was a rue-leaved anemone (A. thalictroides
); and each one of the three white flowers was double, not merely with that multiplicity of petals in the disk which is common with this species, but technically and horticulturally double, like the double-flowering almond or cherry,—with the most exquisitely delicate little petals, like fairy lace-work.
He had three specimens, and gave one to Prof. Asa Gray
, of Harvard, who said it was almost or quite unexampled, and another to me. As the man in the fable says of the chameleon,—‘I have it yet and can produce it.’
Now comes the marvel.
The next winter L. went to New York for a year, and wrote to me, as spring drew near, with solemn charge to visit his favorite haunt and find another specimen.
Armed with this letter of introduction, I sought the spot, and tramped through and through its leafy corridors.
Beautiful wood-anemones I found, to be sure, trembling on their fragile stems, deserving all their pretty names,—Wind-flower, Easter-flower, Pasque-flower, and homoeopathic Pulsatilla;—rue-leaved anemones I found also, rising taller and straighter and firmer in stem, with the whorl of leaves a little higher up on the stalk than one fancies it ought to be, as if there were a supposed danger that the flowers would lose their balance, and as if the leaves must be all ready to catch them.
These I found, but the special wonder was not there for me. Then I wrote to him that he must evidently come himself and search; or that, perhaps, as Sir Thomas Browne
avers that ‘smoke doth follow the fairest,’ so his little treasures had followed him towards New York.
of my surprise, when, on opening his next letter, out dropped, from those folds of metropolitan paper, a veritable double anemone.
He had just been out to Hoboken
, or some such place, to spend an afternoon, and, of course, his pets were there to meet him; and from that day to this I have never heard of such an event as happening to any one else.
May-Day is never allowed to pass in this community without profuse lamentations over the tardiness of our spring as compared with that of England
and the poets.
Yet it is easy to exaggerate this difference.
Even so good an observer as Wilson Flagg
is betrayed into saying that the epigaea and hepatica ‘seldom make their appearance until after the middle of April’ in Massachusetts
, and that ‘it is not unusual for the whole month of April to pass away without producing more than two or three species of wild-flowers.’
But I have formerly found the hepatica in bloom at Mount Auburn
, for three successive years, on the twenty-seventh of March; and it has since been found in Worcester
on the seventeenth, and in Danvers
on the twelfth.
The May-flower is usually as early, though the more gradual expansion of the buds renders it less easy to give dates.
And there are nearly twenty species which I have noted, for five or six years together, as found always before May-Day, and therefore properly to be assigned to April.
The list includes bloodroot, cowslip, houstonia, saxifrage, dandelion, chickweed, cinquefoil, strawberry, mouse-ear, bellwort, dog's-tooth violet,