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The Coming Of The Crocus
by [?]

“Almost seems as if they were yooman,” he said, as we stood and listened to the rooks.

“Oh, are you there, James? It’s a beautiful day. Who said that first? I believe you did.”

“Them there rooks always make a place seem so home-like. Rooks and crocuses, I say–and you don’t want anything more.”

“Yes; well, if the rooks want to build in the raspberry canes this year, let them, James. Don’t be inhospitable.”

“Course, some do like to see primroses, I don’t say. But–“

“Primroses–I knew there was something. Where are they?”

“It’s too early for them,” said James hastily. “You won’t get primroses now before April.”

“Don’t say ‘now,’ as if it were my fault. Why didn’t you plant them earlier? I don’t believe you know any of the tricks of your profession, James. You never seem to graft anything or prune anything, and I’m sure you don’t know how to cut a slip. James, why don’t you prune more? Prune now–I should like to watch you. Where’s your pruning-hook? You can’t possibly do it with a rake.”

James spends most of his day with a rake–sometimes leaning on it, sometimes working with it. The beds are always beautifully kept. Only the most hardy annual would dare to poke its head up and spoil the smooth appearance of the soil. For those who like circles and rectangles of unrelieved brown, James is undoubtedly the man.

As I stood in the sun I had a brilliant idea.

“James,” I said, “we’ll cut the croquet lawn this afternoon.”

“You can’t play croquet to-day, it’s not warm enough.”

“I don’t pay you to argue, but to obey. At the same time I should like to point out that I never said I was going to play croquet. I said that we, meaning you, would cut the lawn.”

“What’s the good of that?”

“Why, to encourage the wonderful day, of course. Where is your gratitude, man? Don’t you want to do something to help? How can we let a day like this go past without some word of welcome? Out with the mower, and let us hail the passing of winter.”

James looked at me in disgust.

“Gratitude!” he said indignantly to Heaven. “And there’s my eleven crocuses in the front all a-singing together like anything on three bob a week!”