Pacific; we go deep into the woods of the West; and we stand dreamily under the Pyramids of the East. What part is there of the English year which has not been sung by the poets? all of whom are full of its loveliness; and our greatest of all, Shakespeare, carries, as it were, armfuls of violets, and scatters roses and golden wheat across his pages, which are simply fields written with human life.


of food, and the late warmth of the autumn sun lighting up their life. They know and feel the different loveliness of the seasons as much as we do. Every one must have noticed their joyousness in spring; they are quiet, but so very, very busy in the height of summer; as autumn comes on they obviously delight in the occasional hours of warmth. The marks of their little feet are almost sacreda joyous life has been there do not obliterate it. It is so delightful to know that something is happy.

The hawthorn hedge that glints down the slope is more colored than the hedges in the sheltered plain. Yonder, a low bush on the brow is a deep crimson; the hedge as it descends varies from brown to yellow, dotted with red haws, and by the gateway has another spot of crimson. The lime-trees turn yellow from top to bottom, all the leaves together; the elms by one or two branches at a time. A lime-tree thus entirely colored stands side by side with an elm, their boughs intermingling; the elm is green except a line at the outer extremity of its branches. A red light as of fire plays in the beeches, so deep is their orange tint in which the sunlight is caught. An oak is dotted with buff, while yet the main body of the foliage is untouched. With these tints and sunlight, nature gives us so much more than the tree gives. A tree is nothing but a tree in itself; but with light and shadow, green leaves moving, a bird sing

This is art indeed art in the mind and soul, infinitely deeper, surely, than the construction of crockery, jugs for the mantelpiece, dados, or even of paintings. The lover of nature has the highest art in his soul. So, I think, the bluff English farmer who takes such pride and delight in his dogs and horses, is a much greater man of art than any Frenchman preparing with cynical dexterity of hand some colored presentment of flashy beauty for the salon. The English girl who loves her horse and English girls do love their horses most intensely — is infinitely more artistic in that fact than the cleverest painter on enamel. They who love na ture are the real artists; the "artists" are copyists. St. John the naturalist, when exploring the recesses of the Highlands, relates how he frequently came in contact with men living in the rude Highland way -forty years since, no education then whom at first you would suppose to be morose, unobservant, almost stupid. But when they found out that their visitor would stay for hours gazing in admiration at their glens and mountains, their de-ing, another moving to and fro — in au meanor changed. Then the truth appeared: they were fonder than he was himself of the beauties of their hills and lake; they could see the art there, though perhaps they had never seen a picture in their lives, certainly not any blue and white crockery. The Frenchman flings his fingers dexterously over the canvas, but he has never had that in his heart which the rude Highlander had.

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The path across the arable field was covered with a design of birds' feet. The reversed broad arrow of the fore claws, and the straight line of the hinder claw, trailed all over it in curving lines. In the dry dust, their feet were marked as clearly as a seal on wax their trails wound this way and that, and crossed as their quick eyes had led them to turn to find something. For fifty or sixty yards the path was worked with an inextricable design; it was a pity to step on it and blot out the traces of those little feet Their hearts so happy, their eyes so observant, the earth so bountiful to them with its supply

tumn with color-the boughs are filled with imagination. There then seems so much more than the mere tree; the timber of the trunk, the mere sticks of the branches, the wooden framework is animated with a life. High above, a lark sings, not for so long as in spring-the October song is shorter but still he sings. If you love color, plant maple; maple bushes color a whole hedge. Upon the bank of a pond, the brown oak-leaves which have fallen are reflected in the still, deep water.

It is from the hedges that taste must be learned. A garden abuts on these fields, and being on slightly rising ground, the maple bushes, the brown and yellow and crimson hawthorn, the limes and elms, are all visible from it; yet it is surrounded by stiff straight iron railings, unconcealed even by the grasses, which are carefully cut down with the docks and nettles, that do their best, three or four times in the summer, to hide the blank iron. Within these iron railings stands a row of arbor

vita, upright, and stiff likewise, and | spirals and exquisitely defined flowers, are among them a few other evergreens; and full of imagination, products of a sunny that is all the shelter the lawn and flower- dream, and tinted so tastefully, that albeds have from the east wind, blowing for though they are green, and all about them miles over open country; or from the is green too, yet the plant is quite distinct, glowing sun of August. This garden be- and in no degree confused or lost in the longs to a gentleman who would certainly mass of leaves under and by it. It stands spare no moderate expense to improve it, out, and yet without violent contrast. All and yet there it remains, the blankest, these beauties of form and color surround barest, most miserable-looking square of the place, and try, as it were, to march in ground the eye can find; the only piece of and take possession, but are shut out by ground from which the eye turns away; straight iron railings. Wonderful it is for even the potato-field close by, the com- that education should make folk tasteless! mon potato-field, had its color in bright Such, certainly, seems to be the case in a poppies, and there were partridges in it, great measure, and not in our own country and at the edges, fine growths of mallow only, for those who know Italy tell us that and its mauve flowers. Wild parsley, still the fine old gardens there, dating back to green in the shelter of the hazel stoles, is the days of the Medici, are being despoiled there now on the bank, a thousand times of ilex and made formal and straight. Is sweeter to the eye than bare iron and cold all the world to be Versaillized? evergreens. Along that hedge, the white Scarcely two hundred yards from these bryony wound itself in the most beautiful cold iron railings, which even nettles and manner, completely covering the upper docks would hide if they could, and thispart of the thick brambles, a robe thrown tles strive to conceal, but are not permitover the bushes; its deep-cut leaves, its ted, there is an old cottage by the roadcountless tendrils, its flowers, and pres- side. The roof is of old tile, once red, ently the berries, giving pleasure every now dull from weather; the walls some time one passed it. Indeed, you could tone of yellow; the folk are poor. Against not pass without stopping to look at it, it there grows a vigorous plant of jessaand wondering if any one ever so skilful, mine, a still finer rose, a vine covers the even those sure-handed Florentines Mr. | lean-to at one end, and tea-plant the corRuskin thinks so much of, could ever ner of the wall; besides these, there is a draw that intertangled mass of lines. yellow flowering plant, the name of which Nor could you easily draw the leaves and I forget at the moment, also trained to head of the great parsley - commonest of the walls; and ivy. Altogether, six plants hedge plants-the deep-indented leaves, grow up the walls of the cottage; and and the shadow by which to express them. over the wicket gate there is a rude arch There was work enough in that short - a framework of tall sticks from which piece of hedge by the potato field for a droop thick bunches of hops. It is a very good pencil every day the whole summer. commonplace sort of cottage; nothing And when done, you would not have been artistically picturesque about it, no effect satisfied with it, but only have learned of gable or timber-work; it stands by the how complex, and how thoughtful and far- roadside in the most commonplace way, reaching, nature is in the simplest of and yet it pleases. They have called in things. But with a straight-edge or ruler, nature, that great genius, and let the artist any one could draw the iron railings in have his own way. In Italy, the art-coun half an hour, and a surveyor's pupil could try, they cut down the ilex trees, and get make them look as well as Millais himself. the surveyor's pupil with straight-edge Stupidity to stupidity, genius to genius; and ruler to put it right and square for any hard fist can manage iron railings; a them. Our over-educated and well-to-do hedge is a task for the greatest. people set iron railings round about their blank pleasure-grounds, which the potatofield laughs at in bright poppies; and actually one who has some fine park grounds has lifted up on high a mast and weather-vane! a thing useful on the seaboard at coastguard stations for signalling, but oh! how repellent and straight and stupid among clumps of graceful elms!

Those, therefore, who really wish their gardens or grounds, or any place, beautiful, must get that greatest of geniuses, nature, to help them, and give their artist freedom to paint to fancy, for it is nature's imagination which delights us as I tried to explain about the tree, the imagination, and not the fact of the timber and sticks. For these white bryony leaves and slender

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So much attention has lately been directed towards Egypt, that most subjects connected with it have been pretty fully discussed. Some extracts from the diary of M. Sonnini (a French naval engineer and naturalist, who, just one hundred years ago, travelled in Upper and Lower Egypt for the sake of scientific research) may, however, prove interesting.

In those days, Egyptian travel was by no means so safe and easy as in our times, and M. Sonnini passed through many unpleasant episodes ere he reached the famous Lakes of Natron. He describes his delight when, wearied by the frightful monotony of the desert across which he had been travelling, he at length reached a chain of hills furrowed by deep gorges, and on reaching their summit (a toilsome ascent, over soft fine sand), he beheld at a distance of about six leagues a parallel range, and in the valley that intervened a vast sheet of water, its banks covered with shrubs, and with a prodigious number of wild duck of many different species, while rosy flamingoes stalked to and fro in the shallows among green aquatic plants and tall reeds reeds which are greatly prized by the peasants for making pipestems. The leaves are used for making mats.

The French visitor learnt that the lakes vary greatly in size, according to the season. Sometimes they dry up, so that only two small pools remain, while at other times both overflow, and unite to form one great lake. When the two lakes separate, and their waters subside, the ground which they have inundated, and now leave exposed, is covered with a sediment, which is crystallized and hardened by the sun- this is the natron. There are also thick banks of rock salt of dazzling white ness. The thickness of these layers of salt varies according to the longer or shorter continuance of the waters on the ground. Where they have lain but a little while, the natron lies in thin cakes, almost like snowflakes. Sometimes this substance forms on the surface of the waters so thickly that camels can walk over it, as we might walk over ice. At other times the waters are clear and limpid.

The principal harvest of the natron is gathered in the month of August, when it is raised from the ground by the aid of

iron tools, and is packed in camel-loads, and so transported to the Nile, where it is shipped for Cairo.

On the shore of one of the lakes, a small house was pointed out to M. Sonnini, as that wherein St. Maximous, a saint held in much reverence by the Copts, was born.

Leaving the lakes, the traveller proceeded in a south-west direction across sand entirely covered with hardened natron, which rendered the march exceedingly fatiguing both to men and beasts. At length he came in sight of a large building, in which, secluded from the wicked world, dwelt a brotherhood of Coptic monks.

Describing this monastery, M. Sonnini says that he cannot believe that a situa tion more horrible and forbidding could be found on the earth. Built in the middle of the desert, its walls, though very high, cannot in the distance be distin guished from the sands, having the same reddish color and naked aspect. There is no apparent entrance. Not a tree, not a plant of any size, is to be seen. No road leads to it; no trace of man is to be observed near it; or if, perchance, a human footprint is visible, it is quickly blown over by the ever-shifting sands, or else effaced by the track of wild boars or other wild animals, the rightful dwellers in such hateful solitudes. Such, he says, is the harsh and repulsive appearance of this retreat, which is inhabited by a most useless race of ascetics.

As he drew near the monastery, his Arab escort went forward to endeavor to obtain admission, a favor which was not always readily granted to strangers. While the tired traveller and his servants with the camels lagged behind, suddenly they became aware of a cloud of dust rapidly approaching them, and in a few moments found themselves surrounded by a troop of wild Bedouins. Resistance being hopeless, they were immediately captured and stripped; clothes, property, and money were all taken, and the luckless traveller deemed that he had indeed fallen on evil days as he saw these lords of the desert begin to quarrel over his goods.

Greatly, however, to his astonishment and satisfaction, the robber chief presently came up to him and restored his clothes, watch, and various other articles, and he then learned that Hussein, his own Arab escort, having seen the approach of the Bedouins, had returned with all speed, and happily possessed so much influence as to be able to induce the new comers to

give up their spoil, and respect his safeguard. So, after a very uncomfortable half-hour, the adventure ended without further damage than the loss of a large sum of money, which was abstracted from a purse, supposed to have been returned intact, and M. Sonnini, thankful to have got off so easily, deemed it well not to call the attention of his Arab guardian to this circumstance.

The Bedouins, thus transformed from foes to the semblance of friends, now did the honors of the desert, and mounting their late prisoners on their own horses, led them to the shadow of the monastery walls, from the summit of which baskets, containing bread, and wooden platters filled with lentils, were let down by ropes. The whole troop, with their guests, formed a group on the sands, and shared the meal thus provided.

Hussein now ascertained that the robber band had been for many hours lying in wait for the travellers, of whose approach they had informed the monks, adding that they purposed concealing themselves behind the walls, and shooting the travellers as they approached. At the entreaty of the Copts, they had, however, abandoned this murderous intention.

Having escaped this danger, the next difficulty was to obtain admission to the monastery. This was granted with exceeding hesitation, on the plea that the strangers might prove to be Mahommedans. One of the senior monks was let down by a rope to satisfy himself on this score. When convinced that the new arrivals were Christians, the monks agreed to receive them, but insisted on drawing them up by ropes run on pulleys. To this the strangers strongly objected, as the walls were very high, and, perceiving on one side a small door, or iron wicket, they demanded that it should be opened.

were, one after another, dragged in upon the mat by a series of most uncomfortable jerks.

It was quite dark ere this operation was finished. The monks then conducted the whole party, except Hussein, to their chapel, where there was a long service, followed by a scanty supper, consisting only of plain boiled rice.

This monastery had previously been inhabited by Greek monks, who had here sought to emulate the fame of the ancient anchorites, more especially of St. Macarius, whose name has been bestowed on this part of the Nitrian desert.

Within the high outer walls, there is a sort of small fort surrounded by ditches, over which is built a drawbridge, and here the monks retire when the Arabs succeed in forcing the outer wall. They told M. Sonnini that ten years previously they had been obliged thus to take refuge from Hussein, who was then the most formidable of Bedouins, though he had now for some years led a peacable and honest life. He had besieged the monastery, and having effected a breach in the great walls, had pillaged and sacked the place. Small wonder that his presence was not very cordially welcomed on the present occasion.

The little fort was always kept provisioned, so as to resist a long siege. Within it lay the cistern, and the church, a simple building, with no ornament save a few ostrich-eggs pendent from the roof, and some very poor pictures of saints. Here, too, was the monastic library - old books and manuscripts written in Coptic, which is a compound of Greek and of ancient Egyptian. These lay unheeded on the ground, worm-eaten and covered with the dust of many long years, unread by the monks, who, indeed, appeared quite indifferent to learning in any form, but This the monks refused, declaring that who nevertheless regarded these works of it was never opened when Arabs were their predecessors with considerable venknown to be in the neighborhood. How-eration, and would on no account sell ever, they at length yielded to the ener-them. getic remonstrances and threats of Hus- Their own cells were very dirty, vaulted sein, who was resolved to obtain shelter dens, "suited," says M. Sonnini, "to the for his camels, and with infinite precau- slothful and ignorant wretches by whom tion they opened the gate. But it was they are inhabited." He certainly was low and narrow (the "needle's eye" of not favorably impressed by this "reliScripture), and truly the camels found it gious" brotherhood, whom he describes a hard struggle to enter. Hussein made as sunk in vice and laziness. There were them lie down upon a mat, and to pre-in all twenty-three persons in the monasvent them from rising, tied one of their legs by a cord passed round their back. By the joint exertion of several men, the camels, having their heads held down,

tery. Their dress was, to his eyes, as unpleasant as was their coarse food to his palate. It consisted only of a sort of robe, worn day and night over a long shirt of

black linen, dirty and unwashed. Its dismal color, and the dark complexion, short stature, and mean appearance of the wear ers, were extremely repulsive. M. Sonnini describes these modern Coptic monks as the most filthy and disgusting of mankind.

Nevertheless, in the pursuit of science, he lodged in this monastery for some time, sharing the coarse fare of the inmates, which consisted only of biscuit made of flour of lentils and rice boiled in salt and water, without any sort of seasoning, detestable cheese, and now and then a little honey, with no beverage save brackish and ill-tasting water. How he must have longed to exchange this hateful food for a comfortable dinner in Paris, and how he must have sympathized with the Israelites, when, weary of desert fare, they craved a return to the flesh-pots of Egypt!

scripts in Arabic, Coptic, and Syriac have been rescued, and committed to the care of more intelligent guardians than the modern Coptic monks.

According to M. Sonnini's account, even the religious services in the monastery were not always edifying, as frequent disputes arose among the monks as to what psalms and anthems they should sing, and the squalling of Turkish and Arabic airs, with an accompaniment of noisy, clashing cymbals, made the church re-echo with a medley of jarring sounds.

He made a point, however, of being frequently present at service during the day, though he declined to attend the midnight mass. As a French Catholic, his attention was naturally chiefly attracted by the points of difference in ritual. He was struck by the attitude of devotion. "The monks," he says, "neither kneel, sit, nor stand, but remain on their feet, leaning against the wall, with their bodies bent forward, and supporting themselves on a kind of crutch, in the form of the letter T" (which is the form of the cross commonly accepted by the Coptic Church).

The monastic food supplies were all voluntary contributions from the Coptic peasants, who from time to time come to the monasteries in the desert to worship and do penance. Further supplies are sent thrice a year by the wealthier Copts "The chancel is separate, and kept of Cairo, and the caravans which bring shut, as in the Greek churches. The these offerings are invariably respected priest celebrates mass with water. The by the Arabs, who consider the monastery sacred vessels are of glass. Common as, in a manner, their own storehouse, bread is consecrated; the priest cuts it where they can always count on claiming food whenever they pass near. In all these monasteries, a cord hangs from the wall, and any one approaching unperceived, has but to pull the rope, which rings a small bell, and so summon the brethren. Then provisions are let down for the use of the wayfarer.

These monastic retreats must have been very numerous in olden times. Two monasteries, and two other deserted buildings, lay within a radius of two leagues from that of which we speak, which, however, was the most important, being the repository of the sacred bodies of no fewer than seven saints, of whom the most revered were St. Maximous and St. Domadious. These precious relics were, of course, enshrined in the church; but the Arabs confided to the travellers their belief that the bones thus treasured were those of camels and asses, which had died in the desert and had been carefully collected by the monks.

Four of these great monasteries were specially renowned for their libraries, namely, Deyr Suriana, Deyr Baramoos, Amba Bishoi, and that of St. Macarius. From these many valuable ancient manu

in pieces, and mixes it with consecrated water. Of this, he eats a few spoonfuls, and then administers a spoonful to all present.

"After the communion, the officiating priest washes his hands, places himself at the door of the chancel, with his wet hands extended, and every person goes in procession to present his face to be stroked, so that the faces of the congregation serve instead of a towel.

"During the mass the priest also blesses little round loaves, which are not half baked; these he distributes at the conclu sion of the services, a distribution which is not always made without some quarrels. The priest who celebrates mass is dressed in a kind of white shirt, made with a cowl, and covered with little crosses. During the other prayers he wears only a large fillet of white linen, with similar little crosses, half twisted round his head in the form of a turban, and the two ends hanging down before and behind.

"These Copts are fond of the bustle of rites and ceremonies, which rapidly suc ceed each other. They are always in motion during the time of the service. The officiating monk, in particular, is in

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