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ON Decoration day some unknown person is sure to ornament the Washington Monument in Union Square with wreaths, and rows of funny little flowerpots. But, on the Centennial 22d of February, and the first 22d which was celebrated as a true national holiday, by act of Congress and proclamation of the President, we looked in vain for the wreaths and the flower-pots, nor had we the presence of mind or bravery to fling one single votive rosebud over the iron railing, to rest at the foot of that majestic and benignant horseman.

Instead of which we are moved to improve the


George Washington was a conspicuous and beautiful instance of a man who minded his own business. Suppose that an intelligent person living in one of the European centers of civilization had been asked, about the year 1770, what man then over thirty-seven years of age was most likely to be the typical great-and-good man of the modern world! Would he have singled out the Virginia militia officer, at that time busying himself with the care of his plantation on the Potomac, and whatever social duties and delights, or whatever polite politics were convenient and appropriate? The strong point about Washington was, that the duty or the pleasure, the ceremony or the self-sacrifice that lay in his way, he enjoyed or performed without shirking, and to the very best of his ability. He did not, as a youth, lie awake o' nights wondering "what he would be when he grew up to be a man." When he became a man he showed neither imagination nor genius, but he had one of the traits of genius, namely, concentration. He put his mind upon his present occupation, without looking back or looking ahead. He engineered, fought the Indians, rode horseback, wrote letters, went fox-hunting, attended church, proposed to young women, conducted campaigns, and governed the United States,-each at the proper time, and each with sincerity of purpose and assiduity. We do not hear of his swearing often; but when he did, it was thoroughly and effectively done. If he seems not to have been as successful in the matter of matrimonial proposals as in other occupations, we must remember that the centennially revived old wives' tales of early and indiscreet refusals of Washington by the said old wives themselves, must be taken with a few grains of deferential allowance.

THE discussion about the reading of the Bible in the public schools will, it is to be hoped, do this good, if no other, namely, draw attention to the subject of Bible-reading in general. The Bible is read altogether too much. Of course, it is not read too much by people who do not read it enough, or who do not read it at all, or who know how to read it a great deal, and to edification. But there is not another good book in the world with which so many Christian people bore themselves, and bore their neighbors. Some people read and read the Bible

till its beauties and consolations have little or no effect upon their minds or souls. In fact, the Bible has been made so trite, that only by indirection and at rare intervals are we apt to get clear impressions of its incomparable wealth of poetry, passion, and religion. We knew a good soul who used to read the Bible literally " on his knees;" who read it three times a day; who read the genealogies with the same steadiness of purpose as the Psalms or the Beatitudes, and who confessed that he got less good out of the book than when he became a kind of heathen and stopped reading it almost altogether. The experience of this person suggests an intelligent middle course, which we leave it to the parsons to point out.


As for the poetry of the Bible, it would seem that the hardest test to which the greatest of the socalled secular poets can be brought is that of comparison with the Hebrew bards. Even in translation the Bible poets hold their own.


As for the passion of the Bible,-the strong, pervading, unsurrendering human love,—it burns with a purity and intensity that make the fire of our modern so-called passionate singers a pale and sickly flame. Where else in the world is there such love poetry as that of "Solomon's Song?"

As to the religion of the Bible, compared, for instance, with the religion of the Vedas, we beg leave to refer to an interesting little book published by Macmillan & Co., entitled "The Sacred Poetry of the Early Religions." It contains two lectures, one on the Vedas and the other on the Psalms, delivered in St. Paul's Cathedral by Dean Church, the object of the lecturer being to show the failure of the earliest sacred poets of India to discern God, to approach Him in any way except in an exterior and unintimate manner; and, on the other hand, the confident, discerning approach of the Hebrew poets to Him whom they worshiped as God of Gods,-and the general superiority of the Psalms in insight and moral tone. "To pass," says Dean Church, "from the Veda to the Psalms is to pass at one bound from poetry, heightened certainly by a relig ious sentiment, to religion itself, in its most serious mood and most absorbing form; tasking, indeed, all that poetry can furnish to meet its imperious and diversified demands for an instrument of expression; but in its essence far beyond poetry. It is passing at one bound from ideas, at best vague, wavering, uncertain of themselves, to the highest ideas which can be formed by the profoundest and most cultivated reason, about God and the soul, its law, its end, its good."

IT is a question whether our ears have not become in these days somewhat unaccustomed to the subtler and more lasting kinds of poetic melody. The tendency of the poets of the present is toward the production of melody by an extraordinary insistence upon rhythm. Much is made of the recurrent

stroke of the wire; and little of the vibration between the strokes. The custom now is to "mark the time" very distinctly. Swinburne's lyrics are probably the finest flower of this particular method, although Tennyson went before, and has almost, if not quite, matched the younger poet in his special lyrical department. Swinburne prefers this method, even in his blank verse; and the reader is kept on the jump from the first to the last page of his longest poems. His poetry is, in this respect, like the singing at the negro camp-meetings, where the whole congregation beat time with their feet. The negroes, by the way, are very fond of "marking the time" distinctly in all their music. Blind Tom's piano-playing is an example.

There is something irresistible in the rhythmic movement when used by poets like Tennyson and Swinburne. The lyric verse of these and other modern masters of the method gives the ripple of waters, the roll of drums, the beat of the hammer on the blacksmith's anvil, the ringing of bells, the gallop of horses, the thunder of battle, the rattle of rain and hail; it records moods and produces impressions that could be recorded or produced in no other way. But rhythm is easily overdone. It is not the highest part of even the mechanics of verse. And yet, as we have said, it is the habit of the living generation and the tendency of the times. Tennyson, it may be suggested, has created a melody of his own that depends very little upon the charm of rhythm; but even his most musical notes have not the birdlike melodious quality that we find in Keats, Shelley, and Wordsworth.

In using the term bird-like, we hit upon what is perhaps the secret of the matter. The tendency toward rhythm, and toward elaborate and experimental forms of verse, may be an outgrowth or a part of the modern artistic self-consciousness. There is a lack of spontaneity, and a recourse to artistic elaboration. Rhythm is that portion of the art farthest from the purely poetic and spontaneous. A young poet would have to journey far away from the most potent contemporary influences in order to bring back again the free, delicious minstrelsy which seems to have deserted the language,—-from influences not only emanating from the elder living poets, but from the more subtile spirit of the times by which the elder poets have themselves been fashioned.

friend writes books, or writes criticisms, or paints pictures, or decorates, or himself is given to the verbal expression of opinions. His name is mentioned, perhaps with praise; we agree, but there is a shrug of the shoulders that shows an anxiety not to go too far. We are not anxious to explain our standing with relation to people obviously on a lower intellectual plane, our car-driving or carpentering acquaintance. It is only with relation to our equals or our superiors that this anxiety is shown to avoid intellectual self-compromise.

-IN some the trait of which we speak is developed and given wider scope.

A modest and deferential person finds his pleasure in conversation greatly impaired by a tone which many people habitually assume. It is a tone of superiority and depreciation with regard, not directly to the person present (although that is implied), but to pretty much all other persons and things brought forward as topics of discourse. This tone, we are inclined to think, is more apt to show itself in socalled literary or art atmospheres, and in its modern aggravated form is (like the trait noticed above, of finding the absent intellectually wrong) an offspring of the over-critical spirit of the times. Hardly any one who breathes these "atmospheres" is totally exempt from it; but in some it amounts to an inveterate habit. Doubtless, all thoughtful minds are subject now and then to the high Emersonian mood of exaltation above all human and artistic grandeurs, -moods in which no men that are or were, no pictures, no books, come fully up to the mark. It is, however, of course the best evidence of a small mind when the mood degenerates into a function.

THE proverb which says that the absent are always wrong has a new application and a new force among us moderns who breathe the atmosphere of criticism. With us the absent are intellectually wrong. The stress that is upon us to form "opinions " upon all subjects is felt in other directions. It is a necessity that the opinion should be creditable. We must shine; our neighbor must not outshine us; and in conversation we must be careful lest, by too favorable an expression with regard to our absent friend, we are committed to an opinion of him, especially of his intellectual or artistic caliber, which would be compromising to our own intellectual standing. Our

But the modest man finds it hard to console himself for the continual shocks and disappointments received in conversation with a superior person of the kind mentioned, by any philosophical consideration. One of the necessities of his nature is a generous sympathy with, and deference toward, the person to whom he happens to be talking. He cannot meet the pooh-poohs of his friend with the immediate reflection that perhaps, after all, the latter is not a greater man than Michael Angelo or John Milton. When, at mention of one of these famous persons, his friend betrays a gentle and seductive ennui, the first feeling of the modest person is apt to be one of shame at his own lack of insight and originality. Here, he says, is an unconventional and valuable opinion, my friend will justly look upon me as a Philistine. Sooner or later the modest and sensitive person recovers his intellectual integrity, and has a keen sense of irritation and indignation. But by that time the other man is half way down the


Our only object in these remarks is to offer a suggestion for the benefit of the sufferer. There is one way of dealing with the superior person. Turn his own weapon upon him; smile indulgently upon his admirations; make him blush at every inadvertent committal in favor of any man, method, or principle; patronize and pooh-pooh him out of his very house and home.

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Centennial Cookery.


HINTS FOR TEA PARTIES," ETC. WHEN we hold our "Centennial tea parties" and "Lady Washington suppers," we know that we must not grace our tables with impossible lilies and tulips, and fluffy little frozen chickens of icecream, with Gélatines, and Mayonaises, and Macédoines; with pâté de foie gras or à la Financière, or apples à la Parisienne. We do not wish to set before the revivified Father and Mother of their country strange dishes, which might disagree with their antiquated digestive organs. We want to know just what will please their venerable appetites, and at the same time not permit them to suspect how far their big child has departed from their simple ways.

For the assistance of anxious caterers, we shall quote a little from a volume entitled "AMERICAN COOKERY, or the Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry, and Vegetables, and the Best Modes of making Pastes, Puffs, Pies, Tarts, Puddings, Custards and Preserves, and all kinds of CAKES, from the Imperial PLUMB to plain Cake. Adapted to this country and ALL Grades of Life. By Amelia Simmons, an American Orphan; printed in Hartford in 1796. This book of much title is said by the authoress, in her preface, to be "an original work in this country; so we may fairly conclude its pages to have been made up from the manuscript receipts handed carefully from mother to daughter for many years before, and hence properly representative of the cuisine of 1776.



The preface itself is suggestive of old-time proprieties, for the American Orphan makes it the means of conveying to her readers sentiments whose connection with cookery does not now seem very plain.

"As this treatise," she says, "is calculated for the improvement of the rising generation of females in America, the lady of fashion and fortune will not be displeased if many hints are suggested for the more general and universal knowledge of those females in this country, who, by the loss of their parents or other unfortunate circumstances, are reduced to the necessity of going into families in the line of domestics, or taking refuge with their friends or relations, and doing those things which are really essential to the perfecting them as good wives and useful members of society. The Orphan, though left to the care of virtuous guardians, will find it essentially necessary to have an opinion and determination of her own. The world, and the fashion thereof, is so variable, that old people cannot accommodate themselves to the various changes and fashions which daily occur. They will adhere to the fashion of their day, and will not surrender their attachments to the good old way, while the young and the gay bend and conform readily to the taste of the times or fancy of the hour."

The volume begins with instructions how to choose

meats and vegetables in the market. Some of these instructions are indicative of the changes which eighty years have made in ways of locomotion, as this: "Veal brought to market in panniers or in carriages is to be preferred to that brought in bags and flouncing on a sweaty horse."

"Every species generally of salt-water fish," she says, "are best fresh from the water, though the Hannah Hill, Black Fish, Lobster, Oyster, Flounder, Bass, Cod, Haddock, and Eel, with many others, may be transported by land as many as forty miles, find a good market and retain a good relish; but, as generally live ones are bought first, deceits are used to give them a freshness of appearance, such as peppering the gills, wetting the fins and tails, and even painting the gills, or wetting with animal blood."

Here is an original scheme for extinguishing the national debt: "There is not a single family but might set an apple-tree in some otherwise useless spot, which might serve the twofold use of shade and fruit, on which twelve or fourteen kinds of fruit-trees might easily be engrafted, and essentially preserve the orchard from the intrusions of boys, etc., which is too common in America. If the boy who thus planted an apple-tree, and guarded it and protected it in a useless corner, and carefully engrafted different fruits, was to be indulged free access into orchards, while the neglectful boy was prohibited, how many millions of fruit would spring into growth, and what a saving to the Union! The net saving would in time extinguish the public debt and enrich our cookery."

We find by this book, what we might have been supposed to know before, though some of our Centennial supper committees do not seem to know, that our ancestors were very fond of roasts, whether of beef, veal, lamb, pork, or venison, turkey, goose, or duck; that they delighted in oysters, smothered fowls in the same, and dressed turtles, just as we do today. Chicken, pigeon, and meat pies were highly esteemed. Minced-meat pies were then as now composed of one part of minced beef to ten or twelve parts of fruits and spices, and their allowance of "best Madeira wine" was a good deal big. ger than we could now afford. Fruit pastries were confined to apple, currant, and gooseberry pies. The genial "pompkin," though baked as we bake it today, in a paste, was then called a pudding. To make it as made in 1796, and probably in 1776, we must take one quart of stewed and strained pumpkin, three pints of sweet cream, ten well-beaten eggs, two glasses of wine, with sugar, mace, nutmeg, and ginger "to taste,' and bake in a deep dish lined with a rich puff paste.

For a "simple rice pudding" we boil six ounces of rice in a quart of very sweet cream, over a slow fire, till tender. When cold we stir in one pound of sugar. "Interim beat fourteen eggs to a stiff froth. [Bear in mind that there were then no patent eggbeaters.] Add to the pudding when cold, with sugar,

salt, spices, and wine to taste, and one pound of raisins. Line the pudding dish with rich puff paste, and bake one and a half hours."

For a "plain Indian pudding," recommended as "economical," we "scald seven spoonfuls" (size of spoon not mentioned-supposed to be table-spoon) "of sifted Indian meal in three pints of very sweet cream. When cold add seven well-beaten eggs, half a pound of raisins, the same of butter and of sugar; spice to taste, and bake one and a half hours."

"A plain bread pudding" requires a pound of soft bread crumbs soaked in one quart of sweet cream, and forced through a fine sieve. To this is added seven beaten eggs, a pound of sugar, a half pound of butter, nutmeg, cinnamon, and rose water "to taste," and a pound of raisins. It is then baked three-quarters of an hour in a “middling oven.”


Besides the above there are flour puddings, boiled and baked; a Sunderland, a cream almond, and a carrot pudding; puddings of apples, gooseberries, pears, plums, oranges, and lemons, and one which is made of "one pound of boiled and mashed potatoes, a pound of sugar, half a pound of butter, ten eggs, three gills of sweet cream, one nutmeg, the juice and grated peel of a lemon, and two glasses of rose water; the whole to be baked for one hour."


The cheapest pudding of the lot, which hides its diminished head as if ashamed of its poverty, is a Whitpot," which requires only half a loaf of bread, two quarts of milk and half a pound of sugar, with nutmeg and rose water to taste.

There are custards by the dozen, tarts by the score, and "creams," "trifles," and "syllabubs." Among the latter we find a receipt telling us how "to make a fine syllabub from the cow." We are first to "sweeten a quart of cider" (supposed to be hard), "with double refined sugar, and grate into this plenty of nutmeg. Then milk your cow into your liquor. When you have thus added what quantity of milk you think proper, pour over it half a pint or more, in proportion to the quantity of syllabub you wish to make, of as sweet cream as you can get."

delicate golden waffles, swimming in melted butter and sugar; of hot biscuits and rusks; of aromatic coffee ("one pound of coffee, cleared with four eggs, and steeped, not boiled; enough for six persons"); of fried sausages, or ham and eggs, and crisp fried potatoes.

The "imperial plum pudding" very much resembles the Christmas pudding of to-day, which is not wonderful, considering that both are but descendants of the old English Yule-tide pudding, the chief difference being in the amount of brandy and wine and the number of eggs. "To four pounds of raisins, two of currants, three of slivered citron, three of sugar, two of finely chopped suet, and two of fine bread crumbs; six ounces of candied peel, one each of nutmeg, mace, and cinnamon; a pint of brandy; the same of Madeira wine, and two lemons-add three dozen of well-beaten eggs." This receipt, which, we are told, makes only "enough for eight persons," will have to be several times duplicated, if Lady Washington intends giving a large dinner party during her stay with us. It would mortify the hospitable dame if each guest should not be able to report a very frisky nightmare when he visits the next morning's breakfast-table and partakes of "Indian flapjacks" (whose principal ingredient is eggs); of

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Of receipts for sweet cakes this cookery-book contains as large a proportion as Mrs. Beeton's ponderous tome; and each of them demands an unconscionable number of eggs. It is no wonder that our notable great-grandmothers were obliged to pay strict attention to their poultry-yards. Listen to this receipt for "plain soft gingerbread:" "Rub three pounds sugar and two pounds butter into three pounds flour. Add twenty eggs, four ounces each of ginger and cinnamon and four spoons of rose water, and bake in a quick oven."

In the following receipt for "a plain loaf cake," we are reminded that the place of our skimping stove or range oven was then filled by the generous brick. For this loaf cake we are told to "rub six pounds of sugar, two of lard, and three of butter into twelve of flour. Add twenty-four beaten eggs, one quart of milk, two ounces each of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a teacupful of coriander seed pounded and sifted. Then add one pint each of brandy and Madeira wine, six pounds of stoned raisins, and one pint of emptins [sic]. First having dried your flour in the oven, dry and roll the sugar half an hour; it will render the cake much whiter and lighter. Heat the oven with dry wood for one and a half hours. If large milk pans are used the cake will then require two hours baking, and in proportion for smaller loaves."

In this ancient cookery-book we find no mention of baked pork and beans. Yet we have actually heard a lady complaining that it was so difficult to get dishes for Centennial suppers, since they must be ancient, and modern appetites refused to partake largely of pork and beans!

To counterfeit the supper-table of 1776, full sets of old china are essential; but these are difficult to find. Still, we will imagine that we have one, and will set our table as that of Lady Washington was set at a supper given at Mount Vernon to a party of gentlemen during her husband's second term in the Presidential chair. The details were described in an old letter from one of the guests to his wife, who had doubtless requested "full particulars."

The table, of dark mahogany, waxed, and polished like a mirror, was square (supported, we may suppose, on many legs), and supplemented at each end by a half circle of the same wood and polish, which fitted the table. In the center of the large table so made, stood a branched épergne of silver wire and cut glass, filled with a tasteful arrangement of apples, pears, plums, peaches, and grapes. At one end Mrs. Washington, "looking as handsome as ever," assisted by a young lady, presided behind a handsome silver tea service, "an enormous silver hot-water urn nearly two feet high," and a whole battalion of tiny flaring cups and saucers of blue India china. All the plates were likewise of this china, but most of the service was of silver, which,

polished to its highest, reflected the blaze of many wax candles in branched candelabra, and candlesticks of silver standing upon the table and about the room.

As the meal was a late supper, the edibles were nearly all cold: fried oysters, and waffles, and fried chickens being the only exceptions. On the table were cold roasted turkey, canvas-backed ducks and venison, a baked ham and "a meat pasty of some sort which I did not taste, though it looked very good." Besides, there was an abundance of rich cakes and of fine West India sweetmeats," while "capital Madeira wine was served from elegant decanters to those who preferred it to tea, which," to their credit be it spoken, "hardly any one did."


Verily, as we look over this table, we do not see that we need return to the simplicity of savage diet in order to please the tastes of our ancient and honored guests!

Rural Topics.


WITH beginners, and those of limited experience in the art of gardening, there is always a strong desire to rush the work in the garden, have the beds dug and raked, the seeds sown, and the trees and shrubs planted before the frost is well out of the ground, or the soil dry or warm enough to facilitate vegetation. This natural, but very common, error, to turn over or disturb the ground too soon in the spring not infrequently leads to discouraging results later in the season. Garden seeds, sown too early, while the soil is still cold and wet, are sure to be seriously injured, rotting in many instances before germinating. This will be found true in degree of fruit-bearing trees as well as garden seeds. I have known of many cases where young pears, apples, and cherries were permanently stunted from the very start by this unwise course of planting when the soil was cold and soggy. On clay land, no more fatal blunder can be made than planting fruit-trees, vines, or shrubs, before the soil is in the right condition. Better by far wait two weeks than start one day too soon. If the soil is thrown around the roots when heavy and wet, it soon hardens, encasing the fibers in an impervious cement which hinders their natural action, and, as a matter of course, checks the growth and vigor of the trees or vines. Early planting in the open ground of vegetables or fruittrees possesses no other advantage beyond that of having the work out of the way, and for this the risks run from the causes named are out of all proportion. I have known of instances time and again, even with as hardy a vegetable as the potato, that those planted about the middle of April were ripe and ready for use one to two weeks in advance of those planted a month earlier, and produced a larger yield, -this, too, on the same farm, and under the same treatment and culture.

HOT-BEDS.-Those who enjoy home-raised early tomatoes and egg plants will have to sow the seeds in a hot-bed not later than the middle of March. To propagate enough for family use, a single sash and frame 3x6 feet will give abundant room, not

only for those named, but also for some cauliflowers, peppers, and lettuce.

The frame for this bed can be made of rough hemlock boards nailed together, a single board twelve inches high in front, and two boards twenty-four inches high in the rear. The frame, when completed, should be level on the bottom, and inclined enough on top, so that when the sash is put in place there will be sufficient fall to carry off the water from the rear to the front of the frame. For the bed, select a spot sheltered from the north winds, with a south-eastern exposure. On such a spot make a bed of manure 4x8 feet and a foot or so in thickness. Then set the frame on this bed, and, when firmly pressed down, add another layer of manure inside the frame, and, at the same time, bank up around the outside of the frame to the top of the boards. The earth may then be put on six or seven inches in depth, and the sash set in place. The third day from the date of making the bed, the earth may be raked over and made level, and the seeds sown and


carefully covered in shallow drills running from front to rear, and each kind labeled. A small paper of "New York Improved" Egg Plant, one each of Arlington" and "Trophy" Tomato, "Early Erfurt" Cauliflower, "Curled Silesia" Lettuce, and "Bull Nose" Pepper will be enough. When the seeds are sown, give the bed air daily, and water when the soil needs it with tepid water. Market gardeners always transplant into another bed to get stocky plants; but for home use, where the seeds are sown thinly, it is not necessary.

Tree Peddlers.-Persons moving from the city to the country with the intention of making it their homes are quickly besieged by the ever-watchful tree peddler. These men are always equipped with a goodly supply of books filled with colored plates of monstrosities in fruits and flowers, attractive and enticing to the novice, and made more so when their good qualities are deftly and ingeniously described by the glib-tongued fellows, who seldom fail in capturing their victim-if not at the first, surely at the second, third, or fourth visit. The stock of trees and plants with which they fill their orders is usually of an inferior quality, seldom true to name; but their prices run from 50 to 100 per cent. higher than those at which first-class trees, plants, or vines can be purchased from responsible nurserymen who have reputations to maintain.

These tree peddlers, in order to perfect a sale, often represent themselves as the authorized agents of nursery firms, with whom they have no such connection. They go from place to place and buy at very low prices what is known to the trade as "hospital stock," the cullings of one or more years' business, and such stock as nurserymen wouldn't send out to their regular customers. It is, indeed, discouraging to wait four or five years for a pear-tree to come into bearing, and then find that, instead of a Bartlett or Seckel, you have some worthless sort that has no value, fit only to feed to the hogs.

The best and least expensive way to get fruit-trees, vines, or plants, is to send direct to some well-known

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