Abbe Edouard (Edouard's Schmalzbirne)

Fruit, small, or below the medium size, two inches and a quarter broad, and two and a half high; roundish and inclining to turbinate. Skin, bright green at first, but as it ripens becoming a clear yellow, and of a deep golden yellow on the side next the sun, and strewed with brown dots. Eye, small and closed, set in a shallow depression. Stalk, thin and woody, an inch long, and obliquely inserted on the apex of the fruit, with a fleshy swelling at its base. Flesh, white, half buttery, melting and very juicy, sweet, and with a finely perfumed flavour.

A good pear, but not possessing any particular merit to recommend it as an addition to existing varieties. It ripens in November, and is very soon gone.

The tree is of an upright habit of growth, and forms a good pyramid. It succeeds well on the quince, and is an excellent bearer.

This is a seedling No. 2015 of Van Mons, and first bore fruit in 1848.

Abbé Mongein. See Uvedales St. Gennain.


Fruit, medium sized; obovate, inclining to pyriform, widest at the centre, and tapering to either extremity. Skin, bright green at first, but changing as it ripens to yellowish; it is strewed all over with grey and crimson dots, has a blush of crimson on the side next the sun, and is marked here and there with traces of russet and with a patch round the stalk. Eye, open, with erect stout segments, and placed in a wide and shallow basin. Stalk, rather obliquely inserted by the side of a fleshy lip, slightly depressed. Flesh, white, buttery, melting and juicy, but slightly gritty, with a sweet and agreeably perfumed flavour.

A second-rate American pear, which ripens in the end of September and beginning of October, and which is unworthy of cultivation.

Abondance. See Ah ! Mon Dieu.


Fruit, large, three inches long, and two inches and three-quarters broad; abruptly pyramidal. Skin, green at first, but becoming of a lemon yellow colour as it attains maturity, and strewed with white and grey dots, and is rather rough to the feel from being covered with small cracks. Eye, open, set in a wide shallow basin. Stalk, two inches long, somewhat obliquely inserted, with a swelling-on one side of it. Flesh, yellowish white, slightly gritty, melting, sweet, and richly flavoured.

This ripens in October, and continues in use for a month afterwards.

It is a Crimean variety sent into Europe by Mr. Hartwiss, the superintendent of the royal garden at Nikita.

Achan (Black Achan; Red Auchan; Winter Achan; Black Bess of Castle Menzies)

Fruit, below medium size; turbinate, but frequently also of an obovate shape when grown to a large size, flattened at the apex. Skin, greenish yellow on the shaded side, and strewed with grey russet patches and dots. On the side next the sun it is of a dull brown ferruginous red, covered with large grey russety dots or freckles. Eye, large and open, with broad dry reflexed segments, and slightly depressed. Stalk, an inch long, obliquely inserted under a large prominent lip, and surrounded with thin russet. Flesh, tender, buttery, juicy, sugary, with a rich and aromatic flavour.

A Scotch dessert pear of first-rate quality; ripe in November and December. The tree is a very abundant and regular bearer, particularly when it has acquired age.

The description here given is as the fruit is grown in Scotland, where it is justly reckoned one of the finest, if not the finest, winter pear; but, singularly enough, when grown in the southern counties of England, it loses entirely its good properties. It is evidently one of those fruits that require to be grown and ripened gradually, for in the south, where it acquires much greater dimensions than it does in the north, the flesh is pasty and insipid, and the fruit does not last beyond the middle part of October. I have seen this variety grown in some of the cold and exposed parts of England in great perfection, as from Delamere Forest in Cheshire, and some parts of Yorkshire.

Now that so many new varieties of pears have been introduced of late years, our northern gardeners are not so confined to the Achan as their ancestors were, and it has now to encounter many a formidable rival. But the time was when this variety was with them the very ideal of a winter pear, to which nothing could even approach. Some years ago, before the railways were in existence, a Scotch gardener of the old school set out from a northern port by sailing-smack on a visit to London. Being a man in easy circumstances, a little adventurous, and of an inquiring mind, he wanted to extend his knowledge and see how gardening was managed in the south. This good man was one of the old school even in those days, and had formed his own notions of things. His attire consisted of the time-honoured blue coat, with large yellow buttons, yellow waistcoat, and his nether garments and leggings were drab. He carried a stout umbrella, which, like himself, was inclined to corpulency. Among the places he visited was the Chiswick Garden of the Horticultural Society, and, being in the autumn, he was introduced to the fruit-room. His attendant showed him all the new pears, which at that time had not long fruited in this country. He tasted first one and then another, but none of them in his estimation could approach the Achan. He was assured that they were infinitely superior to that variety, and that in the south it was not of any account. Still he insisted there was no pear like the Achan. Beurré Diel, Beurré Bosc, and even Marie Louise, were all tried in succession, but the invariable reply was, "There's nane o' them like the Achan." At last a fine showy fruit of bright yellow colour and a glowing red cheek was presented. "What ca' ye that?" said our friend. "That's the Achan," said the attendant. This argumentum ad hominem seemed too much for him, as he stared at his informant in blank astonishment; but he was not to be driven from his position, and, with an indignant assurance, he replied, " Na, na, that canna be oor Achan."

I have never been able to trace the origin of the name of this pear, but I have no doubt but that it was introduced into Scotland from Norway at a very early period. When it is considered how close the relations were that existed between Scotland and Scandinavia, there is every reason to believe that this is its origin. I am strengthened in this belief from having seen it at the International Fruit Show of 1862, in a collection from Norway, under the name of Bouchrefin.

The variety that is grown in some parts of Scotland under the name of Grey Achan is the Chaumontel.

Ach Mein Gott. See Ah ! Mon Bieu.