Notes on the text
These notes, edited by John McGivering, are partly new, and partly based on the work for ORG of Roger Lancelyn Green, who traced the references to Mary's Meadow. We have also been grateful for critical comments and suggestions from Peter Havholm. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of Limits and Renewals, as published and frequently reprinted between 1932 and 1950.
The Honeysuckle that groweth wild in every hedge, although it be very sweet, yet doe I not bring it into my garden, but let it rest in its owne place, to serve their senses that travel by it, or have no garden.loosestrife – a hybrid not mentioned in Mary’s Meadow but Lancelyn Green in ORG quotes Parkinson, who calls it a kind of double cowslip – 'Hose-in-Hose' – which plays an important part in the story. Another variety – 'Creeping Jenny' – means 'horror' in the 'Language of Flowers'; perhaps a hidden reference to this plant.
It is an ancient Mariner,Karlin suggests that Keede’s reference is to the Mariner’s compulsion to tell and re-tell his tale, though in Wollin’s case, the compulsion is caused by his suffering rather than by his having committed a crime.
And he stoppeth one of three.
'By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?
... he quotes Mrs. Ewing several times: Jackanapes in "The Last of the Stories", The Story of a Short Life in "An English School", and We and the World in Stalky & Co. (p. 28) besides Mary's Meadow here. Except for Lewis Carroll, Kipling refers to no other writer of children's books as frequently as he does to Mrs Ewing.[Page 175 lines 2-3] for such as have no gardens The phrase does not occur in Mary's Meadow precisely as quoted by Kipling. Mrs. Ewing quotes Parkinson on p. 50: 'to serve their senses that ... have no garden'; and Aunt Catherine asks the children (p. 90): 'And who serves them that have no garden'. Although Parkinson left the honeysuckle to grow by the wayside 'to serve their senses that travell by it, or have no garden', it was actually Karr who went out and planted flowers in waste places: 'I ramble about the country near my dwelling and seek the wildest and least-frequented spots'. Mrs. Ewing quotes him as saying (p. 53):
So popular did Mary's Meadow prove, that a Parkinson Society was formed, with the aid of Aunt Judy's Magazine in which the story appeared, with the object of collecting and exchanging rare plants, listing old or dialect names for them, and planting flowers in waste places 'for such as have no gardens' as the children did in the story, and as Wollin was doing in "Fairy-kist".
The relevant clause in the prospectus of The Parkinson Society of Lovers of Hardy Flowers. as set out by Mrs. Ewing in the number of Aunt Judy's Magazine for August 1884, tells us that one of the purposes of the Society is: 'sowing and planting hardy garden flowers in wild places ...' Mrs. Ewing's story is based in part on another gardening book, Volage autour de mon Jardin (1845) by Jean Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808-90), whose book was translated into English as A Tour Round My Garden by the Rev. J. G. Wood (1827-89), the popular writer on natural history. [R.L.G.]
'I ramble about the countryside near my dwelling and sek the wildest and least-frequented spots. In these, after clearing and preparing a few inches of ground. I scatter the seeds of my most favourite plants ... It affords me immense pleasure to fix upon a wild-rose in a hedge, and graft upon it red and white cultivated roses...'[Page 175 line 5] ipsissima verba (Latin) the very words.
'The Scotch Gardener enjoyed himself very much ...When he took up his hat to go, he gave one long look round the library. Then he turned to Arthur (and Saxon took advantage of this to wag his way in and join the party), and said, `It's a rare privilege, the free entry of a book chamber like this...'[Page 175 line 28 onwards] "Now i'll tell you the story, Mr Wollin, that your V.A.D. read or told you ... Lemming and Wollin together trace the references to Mary’s Meadow. in his nightmares.
... 'till the karnels be mowldy, and a keeps 'em till they be dry, and a keeps 'em till they be dust; and when the karnels is dust, a cracks aal the lot of 'em when desart's done - zo's no one mayn't have no good of they walnuts, since they be no good to he"... :[Page 176 lines 17-18] A lilac sunbonnet: The mistake is natural on Robin's part. He was thinking of S. R. Crockett's famous "Kailyard" novel The Lilac Sunbonnet (1894).
' ...about the nightingale in Mary's Meadow being the naughty wood-cutter's only child, who turned into a little brown bird that lives on in the woods, and sits on a tree on summer nights, and sings to its father up in the Moon". And from their window the children can see that "on a slender branch of a tree in the hedgerow sat the nightingale, singing to comfort the poor, lonely old Man in the Moon'.[Page 176 lines 25-6] An old Herbal - not Gerard's The best-known of all old Herbals was that published in 1597 by John Gerard (1545-1612). But the Herbal in question was Parkinson's Paradisi in Sole, Paradisus Terrestris, described above.
If further evidence were required that Rudyard was alluding to himself and his own recovery from a near psychotic state, it came in the poem “The Mother’s Son” which accompanied “Fairy-Kist” when it was published in book form.Marghanita Laski observes (page 169):
It could be that Kipling came to understand that there were worse ends than dying in that (1914) war. It might be worse to live.She calls it (page 58) a sinister late story.