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.
Phrenology teaches that in some human craniums this very wonderful organ varies to a very considerable extent; that in some individuals the feeling of " I am," the great I am, scarcely has an existence; and that such individuals have oftentimes to refresh their memory with the fact that they are really in existence before the first feint trace of Self-esteem becomes cognizant. We are not aware of any phrenological statistics that furnishes substantial data for this scientific statement; therefore, we think Phrenology on this point to be in error, and that we sincerely hope, for the future, that our scientific phrenological friends will take into consideration the influence of the "Almighty Dollar," and its "connection ' with the human brain, before they make any further statements of the lack of "Self-esteem " in the human organism.
We emphatically deny the phrenological statement that "some men want more Self-esteem." We think we have all enough, and some too much for our own individual interest. Our opinion of the sufficiency of Self-esteem existing in the human brain very profusely is amply proved to us in our every-day walk through life.
An old acquaintance of ours, who by profession was a journeyman tailor, but an "adept" in cutting broadcloth to fit the carnal man, after a time grew rich; so rich, indeed, that one day he said to his better half, " My dear, I am going to buy a place in the country." " Do, love," was the sweet reply, and the mother of the little " rosy cheeks " said that no one on earth would be able to better appreciate the comforts of country life than herself and family. A garden well supplied with plenty of good fresh vegetables every day, and lots of all kinds of small fruits, for puddings, pies, desserts, and preserves, and an orchard to supply us with apples for pie-making all through the winter. And then, again, think of the delightful shade that trees in the country yield during the oppressive heat of summer. Won't it be delightful? Oh, for a place in the country! So it was purchased.
It was a nice, snug little farm. The house was old-fashioned, to be sure, but it suited the purposes of the farmer, its previous occupant, very well; and it is true that the dwelling was not decorated off with trees, shrubs, and corkscrew roads; but when we come to consider that few farmers care any thing about "shady trees" around their dwellings, or gardens which contain much else than those species of the vegetable creation which caused Adam and all his sons to " earn their bread by the sweat of their brow," we have a sufficient reason why there were no trees around this house.
Our friend was determined to have a great many things altered. He would set to work and plant trees; they would soon grow up, he was told by a "man " who represented a " firm " at a distance. And then there was that " old orchard;" the trees were too old to be serviceable; the better plan would be to out them down at once, and plant young trees - soon get into bearing. "Some trees I sold last year had apples on this!" " Indeed! " said our friend; so he chopped down the apple orchard, to be replanted with the "leading varieties " recommended by the "man from a distance." The next point to be considered was the alteration in front of the house. The public road was too near the door; he wanted a large, fine " yard," with a carriage road through it, and plenty of trees in it. This lady suggested the propriety of obtaining the advice of some "practical gardener " on operations so extensive. But here " Self-esteem " grew out instantly into wonderful, immense proportions. "How can a gardener better know my requirements than I know them myself? " And this wonderful pronoun I stood as erect and with as much dignity as Beauregard after battering down a helpless Sumter. Self-esteem then went to work, and cut a very fine road through the finest grass meadow on his farm.
The public had an improved road for which they were very thankful, and lots of poor men had plenty of work. Our friend had also achieved his point; got a "good yard," on the front of which he put a very fine entrance, and made a carriage road agreeably to the angular formations of his own constituencies. John the coachman, however, could never drive over this road to suit his employer. It was so annoying to see the man forever driving over the "corners of the grass." John could never be made to understand the philosophy of first driving on the straight line, then gracefully sweeping round a Q with its tail off, and up another straight line, terminating with a right angle to the front door. This road was our friend's " own design," and there was nothing like it in the neighborhood. This was one important point; and the next thing was to plant the " yard; " so he marked the places for the holes all over the " yard," and the men were to be sure to dig them deep enough, and big enough, for he was going to plant " big trees," as he could not wait for small ones to grow.
The man who sold the trees was on the spot just in time to see what our friend wanted, besides the apple-trees for the new orchard. Scarcely know. " What kind of trees do you generally sell for such situations as this? " "Oh, evergreens, sir, evergreens! every body now, sir, plants nothing much but evergreens. You see evergreens are beautiful trees, and rare - give such a beautiful charm to a country residence during the dreary months of winter. The sight, sir, of a green leaf in winter has a peculiar fascination; but when we come to look at a country residence beautifully embosomed in the various hues of green in mid winter, and its surroundings and back ground pure white snow, the effect is nobly grand and beautiful. All the finest places in the country now, sir, are planting scarcely any thing but evergreens. One very important reason for this we suppose is, that they are such rapid growers." "Ah! that is important. Well, sir, I will leave the selection to you; but give large trees and a good assortment." " You will want some flowering shrubs, herbaceous plants, and roses, sir? " " To mix up with the evergreens, you mean? " " Yes, sir." "By-the-by," said our friend to the " tree man," "how many years have you been in the business, you know so many names of trees?" "Nearly two, sir." "Only two?" "That is all, sir; but we soon learn the names.
I am by trade a ' tailor,' but unfortunate in business. I failed." " Indeed," said our friend, when all at once his " Self-esteem " assumed all its dignity, and twiddling his thumbs behind his back, the one tailor stood contemplating the other for some moments in surprise. "Well, sir, send me the things in good order".
The evergreens, the shrubs, the roses, and herbaceous plants came, and the "little roots " to the " big trees " were buried down, down, in the big deep holes, (if Bright had only seen them, how he would have mourned!) and well stamped in. Some grew, some died; and what was most vexing, the large fine trees died first; but still our friend had good courage. "Self-esteem " kept him on till the trees grew up; but then after they grew up into fine trees his wife and children said they were of no use to the house; they did not give the shade and comfort they so much needed. They waited, and longed, and hoped for years, and now the solace of anticipation had ended in a miserable disappointment Not a tree under which the children could sit down in the shade; the shrubs and flowers for which they had paid so much money were hid, and overgrown by the large evergreens; and the new orchard, now it has come into bearing, proves to be of such varieties as will not succeed in the neighborhood. The lady of the household affirms that money enough has been uselessly expended to have built them a first-rate dwelling; that the only benefit derived from the capital expended has been to the public; that they have to live in an inconvenient old dwelling, with not a solitary comfort surrounding it; that the farm was in as good condition, if not better, when they bought it, than now ; that their time has passed away in expecting, and realising comparatively no real enjoyment; and that this was all owing to her husband not taking her advice in obtaining the advice, in the first place, of some practical man conversant with the proper arrangement of new grounds, and the location and judicious arrangement of trees and flowers in suitable varieties.
When will two tailors meet again? Stop, "Self-esteem," and think! and think, too, that no one man knows every thing. Some little while ago we passed our friend's dwelling, and by the side of his entrance gate hung a board with the following inscription:
This "Beautiful " Place for Sale.
[Fox Meadow has here again given us something more than a mere fancy sketch: it is a picture from real life. We know all about that "tailor; " we have seen him scores of times; indeed, he is a sort of ubiquitous personage, and crosses our path almost every time we go abroad, like the phantom of an ugly dream. One can scarcely say any thing too sharp of him. Let us suggest to you, Mr. Meadow, that you continue the subject in two other aspects: 1st. Ignorance; 2d. Pretension, both of which, in common with what you term "Self-esteem," are about equally productive of wasteful expenditure and unsatisfying results, and all of which arc a sad clog to the full development of the beauties, utilities, and real comforts of home. Let us, if possible, make the "golden mean " a shining light that all may see. - Ed].