This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Julia has moved to the city 1 Our amiable competitor for early salads and fine camellias, has become entangled in the meshes of love, and for this she has left her garden!! How much of her mdividuality has she not lost? We were never weary of talking over our fruit projects, and our insect remedies, in vieing with our bouquets and asparagus. Our grapes and our pears made regular tours to each other's tables. What pleasure can. I now take in sending a fine bowl of perpetual strawberries, or a basket of my Reine Hortense cherries? She buys her vegetables from the market! eats stale salads and radishes, and, for the sake of her lover-husband, is therewith content!
Julia and I have no longer a common topic When I visit her, she will parade her purchased fruits, and, very probably, may substitute for them sugared bon-bons. Ah J Julia - that was a mistake to devote your affections on a cit; I am much afraid - -dare I say it? - you have not married your right husband I Does he know the names of your favorite roses? Is not one bouquet as good as another to the man brought up on Wilton carpets in Walnut Street? Why, spring has gone and autumn come I my lost Julia, and can you consent - have you really consented - to traverse paved streets, and look out .upon a garden - no, it is not a garden - upon a paved yard with only one sickly tree and a clothes-line in it! What will you substitute for the early apple-blossom, the fragrant grape-vine, and the ever-engrossing new buds that formerly engaged so much of your fond care?
If I did not fully believe your earlier attachment to the beauties of nature would surely return, I would have to write you cut of my books. I will send you flowers, and, fruits, and your favorite mess rose-buds, if for no other purpose, for the selfish one of keeping you in order for a future return to us. Shall I tell you of the bulbs you so resolutely tore yourself away from? They are peeping from their old beds to-day, and will soon be in all their panoply of glory! Your spiraea, unconscious of your absence, promise a full display, notwithstanding you have left them. The birds are singing merrily, and mating, too, but they do not choose the chimney tops for listeners to their notes. Your rosewood piano and gaslights, Julia, are a poor substitute for the robin or the newly-arrived twittering wren I
You have unconsciously given me a theme, and, though I will not call you fickle, like the April that has passed, I must deprecate the altered mode of life your new relations have brought you into. Why, in the country, you were companionable t - are you any longer so? Will your talk be of verbenas, or your ambition be for evergreens? Can you think of mignonette, and of your old lawn, when you are surrounded by omnibuses? Alas! no. The next time we meet, you will tell me of some crowded lecture, a concert, or a party. A party, Julia, where then are no fresh flowers from your old conservatory, and where the artificial will predominate over the natural I Pray, my darling-Julia, get your new man to make haste and be rich, and return to our rustio habits, our rural lanes, and drives, and walks; but, above all, to your good old garden, where your ancestors dug, and delved, and planted - where, Julia! you passed so many happy hours of careless child and opening womanhood!
Julia was our beau-ideal of an American lady. She was versed in all those accomplishments which render a home in the country a pleasant place to visit. She had road, and read wisely; understood history, music, and belles-lettres, and was acquainted with' the physiology of botany. No one could so well direct a gardener, and, what was more to the purpose, no one of her sex wielded a trowel better. She did riot make her garden for a mere promenade and a show; she studied the habits of her plants, and understood them, and, of course, they understood her. Who so well could prepare a luscious evening feast from her own vines, and trees? Who had such delicious cream? Were not her conserves the perfection of art? her grapes the best? And then, with what a relish they were eaten, fresh. from nature's bountiful cornucopia. There was always enough, no matter how numerous the accidental guests; the resources of that house very few could understand. We passed it but yesterday; the windows were closed - the hedge has not been trimmed - the garden is all but a wilderness.
Servants pluck the degenerate fruits, and a cow has the pasturage of that beautiful lawn I Julia 1 all this is true; can you read of it without a sigh? Can you say, truly; you are any happier for the change? I hope so - but I believe it tremblingly.
Julia, we have said, was an example; for how few American ladies there are who thoroughly enjoy a garden - who, implement in hand, and knowledge to direct, it, pursue with enthusiasm the occupations which a true lover of floriculture enjoys?
Health, and, consequently, beauty, are best sought by a daily intercourse with nature. When we see a faded form, it can be too often traced to the close, unventilated room, and the absence of daily exercise. Depend upon it as a truth, the open air is the place to live in, at least two or three hours of most American days, and the indolent young ladies who will not practise either gardening, or walking, or riding & cheval, may expect, before they are thirty, to lose that complexion which was the charm of their youth. Do you still remember, Julia, that in the country.
"There is a dance of leaves in that aspen bower,' There's a titter of winds in that beeehen tree, There's a smile on the fruit, and a smile on the flower, And a laugh on the brook that runs to the sea?"
Julia, come back!