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.
Dear Mr. Editor; I live in an old village which has suddenly become the vogue. A perfect rush of city merchants, and others, has destroyed all my old nooks and solitary rambling grounds. The springs of water have been dammed into fish-ponds, and my trout stream made to wander through tame gardens. Gardens, did I say! Why, some that are so-called are a curiosity for a museum. I say nothing of the silver maples that do duty for ornament in long, straight rows, nor of the hideous specimens of evergreens which disfigure, rather than ornament, my poor old town. It is the kitchen gardening that I object to; the new "vegetables" that are introduced, and the rush that is made for "good gardeners." Mine has been induced to leave me, after ten years of faithful service, because he was offered ten dollars a month more than was aver paid in the good old times. Well, if people can afford to pay so high for their eatables, so be it; some of us must raise our own, or go without our truck. But I want to know what business anybody-has to "live in the country" who has no kind of knowledge of country things?
My illustrations must take the conversational strain; the following lucid talk actually-occurred in the parlor of one of my new neighbors, last evening, and the provoking part of it was, the interlocutors never appealed to me for information; me, who had lived all my life in the country! I was voted an ignoramus, because I knew nothing of silks or Irish. linens. But, to our evening conversation.
First Lady. "Oh! Mrs. Firkin, I'm going to keep bees!"
Second Lady. "Are you, indeed 1 I should like to make honey, myself; but where do you get bees?"
Second Lady. "Do the bees come and take possession like the bluebirds and wrens?"
First Lady. "I expect so; don't you know?"
Husband. "My dear wife! you have made a great mistake. Bees swarm, and have to be carefully hived. You might wait a century for a swarm to take possession. You ought not, my love, to attempt things you don't understand. This is the fourth or fifth time you have - "
First Lady. "Do be quiet! I don't believe you know anything about it!"
Third Lady. "Ohl how charming it is to have a good, large garden. Our man has been planting Lima beans, and has scoured the whole country for poles! I do believe the fellow has been away a whole week getting poles!"
I had been looking into this " fellow's" gardening, and know it to be a fact, that he has staked morning glories that came up all over the ground, and, being vines, he thought they were Lima beans! Most of the time he was away for the poles, he was loitering at the tavern.
Fourth Lady. "Well, I declare, I'm almost sick of this gardening. Last year, we ordered a large quantity of early beets cultivated, and, when they came up, they were all sunflowers I Our man was cheated into buying six pounds of sunflower seeds, for beets!"
Fourth Lady's Husband. " You forget, my dear, that you brought them home, after a day's shopping, yourself; and - "
Fifth Lady. "I should be well contented to live here all the year round, for the sake of having a cow. But, do you know, the calf takes all the milk!"
First Lady. "Oh dear! Why, how old is the calf?"
Fifth Lady. "Only eight months! We never get a drop of milk".
Guffaw from poor me! "Oh! oh I! oh!!!" and I am voted A Great Boss.
My dear old fogy brother, what else can you expect, if you live within striking distance of a large city, and your quiet old village has an air of decided repose and comfort about it? You might have known that the town Goths and Vandals would make a descent upon you, and the wonder is, why they have delayed it so long. There is no way but to submit to the present and coming state of things; and unless you can crib and cabin yourself within your own grounds by a high fence, hedge, or wall, Just sell out to these destroyers of your peace for five times as much money as you ever before supposed your place to be worth, as yon can do, and let the money you receive for it compensate the sacrifice of your quietude. I know of no more sensible way to be revenged on such intolerable snobbery as you describe. Jeffreys.