"Water-Cresses! Fine Water-Cresses! Four bunches a penny! Buy them and try them!" Such is the call of many hundreds who perambulate the streets of London nearly the whole year round, with a ba>ket on their head or arm; and some of the more provident and prosperous of the Water-Cress fraternity get the length of pressing into their service a costermonger's barrow. The trade in such a weedy-looking subject as Water-Cresses has swelled to such an extent that few people in the country have any conception of it. As a salad they are regarded aa among the most healthy in cultivation, and, I believe, the only one allowed within the precincts of an hospital. London has such a capacious and all-devouring appetite, that almost everything eatable finds a ready sale; and almost every resident of the mighty metropolis becomes the patron of the Water-Cress merchant. Even the bargemen and coal-heavers, who seldom ever see a green field, have this Cress to grace and relish at their tea-table. Water-Cress growing is quite an extensive, and in many cases lucrative, business.

And although much of the London supply is conveyed from long distances in the country from their native streams, they are artificially cultivated closer to London, and in some cases in most unlooked-for places, including many an old brick-field, where the ground has been dug out 6 and 8 feet, and, in some instances, 20 feet deep for brick-making. One of these Cress-beds I will briefly describe, where the clay was used for bricks to the depth of 16 feet. A spring of wholesome water was found well suited for Cress-culture, and the ground being almost a dead level, a judicious arrangement in forming the beds gave them a slight incline, so that the water is kept in motion, stagnant water not being suitable.

The beds are formed from 4 to 5 yards wide, having banks between them 4 feet wide and 2 feet high, tapering to 2 feet wide at top. Over the surface of these beds was placed a little loamy soil, it being more suitable than the natural clay mixed with brick earth. Three or four of the beds described in some cases join lengthwise, according to the space of ground there is to occupy. Where there is not a sufficient quantity of water to send in a supply by the end of each bed, the beds are so arranged that the stream flows along one set of beds, and returns by another. The depth of water is regulated by simply placing in or removing from an opening in the bank a lump of heavy soil. In the winter time the beds are emptied of water, and all last season's plants are cleared off, and about the end of March a new supply of plants is obtained from some approved "Water-Cress runs in the country districts. Before planting, the water is allowed to stand or rather run over the beds for a short time to soften the mud, and at planting time the water is not more than 2 inches in depth. A strong plank is laid across the bed from bank to bank, on which the planter supports himself, resting on his knees or side. In planting, the operation is commenced at the end of the bed where the water enters.

The planter takes the Cress plant, about 6 inches long, singly in one hand, and with the other pushes the root end slightly into the mud. As Water-Cress beds are meant to pay, they are planted thickly, the rows about 3 inches apart, and the plants touching each other in the rows, which run in the same direction as the course of the water. Great care is exercised to keep the beds free from the disturbing influence of frogs. When the crop is fit to gather, the work takes place on planks, the same as in planting. The beds are gathered very regularly, only pinching out the strongest heads. In gathering, and while gathering, all those not quite old enough that may be standing up out of the water, are nimbly pushed back into it again till ready for market. Men and women generally gather, while boys and girls take them away and bunch them ready for market. They are tied with pieces of rush about the thickness of a knitting-needle into different-sized bunches, which are sold at two and four bunches a penny, according to size.

George Dawson.