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wiser by listening to him. So saying, let
me drop the curtain, on Hadji Hassan and
his court.


THE streets and houses, cabs, omnibuses,
noise, dirt, heat, crowd, bustle, are unquestionably
travelling out farther and farther from the
centre of the metropolis, rendering it very
problematical at what particular point we
can be said to reach the open country. This
is now such an oft-told tale, that we need not
stop to mourn over it. One curious result is,
that the regions whence vegetable supplies
for the London market are in large part
obtained, are gradually driven to a distance
from us. We all know about the market
gardens of Fulham, Earl's Court, and other
places west and south of the metropolis; and
a glance at a map shows that new streets
and squares are approaching dangerously
close to those gardens; giving warning of the
dayprobably not very far distantwhen
growing cabbages and lettuces must,
figuratively speaking, walk off to a greater

There are some peculiar gardens which,
having not yet begun to be disturbed
by bricks and mortar, still continue to
supply London in as quiet a way as
heretofore. Among these are the Herb Gardens
at Mitcham. For more than a hundred years
past many of the culinary, medicinal, and
perfumery herbs have been specially grown at
Mitcham in Surrey for the London market:
we do not mean exactly Covent Garden
market, but the warehouses of the wholesale
druggists. There are hundreds of acres
thus appropriated, by herb-growers who
devote their whole time and attention to this
particular kind of culture.

When we consider that various kinds
of herbs require different kinds of soil
for their efficient growth, it can hardly be
supposed that any one spot will rank high
above the whole of them. It is probable
that the neighbourhood of Mitcham
possesses a soil which, although not
especially fine for any one purpose, is of a
good average quality for herbs generally.
It is, of course, not in Mitcham itself
that these gardens are located; for Mitcham
is a quiet village, with a few quiet natives
of the old school, and some quaint quiet
residences belonging to quiet city men who
go quietly up by omnibus to town every
morning. But, taking Mitcham as a centre,
there are Tooting on one side, Sreatham on
another, Croydon on another, Beddington,
Carshalton, Sutton, Mordon, and Merton on
others; and between these several villages
and Mitcham there is still an abundant area
of open land available for any crops to
which the soil may be suitable. Around
these places a keen eye can readily detect
the farms or gardens of those who look to
London for a marketnot always for medicinal
and perfumery herbs, but sometimes for culinary
vegetables. The scene is not brilliant or
gaudy or highly coloured; for the most useful
plants are not often the most showy; and
here everything is essentially useful.
Nevertheless a herb-garden is a beautiful object;
for it always contains a few brightly-
flowering plants; and who can forget the
pleasant world of herbs and simples among
which many of our old writers lived and

Dear old Gerarde. It is pleasant to look
into your Herball, and to appreciate your
undoubted faith in the truth of all that you
assert. We prefer you in the old dress
of fifteen hundred and ninety-seven, before
editors and annotators had "improved" you.
We like your engraved title-page, with the
trimly set-out garden, the beds of flowers and
shrubs, the gardeners digging and watering,
the lady and gentleman promenading in the
costume of Elizabeth's reign, and Cupids
watering the fruit-trees. We like the hearty
earnestness of your dedicatory address to
Sir William Cecil. There is no mere fine
language here:—"If delight may provoke men's
labour, what greater delight is there than to
behold the earth apparelled with plants, as
with a robe of embroidered work, set with
orient pearls, and garnished with great diversity
of rare and costly jewels? If this variety
and perfection of colours may affect the eye,
it is such in herbs and flowers that no
Apelles, no Zeuxis ever could by any art
express the like; if odours, or if taste may
work satisfaction, they are both so sovereign
in plants, and so comfortable, that no confection
of the apothecaries can equal their
excellent virtue. But these delights are in
the outward senses; the principal delight is
in the mind, singularly enriched with the
knowledge of these visible things, setting
forth to us the invisible wisdom and
admirable workmanship of Almighty God."

Gerarde treats of all plants under three
heads. The first comprises grasses, rushes,
corn, flags, and bulbous-rooted plants; the
second includes all sorts of herbs for cooking,
medicine, and sweet-smelling use; while the
third is made up in a very miscellaneous
manner, of trees, shrubs, bushes, fruit-bearing
plants, rosins, gums, roses, heath, mosses,
mushrooms, and coral, which last is placed in
strange company. Gerarde's second classthe
herbs for cooking, medicine, and sweet-smelling
useare those which are chiefly cultivated
by the Mitcham herb-growers; lavender,
chamomile, liquorice, mint, peppermint, belladonna,
poppy, wormwood, aniseed,
horehound; plants from which druggists obtain
spirits and oils, and perfumers obtain scents,
and tavern-keepers obtain liqueurs.

The year is accurately portioned out at
these gardens: the different crops being made
to fit in one after another with exact
regularity. There is one magnate grower who

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