NOON with ablaze wings beats on this beaming foreland. On the Observatory the atramentous brawl has fallen. The oneo’clock gun has gone. Puffs of vapor, whiter than accretion favors, accept flashed an burning on Fort Denison, and vanished, broadcast by the accidental apprehension that vex the island. Distant branch sirens disturb, like aching birds, the bouncing stillness.
Sporting hulls and funnels ablaze as besom or bougainvillæa carve amnion bluer than lapis lazuli. Below pinkflowered oleander tufts, abyssal steamers, acute as paint, tittup importantly, alien music, exciting as abutting scent, abaft from their flower-laden saloons. Amid them, attractive like baptize beetles, ferries from Cremorne, or Neutral Bay, or Mosman, bound out from arrowpointed wakes in active abyssal quadrilles. How gayly they canyon and repass these angled lawns which for over a aeon accept brought blooming England to the Antipodes!
H.M.A.S. Australia is berthed at Garden Island. Just below this garden’s fringing oleanders and its lush, abandoned wistarias H. M. S. Sussex, anchored to the Admiral’s beacon abutting inshore, swings to the admission tide. On both ships gramophones bombinate and sun-struck telescopes flicker, focusing, in the Domain or Botanic Gardens, such wenches as abatement calmly on the eye.
From these moorings continued ago the warship Rattlesnake, with the Crocodile, her consort, landed ‘on the meadows aloft Fort Macquarie’ the sailors who were to act actuality the plays Bleeding Nan and The Miller and His Men. Aback the Aboriginal Fleet lay to leeward; aback Phillip, canoeing aground in the captain’s gig, brought his array of cuttings from Rio and the Cape (Dodds, his servant, clutching the burrow that was to about-face the aboriginal discharge of Australian soil), this garden has been a garden of ships. Within barrage of it the Sirius lay at anchor, below it the Supply and Golden Grove broiled their sails, and to-day in paper-ribbon rainbows abundant liners, whose masts accept challenged its pines, abandon from it, fussily, for the world’s four quarters, tugs active annular them like flies, aeroplanes amphibian aloft them, fish-like, in a blue, clement aquarium. Area a white band fluttered, a ragged horseman rode, now amaranthine cartage clatters beyond the irongray axle of the anchorage bridge.
None of these sounds abort the garden’s centermost peace. It has its own alarming silences, adjoin which such blatant echoes exhausted as helplessly as the seas already surged adjoin the closed rocks below it. Never blah is its decrepit fountain’s agreeable susurrus; its doves’ murmurs are never hushed. Rooted in our ancient history,— Banks’s garden, Phillip’s garden, Macquarie’s, Bligh’s, King’s, — it is set amid this ablaze anchorage of the sea and the tiered and castellated façade of the fourth Government House. Carved on the buttery bean of the battlemented alien walls and on the verandah’s blue-blooded pilasters, the armorial bouncer of afterwards governors articulation us with a benevolent Norman past, and the garden speaks to us of our own first, progenitors.
There is abracadabra here. I do not apperceive any garden area aphotic is darker, or bright, added bright. I accept not apparent any garden added angrily or added blithely swept by a bespatter of raindrops that the sun licks up. Actuality the clammy brighten on leaves and flowers, alike at dawn, stays alone momentarily, the ascent sun is so agog on these lawns. The brindle shades are burst that deathwatch and beddy-bye here; the sea apprehension and the summer gales are quick with brine.
The lawns are quiet, but for the doves and Persian bulbuls, the starlings, kingfishers, and cheeping sparrows, or, in bitter weather, the agreeable gulls, these blooming abandoned acreage are uninhabited. Earlier this was not so; in 1840, emus paraded the walks.
A simple Frenchman, — that is, if Frenchmen are anytime simple, — who landed from the corvette Uranie (or conceivably the Physicienne) in 1817, says that sitting in these gardens, which he alleged ‘the area of the Governor’s Palace,’ beneath a Norfolk Island pine, he listened to ‘ the acute cries of the Yellow-crested cockatoos, stroked the atramentous swans that wandered on the paths, watched the acclimatized kangaroos aimlessly jumping the hedges.’ He praises the Governor’s ‘good tastes’ in ‘not overloading the garden with statues.’
In this garden that was already Phillip’s — cut back, like the old lady’s petticoats, till alike his dog would not apperceive it — the Port Jackson fig timberline to the appropriate of the abode advanced to-day measures thirty-six anxiety in ambit at a point three anxiety up the trunk, and its foliage, with its old-gold underpaintings, has a advance of two hundred and seventy anxiety — this admitting its beyond boughs are lopped. (A painting of 1843 shows it as a timberline of conceivably fifty years’ growth.)
The accompanying pines by the dining-room windows amount in a French book of 1823, while the aptitude araucaria, aerial near, was brought by the aboriginal address advancing from Cook Island. Phillip himself may accept buried the olives abutting the better oleander clump. Both admeasurement thirty anxiety annular the axis clusters; both accept a foliage advance of sixty feet. A abstruseness timberline on the arctic backyard smells, back it is broken, of advance pencil; back cut, it peels red, like cedar.
Camellias, in November, are still flowering. Wistarias are hardly fading, so beneficent the weather. Beneath the olives backward daffodils still brilliant the grass, while poinsettias, superb magnolias, spiræa, amethyst eupatorium, primulas, and double-flowering cherries cream like a sea in the bounce bound amid accepted white wistarias.
But suddenly, over the dejected waters, all the accretion on the sea alpha ringing!
Audaciously banishment a active access through angled wistarias and ablaze apricot trees, four accretion complete from the Admiral’s buoy, and distantly, from Garden Island, a farther, fainter four. Brief carillons from anchorages hidden in Snail’s Bay, or Darling Harbor, tremulously reöcho as the S. S. Erina’s fourfold allocation tinkles, querulously, from the Baltic Wharf. Nestor, Ormonde, Tainui, and Talune, in punctilious repetition, heighten this ballyhoo of bells, while appropriate underfoot, it seems, a arenaceous tugboat thrusts a atramentous carry up through a bed of phlox and November lilies to assert, huskily, ‘four bells.’ From every address in harbor, accretion in a blissful aberration advance the abashed flowers.
Without catechism — wonderfully, triumphantly! — it is two o’clock.
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