This was about the middle of the forenoon; and Rollo, taking a piece of bread for a luncheon, and a little tin dipper, to get some water with, to drink, out of the brook, walked along towards the great gate which led to the lane behind his father's house. It was a pleasant, green lane, and there were rows of raspberry-bushes on each side of it, along by the fences.
I remember a warm summer day, and the mowers in their shirt-sleeves, mowing with long scythes, out in the meadow: I was with my mother, as she passed by them, knitting. Outside the fence lay a half-bare rocky hill, behind which my mother had a bench. Above this on a stony heap grew raspberry-bushes, and beside them stood a few small birch-trees.
When the Blackbird happened to fly across the garden he was still more puzzled. Two gardeners with large baskets were stooping over the strawberry beds, hard at work, picking the last of the strawberries. Alas! there would be none left! Another gardener was walking down the rows of raspberry-bushes, filling a capacious basket with the red and white berries.
I pass on through the old Barkpeeling, now threading an obscure cow-path or an overgrown wood-road; now clambering over soft and decayed logs, or forcing my way through a network of briers and hazels; now entering a perfect bower of wild cherry, beech, and soft maple; now emerging into a little grassy lane, golden with buttercups or white with daisies, or wading waist-deep in the red raspberry-bushes.
I pass on through the old Barkpeeling, now threading an obscure cow-path or an overgrown wood-road; now clambering over soft and decayed logs, or forcing my way through a network of briers and hazels; now entering a perfect bower of wild cherry, beech, and soft maple; now emerging into a grassy lane, golden with buttercups or white with daisies, or wading waist-deep in the red raspberry-bushes.
The only philosophers to be seen were a family of what the guides quaintly call "quill pigs." The roof had fallen to the ground; raspberry-bushes thrust themselves through the yawning crevices between the logs; and in front of the sunken door-sill lay a rusty, broken iron stove, like a dismantled altar on which the fire had gone out forever.
Thus saying, the minister quitted his sunshiny manse garden, where he was working peacefully among his raspberry-bushes, with his wife looking on, and walked, in meditative mood, through the Cairnforth woods, now blue with hyacinths in their bosky shadows, and in every nook and corner starred with great clusters of yellow primroses, which in this part of the country grow profusely, even down to within a few feet of high-water mark, on the tidal shores of the lochs.
But no studies or scenery caused him to forget his daily trip with sweater and rockweed. The glades on the southern edge of the woods were overgrown with raspberry-bushes. When Filippo's daily stint about the camp was finished, he visited these spots with his pail; and while the season lasted, heaping bowls of red, dead-ripe fruit or saucers of sweet preserve varied their customary fare.
"I know where you are," continued Maurice, "and I'm coming to you as fast as the raspberry-bushes will let me. I have good news for you something you'll be delighted to see, Arthur!
White clover is all very well, but I've noticed that when the raspberry-bushes are in bloom they are alive with bees. I believe even the locust-trees would be deserted for these insignificant little blossoms that, like many plain people, are well worth close acquaintance."