parts of the country, though doubtless not in all, there has been by no means too much. Here and there it has brought disaster; the grass has been laid almost over the whole of a field, or the mown grass has been left where it was cut, with no possibility of carrying it, and with the downpour soaking half its goodness out of it even if it is to be made and carried later. In other places a large part of the strawberry crop has been lost; but the price of strawberries varies according to the quantity put on the market, and one grower's loss may be another's gain. Other crops have never looked better; corn is not yet long enough in the straw to be hurt by a long soaking, and root crops after the drought of May could hardly have too much June rain. But some of the most marked differences in the effect of continuous rain in June show themselves more plainly in the garden than the farm. Certainly the rain has not brought universal and unmixed disaster, as might be imagined from some of the reports in the news
papers. Reading some of the more highly colored accounts of the mischief done by the June weather, you might suppose that hardly a bud had opened since the spring. "Gardeners are in despair of ever seeing a summer show of blossom in their beds and borders this year," you read, "Wherever one turns there is nothing to see but leaves." That may be the case in some gardens, though it is a little difficult to imagine the spectacle, but in others the June rains have set a more generous growth and a greater profusion of blossom than ever come with a month of continuous sunshine. On the arid surfaces of the Downs, where the shallow garden soil only spreads a few inches above the solid chalk of the hillside; in gardens where light sandy soil is sharply drained by gravel, and a few days of hot sunshine wilt the surface-rooting plants as if they had been cut and denied water; in gardens where the clay bakes till it cracks in drought, in all these the rain, so far from ruining the show of flowers, has doubled it. Some of the roses, of course, have suffered. Roses which bind themselves tightly in buds, like the old Gloire de Dijon and Frau Karl Druschki and many of the teas, cannot put up with incessant rain. The rain wraps them in a sticky coat of rotten petals which will neither let the water drain out nor allow the inner petals to expand, and the rose falls before it has opened. Some of the cluster roses, too, which bunch their double flowers closely like Electra, suffer in rain because it lodges in the clusters and cannot run out, or be shaken out by the wind. But, on the other hand, all the hybrid sweetbriar roses have bloomed in the utmost profusion, and care as little for the rain as the old cabbage rose, which is brave enough for any kind of weather. One of the consolations in a cool and rainy June is that the blossom remains on
the tree longer than in a month of fierce heats and glowing skies. Hot sunshine may burn the blossom from the tree more swiftly and thoroughly than the steady drip of rain. It is something to be able to keep a few of the best rhododendrons full in flower into July.
But the curious power which belongs to cold and rain at midsummer is to take the birds back into the weeks of singing. In a hot, sunny June such as last year the birds drop to the silence of autumn. July may often be as "sulky" as August, but when June is "sulky" she shows it most by the silence of birds. Many of the reasons which govern the singing and the silence of birds are as obscure now as when Gilbert White first took his notes at Selborne, but one rule seems to be fairly constant. Many birds will not sing in great heat, even when it is the full season for singing, and often, even when the ordinary season of singing is over, a bird seems to be recalled into weeks that have gone before by a sudden spell of cool and rain. You cannot, of course, lay down fixed dates on which, to the very day, each bird will begin or cease singing or calling, but you can come pretty near to general rules for most birds, and those rules, when you find them broken, seem to be broken most often when there is a sudden change from heat to cool, or when a spell of cool weather lasts beyond its expected season. Last year, for instance, in the hot weather that ended June and began July, the writer made notes of the last calls of the cuckoo and the song of the blackbirds. By the third week in June the cuckoo was only calling fitfully late in the evening, at eight o'clock or so, and soon after dawn. The last entry notes the cuckoo on June 24th, 3.10 to 3.30 a.m. But this year, in the same locality, the cuckoo has been calling every morning throughout the month, and two of the
most joyous calls were heard on a cool evening after rain, on June 27th, and in rain about nine o'clock in the morning on June 29th, when there were four calling together. Last year, again, the writer finds that there were some ten days at the beginning of July when the blackbirds seemed to have stopped singing altogether, though you can generally hear stray blackbirds sing a short song up to the third week in July; then comes a note on July 12th of four blackbirds singing together in cold rain.
Most of us speak vaguely of "bad" weather, and it would be a little difficult to define what should be meant by "bad." The accepted meaning seems to be wet weather, though it would hardly have been true to describe the hot weather which ended May as exactly good, when what was wanted more than anything in the country was rain to bring on the grass, and every day in the drought there were heath fires blackening some of the most beautiful country in England. After the May sunshine June came in with a downpour, and if the Fourth of June at Eton was one of the dismalest occasions in the whole history of King George's birthday, would not Farmer George, if he were alive, have been asked by other farmers to join with them in thanksgiving for the wet? The weather was unkind to Eton again later in the month, when it interrupted the cricket of the Eton and Winchester match; but who is to say that there was not a bright side to that bad weather, when with a wet ball and a damaged pitch it produced one of the best unfinished matches in the whole series between the two schools? Rain, indeed, so far from spoiling cricket, frequently makes an uninteresting match interesting, by setting one of the sides fighting hard to save a defeat or to win a game against time. It was the weather which changed the
prospect of the Australian cricketers' tour from what looked like a failure, so far as cricket and not gate-money was concerned, into a likelihood of success. But the best of the contrasts of weather belongs, not to the cricketfield, but to the garden. The spirit of a garden is the most buoyant, the most resilient thing. An English garden reThe Spectator.
Every reader has probably his favorite writer, but it has not yet been admitted that every writer has his favorite reader. This seems unfair. It would be better, surely, if writers were frank about it, and gave the reader some chance to come up to their ideal. Sometimes, it is true, a hint is given in the preface or dedication, but even then there is not much to go upon. Too often the preface is an explanation of something that is to follow, or an apology for something that is missing; and the dedication is always vague. What, for instance, can the reader judge from two bare initials? Is "A. M." the perfect reader? Prob ably he is. Almost certainly the writer knew he would appreciate the book. If so, surely we ought to know something more about him. There is nothing for our guidance in so curt a dismissal of him, and all we can do is to wonder what sort of man he is. In the days when books were dedicated to patrons the reader had not this feeling. He cared nothing about Lord So-and-so, but he cannot help being inquisitive about "A. M." For he is on the first page of the book, under the special protection of the writer; and it is obvious that he is there because it was certain he could be trusted to read the book as the writer would have it read. No one would dedicate a book simply from friend
covers from rain to rejoice in what the rain has brought; it repossesses itself as if it had never suffered a loss. A day of July sunshine after a fortnight of stress and storm sets over its lawns and borders a forgetfulness of everything except the sense of present warmth and the profusion of opening flowers.
ship. There must be some motive behind, some determination to make sure, at any rate, of one perfect reader. The writer runs no risks with "A. M." All the wit and knowledge which other unauthorized readers might pass over are safe with him.
Surely then it would be well if we could have, instead of the preface, a short account of "A. M." or "E. L. S." or "Lucy," or whoever it may be. There would not then be any danger of the book falling into the wrong hands. The inexperienced reader would turn to the dedication, and find out whether the book was meant for him or not. There would be no necessity for hurriedly turning over the pages. Everyone, of course, has done this, and everyone has taken the wrong book home, and found, too late, that it has nothing for him. It is a cheerless business, this misguided carrying home of a book, and it has happened on Saturday night, in the rain, often. And yet the book looked interesting. The passages you happened to read seemed to promise good things. It was clear, too, that others had read the book, and that at least one reader had been interested. For there, neatly written in the margin, were the words, say, "How true!" Obviously someone had been roused, and it seemed certain that there must be something in a book which could compel a lady