This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
A scientific gentleman, commenting upon the abundant supply of walnuts now arriving in the French capital, enters upon a learned discussion as to the merits and virtues of that fruit and the tree which bears it. He disposes, first, of the vulgar prejudice still prevalent in many parts of France to the effect that it is most dangerous to repose under the shadow of the tree. In support of such a theory may be quoted the dicta of Val-mon Bomare, who states that the shade of the tree gives rheumatism: of Bayle, who pretends that it is a cause of fevers; and of Theophrastus, who makes out that it tends to stupify and deaden the energies of the brain. Finally, there is the popular theory that the Italian terms nux and nuces are derived from various nocuous qualities either of the tree or its produce. Our French savant has made experiments of his own, and is able to declare that he has neither caught fevers nor rheumatism by lying under walnut trees, while his own writings may, no doubt, be accepted as a conclusive proof that he has not suffered in the way suggested by Theophrastus. Another celebrated saying, a propos of the walnut tree, is that which connects it with wives and spaniels in a sort of semi-proverbial recommendation not to spare the rod.
The Latin couplet is, however, still more uncomplimentary to the fair sex than that which we have in English, inasmuch as it extends the injunction to all women, and not only to wives, and associates them and the walnut tree, not with spaniels, but with the most despised of all beasts of burden. We are further informed by the French professor that the juice and odor of walnut leaves are a protection against insects of the least agreeable kind, and that the English use a decoction of it for rubbing on their hair (cheveux), or, as he probably means, their horses (cheraux), in order to keep away the flies. As for the fruit itself, the old rule of the school of Salerno was "nuts after fish, and cheese after meat;" but modern gastronomists have relegated nuts to a stage in the repast at least as late as cheese. The authority from whom we quote, declares that there is nothing indigestible in the fruit, provided only that it is fresh, and has not been kept till the juices have dried up and the solid tissues begun to grow mouldy, as they are apt to do after a few weeks or months. - London Globe.