Manners and customs of ye Englyshe/The Flower Showe at Chvsyk Gardens.

Illustrated by Richard Doyle

Manners and Customs of ye Englyshe in 1849. No. 18.

The Flower Showe at Chysyk Gardens.


The Flower Showe at Chvsyk Gardens.

[Saturday, June 9, 1849.]

MY Wife holding me to my Promiſe to take her to the Chiſwick Flower Show, and I could not break it: for certainly the poor Wretch do drudge in the Houſe like a Slave; and ſo often as I go out for Pleaſure myſelf, methinks it were well to give her a Treat now and then, to eaſe my Conſcience, and keep her quiet alſo. So took her, though our two Tickets together came to 10s., and we thither in an Omnibus, and the Fare doubled on the Occaſion, inſtead of 1s. coſt me 2s. more, which made me mad. A rare Sight, nigh the Gardens, to look out on the Line of Carriages behind us, and methought how mean and paltry it ſeemed to be riding in an Omnibus; and was in ſome Trouble left any of our acquaintance mould be in the Carriages, and ſee us 'light. At the paſſage to the Gardens beſet by Fellows with Shoe-Bruſhes and Clothes-Brumes, importunate to bruſh my Coat and Boots, that were clean enough, but only to earn 4d. or 6d. Our Tickets delivered, and we into the Grounds with a Stream of Company, and followed them and our Ears to a Band of Muſique, the Horſe Guards playing hard by a Grove of Rhododendrons in full Bloom, and a Mob of Beauties round about them more blooming ſtill. Heard a Medley-Piece of Scraps of moll of the Operas that I knew; which was better Muſique than I expected. Then to the Tents, where the PrizeFlowers are ſhown, on high Stands as long as a moderate-sized Barn: and there a pretty Diſplay of Orchids, Azaleas, Cactuſes, Pelargoniums, and Heaths, very rare and curious, and a few choice Roſes; but I expected to ſee Roſes as big as Cabbages. Many of the Flowers finely variegated, and giving forth a Perfume fweeter than Atkinson his ſhop. Strange how to ſome of the Pelargoniums were given the names of Grisi, Alboni, Mario, and other Opera Singers: and Mr. Wagstaffe do ſay it is Muſique in a Flower-Pot. After feeing the Flowers, to ſtroll about the Walks and among the Trees, and view the Flowers without Stalks, which I do admire mod of all, and a brave Show they were, dreſt out in their gayeſt, and ſmiling as if reſolved to look as pretty as they could; and looking all the brighter for the Sun mining without a Cloud to be ſeen: whereby out of Pain for my Wife's pink Bonnet, which, if ſpoiled by the Rain uſual at this Show, had been £2 2s. gone. The Bands from Time to Time beat a March about the Garden; when to ſee the fine Ladies and Gentlemen follow at the Soldiers' Heels, natural as ragged Street-Children! At laſt all played together, and ended with God Save the Queen; when the Flowers wheeled away. But the Company remaining, ſome ſitting on Benches to make a Lane, and the Reſt of the Multitude walking up and down to be ſeen, and the Beauties ſhowing off their Graces, which I did inſpect from Head to Foot. My Wife beginning to admire a certain Satin; ſo knowing what this ſignified, away, and home to a Leg of Mutton; thinking of the State of the Nation, which ſhould not be ſo mighty gloomy to judge of it by Chiſwick Flower Show, and wondering how much all the Finery there colt, and where all the Money could have come from.