We cannot reproduce the charm of Old English examples — Our labourers' homes a national disgrace— The only way American cottages and their gardens may become altogether lovely.
I CAN think of nothing lovelier of its kind than that passage in "Aylmer's Field" in which Tennyson describes typical homes of English labourers:
"Here was one that, summer-blanched, Was parcel-bearded with the traveller's joy-In Autumn, parcel ivy-clad; and here The warm-blue breathings of a hidden hearth Broke from a bower of vine and honeysuckle: One looked all rose tree, and another wore A close-set robe of jasmine sown with stars: This had a rosy sea of gillyflowers About it; this, a milky-way on earth, Like visions in the Northern dreamer's heavens, A lily-avenue climbing to the doors; One, almost to the martin-haunted eaves A summer burial deep in hollyhocks; Each, its own charm".
People who have travelled more than I, say that English cottages and their gardens are the most beautiful in the world. I saw thousands of them and they were endlessly delightful. Yet there is almost nothing about them which I should care to have my countrymen copy.
This conclusion is so unexpected and disappointing that I must defend it at considerable length, before setting forth what seems to me a better scheme. In the first place, I must answer the question which I am sure will spring into the minds of my readers viz., "If there is nothing to copy, why is it that everybody is so enthusiastic about English cottage gardens?"