Page:Our Philadelphia (Pennell, 1914).djvu/62

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42
OUR PHILADELPHIA

that would have been condemned as weeds in his luxuriant flower beds.

The kindly magnifying glasses of memory cannot convert the Spruce Street yard into a rival of Edward Shippen's garden in Second Street where the old chronicles say there were orchards and a herd of deer, or of Bartram's with its trees and plants collected from far and wide, or of any of the old Philadelphia gardens in the days when in Philadelphia no house, no public building, almost no church, could exist without a green space and great trees and many flowers about it, and when Philadelphians loved their gardens so well, and hated so to leave them, that there is the story of one at least who came back after death to haunt the shady walks and fragrant lawns that were fairer to her than the fairest Elysian Fields in the land beyond the grave. Much of the old beauty had gone before I was born, much was going as I grew from childhood to youth. My Uncle, Charles Godfrey Leland, has described the Philadelphia garden of his early years, "with vines twined over arbours, where the magnolia, honeysuckle and rose spread rich perfume of summer nights, and where the humming bird rested, and scarlet tanager, or oriole, with the yellow and blue bird flitted in sunshine or in shade." Though I go back to days before the sparrows had driven away not only the worms but all others of their own race, I recall no orioles and scarlet tanagers, no yellow and blue birds. Philadelphia's one magnolia tree stood in front of the old Dundas house at Broad and Walnut.