John Gaythers Garden and the Stories Told Therein

Frank R. Stockton
John Gayther's Garden and the Stories Told?by Frank R. Stockton

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Therein, by Frank R. Stockton This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at
Title: John Gayther's Garden and the Stories Told Therein
Author: Frank R. Stockton
Release Date: September 23, 2007 [EBook #22737]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

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John Gayther's Garden and the Stories Told Therein

[Illustration: "Are you going to ask me to marry your husband if you should happen to die?"]

John Gayther's Garden and the Stories Told Therein By Frank R.?Stockton
Charles Scribner's Sons
New York 1902
Copyright, 1902, by Charles Scribner's Sons
Published November, 1902

John Gayther's Garden 3
I What I Found in the Sea 9 Told by John Gayther
II The Bushwhacker Nurse 39 Told by the Daughter of the House
III The Lady in the Box 71 Told by John Gayther
IV The Cot and the Rill 109 Told by the Mistress of the House
V The Gilded Idol and the King Conch-shell 155 Told by the Master of the House
VI My Balloon Hunt 201 Told by the Frenchman
VII The Foreign Prince and the Hermit's Daughter 223 Told by Pomona and Jonas
VIII The Conscious Amanda 249 Told by the Daughter of the House
IX My Translatophone 279 Told by the Old Professor
X The Vice-consort 307 Told by the Next Neighbor
XI Blackgum ag'in' Thunder 341 Told by John Gayther

"Are you going to ask me to marry your husband if you should happen to die?" Frontispiece
The gardener began promptly 74
"I made him dig up whole beds of things" 148
The great beast was drawing up his hind legs and was climbing into the car 214
Miss Amanda listened with the most eager and overpowering attention 258
And dreamed waking dreams of blessedness 294
"Do you mean," I cried, "that you would make him a better wife than I do?" 336
"Abner, did you ever hear about the eggs of the great auk?" 356


The garden did not belong to John Gayther; he merely had charge of it. At certain busy seasons he had some men to help him in his work, but for the greater part of the year he preferred doing everything himself.
It was a very fine garden over which John Gayther had charge. It extended this way and that for long distances. It was difficult to see how far it did extend, there were so many old-fashioned box hedges; so many paths overshadowed by venerable grape-arbors; and so many far-stretching rows of peach, plum, and pear trees. Fruit, bushes, and vines there were of which the roll need not be called; and flowers grew everywhere. It was one of the fancies of the Mistress of the House--and she inherited it from her mother--to have flowers in great abundance, so that wherever she might walk through the garden she would always find them.
Often when she found them massed too thickly she would go in among them and thin them out with apparent recklessness, pulling them up by the roots and throwing them on the path, where John Gayther would come and find them and take them away. This heroic action on the part of the Mistress of the House pleased John very much. He respected the fearless spirit which did not hesitate to make sacrifices for the greater good, no matter how many beautiful blossoms she scattered on the garden path. John Gayther might have thinned out all this superfluous growth himself, but he knew the Mistress liked to do it, and he left for her gloved hands many tangled jungles of luxuriant bloom.
The garden was old, and rich, and aristocratic. It acted generously in the way of fruit, flowers, and vegetables, as if that were something it was expected to do, an action to which it was obliged by its nobility. It would be impossible for it to forget that it belonged to a fine old house and a fine old family.
John Gayther could not boast of lines of long descent, as could the garden and the family. He was comparatively a new-comer, and had not lived in that garden more than seven or eight years; but in that time he had so identified himself with the place, and all who dwelt upon it, that there were times when a stranger might have supposed him to be the common ancestor to the whole estate.
John understood well the mysterious problems of the tillable earth, and he knew, as well as anybody could know, what answers to expect when he consulted the oracles
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