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.
Night broods over the world, deep and solemn; away above us the still constellations go on their way, and throwing earthward wildering beams tike golden ladders, whereon our thoughts may climb to heaven; clouds, with dark ridges, out the blue, or build a wilderness of black along the edges of the horizon, or lie against each other, like squadrons in the offing of a mighty sea; and whether the winds run laughingly up and down the hills, or kennelled among the thick forests, whine dismally and low, night seems a blessed time - a season of thought, or of dreams, or of peaceful sleep.
And so with the various seasons of the year. May, with her green lap full of sprouting leaves and bright blossoms, her song-birds making the orchards and meadows vocal, and rippling streams and cultivated gardens; June, with full blown roses and humming* bees, plenteous meadows and wide cornfields, with embattled lines rising thick and green; August, with reddened orchards, and heavy-headed harvests of grain; October, with yellow leaves and swart shadows; December, palaced with snow, and idly whistling through his numb fingers - all have their various charm; and in the rose-bowers of summer, and as we spread our hands before the torches of winter, we say, joyfully, " Thou hast made all things beautiful in their time." We sit around the fireside, and the angel, feared and dreaded by us all, comes in, and one is taken from our midst - hands that have caressed us, locks that have fallen over us like a bath of beauty, are hidden beneath shroud-folds - we see the steep edges of the grave, and hear the heavy rumble of the clods; and in the burst of passionate grief, it seems that we can never still the crying of our hearts.
But the days rise and set, dimly at first, and seasons come and go, and by little and little the weight rises from the heart, and the shadows drift from before the eyes, till we feel again the spirit of gladness, and see again the old beauty of the world. The circle is narrowed, so that the vacant seat reminds us no longer of the lost, and we laugh and jest as before, and at last marvel where there was any place for the dead. Traitors that we are to the past! Yet it is best and wisest so. Why should the children of time be looking backward where there is nothing more to do? Why should not the now and the here be to us of all periods the best, till the future shall be the present and time eternity?"
The following sketch of "Mrs. Hill and Mrs. Troost," is so true to the life, and the point of the story is so entirely within the scope of this journal, that we give it as a welcome contribution. Our readers will find in Mrs. Troost a capital specimen of the mistresses of tumble-down dwellings, who always accuse nature of making "every thing die" that they plant; while Mrs. Hill is one of those happy, practical, excellent women, who make order and sunshine and a spirit of content and beauty grow up around them, wherever they are.
" Mrs. Hill and Mrs. Troost.
"It was just two o'clock of one of the warmest of the July afternoons. Mrs. Hill had her dinner all over, had put on her clean cap and apron, and was sitting on the north porch, making an unbleached cotton shirt for Mr. Peter Hill, who always wore unbleached shirts at harvest time. Mrs. Hill was a thrifty housewife. She had been pursuing this economical avocation for some little time, interrupting herself only at times, to " shu!" away the flock of half-grown chickens that came noisily about the door for the crumbs from the table cloth, when the sudden shutting down of a great blue cotton umbrella caused her to drop her work, and exclaim - "Well, now, Mrs. Troost! who would have thought you ever would come to see me!"
"Why, I have thought a great many times I would come," said the visitor, stamping her little feet - for she was a little woman - briskly on the blue flag stones, and then dusting them nicely with her white cambric handkerchief, before venturing on the snowy floor ef Mrs. Hill. And, shaking hands, she added, " It has been a good while, for I remember when I was here last I had my Jane with me - quite a baby then, if you mind - and She is three years old now".
"Is it possible?" said Mrs. Hill, untying the bonnet strings of her neighbor, who Sighed, as she continued, " Tes, she was three along in February;" and she sighed again, more heavily than before, though there was no earthly reason that I know of why she should sigh, unless perhaps the flight of time, thus brought to mind, suggested the transitory nature of human things.
Mrs. Hill laid the bonnet of Mrs. Troost on her "spare bed," and covered it with a tittle, pale-blue crape shawl, kept especially for like occasions; and taking from the drawer of the bureau a large fan of turkey feathers, she presented it to her guest, saying, " A very warm day, isn't it?"
"Oh, dreadful, dreadful; it seems as hot as a bake oven; and I suffer with heat all summer, more or less. But it's a world of suffering;" and Mrs. Troost half closed her eyes, as if to shut out the terrible reality.
"Hay-making requires sunshiny weather, you know; so we must put up with it," said Mrs. Hill; " besides, I can mostly find some cool place about the house; I keep my sewing here on the porch, and, as I bake my bread or cook my dinner, manage to catch it up sometimes, and so keep from getting over-heated; and then, too, I get a good many stitches taken in the course of the day".
"This i$ a nice, cool place - completely curtained with vines," said Mrs. Troost; and she sighed again; "they must have cost you a great deal of pains".
"Oh, no - no trouble at all; morning glories grow themselves; they only require to be planted I will save seed for you this fall, and next summer you can have your porch as shady as mine".
"And if I do, it would not signify," said Mrs. Troost; "I never get time to set down from one week's end to another; besides, I never had any luck with vines; some foil have'nt, you know".