May 16th.-The garden is the place I go to for refuge and shelter, not the house. In the house are duties and annoyances, servants to exhort and admonish, furniture, and meals; but out there blessings crowd round me at every step-it is there that I am sorry for the unkindness in me, for those selfish thoughts that are so much worse than they feel; it is there that all my sins and silliness are forgiven, there that I feel protected and at home, and every flower and weed is a friend and every tree a lover.
-from Elizabeth and Her German Garden
First published anonymously in 1898, this beautiful chronicle of languid days spent in a rejuvenating Italian garden was a tremendous bestseller at the turn of the century, its cheerful satire and fresh charm endearing it to millions of readers.
The first work of its author, the Countess Elizabeth von Arnim, it would form the basis of her extraordinary popularity as one of the most admired literary figures in Europe and "one of the three finest wits of her day."
British novelist ELIZABETH VON ARNIM (1866-1941) wrote numerous books, including The Solitary Summer (the sequel to Elizabeth and Her German Garden) and the work she is best known for, Enchanted April.