Hello! Welcome to the Kew Gardens project! Here you can read the transcribed writing of Virginia Woolf.

Kew Gardens



1 Burnt maroon cover with a tan key-shape center with yellow squiggles with burnt maroon, and light bluish-grey speckling. The title font and information is the same thick typefaced font, almost like "Impact". —— #edm
2 Off-white page with maroon dotting down the left-hand side. The writing on the page was the same burnt maroon as the cover. The font is in a more handwritten, storybook font. —— #edm
Kew Gardens
decorated by Vanessa Bell
published by the Hogarth Press
3 Plain off-white page with text centered and justified. —— #edm
This edition, published in 1927,
is limited to 500 numbered copies,
of which this is number 150
4 Kew Gardens is written at the top in a handwritten, storybook font. it is the top part of the border decoration that takes up the margins as well as the bottom half of the page. The designs are flowers and leaves painting in a simplisting, scroll-y style with black ink. —— #edm
From the oval-shaped flower-bed there rose
perhaps a hundred stalks spreading into
heart-shaped or tongue-shaped leaves half
way up and unfurling at the tip red or blue or
yellow petals marked with spots of colour raised
upon the surface; and from the red, blue or yellow
gloom of the throat emerged a straight bar,
rough with gold dust and slightly clubbed
at the end.
5 At the top of the page, there is a painted arch. On the right, there is a bumpy design that falls to about mid-page. On the top left, there are two conifer-type flowers. Around the bottom-half of the page, there are similar swish-y designs with the bumpy design on the right. —— #edm
The petals were voluminous enough to be stirred
by the summer breeze, and when they moved, the
red, blue and yellow lights passed one over the
other, staining an inch of the brown earth beneath with a
spot of the most intricate colour. The light fell either
upon the smooth, grey back of a pebble, or, the shell
of a snail with its brown, circular veins, or falling into
a raindrop, it expanded with such intensity of red, blue
and yellow the thin walls of water that one expected
them to burst and disappear. Instead, the drop was
left in a second silver grey once more, and the light now
settled upon the flesh of a leaf, revealing the branching thread of
fibre beneath the surface, and again it
moved on and spread its illumination in
the vast green spaces beneath the dome of
the heart-shaped and tongue-shaped leaves.
6 An arch with broad swirls sits on the top margin. A line runs along the left and right margins. At the bottom, centered under the text, there are two flowers that seemingly come from the same origin. They sit upon large leaves that cast a thick shadow. —— #edm
Then the breeze stirred rather more briskly overhead
and the colour was flashed into the air above, into
the eyes of the men and women who walk in Kew
in July.
The figures of these men and women straggled past the
flower-bed with a curiously irregular movement not
unlike that of the white and blue butterflies who crossed
the turf in zig-zag flights from bed to bed. The man
was about six inches in front of the woman, strolling care-
lessly, while she bore on with greater purpose, only turning
her head now and then to see that the children were
not too far behind. The man kept this distance in front
of the woman purposely, though perhaps unconsciously,
for he wished to go on with his thoughts.
7 Going from the top right, moving oounter-clockwise and ending at the bottom right, there is a bouncy swirly design that ends in a rose-shaped flower. —— #edm
"Fifteen years ago I came here with
Lily," he thought. "We sat somewhere over
there by a lake and I begged her to marry me
all through the hot afternoon. How the dragon-
kept circling round us: how clearly I see
the dragon-fly and her shoe with the square
silver buckle at the toe. All the time I spoke
I saw her shoe and when it moved impatiently
I knew without looking up what she was going
to say: the whole of her seemed to be in her shoe.
And my love, my desire, were in the dragon-fly;
for some reason I thought that if it settled
there, on that leaf, the broad one with the
red flower in the middle of it, if the
dragon-fly settled on the leaf she would
say "Yes" at once.
8 Along the left margin, there is a tree, with a branch that cuts across the top margin. One third of the way down the page, there is another tree branch sprouting from the text. At the very bottom of the page are three thick black lines. —— #edm
But the dragon-fly went round and round: it
never settled anywhere—of course not, happily
not, or I shouldn't be walking here with Eleanor
and the children—Tell me, Eleanor. D'you
ever think of the past?"
"Why do you ask, Simon?"
"Because I've been thinking of the past.
I've been thinking of Lily, the woman I might
have married.... Well, why are you silent? Do
you mind my thinking of the past?"
"Why should I mind, Simon? Doesn't one always
think of the past, in a garden with men and
women lying under the trees? Aren't they one's
past, all that remains of it, those men and women,
those ghosts lying under the trees,... one's happiness,
one's reality?"
"For me, a square silver shoe buckle and a
9 The top of the page has simplistic rope-braid like patterns that somewhat connects to the side margin patterns. The side margin patterns are two loose swiggle lines. Around the bottom half of the page another squiggle line joins the three, then travels down and under the under margin patterns. The bottom area has big curly loops nesting black dots between it and the text. —— #edm
"For me, a kiss. Imagine six little girls sitting
before their easels twenty years ago, down by
the side of a lake, painting the water-lilies,
the first red water-lilies I'd ever seen. And
suddenly a kiss, there on the back of my
neck. And my hand shook all the after-
noon so that I couldn't paint. I took out
my watch and marked the hour when I
would allow myself to think of the kiss
for five minutes only—it was so precious—
the kiss of an old grey-haired woman with
a wart on her nose, the mother of all my
kisses all my life. Come, Caroline, come,
"They walked on past the flower-bed, now
walking four abreast, and soon diminished in
size among the trees and looked half trans-
as the sunlight and shade swam over their
backs in large trembling irregular patches.
10 Wildly sprouting leaves come from the bottom of the page, and climbs up the margins. At the top, there are trumpet-flower-like designs. —— #edm
In the oval flower bed the snail, whose shell
had been stained red, blue, and yellow for the
space of two minutes or so, now appeared to
be moving very slightly in its shell, and next
began to labour over the crumbs of loose
which broke away and rolled down
as it passed over them. It appeared to
have a definite goal in front of it, differing
in this respect from the singular high stepping
angular green insect who attempted to cross
in front of it, and waited for a second with
its antennæ trembling as if in deliberation,
and then stepped off as rapidly and strangely
in the opposite direction.
11 Tall reed-like plants sprout from the bottom left corner, and end in curly lines that have straight shading lines above them to convey petals. The reed plants bend at the top margin and curve over the text. On the right side, there is another reed plant that simply climbs the right margin side and blooms at the top. —— #edm
Brown cliffs with deep green lakes
in the hollows, flat, blade-like trees
that waved from root to tip, round boulders
of grey stone, vast crumpled surfaces of a
thin crackling texture—all these objects lay
across the snail's progress between one stalk
and another to his goal. Before he had
decided whether to circumvent the arched
tent of a dead leaf or to breast it there
came past the bed the feet of other human
12On the left and right margins there are 4 lines that go up and connect to a bumpy line that looks similar to a column. The bottom margin has one long bumpy line with large black cradled in the dips of the bumps. On the top margin, there are two arched lines in the center with two square-like shapes on the corners. —— #edm
This time they were both men. The
younger of the two wore an expression
of perhaps unnatural calm; he raised his
eyes and fixed them very steadily in front
of him while his companion spoke, and
directly his companion had done speaking
he looked on the ground again and some-
times opened his lips only after a long pause
and sometimes did not open them at all.
The elder man had a curiously uneven and
shaky method of walking, jerking his hand
forward and throwing up his head abruptly,
rather in the manner of an impatient carriage
horse tired of waiting outside a house; but
in the man these gestures were irresolute and
pointless. He talked almost incessantly; he
smiled to himself and again began to talk,
as if the smile had been an answer.
13Surrounded by curves. At the top, there is a dashed curve and four shorter solid curve. The left and right curves are symmetrical. At the center of bottom, there is a circle filled with many dots. There are symmetrical dashed curves on both sides of the circle. A long solid curve is below the circle.—— #yxj
He was talking about spirits—the spirits of the dead,
who, according to him, were even now telling him
all sorts of odd things about their experiences in
"Heaven was known to the ancients as Thessaly,
William, and now, with this war, the spirit matter
is rolling between the hills like thunder." He
paused, seemed to listen, smiled, jerked his head and
"You have a small eletric battery and a piece of
rubber to insulate the wire—isolate?—insulate?—well,
we'll skip the details, no good going into details that
wouldn't be understood—and in short the little machine
stands in any convenient position by the head of the
bed, we will say, on a neat mahogany stand. All
arrangements being properly fixed by workmen under
my direction, the widow applies her ear and summons
the spirit by sign as agreed, Women! Widows!
Women in black—"
14One thick and one thin curve at the top, right and bottom of the text. —— #yxj
Here he seemed to have caught sight of a woman's dress
in the distance, which in the shade looked a purple black.
He took off his hat, placed his hand upon his heart,
and hurried towards her muttering and gesticulating
feverishly. But William caught him by the sleeve and
touched a flower with the tip of his walking-stick in order
to divert the old man's attention. After looking at it for
a moment in some confusion the old man bent his
ear to it and seemed to answer a voice speaking from
it, for he began talking about the forests of
Uruguay which he had visited hundreds of years
ago in company with the most beautiful young
woman in Europe. He could be heard mur-
muring about forests of Uruguay blanketed
with the wax petals of tropical roses, night-
, sea beaches, mermaids, and women drowned
at sea, as he suffered himself to be moved on by
William, upon whose face the look of
stoical patience grew slowly deeper
and deeper.
15Picture of bushes fills at the top. A twist is on the left side and right side of the text. At the bottom, there is thick solid curve, and a rhombus grid breaks it in the middle.—— #yxj
Following his steps so closely as to be slightly puzzled
by his gestures came two elderly women of the
lower middle class, one stout and ponderous,
the other rosy-checked and nimble. Like most
people of their station they were frankly fascinated
by any sign of eccentricity betokening a disordered
brain, especially in the well-to-do; but they were
too far off to be certain whether the gestures
were merely eccentric or genuinely mad. After
they had scrutinised the old man' back in
silence for a moment and given each other
a queer, sly look, they went on energeticlly
piecing together their very complicated
"Nell, Bert, Lot, Cess, Phil, Pa, he says, I says,
she says, I says, I says, I says—"
"My Bert, Sis, Bill, Grandad, the old man,
Sugar, flour, kippers, greens,
Sugar, sugar, sugar.
16At the top, 15 short arcs form a long arc. One thick solid straight line is on the left, and one is on the right. Both they are broken by several petals. At the bottom, some curves and straight lines form the shape of the ground. A large flower and some petals break the sentences in the line 6-16.—— #yxj
The ponderous woman looked through the pattern of falling
words at the flowers standing cool, firm and upright
in the earth, with a curious expression. She saw them
as a sleeper waking from a heavy sleep sees a brass
candlestick reflecting the light in an unfamiliar way, and
closes his eyes and opens them,
and seeing the brass candlestick again,
finally starts wide awake and stares at the candle-
stick with all his powers. So the heavy
woman came to a standstill opposite the
oval shaped flower bed, and ceased even
to pretend to listen to what the other woman
was saying. She stood there letting the words fall
over her, swaying the top part
of her body slowly backwards
and forwards, looking at the
flowers. Then she suggested that
they should find a seat
and have their tea.
17Curves and straight line form a net which is around left, right and bottom of the page. At the top, there are many flowers and dots.—— #yxj
The snail had now considered every possible method
of reaching his goal without going round the
dead leaf or climbing over it. Let alone
the effort needed for climbing a leaf, he was
doubtful whether the thin texture which vibrated
with such an alarming crackle when touched
even by the tip of his horns would bear his
weight; and this determined him finally to
creep and beneath it, for there was a point where
the leaf curved high enough from the ground
to admit him. He had just inserted his head
in the opening and was taking stock of the
high brown roof and was getting used to the
cool brown light when two other people came
past outside on the turf. This time they were
both young, a young man and a young woman.
18The container of this page looks like a big window with a flower at the top. The big window consists of two thin solid lines.—— #yxj
They were both in the prime of youth,
or even in that season which precedes the prime
of youth, the season before the smooth pink folds
of the flowers have burst their gummy case, when the
wings of the butterfly, though fully grown, are motionless
in the sun.
"Lucky it isn't Friday," he observed.
"Why? D'you believe in luck?"
"They make you pay sixpence on Friday."
What's sixpence anyway? Isn't it worth
"What's 'it'—what do you mean by 'it'?"
"O anything—I mean—you know what I mean."
Long pauses came between each of these remarks;
they were uttered in toneless and monotonous voices.
The couple stood still on the edge of the flower
bed, and together pressed the end of her parasol
deep down into the soft earth.
19The container of this page looks like a piece of paper whose upper left corner and upper right corner are slightly rolled up. The bottom the paper consists of six arcs, and each arc has two concentric circles above it. —— #yxj
The action and the fact that his hand
rested on the top of hers expressed their feelings
in a strange way, as these short insignificant words
also expressed something, words with short wings
for their heavy body of meaning, inadequate to
carry them far and thus alighting awkwardly upon
the very common objects that surrounded them
and were to their inexperienced touch so massive:
but who knows (so they thought as they pressed
the parasol into the earth) what precipices aren't
concealed in them, or what ridges of ice don't
shine in the sun on the other side? who
knows? Who has ever seen this before? Even
when she wondered what sort of tea they gave
you at Kew he felt that something loomed up
behind her words and stood vast and solid behind
them; and the mist very slowly rose and uncovered
20The container of this page looks like a large jar. Its top, left and right consist of two layers of curves. At the bottom, there are 6 smaller jars. Many dots and curves are below them, which form something like cushions. —— #yxj
—O heavens!— what were those shapes?—little
white tables, and waitresses who looked first at
her and then at him; and there was a bill
that he would pay with a real two shilling
piece, and it was real, all real, he assured
himself, fingering the coin in his pocket,
real to everyone except to hum and to her;
even to him it began to seem real; and
then—but it was too exciting to stand and
think any longer, and he pulled the parasol
out of the earth with a jerk and was
impatient to find the place
where one had tea with other
people, like other people.
21At the top, there is a long straight line. In the upper left corner, there is half a vase pattern, and two flowers stretch to the right from the mouth of the vase. Below the vase, we can see two straight lines with different length. On the right, there are two curves. At the bottom, there are two straight lines with the similar length but different thickness. —— #yxj
"Come along, Trissie; it's time we had our
"Wherever does one have one's tea?" she
asked with the oddest thrill of excitement
in her voice, looking vaguely round and letting
herself be drawn on down the grass path, trailing
her parasol, turning her head this way and that
way, forgetting her tea, wishing to go down there
and then down there, remembering orchids and
cranes among wild flowers, a Chinese pagoda and
a crimson-crested bird; but he bore her on.
22At the top of the page, the picture looks like the roof of a pavilion. We can find a curvy path and three trees both on the left and on the right. At the bottom, there are some fences. —— #yxj
Thus one couple after another with much the same irregular
and aimless movement passed the flower-bed and
were enveloped in layer after layer of green blue
vapour, in which at first their bodies had substance
and a dash of colour, but later both substance and
colour dissolved in the green-blue and atmosphere. How
hot it was! So hot that even the thrush chose to
hop, like a mechanical bird, in the shadow of the
flowers, with long pauses between one movement and
the next; instead of rambling vaguely the white
butterflies danced one above another, making
with their white shifting flakes the outline of a
shattered marble column above the tallest
flowers; the glass roofs of the palm house
shone as if a whole market full
of shiny green umbrellas had opened
in the sun; and in the drone of the
aeroplane the voice of the summer
sky murmured its fierce soul.
23At the top, there are many dots, which form a forest. There are some fallen leaves at the bottom left of the forest. A long straight is on the left. At the bottom, there are 6 similar unclear pattern.—— #yxj
Yellow and black, pink and snow white,
shapes of all these colours, men, women and
children were spotted for a second upon the
horizon, and then, seeing the breadth of yellow that
lay upon the grass, they wavered and sought shade
beneath the trees, dissolving like drops of water in
the yellow and green atmosphere, staining it faintly with
red and blue. It seemed as if all gross and heavy
bodies had sunk down in the heat motionless and lay
huddled upon the ground, but their voices went wavering
from them as if they were flames lolling
from the thick waxen bodies of candles.
24At the top, there is a semicircular flowerbed. Two polylines interlaced are around left, right and bottom of the page. In the center of the bottom, two arcs break two polylines separately. Between the two arcs, there is a circle flower core.—— #yxj
Voices, yes, vioces, breaking the silence
suddently with such depth of contentment, such passion
of desire, or, in the voices of children, such freshness
of surprise; breaking the silence? But there was no
silence; all the time the motor omnibuses were turning
their wheels and changing their gear; like a vast
nest of Chinese boxes all of wrought steel turning
ceaselessly one within another the city murmured;
on the top of which the voices cried aloud and
the petals of myriads of flowers flashed their colours
into the air.