Flowers and Flower-Gardens

Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010 - 216 sidor
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Excerpt: ...secured it at a most extravagant price. The moment he got possession of it, he crushed it under his foot. "Now," he exclaimed, "my tulip is unique!" A Dutch Merchant gave a sailor a herring for his breakfast. Jack seeing on the Merchant's counter what he supposed to be a heap of onions, took up a handful of them and ate them with his fish. The supposed onions were tulip bulbs of such value that they would have paid the cost of a thousand Royal feasts.079 The tulip mania never leached so extravagant a height in England as in Holland, but our country did not quite escape the contagion, and even so late as the year 1836 at the sale of Mr. Clarke's tulips at Croydon, seventy two pounds were given for a single bulb of the Fanny Kemble; and a Florist in Chelsea in the same year, priced a bulb in his catalogue at 200 guineas. The Tulip is not endeared to us by many poetical associations. We have read, however, one pretty and romantic tale about it. A poor old woman who lived amongst the wild hills of Dartmoor, in Devonshire, possessed a beautiful bed of Tulips, the pride of her small garden. One fine moonlight night her attention was arrested by the sweet music which seemed to issue from a thousand Liliputian choristers. She found that the sounds proceeded from her many colored bells of Tulips. After watching the flowers intently she perceived that they were not swayed to and fro by the wind, but by innumerable little beings that were climbing on the stems and leaves. They were pixies. Each held in its arms an elfin baby tinier than itself. She saw the babies laid in the bells of the plant, which were thus used as cradles, and the music was formed of many lullabies. When the babies were asleep the pixies or fairies left them, and gamboled on the neighbouring sward on which the old lady discovered the day after, several new green rings, --a certain evidence that her fancy had not deceived her! At earliest dawn the fairies had returned to the tulips and...

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