Page:A short history of social life in England.djvu/309

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coach" belonging to the country squire remained long months together in the stable-yard, and the family contented themselves in the garden and park. In every part of the country a great love of gardening was growing up, and landscape gardening was taking the place of the formal symmetrical garden. Hedges were no longer clipt in fantastic shape and form, trees were no longer grown in pyramids or cones, flower-beds no longer laid out in geometrical form. Symmetry of design gave way to a wild, luxuriant, irregular, and natural beauty, untamed by the hand of man. New plants were imported, fresh evergreens were grown, exotics increased, books on gardening poured forth, and the interest in botany and gardening grew apace.

Less progress was evident inside the squire's old house. Oak furniture was passing out of fashion. Indeed, the finest old oaks in England had been cut down for the navy in the days when "hearts of oak were our ships." Mahogany was the rage at this time. George II. had ordered the staircases at his country houses to be constructed of mahogany, and it soon became the fashion to sit on chairs and dine off tables of mahogany. But these were innovations which