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always at hand, and an easy incitement to placate superiors, who specialize in the old law of clerical residence. In fact, Canon Ellacombe, In a Gloucestershire Garden (1915), ends his book with a warning to the clergy against gardeningas being too interesting and too absorbing an occupation for them.' Like all other hobbies it must be carefully practised by the young, but for the old and middle-aged, it is an ideal work, pleasant, surprising and, above all, health-giving. Hundreds of professional men in England have taken up gardening as a health-giving work. A man whose name is very familiar to politicians, and who is a Cabinet Minister works daily, for hours in his garden with spade, pruning-knife or barrow. Ten years ago I saw him in Parliament and he reminded me of Galvani's experiment animal or a mummy. To-day he is keen and healthy. Indeed, the younger city physicians make no secret of the opinion that nearly all clerical ills spring from insufficient exercise in the open. The great Abernethy prescribed for my lords and ladies of his day, 'Live on sixpence a day, and earn it.' I add the advice, 'Try a round of acres, roods, and-tillage.'
The praise of gardening is of old standing, for even the dullest and most forgetful of us the wisdom of ancient Greece and Rome, which our good masters instilled into our (pre-Intermediate) minds, remembers the praise which Xenophon bestows in his Economicus on agriculture. Perhaps some of us look on these dear classics as Byron did on Horace-with dislike. For, like the Homeric lady, the schooldays of some were spent smiling through tears. But there is one classic which brings wisdom and consolation to every greybeard of education, Cicero's De Senectute. The wise and wordy old lawyer in enumerating the pleasures of old age remarks: 'I come now to gardening pleasures; with these I am delighted beyond belief, and they are not obstructed by any old age and appear to me to form the nearest approach to the life of a wise man.' And every schoolboy, nay, every curate remembers Horace's love for his farm:
Cur valle permutem Sabina
'Why should I exchange my Sabine dell for wealth more burdensome?' He loved his acres, roods, and tillage.. Readers of modern literature know so many praises of gardens, flowers, and shrubs that I will not bore them with
further quotations. I proceed to speak of practical gardening, spade-craft, and sundries. It is, as I have said, pleasant, health-giving, and useful in food production and useful in the example it sets in a parish; and a priest who can and does doff his 'customary suit of solemn black,' the trappings and the suits of woe and digs and plants his own kailyard, wins the respect of all the thoughtful and manly men in his district. For, it may surprise Fathers C R-, and M- to know the lay mind. It is, 'We work always, they play '-false, to be sure, but that is the outlook and judgment of life from labour's eyes. The man who from grey dawn till dark drives his glittering ploughshare, his feet wet and 'gulging,' the spadesman on his churlish plot, the field-worker, all feel noble and happy when they see the noblest and best educated man in the parish, the priest, not ashamed to dig and delve and sweat at honest spade-craft. In the sister isle, the maidens of the countrysides, the hamlets, and the villages were ashamed of the dirty, ill-paid, lonely field-work so degrading and destructive of their upbringing. Titled ladies, girl graduates, city girls of good standing, have turned to field-work. Their example has been followed by the country folk in hundreds. They are now not ashamed of the useful, necessary farm work.
In the big Protestant college for ladies in Dublin, horticulture is taught and well taught, as I see by the work of a banker's daughter near my little grey home in the West. The manual of Horticulture written for these girls by the Rev. Mr. Hayes, their professor, is quite an eye-opener for priests. In one of the Catholic colleges in the sister isle, the war has made many huge inroads by its callings and combings, and has left the staff workmanless. A school-boy from Ireland went over to help the poor, lonely professors and deans, and he writes to his mother: The students here wear priests' clothes, caps, and slewtans and be reading out of priests' books in the chapel. They have now to work hard in the gardens and in the fields. They have fields ploughed up for wheat and have to mind the cows just like men. We have fine horses and a great donkey, too. I often have rides on him. We have glass houses as big and as good as the Colonel's, and I often be in them with the priest. He is the procreator and pays for everything. They all talk very nice like, here, like Mrs. (the Colonel's wife). The students have to hold their tongues nearly all day and never speak a word. . . .'
Could anything like that, anything so practical or so charming be taught or practised in the island of saints and scholars? Will a day ever dawn when Irish students will know how to help themselves, know how to mind cattle,' to work in fields, to look after glass houses? Doubtless, the day of 'holding tongues' has long since dawned, and has given us troops, battalions, and brigades of eminent theologians, far-seeing pastors, keen judges of political weather, right reverends and wrong reverends-but so few men, fearless, practical, energetic in example. Will a day ever come when a priest, returning from China, shall stand on the ruined footbridge of the Royal Canal and sketch the ruins of the College infirmaries long devoid of inhabitant householders, latch-key voters, or unrated occupiers? Work and exercise at tillage can help very greatly to the happy consummation. And the youthful training must necessarily bear fruit in later days, and the streets in Dublin, set apart for clerical invalids, the stay at Harrogate, Poole's Cavern at Buxton, the Roman Baths at Bath, shall have fewer but merrier visitors, than my dear brethren, the Irish priests. Readers are probably bored and sored by now, but bear with me and my acres, roods, and
How I should like to take the sweet boy graduates in an ecclesiastical college and say to them: Doff your flowing robes. Peace has beaten swords into ploughshares and spades. Stand free of trappings, stand up in the bifurcated garment, take this spade and follow me. This old garden has grown to weeds. We begin here. Hold the spade this way. Watch me. . . . Now begin. . . . Good; well done. This is the only class you may chat in. Don't mind the superiors or professors or the procreator (procurator). Cette pomme-deterre est une May Queen." Cela, une Irish Queen. "Regardez vous, messieurs. Students would be charmed and later, as priests, would know and act as practical demonstrators of tillage in their little plots. Probably, some manly man may lead Irish students thusly, for practice is better than precept. Pioneers are needed, and badly needed, in this work, for, I repeat that a great amount of the talk about famine, the necessity and utility of tillage, the dignity of labour, the noble spadesman and the odours of Araby which cling round his barrow, are absolute bosh and hypocrisy. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and if students learn and young priests practise with their own sinews and muscle spade-craft
and modest, systematic gardening, they will do more to spread and to encourage tillage, to spread prosperity and contentment, than all the rants and rhymes of the Department's instructors. Their example will speak more efficiently than their words can can do. They need to show Trish men and women that toil is neither sin, shame, nor scandal. And they will kill lecturing, posturing, and sympathetic snivelling, and leave dear Harrogate, Buxton, and Bath sad, silent, and lone. For, we rarely hear of gouty gardeners.
Look what the word addressed to the schoolmasters about schoolroom flower and schoolyard culture has done. Every school has its very tiny and very neat growths. The slovenly man saw the utility of the culture in inspectorial eyes and the lusty man only needed the hint. Many homes have been stocked with flowers and vegetables through the example of the master' or 'the mistress.' See what the Dublin workers have done with their spades on the sloblands near Clontarf. The pioneer workers started in ignorance, many in jest; they never handled a spade before; they have transformed the land; they have surprised themselves and their neighbours and clamour for fresh fields to conquer by their spades. The smug grass plots around many towns in the Midlands and Ulster feel the sharp spade's edge and are furious at being roused from their green slumbers and their velvety faces covered with filth and potato seed. Alas! the West's asleep. The pastoral and vicarial plots are green, and if tilled are badly tilled.
Anyone wishing to start horticulture or tillage generally, not as an accident, but substantially and intelligently, buys a spade and uses it. Then in every Irish county there are paid experts, horticulturists and agriculturists, willing and anxious to enlighten those who sit in darkness and to enlist intelligent people in mother earth and her bounties. They will supply, gratis, the Department's leaflets, which are invaluable. And will advise on books, soils, seeds, manures, plants, shrubs, and forestry. But priests like guiding books. The professor's lectures are a help to the textbook, but should never supplant it. In our early theological studies, our governess ground us all well in the penny Catechism-a charming compendium, before others introduced us to the Summa, another charming but more ponderous work. In that delightful book, The Life of a Prig, it is narrated how the poor Prig, after much
seeking, found the City placed on the Hill and how, in elation, he went to an old Jesuit to honour him with the news and with an account of his studious quest for the Faith, in sundry volumes of Augustine, Clement, Basil, Cyprian, etc., and to request the Jesuit to receive him immediately into the one true fold, in which he would be an ornament and an honour. The Jesuit gave him a penny Catechism, enjoined close and accurate study, arranged for lessons, examinations, and explanations as a prior step to initiation. The Prig was disgusted. Many an enthusiastic man started gardening and tillage generally as the Prig started-by ponderous and unguided study. The headlines were too difficult, too advanced, and the good man became disgusted for evermore with garden lore and garden work. The Management of a Cottage Garden, price Id., by the Department's experts, is a splendid beginner's book. Personally, I prefer the Department's old book (by P. Gray), price 1d., which book has been my guide, philosopher, and friend. The gardening books issued by the Messenger of the Sacred Heart Office are splendid, and so, too, are the penny booklets, One and All Gardening Series (St. Alban's, England). These are the simplest guides I know, and should serve all beginners' wants. In a second or third year course a priest-gardener should subscribe to the Farmer's Gazette (1d. weekly), or the Gardening Monthly (1d.), which give sane advice, timely and accurately, and are a credit to Irish brains. There are two other books which I shall mention, but for beginners these simple, practical, up-to-date booklets are amply sufficient.
Beware of all elaborately illustrated books showing the gardens at Beverly Castle, the rose garden of the Dean of Worcester, etc. They set too lofty an ideal for clerical spadesmen. They have their uses for the learned and experienced, not for the beginner. To the list already given I add two small volumes, Up-to-Date Gardening, or How to Make £60 per Annum from Half an Acre (7d.), by Henry Vincent. The book is written for Englishmen and for the Englishmen of the south-east corner of England, and its direction and advice are often not applicable to our cold, humid soil. Then, too, Henry is a boastful Briton, but his little book (Messenger Office, Dublin) abounds with useful, practical hints. Mr. Vincent was a waiter, who took up gardening as a hobby and a side-line, and became an enthusiastic success as a gardener, while he held on to