176 MEMORI1S OF MY LIFE
not the slightest claim to the honour, but accepted its bestowal by him and its ratification by our then greatest botanists, • Hooker and Bentham, with amusement. Seedsmen still class it among the hyacinths, saying that they are obliged to have as few separate headings in their catalogues as possible. I append a little picture of Gallonia Candicans to this book as a vignette at the bottom of its last page.
Mr. Atkinson ' (1799-1861) had returned with huge oil paintings from Siberia, which he carried in rolls on camel back, sometimes tandem-fashion. His career was strange. He was originally little more than a quick-witted stone-mason's boy, who afterwards rose, and then hearing that a design was to be competed for at St. Petersburg for some memorial, he drew a design, sent it there, and it was selected. He thereupon moved to Russia, and in some mysterious way obtained the confidence of the Czar Nicholas so completely that Atkinson received what was most unusual, if not unprecedented, a free ukase to travel and paint where he would. Possibly the Czar wished for unbiased and independent evidence as to certain matters in South Siberia, and Atkinson may have acted as a secret agent. He was made much of by persons of the highest rank in Russia, and he was married in the Chapel of the British Embassy to an English lady who had resided in one of the great Russian families as their companion. She accompanied him in his great journey. On their arrival in England they were widely received and welcomed. They took a picturesque but ramshackle small house and garden,